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Tales of a Lost Sword 99

Tagged as: ToaLS 99, ToaLS.

Written by AznRiceFan on November 9, 2011
Final chapter in the entire series - ETA Friday/Saturday. An epilogue will follow, release TBD.
Episode 99 Requiem II: Prelude to Rebirth
Tau bends over the bloody form on the ground, his eyes widening with horror. Even as he stares, streaks of blood drain from the body at his knees, running down the street full of shocked onlookers. Nobody goes to help him though, as Tau kneels over the body, tears beginning to run down his face.

Suddenly, a shadow looms over Tau. He looks behind him, and finds the smiling face of Arai staring back at him, slightly illuminated due to the sun.

Looking over his own shoulder, Arai calls out to an unseen companion. “Seraphe.” In an instant, a woman robed in black with her face hidden behind a pearly white mask appears, bowing slightly to Arai.

“Your name is Tau, correct?” Arai asks, extending a hand to help Tau up. Tau does not take Arai’s hand, but merely stares back suspiciously. Arai smiles. “Your sister will not die.”

At these words, Tau looks up at Arai with astonishment. “What?” he hisses.

Arai smiles again. “Your sister will not die. Though you have put her life in danger due to your dangerous ventures into the world of gambling and thieves, I can save her. However, you must in turn give me something I desire.”

“Desire?” Tau repeats.

“Yes,” Arai nods, “I desire your service. Abandon the dangerous world you live in, Tau. Your skilled command of your gang of friends has kept you alive and indeed successful, but look where this has taken you. Your sister will die soon. I can revive her, but I wish for you to join me and become the commander of my army first.”

Tau glances nervously at Seraphe, who is hovering silently just beyond Arai’s shoulder. He turns his attention back to Arai. Slowly, Tau nods.

Tau slides back out of control, pushed back by a tremendous blow from Kai. However, he quickly skids into a stop, and draws his Stormshear, lightning blazing in his eyes. Using the long reach of his spear, he strikes at Kai, who manages to flip over twice in the air. Kai quickly counters with a second blow, creating a hissing beam of icy stalagmites that push Tau back again.

“Bastard,” Tau frowns, “ya think I’m gonna let you beat me? There’s no way I’m gonna be defeated! I gotta pay back my debts!”

“Oh?” Kai sneers. “Forgive me, but you do not seem the type to keep promises.”

“Yeah, I swear on my life that your army will be defeated here!” Tau shrieks. He thrusts forward again with his spear; Kai edges out of the way, leaping over Tau’s Stormshear and aiming for Tau across the face. Tau withdraws at the last second, slipping out of harm’s way just in time.

Kai turns, his breathing slightly ragged, as he stares down Tau. “I appreciate your sentiments, but I cannot forgive those that take power from the use of Paradoxes and Anti-Paradoxes!”

“How ironic, considering you’ve become a Fatalist as well!” Tau retorts, spit flying from his lips.

“Yes, but only to put a stop to you Fatalists!”

“Oh, how noble!”

“Enough.” As the two separate following another flurry of quick exchanges, Kai raises his Zamadar. “In the emptiness, this mist shall reveal all!” Once again, a deep, impenetrable mist settles over the area where both Tau and Kai stand.

From afar, Silver watches with narrowed eyes and bated breath, as she tightens her grip around her bow. “Any moment now…” she hisses to herself.

Meanwhile, Tau stumbles about within the boundaries of the mist, his Stormshear at his side. He narrows his eyes impatiently. “What…?” All of a sudden, a shadow looms out of the mist from just behind Tau. He swings around, but not quickly enough before he feels a sharp pain at his side.

Leaning in right up to Tau’s face, Kai reveals himself. His Zamadar is lodged directly in Tau left side. Tau grits his teeth as he sees Kai. “You bastard…! Let me go at once!”

As the mist begins to clear at last, Kai turns quickly towards Silver. “Now!” he shouts.

“Roger!” Silver replies, bursting into action. She lets fly two arrows; however, she aims not for Tau, but for the base of the towering statue of Grendel just beyond. The arrows immediately explode upon contact. A thunderous earthquake ensues as the very foundation of the statue is compromised, causing everyone within the vicinity of the great hall to turn despite themselves to look.

Tau struggles vainly to pull himself free from Kai, but Kai merely presses his dagger deeper into Tau. With a great uproar, the statue of Grendel suddenly begins collapsing, leaning forward with an ominous creak. Then, as gravity takes control, the entire statue keels over, falling towards Tau and Kai.

Kai hurriedly pulls his Zamadar out of Tau, retreating as the statue falls over the two of them. With an earsplitting crash, the statue slams into the ground, crushing a horrified Tau underneath it. Silver lets out an awestruck sigh of relief as an eerie silence falls over the battlefield following this spectacular sight.

The night remains dark, with only the starlight lighting up the topmost reaches of the Fatalists’ castle. Five grim figures stand together at the top of the castle, looking down upon the grand valley below.

Arai’s face remains clouded as he gazes out towards the valley and forests stretching beyond. The hulking, twisted shape of Grendel’s castle looms large and ominous over much of the sky, distorting it, and bending it out of shape. He turns away from the awe-inspiring sight, a long frown on his face. “It is clear to me now. The Sheath must be used to control Kunai’s powers in order to stop Grendel. It is the only way.”

Cynthia watches Arai with her mouth slightly open, her eyes somewhat watery. “You’re…going to kill Kunai?” she asks faintly.

Arai shakes his head. “There is no other choice. Kunai and I both agreed to combine our powers in order to defeat Grendel. These are the terms of the deal as set forth by fate. It seems that this is the only way we shall emerge victorious. Kunai would not disagree.”

Fayvard steps forward. “Arai—if you do that, Kunai’ll—!”

However, Recelo steps forward as well, extending out an arm to block Fayvard from approaching Arai any further. Arai shoots a sidelong glance at Fayvard. “If Kunai agrees to it, would you agree that it is the best way?”

Fayvard’s eyes merely widen in response. Taking the cue, Arai continues speaking. “Even now, I can feel Grendel calling for Kunai to join him. If we do not do anything soon, then all hope for victory will truly be lost. This is the task set forth by fate, Fayvard—I must ask you and Cynthia to intercept Kunai and persuade him to agree to this plan.”

“What…?” Cynthia whispers.

In contrast, Fayvard remains stoic, though the frown on his face grows ever so slightly longer. “And what will you be doing, Arai?”

A weary look enters Arai’s face. He flashes Fayvard a resigned smile, devoid of any humor. “I must greet my grandfather, haven’t I? This shall be the end. After this encounter, either I or Grendel will prevail, and the other will die. I shall prevent him from moving to capture Kunai for as long as I can. It will be your responsibility to make sure that Kunai comes, Fayvard—on our side.”

“Hmph,” Fayvard snorts, glancing at Cynthia and Mira. “Way to leave the toughest job for us.”

Meanwhile, Recelo turns to Arai. “What about me, Your Majesty?”

Arai returns Recelo’s eager look with a sad frown. “If you wish to demonstrate your loyalty to me, Recelo, then you may come with me to face Grendel. I have already used a substantial amount of mana today and there is no telling how long I can last against him. If it comes down to it…you will have to take my place. At this time, if you would rather stay put, that is more than—”

“No!” Recelo interrupts. “I’ll come with you, Your Majesty.” At these words, Recelo lowers himself on one knee and bows low before Arai.

The trace of a smile returns to Arai’s lips. He nods. Then, turning back to Fayvard, he shoots him a stern look. “Well then, I’ll leave Kunai to you guys. Remember: no matter what, Kunai must agree to come on our side. If he decides to submit himself to Grendel, then it is the end for all of us.”

Fayvard nods with understanding, but Cynthia merely stands still, her fists clenched tightly at her sides.

With that, Arai and Recelo disappear in a flash of blue light, leaving Fayvard, Cynthia, and Mira standing alone upon the roof of the Fatalists’ world. Fayvard sighs, turning to face the others. “Well then, I guess we should—Cynthia, wait!”

Fayvard cries out loud as Cynthia disappears over the very edge of the platform, vanishing into the dark night beyond. Staring after her, he sighs again. He folds his arms. “So this is how it’s gonna end, huh…” he mutters to himself, “we either have got to kill Kunai or it’s the end for all of us.” He suppresses a chuckle. “Jeez. I wonder what would Ryuu do?”

Turning back to face Mira, Fayvard begins walking towards the steps leading onto the platform. “Let’s go.”

Darkness pounces upon the world. However, at the furthest reaches of the horizon rises the faintest spark of light, the light of the approaching morning. Still, for the moment, gray and purple clouds encapsulate the evil floating castle of Grendel, which is large enough to seemingly swallow the entire world.

A strange silence has settled upon the world, broken only by the distant, eerie howling that seems to resonate from within the confines of the twisted compound floating above the land. Arai lands lightly upon the cold, black marble floor, his bloodied and weary body humbled by the grandness of Grendel’s fortress. Behind Arai comes Recelo, who gazes up at the evil fortress with wonderment.

Recklessly, Arai steps through the massive archway several stories tall and into the dark, marbled interior of Grendel’s throne room. The walls are made of gray, colorless stone, and the cavernous chamber is lit only by torchlight. At the far end of the hall, resting upon the throne, is Grendel. He watches Arai and Recelo approach with condescension in his eyes.

“Oh?” Grendel sneers. “So you dare to prostrate yourself before me again, do you? I must admit, I did not think you would have the courage to do so. For that, I have underestimated you.

“However, in the end, all remains the same. You do not have the power to defeat me, Arai. Do you still insist on subscribing to that futile pretense, or will you submit to the truth and give up?”

Standing several feet behind Arai, Recelo looks away from Grendel, unable to meet his eyes. Instead, he concentrates upon the heels of Arai’s feet, his teeth clenched tightly. ‘No matter how you look at it, Grendel is far superior to either of us in power…is this plan really going to work?!’

Arai, however, does not flinch or show any reaction to his grandfather. Instead, he merely continues walking determinedly forward, towards the throne. With his right hand, he summons the Sword of Nexon. Its silver blade glimmers faintly against the starlight as Arai approaches the throne.

Grendel bursts into a derisive laugh. “So you choose to fight, do you? However…I thought we had settled on accepting that that sword does not work against me?”

At these words, the light of fire kindles brightly in Arai’s golden eyes, as he raises the Sword of Nexon. “No more words, Grendel…DIE!” With one swing, Arai unleashes a furious wave of energy against his own grandfather.

Far, far away, the faintest glimmers of sunlight have already begun to creep into the sky. A pale mixture of gray and pink slowly enters the moonless night as the meager rays of light touch upon the dark, sleeping night. The new day presses upon the very edge of the world.

Near the castle, the battle rages on. The shrill clang of combative weapons rises into the air even as a few brave birds begin to sing their morning songs. A light breeze blows by, rustling the very tips of the dark evergreens surrounding the Fatalists’ compound.

A blur of orange whips through the many trees in the forest surrounding the perimeter of the Fatalists’ castle. The rustle of wind and trees sounds lightly against the still dawn air, following feverishly the path of destruction left behind by Kunai. After several more minutes, Cynthia comes to a halt, her breathing heavy. She pauses next to a tree, leaning against it for support as she catches her breath.

Cynthia scans the tiny clearing, where several uprooted trees lie on the ground in their pitifully broken and charred states. Resolving to resume her chase, Cynthia turns, but stops just as quickly as the sound of rustling leaves sounds from behind. She turns again, drawing her Kandine.

The transformed, monstrous form of Kunai emerges from between the nearby trees. Cynthia utters a tiny gasp of surprise, taking a step back as her grip on her Kandine loosens in her hand. The dragonish creature rears its wings as it enters the clearing, looking upon Cynthia with its bloodthirsty red eyes.

“K-Kunai…” Cynthia whispers, struck with awe. “I’ve found you at last…”

“Cynthia…” the creature hisses hoarsely, using Kunai’s voice.

Hearing her name, Cynthia gasps again, dropping her Kandine this time. She retreats again by taking several more footsteps away. Gazing up at Kunai with widened eyes, Cynthia grasps onto a tree for support. However, Cynthia quickly catches herself, and takes a sharp intake of breath. She gulps. Finally, looking up into Kunai’s eyes, she opens her mouth to speak. Yet before she can say anything, Kunai himself speaks.

“K-Kill me…” Kunai whispers.

Unblinking, Cynthia goes dead still, as she peers into Kunai’s eyes. The gray light of dawn has already reached the clearing, illuminating the two of them with a silvery-gray glow. “Wh…what?” Cynthia murmurs, her bright green eyes locked onto Kunai.

“Kill me!” Kunai begs. “While I’m still myself…Cynthia, please!”

Shaking her head vigorously, Cynthia shrieks shrilly into the frozen air, “No!” Hearing her own words, Cynthia freezes. “Wait…what did I just say?”

However, at that moment, Kunai issues a resounding roar that shakes every tree in the clearing. Gasping frantically, Cynthia sneaks behind a tree for cover as Kunai howls again, showing his snarling fangs. Raising a claw, a whirling black ball of energy quickly materializes in Kunai’s palm.

As she ducks for cover, Cynthia closes her eyes tightly. “This isn’t right…Kunai did not want to sacrifice me, so it’s not fair to have to sacrifice him either! No…there has to be another way. There…THERE HAS TO BE ANOTHER WAY!”

Cynthia suddenly finds herself standing directly in front of Kunai’s towering figure, completely weaponless and defenseless. Nonetheless, she confidently meets Kunai’s eyes. “Kunai! There has to be another way! Come on, we’ll find it together! Just snap out of this, I know you can still hear me inside!”

Yet the opposite appears to occur. Kunai roars again, straining his voice against the heavens. Leaping high into the air, Kunai unleashes a furious blast of black energy from his claw that shaves off the tops of a whole clearing of trees. With an earsplitting rumble, the trees collapse, annihilated entirely by the furious attack.

Cynthia runs, ducking for cover as several trees collapse around her. She recovers her Kandine from the ground, watching helplessly as Kunai flies ever higher into the air, away from view.

From the ground, Cynthia watches as he sails through the air, heading directly for Grendel’s castle in the sky. With apprehension completely written on her face, Cynthia collapses to her knees at last, helplessly watching Kunai make his way directly towards the scene of the final confrontation, not knowing whether as a friend or a foe.

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November 9, 2011
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Thu Nov 10, 2011 02:27 AM +

It's so that this epic has to end.

Especially because it ends at the same time RvB 9 ends. Now I have nothing to look forward to!

Fri Nov 11, 2011 01:04 PM +

Everything has to come to an end.

I do plan to keep writing after ToaLS. It won't be fanfiction, it'll be my own original work. But you have that to look forward to if you're interested! [P.S. I do happen to be looking for a beta reader for my new original series as well...]


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