Warnings: Read on and find out, heheh. It was supposed to be slightly humerous, but I'm not sure what the hell happened. Decide for yourselves.
Ah, and beware the slashy/yaoi-ish goodness. And I'm not 100 sure what happened to Janos, so for the sake of ficciness he's just... here. And getting slightly picked on because I think he's wonderful. Ultimately I'm screwing with the characters. The LoK team would lynch me for this. Also... AU, I guess. And there's bloody gory goodness here. One-Shot.
Author: Koneko Shido
A/N: History abhors a paradox. Koneko abhors a sad ending. This actually came to me about ten minutes after I finished Defiance, while I was walking around moping and randomly bursting into tears. Enjoy.
Also, if my Nosgoth geography is off... I don't care. I'm trying! I'm just more interested in the characters than where the damned cathederal is or how it ended up, etc, etc.
Good things about Archons.
"One would think, after so many, many years, I would have evolved past this." Kain remarked as he misted from each patch of dry land to the next, avoiding the murky pools of brackish water like the plague. Of course, he could have simply used bat-flight to get over the swamp, but there was always the slim chance he might find what he was looking for within the accursed place.
"Wretched place..." He muttered, "Is it not, Raziel?"
The eyes on the Reaver hilt glowed for a moment and Kain got the feeling that somewhere within that blade Raziel was smirking at him. He didn't mind. After all, it could have been simply his imagination and wishful thinking. Janos tended to look at him with a strange pity in his eyes that he would never voice, nowadays. It had been a few years since Raziel had made that terrible sacrifice for him, and he had never really accepted it. He spoke to the blade now and then, because Raziel had once told him that the spirit within the Reaver was deranged from years trapped alone in the sword. Perhaps, he mused, talking to him might help. He had no evidence that Raziel could hear him, but it was all he could do for the time being.
Still, Kain was never without a plan. Scheming and plotting came naturally to him, and just because the pillars were restored and the crisis facing Nosgoth had been averted, did that mean he had to stop being a cunning bastard? He liked to think not. Besides, Raziel liked him that way, and when he eventually found what he was looking for and freed his soul from that blade he'd hate for Raziel to find him changed. He just hoped that he could pull it off in time, before Raziel lost his mind in there. If he was still even capable of conscious thought, as Janos had doubted. Kain knew better, though. Those eyes on the hilt of the Reaver would brighten sometimes, almost as though Raziel was laughing at him. That child always had had a strange sense of humour. It was one of the things Kain had liked about him. They were remarkably alike, really. Raziel was probably the one person on Nosgoth he truly cared about, and who truly cared about him. And at the end, Raziel had trusted him enough to give up his soul. That sacrifice would not go unrewarded. That was, if he could just find a monk around somewhere.
"Humans..." Kain sighed. "Always so many when they are of no use. But now that I finally need one-!" He complained. The sword's eyes glowed a little more brightly and Kain gave a rare smile. "I know you hear me, Raziel"
He'd told no one of his plans. Not Janos, who would only pity him and assume he'd lost his mind from grief. As though he would ever be so pathetic. He was Kain. He refused to die for Nosgoth, and he refused to let Raziel die for it either. He never gave anything up easily. In fact, he hadn't even told the Reaver what he was planning, he hoped it was annoying Raziel in there somewhere. It would give him something to think about, perhaps. For now, though, he really needed to find a monk. One capable of summoning demons. He even had Janos out searching as well, though the ancient had no clue as to what he was scheming. It was rather unlikely it would work anyway, but the more outrageous the plan, the more he enjoyed orchestrating it.
"Vampire!" A cry from his right made him pause in his tracks. He turned slowly to regard the humans and found only a band of hunters, a mere annoyance to him and nothing useful among them. He'd fed well already, they were of no use to him. Before they could gather themselves to attack him he sent a quick, sharp blast in their direction and carried on his journey to the cathederal in Avernus as though nothing had happened. He wasn't in the mood for a drawn-out fight anyway. They would have had an advantage, fighting in amongst the pools of stagnant water that made up the swamp. Best to dispatch them quickly, as he had.
Avernus had burned to the ground, nothing stood there now but ruins. It bought back unpleasant memories to return there, but if he could find some way into the catacombs - if they still existed after such events - there might be some of that crazed religious sect left down there. Humans tended to do things like that, worshipping disgusting giant bats underneath a cathederal seemed only one of many strange things they did. Things like walking around in places where they would obviously get eaten, for instance. Anyway, Turel had been conveniently killed by Raziel, so at least he wouldn't have to take care of that little problem. Unless the humans had gotten themselves a new monster to worship. Either way, he had to remember to take the damned monk alive. He wasn't used to not just killing them outright, they had such pathetically soft skin that even picking them up tended to do quite a lot of damage. He did have quite sharp claws, after all. He hoped that there were a few of them there, he expected he might need a little practice with not killing them.
The cathederal was a ruin, having fallen in on itself it now lay as a mountain of rubble closed in by the outer walls, of which a few remained almost intact. It was a shame, really. He'd rather liked the windows.
Well, as undignified as it may be, he was prepared to crawl through the debris if it meant finding one of those monks. However, he could smell human blood, and remembering their penchant for sacrifices his mood brightened a little. If they were down there, they had to have a way in. He could search all night for it, but there were far easier ways. Taking a brief look around at the huge ruin of a cathederal and the surrouding blackened, burnt land, Kain misted out and reappeared high up on a ledge still attached to one of the ruined walls. This place suited him well, he could not be seen from the ground and it gave him a perfect vantage point where he might wait for one of those humans to leave the catacombs, revealing a way in for him.
Leaning back against the wall and trusting his vampiric hearing to warn him of any movement below, Kain made himself comfortable. He wondered how Janos was faring, the Ancient having opted to search in the other direction. Probably terribly. Ancient as he was, Janos had spent so long alone in that retreat of his, high up in the icy mountains, that he tended to treat every outing like a day trip. Kain could picture him at that moment ambling along down the main street of some human village, looking with interest at all the buildings as somewhere behind closed doors the humans gathered their torches and pitchforks. Kain suspected that being possessed by the Hylden had had an adverse effect on him. He still tended to have strange turns once in a while, mostly composed of headaches and glowing eyes. Kain smirked. Well, at least the ancient had someone to talk to now, even if it was only a voice in his head. Better than Vorador, at least. Humans this, humans that. Although, he supposed that he was no better. Raziel this, Raziel that.
He severely hoped Raziel came out of this endeavour with flesh. He didn't really care what colour - be it white, blue, green - as long as he could touch it, just as he should have done a very, very long time ago. Back when Raziel had lips he could kiss and soft skin he could run his claws over. But he would be satisfied with just being able to see him again, whatever his form. He took the Reaver from his back and laid it next to him, running his claws lightly down the blade. He wondered if Raziel could feel that, or if he was numb in there. If he could indeed feel physical sensation, however small, what must it be like to slice into an enemy, Kain wondered? Probably quite enjoyable. A rustling below and the low murmur of voices caught his attention and he leant over the edge of the platform, narrowing his eyes in the darkness and watching silently as three robe-clad figures emerged from a hidden stairway amongst the debris towards the back of the ruined cathederal. Perfect. Those three were just lesser monks, but within their catacombs he might just find what he needed. Misting out, he appeared again right next to the top of the hidden stairs. The three who had just exited scattered in fright, but three quick blasts dealt with them easily. Ah, the joys of telekenisis. It didn't matter much if they'd heard him below. He wasn't in the mood for sneaking around anyway. His plan was to just walk right into the middle of them, grab a couple of those demon-summoners and leave. And that, with a little added blood and a few souls for the Reaver, was exactly what he did.
"You will all die! Death to the vampires! We will have our revenge!" Janos snarled, eyes glowing green. Kain stared at him flatly for a moment until the ancient paused, shook himself and turned back to the white haired vampire. His eyes had returned to normal and he gave an apologetic smile.
"Sorry about that." He murmured. "Now where were we"
Kain gestured with a claw to the three monks huddled in a corner of the large, round room they stood in. The humans were whimpering in terror, assuming - quite rightly - that they were going to be horribly killed. Or at least, they would be horribly killed if they didn't do exactly as Kain told them. He was rather good at horribly killing people.
"Three? That's quite a catch." Kain just smirked. He didn't need to be told he was superior to everyone else on the planet. He already knew it. "Shall we begin, then?" He began to stalk over to the monks, but Janos stopped him with a clawed hand on his arm.
"What exactly are we doing?" He asked. Kain just brushed him off and grabbed one of the monks, lifting him a foot off the ground and looking back over his shoulder to where the ancient stood, watching.
"You'll find out soon enough." He told the blue-skinned vampire, then turned back to the monk, who stared up at him in terror. They shaved their hair off, these monks. Kain disliked that. It reminded him of that bastard Moebius. "Now..." The vampire purred, looking down at the first monk. "You are going to do something for me, and in return I may refrain from tearing out your internal organs in alphabetical order." The monk, rather unwisely, chose then to grow a spine. "I-I won't help a vampire!" He stammered, doing his best to look heroic and brave, which was rather difficult for a weasly little man in dirty brown robes being dangled a foot from the floor. Kain rolled his eyes and almost casually snapped the monk's neck with a loud, sickening crack that reverberated throughout the chamber. He threw the now limp body to the side like a broken toy and picked up the next monk, who was now shaking in fear.
"That," the vampire whispered in the monk's ear, "was merciful. I am not annoyed yet, but I am getting there, and believe me, you will not enjoy it. You will help me, or you will be lucky if I kill you. I have done worse." The monk seemed to get the message and nodded frantically, trembling as Kain smirked and placed him back on the ground.
"Good. Now, I understand that you can summon demons and give them corporeal form, yes?" The slightly dirty-looking monk nodded again, wringing his hands nervously.
"Perfect. Now listen carefully to me. There is a creature called an Archon that exists on the spectral plane. You are going to summon one of these creatures. Do you understand me, human"
The monk shivered and looked worried, but agreed. Obviously he'd heard of the vicious creatures before and didn't particularly want to meet one.
"Kain... You have thought all this out, haven't you?" Janos asked, rather unsure himself. Those things fed on souls, he didn't particularly relish the idea of one running rampant around Nosgoth in corporeal form. "Absolutely. Now here is what we are going to do." Kain set the Reaver blade down on the large stone table in the centre of the room and turned to the two remaining monks and Janos. "You," he pointed with a claw at the monks "are going to summon an Archon. I am going to kill it. And then you," here he looked at Janos, "are going to help me switch its soul with Raziel's"
Janos looked confused for a moment until realization dawned on his face and his eyes widened.
"Because... The archon is a soul-devouring beast..." He whispered.
"And the entity trapped within the blade must be a devourer of souls. Not necessarily Raziel, he just jumped to that conclusion. He's very good at doing that"
"And... and... Once Raziel's soul is freed from the Reaver, all he needs is a body to ressurect himself"
"Which the corpse of the Archon will provide." Kain put in with a self-satisfied smirk. The Reaver gave a surprised little glow. "In fact, if he can - through power of will alone - use a corpse to ressurect and change it physically to become his Wraith form, I see no reason why he cannot use that same force of will and recover his vampiric form. Although, I suppose he will still be a devourer of souls. Not that it matters"
"You-you-" Janos pointed at him, speechless. "That cannot work"
"Oh?" Kain cocked an eyebrow, "Why not"
"Well... it-it's much too improbable!" The ancient insisted. Kain looked pleased.
"Oh, good. Let's try it, shall we?" He grabbed one of his monks and set the frail human down on the other side of the chamber. The Reaver blade glowed happily as Kain picked it up and it seemed to vibrate in his hand with excitement. He was certain Raziel knew what was going on outside his confines.
"Alright, human. Summon an Archon for me and you may go free." Kain hefted the blade and prepared to fight whatever the monk managed to summon.
The trembling monk raised his arms out at his sides and began to chant, glowing runes appearing in the air around him, encircling him. The runes spun wildly for a moment and it looked as though the Archon might be too powerful for a human to summon. Snarling, Kain grabbed the last monk and threw him into the rune circle. "Why don't you make yourself useful?" He growled. It seemed to work. There was a momentary lapse in concentration and the circle shimmered, beginning to fade. Then, as the monks stood back-to-back and redoubled their chanting, the runes glowed brightly. Janos thought they were quite pretty, really.
Then, in a flash of dull red light, a creature appeared. It floated in the air as the monks collapsed wearily, looking like some sort of odd fish. Kain leapt at it before it even had a chance to see him. Blood splattered across the chamber and Janos calmly sidestepped it, watching in interest as Kain leapt up into the air to slash at the thing, which floated above the table. It wasn't long before the Archon, which never really had a chance, began to weaken. Kain dropped the Soul Reaver and used his claws to deal the final blow, knowing better than to let the blade take the creature's soul this time. With a shrill cry the Archon fell from the air and landed with a wet thud on the stone table, tentacles and webbing spread all over as it stilled. Kain felt its heartbeat come to a stop and picked up the Soul Reaver, looking to Janos.
"Do it. Put this creature's soul into the blade before it escapes, and free Raziel." The sword agreed, jeweled eyes glowing blue for a moment as Kain held it.
Janos nodded and laid a clawed hand upon the blade, the other hand resting on the body of the Archon. There was a dull, rather anti-climatic glow from the blade's carved eyes, and everything was silent.
"That was it?" Kain demanded. He supposed it must have looked a lot more impressive on the spectral plane.
"Yes. Raziel's soul is freed, whether or not he has the strength to ressurect himself remains to be seen." Janos said.
Kain put the sword down and walked over to the Archon's body, wondering if perhaps he should have had the monks summon something a little more... humanoid. Even a Sluagh looked more the right shape than this thing. That reminded him.
"You. You may leave." He glared over at the two monks, who nodded frantically and scurried from the room. Kain smirked wickedly. The chances of them getting out of the castle alive were slim to none. Something was bound to eat them on the way out. Not that he cared, there were more important things happening. The Archon's corpse gave a slight twitch.
"Is it...?" Janos whispered. Kain just watched as the creature's body gave a more violent twitch and a shudder. Bright red blood was dripping from its wounds, trickling down from the stone table it lay on to pool on the floor.
Suddenly, making Janos jump nervously, there was a muffled snarl and the corpse of the Archon burst open down the middle, an arm shooting out to grasp at the air. Kain watched, rather surprised as another arm joined it and Raziel, in all his former gothic beauty, tore his way out of the creature's ribcage with his claws, drenched in blood. Once freed, he collapsed onto the floor, panting and dripping with the blood of the monster.
"Raziel?" Kain hardly dared to hope. Was he truly there? Still in his right mind? The former Wraith shuddered, turned his head towards the voice from where he knelt in a puddle of blood, and stared up at Kain with golden eyes. Then, his strength not yet recovered enough for him to speak, he gave a small, weary smile.
I'm fully aware that all my reviews (if I get any) for this fic are going to be people telling me a hundred different reasons why that wouldn't work. ;; I care not, appreciate it for what it is, happy ending drivel. There may possibly be another part to this, depending on how it goes down. I may write a lemon for it, if I can get away with that. And I apologise for making Janos so out of character and flaky. ;; I have no idea, I skipped work to write this so I'm probably going to get fired now. But, when inspiration hits it's rude to say no, I suppose.