The Titan's Sentinel
The Titan's Sentinel
That was the only word to describe what Argus and the rest of the Colossi were seeing. They had never imagined that such a state of mind and will could exist in people. But now, right in front of their eyes, it was happening.
Celobia and Celosia had run forward to the Great Temple to try and halt the attack, picking out the more dangerous ones to kill. Meanwhile, Avion swooped over the Entrance Bridge, trying her best to knock off the hordes of soldiers pouring over the thin structure. Phalanx had already taken to the sky with all the land's children on her back, the smaller ones tucked safely under her flaps. The other Colossi were standing ground in their lairs, protecting the locals to the best of their abilities.
How was this happening? Well, about a month ago a messenger was sent from the nearby tribe which the Colossi called the Seekers. The messenger had stated to both the High Priestess and Malus, who were the respective leaders of the Colossus Valley, that the Seekers wanted all of their gold. All of the Colossi and people had scratched their heads in confusion. Gold? What was that? When the messenger had explained, the leaders just shooed him away, saying that the Seekers wouldn't want their money. It couldn't be used or traded any where else in the world, after all. The messenger had glared at them, told them they didn't know who they were messing with, and stormed out of the land. A month later, an entire army was raging over the bridge through the Great Temple.
Argus had known this was going to happen. He had warned them that one day one of those odd tribes that acted like evil Colossi would make a move. The others had scoffed. Evil behavior in humans was impossible.
This was one of many hard felt lessons to come about humans.
Once the battle had been won by the Colossi, they thought trouble from people was over. But as the ages wore on, they learned that even their own people could do the impossible. Malus soon became used to being the one to hand out punishments for murder, torture, abuse, and adultery. As the eons wore on, though the number of good people stayed the major part of the population, bad people came into existence. A few times, the acts they committed were major and unspeakable.
And each of those times, Argus had been the one to predict them.
When a man had gone insane, the Colossi had been sympathetic and sent him to a special doctor of the mind. Argus, however, was not sympathetic. He recognized the type of insanity the man had, and said bad things would happen as long as he lived. Soon after his prediction, the man went home and killed his family.
Argus had been right.
When Dormin began offering people great power if they murdered the Colossi, everybody had laughed and turned their heads away. There was no way that any of their people would be so disloyal. But Argus warned that they should not be so dismissive. Power was a great temptation to humans. Soon after, a woman had been caught creating an incredibly sharp stone for the admitted purpose of killing a Colossus.
Argus had been right.
Though the Colossi were wise, they were far too trusting. This was probably why one of them had to be the distrustful one. The voice of skepticism in a sea of optimism. Argus recognized not just the good, but the evil in people, too. It was for this reason he was one of the wisest. His judgment and predictions were unprecedented.
And he was never, ever, wrong.
Or, at least, almostnever wrong.
There were only two times Argus ever misjudged anything. Both times take place during the period of time when the boy named Wander roamed the Colossus Valley. At this point in the story, one of those misjudgments has already happened. The other one has yet to come. Both are catastrophically incorrect.
That's what happens when Argus goes against his character, his nature. He is the embodiment of good judgment and correctly placed distrust. When he goes against that… things fall apart.
More then anybody had yet to know.
Back in the story line…
"No, I am not coming, Malus."
For the past few hours, the Titan had been mentally yelling for Argus to come. But the Sentry refused to leave. His battle with the Wanderer was inevitable and very soon. He knew that. To go running over to Malus would be illogical. So he stayed in his cave in the ravine, listening to the echoes of bird calls as they travelled down from above.
Argus had had a lot of time to think. A lot of time. One of the things he was very sure of now was that he was insane. Why? Because all sorts of voices had been creeping into the Sentry's head. Almost all the deceased Colossi were shouting at him. Some of them gave him words of encouragement, some of them just gave him random words and memories, while a key few Colossi yelled at Argus as if he had done something unspeakable. The voice he noticed right now was Celosia's.
Howdareyou exclude my brother from the Colossi! Oh, you haven't said that you have, but your thoughts say it loud and clear! Your argument is that Celobia had done that to Kuromori, but if you had been able to see him, to hear him, toknowhis emotions, you would know he didn't mean it. But you just turn a blind eye to the truth, because you thinkyouspeak the truth! You're infuriating! If and when you join us, I will give you such a beating!
The Sentry shivered and decided to focus on different, less angry voices. He had no such luck, though.
You are the greatest, fattest, biggestidiotI have ever seen! Do you think I have no compassion? Soon after my death, I was able to realize that Celobia was truly, undeniably sorry for his words! How is it that I, probably the most likely to hold grudges out of all of us, was able to easily forgive him like it was nothing, and even when I tell you I don't care, youstillact like the Lion assassinated mepersonally?! Get a grip!
Argus didn't care if Kuromori himself forgave Celobia. He knew what the Lion did was shameful and horrible. The Sentry continued to dwell in his thoughts, mostly drowned out by voices, until something captured his attention. All the dead Colossi went quiet as Argus heard the echoes of footsteps drifting down from above. The footfalls were quick and muffled by gravel, showing that the person was running over the rocky dirt of the Desert Fortress grounds. After some time, the footsteps came to a halt on the stony edge of the cliff, which dropped into the ravine that held Argus.
Deciding that it was the perfect time to make his appearance, the Sentry crawled to the entrance of his cave and swung his sword-holding arm above him where he was able to grip the cliff edge. He then turned his body so that he was in the correct position and swung his other arm up. Argus then used all his strength to heave himself up into the Fortress. The Wanderer had a moment to look terrified before the Sentry lifted his leg and made to squash the boy with his foot. Crying out in surprise, the Wanderer ran out of the way just in time and sprinted towards the far away entrance to the Fortress. Argus followed, satisfied with the boy's fear. Looking behind him, the Wanderer realized that this foe was not as slow and lumbering as the other human-esque Colossi. The Sentry watched as the boy leaped onto the flimsy stone platforms that edged the base of the Fortress walls. However, the base for one of the bridges that arched over the Desert Fortress stuck out in front of him, and the Wanderer had to come to a halt. Argus turned to the platform and lifted his leg, bringing it down with a smash on the thin stone.
But instead of breaking or having the boy fly off, the platform turned up like a see-saw. Clearly the Wanderer hadn't been expecting this, as his eyes were squeezed shut and he looked as though he was expecting the worst, but he opened them and quickly found that the platform now acted like a ramp to the first level of the Fortress. Argus pulled his foot away, but not before the boy was able to leap into the columned hallway above. The Sentry watched angrily as the Wanderer ran down the hallway, his image flitting between the columns, obviously looking for another way up.
He is foolish to think I can't harm him while he is in there…
Argus pulled his sword-arm back slowly, building up power, before whacking the Fortress wall with great force. The boy yelled and stumbled, while several large floor-blocks from the level above fell down. The Sentry's internal laughter was cut off though when the Wanderer began climbing up the pile of fallen blocks and vanished. He reappeared in a few seconds though, hauling himself up through the newly made hole into the next level. Argus growled and followed as the boy ran down the hallway, jumping over other holes, towards a ramp that turned and led up to the very top of the Fortress wall.
When he came to the middle of the stone pathway, the Wanderer leaped up onto the slightly higher stone path that went along next to him and looked around. Argus smirked to himself.
Will he ever learn…?
Once again the Sentry threw his arm back then slammed it at the wall. The boy cried out and fell back into the lower pathway. Shaking his head, the Wanderer stood, quickly glanced around, and then bolted for the end of the Fortress wall, where there was another ramp. This ramp turned and came to one of the bridges that arced over the Fortress, connecting the two walls. He grinned and ran to the middle of it, looking down at Argus.
The Wanderer clearly thinks he can just jump off of that onto my head! Time to bring him back to solid ground…
With that, the Sentry pulled his arm back again. His adversary quickly lost the grin and sprinted for the end of the bridge, just barely making it before Argus' sword pounded the thin structure. Instead of shaking and holding up to the force like the wall did, the bridge collapsed and crumbled. As the Sentry angrily shook the dust from his eyes, he stepped forward, already planning to attack the Wanderer again. But this time, something completely different happened.
In his desire to attack the boy, he had forgotten he was already close to where the bridge had been. So when Argus stepped forward, he was very close to the broken end of the bridge, where the Wanderer was now standing.
The boy quickly jumped the short distance down to the Sentry's head. Argus hardly had any time to comprehend what was going on before blazing pain shot through his mind. He shook his head back and forth, and when the Wanderer stabbed him once more, he forcefully threw his head backward. It took a long time for the boy to stop stabbing, because the Sentry stayed very strong despite the internal feeling of ebbing life. When he was finished, the Wanderer began randomly running about on Argus' shoulders. The Sentry knew his attacker was looking for the other vital, so he constantly shook his entire body to make things difficult. Suddenly, just as Argus began to feel the Wanderer's grip slipping, Dormin's voice rang through the Fortress.
"Search for its hidden vitals…"
The Sentry practically roared in indignation.
"It"?! Oh, when I get a hold of Them…!
His internal rant was interrupted when his attacker yelled back to the sky, obviously aggravated.
"What do You think I'm doing?!"
"Wethinkthou art being slow. Do you want thy wish granted, or not?"
Dormin did not speak again, but the Wanderer seemed motivated enough. Argus noticed that his grip became strong again, and he began crawling everywhere besides the shoulders. The Sentry continued to shake, but his attacker seemed undaunted as he continued to search. Finally, the Wanderer came to a stop on Argus' sword arm at the elbow, where the Colossus knew very well there was a gap in his armor. The gap had been created when the armor protecting his sensitive nerve-point there had just… fallen off. It had been rather recent, too. Right after the Sentry had verbally attacked Celobia. Now though, the nerve-point was exposed, and somehow the boy knew about it.
It only took one stab to make numbing flames run down Argus' arm. The pain forced him to release his sword, and it fell with a crash to the Fortress floor. Both as an attempt to dislodge the Wanderer and to regain feeling, the Sentry threw his arm back and forth forcefully. He was almost surprised when his persistent attacker actually fell off. Argus turned and followed as the boy sprinted away, then suddenly came to a stop. The Wanderer quickly turned around and raised his sword. Oddly enough, rays of light sprouted from the blade. It seemed innocent enough, but the Sentry realized otherwise when the beams focused on his right hand… the one that originally held his sword. Despite the fact that Argus was now trying to stomp on him, the boy was grinning ear to ear as he dodged the attacks.
Finally, the Sentry lost his temper and went for a more exact approach. When Argus slammed his fist down just feet away from the Wanderer, he expected a cry of surprise or fear. Instead, and much to the Sentry's confusion, the boy cried out in victory and leaped onto the furry, exposed palm. From there, Argus didn't feel much else. His arm was still weak from the stab to his nerve-point, so the Wanderer's stabbing of the Sentry's second and final vital went mostly unopposed. After only two stabs to the palm, Argus was finished.
He fell to his knees before falling on his stomach, arms and legs splayed. Unlike the Colossi before him, the Sentry did not gaze at the Wanderer introspectively or with wonder. Instead, his darkening gaze was bitter and filled with hate.
This was because Argus knew, with great certainty, that the boy would get his wish.
If he could have, Malus would have cried.
His chest felt so empty it was almost unbearable, and the loneliness was too great. Even the birds and lizards had left the Titan, either sick and dead, or sheltering for the thunderstorm that was felt on the air and now seen in the distance.
Malus looked to the sky.
"If you can hear me… my dear friends… I promise you. I will not fail. Even in death, I will not fail. Dormin will not… cannot… win this."
The Titan then turned his gaze to the Great Temple, which glowed through the crack in the mountains. In a weak form of defiance, Malus smirked.
"Don't worry, Dormin. I have some tricks up my sleeves… Though my final sentinel has left me, I can assure You, I feel as filled with hope as ever. The Colossi… even in death… will not be underestimated."
The Light's sarcastic protest was quickly cut off by fifteen voices roaring at Them, drowning out Their voice. And Malus knew he was not alone.