A/N: Jesus Christ almighty, am I ashamed of this fic.
It was written a number of years ago, back when I was a foolish little writer, unaware of my assault on the brilliant Team ICO's masterpeice.
I now attempt to redeem myself, as I still have a soft spot for the concept and characters. Hold onto your hats for Rebirth v.2, everybody... I swear it will be better this time around.
The wanderer is dead. The rift is broken...
Ice-blue eyes surveyed the landscape from high atop the bridge. Dormin had a long way to go still- it had been nearly an hour and from what he could tell he was only halfway across the bridge.
The human exhaust was baffling. He had never experienced fatigue in his incorporeal form, and what he considered the slightest jostling put his weakened body in pain. He was pleased, however, to find that his absolute knowledge had not been affected by the capacity of his new human mind. Even in this body, he was every bit the being he once was.
He remembered waking up in the exact spot he had supposedly been erased from existence... In a human body. He looked out into the long hallway, shocked to find that the idols representing the sixteen Colossi, previously reduced to dust and debris, had somehow been restored.
The temple looked exactly as it had before. The only disturbance was at the altar, where the bodies sixteen white doves littered the steps. Surveying them, Dormin found that the blood was fresh, and the deep wounds that had felled them could have only been caused by a blade. Someone else had been here.
He no longer sensed the connection to the wanderer he had felt during the period he was sealed. Though he wondered if it had ever been there at all. He had been dully aware of few things in his broken, subconsious state. He picked up on flickers of the boy's thoughts, like watching a candle burn in fog. Now, however, it was as though the candle had been snuffed. The wanderer was dead.
Dormin was here, however, quite obviously alive. The horns he still possesed had led him to believe that he was still not wholly human, although he began to feel human emotions he had never experienced to this degree, not even from the wanderer's thoughts. Anger, burning hatred for the human who had sealed him again just after he had gained his freedom. Because of that fool... he was trapped in this body.
He quickly lost concern for whatever else had made its way into the realm. For all he cared, whatever it was could die here, lost without guidance in this forbidden realm.
After quite some time he made it past the bridge and into the forest behind it. He was aware of extremely faint traces of Emon's energy, as though it had been diluted. He hadn't managed to get much farther before he sensed a new presence. He stopped as a girl hopped down from one of the short trees, holding out a knife. She was small, but well muscled, and her onyx-black hair fell over her face.
"Who are you?" she demanded. Although Dormin was aware of what the weapon could do to his human body, he hadn't explored the human emotion of fear yet, and stood unflinching as he faced her.
"I could ask you the same," he replied in a tone that sounded nonchalant, almost bored. "I highly doubt you even know how to use that weapon correctly..."
Her cheeks flushed red with anger. "What are you doing here? Are you a soldier?"
"Is this really the way greetings go around here? Interrogation? To answer your question, I am not a soldier. But since I have been so kind as to answer your question, it's only fair that you answer one of mine... What are you doing here?"
She glared somewhat suspiciously, but sheathed the knife. "I was coming to investigate the legends they tell about this place. They say there are sixteen monsters like mountains over that bridge, and that defeating them would release unimaginable power. Supposedly it already happened years ago."
"Really, now? Well, I hope you're accustomed to disappointment. I just came from there, and I saw no monsters." As he strode past her, she gasped. He turned to face her. "...What?"
"Y-you have horns," she stuttered.
"And?" He raised an eyebrow. "You should know that some people find it highly offensive when you stand there gaping like a fish at them."
"I'm sorry. If you don't mind my asking, what were you doing there?"
"...The same as you were. Investigating the stories." He laughed slightly. "But it seems, unfortunately, that they weren't true. If you still want to go, be warned that it's a long walk across that bridge for nothing."
She looked disappointed. "Ah, I see. By the way, where are you from? I don't think I've seen you before."
Instinct told him not to reveal anything to this human, at least not yet. "Nowhere. I'm merely a drifter."
"Oh," she said. "What's your name?"
He paused. His name? He decided it was at least safe to enlighten her on that. "Dormin. And yours?"
"Eirika." She looked up at him, seemingly thinking about something. "So your name's Dormin... Are you named after the spirit from the stories about this place?"
Dormin had to keep from laughing. "Yes."
"I figured. I'm from the village a few miles from here. If you need a place to stay, there's an inn there that's not too expensive."
"Really? Thank you. I'll have to follow you back, though; I'm not familiar with this landscape."
Eirika laughed. "Well, I'm a peerless navigator, so you're safe with me. Let's go."