|The Dark City That Never Was
Author: Kimauri PM
AU. A one-shot based off the old Celtic legend of "The Fall of Ys." Probably some OOC. Diz the king makes a deal with the Thirteenth Order, but will he honor his end of the deal? R&RRated: Fiction K+ - English - Naminé & Ansem/Xehanort's Heartless - Words: 3,625 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 01-04-09 - Status: Complete - id: 4770057
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Dark City That Never Was
There once was a queen who had two sons. Her first son, born in the hour of twilight, she called Diz. Hours later, at the hour of Dawn the next day, she had second son, whom she named Ansem. Both were bright and very cunning. Many years passed, and they remained equals in all their studies. Where one excelled, so did the other, and eventually their mother didn't know who would be the better leader of their country, so she devised a riddle for them to solve. The prize would be her throne.
I am the obliteration of Everything
I am the beginning of All.
I herald the hours
I decide for everything—
I give all that man possesses
I take nothing back.
Man knows Nothing.
Who am I?
Both brothers gave their answers in secret—their mother frowned when Diz spoke, "The dark."
"No. Your brother was correct in his answer—I am the Light. I do not approve of your reply, Diz."
Indeed, she did not. After many lectures, and many wasted speeches, Diz left the castle of Radiant Garden with his two daughters in tow. Naminé and Xion were young, and struggled to keep up, but they soon made it to the Realm of Darkness that surrounded the lands of Radiant Garden.
"Fine then!" Diz shouted to the skies when he reached the shadowy border. "If you won't let me rule Radiant Garden, I'll make my own Kingdom!"
A few followers of his from Radiant Garden followed after him when he fled, and they were the ones that began building campfires, bonfires, torches and traveled into the dark oblivion that was the Dark Realm. They journeyed deep into it's depths, until they could only barely see the shining glory of Radiant Garden in the distance, and a faint glow much further off. The followers asked, "Why not go there, and conquer that land?", but Diz knew those lands to be the kingdom of the eternal---no other place did he fear so much, and so he had his followers began constructing walls and fortresses. Anything to keep the ancient beings of Castle Oblivion far off.
While they built, they were careful to keep the fires blazing, for without them they were lost in the dark depths of the Realm. Soon tall towers rose from the hard pack ground of the city Diz began to call Never Was. The City That Never Was soon became greater and greater, but it always smelt of smoke because of the fires they needed to keep to see. Diz ordered his brightest men to work out new sources of light, as the surrounding dark woods around them were diminishing, and they worked diligently for months. Soon though, every last one of their attempts failed.
Diz threw his face to the sky, no stars, moon, or sun glittering there, and cried, "Curse you! You steal my kingdom, and leave my second one to perish in the dark. Can you not see, we are one and the same!"
"Dudes, he thinks he's as cool as us." A number laughed with the voice, a few dark, brooding chuckles, and a few happy notes. Diz whirled to the noise, facing a multitude of black cloaked people, all pale, as if they had never seen the sun. One near the front, with an eye patch and single, glowing, golden eye, spoke again, the same from the beginning. "As if," he sneered.
"Who are you?"
"We should be asking you, except, we already know," another one spoke. His cold, gold eyes dropped on Diz. "You think you control the Dark."
Diz blanched as he recognized them all from the stories of old—the Thirteenth Order. Twelve dark cloaked figures stood before him—all of the Order, except for one. "Where is your leader? I would like to speak with him."
"Our leader does not wish to speak with you. He sent us for that," the only woman of the group said. She held three kunai between her knuckles, lifting them parallel to the man.
"He demands compensation, if you are to remain here in our lands. Pay us, and we will shed a bit of light to your city," a silver haired teenager said. Diz assumed him to be Zexion, the Sixth member of the Order.
"And what is his request?" Diz asked civilly.
"That you give your first-born daughter Naminé to the Order," a redhead said.
"I'm afraid my daughter is a little young—I must refuse."
"Very well then." A thin, pale man with clumped and greasy hair spoke. "When she is of age. You can give your word that you will send her to us."
Zexion nodded. "Yes. I believe our Master would agree to that."
"I'm afraid I cannot make what is only my daughter's decision," Diz said.
There was murmuring between the Order, and finally the Zexion spoke again. He sounded pleased, as if Diz had answered a question correctly. "Yes, it is hard to vouch for another. But if you make us the promise that if your daughter Naminé wished to come, you would let her?"
Diz was very fond of his daughter though, and he did not wish to give her up to the Order. However, he wanted a shining city to rival his brother's, and he knew only the Order could give him that. The redhead, grinning, nodded to a boy with blond spiky hair and blue, blue eyes, who raised both hands over the city. Soft yellow orbs spread over the dark City That Never Was, floating into houses, over streets, into alleyways until all of Never Was glowed light like the sunlit world.
Diz turned to face the dark Order, only to find them all vanishing into the shadows, cloaks whipping in invisible winds. Zexion faded last, one steel eye watching Diz for longer than the rest, before he, too, was gone like he never existed.
The lights of the city faded every night like the sun, soft, dim lights that remained at night like the moon and stars. Never Was grew prosperous in the light, growing, expanding, the light growing with it. It did not have floods, hurricanes, nor windstorms. It never rained, but the crops always grew plentiful. Fires rarely ever started and lost control, never burning down more than a floor or two. Lightning could be vengeful though, beginning at any time, striking against all probability. However, it grew to be less and less as time wore on, and soon, it stopped altogether, except an odd incident every while.
And with the City Naminé grew. She was pale, like all the inhabitants—bright as the Lights were, they did not give tans—and she once had dressed in black dresses, skirts—coats. Her father didn't like that—he panicked, and gave her dresses of all colors, shapes, and styles. She took to dressing in the simpler of the apparels, white dresses that ended before the knee. She would walk to the edge of the city, to the corner of the light and darkness where all was orange and red, and draw.
She had once shown her drawings and sketches to her father—her favorites, of the thirteen dark figures with serious, solemn expressions and smirks, smiles and simpering looks. Her father had panicked, torn the pictures to shreds, and banished her from the Twilight area for weeks. He was doting though, and could not stand watching his daughter be miserable for so long. Soon she was back in the shadowy outskirts, watching the beautiful glow in the far off distance.
Diz watched his daughter gaze towards the glowing castle of Oblivion from his castle, and he grew worried. Seven years had passed, and in another four she would be seventeen—old enough to leave, he knew, for the far off light. So he fawned over her.
He gave her stores of clothes, rich garments, but none of them were black so she kept her white garments. He ordered her the finest meals—she ate bits of them, but pined for simpler meals of small salads, normal fish dishes, not desiring such rich foods. He gave her fine jugglers, tumblers, acrobats, but she left at the earliest times possible, preferring her drawings and books to them.
Weeks before she turned seventeen, her father devised a plan. He called his second daughter, half sister to Naminé, to him. He summoned a troop of his citizens, as well as a wagon to take them all to the Castle in the Distance. He bade goodbye to his confused daughter, Xion, watching as the caravan and its traveling light slunk into the dark.
Six days passed after he sent her off, and with no word from the Order, he began to think he had made a compromise, and felt very pleased with himself. He had a glorious kingdom, and a daughter that would remain with him for all of time.
Xion arrived at Castle Oblivion one day before her sister's 17th birthday. She felt lonely, here in the world of Darkness with soldiers dressed richly marching next to her. She longed that her father might have let her stay for her sister's birthday, or if he had let her say a proper goodbye, but if this could 'save' her sister—save her from what, she did not know—then she would do . . . whatever it was she was doing.
The gates of the Castle loomed before them, and Xion bade her guards away. As of now, she was in the Order's lands—if they did not want to see her, no amount of guard could save her. As her troops marched away into the dark, their traveling light being tugged along behind them, Xion felt the loneliness of the palace grip her. She stepped bravely onto the white stone pavement, and it almost irradiated light as she neared the castle. One thing she noticed, as she approached the great door, was that there weren't any Orbs floating around, lighting the way. It was as if the castle itself was the light.
The doors swung open of their own accord, and Xion found no one to lead her anywhere. She waited in the great hall, all of the walls softly glowing whitish-blue, before catching sound of something hissssing. Waiting for her at the head of a stairwell, tall, white, and ragdoll-like, stood a being that didn't look entirely . . . evil. It stood and swayed at the top, dancing in place, and Xion recognized it for what it was. The symbol on its forehead was that of the Order, and that made it a servant Nobody. It waggled its paw, bidding her to follow as it floated down another hall. She ran after it, following it down many halls and passages until the door open to a cavernous room with thirteen towering thrones. It disappeared then, and the Order began to fade into sight.
Last to appear was Xemnas the Superior, and he gazed down at Xion from the highest stone throne. "Who are you?" he asked. "Are you the daughter of Diz the King of Never Was and the late Princess of the Garden?"
Xion swallowed. Every pair of eyes burned into her, more ancient than the sun or moon of the world of light, and more powerful. She knew, without a doubt, that to lie here would bring her painful death.
"No, sirs and madam. I am Xion, the daughter of Diz the King, but I am not the daughter of a late Princess. My mother was nothing special, and neither am I, but I come humbly asking that you let me take my sister's place in whatever bargain she is a part of."
There was low murmuring passing through the Order, and it stopped in an instant once Saïx the Luna Diviner spoke. His voice was low and vicious, like a wolf's dangerous growl. When he spoke, Xion felt as if blades had been buried inside her. "'A part of'? It was not we who set the boundaries of any bargain. Has your father so little honor to not even tell his own daughter of deals concerning herself?"
Zexion the Shadow-walking Schemer spoke up. "I thought that if the Princess Naminé chose not to come, then she was free to do as her heart desired? If the King fears us so, to send his second daughter to 'save the first', I must wonder . . ."
Demyx the Melodious Nocturne spoke up hesitantly after awhile, and it took longer for the Order to hush to hear him. "What are we going to do with Xion?"
Larxene brandished a silver bladed kunai in her knuckles, pulling the blade to her lips. "I can think of a few things to do with her," she murmured, and Xaldin the Whirlwind Lancer chuckled lowly as spears began to circle the room. Xion backed away slowly, until her back hit the side of a throne. She looked up to see Xigbar, and it was he who shrugged and saved her life.
"Sounds like a waste, dudes," he said. "Don't'cha agree, Boss?" Xemnas glared at him, then eyed the surrounding Nobodies of the room.
"You may decide," he told them.
As a birthday present to his daughter, Diz gave his daughter the one thing she had begged for the most: permission to walk to the outermost outer walls, where the light was more black than light, the place she always wanted to go.
Naminé went gladly, and as she walked the stone walls in the midnight hour—the orbs were mere embers in the dark—she felt a presence with her. She looked over her shoulder, seeing the pale skin of her half-sister garbed in a black cloak. Xion smiled softly, her amethyst eyes glowing with a new power.
"Dear sister," she said, and she walked forward to put her arms around her. She felt cold, but she looked radiant. As if she had swallowed an Orb of light and it was shining out of every pore. "You must come away with me, like you always wanted to. Father won't let you back out to the city ever again, not once he knows just how much you want to leave."
"What . . ." Naminé backed away from her sister, taking in her dark clothes and eyes and ice cold skin again. "Xion, what happened? What did Father do?"
Xion smiled softly again, taking her sister's hand in hers. "Father tricked me, but he did the best thing he's ever done for me. Naminé, it's wonderful. Everything you ever told me and more. Come, the Order will be coming after me, and they will take us both back to our new home."
"But . . ." Naminé looked to the glowing island of light in the Darkness. Oblivion, as her father called it. Such a hopeless name, but it spoke to her. It called her, tugging on her heartstrings. She had to go.
"You are now seventeen. You may chose your life now, you can come to the Order with me if you like. It's wonderful, Naminé. People to stay with you and never leave you again. Never alone, never lost in the Dark." Xion held out her hand. Naminé hesitated, then grasped onto her sister's hand. A brilliant, dazzling, pure light glowed around them the moment they touched, lighting a fiery white path to Oblivion. Xion tugged on her sister's hand. "Come on!" They took off running.
Diz wandered around the topmost tower of his castle when he saw the bright path open up. He stared, like all the inhabitants of his rudely-awaken city, at the path that glowed like white fire and moon light. He could see it trail away into darkness, and see it wind through the black wilderness to Oblivion. It didn't take him long to guess what had caused it, nor what that bright spot of light running across the ribbon of fire was. He ordered for the fastest chocobo and didn't bother to wait for the tack. He jumped onto its back with haste, and his subjects gazed out their windows to see the white-blue light play across the black shadow of a bird and man, not to see who rode with such crazed frenzy.
Naminé and Xion were halfway across their road that ran over streams and ravines when they heard the nic tic tac as talons pounded on the rock-like path. They glanced over their shoulders and saw their father, madness in his eyes as he hurtled down the path after them. Xion took the lead, but even with her now-inhuman speed and strength, she couldn't out run the black bird while carrying Naminé.
"Give her back!" Diz shouted over the thundering of claws and pounding boots. He leveled next to his two daughters, reaching over and grasping the hood of Xion's cloak. He pried Naminé from her, then gazed into his youngest daughter's eyes. What he was what he imagined the worst fate yet. "No . . . They were only supposed to kill you . . ." He could not stand to gaze into the eyes that knew so much, that saw more than the living ever would. He cast her from him, and watched her fly from the path. The same instant Naminé screamed for her, was the same instant his chocobo froze in its tracks and the Order faded into view.
All of them, all fourteen of them now, stood before them on the path. Xemnas stood in the front, and Luxord the Gambler of Fate stood to his left. When he waved on arm, Naminé felt the tug of his power fade, and she crawled off from her father. His Majesty still could only sit, paralyzed in the Gambler's power, and watch as his daughter ran to her sister and drew her into a hug. A few other cloaked members left them be, and it was Roxas the Happened-upon Key of Destiny and Axel the Flurry of Dancing Flames who stepped up to the Superior.
Every powerful being eyed him with such contempt that Diz could feel it to the marrow of his bones. Naminé sensed the pressure in the air and released herself from her sister's cloak, standing in front of Xemnas as he raised his hands to the King.
She shook her head. "Please, please don't. He doesn't know any better. Don't kill him for that."
The Order surrounding her gave her assorted looks, and some took her request insulting. Saïx stepped forward, but Xemnas held him back with a look. His amber eyes narrowed curiously, and he lowered his hands to his sides. Diz still fought against the time freeze that held him in place when the Nobody raised his eyes to him, something flashing into those clay-colored irises'. He motioned to Luxord, and the Gambler released him from his trap.
"Your Majesty," Xemnas said lowly, "for being so faithless, and not holding to your own agreement to release your daughter if she so wished, we do not have to hold our end of the bargain either."
He snapped his fingers and Roxas stepped up. He stared into the awakening town of Never Was, lifting his hands over his head and closing his eyes. Beside him Naminé gazed on, whimpering as the townspeople wailed as their city fell to darkness and the Lights retracted to Roxas' palms. The blessing he had bestowed became a part of him again. Xion placed a hand on her shoulder, telling her not to cry as a moonlit path like theirs' began to glow, leading the inhabitants out of Never Was and back to the world of Light. After a while, the sounds of the people faded away. Thunder flashed in the dark skies above, and lightning shot to the emptied city. Fires leapt out from nowhere, floods surged from the nearby river beds. The earth beneath the once-great city shuddered, and broke, and the sparse vegetation surrounding sprang to life, engulfing the white buildings like a meal. In minutes, or moments, the elements that had once protected and nurished the city destroyed it---leaving nothing more than rubble, and soon the waters and fire, ice and earth began to remove even that.
It was just the Nobodies, the King, the Princess and the chocobo alone in the silent dark then that followed.
Diz clutched the reins of his chocobo tightly, trying his luck to edge away from the beings and escape. Xemnas stared and held him in place where he stood, like a snake.
"You, former-King-of-Never-Was, have lost your Kingdom. Never again will any call you king, nor will you ever feel the lavishes of the rich life. You will struggle and toil in vain until you find the honor you lack." The curse was spoken again by the Nobodies in an ancient language. Diz screamed and pressed his hands to the sides of his head. Unimaginable horror filled his heart and he kicked the bird in the sides, running away into the dark, his maddened cries reaching the empty heavens.
Naminé and Xion watched after him, holding tightly to the other's hand until he could be heard no more. Then, Zexion stepped up, taking a bow and offering Naminé his hand.
She took it, and they all disappeared into the Darkness, and no one ever tried to outwit the Order again.
AN: I have nothing to say. R&R?