Disclaimer: I do not own Tales of the Abyss, or any character below that appears in the game.
Summary: On the line between love and hate, she turns the latter on the world, and degrades the former with obsession. What happened to this once-hero? How can she justify the killings of those, one of whose kind, she loved? She doesn't. Madness has her in its grasp, and it seems insanity is a genetic trait. Lukear.
A/N: After months, I'm back with a new story. Don't worry, I'll update Tales of Time once I finish the Tear-centric fic for it.
Why did you have to leave us—me !'
'You left me!'
' Why didn't you come back to me!'
'I loved you...'
In an empty chamber, a faded voice cries out in longing.
Broken her heart is for her heart's desire, but the world and its gods have no consolation to offer her torn soul.
A woman stood ramrod straight atop a turret of Daath's Cathedral. Watching the procession below with a tight smile and empty eyes, she turned around and descended down worn, stone steps with ease. Her heels tapped against the step's surface in a strict rhythm: 1, 2, 3...Precise and exact just like her teacher taught her. Her smile widened, into a savage grin and she laughed. If she hadn't killed her, she probably would have been proud.
She did not care to classify them or judge them, and maybe she was their greatest ally in that regard, but in her view, they were nothing to her—those things did not matter to her. While others persecuted and destroyed the lives not given a chance to exist, to prosper, she only waited and did one thing.
And perhaps that was her greatest sin.
The stench was unbearable in the venerable city of Daath, the city-state central to Auldrant's prevailing religion. The vendors on the street sides stood within in its heavy cloud, desperately trying to ignore it and continue on with sales to those who had braved the overpowering force in Lorelei's name. The sources of the smell were unfortunate, as they could not escape themselves.
In this line, a veritable river of bodies, were people of all kinds and creeds. Some were old, some where children and some carried a look of intelligence mixed with dread, wishing for the oblivious minds of their neighbors to help numb the pain. They all shared common bond: the filth they stood in and the fate that was to await them.
They all carried themselves without hope, without thought of a single chance for salvation because this was true. They were sentenced by a higher power, and they were going to go through it without question. This higher power being the will of the people who thought them sins of nature; democracy at its worst. Having hope would only prolong the pain until the end.
Uncaring, the pilgrims ignored cries for mercy and assistance; they just went by and observed the sites that were decorated in Daath's corners and by monuments. Why care for such monsters? They should not have dared been born in the first place.
They were copies of divine perfection, wrong and flawed in every way. For how could one imitate the divine hand of the creator in all living things? The Order of Lorelei had one a that answer to that topic: Cleansing.
"Commandant!" the woman turned at the call and raised an eyebrow at the soldier who had stopped to catch his breath. He was a new recruit, she remembered. The initiating ceremony of this year had assured that she meet all the new soldiers who would eventually come under her command. Standing in the center of one of the many hallway's of Daath's greatest cathedral, she waited for him to explain, but beat him to the punch when her short temper ran out.
"Is something the matter?" she asked, crossing her arms. She was a bit cross about being disturbed when she was so lost in her thoughts, but she'd wait until he spat out his problem before she made sure he knew.
Snapping back to attention he put a shaking hand to his head in a salute and stuttered out the reason he had called her out.
"T-the fonstone i-is acting u-up!" he shouted hurriedly.
A strange look crossed her face, and her hackles rose. "Why didn't you tell me this before!" Her voice echoed, powerful and unforgiving, but she forgoed the usual punishment and fled. In a flash the commandant was gone, bounding away quickly towards the central theater with her staff knocking against the back of her knees in her hurry. The rookie shook his fear off before exiting and returning to his studies. There was a reason many delayed their business with the Commandant for as long as possible.
She charged down the corridor at top speed, and those who crossed her offered up prayers to Lorelei before jumping for safety. The commandant did not care for them, nor did she care about anything else in this moment that did not directly relate to the fonstone being studied in the central chapel.
The flaps of her long coat flapped violently, trailing behind her like a shivering river of red lined with gold, the new colors of worship presented to the Presentation Committee during her first meeting as Commandant. No one had thought to deny her this request.
With a swinging hand she slapped aside a lowly priest who had dawdled too long in her way directing prayers to a bust of Yulia Jue, and without a backwards glance went on her way up a set of steps. Flinging the doors open with a show of strength borne of several years of non-stop training, she paused to gather her thoughts and gain her breath while looking at the ethereal image before her.
Passing pews, her heels clicking on the tiled floor, with little notice other than noting their location, she stepped forward with slow measured steps, determined to not think on hope when such a thing was not probable. The small piece of fonstone given to the Daath Cathedral as a gift from Yulia City pulsated with a fiery light. Looking like a hearth freshly made, its light licked the walls like wildfire flames and illuminated every corner of the great hall. The light, a powerful force in its own right blinded the woman for only a second as she neared it. She raised a gloved hand to shade and protect her vision, and gritted her teeth as she pushed herself onward.
While avoiding older pews that were beginning to crumble and creak in disuse under the glare of the light, she dropped to the ground to avoid a ribbon of pure flame-light that manifested in thin air. "Damn it!" She spat, reaching for her staff, before recalling it would be useless against an entity imbued with the power of Lorelei. She instead directed a healing arte to her right knee which had been injured when she attempted to avoid the attack. "How do I get closer?" She said to herself. She had waited years for this moment, to confront the sentience Lorelei, and she wasn't going to let a little setback such as this to put her off. Another ribbon appeared and she was forced to retreat further until an idea struck her.
"Commandant, do you need assistance?" At that moment several soldiers entered and suffered under her smoldering glare—the ice in her blue eyes hotter than it seemed cold. They shuffled backwards, and she sneered at them.
"Why don't you return to cowering in your rooms while I deal with this. Alone." They took the hint, and exited, releasing sighs of relief when they thought they were out of her hearing range. She relaxed and went back to focus on her dilemma, much more important than those fools. The only way for her to command Lorelei's attention was to approach the fonstone while it was still active, which would not doubt result in her being reduced to cinder and crisp. The only way to keep it active and not get hurt would be to calm it as she had once upon a time...
"Rei Va Neu Kuroa!" She sang the hymn as if directing an attack of her troops, forceful and unyielding, but something was wrong. Her hands trembled for a second in the absence of the usual fonic pressure."Toue Rei Rei!" It wasn't working. In the past, when she had employed the hymn to heal, she could feel the force embedded in the lyrical message physically come into being as a pressure only the most fonically sensitive, as most were in her craft, could sense. But now she could feel nothing, however, despite this fact, the oppressive light dimmed enough for her to see the lone fonstone floating above a pedestal she had commissioned a few years ago. And within it was the sleeping figure she could only hope to see in her dreams.His arms outstretched as if to beckon her forward, she practically flew with great speed towards her target. The same sweet smile graced his face, as it had years ago before his departure, and his lids were closed over the green eyes she remembered in the most vivid of detail. He was here, or would be soon.
"Luke...It's you!" She reached forward slowly, uncaring of the ribbons that again appeared to defend their center. Tears dropped from her eyes and a smile graced her usually stony face. She was the picture of happiness and it seemed nothing would deny her that right. And yet, that sense of wrong struck her so violently that it was all she could do to repress a shudder."Luke, won't you answer?" she called confused as to why he was so unresponsive. Slowly, she realized that it was not exactly the Luke she remembered.
He was garbed in white clothes, yes, but instead of the long tail-coat, he looked the stuff of legends. Looking like a god from one of the old pagan relics, he was encased within the shining stone. Through with her realization she backed away and let out a choked gasp when the lids on his face framed by long red hair opened to reveal a stern and golden gaze. This was not her love. This was Lorelei.
With a snarl she poised her staff into an attack position. Her weapon thrummed with latent energy borne of her anger and rage; it had been long since it had been used in a proper battle, and it was ready to burst. Fonons crackled on its surface and heated the air around her, rivaling the lashing flames around her. To hell with the consequences, she thought, this is war.
"Mystearica, will you not stop this?" A voice, one so familiar, and yet so foreign seared itself into her mind. It was warm and pleasant, and she nearly lost herself within it, but her will was strong and unyielding. She swung her staff threateningly at the figure in the crystal fonstone.
"Give him back!" she shrieked releasing a wave of first fonons, the particles of dark that engulfed the world when Aska fled in his never-ending search for Luna, struck the crystal but dissolved. Unfocused and as angered as she was, it was still a critical hit, but Lorelei, a being with millennium of experience, had long ago learned how to diffuse his brother's particles. They rebounded as seventh fonons, and blinded the woman as she fell to the ground. Landing with a loud crash into one of the pews, she jumped back to her feet, thirsting for blood and in a rage that her soldiers feared on the battlefield.
"He died for his world, you of all people should understand that." the voice intoned, though it also conveyed a sense of sorrow within it.
"The world can go and die, I want him back now you wretch!" The one called Mystearica shouted, inflamed by his pity. The grip on her staff tightened, and she was prepared to employ the methods her brother had used to control Lorelei if only to bend him to her will and silence him. If he truly cared he would return what was hers here and now. "He gave too much and got nothing. Where is our happy ending, the one we deserve after sacrificing everything for you? My love, my brother--you took everything from me!"
The eyes now looked to her, and she nearly put down her weapon when an all too familiar look crossed his face. After Akzeriuth, before the end...Why did it haunt her so! She clenched her fists and glared at him defiantly, awaiting his response.
"I am truly sorry." Lorelei said simply, looking tired and weary, before he disappeared in the same flash of light that took her heart away and had it replaced it with a hole that had yet to seal. It was an endless abyss, and could only hope to be filled. Until then, she would direct her anger towards what truly deserved it. The world, and those replicas that dared to survive after Luke's death. He was her only replica, and if he was not in this world, no other replica could dare to be in his place."For both you and my children..."
"It is time for you to sleep." A motherly looking woman, the mark of a high-level fonist clearly embroidered on her robes, said as she consoled the people walking into the newest addition to the monolithic cathedral. "It will not hurt a bit." This newly added hall was large and separated into two separate sections. One served as the entrance area, while the one following it was shrouded with shadows, the windows near it being covered with shrouds and pieces of cloth.
Those replica's with the greatest level of awareness sighed, and slowly led their comrades forward, determined to end the experience as soon as possible.The replicas who had the youngest appearance expressed their apparent fears in loud shouts and cries, only to be silenced by the Oracle knights and related fonists who stood to the side to observe the proceedings.
The matronly woman smiled and opened a door and assisted the replicas in filing in the room by keeping the order and calming those in children form down, but at that moment a loud knock on the closed doors interrupted everyone's actions. A knight opened the door cautiously and jumped to the side when the Commandant burst through the opening, her fury at the highest any had ever seen.
"I will take over the Cleansing." she stated, daring anyone with a glare, to speak up against her. Slightly shaking, the woman closed the door on the replicas who had entered during the current session, and quickly exited, the edges of her robe trailing on the ground in her hurry. Smirking in satisfaction, Mystearica nodded to the rest who filed out with great haste. "Here you are Lorelei," she said to herself, "Since you wish to take everything, why don't I help you by sending your little monsters to hell, where you most certainly are."
She discarded her staff on a small table, and entered the second portion of the cathedral , closing the door behind her.A hundred or so dirty faces stared up at her with empty eyes, and she smiled, a harsh parody of her former kindness. She could feel a small kinship with these hopeless wretches. To have nothing to live for. It was the way she felt herself since that day seven years ago. When she raised her hands, as if in prayer, she felt a measure of bitter regret welling up within her, this being her first time actually committing the act, but it was the same fate she would award herself if her heart allowed her to stop her fruitless search for her love. The fact gave her small consolation.
Prepared, now, for the beginning of her self-appointed duty she began chanting as a dark mist rose out of her body and into the air around her.
"Rise and conquer, destroy and pervade, I call upon the deathly stream, Styx, to bring her dead waters to this plane!" The sickly colored mist rose and became more tangible, encompassing more and more as the seconds passed. It soon covered everything, holding the replicas in a choke-hold as they struggled for breath in the poisonous cloud. The Commandant stood in the midst of it, completely unaffected both physically and emotionally. She had endured and watched what she could count as hundreds of such occurrences--not wanting to catch her subordinates releasing the vermin in an ill-timed bout of pity. Now she would just wait them out.
Slowly, they all fell limp on the ground. The eyes were swollen and red from the poison, and as predecessors before them, they were dead. Several feet away were what looked like a mismatched family, clutching each others hands during their last minutes, but she swiftly turned and exited after banishing the miasma. Silent and foreboding, she was lost in her stream of thoughts again, but was approached by a knight she faintly recognized. Determined to snub him, she missed the look that crossed his face and was well on her way before she heard him call out.
"Commandant Grants?" The tentative voice called out, heavy with something she was now personally unfamiliar with. She refused to turn around. If the brat wanted to speak with her, he could have stopped her when she was passing by.
"Tear? I'm so sorry..." That voice stopped her in her tracks, and she spun around and marched back to the soldier who had tried to call out to her. Fear was apparent in his eyes, but she went on to grab him by his shoulders and shook him. Something within her had snapped.
"What did you say to me?" He stuttered, trying to respond but unable to in face of such fury. She threw him to the ground, and ran away, descending on unsuspecting priests as she again traversed the path to the central cathedral. Slamming the doors in a way reminiscent to her previous visit she put her hand to her staff only to recall too late that she had forgotten it in the Cleansing room. "Damn it!" Growling, she she spotted a long length of wood that had been a pew at one time and took it up with a wild snarl. The fonstone, as if sensing such danger, began to emit the curling flames that had protected it from her fury before, but she was beyond rational thought. She shoved her way through the fiery hurricane and struck the levitating crystal with the jagged edge of the wooden staff. It would not crack, and with no notice to the flames beginning to burn her skin and hair, she continued her rampage.
"Why must you mock me! Why must you keep him from me! I hate you!" The wood burst into flames and slowly burned to ashes in her hands, but she persevered in her onslaught hitting the crystal with her bare hands until she could not tell the ashes on her hands from the revealed skin the holes in her burnt gloves showed . She raised her hands as if in prayer, and directed a quiet question, so torn within that her anger was forgotten for a moment.
"Why? Why did you leave me?..." She fell to her knees, her energy exhausted, and in response, the fires retracted back into the crystal's center.
"I am sorry..." a gentle voice in the back of her mind replied, but she was in no state of mind to notice or care about the peculiarity.
"I know! You've told me countless times, but you don't do anything about it!" she shouted to the domed ceiling, the flame of her rage ignited by the sound of her most hated enemy's voice.
"I'm so sorry..."
"And again you mock me, bastard" she pushed herself up and stood raising her arms again to the ceiling. "Come down here and tell me what to do. Fight you, seal you, I'll do whatever you want if you free him!" She was operating on the last vestiges of her strength, and it was only a few moments until she fell to the ground again. Tears came unbidden to her eyes, and she roughly wiped them off with the sleeves of her arms.
"I'm so sorry..."She was silent now, beyond replying to the voice and instead collapsed weary from her extreme exertions and the fires that had licked her alive. "I'm so sorry, Tear..." The figure in the crystal slowly separated from his cocoon, and descended towards the fallen warrior, her form pale and her chest heaving. Kneeling beside her, he closed his eyes and focused, a faint aura encompassing him. Several moments passed, and neither moved. It wasn't until Tear opened her eyes and looked into his pale face that he opened his eyes and smiled, eliciting a gasp from the woman beneath him.
"Gods--Luke?" She whispered faintly, beginning to tremble as she raised a hand to his face. His eyes searched hers for a split second, before he averted them to the side. He turned his face away and stood, turning as if to return to the crystal. Slowly standing, she reached out her arm and cried, "Luke, where are you going?"
Not looking back he answered just as quietly as her initial whisper. "I came to see you."
"Then why don't you stay? You came, so why are you leaving? I waited--"
"You hate me." His tone held no questioning tone in it,and baffled Mystearica to no end.
"Wha--what do you mean? I love you! Did that fool Lorelei tell you otherwise?"
"Tear loved me. You are not her." His voice cut through her soul and the breath in her lungs. She wasn't herself? It couldn't--it wasn't him.
"It's you again, come to mock me in his form. Fight me you coward!" ' Lorelei' deigned to not respond and she took it upon herself to approach him. Dashing forward, letting loose a few seventh fonons to ease her pain, she grabbed his arm and forced him to look at her. "It's you, isn't it, bastard!" Shoving him to the ground, she pounced and pulled a knife from her belt, putting it to his neck in warning. "For what reason have you come this time!" It was an order, and one it seemed the spirit would also ignore. She found her hand shaking, unable to slit his throat, but she wouldn't let him know that. However...If it was truly Luke, and she killed him, where would that leave her?
"I missed you..." He replied softly, looking her in the eye. There was no look of fear, just acceptance untainted by any frivolous emotion, and it made her recoil. It was Luke, but--"I have to leave now." Again. Again those damn words, what they represented, made a return appearance, but instead of erupting in fury, she was frozen. Looking at what she sought for for so long, she felt a small warmth in the icy cavern of her chest, and smiled hysterically, unaccepting of her second loss of her love. Moving back onto her knees she watched him get up and approach the fonstone again, this time, uninterrupted.
He paused, in a moment of weakness, but turned back before she could see the tears in his green eyes. "Te--I... I am Lorelei." He spoke, the words piercing more than just the air they were spoken to. And in parting he uttered one last phrase, before entering the crystal and disappearing even from it's center. "Sleep."
She collapsed, and offered no resistance to the arte. In rest, she could immerse herself in her dreams and hold onto memories of happiness that now seemed so short in supply. To sleep, she thought with her final burst of consciousness, was truly a reprieve from all the world's cruelties. Perhaps she had been right in condemning the replicas to their fate. Then again, perhaps she had been wrong all along.
A/N: Based on a kitten my family got being put to sleep because of a disease she caught when she was still a stray. Her name was Lorelei (I named her that for obvious reasons), interestingly enough.
So anyway, this came as a sudden spark for a story while we were waiting for the results from the vet about what was ailing Lorelei. I just added a bit of Holocaust, because I believe its plausible for the Replicas to be treated in this way if everything didn't end happily ever after.
I feel sorry for making evilpsycho!Tear, but I couldn't pass up the chance for Tear following in her brother's footsteps. And I am a believer in the possibility of Luke becoming one with Lorelei because of the perfect isofon theory applied to Luke and Asch opened the possibility of Luke and Asch becoming "one". They share the same signature as Lorelei, so if Asch returns, why can't Luke become "one" with Lorelei...I am so a Lorelei fangirl! ;
Hope Y'all like it!