"I beg of you… My slave who lives somewhere in the universe! Oh sacred, beautiful and strong familiar spirit! I desire and here I plead from my heart! Answer to my guidance!"
For such powerful magic words they are quite vague are they not? The universe has long since been proven to be far more massive than can be measured and the reflections even more infinite. Beautiful and strong can be defined in numerous ways and differ by one's own views of strength and beauty. However, a plea that comes straight from the heart fueled by a desire created from years of emotional torment by one's peers? That is a voice heard by any who are willing to listen.
Familiars of Zero is a series of one-shots featuring a plethora of what-if's consisting of a large cast of characters ranging from the unique to the downright bizarre. However, while the cast of familiars will be diverse a few key little details will remain in effect. All familiars will be sentient and will, at the very least, be chaotic neutral. I may include an "evil" familiar or two but I'm not really into writing horror all that much…
All one-shots shall be followed by an explanatory note regarding the new familiar (the who's, the why's, and the what's), a brief summarization of what could continue, and finally explanations towards an "OCness" on the pre-established characters. With that said, I hope you enjoy reading:
The Familiars of Zero
By Corvus no Genmu
"The Second Chance at Life"
Fate can be cruel even to the kindest, most innocent of souls. It can deal to them a destiny the likes of which can turn away the light and devour it utterly into the black abyss of Hell. Such was the fate dealt to one such individual, a beast some would say, a mere animal others would agree, a person no matter the form a precious few would state. A child, caught and captured to be sold to the highest bidder and through a rare circumstance, the kindest hand from Fate ever before and never again, was bought by a soul so pure, so filled with light, that for a short time, something that was lost had been returned.
And then… that shining light was gone and darkness caught the child in wicked hands that dragged the child kicking and screaming once more into the abysmal shadows of evil. For seven long years there was no escape but one delivered from those same hands that freed a captured child.
Death can be kind even to the cruelest, most evil of souls. It is as much a release as a it is a punishment for many a monster that once was an innocent would find no better solace in knowing the atrocities of their futures were at last ended and the children they once were could finally rest in peace. For the likes of the damned, Death offers them the one thing that every monster worth its blackened heart desires most.
And so… the monster was slain, beheaded as any proper monster was want to be and in those final moments when life and death are together shared, did the eyes of the child open through the shadows. Innocence saw again the courageous light which saved it once before and now so again and with tender love spoke the savior's name. Tears, the jewels of the soul, fell from those eyes of a child and in that moment, another cosmic force intervened.
Destiny is a fickle thing and often to be confused by Fate. Some would say that Destiny is what awaits us; that we only truly get one chance at achieving it and it can just as easily be right there in front of us all the while. Others would claim that Fate and Destiny are but one and the same, twins of differing names of exact natures. Where the only difference, if any, could be that Fate controls us but we may yet control our Destiny, and that is precisely what Destiny is.
It was the courageous savior's choice to slay the monster the child had become, it was the choice of powerfully evil hands to mold that child into a bloodthirsty monster, but what of the third party, the youngling himself? Had he a choice in anything? He'd have followed the savior but where the savior went, he could not follow. He'd have run from the wicked hands but they clung to him tightly and refused to let go. So it was from the absence of choice that one was made in its steed and an innocent soul was allowed a second chance to grow, to live as it would for better or for worse.
Pale pink irises met those of cerulean blue and together they blinked in confusion at the sight of the other. Heads tilted in the same direction one way and then once more to the other. A finger scratched wonderingly at a soft chin whilst a talon did so just beneath a reptilian beak. Of course, the mimicked motion robbed the little fellow of his balance and he fell to the ground with an offended grunt that sent a rosier tint to the face of one Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière.
"Just you watch! I'll summon a sacred, beautiful, and strong familiar spirit that will be unmatched, even with everyone else's familiar spirits combined!"
Were those not her exact words the previous night? Had they not come to fruition just as she had so boldly proclaimed? Her familiar was, if not sacred or strong, an exotic beauty of vibrantly vermillion scales with an amber toned underbelly. Twin ram like horns of a dark viridian hue curled back along her familiar's head and his head was covered in hardier scales of the same coloration, particularly along the upper beak of his snout. A small stripe of orangey hair glimmered in the sun. While certainly serpentine in the lower half, his upper body was all draconian and he sported a small pair of eagle claws on his short arms.
If he was a dragon, he was not of any bird that Louise recognized… but did that matter in the end? She had boasted of a familiar unique and though there were a few rare shows amongst her peers, they were recognizable species from the start. That she had succeeded in a spell for the first time was a miracle unto itself but that she had held true to her proclamation? On the outside, she appeared every bit the cool and collected noblewoman but on the inside she was the excited schoolgirl squealing in utter glee.
"My name is Louise Françoise Le Blanc de La Vallière. Pentagon of the Five Elemental Powers; grant your blessings upon this humble being, and make him my familiar." With a smile that threatened to burst into a full-fledged grin, Louise leaned down and tapped the little beast's forehead with her wand and, quick as a blink, kissed his nose.
Louise blinked away the spots in her eyes that resulted from the burst of starlight that had followed her finishing the contract… Yet, something didn't feel quite right… It could have been that the spell had succeeded without the usual explosion, it could very well have been the strange bit of something that thrummed on the back of her wand-hand… or it could be her familiar who did something no one would have expected.
"Lo… uise?" A frowned tugged down the corners of the draconian's beak before he tried again. "Lou…ise?" Better but not quite right. "Louise! Louise, Louise, Louise!" The little draconian was immensely proud that he managed his new friend's name on the third try and set about a joyful little dance, if the odd motions could be considered as such, before he was immediately set upon by a larger cousin, a female dragon recently renamed as Sylphid. The larger rhyme dragon hastily swept up the hatchling firedrake in her paws, her snout pressing against his own as she hushed him.
"No! You're not supposed to talk in front of humans!" The azure-scaled dragon whispered to the hatchling. Of course, being rather new to humans in general, Irukukwu was under the impression that humans were quite hard of hearing so her whispering was easily heard by the crowd. Both dragons looked at the crowd and despite her urgent whispering to do otherwise, the younger felt the need to give voice to the fantastic impression the mass of humans were doing.
"What am I going to do with you?" Louise asked her sleeping familiar. The day where she would make or break, to be or not to be a true mage and everything had gotten turned around on its ear and then some! She summoned a marvelous familiar, one so marvelous that Professor Colbert had descended upon the class like a wrathful god. He stated in no uncertain terms that words about the two speaking dragons were to be kept amongst the students and academy staff otherwise… Well, let's just say that his promise brought a shudder of fear to all of the students, a shudder that soon turned to squeals of terror as the head caretaker appeared beside Colbert with a smile the likes of which should never be on such a cantankerous man.
Seeing the fear of God properly set in, Colbert dismissed the class save for Louise and Tabitha whom he escorted promptly to Old Man Osmond's office. Sylphid and Louise's dragon, which she had yet to think of a proper name, followed but only the hatchling drake managed to fit through the doors which of course led to the blue dragon enacting a grand impression of a bat just outside the headmaster's office.
Miss Longueville was less than amused and stated as such as she tried to get her paperwork back in order.
The meeting with the headmaster was as long as it was informative, yet was far too short and explained absolutely nothing as well. Osmond had clearly identified Sylphid as a rhyme dragon, a species thought to have been extinct since the Twilight War well over a thousand years ago, and had gone into a longwinded speech of their magnificence to the two girls. Sylphid preened under the praise and Louise's familiar… well, he found better sources of entertainment than listening to the old man talk, mostly focusing on which was the beard and what was the man's own head-of-hair.
Really, it was almost impossible to figure out!
When it finally came time to talk to Louise about her own familiar…
There was absolutely nothing that either men could say about him save for the obvious fact that he was some kind of relation to the draconian lineage but given that the same could be said of salamanders and basilisks… To be fair, Professor Colbert's expertise was for fire magic and mechanics whilst Old Man Osmond… Well, the less said of that the better. In fact, if there was a lack of anything in the Tristain Academy of Magic it was a professor of the biology, more specifically the rare and powerful beasts that could command the elements with a savage ferocity only a wild creature could. Odd given that a fair number of students would often end up with such beasts as familiars but seeing as the runes were supposed to take care of that…
But that's when the markings of the familiar and master consists of runes and not… this! Louise reached over and rubbed her familiar's head, watching intently as the sigil appeared once more on the back of her familiar's left hand. A single sign, a shape really, and that's all that it was and, for all that Louise could see, all that it would be. With a tired sigh, Louise closed her eyes and tried to get some sleep, never seeing the subtle glow from beneath her covers where a mirrored copy of her familiar's mark rested on the back of her right hand.
"And that was Tabitha the Snowy Wind with her dragon familiar, Sylphid." Professor Colbert called out to the crowd that was still enraptured with the blue dragon. Despite the rumor mill, the beast had not demonstrated its supposed intelligence to the crowd of students and the royal court who sat as judges over the competition of familiars. "Next up, Miss Louise de La Vallière and her familiar Volvagia!"
This… this had never happened before. The whispers were already starting amongst the wondering first years, the questioning third years, and the outright confused second years who shared classes with Louise and knew full well that her devotion to the princess would not allow her to miss her chance at impressing the visiting royalty even with a familiar that only did what it wanted and never listened to a single command. Suddenly, almost as one, the gathered familiars turned to the central tower, eyes wide with a sudden gleam of understanding. The mundane remained silent and watchful but those who possessed magic in their blood, they roared, but none so loud as Sylphid herself.
Yet even this paled in comparison to what answered back not in kind but in greater strength, a roar of the earth's blood rupturing freely, the tornado's scream upon the grasslands, the sundering of the mountain stones, the clapping of tsunamis upon the shores.
The wind stirred from the answering call but began to swirl from something far greater, an emerald light twisting and twirling high above the stage floor before bursting apart like billowing stardust as a massive form came crashing down. A mountain golem, or at least what remained of one as its crashing from some hundred odd so feet above the earth did little to help retain its structure and given that it was hurled rather than felled… The hurler in question came diving down with another elemental scream as the earth rupture truly beneath the golem, swallowing it into the pit of magma whilst its shaper lay unconscious in tightly squeezing coils.
What descended from the heaven's was as much a serpent as it was a dragon and to those that knew him, it was a barely recognizable creature. Louise's familiar had changed, grown to his full size in a manner of moments and he was massive. His coils twisted and turned in the sky, kept aloft by sheer force of will, and there was no apparent beginning or end to them save for the singular tip and torso upon which sat a ram horned head of an beaked dragon whose dinosaurian limbs clutched tightly a crystal of azure.
The tail released its load into the stunned crowd, uncaring as to who caught the thief so long as his friend was safe. With all the care of handling fine china, the serpentine dragon set the crystal down before the cooled pool of obsidian rock and watched as it shattered into starry light to reveal a stunned, Louise de La Vallière. A flash of emerald tinted light and the massive dragon was gone, replaced now with a hatchling that sat beaming atop the young noblewoman's head.
If Madness deserved a kingdom than there truly is no place better than this inglorious cavern of ash and rotted stones. A thousand years ago, it had been the center of a massive kingdom, a kingdom that left nothing but misery for its people and death for its enemies. For countless generations, a single being sat as king upon a throne of blood and bones, a man that no sword could cut, no arrow could pierce, and no spell could destroy.
Yet, a thousand years later, a lone skeleton sat upon the throne of a dead kingdom. Here, the immortal king of darkness lay dead and here, in his throne room flowed forth a visitor into the emptiness. A fog of lighted darkness, a pair of shining eyes lost within an endless shadow above a grin of madness. Something akin to a hand caressed the skull like a father would to a dearly loved son, a whisper of words and then, it was gone as quickly as it had arrived with nothing to show for its appearance but a parting gift.
A gift which glowed and pulsed to the beat of a heart… The bones twitched, a skull's jaws clenching alongside the phalanges. Another twitch and the skeleton wrenched itself free from its throne, its arms wrapped tightly around the gift as laughter echoed within the shadows. Flesh and sinew regrew from the dust ridden bones as it took the gift in welcoming claws and swallowed it whole once more, as power flowed once more as blood's substitute in reformed veins. Tusks grazed the ceiling as the returned dead roared for the return to a life of conquest and destruction. It started as the sound of a boar coming down upon unsuspecting prey and ended with the elated laughter of a madman who dwelled beyond the borders of reason.
The visiting miasmic shadows sat quietly in the rafters with fatherly pride gleaming in those deviled eyes… for the son was alive to serve the will of the father once more.
On the next Calling...
"Sung from the Depths"
Volvagia's story, as told in the "canon" manga of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, of which I say "canon" because of how often it's not, got me to shed a tear. … Okay, several tears… Alright! I bawled like a baby, blast it but how couldn't I?! It was just so, so SAD! I mean, I thought Bambi's mother would be the worst death scene I'd ever see by pen and paper but this? Oh my God! Just, just tragic is what it was! I shan't spoil it anymore beyond that and because I won't I can't really go into Volvagia as he was so if you all are curious, I suggest reading the manga and having a box of tissues handy.
Volvagia as he is… is a lot like the character of Chibi from the anime/manga/game of Dragon Drive in which the aforementioned Chibi goes from being a cute little fluffball to a Bahamut rip-off. No, really, he goes from tiny and cute to huge and kaiju-esque. Volvagia is similar only so much that he is still growing up into his full form and power but can access it in times of great duress to either himself or Louise thanks to what binds them, and the latest source of ultimate evil, together.
For those who've played Legend of Zelda, yes. Yes they're exactly what you presume them to be. For those who haven't… My god, go and play and get a Nintendo something! That's right up there with never having played a Mario Bros. and/or Sonic the Hedgehog game blast it!
Louise and Volvagia… would be a girl and her pet, at least at first. Let's face it, Volvagia's got the vocabulary of a two-year-old and however Louise might know otherwise, she won't truly believe him to be an intelligent, thinking creature until… Well, until he up and saved her from a squashing via Fouquet when he, as a baby literally threw himself between her and a mountain golem's oncoming fist.
This story was an experimental variation of Louise-as-a-momma insomuch that the "child" in question actually stays as a child throughout the entire story of The Familiar of Zero rather than rapidly aging to full size, if not full intellect. The idea is sound at the beginning but then when the later halves come into play… Yeah, Volvagia would be zipping between child and adult forms so bloody often we might as call him a digimon and be done with it. Still, that's two draconians down, three more to go and I think many have already guessed as to who's coming next…