One-Eyed Man

A Digital Devil Saga: Avatar Tuner fanfiction

(C) Atlus

-0-

Once, Serph had been a member of a Tribe so small that they didn't deserve the honor of having a name. The Junkyard was cluttered with many of these bands, ones who were founded by people dissatisfied with the current 'Big Five' and strove to make their own way to Nirvana. It was a life fraught with danger, especially for the leaders of these scraps, with death a possibility that grew exponentially as the slim pickings slowly transformed to something almost worth respecting. The Brutes were infamous for their tactics dealing with those groups, overwhelming any growing faction with sheer numbers before killing the leader and assimilating the rest of the band. But they weren't the only Tribe to watch out for, so caution was just as important as a fierce offense.

Serph defined caution. He bolstered his faction's minimal defenses by setting up a series of moves, never letting them stay in one area for too long lest one of the Big Five caught wind. Once the equally miniscule Tribe Argilla had belonged to decided to join with Serph's group, he began to coordinate sneak attacks against other Tribes using the sharp-eyed sniper. As Serph's reputation grew, so did the number of Tribes that decided to throw in their lot with his crew. Heat and Cielo joined in this manner, not too far apart in sequence. The leader that Serph had followed unquestioningly handed control to him once it became apparent who everyone thought was the real leader. It was after this when Gale appeared by himself and offered his loyalty.

Yet, their Tribe still lacked a name.

Steel and stone, the nondescript buildings of Muladhara hid a vast network of interconnecting hallways. Gale himself had led the infiltration group to determine if the sector was a satisfactory enough headquarters for their Tribe. It was situated between Manipura to the northwest, which belonged to the Maribel, and the Vanguards' district of Svadhisthana to the east. Through a series of spy missions, it had been apparent that the Maribel were too focused on their rivals, the Solids of Anahata, and that their Tribe could handle the Vanguards with a little tactical modification. After killing the leader of the Tribe who had claimed Muladhara for themselves, Serph's group moved in and began preparations.

The principal members of the Tribe, along with anyone not currently on lookout duty, crammed themselves into the main meeting room. They had been throwing around ideas for the name of their Tribe for some time, the muffled pattering of rain a constant drone during the many lulls of silence. Serph stood at the table where the details of missions were displayed, his presence understated even as the others deferred to him for judgment on their ideas. He had not offered an idea, something that would've automatically ended the discussion since his word was only secondary with the Karma Temple's Laws, instead only nodding at each person when it was their turn to speak. He had always been that way; quiet, unassuming, his androgynous features masking his knife-like deadliness.

It had gone on for too long for at least one of the other members. Heat, standing tall, his hair vibrant against the slate-gray steel wall behind him, closed his eyes in dull disgust as he muttered, "This has gone on long enough. Serph, are you going to make a decision anytime soon? Cielo and I have lookout duty soon." No one said anything even as their minds hummed distastefully at the blood-haired man's comments; it was sacrilegious to criticize a leader's methods. For his part, Cielo glared balefully at Heat, not wanting his name in any part of this.

"A name is a very important matter," Argilla reprimanded, her eyes devoid of emotion as she tightly crossed her arms in front of her chest. "We will only be afforded respect if our name is worthy of the Temple's blessing." To this, many of the group nodded in affirmation of her words, lifeless automatons each and every one of them.

"Yet, we will not be truly recognized by either the Karma Temple nor the other Tribes if we do not have a name," Gale stated in his usual dry manner. He glanced at his leader, his dark gray eyes a contrast with his viridian-green hair. "Serph, it appears we have exhausted all our ideas. What have you decided our name will be?"

Slowly, Serph closed his eyes, a slate color that matched the drab steel walls of their new territory. He thought of their small band, once even tinier, even more helpless than it was now. If they were to survive, they had to grow, to conquer the other tribes of the Junkyard in order to fulfill the True Law of the land: Reach Nirvana. And they would, because Laws were meant to be followed. So they had grown, and he had been there the entire time, nurturing his group into a true Tribe, just as all living creatures grew. Everything, everyone started out as--

"Embryon," he whispered as strange feelings pulled just underneath his skin. The familiar word lingered on his tongue, its taste urging at the muscle as he opened his eyes.

The room, as countless eyes connected to one mind, stared.

Serph, their leader, had femininity caressing his facial features. This in itself was not a notable quality, but now he had something different. A look about him. His eyes were blue. Were his eyes blue before? they wondered, captivated by his strangeness as well as the foreign word that seemed to flow past his lips like...rain? No, to them, to that moment, water was not just the dead falling from the sky.

"Em-bree-on." Gale tasted the word, an extra twitch of the corner of his lip the only betrayal of how he felt. "I do not comprehend. Does this word have a meaning?"

He wanted to explain to them the ramifications of the word. The word was them, something small, something with infinite possibilities of growth. It was a delicious word, the manifestation of the Law, to live, to grow, to ascend. Embryon.

Just as sudden as the word had come to him, quickening his pulse and bringing life to his eyes, the feel of everything faded away. All that he was left with was the afterimage of the moment, and he closed his eyes in order to mourn its passing. Then, he had to wonder what the word 'mourn' meant. Did it mean anything like the word that had danced on his tongue without abandon? Embryon. It had meant something, it would always mean something, but he could no longer recall it.

"I think it is an adequate name," he finally answered, and when he opened his eyes they were once again as bland and murky as the skies above the Junkyard.

-End-

Just a little something for a very interesting game. Because I didn't import DDS2, I don't know if it shows how Serph and the others met in the Junkyard, but hey, it's fanfiction. It's interesting how Serph was fully realized once his Atma awakened, unlike how the others grew into it. Thanks to the DDS board at GameFAQs for helping me notice that.