May 13, 2010, 01:38 AM
Hey, this is a work in progress - thought I'd get some input before I went any farther with it. I'm up to chapter 4, working on 5. The premise is this: What if Riku killed Sora at Hollow Bastion way back in the first game? With Organization XIII as the biggest threat to Xehanort's Heartless, Maleficent, and whoever else wants control of the universe, how would the ensuing war play out?
A Flame Extinguished
Sora's fourteenth year began and ended in darkness. A warm, not yet sweltering July saw the end of his thirteenth. By August he was prepared to leave his home behind as he had left his first year of adolescence: fondly remembered, dearly beloved, and soundly discarded in favor of greater things. Beyond the all-encompassing sea of his world lay infinitely many sights to be seen, as-yet indescribable adventures to be had, and innumerable stories inherent in such experiences – told by countless unique outsiders, or carved into the annals of history by Sora and friends. Riku, his best friend, had planned an escape since his fourteenth birthday; Kairi, Sora's first and only love since meeting in kindergarten nine years ago, had spent the intervening time between the boys' birthdays (and consequently her own) dreaming of it. Sora's ascendance marked the end of the wait: the week before summer ended, plans for a raft were drawn up and very nearly fulfilled.
But the catalyst for their exodus was the destruction of their home. Riku, impatient for new horizons, had opened the door he and Sora had discovered long ago in the Secret Place, that innocuous cave from their childhood. It was an open invitation to the darkness beyond, and in a single night of despair and tragedy, the Destiny Islands were consumed by the unstoppable force of eldritch horror that was the Heartless.
But in a way, Sora, Riku, and Kairi would realize their dreams of exploration. For Kairi, the price was her heart. For Riku, it was the forsaking of his friend, as he turned to darkness to fulfill his ambitions. Sora, as many would put it, had greatness thrust upon him; the loss of his home and everyone he knew, in the space of an evening, had left him with an entirely new destiny. He was one of the Keyblade wielders of times long past, called upon to defend all existence from an endless tide of darkness. Of course he would not be alone in this endeavor; Donald the mage and Goofy the knight remained faithfully by his side, as the unlikely hero traveled from world to world, striking down Heartless in all their forms. His goal: find the source of the darkness and destroy it.
At Hollow Bastion, the ruined former fortress of King Ansem the Wise, he almost succeeded.
The assault on the formidable castle was a long-awaited and corrupt reunion. Sora and Riku met that day as enemies, prepared to kill each other over the catatonic body of their beloved Kairi. Light and darkness dueled as the boys fought in the highest room of the tallest tower of Hollow Bastion, Kairi unconscious mere meters away and Heartless massing on the other side of the portal before them; a once-unbreakable friendship tearing itself apart for the good of all things.
But when Riku blocked what would have been a killing blow from a heartbroken Sora, grabbing his opponent's shirt with his free hand and throwing him to the ground, their love was to perish in vain.
Sora found himself flat on his back all of a sudden, his former friend standing triumphantly over him. A surge of panic fueled a desperate swing of his Keyblade at Riku's legs; that attack was easily parried and rewarded with unimaginable pain as Riku brought his foot down upon Sora's Keyblade arm. The hero of light felt his forearm snap, agony burning it with the heat of a sun and radiating through his body, leaving him in a horrific marriage of scream and sob as the Keyblade vanished. Riku's foot moved to Sora's abdomen, preventing him from rising as the champion of darkness leveled his sword at Sora's chest. "This is the end of us, Sora," Riku spat, gazing for the last time into his enemy's eyes. "And all of it is your fault." With a single unbroken stroke, the front of Sora's shirt was cut in two, laying bare his chest to the victorious Riku.
"We could have stayed friends if you had joined me in the darkness. We could have saved Kairi together!" Riku's intense expression of battle-fury gave way to one of disgust. "Instead, you chose the losing side. You threw away your one chance at fixing everything! Kairi deserves better than you."
Sora struggled to throw Riku off of him, but abandoned this effort; every movement only brought a fresh wave of searing pain from his arm. Fighting tears, he met Riku's eyes with a look not of anger, but of regret. "Riku! You don't have to do this." Sora shuddered for a moment, feeling blood soak his right side, and continued. "The darkness gave you all this power, but what will it do for you if it wins today? All it wants is for you to beat me. If you win, we both lose!" He gasped, tears betraying him and overflowing his eyes as Riku ground his foot into his stomach, but found the strength to speak one last time. "There's still light in you somewhere, Riku…you just need to find it - for you, for me, for Kairi…for everything."
Riku didn't even dignify Sora's plea with a smirk. He remained stoic, only closing his eyes and shaking his head as he drew his sword back. "I gave it up for us, Sora. If that wasn't good enough for you…I'm sorry." With this final pronouncement, Riku thrust his arm forward once more. The sword penetrated Sora's chest without even a hint of blood; it was his heart that was under attack, not his body. The failed Keyblade wielder inhaled sharply, his body arching instinctively; then he was still. Riku withdrew his weapon from Sora's corpse, and where it exited light poured forth. Soft beams radiated from where Sora's heart had been, quickly spreading across his body; just as quickly, the light faded, Sora with it.
Riku eyed Sora's final resting place, and nodded once in satisfaction. A noise from behind him caught his attention; it had segued into a scratching at his leg by the time he turned around. Looking down, Riku discovered a tiny Shadow Heartless, pitifully attacking the killer of its former body. With a distasteful grimace, Riku stepped back and beheaded the thing.
Half a universe away, eleven cloaked figures sat assembled atop thrones in a doorless, windowless conference hall, blinding in its ivory furnishing. A portal of darkness appeared at the summit of the third lowest, and a twelfth cloaked figure stepped out, seating itself without a sound. This was a young man, barely into his twenties, whose steel-blue hair partially obscured his face; his single visible eye was fixed on the inhabitant of the highest throne in the room, who addressed him.
"Number VI," Xemnas began, in a voice that resonated throughout the massive, sterile room. "What have you to report?"
Zexion's answer was exactly what his superior wanted to hear. "The Keyblade wielder is dead; when the seventh Princess of Heart takes her place with the others, Xehanort's Heartless will have met its immediate goals, and shall dispose of Riku. The time for our offensive is now."
Xemnas nodded in approval. "Well done, Zexion." Then, to the entire group: "The Final Keyhole is open; the Door to Darkness stands unlocked. Today we prepare for war. My brethren in nothingness: find and recruit our thirteenth."
Last edited by Zellarius; May 13, 2010 at 10:05 PM.
May 13, 2010, 02:58 PM
A spidery 8itch.
Re: Lux Aeterna
I'd prefer if you posted in the fanfiction section if it's fanfiction, dear.
Thank you. I'm moving this now.
Yeah, if you accidentally do this again or something just be sure to hit me up.
Also, you should probably put a space between your paragraphs because this is REALLY hard on the eyes. It's all clumped up and is just a wall of text for the readers.
May 13, 2010, 09:15 PM
Re: Lux Aeterna
It's really hard to read this without paragraphs, but I love your writing style and the premise of the story. It's very interesting. But I think the quotes at the beginning are a bit unrelated, and sort of pointless. I'd suggest just getting rid of them, especially the second.
But yeah, I greatly look forward to reading more.
May 13, 2010, 10:04 PM
Re: Lux Aeterna
Whoops - I thought I screwed up the formatting. Thanks.
Chapter 2 should look nicer.
With Xemnas's pronouncement, the Organization dispersed without further briefing. That was one of its unwritten tenets: victory by any means necessary. The Superior generally didn't care how you went about the mission, so long as it was completed. Conventional groups would phrase it differently: "Be your own boss!" "Set your own hours!" "Have it your way!" But the Organization didn't hold recruitment drives – one ended up with it by the machinations of fate. Nobody decides to lose his heart.
Such was Axel and Larxene's discussion post-meeting. The latest Keyblade master had fallen, and whoever found his doubtlessly powerful Nobody stood to gain much from his discovery.
"Ten munny says he fights. Zexion tells me this one knows his way around a battlefield." Axel's gait was relaxed and unhurried, in contrast with the gravity of the mission. Larxene followed at his side as they strolled down the Silent Highway, the cracked, empty eight-lane road that led out of the Dark City. Every so often, a Heartless would scamper onto the street; with a snap of Larxene's fingers, a bolt of lightning would arc from one of the softly glowing streetlights, cooking the Heartless where it stood.
"Tell me you aren't serious," she said, turning from a dissipating Shadow she had just incinerated. "Losing your heart isn't like tripping and falling – he won't be in any condition to flip you off, much less fight. Besides, whoever beat him clearly knew better."
Axel cast a sideways glance at his companion, smirking. "You're just saying that because you were out cold when we found you. Naked, as I recall."
He got a nasty shock for that. Larxene glared at him, her antenna-like strands of hair standing more on end than usual, as if poised for battle. "She almost looks threatening," Axel mused, stopping and trying to shake the feeling back into his right side. She held her gaze on him for a moment longer, then turned and continued haughtily down the road. "It's not my fault the Heartless got me in the shower." She stopped, considering her fate for a moment. "Shows you just how far gone Arlene's world was – the things were breeding in the sewers," Larxene continued, referring to her long-deceased Other.
Axel finally regained full freedom of movement and quickstepped to catch up, falling into step beside Larxene. "Point. But much as I'd love to discuss you unclothed, that's not the issue at hand. Where did Sora die again? Shadow at 2:00."
Crack. "Thanks. Zexion just came back from Hollow Bastion, but you and I both know there's no telling where Sora's Nobody ended up. He could be anywhere – still in Hollow Bastion, or stowed away on a Heartless gummi ship. Under this road." Axel summoned a portal. "Hold that thought," he said, disappearing. Larxene crossed her arms, rolling her eyes, but allowed a smile to flit across her face. Axel returned five seconds later, shaking his head. "I checked. We're alone out here." His eyes narrowed, fixed on something behind Larxene. "Except for you three!" In the blink of an eye, he had summoned his chakrams and darted past Larxene; in another blink, he had carved up three Shadows that had been watching them. He made a show of loosening up after the encounter, cracking his neck and stretching. Larxene stalked over to him, feigning annoyance. "Those were mine!" she stated, poking Axel's chest with surprising force.
"Until recently, you were the only one with a body count on this mission, and I couldn't just let that slide." Axel gently took Larxene's hand in his, linking arms and continuing forward. She struggled, but not for long or with any seriousness; soon enough the two had relaxed into a companionable silence. Axel broke it six minutes later: "Why are we even still here? The others are probably combing the known universe by now." At this point the end of the Silent Highway was visible, along with the night-blanketed countryside of the World that Never Was. Kingdom Hearts shone as it always did and always would; it was still under construction, but the basic frame of the gigantic heart it would become was in place.
Larxene watched it with a quiet intensity, expressionless except for her bright green eyes, focused and reflecting the massive artificial moon. Axel looked over at her, raising an eyebrow. "Hello. Axel to Savage Nymph. I asked you a question." Larxene shook her head, looking again at her fiery-haired colleague. "Answer mine first." Axel shrugged, gesturing for her to speak.
"How did you get here? You know my story; what's yours?" Larxene's question was accompanied by a look of genuine interest. None of her usual flippancy or insincerity was evident in her eyes, which Axel noted was unusual for her.
There was a moment of silence from the Flurry of Dancing Flames, who took his time coming up with a satisfactory answer. He stretched, folding his hands behind his head as they reached the end of the Silent Highway. "Not one for delicacy or tact, is she?" he noted. He jumped, another electric shock coursing through his body. "You, Number VIII, are stalling," Larxene prompted impatiently. "Loaded question? What, did the Heartless catch you in bed?" she prodded, with lascivious emphasis on the last word.
Axel shivered from the electricity, stepping back and shaking off the numbness. The night air was chilly as well, he found – odd, he thought, given that his mastery of fire usually kept him toasty. "Is that your answer to everything?" he commented dryly, slicking his newly frazzled hair back into its proper spikes. "Sex and lightning? If I didn't know better, I'd list those as your defining characteristics."
A wicked grin crossed Larxene's features. "Maybe. Maybe not." She flicked her gaze to something over Axel's shoulder, and he glanced behind him to see what it was. Almost as soon as he looked back at Larxene, having seen nothing, something struck him in the chest with hurricane force. Number XII knocked him to the ground, straddling his chest and pinning him where he lay. She bent toward him hungrily, bringing her face within inches of his. "Maybe that's all that's left of Arlene," she whispered conspiratorially. "In absence of anything else…I could show you how…passionate I can be…" Axel, completely off guard for one of the only times he could remember, watched Larxene's face in stunned anticipation. Just when it seemed like things could escalate, Larxene disappeared into a portal, reappearing at his side. "But more than likely, the problem is on your end. You simply don't know me very well."
Axel maintained his bewilderment for about three seconds, and then relaxed into his prone position. "So let's remedy that. We get the mission over with and then I find out whether or not you're as shallow as you appear."
"Ooh, harsh. At least have the decency to talk to me on my level."
"If I felt like bending my knees to see eye to eye with you, I would."
ZAP. Axel thrashed around on the cold earth, mostly out of annoyance – he was getting quite used to the sting. "Will you cut that out!"
Larxene giggled. "You're almost cute when you're in pain. Most men are, I find."
Axel picked himself up, glaring a hole through his inferior's head. "Extra incentive to find Sora's Nobody. You'll finally have an inferior to use as target practice." Larxene sighed with mock wistfulness.
"Everything's going to change, isn't it?" she said. "Thirteen of us – we'll need a new throne, of course. And if Zexion is to be believed, our days of skulking around in the background are numbered." Larxene sidled closer to Axel, who watched her like a hawk for any sign of electric discharge. "Open warfare. This job just might get interesting." The pair spent the next few minutes in silence, gazing up at the unfinished moon, the stars seeming to shine with opportunity. It was Axel who finally broke the peace.
"Double or nothing says he hits on you."
Larxene raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow, smirking. "Now what could possibly make you say that? Besides the obvious," she inquired wryly, gesturing towards herself.
Axel shrugged. "Just a thought. Xemnas would probably prefer you deliver him to us in one piece. Assuming it's you that finds him."
The Savage Nymph snaked an arm around the waist of the Flurry of Dancing Flames; after a moment, he returned the gesture. "You know me," Larxene murmured. "I'm not one to disappoint." Axel pulled her closer, and she responded in kind. Although he had no heart, Larxene's presence – another's warmth against the cold, another's breath upon his shoulder, another's fingers tracing patterns on his cloak – brought back a memory of…something. Closeness. Solidarity. Perhaps even comfort. Axel didn't know, but he decided that he wouldn't mind more.
They remained like that for a while longer – minutes, possibly hours. There was no way to tell. Finally they parted ways, disappearing through separate portals to separate worlds on separate searches, Kingdom Hearts looming high in the air and framing their departure.