By Candle Light, I am Led
Summary: A blade is still vicious regardless of wielder and foe. In the Torrent Forest, Lloyd becomes blinded by the blade of his own father and must learn to keep fighting for his cause in the dark.
Spoilers: DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU HAVE FINISHED THE GAME.
A/N: Reading this story takes a bit of flexibility with things that may be 'too abstract', so if you cannot accept that, do not read. This'll be just a short story, nothing too big I hope. At most it'll be three chapters, but I really doubt that'll happen.
"So, you've come." Kratos says indifferently as he stands from his leaning against a tombstone of some sort, that's what it looks like, anyway.
I still can't believe this is happening. I still can't believe... "Is there no other way?"
He seems to be disgraced at my words, "Are you still thinking like that? You'll die if you fight against me with any doubt left in your heart." The way he says it, it's so final. He really means it...
I just sigh inwardly. "So... that's your way."
He does not move in any way, like a statue made of cold, wrought iron. But I guess four-thousand years of life can do that to a guy. "If you seek a pact with Origin, then you must defeat me."
I nod, even though I really don't look forward to this. "Everyone, I'll handle this."
He blinks; I think he's slightly surprised. "You're going to fight alone?"
"Yeah," I say, withdrawing my Angel Tears. "No more four-on-one, after all if it's a battle to the death..."
He pulls out his Flamberg, it's glowing with intent and my worst fears are confirmed. "This is it," he says, pointing his sword directly at me, "I'm not holding anything back."
All the fear and apprehension I've held back through our trek through the forest comes flooding over me and I have to take a stabilizing breath before responding, "I know," I swing one of my swords experimentally, more a nervous twitch than anything else. "I won't either,"
He begins so suddenly by unleashing a quick Double Demon Fang to keep me preoccupied while he casts. Instinctively I put up my swords to block the most of the waves, then dash towards him as he opens his eyes and yells, "Grave!"
The earth beneath me starts to tremble violently, and a spire juts forth just ahead of me, meaning I only have a few breathes before the next barrage comes. I leap out of the trap and grasp the tip of the first peak, using that to propel me forward. Just as I thought I was clear, a final strike manages to snare my right ankle. It cracks, twists and is smoldering to no end, but I have to ignore it for now.
He's still open for a hit after casting the spell. I manage to slash at him in mid-air and finish off with a Rising Falcon; he staggers back a bit from the blows, but that doesn't last long. Luckily, I manage to land on my good foot and can quickly launch another attack, however at the last possible second he puts up his shield and parries my attack.
There was no way I could avoid landing on my torn ankle, and crumple to a kneel as he stands before me, ready. I know what's coming, but I'm powerless to stop his onslaught of hits, ending with a devastating Super Lightning Blade. He then jumps back and begins casting again.
With great effort, I pick myself up and cautiously sidle towards him. I just have to wait until he casts, then run!
"Wind Blade!" Kratos commands, the once gentle breeze surrounding me stirs with unnatural prowess. As it picks up rapidly, I make a break for it and narrowly escape. My ankle is howling in agony, but if I can just hold up for a bit longer...
This time he leaves himself completely defenseless, open to my Tiger Rage and Raining Tiger Blade combination. Again, he stumbles and I decide to take a risk. If I succeed, I could sneak an Apple Gel while he's down.
I never thought about what would happen if I failed.
"Raging Be—Aagh!" Upon making my swivel to draw him in, he raised his blade and sliced across the back of my head. The cut runs deep; I don't need to feel the excruciating pain to know that.
He leans back to initiate a Fierce Demon Fang and restart his hail of attacks, but before he can bring his sword down, I swiftly thrust out my sword. It stabs him in the side and he falls to a knee. I can't see anything now, but I know it's over. I've won.
His breathes are jagged, as are mine. "You've... grown strong." He admits, sounding almost... proud?
I can't help but feel an unfamiliar swell of happiness inside; I keep it to myself though. "Thanks... to you."
His next breathes come even more ragged and agonizingly difficult before he says, "Aren't you," he pauses, for a moment he's in too much pain to continue. "...Going to finish me?"
Finish him off? I feel myself shaking my head, I could never do that. "I've defeated Kratos the angel, the one who betrayed us... and I forgive Kratos, the hero of the ancient war, who helped us." I sputter with growing obscurity. "That's all," I end breathlessly.
I hear him rise to his feet, "I thought I'd finally earned the right to die," he spits bitterly. "But you're as soft-hearted as ever..."
He's moving pitifully towards the stone, I can only hear his uneven steps. "Wait, Kratos! Are you going to release Origin's seal?" I blurt, allowing the apprehension I've kept inside to finally make itself known.
He stops, saying weakly, "That is what you desire... is it not?"
I'm shaking—at least I think I'm shaking, I can't tell anymore. "If you do that, you'll—"
He pays no attention to my words. His wings are drawn out and he's releasing the Mana from his body, I can feel the eons and eons of life draining from him and filling the air around us. It feels... relieving, though I'm anything but relieved.
His presence... disappears...
The warm blood from my wounds continues to trickle down my body and in the gaping silence I can hear it steadily drip, drip, drip in the dirt. It's the only thing I can register: drip... drip... drip...
Something—no, someone—rushes in. Kratos is saved; but by who though? I can hardly distinguish the voice. "He'll be fine, I gave him some of my mana." The voice is calm, cold... but mostly cold, as if I can feel it.
The next voice feels like a cold stream running over jagged rocks. "It looks like I've failed to die once more..." Context clues: it has to be Kratos.
"You stupid jerk! You can die anytime, but when you die, it's over!" That voice... is me? I sound tan, like a skin tone...
The frigidness returns, sheltering a small glint of yellow towards the stream-over-jagged-rocks. "You want him to live in eternal damnation?"
"Who said anything about that?" Brown... me again. "All I'm saying is that when you die, it's over! There is no point in dying!"
Purple shortly follows, plain and simple. The rocks from the stream seem to disappear as red tints the running water. "Yes... and to think I had to have my son teach me such an... obvious lesion."
The only red I can grasp at this moment though is a deep crimson; I know it's not the red that touches the stream. The red I can feel is warm and streaming down my back. The red I cannot reach is warm beneath the cold surface, gentle and brimming with vivacity.
The red I cannot reach...
A glacial blast of air comes from a tall, mountain, the voice rigid to the stroke. "You who lack the right," It bellows, "...I have lost faith in all humans. Have you come here to disappoint me as well?"
"Origin!" This sounds so achingly familiar... hot chocolate on a cold winter's evening next to a glowing blaze. "Are you bound to a pact by Mithos?"
"I was freed the moment Kratos released the Mana from his body,"
Everything's so cold... I can't concentrate. Waves of nausea and pain lap forebodingly at my feet, throwing me off balance. Am I sitting? Am I standing? I might be falling, but how from a sit?
Inability, thinking... Gone are the tiny waves: a tsunami in their wake... I can't hold on forever...
The first thing I see when I finally awake is... well, no, that's a lie, I remind myself, I can't see. Especially not with this cloth wrapped over my eyes and around my head. At least I'm not aching anywhere. I'm totally pain free!
To test that, I shift into a sitting position; a slight rustiness in my muscles is about all I feel. How long have I been out anyway?
Good Morning, Lloyd. You managed to get up quite quickly, that's good.
"Um, good morning?" I reply, a bit dazed. "Is it really the morning? It doesn't sound like the morning,"
Hmm... Then what does it sound like?
I pause for a moment, trying to focus in on any sounds. There are sounds—I can see them dancing—but what they are, is unclear. "I don't know, there are a few sounds, but evening maybe?"
The voice appears as a swift flight upwards into the sky, then a soft landing on a cloud. Yes, there are sounds. Can you hear them?
I shake my head, or maybe I nodded? I try to shake my head that is, though I'm not quite sure what direction it takes. "No," I say, "Oh, but maybe if I can just remove this blindfold, then—"
No, you mustn't!
I feel pressure on both my shoulders. Instinctively I thrust my arms out, shoving a body weight away and cross my arms in front of me for defensive. "What the hell was that? Where am I?"
Two sparrows are blissfully flying side by side until one violently strikes down the other, sending it spiraling down to earth until it lands. It hops to its tiny feet and tries to fly again, but a wing is broken. It hops weakly along the ground calling out to the other. Lloyd, calm down. You're back in Meltokio, we're staying at Zelos' mansion. That was just me, don't worry.
And then it hits me: I'm missing a vital piece to the puzzle, "Who are you!" I blurt angrily. I don't mean to offend the person. I just feel so helpless...
Don't you recognize my voice?
"I can't hear you, remember?" I answer gruffly, "Your words are all I hear, not your voice!"
The person is emitting swarms of yellow with strong flares of red, although it's swept up by fierce storms of black. This compels me; I drop my stance and look away. Or maybe I'm looking at them now... I only have inklings of a clue as to where they really are. "I... I'm sorry. Everything's just so different... just, please, tell me who you are..."
Sky blue laces their words, even though they don't speak. They don't need to, I can tell they are giving me their sincerest... sincerest sky blue.
"Why can't you tell me?"
It's up to you to discover who I am, just consider it part of your recovery process.
When you recover your ability to hear and distinguish sounds, then you will be able to tell me who I am by the sound of my voice. Either that, or if you regain your sight and tell me the color of the cloth that is wrapped over your eyes, I'll remove it and you can see for yourself.
That's such a long process to go through, there has to be a shortcut. "Can I guess?"
Can you remember any of our names?
I never thought it was possible to miss biting your lower lip. "Uum..."
Calm ocean waters; the sounds of their soft footsteps retreat and grow smaller, then return and expand respectively. Retreating, returning, retreating, returning... They must be preoccupied with something.
We are both silent for a while, I'm trying to figure things out in my head while they work on something. Judging by the yellow sounds, it seems to be in preparation.
Lloyd... do you remember what we did yesterday?
"Yeah," I say distantly. "I fought Kratos and we freed Origin. Why?"
...That... was not yesterday.
"It... wasn't? H-how long have I been out?"
You were only out for a day before you regained consciousness... a week ago.
I remain quite for a moment, waiting for them to say that that's not true. When they don't, I say, "You're silver, aren't you?"
I am... silver? Lloyd, are you... hearing colors?
I look down, at where I think I am. Black and gold is seeping out of invisible pores... "I-I'm not crazy... I'm really not."
I feel a soft company on my shoulder; I don't stop it or try and retract for it's pure yellow. No, no, it's pure... pure... "I don't hear colors..." I whisper, completely black, "I think... I think I see emotions."
Now I know it's not pure yellow that I see: it's pure concern.