A Darkling's Last Stand

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A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by comingdarkness on Fri Nov 16, 2012 11:40 pm

“I don’t know what you could possibly want with this old crap”
“I have my reasons thank you”
The boy huffed at the unclear reply as Lorgar reached out and took the tattered page from him, placing it down upon the table beside the other tattered book and items with the utmost care. Each was a testament to the world as it was before it was dragged screaming into the wasteland that it was now, each a testament that there had once been a time before the hell.
Sat within the archives of Hayama City (if you could call it a city), Lorgar had lost track of the amount of time he had spent rummaging through every artefact he could find from the past and trying to tie together what he could. Most felt like it was a pointless thing to attempt, that the world before was gone and forgotten and there thus irrelevant to life in the Wasteland but Lorgar felt it was imperative. They had to remember what happened before the Aether Spawn that plagued the world came, remember that life had a purpose beyond simply surviving and remember the hero’s that had died fighting to defend it.
For example…
Lorgar frowned as he pulled a square of paper from its place within the box of relics that had been given to him, holding it carefully to the candle light to see a picture of a family looking up toward him, a man smiling towards a camera with a small baby held in his arms and a strange, green haired doll sat upright upon his shoulder. Beside him stood a woman of great beauty, long blonde hair reach to the small of her back, who lent against him with a smile that showed arrogance towards whoever took the picture yet a softer side that suited her. On the other side of the man was a woman who looked a lot like the puppet on the man’s shoulders, her green hair completed by a pair of metal antenna.
“Where did this come from?” He asked and the boy looked over to the shape of a man that was sat in the far corner of the room, Lorgar’s host.
“Down in the Mahora hell lands” the man grunted, looking at the picture with a look of distaste as he turned to look out of the window in the direction of Mahora, a swilling hotspot for Aether Spawn activity that lay only a few miles away from the city, the flickering lights of the candles making his beard appear to be ablaze “A family of travellers went into that wasteland in the hopes of finding something…only one of them came back and that was one of the few things he managed to bring with him. Poor bustard then fell into a nightmare filled coma for about two days before he passed away”
“I see”
“Don’t know who the people in the picture are before you ask”
“I never thought you would”
“Humpf”
Lorgar said nothing else to the man as he stared at the picture, searching it for sign of a name that he could place upon any of the people stood within but finding nothing. It felt infuriating to him to have a glimpse of people from before the fall and be unable to know a thing about them other than the fact that, at the time the picture had been taken at least, they had been very happy together. But that was his lot in life, finding out what he could and trying to piece together what information he could.
“Who are you…” he muttered to himself, staring at the picture…
……………………………
300 years ago…

“They’ve broken through!!”
The grounds of the once great Mahora Academy shuddered with screams and inhuman roaring as a the last lines of human defence buckled under the relentless wave of their attacks, the sheer weight of the invaders numbers proving impossible to hold at bay. Creatures that should have been impossible to exist within the world tore apart the screaming bodies of the men and women who had been desperately trying to fight against them. Blood sprayed into the air in flashing spurts as unnatural claws cleaved through armour without resistance and the those that survived broke and fled. As the lines broke, people broke from the fighting and began to run fleeing past the massive tree that stood in the centre of the Academy turned battlefied, its bulk untouched by the inferno that was now spreading across the grounds.
Gunfire echoed across the air, the warm glow of the slowly rising sun seeming to illuminate the destruction in an almost majestic way, as if the gods themselves were watching the last stand of so many and had added their own touch to enhance the visual appearance simply for the sake of pleasing themselves.
Mahora Academy had stood against the attack of the Aether Spawn for two days without a pause in the fighting but now the conflict was over, the sheer weight in numbers and animalistic fury of the Spawn had proven too much for them. Spawns of a number that no language could guess at were charging forth, swarming over the dead like a never ending sea of impossible that devoured all it touched. Explosions ripped chunks of the swarm into oblivion as Mecha fired blindly into them but they were overrun and pulled to the ground under the sheer weight of bodies that clambered over them, tearing into their metallic hull with blind fury as they clawed for the men piloting them and ripped them apart.
Trickles of radio chatter calling for a full scale retreat from the academy, echoing from the few vox systems and radios that remained functional; their desperate last stand to protect the gateway between worlds a failure. The armies of the human and magical world had gathered here to make a last stand outside the tower that formed the stairway between the real and magical world in a vain attempt to keep the connection between them secure. Such a hope had been folly from the start and now the path was closed completely, the magical world choosing to look after itself and leave the dying human world behind…though rumours told of the presence of Aether Spawn crossing into the magical world before the gate had been sealed…
Now, the army that had planned to make its stand was falling back under the sheer weight of numbers that the Spawn were throwing against their lines, their planned allies from the Magical World all but gone save for the few that had stayed and all hope of holding the beasts off lost along with them.
The deafening sound of jet engines filled the air as a pair of planes flew overhead, running carpet bomb runs across the attacking Spawn lines that seemed to set the very sky on fire as the resulting explosions rose high into the air, the shockwaves shattering windows and making the very ground heave. The stench of burning flesh spread as untold numbers of Spawn were caught in the flames but within seconds another wave of the creatures was charging through the fire, using the bodies of their own dead to climb across. As the defensive line that had been formed vanished into panic, they fell upon the humans without rhyme or reasons, their insatiable hunger making them blind to their losses or any concept of threat.
A race of creatures that had come storming through the bonds of reality and now poured across the world like a never-ending tide, consuming all life they passed and leaving nothing they could behind, souring the very world.
It was, Conjack Darkright thought, a sick mirror image of the Heartless plague that had claimed the last reanimates of his own world so long ago…
The burning Mahora Academy was chocked with retreating soldiers and feasting Aether Spawn and Conjack could feel the place that he had finally found peace within fill with the stench of blood and death. From where he stood upon the stone stairs of the World Tree Park, he could feel the hearts of every man, woman and child that died around him flicker and fade and he shut his darkling senses off, bloating out the flashbacks that they offered to give him of the night of fire…
Hovering just above his shoulder, the small form of Chachazero was silent as her green eyes flicked between various points around the battlefield, her wooden face held strangely expressionless as she watched a set of Spawn, the large butcher’s knife she held swaying slightly in her grasp. One of the white antenna which emitted from the living puppet’s green hair had been snapped down the centre of its shaft, the tip completely missing and leaking a dark mist as the power that kept her moving continued to pulse within her small body.
“Master?” She asked finally, looking down towards where Conjack stood motionless, his eyes glowing slightly with blue light as he too watched the destruction, his own part in the battle long since gone beyond the point of meaning something. “We need to get going”
The Darkling gave no form of acknowledging her as he watched the planes return only for winged Spawn to swarm around them and drag them from the sky. His black suit was torn in places and covered in the lifeblood of both human and Aether Spawn, though his own flesh remained undamaged thanks to his ability to heal at an increased rate when in shadows, though his powers had changed somewhat from what they once were since his final battle with the Deiim of Corruption twenty years before.
“Con!”
Blinking, Conjack finally looked back towards her, an eyebrow rising slightly at the shortened name that the puppet had used. Chachazero was the sort who always gave different nicknames to people and for the Darkling she had dozens of different ones that she seemed to pick at random, using a different name each day. During times of stress or when his connection to the Darkness was higher than usual though, she would for whatever reason revert to the default of master, as she had called him back when he had created her or when he was still training the young Evangeline. Hearing the shortened name however, was enough to pull him from his thoughts and he nodded slowly, offering the puppet a smile.
“Yes…it is time we were gone”
Flying around his head so that she was facing the other direction and above the other shoulder, Chachazero followed as they ran up the stairs and headed deeper into the World Tree park, moving towards a large, two story wooden house that stood on the far end, the relatively new structure seeming strangely out of place when stood beside the other structures of the Academy.
After the conflict against Zanton, Conjack had had a new house constructed for himself near the World Tree, though none had ever quite gotten him to explain why given the fact that none remember the war and this larger building had later become the Darkright family household after such a family had actually become a reality. Standing on the outskirts of World Tree park, out of the way of the daily traffic of Mahora, it had been a replica of a hut Conjack had lived in during his time in England, the hut he had called home when he had first met Evangeline before it had been burned down by witch hunters and churchmen that had been influenced by the Darkness, during the night the Deiim had revealed itself to the then twelve year old vampire. Now, as if to follow the fate of its predecessor, the hut lay in the path of the inferno that was spreading across the school and already showed faint pockets of fire beginning to revenge its wooden hide.
Outside the door of the hut, the black clad figure of Evangeline turned towards them as they ran up, saying nothing as Conjack met her gaze and Chachazero flew up to look in through one of the windows on the top floor of the hut, gesturing at someone within to get something for her. The vampire’s blonde hair hung unkempt and covered in ash from where she had been fighting though Conjack was pleased to note she hadn’t been injured, her eyes looking strained and tired, fatigued by the three days of fighting.
“Are we ready?”
Evangeline merely made a noise of acknowledgment as she turned back to the wooden structure that was their home, taking in how the flickering light of the nearing flames seemed to make its sides shift and glow before them. Her physical appearance was now one of pretty much permanent adulthood, though she maintained the power to switch between that and her child like form at will, now free of the problem she once had of losing the adult form whenever she got over stressed or annoyed, and had been freed by the curse of the Thousand Master. Back to full power, she had still remained at Mahora alongside Conjack, watching over the construction of the gateway between the worlds with some amusement and keeping an eye upon the boy she had taken in as her apprentice.
Though were Negi was anymore no one knew…
After a moment, the door to the hut opened and Chachazero flew downward to where a girl who seemed to be a large, more human version of herself was carrying out a set of bags, giving a grin as she took a small bag of her own things and left Chachamaru to carry the rest. The bags had been packed a couple of days previously, when Conjack had first tried to make his family leave Mahora before the spawn had arrived, though he had failed to actually make them move, each of the women he lived with refusing to leave until the very last moment. They had been infuriatingly stubborn for the Darkling as he had tried to get them away from the inferno that was now spreading. Now however, it was clear to all that Mahora was lost and his family had finally accepted that it was time for them to leave lest they perish here.
“I hope you know where you’re taking us Conjack” Evangeline said as Chachamaru moved to take her place beside her, the vampire offering her mechanical companion a nod of acknowledgment before turning back to her husband, arms crossed.
Conjack offered no reply as he looked away and shook his head, offering a smile as the window Chachazero had been talking through before opened and a girl appeared, dropping from the window of her bedroom and landing at the base of the house. Behind her, the shadow she cast upon the wall showed a pair of wings spreading from her back like those of the angels of old, though her own body showed no signs of baring such things. Neither the less, as the shadow flapped those unseen wings the ground around her was blown by the resulting wind and her body slowed its fall, landing gracefully upon the ground. As she returned the smile Conjack gave, the girl took the large backpack she had been carrying and held it out beside her in her hand, letting it go and dropping it without looking, only for her shadow to remain in the place it had been when she had been reaching out, unmoving despite her own movement, the bag still hovering in its non-existent grasp.
This was the form that his daughter’s Darkness had taken when she had finally developed it; a 2D shadow that altered her own to take its shape yet could influence the world around her as if it was a physical form. It was quite a fascinating manifestation for Conjack to have seen as a Darkness would usually take said a physical form instead of remaining nothing but a shadow and when he took into account that even he could not see it, he who welt the power of the true Darkness and thus was able to see all forms that a Darkness takes within Darklings, he was truly fascinated by this daughters power. Yet, above all this, he had been pleased beyond words to know that her Darkness was completely and utterly loyal to her…something his own would never be.
“We got everything dad” Miyako Darkright reported as she walked over to Chachamaru, taking a larger bag from the pile the Android carried and placing it on her back, her shadow still reaching out without disturbance and the first bag still hovering in the air with its handle slightly darkened by the invisible grip.
“Right then, everyone head for the world tree” The Darkling called out, looking each of them in turn “Don’t stop for any reason ok?”
They each nodded back, Chachazero and Miyako seeming slightly more enthusiastic in their confirmation before they turned to move, Conjack waiting for them to be moving before bringing up the rear.
“Hold on!”
Pausing, the turned to see the figure of a girl running towards them, an Aether spawn that had been climbing the stone stairs falling to the ground beside her, blood flying from a wound that had been sliced across its chest by an unseen blade. She ran towards them without another word, one hand held glinting as a long blade emitted from it, dripping Ichor and the other rose to hold a soft black hat in place. As an explosion ripped apart a section of the school dorms, her face was illuminated with a disturbing X of stitches that ran across her entire face, though Conjack only smiled as she drew near.
“Veronica my dear” He called “I’m glad to see you are still standing”
“Just about” was all the girl said as she came to a stop in front of them, her appearance looking worse than the Darkright’s with cutes and slashed covering a large amount of her body, a look that was not helped by the fact she was made almost completely out of flesh and stitches, a testament to the medical genius of some mad scientist Conjack had never met “Are we pulling out?”
“Yer” Miyako muttered behind her father, casting a disappointed look towards where a set of soldiers could be seen fleeing past the tree “The armies getting out of here so I think it’s time we did too”
“Then I’ll escort you” She said, her left hand flicking slightly and vanishing into her sleeve to be replaced with a large scythe like weapon in the blink of an eye “These monsters are running free throughout the entirety of the school now”
“No Veronica” Conjack said slowly, taking a step towards her “I’m sorry but you are not coming with us. I’m taking Eva and the girls out of this realm of existence, taking them out of this world completely. You can come with us but there would be no return to this world…”
Veronica gave a gasp of shock as she heard what they were doing and took a step back, he blade arm digging slightly into the ground “You’re…leaving? Just leaving this world to die?”
“This world has already died” The Darkling replied, looking up towards the sky where the sun was now above the burning buildings, its brilliant orange tainted and bloated by the smoke, fire and stench of death “I have seen it before. I am sorry Veronica but I can’t risk their lives by allowing them to stay here. I will take them to another realm of existence and I will cut the link to that world, isolating it. If you come with us, you will not return”
For a moment, the handmade girl looked as though she was going to still ask to come with them, before her scythe hand flicked back into a normal, bandage covered one and her hat was slowly pulled down over her face by the other.
“You need to get back to your sister” Conjack continued, noting the way that Veronica’s face lowered slightly at the reminding of the duty she had been unable to fill when the Spawn had first arrived. The girl had been cut off during a visit to the academy and been unable to return to her place as her sister’s guard, when the region that Fran’s lab had been built in was lost, he had spent a every moment of free time he could afford himself trying to sense the ‘medical scientist’, to minimal success “I’ve heard that she’s holed up with a resistance group down in southern Japan somewhere…and god help them if they agreed to let her be their medic…”
Despite herself, Veronica smiled slightly at his comment and looked back up repeating the direction of ‘southern japan’ to herself as if committing its absurd vagueness to memory.
“I’m sorry I can’t help you any more in finding her…but at least that means she’s alive, I doubt anyone else could be responsible for some of reports of…extensive surgery that I’ve getting from that way” Conjack chuckled, the sharing of an inner joke with his former student over the sometimes horrific methods of Fran’s kindness as if they were finding some sort of comfort from the talking of a normal topic in the middle of the hell before he placed a hand gently upon her shoulder and lowered himself to her height, bringing himself eyelevel “Go find her Veronica…you know that she will be waiting for you”
The two fell into silence as they watched the other, Veronica not moving and Conjack returning with a warm smile. A pair of flying Aether Spawn sored overhead before being gunned down in a spray of bullets and shredded bodies as a couple of massive mecha rose above the burning hills. In place of arms they wielded a pair of missile launchers and under slung cannons that unleashed a rapid fire of hell upon all those in their sights. Within their hull, their pilots worked their controls and the shoulder pads opened to unleash a storm of missiles that flew across the air to engulf a trio of larger, ground based Spawn in an inferno that reduced them to ash. By their feet, the figures of soldiers and civilians running in an open retreat from the battlefield, completely abandoning Mahora to its fate as it burned.
“That’s your queue to get out” Conjack muttered as he stood and watched the Mecha pivot their torsos to open fire upon a group of Spawn that had been advancing by what had once been the Academy Gym track “Don’t wont to be the only one left here when those guns pull back”
“How will you get out?”
“Hey, we’re Darkright’s” Conjack grinned back, nodding towards where Evangeline and the others had stopped to wait for them “We’re the masters of not dying when the entire world is trying to kill us off”
With a faint, sorrow tainted smile, Veronica nodded and took a step back, looking towards Evangeline, the vampire giving her friend a smile and nod of goodbye before the man-made girl turned and ran, heading towards where the mecha had begun to move backwards, the wheels that lowed from their feet slowly retracting to allow them to slowly pull back whilst maintaining their fire upon the oncoming Aether Spawn.
It was only when their family friend was lost from sight that the Darkright’s started moving again, heading towards the door that had been built at the front of a tunnel leading into the core of the World Tree, none thinking to speak out as they ran. The family moving as one, not turning to look towards the hell that seemed to call out to them as they moved, keeping close to each other until they reached the door and ran through, Conjack pausing for a second as he held it open to allow the others through.
Then, with a flash of shadow, something shifted in the sky and plummeted down towards them with a low roar.
With a crash of flesh and an explosion of dust, a shape drove itself into the ground beside where Chachazero was flying, the small puppet being throw to the side by the force of the displaced wind, yelping somewhat as she struggled to right herself. Her tiny bat like wings flapped wildly as she drove herself towards where Conjack was running towards her, a panicked expression flashing over her wooden face as an Aether Spawn slowly rose from the newly formed hole in the ground. Six blank, colourless eyes glared towards them as it rose on three muscle filled legs with far too many joints, its body shimmering in the light, void of flesh to show nothing but the deep tissue beneath as it strode towards them, its tri-jaw opening with a bellow of bloodlust.
Snarling, Conjack spun around and his eyes pulsed in a sickly blue light. Upon his command, the flickering shadows of the flames around them seemed to hiss and rise like bubbling walls of oblivion, each glowing with slits of yellow the resembled hunger filled eyes. The creature bellowed its hateful roar and the shadows shot forwards with the speed of striking serpents, cutting deep into its flesh and bathing in the resulting sprays of foul smelling ichor before a final flash of black removed its head, its body crumbled to the ground, lying still to be taken by the shadows.
“Get into the tree” He hissed and the floating puppet nodded, summersaulting in the air so that it was facing back towards the door and vanishing into its depths after its mistress without a sound, a large butcher knife held tightly within its wooden grasp. Casting a last look around the burning academy, Conjack jogged to follow, heading deep into the World Tree towards the great hall that lay at its very core, where its magic was thickest.
When the then young teacher Negi Springfield had made his proposition to form a bridge between the real world and the magical world in order to prevent that latter from crumbling, the main hall within the World Tree and been formed into a large portal room that could use the natural power of the tree to open up a gateway to any dimension its user desired, so long as they knew the coordinates. Conjack had used this many times to visit friends in other realms during his now long times as a teacher of his own in Mahora Academy and he had recently used it to visits long standing allies in a realm known as the “Netherworld” to request a favour of them, asylum from this dying world for his family. Now that Mahora had fallen, he was pulling them back to safety and sending them through the portal to safety and he was going to seal the way behind them. His plan was drastic, but the world was ending after all.
“Dad, the portals still functioning” Miyako called over from where she was switching the power onto what she could, her shadow flashing with the invisible image of angelic wings spreading across the council behind her, ready to fight if a treat should appear again “Systems seem to be working fine…little laggy but shouldn’t be a problem”
“Thank you my girl” he smiled as he jogged up beside her, placing a hand on her shoulder and nodding as he accessed the councils, rather glad that he had been present during their designing period “You got everything?”
“Yup” She smiled back, the shadow on the ground showering her invisible wings flexing as she rose into the air and flew over to where Chachamaru was entering the hall with their bags, sealing the great oak door shut behind them, a strong magical spell placed upon it ensuring that the oak would be impossible to open save from the inside “All clear down here”
Nodding Conjack pulled up the controls for the large portal that spread on the other side of the hall and began to type in coordinates and orders, his brain speeding as he remembered being told what to do years before. He had hoped he wouldn’t have to carry out his plan, to do so was to offer final acceptance that the human world was lost to him but he no longer had any choice. To stay any longer would be too damn his family to death.
Chachamaru gave him a quite nod as she carried the bags by and he smiled as Miyako flew back over head, hovering beside the portal and examining the words and images that had been carved onto the side of it.
“Hey Dad, I can see your name on this” She called over “And mums too”
“The names of those involved in this places construction were written up there when it was built, some sort of role of honour or something” Evangeline replied with an uninterested voice as she watched Conjack and Chachazero worked at the council (The puppet fighting the urge to stab something then in an attempt to help) “Conjack was determined they didn’t put his name up there but they put it up anyway”
“Negi…Fate…Konoka…Asuna…” The girl muttered to herself as she hovered by the gate, listing out loud the various names she saw before jumping back as the portal shuddered loudly into life and a bright purple light exploded into view, forming a pulsating gateway of deep light.
“Coordinates all planned out and connected” Conjack reported as he typed “Gateway stable and secure and portal confirmed opened in the “Netherworld”. So everything’s good to go, you guys ready”
“We have everything we need” Chachamaru nodded as she walked towards the shimmering portal, well used to using it from her time working with Negi during its construction.
“Excellent. Miyako?” he called out as he typed into the controls, not looking up to where his daughter was carrying her bag over to the portal “could you go on ahead with her and let everyone know that we are on our way? Remember to ask for Etna, she’ll know what to do”
“Err…Sure thing Dad”
Hitting a final button, the portal shimmered into a deep purple as Conjack gave her a reassuring smile and she nodded before walking through, Chachamaru close behind. With a flash of light they vanished and Conjack sighed, staring at the now empty space in silence. A shift of wind beside him indicated the small form of Chachazero flying to hover beside him and he turned away as the puppet glanced at him before heading towards the portal to gaze at the swirling light as if it was a TV screen. Walking forwards from where she had been standing by the door and staring at him, Evangeline’s face bore an expression that put him on edge and he looked away, pretending to focus upon checking the coordinates he had already checked a thousand times. He wouldn’t have sent Miyako through if he hadn’t.
“Conjack?”
“Yes my dear?”
“Don’t try to sound innocent to me” she said, her voice filled with a warning tone that made him pause, still not looking up. “I know that face Conjack, the one that you just had when Miyako went. It’s the face you have when you are expect not to see someone you care about again”
Conjack couldn’t help but give a grim smile as he shook his head, his back still turned. Evangeline had always been able to read him in a way no other could, the hundreds of years they had spent together enabling her to recognise the little motions in his features that others would miss completely. She was able to read him like an open book so he supposed he shouldn’t have expected her not to notice that something was wrong. Still, he thought as he slowly turned around to face her, he had been hoping to avoid this.
“Conjack…what are you planning?”
Without a word, a sea of long arm like shapes made of pure blackness rose from Conjack’s back and shot across the hall with the speed of a striking snake. Chachazero gave a yelp as she was smashed out of the way and Evangeline leaped up to strike back with speed that would have been impossible for a human. An blast of ice shattered the first black arm that reached her and a second was struck aside by a blast of black magic, but Conjack knew her well and, after a moment of resistance, she was pinned in the air by several of the smoke like arms, struggling against their gas like forms, her lips curled back in a snarl to reveal her fangs as she stared back at him.
“Conjack what the hell!?”
“I’m sorry Evangeline…” Conjack sighed, staring towards the ground in favour of her anger filled face “But I need you to go on without me”
“What?”
“These creatures have over whelmed every defence we put up against them and they are showing no signs of stopping” Conjack said, finally looking up as new set of larger tendrils rising from his spine and slowly raising into the air, their thin tips touching against various parts of the World Tree and machinery around them before sinking into the solid surfaces like ripping water. The tree seemed to groan in protest at the violation but Conjack’s eyes didn’t leave Evangeline’s, his blue eyes staring into her own “I’m sending you were you will be safe but I can’t risk these things following you over there. I’ve seen the larger ones, they get smart, very smart…they may be able to work out how to open the gate way again and follow us over”
“So what?” she snapped back “You’re going to stand guard of the World Tree for eternity?”
“No. I’m going to destroy it”
“Your what!?” The Vampire’s eyes widened “But this is the hub of-”
“I know what it is!” Conjack roared back, losing his control for a second as his eyes flashed and the smoke formed arms holding her tightened before he sighed “Eva…I have to destroy it. The death of the World Tree would be the end of any chance of the gateway being used again; it would ensure that the “Netherworld” would be safe”
“And what about you?”
“I…I have to stay on this side to do it”
As if to prove the point, a thin snake like tendril rose from the top of his neck and slipped into the main council just as the dozens that emitted from his back had done, connecting him yet further into the core of the tree. For a moment, he allowed himself to sense the current of magical power pulsing through it, like the heartbeat of some great life form, before he returned back to the vampire looking down upon him.
“You know” He confessed as he looked around at the dozens of tree fused tendrils, a few more rising from his body as if for good measure “doing what I’m about to do was one of the only things that the old School Dean made me swear never to do. I don’t know if he even believed that I had the power to do this”
“Do you?”
“The Darkness is a walking magic nullifying zone. I’m connecting myself directly to the heart of the tree and I will flood it with my power, which will suffocate every ounce of magical essence this tree has. And yes I know that is a lot. I’m going to pour the Darkness into the World Tree and drown the life out of it”
“Conjack thats insane…”
“It’s the only way to ensure my family will be able to find safety beyond this portal” He smiled back at her with a grim look “I’d say that’s worth a try”
“And what about us?!” The vampire shouted, struggling in vain against the arms that held her. She was one of the most powerful dark sorceresses in existence, but against the power of the night that her husband had at his control, even she was helpless “You just going to abandon Miyako and me in a world we have never even seen before?”
“It’s better than letting you stay here to die or leave the way open for you to be followed” Conjack spoke back, his voice low and barley loud enough to be heard “You and Miyako are the only things I have in the world to show that my life meant something, to show that I am not the monster time has made me to be. So long as you live I will have a reason to fight, a reason worth taking this risk for. The people on the other side of the gateway are friends of mine, they will help you. You will be safe. But if I don’t do this than their world will face the same fate as this one has. I will NOT condemn a third world to die because I was weak!”
“But you would leave your family…leave me like this? You didn’t even say goodbye to your own daughter. What am I supposed to say to her?”
“She’s a strong girl. A lot like you” the Darkling smiled “You will both be fine in that world, may even have fun if you allow yourself to”
“Stop dodging the question”
“I…”
Conjack’s reply was cut short as a crash echoed across the hall and the door that they had entered through previously shook violently as something crashed against it. From the roof, clouds of dust and dirt were knocked free of their place and fell to the floor whilst the magical pulse of the tree shuddered in the presence of the creatures pouring through it. Time was running ever shorter for them.
“I’m sorry Evangeline”
“Conjack don’t you dare do th-“
Her threats froze in her throat as an echo of sound rose form his form, a whisper of his voice that didn’t seem to sound out within the physical world. As he spoke, the arms of darkness around him shimmered and bent like black ink in water disturbed by the ripples the sound cast into the air. As the sound swept around her, all the other sounds that had filled the air a second ago seemed to vanish for a moment, the dying sound of battle outside, the crashing upon the hall doors, even the shimmering of the portal behind her were all drowned out and bloated by the sound that seemed to whisper within her very mind without touching her external senses.
The language of the Darkling’s had not been spoken in decades, not since the forgotten war against Zanton had Conjack used the ancient tongue of his people but now it echoed from him in a soft whisper. No words could be heard and yet a thousand were spoken, a sound that spoke words that could never be translated within a mortal language that spoke directly to the heart of those who listened, gifting them with a touch of the speakers emotions and soul rather than simply a passing trace of their voice. To speak ones heart with the voice of the heart was something that was felt within the very core of a soul rather than heard from the pounding of air waves.
Looking up at his wife with a look that showed a thousand emotions, Conjack Darkright spoke of his love and pride for the vampire held within his grasp, touching traces of his heart against her own in a spiritual connection that went beyond words or physical lines. His heart echoed with the void and for a moment, the vampire allowed her own to answer him, the three words that had never openly been said between them were now spoken in a language that made such short words pointless and insulting, their eyes never leaving the others the whole time.
It only took a second for the words to be spoken, but for the two, it felt like an age and still it felt to have passed all too soon.
Slowly Conjack lowered her to the ground, the arms of black smoke releasing her and fading from existence with a final echo of the lost language. In the blink of an eye the sounds that had been stalled came crashing back around them and Conjack spared a second to glance towards the door to the hall, his eyes narrowing as fragments of the ancient wood split and flew from the door under yet another impact from whatever being was on the other side of the door.
“We don’t have much time” he said, turning back to the control council and allowing another pair of tendrils to rise from him and seal into its main screen, the glass bubbling under the corruptive touch of the Darkness “You need to get going”
“Conjack?”
“Hmmm?”
This time it was Conjack that was caught by surprise as Evangeline shot across the hall, her vampireic speed ripping apart a par of tree fused tendrils that had been in her way and propelling her up towards him. He turned to defend himself but she flashed from sight and appeared again in front of him with a flicker of dark light, pulling him into a kiss that caught him completely off guard. He backed away a step put she pulled him back and he yielded, holding his wife close in a final embrace that for a moment allowed him to forget about what was going to happen.
When the kiss was finally broken, the vampire took a step back, brushing a single tear away before looking back towards him with a look that broke his heart.
“What will you do after the trees dead?”
“Haven’t thought that for ahead” he smiled back at her, putting on his usual care free face as he looked back to the controls “But you know me, I do best when I’m winging it. I’ll sink into the shadows and find my way back over to you all in the “Netherworld” or something like that”
“Don’t lie to me”
“Heh” Again he smiled as she read his face past his attempted to hide what he expected to actually happen and he glanced towards the door as it shuddered once more “Destroying the tree is going to take a lot out of me…I honestly don’t know how much power I will have left to fight and escape after I’m done”
“And if you don’t have enough?”
“…..”
“I see…”
Slowly turning and walking towards the portal, Evangeline knelt down and picked up the motionless wooden body of Chachazero, holding the doll in the same way you would carry a baby and turned back towards him with a blank expression.
“I guess this is it then…”
“Not the end of your story my dear” Conjack said, a full three dozen tendrils shimmering from his back now as he completed his fusing with the tree “And thus not the end of mine. The Darkling and the Vampire still have a hell of a tale left to tell. And I will see you and Miyako again Evangeline, one way or the other”
“I wish I could believe that...”
He gave no reply as she turned and walked into the portal, he head turning to look at him one last time as she vanished, a look he had never seen before upon her face flashing across her as she said one last thing.
“Goodbye Conjack Darkright” She said, the motionless puppet in her arms twitched just enough to turn its head to look at him, a small measure of its power returning to it “I..”
The rest of what she said was lost as she vanished through the swirling vortex, a last word left unheard and she was lost from sight.
And for a moment, Conjack’s world stopped…
As he stared into the empty portal, he felt his connection with the vampire fade to the point of being almost none existent as she stepped from his world to another dimension, her heart becoming nothing more than a distant star flickering with that of his daughter’s far too far away…
Lowering his head, the tendrils that rose from his back began to twitch and bend as they released the touch of the Darkness into the World Tree, allowing the taint of corruption to seep into every inch of the sacred life form and wrap around its beating heart, suffocating the life from it without mercy. He felt the strength being pulled and torn form his body as he vented every ounce of his power into the tree, engulfing it in the Darkness. Around him the ancient oak groaned and howled in agony as it died, the gateway to a thousand worlds and the hopes of thousands crumbling at the touch of the last Darkling as he stood in silence.
…………………………………………………………………
Leaping from the burning wreckage of what had once been a student dorm room; Veronica Madaraki paused as she felt the wind shudder with magical energy, coldly slashing through a Spawn which had attempted to follow with a scythe like blade emitting from her arm. Turning backwards to face the way she had come, she saw the World Tree groan as it’s leafs began to illuminate with a brilliant white. It pulsed as if fuelled by a beating heart and its light shone to an almost blinding degree, silhouetting the sea of Aether Spawn that swarmed around it like a lighthouse illuminating a sea of black.
As it had done during a school festival many years before, the power within the World Tree had awoken and spread across the void, a great beacon of sheer magical power that gave power to all who beheld it.
But this time, something changed within the tree and the light began to morph and mutate. In a terrible parody of the natural proses of autumn sped forwards, the glowing leaves began to decay into dark blacks and sick browns, their connection to the tree severing and breaking free. Thousands upon thousands of leaves broke from the tree and flew away in a sight that felt more like a mass exodus than the natural shedding of leaves and Aria caught glimpses of flying Spawn being caught within the storm of blackened leaves, their fleshy bodies ripped apart and decayed from within by whatever black energy had taken the tree.
With a the shuddering groan of tortured bark, the World Tree began to bend and crumble, a sight that had stood tall for centuries snapping around the centre and spilling its magical life blood into the smoke choked air. Aether Spawn roared and howled as it began to tumble, the bark becoming unable to support its own weight as the black mist that seeped from it soaked further into its body and trees snapped free, crashing down with terrifying force upon those below, crushing surviving fighters and Spawn without distinction. Massive chunks of its trunk shattered and crumbled as the corruption seemed to flay the tree from the outside and inside at the same time and a large section caved in, vanishing into a black vortex that was forming within.
Finally, as if a final support had been removed from the tree that had stood unmoved for centuries, the World Tree buckled and fell upon itself, leaving nothing but a shattered husk of black tainted wood in the centre of the burning Mahora.
“…Conjack…what have you done?”
As Spawn began to look back up towards her, she moved on and left the ruined academy far behind them…
………………………………………………………
It was long after the Tree had finally succumbed to death that Conjack finally allowed his head to rise, his eyes hung heavy as the tendrils he had attached to the tree snapped and disappeared around him, his exhausted body no longer able to support them. He tried to take a step forward but his knee buckled and he fell forwards, slumping into a kneeling position with a grunt of fatigue formed pain. Looking around him, all he could see was the ruined remains of the great hall and in front of him, the portal lay shattered, a massive chunk of stone and wood having fallen from the roof to land directly upon it.
It was done. The way had been sealed and now his family was safe, now for a moment he thought that the only thing he wanted to do was rest.
The door shuddered and fell and Conjack looked up to see a sea of hungry eyes starring through the wreckage towards him, the door now void of the magical enchantment that had been keeping it standing for this long. Aether Spawn hissed as they began to creep into the room of the debris, cautiously watching him whilst struggling against the urge to lunge towards him to feast and he closed his eyes, reaching into himself with the hope of finding some lost reserve of strength…at least enough to stand.
The sound of snarling spawn spread towards him, his very head feeling too heavy to lift as he sighed, finding his body void the strength the needed. The only sound he could hear was those of the Spawn…
[Jackie…]
Slowly, Conjack’s head lifted as the voice echoed through his mind, distant and strained but very much there. The voice he had come to hate beyond all others and the voice he had finally quelled since it had attacked Miyako, now however, as it spoke to him in this final hour, he felt calmed by its presence and as he looked into the eyes of the slowly advancing spawn he smiled
“I knew you wouldn’t be far away”
[I never left you Jackie] It whispered [I was always waiting for the time you needed me again]
Sighing in acceptance, Conjack opened his mind and reached out towards a presence he had always felt at the rear of his mind, allowing it acess to him after keeping it pinned for so long. He opened the doors to his mind and allowed the shadows of a Deiim to flood him, expecting it to rush forth in joy…only to find it retake the place within his mind it had always inhabited and curl around him, an invisible tendril resting gently upon his shoulder in reassurance.
[Not this time Jackie] It whispered to him, its voice low and solemn [Today, we stand together, as we always should have]
“Heh” The Darkling smiled as he slowly rose back to his feet, a thin black mist creeping from his flesh as the Darkness fed strength and power to him, though it too had been greatly weakened by the slaying of the World Tree “Here at the end you finally decide to play nice?”
[I did what I did because I wanted you to have a future Jackie] The Deiim of corruption sighed [Now neither of us has one]
Before them, a large Aether Spawn stepped forward and growled towards him, the others around it stepping aside slightly as if in respect thought Conjack recognised the fear of pack creatures towards their Alpha Male when he saw it. He watched it as it took a step towards him on its four pointed legs before its jaw opened wide and it gave a roar that seemed to shake the very ground around it. Upon its command, the Spawn around them unleashed a chorus of snarling and finally charged forwards, their eyes flashing hungrily for blood and Conjack smiled as he flicked his wrists, a pair of blades carved from an impossibly black crystal appearing in his grasp.
“The last stand of the Dark Pariah”
[No. The last stand of Conjack Darkright and his Darkness]
Smiling as a pair of snakes rose from his shoulders and hovered on either side of his head, each staring towards the onrushing Spawn, Conjack simply nodded. Yes, if this was the end of the Darkling race, then they were going to fade from the world with no regrets. His life had spanned millennia and now, he found himself smiling as he charged forwards, running to meet the horde of Aether spawn head on.
Evangeline and his family were safe, the Darkness was with him and the world he had fought to protect for all his life was lost. If this was to be the end then he would fight till his last breath, slaying as many of the creatures before he finally fell.
He spared a thought for Veronica, a close friend who he had left to escape on their won but pushed the thoughts from his mind. Despite what he had told her, the rumours he had heard about Fran being in Southern Japan had been just that, rumours. For all he knew he had sent her on a wild goose chase somewhere. Still, he could still feel her hearts somewhere distant and he was glad to know that she had managed to escape the end; now all he could for her was wish her luck in finding her sister before removing all thoughts beyond the fight from his mind.
The Darkness roared as he fell into the folds of the Spawn horde, a storm of black tendrils slashing against the sea of unnatural bodies, slashing and hacking without rhythm or reason. In his hands, Conjack swung his dark blades around in long twilling patterns, each swing severing limbs with too many appendages or slashing through bodies of withering pink flesh. In the sky, a pair of spawn born upon fleshy bat wings fell to slash at him with oversized talons but the snakes of the Darkness shot up to meet them, their teeth seeming to double in size as they attacked. The Spawn screeched as the snakes dig into their chest and expanded, talons ripping from their sides and hacking the creatures apart from the inside until they crumbled and shattered. Then, snapping their jaws, the snakes descended back to fight by Conjack’s side.
Conjack lost all sense of time or purpose as he fought with the Darkness, slashing and hacking at any and everything that came within reach of his blades. His clothes clung to him as they drowned in the ichor that spilled from the wounds he inflicted and his nose was overcome by the stench, before the Darkness sealed that sense off completely to spare him. He could barely walk for the bodies that littered the floor, his mind losing any hope in keeping track of the amount of spawn he slew as more and more of the lesser creatures poured into the great hall. Every time he took a step he felt some lost chuck of flesh squish.
There was no way of telling which of his actions were carried out by him or the Darkness, a slash to slay at a weak foe became a parry against a stronger in a heartbeat and his swords would often swing out at a foe that stood behind him unnoticed. The Darkness was guiding him in the fight and he was thankful for it, the full might of the last Darkling, heavily weakened as he was, unleashed upon the creatures that had destroyed the world he called home.
He felt disconnected from the world as he fought, the Darkness shutting down his sense of touch as cuts dug into him and the ichor began to bubble where it had landed upon him. It was through the Darkness that he felt the ground heave as something crashed above him and it was through the eyes of the snakes that he looked up to see the roof of the seemingly long dead and rotted bark of the tree fall inwards, massive chunks of tree and rock crushing the body of the dead dragon. Through the newly formed gap he saw a spawn of a size he had never before bellow down towards him, tentacles slashing at the air from where its mouth should have been and more lesser spawn crawled through the gap, descending down the walls to join the fray as he decapitate another three in a single slash.
Then, with a snarl, the giant Spawn moved away from the hole it had created and sunlight poured through onto the killing field…
Conjack roared in agony as he flung himself backwards, the sunlight burning his flesh as the Darkness shrived and he kicked his way backwards. Too weak for him to protect himself from the sun, he felt his power seer from his body as the light burned into the snakes, the light that normally didn’t effected blazing like a beam of death across his now Darkness reliant body. For a second his mind flashed with the image of the Angelus baring down upon him and he slashed out, only for his vision to return and find his sword embedded within the face of a Spawn.
Kicking it away, Conjack began a fighting retreat, taking a step backwards with every swing but the Spawns seemed to see his distress and renewed their attacks, hurling themselves blindly into his blades in the hopes of tearing him apart. The Darkness bellowed words of anger and pain in its language and several of the Spawns that were smart enough to heed them shrived and crumbled under the curse, their hearts ripped asunder by the dark words.
Finally, as he stepped out of the light, the snakes hissed and seemed to suck the shadows from the area around them, a whirl pool of shadows appearing before them and being sucked into their open jaws. Their eyes pulsed yellow as the wounds that had been inflicted on itself and Conjack sealed back shut and he slashed apart another Spawn that had been about to strike. The blades dug deep into the unnatural creature’s body and slashed cleanly out the other side to plunge into the neck of another.
Then the walls shook again and another part of the roof caved in, the same massive Spawn from before smashing its way in with a roar. The Darkness howled as the Spawn withdrew and smashed in another hole, and then another, the sun light bathing the entire hall in a burning light that made the Dark Phoriah below stumble in agony. It had been millennia since he had been so weak as to be burnt by the sun and he had forgotten just how paralyzing agonising it was when the Darkness was holding such a secure part of his heart.
He tried to back up but his skin felt like it was on fire and he stumbled backwards, tripping over the mutilated corpse of a Spawn he had slain and crashing to the ground with a roar of pain. The Darkness shuddered and fell still, the snakes vanishing under the light, its host too weak to lend them the strength to stay formed.
Lying on the ground and panting in pain, Conjack watched as the Spawn Prime advanced towards him on its four legs, a large arm lowering and wrapping around his chest to pick him up and gaze into its eyes. Its tri-jawed mouth twitched and opened in what felt like a victorious grin as the Darkling could only watch it bringing its other arm above its head, the butcher knife like claws curved and ready to slash deep into him.
As the hand fell down to end him, Conjack found his thoughts turning towards the vampire and child he had sent through the portal, to Evangeline and Miyako Darkright and the Chachas, to his family. They were safe, sent to a different dimension far away from the human one, one where he had friends who could watch over them where he could not. He couldn’t help but smile slightly as he thought of how Evangeline would like to kill him herself for sending her away from a fight like this but he hoped she would understand why he had done it…
Releasing its grip upon his blade and letting it clatter to the ground, Conjack’s hand reached into his pocket and gripped a picture he had held onto since the moment it had been taken, a picture taken on the day Miyako had been born. Closing his eyes, he remembered that day and felt the Darkness wrap around him in a final embrace.
And, with the smiling images of the vampire and his daughter filling his mind, the Spawn stuck down and the last Darkling finally found peace, the picture held within his grasp slowly fluttering to the ground…

Trying to write a tender scene involving Evangeline and Conjack whilst keeping them in character proved to be rather difficult.
Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go sit in silence after just killing Conjack…
*Leaves the room*

…………………

*shimmering of shadows as a cruel voice echos*
[Death does not become you…It will not betray you… You’re end does not come so easily… Jackie.]
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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by Twilightwings on Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:13 am

Woohoo...not dead Conjack xD
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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by Twilightwings on Sat Dec 01, 2012 4:20 am

Okay time for a more detailed review.

I first and fore most hated the scene with the tree. I mean that thing was a giant source of hope and everything, a source of unending magic... seeing it die feels wrong... in my opinion in should have at least left a seed or something but that is just my opnion.

The scenes between Conjack and Evangeline were nice to read and having Conjack fight along side his darkness was too satisfying. That's always what I wanted to happen.

I was disappointed that no mention of Hrar, Codex, or Aria was made especially since you kind of saved the world with them but it is a bit minor.

The aether spawn being really intelligent was nice as well cause I hate stupid enemies xD

Well... now I guess it's time to write out my fluff for Aria huh... but first I need SF to end so I can know what way to go about it.

Still this was really fun to read. It's been a long time sense I got to just sit down and read a 10k+ anything so I took my long sweet time reading this piece of fluff. I'd rate this a 9.7/10 as far as I'm concerned.
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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by DorianCreed on Sat Dec 01, 2012 5:49 pm

Heh. Might as well throw in my two cents. For the most part, I agree with Kite, and will happily consider this a cannon part of the actual campaign. However, dead tree is best tree, mostly because it was said to have grown so big due to it's function as a channel for Wood-Elemental Mana, which is probably why the Aether Spawn are there in the first place. Mana is a tasty thing, you know, especially to a being made of energy.

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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by Twilightwings on Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:06 pm

Ah... so even if it had survived some Aether Spawn would have just used it to power itself up?

Still watching it go is slightly saddening. Speak of which, Dorian what ever happened to the main characters of negima after the spawn swarm?
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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by DorianCreed on Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:08 pm

THINGS happened. Probably all dead, to be honest, but who knows?

Translation: I haven't bothered working out yet.

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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by Twilightwings on Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:28 pm

Lol that's the best translation. Dorian can I have my character be a descendant of Negi and Yue going off the 'ultimate good end' clause? (kinda joke question but I do want to know your answer)
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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by DorianCreed on Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:38 pm

Sorry, dude, but being a descendant of Negi would make you a descendant of Chao, which would make you not related to Yue due to Genetics 101 (Can't have a Chinese baby from a Japanese parent and an English parent).

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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by Twilightwings on Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:40 pm

That's why I said off the ultimate good end clause which states that at some point and time Negi ended up with every girl though who he ended up with is unknown. (It's kind of a way to appease other people that don't agree with the selected ending pairing some people picked)
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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by DorianCreed on Sat Dec 01, 2012 8:59 pm

Bisexual man whore, much?

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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by comingdarkness on Sat Dec 01, 2012 11:59 pm

Thanks for reading guys Smile and gotta agree with Dorian on that one.

As for Kites points on the fluff:
1. Conjack slew the world tree for two main reasons,
A. it was the only thing that was keeping the portal to the neither world open, destroy it and the Spawn would not be able to reach where he was sending his family. It was a neccesery evil to ensure their safty and Conjack would go to any measure to do so.
B. it also as Dorian said prevented the smarter Spawn from gaining acess to its power and probily saved a few other worlds into the bargen.

2. The scene between Conjack and Eva was actually difficult for me to do right (rewrote it several times) because neither of them are particually characters that openly expression such emotions. Thus I decided to do it via Darkling tongue. As for the Darkness, yer, there were a couple more things that lead to that unseen so far but the Darkling and his Darkness fought as one in their final hours.

3. Conjack was a too little preoccupied at the time to think about the other party members Smile

Either way though, is this the end of Conjack Darkright? I know what I would like to have happened to him, dont know if my writing will permit that though Razz Only time will tell if the tale of the Dark Phoriah has indeed finally come to a close, dying as he would have wanted: Fighting for the right reasons.
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Re: A Darkling's Last Stand

Post by Twilightwings on Sun Dec 02, 2012 7:12 am

Fair enough. Also the whole ultimate good ending thing is literally just for that, so people would stop the silly stupid comments. It get's old stating the same arguement about genomes and how Ku Fei is not a deciding factor what soever in Chao.
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