[Disclaimer: Nightmare and other Soul Caliber characters are owned and licensed by Namco. I am merely using him as a simple fan fiction and for non-profit. Liana Kurt is MINE. I created her and she is licensed to me, so I can use her whenever I will!!!! Mwahahah!!! O sorry… ONTO the Story!!!]

Tainted Water: Nightmare's New Foe

A lone figure stalked through the trees silent and vigilant as the night wind fluttered the foliage around him. Despite the darkness that surrounded him, he seemed a black rogue, massive and reeking of evil worse than the night. But he was the Night. He was the terror of Europe, the bringer of instant death to any that crossed his path. His name was Nightmare, and he was everything his name declared him to be. Yet, more frightening than the walking panzer himself, was the soul sucking sword strapped to his back. Nearly matching his height, the sword was grown over with what one would call undead flesh, thick and veiny. A great yellow eye near the hilt roved around scanning the darkness. It was the Soul Edge and despite all the battles it had been through, the souls it had struck down, the blade had never dulled, and never would. It pulsed with a dark power that reeked so of malice that Nightmare could feel it through his thick armor, and it was always there…

He stopped as the line of trees ended in front of him; the light of the moon glistened off his armor exposing his prescience. He turned his radiant red eyes past the sleeping green moor in front of him, the wind fluttering his blood red hair. A large castle loomed before him, its dark towers and battlements silhouetted against the full moon. His eyes narrowed and he proceeded across the moor to it.

Nightmare had returned to his old refuge as if on instinct. Soul Edge yearned to reclaim the former remnants of itself and continue its' reign of terror. Nightmare had followed its' call but with other motives, he traveled only at night to avoid as much human contact as possible and he needed an uninhabitable place to think. Now he found himself here. Here he had been fully consumed by Soul Edge, here the slaughter had begun and here he hoped to find a way to end it all.

Memories assaulted him as he passed through the hallowed halls and stone corridors of the deserted castle. Waves of emotions flooded back to him, but he brushed them aside, what was done has been done, brooding on his past would not save his future. He eventually found his way to where the castle's cathedral had once been. The roof had caved in and one wall had fallen to the grounds below due to the pressure of time. Somehow, the stained glass windows in the rear and remaining wall had remained intact and unscathed; the moonlight flooding the darken floor with color. Regardless of its disarray, this was a holy place and maybe it would help calm his own tortured soul.

He stopped near the edge of the fallen wall and looked down to see what remained of its stones, scattered and moss covered, several stories below. Nightmare could have jumped, and ended his suffering, but Soul Edge could never leave him, and Nightmare would never wish the cursed sword on another. A light near the ocean suddenly caught his attention and he glanced down at the frothing brine. A blue sphere unlike any he had ever seen glowed from beneath the waves. It rose swiftly, breaking through the water and in a silent explosion, it dissipated into hundreds of particles that melded back into the sea. As the glowing remnants fell, a womanly figure appeared in its place. She was covered from head to foot in deep blue armor carved with intricate runes that shone in the darkness. A round jewel bluer than any sapphire was mounted just above her chest and two swords hung at her sides. The helmet that she wore molded back letting her long black, red highlighted hair flow out and revealed her face. With graceful steps, she walked over the waves and onto the shore.

Liana Kurt had journeyed here on instinct. Several days ago she had found a shard of metal unlike any she had ever encountered. It had given off a dark energy, and had been "pulling" itself to this spot since she had found it. Curious as to what it was and what it was trying to reach, Liana had let it guide her, ignoring the protests of her Destiny Stone. She brushed the bangs out of her eyes only to have them fall back into place and stared up at the foreboding castle.

"A castle…it would have to be a castle," she mumbled to herself tying her hair into a ponytail at the base of her neck. "What could you possibly want here?"

Liana noticed the fallen cathedral wall, but saw no signs of life anywhere. A little look around won't hurt anything.

Liana entered the Courtyard and her Destiny Stone flared. She had searched the lower levels of the castle and had found nothing, yet constant flaring from her Stone and the feeling like she was being watched were beginning to tell her otherwise. She had found her way to this over grown square her D. Stone glowing brightly and she was getting uneasy.

Nightmare watched her from the shadows and found he couldn't recognize her. This wasn't Sophitia, or even Taki, but there was something about her that made him curious. That jewel mounted on her chest seemed to sense him, which was another factor that had held of his attack. Nightmare wasn't stupid. He attacked only when provoked or when Soul Edge forced him too. And Soul Edge was becoming restless; from the way it was behaving he was now certain she held one of its missing shards. Soul Edge hungered for both the shard and her soul…

Liana spun to her right, her Destiny Stone warning her, she scanned the shadows, but saw nothing. Liana cursed. This place was starting to give her the creeps. She drew both her swords. They gave off a melodic ring as they left their sheaths and shone like lights in the darkness. The feel of them in her hands calmed her nerves and the powers they held boosted her courage. She spun them once and decided that there was nothing in the courtyard of interest and turned to leave. Then she caught sight of it.

A dark shape suddenly filled the doorway blocking her path. Liana's eyes grew wide as a creature resembling a dark legion from hell stalked towards her. Its red eyes locked onto hers and she froze, both from fear and from awe. With a swift motion, it pulled back its mutated fist and punched her directly in the face. The force of the blow broke her nose and sent her flying across the courtyard. Her swords flew from her hands as she slammed head first through a stone wall.

Funny, they usually see that one coming. Nightmare smirked behind his mask.

He walked to the crumbling hole in the wall and drew Soul Edge, holding it menacingly in front of him. He gazed down at her and was surprised to see that was still conscious, but dazed. Blood trickled from her nose and she moaned as her eyes rolled around in her head.

So, there is strength in this one…

He seized her by the throat and lifted her out of the rubble as if she were a rag doll, the stone on her chest glowing in protest. She gagged but made no move to resist him as he pulled her close to his face.

"Where is the shard?" he demanded, his voice deep and growling.

She made no reply and her eyes started to roll back into her head. He couldn't risk her going unconscious, and he spotted a large water fountain to his right. He turned quickly taking her with him, stopped, knelt down beside the rim, and then plunged her head under the murky water. The cold liquid jarred her brain awake and she choked as the stagnant water tried to force its way into her lungs. She began to struggle violently and Nightmare smiled. It had been a long time since he had felt a squirming victim in his grasp, and he enjoyed it. He jerked her head out of the water and she came up sputtering and coughing. He let her take a few breaths and then tightened his hold.

"Where. Is. The. Shard?" he repeated slowly.

She glared past her wet bangs at him then punched the side of the face, jolting his head to one side and denting in his armor. He dropped Soul Edge, turned his head slowly back to her and his eyes flared a dark murderous red. His right hand squeezed her throat so hard it hurt.

"Wrong ANSWER!" he hissed placing his left hand on top of his right and forced her head back into the water.

Liana's eyes felt like they were going to pop out of her painfully throbbing head. She desperately thrashed and clawed at him; her hand wrapped around one of the points on his helm and she sliced her hand trying to pull it. Liana cried out in pain but released all the air in her lungs. Her resisting began to slow, and Nightmare watched enthralled as the bubbles broke the surface. Her bloody hand fell limply to the ground and her body relaxed. Nightmare pulled her head once more from the water and loosened his grip, but she wouldn't breathe. He punched her stomach and she heaved, blood and water streaming from her nose, she coughed raggedly causing her body to shudder. She went limp in his grasp and concentrated on breathing.

"Let's try this again," he said as she took wheezing breaths. "Tell me where the shard is and your suffering can end, unless you like drowning…"

He pushed her towards the water again-

"NO!" she gasped, her eyes frantic.

He pulled her back up, "Good, now where is it?"

She took a breath, "It was in a pouch that I carried…it flew off when I hit the wall…there."

Nightmare turned to look and Liana seized her chance. She summoned one of her swords to her and struck the dark knight. The sword cut past his armor and into his bicep. Nightmare gave a loud grunt and released her. Liana sprang to the top of the tall fountain summoning her other sword to her. She sheathed it and rubbed her neck, thankful to be breathing freely.

Nightmare pulled his hand away from his arm and glanced down at the blood on it. His eyes flared as he glared up at her.

"Who are you and why is that piece of metal so important to you? How did you even know that I had it?" Liana demanded curiously. If she was going to be strangled and half drowned by a total stranger she definitely wanted to know why.

"My name is Nightmare," he growled picking up Soul Edge. "And that fragment belongs to Soul Edge, my sword."

Liana stared at the huge hideous weapon in his hands, its yellow eye piercing up at her.

Whoa! That's a REALLY big sword…for a…really…BIG…guy…

She couldn't decide which was worse, him or his sword. Her Destiny Stone blazed and she knew that the weapon was evil and that the shard could never be united with it.

"The name suits you." she looked him over again.

"And who would you be, my lovely rose?" he mocked.

"I am many things," she replied evenly. "But you can call me Liana."

"Give me the fragment, and I might spare you from that fate of all that have crossed our path." his eyes sneered up at her.

"Well," she began. "normally, I would have given it to you, but seeing as how you tried to kill me, I think I'll keep it as a paper weight. Besides your, sword looks healthily evil already."

With and enraged cry, Nightmare swung the sword shattering the fountain beneath her. Liana flipped sideways drawing her other sword and landed near a group of decaying statues. Nightmare came after her swinging Soul Edge furiously; Liana ducked and dodged as the statues were chopped into dust. But no matter where she turned the monstrous sword was right there.

"Hold still! So I may cut those thorns from you!" he bellowed as he brought the sword down right above her. Liana crossed both her swords and caught the blade between them. She held her ground as he pushed against her.

This guy is twice my height, weight and strength. she groaned as the sword came closer to her head. I can't beat him this way. I'm smaller and faster….and that gives me an advantage.

She side stepped and pulled her swords back as he pushed with all his might. Soul Edge plunged into the ground and Liana delivered a swift sidekick to Nightmare's face, giving him another dent. As he recoiled, Liana ran into the maze of hedges and disappeared. Nightmare yanked the sword from the ground then lifted his face guard and spat blood. The rage of Soul Edge filled him and mingled with his own as he entered the maze after Liana.

Liana spun around a disturbed look on her face. In her hurry to get away from Nightmare, she had become disoriented and now she was lost. There was a loud crash behind her as he ripped through the hedge wall. He knew every inch of this place, and it was easy to find her. Liana spun again and ducked as he swung his fist at her. Liana came back up swinging her swords in a brilliant display. Nightmare held Soul Edge straight up blocking every stroke she made and waited for an open shot. He found it and kicked her viciously sending her crashing through hedges and into another stone wall. Liana slumped to the ground and gave a sharp hiss realizing some of her ribs had broken. Nightmare rushed forward like a charging bull. Liana saw him coming and jumped upward as he swung the sword in a low sweep. Plunging her swords into the stone wall, she hung like a spider and glanced down and over her shoulder at him.

"Ya'know, Nightmare," she panted. "do I have to call you Nightmare? I mean its so long, can't I call you like...PJ or something? But anyway, don't you know it's not right to hit a lady?"

PJ didn't reply. Nightmare merely sheathed his sword behind his back then, using his clawed hands and feet, began scaling up the wall!

Liana's eyes grew wide again. God's Nightgown! Doesn't this guy ever give up?!

She pulled her swords out and raced up that wall with Nightmare close at her heels. That's not all she would have to deal with; storm clouds had been gathering and lightning streaked across the sky.


Liana fell through the stained glass window into the hollowed cathedral and rolled to an upright stance. She quickly raced to the broken edge and waited. Nightmare reached it a few seconds later and started to climb in. Liana struck downward at his head but missed and her sword drove into his shoulder. Nightmare gave a roaring cry then knocked her away with his other hand. She staggered back but lunged for him again, just as he climbed in. He drew Soul Edge and blocked one of her attacks but the other came straight at his head. He reached up with his wounded arm and caught the sword. There was a pause as the two combatants held firm against each other, then Liana saw the blood running down his palm. A cold expression crossed her face as she pulled the sword back. Nightmare yelped as it bit into his hand…then something happened.

In his moment of weakness, Soul Edge forced its power into Nightmare's mind and held him in a controlling grip making him unable to resist its will. His eyes raged a deep red and he head butted Liana. She stumbled back as the tips on his helm cut into her, but held her ground. The sword swung at her, she blocked it but was jolted sideways; it seemed as if his strength had increase tenfold. And the swings kept coming, and coming. Liana tried to defend herself, but the dark sword seemed to overwhelm her. She glanced into his eyes and saw the soulless expression inside them, and felt the power of the sword increase. As lightning flashed and thunder followed, a cold chill traveled up her spin as she realized that it now controlled him.

Nightmare swiped down and then up unexpectedly slicing the inside of her right arm. Liana shrieked as her sword flew from her hand and sailed into the ocean below. She cowered back holding her arm; the wound was deep but not enough to cause fatal injury. A tear of pain rolled down her face…and it started to rain.

Soul Edge had tasted her sweet blood, it had seen the potency of her soul and it wanted more. Nightmare crouched and swung low, Liana jumped just inches before it reached her feet, but all in vain. He simply pulled it back and knocked her feet out from under her as she landed. She slammed onto her back, as the rain pelted them both, drenching them. There was a soft crunch as he stomped on her broken ribs and she screamed horribly. Her Stone flared bright blue and she rammed her sword into his knee cap and swung. Nightmare fell as his knee gave out onto the wet stones. Liana rolled on top of him and began striking his head with the hilt of her sword, his body convulsing with each blow. She turned the blade over planning to thrust it right through his head, when a painful sting ran through her mid section and she was knocked sideways.

Liana hit the floor on her side, rolled and then slid on the slick stones to a halt hear the back wall…and lay there on her stomach. A shuddering sob past through her as she started to get up. She slumped into a sitting position and laid an arm over her stomach. Her fingers felt the long gash and she pulled her arm back only to see it covered in blood. Tears of agony flowed freely down her face now, and she groaned weakly. Only the strength of her armor had kept her from being cut in half. Then the sound of shuffling armor reached her ears over the resonance of the rain.

Her eyes gazed upwards to see Nightmare standing gauntly over her, despite the limp in his leg, silhouetted against the lightning streaked sky. His eyes fixed on her like a predator waiting for the final kill, while the sword's eye seemed to be gleefully smiling as rain poured off them both. With much difficulty, Liana somehow managed to make in to her feet, holding her sword in one hand and her slashed abdomen in the other.

Nightmare extended his hand to her, his fingers uncurling slowly as he whispered, "The shard…" His voice was soft and layered in venom, but it was not Nightmare's, it was the voice of Soul Edge.

Liana looked past the falling rain to the churning waves and then back to him. She cleared her throat and coughed before she spoke.

"I hate to tell you this but- heh- you threw it into the ocean."

Nightmare stepped forward and rasped, "You lie…"

"No, it's the truth. I placed it in a secret compartment inside the hilt, knowing that no one would ever think to look for it there. When you saw me in the castle I had the sword with me and that's when you sensed it. But when you hit me the first time, my swords were out of reach and you could no longer sensed it on me." she smiled. "Face it Soul Edge, all this time I tried to keep it away from you, but in the end you did the work for me."

Nightmare turned to face the ocean and cried in disbelief, "No!"

Using her last bit of strength, Liana lunged with her sword…and pierced the yellow eye of Soul Edge. An unearthly shriek rang out from the vampiric blade and Nightmare screamed along with it. Liana pulled out her sword and ran to the edge as her helmet reformed over her face. She leapt from the rim and turned back to gaze at the figure of Nightmare one last time, just before falling into the loving arms of the ocean, sinking from sight.

Nightmare fell to his knees clutching his head as Soul Edge released his mind and clattered to the wet floor. The eye was closed and wept an acrid yellow liquid that mingled with the rain water. Lightning and thunder growled one last time as the rain began to subside and the clouds drifted apart across the heavens. Nightmare's breathing began to return to normal and he shivered in the early morning chill. A soft light engulfed him, and he lowered his hands to see the first rays of dawn creep over the ocean. A relieved sigh escaped him as he realized that by some divine fate, Soul Edge had been denied. He looked down at the weapon that pulsed in anger and agony and then at the stained glass windows that shone with hallowed light. Despite his wounds and all that had transpired, for a moment, his soul was soothed. He leaned back to gaze at heaven and whispered, "Thank you…"

Deep beneath the calm waters of the ocean, Liana laid in the soft sand guarded by the lush coral. Her swords were sheathed and lay gently beside her. The salt waters invigorated her spirit, tended to her wounds and eased her aching muscles. She sighed sending bubbles towards the surface. Her eyes followed them and she peered past the water to see the sun's rays kiss the dawn sky. Carefully, Liana unscrewed the end off one of the hilts and pulled out the fragment of metal that had put her through so much.

Too many sins have been committed, and too many souls have fallen in pursuit of this seduction.

She held the shard close to her Destiny Stone and closed her eyes. The jewel began to glow and as its light reached the metal, it began to melt and break.

Only Gaea's children have the power to deal with such evil.

The almost microscopic pieces floated away from her fingers on the passing current and she watched content as they disappeared.

Carry it far away, where no human hand may ever posses it.

Relieved that her work had been done she laid back in the sand and before she drifted off to sleep she whispered to water, "Thank you…"