An interesting thought that occurred to me while playing the 2016 reboot of DOOM.
The Doom Slayer is a creature without mercy, with barely the tiniest shreds of humanity left within the PRAETOR Suit it wears to slaughter the legions of hell. It cannot be described as human, at least not anymore. What interests me however, is it feels an unrelenting hatred for everything even slightly demonic, and the disregard for human life it displays during the course of that endless quest.
It is willing to doom (hehe) countless millions of humans who rely on Argent Energy just because it is demonic in origin. Those are not the actions of a hero, no matter how it is portrayed. But here's the twist.
It's not the Doom Slayer doing this. At least not willingly. It's you, the player.
There are repeated references, especially in Hell, to the 'Seraphim', the mysterious entity that supposedly commands the Doom Slayer from on high, granting him the strength, skill and tirelessness he needs to combat the forces of Hell eternally.
Admittedly, nothing is confirmed and this is merely my favourite interpretation of it, but at the end of the day it makes the Doom Slayer a far more interesting and complex character than I think any of us imagined.
So the idea that germinated this mini-project can be summed up like this.
The Doom Slayer is no longer Human. The Doom Slayer is apathetic to human life. The Grimm are decidedly not demons.
I've wanted to write a character interacting with Salem in a far more cordial manner than simply using her as a plain old antagonist. She has so much potential to be deep and interesting, especially since we know so little about her motivations. Originally, this was a part of my original project, Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, with Alex Mercer and Salem discussing the world they inhabit from on high, as two beings elevated so far beyond humanity that it's not even funny.
Updates for this will be sporadic. They might come thick and fast, but they might equally take ages. It all depends on how much work I've got at any given time.
Salem stared at the ornate coffin in front of her with the same bored interest that she regarded most things.
To call it a coffin did not do what she was looking at justice. It was carved from stone, red lines of something flowing across it's surface in a crisscrossed pattern. Between them were etched ornate runes and symbols, twisting and spiralling into crimson patterns even she'd never seen before. Furthermore, it was gigantic, easily stretching across a large portion of the room's centre.
"What am I looking at here, Watts?" she questioned, regarding the subordinate who had called her to the large, almost cavernous room.
Dr Watts was, loathe as she was to admit it, an invaluable subordinate. It was depressingly rare to find competently intelligent humans as it was, but it was even rarer to find truly loyal ones. Rather than worshipping her with a fanatic zeal like Tyrian, or obeying for the promise of more power like Cinder, Watts followed out of respect for her intellect.
Followed, not obeyed blindly. He advised and voiced his opinions, should he disagree with any particular course of action, he would say so. He always followed her orders to the letter, able to see the underlying motives behind her every move far better than any of her other underlings.
He tapped several more icons on the tablet he was holding in one arm, before turning to her with a respectful dip of the head.
"A rather unique artifact I've acquired", he explained, "I apologise for not telling you earlier, but it required specifically human transport to move here"
"Oh?" she raised an eyebrow, curiosity piqued
"If you would touch it?"
She reached out a hand, clothed in black 'gloves' that were in fact part of her body, each finger tipped with a razor sharp, perfectly manicured, claw.
The reaction she received was instantaneous. There was a resounding bang from within the coffin as whatever was inside furiously tried to get out. The blows repeated, growing more frequent the longer she held her hand on the cold surface.
"Fascinating", she whispered, not removing her hand so as to let the creature inside continue it's furious assault. She could feel the vibrations of the enormous impacts underneath her hand, and it's rhythm was strangely soothing, even for her.
"It was unearthed from a set of ruins in Mistral, yet does not match the architecture of any other recorded civilisation, in that area or anywhere else on the planet. The initial recovery team carbon-dated it at over three millennia old".
Salem did not respond, instead focusing on the euphoric feeling of the sheer negativity radiating from whatever it was that was in the box. Negativity was the wrong word, but that was the closest approximation she could make to it.
Grimm fed off negativity, revelled in it even. For one as old as her, such base instincts were so far beneath her it was laughable, but that was before she laid eyes on the sarcophagus. The stirring of whatever was in it was intoxicating, and had she not ordered every Grimm in the area to restrain themselves, she would likely be buried under a pile of her own creations.
"The symbols, however, are recognisable" Watts continued, providing her with the information he could immediately see she wanted, "Several ancient civilisations use similar characters, and it was through them that we were able to discern this artifact's true purpose".
Watts' eyes narrowed, "The symbols are, as far as we can tell, all variations on a warning message. One symbol that is repeated across the engraving, and one of the few we were able to decidedly translate, can be literally translated to 'Apocalypse', or 'Doom'".
"It is not a coffin" she finished for him, "It is a prison. What of its prisoner?"
"A far more curious thing indeed", Watts smiled a not quite sane smile, the fascination in the inmate leaking through his collected facade, "For starters, there is no stasis or any other preservative acting on the inside of the coffin, meaning that the creature inside has survived purely through it's own durability. The Sarcophagus itself produces a hitherto unidentified energy, which gives it the incredible durability to restrain its prisoner when he becomes, ah, agitated". His final proclamation was punctuated by a particularly vicious attack on the Sarcophagus' interior.
"He?" she questioned, ignoring the disturbance.
"At a first glance, the occupant appears to be a normal, albeit heavily armoured, human male with an estimated age of about 30 years old. Closer examination reveals…"
He stopped as she raised her free hand to silence him, choosing instead to focus on the vibrations and the sheer rage emanating from the creature inside the box.
Her fascination was far more than simply surrendering herself to instinct. It was how she knew that, just like her, the Sarcophagus' captive was reacting to her presence. For her it was euphoria, for him it was rage. The assault reached a crescendo, a rain of mighty blows visibly shaking the nigh impenetrable lid as her emotions peaked.
That was why it had required human transport. The Grimm would go berserk around such a maelstrom of emotions, but they would also run the risk of awakening the prisoner.
"I am pleased, Watts" she intoned, "Most pleased"
He inclined his head at the praise, "I do believe Tyrian will be most pleased to hear that. It was he who located it, and also carried it the vast majority of the way here on his back, assuming it would please you so. I simply arranged for his cross continental travel and analysed it".
She did not answer, instead allowing the banging to recede until it was gone. She frowned in confusion, as her hand remained on the cold surface of the sarcophagus, but the message behind the action came to her soon enough.
She pondered it for a second, and then acted.
Barbed tentacles stretched out from underneath her 'dress', digging into the tiny gap between the coffin's lid and the main body. Arcs of crimson energy sparked as her tentacle dug further and further into the wedge, driving it open.
"My Queen I-" Watts' protest was cut off as the energy sparked again, this time creating a wave of air that was enough to blow even him clean off his feet and into the opposite wall. For her, it might as well have been a light breeze.
She found her target soon enough, the crackling energy that was apparently the Sarcophagus's defense system harmless to her. It was not to pry it open, but instead to sever the small, fleshy connection that channelled the energy from the top half to the bottom half. One of her barbs elongated, slicing clean through it, but with a surprising amount of resistance.
Almost immediately the energy stopped, dying down rapidly as the broken circuit became unable to channel it throughout the coffin. For a long, painful second, there was silence.
Then the lid of the coffin exploded off with such force that it might as well have been obliterated. The ancient stone was pulverised without the energy to reinforce it, flying clean across the cavern to smash against the far wall.
Salem could not remember feeling more excitement in the entirety of her long life.
Slowly, a figure hauled itself out of the coffin that had been its prison for unknowable millennia, the slightest wobble as it rose the only indicator of it's struggle to remember how to move upright.
Clad in a titanic suit of dull green armour, that she immediately knew was far beyond the technology of even the highest cohorts of the Altesian Military, an emotionlessly blank visor betraying the sheer rage it felt every waking moment. It held itself tall, with a quiet dignity she knew would remain even as its fists tore through its enemies.
For a second, nobody moved. She could feel Watts tense behind her, ready to spring into action at the slightest sign of hostility.
Slowly, painfully, the Armoured Creature reached up to it's neck, and pressed a button on the side of it's helmet. There was a crackling burst of static as a speaker came to life after eons of disuse.
"Thank-" it croaked, voice distorted by the scratchy and barely functioning speaker, only to break off into what was undeniably a fit of hacking coughs as it's throat attempted to repair itself.
She knew that it was repairing itself, because she could hear the noise of flesh reknitting underneath the armoured throat, her enhanced hearing making the inaudible noise as clear as day. At the rate it was going, he would not be able to speak any time soon
"You are welcome", she answered him. He paused, before slowly nodding his thanks; apparently realising he was unable to express it any other way.
"Now then. Who are you?" It was the question that had been on her mind since the moment his fist had first impacted the underside of the coffin.
"I-" he managed, with an apparently titanic effort interceded by coughs as its vocal chords spasmed, "I. am. Doom Slayer".
A rather short, more introductory chapter than anything else. With this out of the way I can easily dive into the real meat of what I want to achieve with this project.
The next real chapter should be up within the next few days, to make up for this opening chapter's painful brevity.
See you then.