I own nothing and no money is being made.
Faces. There were faces everywhere. Large and small, all of them red, contorted into every horrible expression imaginable; fear, pain, hate, greed, rage, sorry, indignity. The cries of the damned souls nearly drowning out the screams of the man who ran across the top of them.
"Casca! Casca!" Guts screamed again and again as he ran of the dark red faces towards a spot in the middle distance underneath a black sun, his long black cape hovering behind him in the wing from his mad dash, his black metal armor ringing out from each step. He had to reach her before it was too late.
Casca, the beautiful, dark skinned spit fire that Guts loved stood upon the hill in front of him, right in front of the monster which had once been Griffith. The dark red armor which characterized him as an Apostle had mixed in with the white armor he showed the mortal realm, the helmet bearing the fearsome visage of the hawk had been removed to reveal his soft skin, white hair. Though his eyes had changed. Gone where the clear sky blue human eyes, replaced by the slitted yellow of a serpent.
Monsters appeared, hideous deformed things from mankind's worst nightmares, trying to bar his path. Guts never even took his eyes off of his goal as he swung his massive steel sword. The slab of metal, darkened by the blood of the thousands that's blood had stained it ripped through the demons like wet parchment. It was an unholy sword, cursed by the deaths it had wrought, becoming more of a symbol than a mortal weapon, a tool that could even kill a god.
"Casca!" Guts cried, but the dark skinned woman didn't respond.
"Casca..." Griffith said, his steady voice carrying over all others, reverberating in the world of the eclipse. "Tell me, would you accept the contract? Will you discard Guts in order to be with me. Do you wish to be my queen?"
"Casca!" Guts screamed, one final time before she gave her answer. The one he had dreaded. The one that the Skull Knight predicted she would give. The one that, deep down, he always knew she would give.
Griffith smiled. It was still an angelic smile, not matter how much of a monster he was. His dark cape spread out like wings and enveloped her as a dark purple light started to shine from the behelits she had been holding in her hand.
A beam of light erupted from the evil trinket, twisting through the air before striking Guts on the left side of his neck. The man staggered in shock as he felt it being burned into his flesh. A second sacrificial brand mirroring the one that Griffith had given him. He could hardly feel the pain as it burned him, burning so bad that blood poured out of it.
He watched as Griffith's cape unfolded to reveal Casca, dressed in dark purple armor which closely resembled Griffith's. Her strong brown eyes were gone, replaced by a hollow yellow color.
Guts single usable eye widened. His face struggled to display a thousand emotions. The feeling of betrayal washed over him and dragged him under. He felt old wounds being torn open in his heart. He felt sorrow beyond what any other person could possibly understand as, for the second time, the person he cared for the most in the world discarded him, using him as a human sacrifice. Condemning his soul for their own selfish purposes.
He felt true and bitter sorrow... but he also felt something else. Something much much hotter. Something that had always been boiling inside of him. RAGE!
Guts let out an animalistic scream. One that seemed to silence the rest of the world. The metal plate on the back of his Berserker Armor twisted upwards, forming into the helmet that looked like a rabid black dog with terribly sharp teeth.
All reason went to the wind, all feeling in his body disappeared, a limitations were forgotten. There was only one thing left to him, one instinctive need.
KILL! DESTORY! RIP! TEAR! MURDER!
He moved with a speed that could not be human. Lifting up his massive black sword with a single hand out to his side as he closed the distance between himself and the Apostles who had once been the people he loved the most in the world.
Griffith raised a hand, and an invisible pressure pushed back against the black beast, momentarily disrupting its footing before it once again pushed forward through the barrier of air with a horrible lurch, overwhelming all the rules of reality through pure monstrous strength.
The slab sword moved through the air, ready to slice the two traitors in half, only to be blocked by Griffith's own slender steel blade. Forged from unearthly metals, the thin blade managed to withstand the tremendous force behind the black beast's attack. The ground trembled from the blow, armor rattled, nearby monsters who were preparing to help their masters staggered from the shock wave the emanated from the point of contact. Even so, Griffith's face did not change. He still bore the expression of a man who was staring down at an insect.
But even if his expression hadn't changed, his arm still shook from the strange of blocking the human's attack.
Casca moved in, the armor on her arm was long and ended in a sharp point, which she wielded like a rapier. Guts shifted back, crouching like an animal as he dodged the first few strikes. But then he swung his cape forward, letting it get tangle in the weapon before yanking the woman closer, his helmet seeming to open slightly, like a pair of jaws as he went to bite her head off.
Casca's hand came up, grabbing onto the top of Guts's helmet as she struggled to keep the sharp metal teeth from digging into her flesh. Though the insane man's strength was slowly overwhelming even her monstrous power. "You always were just a savage dog." The apostle hissed. It might as well not have bothered. Guts could not hear her.
In the end, Guts had to abort the attempt to kill the woman as Griffith's saber went for his head. He pulled Casca into the way of the attack, making Griffith stop before throwing the woman at him and swinging about his sword in order to try to kill them both in one strike.
Griffith moved back, pulling Casca with him as the hound nipped at his heels, swinging the massive blade in an over arching strike that split open the giant face they had been standing on, sending up a spray of blood.
Guts took another massive step forward, bringing the sword up above him with both hands before swinging down with all his might. Griffith moved forward, prepared to riposte the attack.
History repeated itself yet again as the two blades met. Griffith's ethereally enhanced saber snapped under the weight of Guts's cursed blade. Blood flew through the air, Griffith's blood. The God Hand member barely avoided a killing blow as he manipulated the space around him to twist himself out of the way of the massive sword. The wind from the slash allow batted him away.
"Griffith!" Casca said, moving to his side as the spray of blood from the split open face settled.
Guts stood there, his right arm twisted in an odd angle as the massive force he had put behind the previous attack and snapped the bone like a twig, blood dripped out from the gaps in his armors. But the Black Beast didn't care. The arm twisted back into place in a motion that would have made most moral men sick.
Griffith brushed away Casca's touch as he stood tall, staring at Guts. "To think after all this time. After everything I have become. You have still found a way to attempt to climb the mountain for which I stand upon the peak." Griffith said his voice still calm. Bright white light started to leak out from underneath Griffith's armor and the world seemed to tremble. "But no matter what you do Guts, you are still only a mortal man, where I am a god."
The light grew blinding, becoming like a star that had appeared on the world's surface. Guts shielded himself with his massive sword, as much to protect himself from a sneak attack as to guard his eyes from the light.
Wind swept over the bloody ground as the sound of batting wings shook the world of the eclipse. Guts fell to one knee, sinking his claws into the flesh like ground in order to stop himself from being battered around.
Griffith's ethereal body, true form as a Apostle, had been revealed. A massive white bird of prey, big as a castle with six large white wings. Every feather on its body glowed with a mesmerizing light. It's beak and claws looked as though they were made of pure gold, and its eyes were as blue as the sky in the mortal realm. On the bird's forehead, nearly unseeable from the ground unless you already knew it was there, was a face, Griffith's human face, so pale that it nearly blended in with the white feathers.
It was a form of beauty. A form to be worshipped. The form... of the perfect killer. The existence that sat at the very top of the food chain. A monster that could and would rip apart everything beneath him. The ruler of the sky.
The apostle took to the air with remarkable speed for something so massive. It's six wings all beating together with the force of a storm. It circled in the air, before coming down to the ground racking its claws over the surface, throwing up giant mounds of flesh as it created a scar across the bloody land in its wake, moving straight for Guts.
The Black Beast didn't falter or cower in front of the apex predator. Rather it charged, attempting to confront the massive claws in a head on charge. The four hundred pound black sword that was twice the size of the average man met the golden claw thats nail allow was as big as a war horse.
The momentum from the huge bird easily pushed back the human sized swordsman. Sparks flying as the iron met the otherworldly material of the claws. Then, against all reason, the thing that gave first was the claw.
One of the Hawk's toes was cut clean off, sent spinning through the air with a spray of blood as the iron slab cut through the diamond hard golden scales that lined the feet.
The Black Beast, freed from its clash bounced along the ground. But even before it finished rolling it was not about to let its prey escape. The false felt arm shot out a grappling hook, connected by a strong steel wire more than two inches thick.
It had been the first time Guts would use the function in battle. It was the latest modification that Rickert had added to the man's false arm when they had returned to the hill of swords after finally repairing Casca's mind.
Guts had believed that Casca wanted to return to the hill so that she could finally pay proper respects to the old Band of the Hawk. To morn those who Griffith had so thoughtlessly betrayed. The people who had been her family. He didn't realize that she had been returning there in order to see him again. To meet Griffith on that hill of swords. To take the same offer that Griffith had taken.
The steel claw was expertly sharpened with terrifying barbs and sank into the upper leg of the monstrous hawk. Guts body was jerked into motion by Griffith's speed. The force of it should have snapped his spin clean in half as well as ripping off his arm, but the Berserker Armor held him together, refusing to let him die. Not so long as his body still remained in one piece.
Clipping his Dragonslayer into its magnetic holster on his back Guts began to pull himself in on the rope with inhuman speed. Pulling himself towards the bird's body.
Griffith weeved and flipped, trying to shake off the armored man, to sever the bind that connected them, but Guts refused to let go and the clasp on the monster's leg only dug deeper. No matter how the apostle lashed about, Guts continued to get closer and closet.
Sharp metal claws sank into the white feathers and the berserker reached the main body of the monster. Waves of Ethereal energy radiated from the hawk, trying to push away the invading body, but the berserker only sank its helmet's razor like teeth in as it pulled up the free arm and started hacking away at everything square inch of flesh that was in reach.
The hawk shuddered and screamed as blood rained down from the wound on its leg. As its focus weakened, so did the force it exerted in an attempt to dislodge the monster that gripped it.
Guts continued to climb up the side of the giant bird, foot by foot, clawing and biting as he dragged his large sword up its side, slashing away every time his body shifted about. Through that pattern he reached the underside of the Hawk's wings, and with one savage strike, cut away the tendons.
The bird's right wings went dead, one after another. It fell from the sky, senselessly beating at the air with its remaining wings in a pointless attempt to remain a flout.
It hit the ground hard, continuing to roll, crushing hundreds of demons as slowly came to a stop. The Black Monster himself had been thrown off the top of the bird during its decent. The Berserker Armor held, slowly pushing Guts, getting him back up onto his feet even after the fall that no mortal man should have been able to survive.
Guts started to move towards the downed apostle, dragging his sword behind him as his bones splinted themselves back into place with a horrible cracking sound. By the time he had reached the head, he was already prepared to lift his sword.
The face on the monster's forehead looked at Guts. An expression still dull as ever. "Fitting I suppose. You always have been the only one that could stand up as my equal." The face said, not seeming to be in any pain, even as the rest of the hawk's body struggled to stand, with one side hacked into pieces. "But tell me, I may have traded away the lives of others to reach my goal. But can you honestly say you did any different? How many hundreds have you killed? Did you not sell your own soul along the way, just as I did mine?" Guts didn't respond, he just keep coming closer. "Well, you don't really need to answer. I already know the truth. Goodbye, my friend." The White Hawk said to the Black Dog as he closed his eyes.
"Get away from him!" Guts deflected a thrust aimed for his body as Casca made an attempt to attack him. He then grabbed the woman and throw her to the ground, through she recovered and moved between Guts and Griffith. "Don't you dare touch him. I won't let you ruin Griffith's dream. Not again." The apostle hissed, readying her rapier like arm.
Guts just kept moving closer. Casca screamed, jumping towards him, attempting to stab out with her rapier. Guts simply slapped the attack to the side before swinging a claw into her face. She screamed and backed away, falling backwards into the giant hawk's head.
Casca tried to wipe the blood from her face but found it impossible, and before she could do anything else, the massive slab of iron plunged into her body, nailing her to the hawk where it passed through the face that had been on its forehead.
Her bloodied hands came away from her face as she gasped, trying to take in her final breathes. Tears poured down her face as she reached out her hands. Her limp fingers reaching out to Guts... reaching out for his throat. Her life drained away as she tried in vain to squeeze at the armor that protected Guts' neck.
Guts staggered back away from the dead bodies. Tilting back his head he gave a inhuman cry. The nearby demons stepped back as they felt the bloodlust in the creature, seeing the amount of damage it had done. But at the same time, they didn't retreat. Each and every one of them could sense it, the sorrow, the pain. It was like sweet honey to them, though none dared move in to take a bite.
They should have ran.
The Black Monster would not allow them to simply watch him. Anything that moved must die. Guts continued on his rampage, rushing out to attack everything he could find.
He had lost it. He was drowning in a sea of sorrow. Unable to think as his body simply went along with its primal desire to kill everything. What was the point in stopping it? What was the point in living?
His soul was going dark. Falling it his inner demon. The thing that had been nested deep inside of him. The thing he had been fighting all along. He couldn't remember why he had fought it. Wasn't this what he had always wanted? To simply kill everything? What other purpose did he have?
The last remains of Guts was about to disappear, consumed by his sorrows. But just before the light went out, a vision came to him.
A small boy, only seven or eight years old, one who seemed to be made of flames. His black hair that reached down to his waist and dark eyes stared at Guts, stared straight through him, seeing everything that he was. The child just looked at him, but as he did, the darkness seemed to withdraw and he felt his mind clearing. Old thoughts returning to his head.
Then he could hear it. The rhythmic tapping of a staff and a mind reaching out to him.
'Guts... please... come back... We need you... there are too many of them...' He could see them in his minds eye. His companies. They were struggling against an onslaught of Demons. Schierke stood in the center of a circle of a magic barrier, trying to protect those around her, but the barrier wasn't strong enough to stop some of the larger, more powerful demons.
Isidro, Serpico, Rikert and Azan were trying to hold off the monsters as best they could to shield Schierke, Farnese, and Erica, but they were being pushed back. Isidro was bleeding from being thrown to the ground, Azan's twin sided mace staff was broken in half and one of his arms was held lamely at his side, and Rikert seemed to be running out of weaponry, his supply of arrows was almost spent and his bag of grenades was empty.
They were going to die.
"Like hell!" Guts growled. The berserker Armor itself seemed to be shocked as he stabbed his sword into the ground and reached up to start pulling back the armor's helmet. It resisted, struggled against his attempts to regain control.
'Why do you care!? Your life no longer has purpose! Your love betrayed you! Why do you continue to fight to exist! You were always going to give in eventually! From the very moment you first dawned the armor you fate was sealed!' The inner demon raged against him.
Guts ignored it. Even if he was betrayed. Even if every single memory he held dear was pissed on. Even if all hope was drained away from the world. He would never stop moving.
Your life doesn't have meaning until you find it. His life had been meaningless before the hawks, but it had gained meaning. And it hadn't been because of destiny or fate, it had been because Guts chose for it to happen.
He would not choose to give up. He would not choose to take it all lying down. He would keep fighting. No matter the consequence, he wouldn't just let things happen, he would cause things to happen. If the world was in his way, then he would move it.
Screw sorrow! Screw regret! Screw the consequences! And screw fate!
Isidro blocked and sidestepped an attack from a demon the size of a cow with six ape like arms, quickly countering by driving the edge of his fire dagger into its flesh. Flames quickly grew across the monster's skin, eating away at the creature as the salamander spirits ran wild.
But even as the demon died, three more took its place.
"Oh come on! There's no end to this." The red haired by whined as he lit his last grenade and tossed it to cover his retreat. "Rickert, I'm out of grenades! Got any more!"
"No! My arrows are spent too, and I'm running out of fairy steel knifes!" The blond young man shouted back as two massive armored demons came down on him, forcing him to retreat as well.
Serpico gathered a large gust of wind and pressed back against the armored demons buying the group a bit more room for when Azan rushed forward with one of the splintered halves of his staff. The attack wasn't enough and Azan was knocked backwards, cushioned by more wind so that he didn't smash his head into the ground.
"You still holding in there Sir Mustache?" Serpico said, checking on Azan.
"Boy, don't ask stupid questions." Azan growled as the old knight pushed himself up with his splintered staff as a crutch. "I refuse to die before you do. I swore I would out live you and I intend to!"
"Well, I'm sad to say that we might both be kicking the bucket soon." Serpico said looking towards the armored demons that continued to press forward.
"Serpico! Azan!" Farnese shouted, not knowing what to do. The blond haired knight turned witch had learned a little magic, but none of it was going to be of use against these monsters. She felt helpless. Unable to do anything but stand between the other girls and the monsters with the small silver dagger that would hardly be enough to give them a paper cut.
Rickert and Isidro were both knocked back as well. The sheer number of demons made it all seem hopeless. They were trapped in a world of demons. Even with Schierke's magic and barriers weakening the demons, how long would they be able to hold out before they finally fell.
"He's here." Schierke said, startling Farnese as she looked back to her tiny teacher. A small smile gracing the little witch's lips as she stood there with her eyes closed, continuing to tap out the hypnotic rhythm of her spells.
Screams of panic filled the air. The demons' screams.
The two armored demons turned around in time to have their top half split from their bottom halves. Blood flying as their torsos spun through the air.
Standing their where they had been was Guts, covered from head to toe in blood, his black cape in tatters, his breathing heavy, but with the fire of resistance burning strong in his eyes.
"Guts!" Isidro shouted, a grin spreading across his face. The Black Swordsman moved about them killing demon after demon.
"About time." Azan grumbled, pushing himself to stand with a bit more strength and move forward again.
With just his appearance, everyone felt lifted. They might have been tired. They might have been trapped in a world of demons. They might have been on their last leg. But Guts was there. Their living symbol of resistance against the darkness. Someone who they felt could hold off all of hell until the end of time. The fighters returned with renewed strength. The demons seemed to draw back, frightened of the warrior with his massive sword.
"Schierke, know any ways out of here?" Guts said, his tone of voice almost bored as he cleaved a giant spider demon in two.
"Not exactly. But if you can take some of the strain off, I can start working on it." The thirteen year old witch admitted as she drew some power away from her spell, willing to risk its strength with Guts close at hand. She needed to find a way to return them to the mortal realm, or at least to the astral plain. Anything would be better than this hellscape they found themselves in.
The demons were being pressed back as Schierke started to test the boundaries of the world they found themselves in. Her astral body seeking a hole, any weakness.
She was shocked when the Moonlight Boy appeared in front of her astral body. The child smiled at her, and started to draw her in, leading her. She felt the child's strange Od. But she could also feel something else.
The free energy of a world. Mana that was clean and clear. "Everyone, stay close. Ivalera I need you to put out the symbols of the Twelve Pans. I've found a source." Schierke said, before beginning a new chant. Her body swayed and the tapping of her staff gave way to a rapid scratching motion. Ivalera, the elf who assisted Schierke quickly flew about, laying out the paper signs at the right spots. The fighters retreated into the circle of papers as light began to expand out from each of them. The demons tried to move forward, but the mana of a world that rejected them burned their bodies, driving them back.
With one final word, Schierke slammed her staff on the ground and the world exploded in light. Taking the party away from the World of the Eclipse.
Little did they now, they were not returning to Midland.
A massive first chapter that only severs to basically say, Guts and party, minus Casca, go to another world.
I'm going to have the Moonlight Boy hanging around as a physical being, always trying to follow Guts around and causing a few plot convent things to happen. More or less taking the vegetable Casca's usual job.
In case you haven't already guessed, I'm not a huge Casca fan. Yeah she was made to be hot, but she was also kind of a bitch and never had a thought of her own, even before she was a mindless vegetable. Guts was simply so attached to his old memories (and maybe the fact that he gets off on people needing him) that he didn't drop the woman. Even the one time they had sex was angry sex. She always chose Griffith over him.
I'd say he should leave her for Schierke. Thirteen is legal in their time period. Wouldn't even be considered strange, he's only twenty four or five.
To my knowledge, Griffith's form as an apostle has never been revealed. The one I made up is simply one I made up.