Second Advent of the Vow

Part I: Prelude to a quest

"When she recovered her senses she found herself lying in her bed at home. She returned to her life as the daughter of a baker and has spent her days in peace. But one day on her way shopping with her sister, she suddenly lost consciousness.

"So many lives... disappearing... Soul Edge?" (Taken from www.soulcalibur.com)

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Soul Calibur characters; they belong to Namco.

Notes: Character inner thoughts identified by asterisks*

Chapter I: Premonitions

It was a beautiful sunny day. The market, with its smells and sounds of commerce, was filled with light and people in every corner. It had been so long since she had the chance to behave like an average young woman again, without fearing for her life or the success of her mission. Three years had passed since her return from Spain but, both for her and for the citizens of the proud Athens, the events for which she had gained success were still very vividly in their memories. Even dressed rather simply, so as not to gather too much attention upon herself, she could feel the inquisitive gazes of the townspeople as she walked with her younger sister Cassandra. Sophitia clearly noticed that they felt proud of having a new hero they could boast of, someone to join the ranks of illustrious Athenians like Pericles, but today, their hero was in the very "heroic" and "dangerous" mission of buying her home's groceries. Bartering with some of these merchants can be pretty risky business, Sophitia thought to herself with a mischievous smile. Cassandra on the other hand moved amidst the crowded market grounds like a fish in water, her short blonde hair shining brightly and her wide clear eyes sparkling, her cute smile enchanting as ever as she went from shop to shop effortlessly with a speed and ease her elder sister envied.

-*I wish I could move in a battle like she does here!* - Sophitia thought as she observed her sister approach another booth, this one filled with exotic and colorful cloths and silks.

-"Look at these silks Sophie. And these embroideries, aren't they gorgeous?" yelled Cassandra from the opposite side of Sophitia as she admired the finest works of silks that she was shown by the merchant.

Sophitia was looking at the intricate pattern of one of the embroideries, when all of a sudden an unknown sensation struck her like a sword blow. Her mind suddenly changed her sight from the sun-bathed market to a sudden darkness she had encountered just once before in her young life: at Cervantes' death. Amid the pitch-black darkness, she could hear cries from afar, cries of pain and despair. Then a voice, a growl exploded:

-"Souls, more souls!"

-"It can't be, Soul Edge again?" This was more that she could bear as her body suddenly fell heavy to the market's ground.

-"Sophitia!"-yelled Cassandra - "Sophitia, please wake up!"

Sophitia still wandered between conscious and unconsciousness as her mind suddenly pulled her back to the image of a dark figure staring in a frenzy at it's grotesquely disfigured hand and the hungry eye that looked back at him.

-"Cassie, I don't feel quite right"- she managed to mutter, fighting to recover control of herself and to push away the horrible vision.

-"Stay still, Sophie," - commanded her sister. -"maybe your wounds haven't healed completely yet!"

The painful memories of how battered and hurt her sister had returned back home, assisted by a then unknown foreign fighter from the East brought chilly shivers to Cassandra. The evil effect the shards impaled on her sister's body had been a terrible illness that made her drift endlessly between consciousness and the underworld. The warrior, who later identified herself as a ninja from Japan, explained that her elder sister had managed to identify herself and her place of origin before sinking into a coma-like state, thus enabling the helpful stranger to return Sophitia home. The Soul Edge had damaged her so much that it took full months to recover herself not only in the physical sense but also emotionally.

Cassandra had aided the female warrior named Taki to help her sister with some unknown yet highly effective secret herbs and rituals. Taki later explained to an already shocked Cassie that since the sword devoured the souls of the fallen, each shard held countless amounts of those unfortunates and now, because they resided on Sophitia's body, they fought to take hers. However, the exceptionally strong spirit of the young woman had delayed the process, making her wander between the real world and the depths of Hades. This fight would only stop when the all the shards were expelled from her. Taki had taken out most of them on the voyage to the Greek Isles but only through a mystic ritual would the smallest of the remains finally been taken from their involuntary host.

It was through the ritual Taki performed that Sophitia had finally been set free, allowing her to recover, but now the possibility of a relapse brought tears to Cassandra's green eyes, fearing the depths of despair the Alexandra household would yet again be thrown into. Wiping furiously at the hot tears in her eyes, Cassandra hurried for assistance.

And as Cassandra cried for help, the images played again on Sophitia's mind's eye. This time she saw what the horrible eye was. It was Soul Edge! Staring from an enormous battle sword, the eye claimed more souls to ease its hunger and the disfigured hand of the Azure Knight added more, blow by blow of his dreaded blade. And like so many battles she had fought before, she could see the knight readying himself for battle, his red eyes gleaming malevolently with anticipation. With horror, she suddenly realized that she was his opponent, staring helpless, weaponless, waiting the bulking knight and his dreadful weapon to strike?.

-*So many lives?. disappearing?. Soul Edge_* - the revelation devastating her short lived sense of security and accomplishment. But then the knight lifted his massive weapon at her?

Sophitia woke up startled in the warmth and safety of her soft bed, her last memory the haunting omen that immobilized her at the market. There was also another memory, one that contrasted with the nightmarish images she faced, one that brought comfort. Before completely losing consciousness, she saw her sister bringing a stranger to help her. She remembered a sweet, yet strong voice that requested her to remain still, an unknown pair of eyes that watched her both worried and admiringly and that wonderful sense of feeling completely safe amidst the danger, as he lifted her in his arms. Then her mind filled with darkness as her head fell over the stranger's chest.

-*I had forgotten how comforting and safe one could feel in the company of another human being (especially a strong, attractive young man who's not wielding a weapon with the intent of striking you!)* - Sophitia thought with a smile.

But as Sophitia the young woman meditated on such thoughts, Sophitia the warrior brought back the memory of the Azure Knight against a red full moon, pointing Soul Edge at the sky as if he intended to summon all evil spirits to join him in his unholy quest. The sole remembrance of his thunderous roar brought all too familiar chills to her spine, but they arose the familiar senses developed through endless battles. It was clear to her.

-"This is not over."