Life 42: Omen Mortis
CHAPTER 2: THE YOUNG KING
Having become the young Lucian King, Harry now lives as Noctis Lucius Caelum, and has had his newfound kingdom destroyed around him, and the prince now taking the title of his father.
With new friends by his side, he has escaped the Niflheim Empire to fight another day, brewing the idea of a resistance to fight back and destroy the Empire forever.
His fate awaits...
God… even with a fan on, it was burning in here…
After escaping an Imperial Armada, losing my new father before I could even meet him, and being tricked by some mysterious girl obsessed with mythology from the dredges of Noctis' memory, we had finally arrived at Hammerhead station.
The home and workplace of one of Regis' oldest allies, Cid Sophier.
From what Ignis, the smartest member of our group, had filled in, Regis had set out on a journey thirty years ago with Cid, Cor, Gladiolus' father, and another.
Ignis had suggested, with the burning remains of Insomnia in our wake, that we seek out Regis' old friends, and form a resistance against the Empire.
I agreed of course, since I knew there would be those that would join us. An oppressive regime always breeds opposition.
Gladiolus, or Gladio as he preferred, simply suggested killing everyone in the Empire's leadership…
However, he also insisted that his father was alive, but I wasn't so sure.
Prompto just complained about the heat, finally something I could completely agree on.
However, now we had a minor problem holding back our plans of revolt and revenge.
The Regalia, the car Regis had clearly left to me, was in a sorry state, and I swear that it didn't look this bad last night.
From the shattered glass that once was a windshield, to the bullet holes and dents in the framing, to the fact the engine refused to start no matter how much Gladio swore at it in earnest.
Fortunately, we had a mechanic.
"Now, which one of you is the Prince?" A southern twang spoke in our direction, the four of us resting in the diner neighboring the station, a can of Ebony in my hand. Oddly enough, it was a carbonated coffee… Not half bad in my opinion, though Ignis spoke like it was nectar.
I held up a hand as I took another drink, Prompto's eyes nearly popping out of his head as she leaned forward over our booth, her breasts nearly busting out of the thing she called a top…
People out here are really… liberating.
"Aha!" She exclaimed as her face lit up, "Hello, your Highness. You guys already met Paw-Paw, right?"
I didn't know what a paw-paw was, but I assumed this was Cid's granddaughter, Cindy Aurum, the active mechanic of Hammerhead.
"Yes, we met with him last night. How's the work coming along?" Ignis spoke to her, drawing her attention off of me, which I was thankful for since her gaze was pretty intense for my liking.
She frowned then, and I didn't think she could considering how much she smiled.
"Not to be rude fellas, but what the hell did you do to your car? It's barely holding together!" She cried out as I leaned back in the booth, my eyes rolling as she started ranting about how the Regalia was a beautiful piece of art, and to treat it as such.
"We, uh, kinda escaped from Insomnia in it…" Prompto muttered as he picked at his fries, the only thing each of us could order with the little amount of Gil we'd been able to scavenge from the Regalia's seats.
What kind of place used Gil rather than Gold? Better yet, what kind of kingdom doesn't have a unified currency?
However, Cindy interrupted that line of thought before I could start criticizing the Kingdoms as well.
"You all were there during the Fall? Did you-" She asked of us then in a wonderful choice of topic, horror flooding her voice as I couldn't help but think of what I had seen.
The King dead before me, the sky on fire as buildings collapsed and citizens ran for their lives, us having to ignore them in our struggle to escape with our lives. A people that my family had sworn to protect, having to die because their king had fallen and their prince was forced to flee.
It was horrible.
"We were, and we'd rather not talk about it." Gladio said with a huff as he finished his fries, his eyes darting out the window as I finished my drink, not wanting to talk about it either.
"I'm sorry for bringing it up…" Cindy said in a sorrowful tone, before the same infectious smile took hold. "Anyway, the repairs are gonna take a while, as I'll have to call in some parts from Tenebrae, and before y'all start worrying, they're discrete with the Empire around."
"That's great to hear." Ignis said as he had obviously shared my worry, as this Empire had surpassed my earlier worries, but I was pretty confident we could take them down, but just not the four of us…
"Oh yeah, and Paw-paw wanted to talk by the garage, about some fellers up by the ridge?" Cindy said then with a gesture, before turning and walking out, and… god damn it, she was wearing daisy dukes…
I understood it was burning hot here, but she was on another level of dealing with the heat.
I only wish that Regis had left clothes here that weren't pitch black. I understand that Lucis' color was black, and the royalty were decked out in it, but it wasn't really made for this kind of weather.
However, putting that aside, the guys and I stood and headed back into that hellish wasteland, the garage in our sights.
Prompto just groaned at having to step back into the blistering heat.
The doors were open and the gnarled up Regalia sat inside, Cid looking over it as Cindy stood beside him.
"This car carried your daddy for over forty years… and you boys wrecked it in one night." Cid said critically as we walked up, my eyes rolling as I took a rest against the wall of the garage, my new friends standing beside me.
"Well, I doubt my dad ever had to drive through an Imperial airship strike…" I muttered out as Cid's eyes actually widened for a second, his hand resting against the almost caved in door, barely hanging on by the hinge.
"I'm surprised you boys are even alive, or that the old girl even survived, but you Lucians always did have Death on your side." He said to us as he trailed his hand down to the mantelpiece of the car, my eyes actually widening for a second before I remembered that Lucis worshiped a Goddess of Death, and that he wasn't talking about me.
"So, Cindy tells us that it'll take some time for the repairs to finish." Ignis said in response, as Cid just scoffed at us in turn.
"You been looking at it? This is a week's work, at the best. If it weren't so valuable, I would say junk it, but that's not an option here." Cid said with a bit of scorn in his voice before he turned to us with a stern gaze. "We can fix it, but it better not ever get like this again."
I just nodded as Prompto shrunk back behind Gladio, the four of us making a silent promise then and there.
"Good. Now then, we got some mutual 'friends' up by the ridge about a mile or two from here, Imps." He said as Ignis stepped forward then, Gladio's arms crossing as I saw his fists clench.
"You think they're here searching for us?" Ignis asked the man as even he looked angry, though his composure held under the pressure.
"Could be, but officially they're here to establish an outpost, to take over Duscae even more than they done before."
I frowned then, as Duscae fell under my kingdom, and I had already swore that I wouldn't let there be such disarray out here when the crown city was so privileged.
Or, had been.
"I'll kill them." I said aloud, my companions actually looking at me in shock then, though Gladio nodded in approval, and Prompto actually pumped his fist in the air.
"Been waiting to hit back at them, seems perfect." Gladio said as I took another look at the Regalia, and then to Cid.
"You said a mile or two, right? We can't exactly drive there…" I said as I motioned to the wreck before us, but Cid looked at then, a sadistic smile on his lips.
"Then you'll walk. Get a lay of the land while you do."
I had a feeling he'd say that…
Now I know why the people in Insomnia ignored Duscae. They'd burn up as soon as they stepped out into the region.
I had lost my tie halfway through the trip, Ignis copying my example of rolling up our sleeves, and I debated whether or not it was all worth it.
Especially when every other second some beast tried to eat Prompto.
"Ah, damn it!" Prompto cried out as another beast, a Voretooth Ignis had called it, tried to take a bite out of him.
In a blink, I had reached his side, my blade appearing on the spot to skewer the monster's brain.
That had been a surprise to learn, only brought about when Gladio had asked why I was holding back.
I could teleport, but not like Apparition. It was more like… phasing. Being able to dash forward in a splash of light just by throwing my sword forward, however… It was odd.
I felt a strange weakness flooding my body every time I swung the sword, the same one I had taken from Regis upon his death.
Before we could even reach the outpost site, I was already drained and Ignis had taken notice, pulling me aside as I took a shuddering breath.
"Noct, are you okay?" He asked me and I honestly didn't know if I was. An ache was forming in my ribs as my eyes struggled to stay open, a headache going worse by the second.
"I'm… not sure." I sputtered out as the blade appeared once more in my hand, and Ignis looked closer at it. Almost in response to his inspection, a wave of red energy shot over the blade, a sound akin to laughter echoing softly around us.
"Noct… this blade, it was your father's, yes?" He asked me as I could only nod, my body straining to even stand, an exhaustion I had never before felt overtaking me.
"Noct, I think this is- Noctis!" Ignis called out then as he suddenly had to hold me, my eyes drifting shut as Morpheus took over my senses.
It was really hot.
"I always marvel at what toys you find on your way." A cold, unfeeling voice said as I found myself once more in a familiar void.
The frost of the realm made for a welcome change from the consuming heat.
Before me stood a man in a crisp dark suit akin to mine, his cheekbones near nonexistent, his hair styled back as he held Regis' blade aloft, his eyes as black as coal.
"Death…" I said aloud, my voice echoing into the distance as only he and I existed, nothing to mask my surprise or my voice.
I couldn't have died, I doubt I did. I would be someone else, and my face my own, rather than Noctis' fringe covering my gaze.
"You tread a dangerous path my Avatar." The embodiment of Death said to me, pointing the blade now to me, a red glow drifting off the metal.
"First, you find yourself in a life not of my design, and now you carry a blade that uses your own life force for its strength. A brilliant and remarkable idea, but a pointless one." Death said as he threw the blade aside only for it to vanish into scarlet particles, a nonexistent wind blowing them away into nothing.
"Not your design? The hell are you talking about Death?" I asked him then as I threw my hands aside in confusion. He had said each of my lives held a purpose, some grand meaning contributing to a greater image.
What the hell does he mean?
"Exactly what I said. I did not intend for you to take on the life of Noctis Lucis Caelum, but apparently someone else did. I did not think it possible, but someone else grabbed your soul after you perished in the last life, and decided to insert you into Noctis." Death said with something akin to wonder in his voice as he walked past me, the city of Insomnia springing to life around us as the morning dawned.
"What… what does that mean for your plan then?" I asked him as a bird flew down from the skies only to land on Death's outstretched finger, and to die suddenly. I would be shocked if any of this was actually real and not a pure illusion.
"It means nothing, as one less life does not impede our goal, but that blade is interesting." Death said as he recalled the ashes of the metal together, the fragments reforming into what it had been once more, that same threatening glow thrumming to life.
"This is the Blade of the Father, a weapon of the Lucian Royal Family, it appears that all Lucian Kings hold a magical weapon powered by their gods." Death said as he dropped the blade, it's form floating adrift as a golden energy wrapped around it, almost crushing it as that same threatening glow broke clear through Death's effort.
"Astonishing, but pointless."
"What do you mean?" I asked him once more, only for Death to actually laugh at me as the blade disappeared like it had never been there.
"These Royal Arms feed on the life force of those that use them, a price for a price. But useless, as your life force is nonexistent." He said then as he waved a hand over my chest, a blue stream of energy being pulled out of my chest with a sudden pain.
However, before my very eyes, the energy melted away into nothing but water.
"It appears that this blade was feeding off of what remains of Noctis within you. I've removed the connection, and forged one between it and you. Since you have no soul, it can not drain it." He said with a sudden motion, and I instantly felt better than I ever had before, only for a thought to strike me.
"What do you mean I don't have a soul?"
"Noct! You alright pal?" Gladio nearly screamed as my eyes opened, the land of the living once more meeting my gaze as I felt myself lying on a rock, my friends surrounding me on all sides.
"He's okay!" Prompto cried out in happiness as Ignis helped me stand, but I quickly waved off his hand.
The strength filling my veins was one I had never experienced before, my eyes were nearly glowing as the Sword of the Father returned to my hand, the glow on it now a pulsing silver as I felt almost… an apology emitting from the blade.
It seems like it was sorry.
"Noctis, you should be more careful, let alone when handling a weapon like that." Ignis said weary as he waved a hand for it to disappear. That had been another thing they had kinda explained, the Armiger, a magical realm within the soul that the Lucian Kings could use for storage.
Apparently it also extended to companions as well.
"Yeah, Royal Arms, I kinda figured it out Iggy." I said with a lazy grin as Ignis looked on in surprise, my head turning as I began to walk off into the distance.
Of course, they immediately began to follow.
"I thought you hated learning, Noct?" Prompto said as he ran to catch up, his gaze curious but innocent.
"Not when it's useful." I said with a smirk as Ignis chimed in.
"It's always useful."
"You keep saying that Iggie, but I've yet to see proof."
"General Stultus! The landscaper has returned, and he says it may be advantageous to build farther west. There's a service station not far from the site he recommended." A young Imperial cadet said out of breath as he reached his commanding officer, the older man simply looking out over the wasteland before him with a snarl on his lips.
"And why should I listen to that savage? We build here, and if the workers have complaints, they can address them with me." The general said with a growl as his hand fell to the hilt of his blade, the cadet backing off wisely.
"Fools, each and every one of them…" General Stultus said with anger as he walked back into the airship they had brought out into the shithole, supplies around him as workers surged forward to quickly assemble the outpost before night truly fell.
However, his anger was cut short by a yell outside the ship, likely a worker dropped a hammer on his foot or some other foolish thing.
He swore, every other day the workers proved their stupid-
One of his own soldiers was dead at his feet, a gaping hole in the man's chest as he sputtered for breath, blood pooling around him as Stultus could only stare.
"How the hell…?" He asked aloud, only to feel a blade's edge pressed against his throat, a strong arm wrapping around his shoulders, a pistol coming into view as a group of young men approached him.
One tall and proper looking, the one with a pistol wiry and young, and the last… Well, he knew damn well who he was.
The Lucian Prince, well King now, and the King of Death as they called him.
He was smiling at him, the damn savage, his arms crossed as he stepped closer.
"Ease up Gladio, he's not going anywhere." The Lucian said with a grin as the pressure on Stultus ceased as a large burly man came from behind him, a large blade resting now on his shoulder.
"What the hell are you doing here?" Stultus asked aloud as he tried not to shudder as the large man pressed hard down on his shoulder, obviously not happy at his tone.
"Well, we actually came here to kill you. After all, your Empire's cost us a lot." The young king said softly then, his smile melting away slowly as he stepped forward, a sword appearing out of mid air into his hand, the point coming up to jab at Stultus' chest.
"After all, you killed my father, destroyed our home, and you're only the first of the Empire to pay for it." Noctis Lucis Caelum said aloud as Stultus felt the blade pierce his stomach ever so softly, the man's restraint clear to see.
"The entire world has fallen, only your kingdom remained, and we could not allow that. All of Eos will bow to the Empire." Stultus screamed out in rage as he stared at the young king with hatred, only to be surprised when the boy looked at him with the same intensity.
"You've very misguided my friend. May Death show you the truth." Caelum said then with a sick grin, as Stultus cried out in agony, the blade of the fallen king sinking into the general's gut with a fierce motion, the point of it having pierced clear through his body.
With the blade's withdrawal, Stultus fell to the dirt without delay, his breath faulting as he felt his body refuse to move.
And with that, Vergo Stultus lost his head, and the Empire was dealt the first blow.
"He is aware."
"It is not yet time."
"If you continue to delay, the time will elapse."
"Then the world will burn."
"You would abandon the world sister?"
"If Death would have it, absolutely."