ACT 1, Still the Threat
Chapter 1, Descent and the Dark
Boundless degrees above ground, a coiling torrent of black sundered the recurrent night sky.
Chapter 2, Crusade
Chapter 3, Fend Against the Dark Assailant
From the bowel spewed forth a human shape jetsam, whose spiraling body steadily sought concrete. The body impacted with a solemn thud, and lay still in its crater.
The sparsely occupied town district served as the setting of the descent; the muddled plaza sustained one note-worthy site—two puppies as displayed on the fountain dimly light by neon, a scruffy male and his presentable mate nestled dotingly 1
. The contrary passersby of the district shot blank and cautious glares towards the jetsam figure that stirred and steadily eased upward.
Fondling the hilt of his sheathed weapon, the debris of the airborne corridor attained a stern, upward posture. He examined his audience with an air of condescendence; his stiff, velvet, pyre tresses swayed coolly as his head turned in observation.
He stood at a fine height and bore the appearance of a young man thoroughly matured. His olive-tone physique proved lanky, but was complemented by his impeccable stance. The pyre-haired man and his plain face lacked all definition; his eyes, absent of pupils, seemed hollowed with white. The long indigo coat which stole most of his body was accompanied by a worn iron scabbard on his right side which, by length, harbored an o-katana. The rest of him bore common black slacks and hard-soled shoes.
The fallen swordsman possessed eminent proofs of fatigue, his clothing adorned with blood from scrapes, and his skin, with flushing bruises. His overall expression, however, relinquished no sign of weakness.
Several tears, like the one born in the sky, zipped open and ensnared the tatter stiff of the man in indigo. From these vile maws emerged peculiar entities—harbors of an ink, sheen complexion, bearers of splintered red hearts, brandishing tin helmets and gauntlets adorned with blood red nails; they all comprised intense, hollow-yellow eyes. These black-borne beings of the corridors housed malignant means; as their entries sealed shut, their slowly shrinking circle loomed about the beaten man as a predator skulked about an easy meal.
“H-He-Heartless!” screamed a district straggler. The herald triggered the usual reaction among the town denizens:
“Ugh! Geezus! You’d think the officials would be on their jobs!”
“Someone! Notify District Six!”
“Heh! Sorry Sweet-hawrt, but you really think ‘dose donut-eaters gonna risk dealing wit’ Heartless! Better call the hotel; talk ‘em to get real men out here ta handle this!”
With that, the entire handful, miscreant and respected alike, were forced to flee, abandoning the sky-borne man in fear of become the fodder of the Heartless; the plain-faced swordsman was left to his own with the starving beings from the dark.
The assailers grew weary of the stalk. A dark one, small and large-eyed, bounded with ebon claws fuming.
The sword with no edge kissing the mouth of the scabbard—upon discharge of the sheath, the man’s edgeless brand beat pitilessly through the fiend; its foe disintegrated under its impressive vigor.
He sheathed and took idle; he harbored no expression, even among his hissing, boasting aggressors. The writhing of his obstructers peaked, and with leaps and bounds, tooth and nail, they all pounced for the man in indigo.
The swordsman lunged forth, and his sword, revisited. The blunted surface of a wooden sword except steel—the unsheathing showed no clemency to the frontal drove. His scabbard complemented the calm retort with a subtle swipe right side. He noted the left flank, rushing in with a flurry of cyclone kicks while a stray backstabber dove in with heartless claws for the premeditated kill. Pivot step with right foot, his sword and scabbard pounded and swiped through the air-bound Heartless like claws through cobwebs. His attackers vanquished, the placid-faced swordsman cased his brand once more.
Is that it?
The crimson haired warrior stood collectedly, thumb rested upon his guard as if patiently awaiting another batch from the blackness. As expected, another maw ripped open to excrete another child of its twisted devices; however, its jetsam was a completely different monster. A gargantuan leech, grotesque and pus-glazed—amongst several vibrating corpuscles, it, too, brazenly carried the barbed red heart. It also retained the same yellow eyes, nineteen watchful scopes which adorned themselves around the Bond Leech
’s milling, crunching maw.
As the swordsman’s thumb snapped his guard from its sheath, the Bond Leech’s composure exploded. The Heartless tower combusted with an overpowering red aura, and the gushy, black lumps that garnered it slimy carcass inked to the ground and birthed larvae—twelve leeches to the warrior’s waist in height, all retaining their parent’s violent aura. The man in indigo waited with his scrapes and bruises, his face consolidated with sleek condescendence.
The Leecher Spawns charged. The pyre-hair man snapped forth with his unsheathing brand. The katana’s blunt edge retorted mercilessly with the Spawns’ leading assailer. The tenacious larva managed to push on, however, tumbling forward and nipping flesh from the sword-carrying arm.
“Eh,” the formerly expressionless fighter relinquished a soft sneer and flung his edgeless brand once again into his flailing attacker whilst sweeping his resolute sheath into the pool of on-comers, but his assailers proved dauntless. The lead snapped back upward to tear into the warrior’s back while his burning comrades sawed and ripped with each brazen leap—each bound proved more vigorous; their auras blazed with every life-sucking swipe they delivered their prey.
The disadvantaged swordsman noted the bleak, the vigor of the spawns grinding into his body, the vigor of the parent grinding into the crust of the district. Every bash of his sheath, and slit of his sword resulted in another red badge of valor granted by the teeth of the life-suckers. His face proved smug and lack-luster, and his eyes, hollowed with white.
“Hold onto your knees, sonny!” The grand bellow of the voice brought the grand bellow to the ground. The entire twelve Leecher Spawns fell and dissipated to the roar of the tremor, and the violent aura of the Bond Leech shed from the sheer force of the thud. The sword wielder turned slightly to acknowledge the figure drawing near. He noted, with blurred vision, plain brown attire, dark pig-tails, and a silver sledgehammer.
“No worries. It’s all fine now, boy,” the savior consoled, at last joining the man in indigo. Face to face with his rescuer, the battered soldier of the dark maw retained his erect posture. He sheathed and peered through his acquaintance.
“Hmph,” he scorned, and with a placid, null expression, he collapsed, to his knees, then face flat.
1 To note, this site from Square-Enix’s Kingdom Hearts alluded to Disney’s fifteenth animated feature, Lady and the Tramp
Still, I saw him. It was him just the same.
His subconscious mind revisited the innards of the dark.
The walls of the viscera attested with the unrelenting bellow of the vaporous torrents 1. And I saw him parading through the shaded hall. It reeked on him, so I know it was him just the same—he was cowardice clasped within the shell of sin, and I would obscure his step and crack his shell.
1 To clarify, the “wall of the viscera” engrossed in “vaporous black torrents, the “coiling torrent of black”, the dark “maw”, and similar phrases all refer to the canonical Corridors of Darkness of the Kingdom Hearts series. Regarded as passages made from dark, the Dark Corridors are often used by beings of the darkness as a means of travel from one world to the next. Extended use of the Corridors can corrode the heart
His repulsive girth protruded his cleric robe. Thank Our Mother 2 his pungent face was sheathed by the robe’s hood. Underneath the robe donned a white laboratory coat. I recalled the ambiguous presumptions, the pretenses, and the meaningless debates of those pigs who call themselves “scientists”. This coward seemed to fit the epitome of such a creature. He fondled the innards of his pockets which let out a crimson glow.
His heavy head set to address me with a bland and cumbersome tone, “Ah…what say you to stepping aside?”
He chuckled, and ignored outright my obvious warning, “I have something which I must seek out, and you obstruct my path fellow traveler.”
Once more, I stood and saw him, but he obviously did not comprehend my warning.
“Look,” he used a stern accent as a means of intimidation, but obviously he did not know of his plight…How ignorant, “Is there something I can help you with friend?—anything which you are seeking in this darkness here with me?”
Seek...? I humored, “I seek to collect the sin and condemn the coward.”
“Heh-heh, Excuse me?” He found this amusing, but he then finally sensed my warning, and said, “Why, that’s just a baby. Ha! You shame yourself! Stepping to me with that, and by the looks of it, it’s just for bark. You don’t even intend to use it.”
It took him long enough to see it, but he was the fool I thought him to be. I truly believed I carry this sin in the same manner as he.
I educated, “You shame your own, blithe fool,” his brow rose, “I carry these sins to belittle the efforts of cowardly men. If this is the worst you have to offer, and if all you are is cowardice and malignance, then I’ll cumber your pathetic efforts to sin and dispose of the naked coward.”
The pork-chinned menace chortled a bit with a clinched jaw, “Just who the hell do you think you are?”
Finally, he asked, but his brazen tongue would see him 800 beats from my edgeless brand. Excuse my lack of patience; I grew weary of throwing bones, “I am the imperfect judgment of your kind, your Heaven’s Mercenary—fallen Angelo, Hyuda Kyaedu.”
He snickered, as if he had heard something profound, “Heh…God’s slave, ay?” He proceeded with blatant blasphemies, “well then…what an awkward find, I suppose. You know, I was actually an avid analyst of the Good Book and it contradictions.”
I was tempted to ridicule his foolishness, but I simply presented my claim, “Are you ready?”
“Ah—for that ‘justice’ which you plan to serve, ay? Allow me this knowledge, where is my ‘perfect’ judgment? I mean, God must think rather low of me if he is sending one of his fallen to do his vanquishing…I’m flattered just the same though. It shows that I’m one step closer to that which I seek. But for you…Is this a deal at redemption, brazen Angelo,” he addressed with the condescendence of yet another man who believed that he was intelligent in creating a claim, “Is that what you seek?”
I had endured enough of these blasphemies towards the One I love. I retorted, “Don’t you dare compare Our Mother with the incompetence of your obscure minds. Though I no longer reside in Paradise with Our Mother, I never gave thought to the weary soul that claims to be your God. Even now, in my whorish state, the like of you and your God are unfit to breathe air which I’ve had the disgrace of having to walk through. Frankly, you all sicken me with your filth and acts of self-abolishment.”
Amazingly, he peered as if he had not comprehended, and he confirmed this claim as such, “Well…what of it…? Either you speak without logic, or you speak as if you are still of the breed which you so highly appraise,” he seemed to be expressing concern, as if doing me some sort of favor, “If you are, in fact, exiled from your superior being, and you do not seek redemption from her, then I would say that you are here for no reason. If you are a Judge of Humanity, as you claim, then meeting adjourned. Your verdict is null and void, and you have no right to stand where you are. Excuse me.”
He did not get it at all. I would make everything clear, “Fool!”
“I have fallen! Our Mother must never accept me ever again. I am a monster! I seek self-redemption, you insolent cur. My only duty is to brandish your sin and strike you with it with ten-times it cumber. Do you understand now, sinner? The only mercy you or I will receive is at the blunt edge of my brand. And there is no mercy there, only the Abyss. May your God, whether that be you, money, or science, bless your cretin soul.”
I flipped my guard and it was time, but he went on; even in death, some can be so loud, “Clearly your id precedes you. I tried it congenial!”
There. I felt his threat, as he felt my warning, and the sinful remnants of hearts hoarded about him like fiends. Their bright eyes were devoid of regard.
And thus, the man in the brown cleric robe and his last words: “I warn you Angelo, there is no justice here with me. I have deemed that Traverse Town will serve my hand—in the name of science…!”
“Enough.” I drew my brand which sought to deliver the beating. His hand flung out and saw me downed. I knew of this outcome, but his sin was sin all the same, and am I not harvesting all of their sins? I can attest; it was a deep dive toward the ground.
2 Hyuda refers to the being which he worships as “Our Mother”. In this sense, he uses “Thank Our Mother” in a similar satiric fashion as “Thank God”
Hyuda Kyaedu stirred to terse conversation.
“Christ be te fockin’ God,” exclaimed the voice of his rescuer, “That bastard isn’t suppose to be on the hunt for another 200 years, so you say!”
“Maybe he pined for an early meal…” responded a voice of prominent accent.
“This isn’t the time for your bleak jokes;” silence ensued with an apparent tension. She added, “If I would have slain his blood sucker, then that monster
would be writhing in pain from the effects of his damned Red Heart.”
“Heh…best be counting your blessings
that you didn’t have to face him yourself like the boy did.”
Upon being mentioned, Hyuda lifted his eyelids and noted the effects of his dimly lit, lukewarm confines. He lay reclined on a meager bed positioned in a corner; his belongings lay bedside, cleansed of blood and neatly folded. A plain clutter shrouded the room’s corners. Hyuda’s bed comprised a corner, as did tattered books and rusted tools; stained dining wares and lit candles adorned another. The final corner stole a tall profile within its forbearing umbra. Overhead, a modest ceiling fan produced a healing wind.
Hyuda also realized the aid applied under his mahogany shirt—bandages, smeared medicines, and a tinge of magic.
“About time you be rising;” his rescuer sat Indian-style against the wall—brown attire, dark pig-tails, pale skin, rugged appearance—her silver sledgehammer rested beside her. She used zeal in greeting, “Howdy! Worse for wears, were you; but nothing that can’t be tended to with time.”
“Word to the wise, boy,” the shadow shrouded figure emerged from his corner. His body was swallowed by a black pork pie hat and a solemn trench coat. The shadow of his hat harbored a gruff face, dark shades and a scruffy red beard. He continued, “Stay still. You took heavy to a trouncing.”
Hyuda rose out of spite. He stared blankly through his enigmatic acquaintance, and then back to his rescuer, then excreting an intentional sigh.
His rescuer chuckled with slight abashment and rose to her feet in introduction, “Call me Blacksmith, boy, trainer of many smiths and forgers ‘round these parts. You encountered an evil man in those corridors young’un—”
“You encountered Avonej Hart,” the black clad man interjected, “an ingenious man who has fully detached his heart from his judgment. He exploits the Darkness to reveal the hearts of worlds. In reaching these cores and absorbing their life energies, Hart attains a longevity that permits his survival for several epochs. He, indeed, wields both a force and a wisdom from time elapsed. Consider your continued existence an anomaly…
"Presently, however, you are in the smallest house in District Three of Traverse Town. You were disposed of by your attacker, and jettisoned from the Corridors of Darkness. After impact, you were then pursued by the dark assailants, the Heartless. Avonej then sent his monster to suck the life energies from this world, but was chased off by my long ago pupil.”
“Heh,” Blacksmith scoffed in a hint of chagrin, “No matter how hard I tried to make a name for m’self, you’ll always be seeing my as your student;” she turned to address her company, “As of a year ago, this is my house, but I come and go with the seasons. I’ll be off again in a day or two, but I’ve left a spare key in your coat along with your belongings. This is a place for you t'stretch until you’re well enough.”
Ignoring the blithe chatter of his hosts, Hyuda gathered and equipped his effects. Donning his sheath and fastening the final button of his coat, he gave his caretakers another demeaning glance, and proceeded shamelessly toward the door.
“Hmph; the police have come and gone,” spoke the man in black attire; Hyuda stopped to humor the gruff-voiced prattle, “Aside from the doings of the Bond Leech and that…huge ‘dent
’ which you so carelessly inserted, there was no trace of your scuffle aside from the drilled concrete.”
Hyuda allowed a scoffing cough as he kept to the door.
His addresser ensued, “The man in the corridor is gone as well, but,” chuckling as he progressed, “you’ve already proven your worth against him; best not
to try that again, ay, fallen Angelo?”
Hyuda’s brow narrowed as he refrained from the door. He turned to address his speaker with a placid aspiration; the black wearer revisited the events of the corridors, mocking and chiding blithely, “Judge of Humanity, indeed! Ha!”
Hyuda softly approached his brazen antagonist, peering into him with his illegible hollow eyes.
“You were spat from the darkness faster than a babe from the womb. He was correct in every aspect to call you a baby in comparison to the threat he poses.”
Hyuda invaded the face of his grim nipper. He searched through the lenses of the scruffy bearded man to no avail; his soul’s windows were aptly curtained by the black of his shades.
Nose to nose with the fallen Angelo, the grim soul closed, “I’ve kept a decent eye on you for more than 500 of those 1,227 years in which you existed, boy, and I can attest that you will never
bare the entire sins of the world!”
The tension was silent, but evident, yet neither end paid it much mind. The man in the pork-pie chided further, “You’re too weak…! You’re unimpressive…. You lack—”
Hyuda’s cross guard flipped, “Does it really matter…who you are? Are you not an obstructer of my self-redemption…?”
Blacksmith screamed in contempt, “No weapons drawn in this house!—”
“It’s all fine, lass,” the calm chider assured; his pledge seemed to slither from his throat, “let the child shake his rattle,” and then answered his stoical company, “You are right. It doesn’t matter who I am; I’m but a munny collector, a debt claimer, a Gil
,” and he scoffed, “All that matters to you is that you purge the world of its pestilence before everything is full with sin
The Angelo interjected, “The world is already full with sin
“Well then, you’re time is up. You failed
, am I not correct?” The collector reached out over the shoulder of his stalwart guest, and smirked slightly as he watched the brow of the pyre-haired man narrow, “The Heartless…The Darkness—the Smut of the Heart. You can’t even take care of that threat, and they seek to swallow everything
until the worlds revert to Kingdom Come. Why, Darkness could eventually consume
all the sin in the universe; we wouldn’t even need you…
“How could you possibly handle the man in the brown robe, if you cannot even purge the dark off a heart…?” He outstretched his hand.
The light whispered as it manifested behind the neck of Heaven’s Mercenary and into the idle hand of the collector.
Peering into the hollow whites of an unflinching Hyuda through his abysmal lenses, the brash collector elucidated, “The Keyblade—it purges hearts taken by malice and lust—it does what you cannot do and you will never have it because you are resolute in your frivolous crusade.”
A disquieting moment ensued. Kyaedu grimaced slightly, tasting the imminence of curiosity which lingered about the tip of his tongue.
He pondered aloud, “Any
…fiend can be slain and purged by this blade…”
“Aye;” the munny collector chuckled jeeringly. The manifestation behind Hyuda shattered into singed flakes of radiance; the collector affirmed, “In accordance to its wielder, many things can become feasible.”
“Then I shall wield a Keyblader,” Hyuda declared plainly.
The Gil Master snorted and snickered, “Hurry along then, 203th Family, Hyuda Kyaedu;” though his reply seemed suggestive and hopeful.
Hyuda clasped his brand’s hilt, and queried, “Are you not the Keyblader which I’ll wield?”
The munny collector replied bluntly, searching around facetiously, “I don’t see a key anywhere. The only key I recall is the one in your coat.”
“Hmph,” Hyuda groaned, snapping his guard back into his sheath.
The wily-faced debt claimer allowed one final chortle, “Oh? Why so down? How hard could it be to find a guy carrying a giant key? Call it a change in the winds that I’m feeling.”
1 Munny and Gil are recurring currencies of the Kingdom Hearts and Final Fantasy series respectively