Disclaimer: Don't own Soul Calibur. Would be DAMN SKIPPY if I did, and Nightmare would have a face.
An AMAZING face.
I do, however, probably own any characters you don't recognize. You steal, and I kick your arse to the moon and back.

A/N: This story supports Nightmare being a completely separate entity from both Siegfried and Soul Edge. This story also supports Nightmare getting to tell his side of the story for once instaed of him just being there for Siegfried to kick the crap out of. This is not a happy story. There will be no noble quests for redemption and vanquishing evil.
Just Nightmare being Nightmare. Sorry to all those of you out there who like that other sort of stuff.

Now, that said, I would greatly appreciate constrctive reveiws, as this is my first attempt at a SC fanfic with a non-humorous undertone. Thanks in advance.


A shaft of sunlight pierced through the intricately wrought glass designs of the towering windows, bathing the temple's floor in a light that seemed to saturate its surroundings.

A priestess knelt at the altar, her head bowed in prayer. She was garbed in white, with a thin plate of armor over her robes and a longsword at her belt. Her gold hair had pulled back in a ponytail, and the too-long pieces in the front fell into her dark brown eyes. She rose to her feet when she heard footsteps approaching.

"Good day, Ishtar."

She turned, nodding in greeting the approaching necromancer. Though they belonged to the same order, their viewpoints and standing were so vastly different that they may as well have been black and white.

"Good day to you as well, Septimus. What brings you here?"

Septimus smiled, stopping in front of her. He, in contrast, wore the deep indigo and black robes of the members of the order who had chosen the path of darkness. His hair, which fell to his shoulders, was silver, and his eyes were a few shades darker, more of a slate-gray. "I regularly visit this part of the temple."

"But... Shouldn't you be..." She stopped.

"...In the lower levels, with the rest of my lot?" His smile faded. Venom entered his eyes.

Ishtar shook her head. "Forgive me. I meant no offense. Rather, it is odd that a necromancer would come here, you usually have few dealings with our kind."

"Nay, I believe our coexistence is vital to the survival of this order. I was hoping I would find you here, actually..."

"Oh? And why, pray tell?"

"I find your veiws on the world fascinating, Ishtar. I can never fathom them for the life of me, no matter how many of your priestesses explain them, but still... I love to talk of them. Contrast, such sharp contrast to my own..."

Ishtar merely shook her head again. "Forgive me, Septimus... I fear I know not of what you speak."

"You who follow the light find your power in faith. You believe in that which is intangible, that which you cannot see, cannot hear, cannot feel. That which may not exist."

Ishtar stepped forward. "Do you mock our way of life, Septimus?"

"No. Allow me to continue." He remained where he stood, looking her straight in the eyes. "We of the dark draw strength from knowledge, from understanding. We seek enlightenment on everything, and do not believe in that which we cannot observe."

Ishtar blinked. "And? What is it you are hoping to accomplish in saying all this?"

Septimus moved slowly, holding out the bundle he had carried in with him, which Ishtar had only just taken notice of. Carefully, he unwrapped the layers of cloth until the bundle was revealed to be a sword, ancient and rusted. The parts untouched by age gleamed wickedly in the beams of sunlight that shone through the windows.

"Septimus... What is...?" Ishtar took a few more steps towards him. He was not a combatant, he was a scholar. What use could he possibly have for something like this? Unable to stop herself, she reached out to touch the blade. Then, with a gasp, she pulled her hand back. The power slammed into her like an electric shock. For what infinitesimal amount of time she had made contact, she could have sworn she heard voices... Whispers... of the dead and the damned.

"This is the blade said to have been used since the very first war ever fought by mankind. You see, Ishtar, I believe that as powerful as our lifestyles are on their own, they can become allmighty when united... I am going to awaken the latent darkness of the abyss using the souls of those who died on this blade as sacrifice... I will put faith in that darkness... In order to achieve absolute knowledge."

Ishtar could only stare at him. Septimus... She had always known he had far-fetched ideas, ever since they were children, but this? He truly sounded like a madman.

"You do realize what this would mean?" she asked him, an edge entering her voice. "You will bring destruction on the world, Septimus!"

He shook his head, holding the blade close to his chest. "I will be in control of its powers. I will ensure its power does not spiral out of control." His voice was softer now, the words a promise. "I...I had hoped you would understand, Ishtar. But alas, I hoped in vain. In time, you will come to understand..."

He turned and slowly exited the room, his footsteps fading eerily into the hallways.

"O, great and immeasurable shadows, take this offering of souls of the dead, and one of my own blood. My body will be thy vessel... I offer you myself, body and soul, in exchange for the infinite knowledge it is within your power to bestow.
Awaken... and hear my adulation..."

From the gash on his arm, Septimus watched, transfixed, as his blood dripped onto the rusted sword on the dark altar. The feeling of the presence of the darkness he had summoned slowly but surely became stronger, the sounds of the voices of his sacrifices more prominent. A final cry of defiance before they were forever silenced.

Then, everything was bathed in black.

The darkness was stifling. Septimus felt his chest tighten, he had to struggle to breathe. A voice, powerful but without identity, spoke to him.

You would seek to house this power, mortal?

Without hesitation, he answered: "Yes."

The voice seemed to laugh. Very well... But know that your frail human mind was not meant to contain such vast reserves of knowledge...

"Oh, wasn't it?"

Now the voice was booming with laughter, though it was cold. Lifeless. You do amuse me, human! I shall enjoy using you as my vessel!

The sword on the altar had begun to contort. Tendrils of flesh crawled across its surface. A huge eye opened just above the hilt.

As if to answer the question forming in Septimus's mind, the darkness stated, Your human bodies are vulnerable, and weak. This... This blade shall be the true vessel, for it is far less easily destroyed... You... shall be the puppet...

And then the knowledge, the understanding, filled his mind. Filled it to the brink. Millennia, generations of human existence, farther back, to prehistoric times, back before the birth of the Earth, to the days when primordial darkness had ruled every stretch of time and space...

Complete enlightenment... Exactly what you wished for.

Then, it broke him. He fell to his knees, the darkness receded. It took all his strength to raise his head and look into the eye of the blade that now housed the essence of night itself.

Fool human... You have opened the gates of hell on the world of mortals! Not a single living soul will be spared my wrath! I shall claim my rightful position as ruler of all, and you, my puppet, will be the hand that slays that which stands in my way!

Death! Death to them all!