The Wanderer

See the Light

See the Light

"Our Titan, you failed."

Dormin chuckled as They got a growl in response.

Despite the fact that Their life-force containment shield was bursting at the seams, the Light couldn't care less. A small troop of Wandering warriors escorting a shaman to Their land? That didn't bother Them at all! No, it was those stupid voices that were driving Them crazy. Now that the Colossi had nobody to bother, they decided they didn't want to try and escape Dormin in any way. So now they were just jabbering away in the Light's mind.

Hmm... so THAT'S what she looks like...

You already knew, Celobia and I showed you...

It's different up close! What I don't get is why she looks asleep and not dead.

We've covered this! Dormin is probably gradually putting a bit of our life-forces into her. Since we're all here now, I wouldn't be surprised if she suddenly sat up, alive and well.

She's pretty! What was her name again?! Monroe?! Momo?!

Mono!

Hmph. I think I'll go insane if I have to share my thinking space with that masked blob for another minute. Or the pig, for that matter...

What did you call me?!

Oh, just leave him, Celosia...

Don't get involved, murderer!

*two voices* What?! Murderer?!

How many times are we going to have to go through this cycle? I swear, you three have been going on like this for days...

No matter what we do, we're doomed!

No we're not! Didn't you pay attention to Malus' thoughts?

Quite frankly, I don't think a few ancient enchantments on a deadly sword made by a naive little rich girl are going to-

Excuse me?!

You heard me, Malus! The idea that Megami could create such powerful reversal enchantments on the Sun Sword is outrageous! Despite being a Child, she was only human. And she was not a high priestess, the only person in the land who could possibly create those enchantments.

Argus has a point. Meg was no Arna or Bone-Tsune... Despite being the Titan's own Child.

Bone-Tsune was nowhere near as great as Arna...

Howdareyou?!

You all are hopeless. Argus, have a little faith. Malus, calm down. Avion, I don't know what's come over you, but please apologize to Basaran for insulting his Child.

*three voices* Hmph.

"We find your banter amusing..."

Oh, be quiet, You...

"Kuromori, you are in no position to tell Us what to do... In case you haven't noticed, you are trapped, dead, inside of Our life-force container."

Excuse me...

There are holes in Your container. We'll use that!

Excuseme...

"No matter what you do, We will win! There is no-"

Excuse me!

"What?! Why do you bother Us, you old worm?!"

I believe we have company...

Dormin turned Their focus towards where Phalanx was looking, and saw that her words were true. Six men on horseback had just come through the High Entrance, and they made no hesitation as they galloped over the long, perilously high bridge. Within the minute it took for the men to reach the Great Temple's entrance, Dormin examined the newcomers. Five of the horses were a dark brown, very common for horses of the Wandering people. The most notable, though, was the pure white horse. It was obvious before the riders themselves were clearly seen that the white one was owned by somebody of great importance.

The riders were all men. All five of the owners of the brown horses appeared to be warriors of a lesser level, because the customary cloaks of Wandering men were cinched at the waist by belts. This was a symbol of being a warrior in training. Dormin's pawn had an un-cinched cloak, symbolizing full warrior-ship. The white horse's rider was a shaman, clear from the red un-cinched cloak and flowing robes underneath. Every man wore a mask, and every horse was almost definitely a mare, as dictated by Wandering custom.

There was a pause as the men dismounted their horses, and the door opening mechanism was triggered. As the warriors drew their various weapons and ran forward, the shaman walking in with purpose behind them, Dormin turned Their focus back to the temple floor.

My, so many people!

Great, more Wanderers... just what we need...

Speaking of... where'sourlittle Wanderer?

And now you're calling him "ours"? What's wrong with you?!

Come on, Gecko, this is no time for arguing with Avion...

I have a name, you know!

Yes, but it's long...

"Ignoring your petty squabbling, Our pawn will be here soon. Teleportation takes a bit of time and energy."

The Colossi continued to chatter annoyingly as Dormin listened for the six sets of footfalls coming down the spiral ramp from the entrance to the ground level. They took no time to admire the Greeting Pool, which travelers had used to water their horses. The offering was considered the first of many tokens of generosity the land offered. Instead, the men rushed into the main hall.

While the warriors rushed over to and examined Malus' idol, the shaman stopped a few yards away. He seemed frantic as he looked back and forth, eyes falling on the crumbled remains of the other Colossi's idols. This continued for about a minute before the final idol began to glow. One of the warriors shouted, breaking the silence that permeated everywhere except Dormin's mind.

"Lord Emon!"

The shaman turned in time to see Malus' idol shatter into hundreds of pieces. Dust flew, and the rumble seemed to last forever. When all was quiet again, Emon spoke, staring in horror at the pile of rocks.

"No..."

Almost instantly after that, the shaman perked up, as if he remembered something. He quickly turned toward the open end of the temple, and after a few seconds lifted his mask up slowly, as if in shock. The warriors turned with him, and all of their eyes seemed fixated on the altar at the end of the hall.

Emon mumbled so quietly only Dormin and the Colossi picked up on it.

"It's her..."

Phalanx's emotion-sensing had soaked into the Light, and They could feel waves of guilt and horror pouring out of the shaman as he walked towards the altar. Like they were on ropes, the warriors immediately followed. When Emon came to a stop in front of Mono, he only stared at her for a few seconds before going into action.

What is he doing?

Blessing her, I think. For some reason he's speaking in the Dancing tongue...

Then it is medicinal? She's already dead, how could that help?

No... He's placing a spell on her so "every word spoken for her will be true.". A vague blessing, if you ask me...

Ah, he's making sure Dormin doesn't go back on Their word!

Then clearly he doesn't know Dormin. They are evil, but They don't double-cross...

Then what do you call what They did to the Wanderer?!

They warned him. That doesn't quite count.

Oh my...

What?

I just thought of something. When he means "words spoken for her being true", he means promises.

Yes... and...?

That could meananyandallpromises made to or for her. What if the Wanderer promised Mono something before she died?

Then he would be forced to comply. He may even be saved from death for the sole purpose of fulfilling his promise...

"Shush, fools. The show is about to begin..."

Obviously, the Colossi saw him first. They were forced to look where Dormin looked. What they saw was an extremely battered Wanderer suddenly lying in the middle of the main hall. He appeared seamlessly and soundlessly. Only when he let out a near inaudible groan did Emon, who was still busy blessing Mono, sense the presence of the small warrior. The shaman turned around and gasped at the sight of the boy, causing the other warriors to turn also.

Their shock and disgust was understandable. Dormin's pawn was a deathly, undead white. Though, that could hardly be seen through the layer of Colossus blood that encrusted the Wanderer's clothes, skin and hair. He had two small, light brown horns sticking up from above each ear.

As the Wanderer groggily began to get his hands underneath him, to try and get up, the Sun Sword suddenly twirled down from the ceiling. It fell, bounced off the ground, spun a few times in the air, and landed point first the sandy remains of Valus' idol. All the while giving off a penetrating ringing noise. Dormin sensed Malus' apprehension upon seeing the sword.

Focus quickly returned to the boy, though. Because just as he accomplished shakily getting to his knees, Dormin called up the dead souls that were eternally stuck under the temple. Like when they had come to prompt the Wanderer to reveal his sword, the spirits crawled up from the floor, creating odd sucking noises. The boy continued struggling to get up farther as the dark spirits surrounded him, and Emon angrily spoke up.

"I cannot believe this! So it wasyou, after all! Have you any idea what you have done?"

Emon continued speaking as the Wanderer accomplished getting to his feet.

"Not only did you steal the sword, and trespass upon this cursed land... You incited Dormin's ritual!"

A subtle hand signal had two of the warriors walking slowly towards the slumped Wanderer, one with a crossbow and one with small, generic-looking sword. As the boy began weakly stepping forward, the shaman shook his head in disgust.

"To be reduced to such a sight... pathetic. You were only being used."

The Wanderer turned his head up to look at Emon, revealing demonic, light blue eyes. At least, it appeared he was gazing at the shaman. To the Colossi, it was clear the boy only had eyes for the girl on the altar. Emon suddenly shouted an order to the crossbowman.

"Eradicate the source of the evil!"

Dormin and Phalanx sensed great uneasiness rolling off of the warrior as he drew his weapon, but did not fire. His sense of hesitation was too overwhelming. However, the hesitation slowly vanished as Emon turned to his men, sounding angry and panicked. He was pointing frantically at the Wanderer, who was slowly stumbling in the direction of the altar.

"Look! He is possessed by the dead! Those demons are controlling his movements and pushing him to infect us, as well!"

Turning to the crossbowman, the shaman yelled,

"Hurry up and do it!"

This time, the confused warrior complied. But the shot managed to miss it's mark, hitting the poor Wanderer's left thigh instead of his heart. The boy collapsed on his side, curling into himself and clutching his leg.

It hurts! Gah, it hurts!

Every Colossus was startled as the foreign thoughts entered Dormin's mind.

What's going on?!

Why can we hear him?!

Hmph. It's good to know that wretch is the one in pain this time...

Shush, Argus!

Black blood began soaking up into the wound, and the Wanderer looked back up at the altar with a grimace of pain. He barely noticed as the warriors began to fan out around Emon, and the sword-holding warrior from before stepped up to him with weapon unsheathed. Instead of appearing angry, the Shaman appeared sad this time as he gestured to the swordsman.

"It is better to put him out of his misery then allow to exist, cursed as he is."

Most of the Colossi gasped as the warrior stopped behind the Wanderer's head and pointed his sword downward, towards the boy's chest. He remained perched like this for several seconds. In that time, the Wanderer's gaze was focused upward at the ceiling, shocking the Colossi with his perception of their minds.

So much of us has gone into him... he knows we're here.

That pour soul...

The boy's focus was suddenly drastically cut short. Because of their shock, the Colossi had missed the warrior finally plunging his blade into the Wanderer's heart with a battle cry.

For a few seconds, the boy remained limp, with his hands clutching the sword near its entry point. Black blood was spurting up from the wound. However, he began to move. This frightened the swordsman, who stumbled backwards. Emon looked on with the warriors in horror as the Wanderer got to his feet.

Though the boy used one hand to help himself get up, he kept the other clutched around the blade. As he turned to face the altar once more, Dormin and the Colossi got a view of the sword's point sticking out grotesquely from under the boy's shoulder blade.

Mono...

Every man except Emon moved away from the Wanderer in fright. After only a few stumbling steps forward, the boy looked up at the girl on the altar, panting with exertion.

No! She's not alive!She's not alive!

The Wanderer desperately reached his free hand towards her, his fury and grief coming off in waves. He then looked down at his sword angrily.

This has to go...

With both hands, the boy forcefully pulled the blade out of his chest. This released the rest of the black blood, and his life force. The Wanderer turned his burning focus on Dormin and gave Them his dying thought.

You...bastard...

And then the boy fell, dead before he hit the ground. The sword fell from his hands and landed on the floor with a loud clang. As the Wanderer laid on his side with Dormin's black energy encasing him, Emon looked on with sad eyes. Some of the Colossi solemnly paid attention to the shaman, who had turned to the girl on the altar with a sort of reverence. The rest of the Colossi were either celebrating or crying.

Yes! He's dead! Victory is ours!

In case you forgot, we're all dead too, so it doesn't particularly matter...

Party pooper.

But it's just so sad! Even if he killed us it was forher! And when the poor dear wakes up, she'll be all alone...

I have to agree with Avion on this one.

Amazing how a situation like this will get Kuromori to agree with-

Shut it! It's just that this Mono girl didn't do anything wrong! Nobody can punish her for falling in love with a guy who would kill sixteen Colossi to save her life! Even if the Wanderer was a wretch, he was Mono's wretch.

Wow, that almost sounded sentimental.

Will you two please-

Unexpectedly, though, each Colossus was forcibly wrenched from their position. As they shouted out in protest, the Colossi were moved down to rest in the head of a suddenly tangible Dormin. The Light, during Kuromori and Argus' argument, had amassed itself around the Wanderer's body to form a huge, dark being kneeling on the hall floor. Their black horns nearly touched the ceiling, They had vestigial wings sprouting from Their ridged back, and They had pupil-less, evil looking blue eyes. While the Colossi watched on in horror from within Them, the warriors and Emon stepped back, terrified as Dormin stared at them unblinkingly. For the first time in a long while, the Light used Their physical vocal chords to speak.

"Thou severed our body into sixteen segments..."

What? What are they talking about?

Meh. They're playing a game. Now shush!

"... for an eternity to seal away Our power..."

Who are Theytalkingto? Us or them?

Shut it!

"We, Dormin, have arisen anew..."

Okay,thatpart is legiti-

QUIET!

Emon kept his eyes on the Light, but shouted to his warriors.

"They have been resurrected!"

To intimidate the terrified shaman further, Dormin shifted Their hand so that Their face was closer to the men.

"We have borrowed the body of this warrior, so that We may have a physical foothold in this world..."

Emon didn't seem to want to listen anymore, as he turned to his warriors and yelled,

"We must place a seal over this entire temple before it's too late!"

My fellow Colossi! Now is our chance! Concentrate all of your mental power on making Dormin as slow as possible!

Can I help?

Uh...

Hey! You're-

No time! Fine, you can help!

Excellent.

Malus, this is a bad idea...

Yeah! The wretch will just get in the way! Speaking of... how are you even in here, you little sprag?!

I should ask you all the same thing!

Great, we have another arguer to add to the group...

Everybody, shush up and concentrate!

As Dormin tried to turn and attack the men, who were walking right by Them, They found that Their movements were drastically slowed. The Light mentally growled at the Colossi... and the Wanderer... as They helplessly watched one of the warriors remove the Sun Sword from its position in Valus' idol's rubble.

"Fools! You prolong the inevitable!"

Yeah, well-

Why isn't Mono awake?!

Dormin smashed Their hand near the group of men, but only accomplished delaying them for a few seconds.

"Don't worry, little Wanderer. We always keep Our word. Resurrection takes time, so be patient. And will youpleaseconvince your not so little friends to give up?"

Why on Earth would I do that?! I owe them. Now if You excuse me, I have a backstabbing demon to help contain.

The Light roared in fury. While several of the Colossi cheered, Dormin looked up to see that the Wanderer had kept him occupied, if for a few seconds, allowing the men to escape back to the spiral entryway. In desperation, the Light breathed blue fire after them, but it did not hit them. It was far too late for Dormin to do much of anything. As Emon and his warriors reached the top of the ramp, far above the Light's head, Malus snapped his focus from slowing Dormin to something else. Each of the Colossi, and the Wanderer, listened as the shaman's voice floated down from above.

"Ready my horse."

There were five sets of footfalls leaving the temple, then silence. But Malus knew better. He was reading Emon's mind, and trying his best to subtly inject spells into the grand enchantment that ran through the shaman's thoughts. Finally, as the Titan's attention returned to Dormin, the silence was broken.

"Be gone, foul beast!"

Once more there was a penetrating ringing noise, the sword's own death cry, as it twirled down several stories and landed with a splash in the Greeting Pool. For half a second, nothing happened.

But suddenly, the center of the pool began to glow. The light in the pool then expanded with a flash to fill it entirely. White lightning reached into every corner of the hall, and up into the entryway. Following it was a powerful sucking on Dormin, wind pulling the Light towards the pool.

Dormin cried out as Their soul was instantly pulled into the pool. The shape of the darkness surrounding the Wanderer's body quickly diminished as the Colossi let go one at a time. Finally, there was only the boy. He was still surrounded by a dark film as he struggled against the wind, trying his hardest to get to the altar. There were three Colossi that were maintaining the dark aura around the Wanderer.

Dear, you must let go.

Yes, our lives depend on it!

It's impossible to get away from the enchantment. You need to let go!

Mono will be alright! Trust us!

Yeah! The featherbag knows what she's talking about!

Please give in, little Wanderer. Though Avion, Kuromori, and I don't know what awaits you, I am sure you will see Mono again.

Let go!

Please let go!

You need to trust us!

As the boy's body slackened, he muttered,

"Don't worry... I always will..."

And with that, the Wanderer allowed himself to topple into the pool. Avion, Kuromori, and Celobia were sucked away as the boy vanished into the light.

Instantly, the light in the pool vanished, and the pulling stopped. Dust in the hall settled as Emon mounted his horse at the temple's entrance. Knowing full well what would soon happen, the shaman and his warriors began to gallop away over the bridge.

Soon after they passed, the first inner support of the bridge vanished with a bright flash. This caused the blocks over it to begin collapsing. Every support after it began to vanish also, forcing the horses to go as fast as they possibly could. But while this drama occurred, there was a far more breathtaking drama going on inside the temple.

I know what you're thinking by this point.

"What, the Colossi are going to get into another argument?"

As long as I'm breaking the fourth wall, I might as well point something out.

If you're reading this, and have stayed with this pathetic excuse for a story for this long, then you probably played the freaking game and saw the ending. Don't ask questions you know the answer to.

Ahem. End of fourth wall breach.

Though all of the Colossi had mysteriously vanished, a simmering Dormin had been returned to the hole in the ceiling. They shined down on the hall once more, though because all of Their power had been expended They found that They couldn't speak. Without any care at all of what was happening below, Dormin turned Their focus to the departing horses and riders, hoping maliciously that they would fall.

But if the Colossi had been there, they would have been looking on intently, probably cheering, as the Wanderer's extreme, impossible wish was finally granted. At the same moment the men accomplished making it safely to the other end of the bridge, there was movement on the altar. Slowly, as if waking up from a very deep sleep, Mono's eyes flickered open.

After a few moments of tired blinking, the girl turned her head to the side to glance at her surroundings. Then, as if in a dream, Mono pushed her arms down and sat so she was in a lounging position on the altar. There was confusion in her gray eyes as she looked around the hall. When her eyes fell on the light in the ceiling, the girl swung her legs over the side of the altar and shakily stood to get a better look at the odd phenomenon. The breeze that slowly flowed through the temple made Mono's simple white dress billow slightly around her ankles. She stared at the light for a minute, but turned when she heard a noise.

The noise was... low and behold... the Wanderer's beloved horse. Agro was limping up the steps into the temple. Her back left leg was hanging, completely useless. At the sight of each other, the girl and the mare came together. Mono held Agro's snout and petted it, looking confused. In return, the horse seemed very happy to see the girl. After a few minutes of this embrace, Agro seemed to realize something.

Turning away, the mare began limping down the hall. Mono, who seemed unable to talk yet, merely followed Agro with a concerned look on her face. After what felt like an hour, the horse paused beside the completely dry Greeting Pool. Quickly, the girl found what Agro had been looking for. With a gasp, Mono kneeled down and picked up the shocking contents of the empty pool.

In the pool was a newborn, horned, red-haired baby.

Emon turned back to look at the temple and the smoking ruins of the bridge that sprawled in front of it. While his warriors calmed their horses, the shaman spoke softly to himself.

"Poor ungodly soul. Now nobody shall ever trespass upon this place again."

Shaking his head, Emon spoke louder now.

"Should you be alive... If it's even possible to exist in these cursed lands... One day, perhaps you will make atonement for what you have done."

And as the shaman left the Colossus Valley with his men, he had no way of knowing that the Wanderer's atonement...

... had already begun.


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