Author's Note: Golden Sun having once been the one thing responsible for me getting into fanfiction, of course it would be its latest sequel – Dark Dawn – that would bring me back to try and have another go with fanfiction. Having been to – and specifically the Golden Sun section -, when there had just been a Golden Sun section created, I had been driven to write. Unfortunately, having been like thirteen years old at the time, my writing kind of…sucked . I can admit it and I'm ashamed of it but I pretty much did everything that you should absolutely NOT do when it comes to fanfiction.
Not wanting to get into the details, let's just say that I learned. After deleting my shameful work and banishing myself to get better at grammar and the English language in general, I've decided to write up this piece after…*counts fingers*…eight years. I was a bit late to the party but at Christmas I was able to get myself a Nintendo DS and the latest copy of Golden Sun: Dark Dawn. Now, this little piece of work is pretty much where I am in the game right now; I've just finished Belinsk and now I'm off sailing the seas.
That said, for any people that decide to review, don't spoil anything . Type up your reviews but please don't spoil anything for me. I really love the game, I'm trying to get through it with minimum spoilers, but I just decided to write up this little number after the events at Belinsk inspired me to write. Of course, this little piece has spoilers of its own so people that haven't completed the game – or at least complete Belinsk -, read no further if you don't want to be spoiled!
Anyway, let's see what eight years of studying the English language has taught me. Let's do this! And as always, Golden Sun belongs to Camelot and yadda yadda yadda.
And I thought Tanglewood had been bad.
Clutching the hilt of his sword in a tight, two-handed grip, Matthew ventured out of the latest alley that he had navigated through. Pausing at the mouth, the Venus Adept stuck his head out and slowly scanned the area. The same sight that they had seen since the ascension of the Luna Tower was displayed before him: the darkness that had engulfed all of Belinsk.
It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't for this fog. A dark, purplish color, the fog had come as suddenly as the darkness of the eclipse. What visibility that Matthew may've still been able to attain was utterly lost with this combination where buildings were nothing but wavy outlines while stairs and abandoned stands would appear as a sudden manifestation that had already tripped him twice. And there were the bodies too…
It reminded him of Tanglewood, the treacherous forest that had always been so close to where he had lived during his seventeen years of life but that which he had always been warned to stay away from. And he had done just that…until an impatient friend had taken the soarwing and crashed into its depths. When first venturing into the dark woods he had been similarly cut off guard when day switched to night. When the broken, bare trees and branches transformed into twisted, skeletal apparitions that seemed to want to reach out and pluck him away from the side of his father and drag him into the unknown. And he had seen exactly what the unknown could contain…such as a giant, carnivorous plant that wanted to devour them all, twisted into its monstrous form by the shadows.
Belinsk was a lot worse. Despite the kind of creatures that had thrived in the dark woods of Tanglewood, there had been something completely and utterly natural about it. Back then, Tanglewood had been the home of the shadows while they had been the trespassers. Belinsk, on the other hand…
There had been people here, Matthew thought with growing unease as he stepped out of the alley, his steps slow and careful, the eyes that he had inherited from his mother looking about warily for any signs of trouble. Beastmen but they were still people. They had been singing, laughing with friends and family. Just enjoying a festival like anyone else would.
Despite the thick fog, Matthew had nonetheless been trying to keep track of his position with a vague, mental map that he sought for now. He remembered upon leaving the castle that they had been planning on going to the pier to try to find a way to get out of Belinsk. A ship perhaps, certainly there had to have been one docked that they could've used. But then there had been Sveta and-
The cry, surprised as it sounded, had been barely audible to the point of when Matthew had turned his head he wondered if he had been hearing things. But how Sveta slumped to her knees, her eyes wide and haunted, it soon proved that Matthew had certainly heard it. Despite not having been associated with her as long as Karis or Tyrell, Matthew had immediately gone to her side, dropping to a knee himself, an arm coming across her shoulders to offer both support and comfort to the sudden malady that seemed to hit her.
"What's wrong, Sveta?" Kraden immediately spoke the question that Matthew had been about to ask, the old man hovering over the two.
Sveta didn't reply immediately, the girl staring off into space and hardly seeming to notice the touch that Matthew offered her and the question. Though having known her for a short time, Matthew had already gotten the image of her as a calm, patient individual. Despite whatever insults and comments that the Venus Adept had heard spoken about beastmen during his travels, Sveta had always treated them with a politeness and patience that had held steadfast even against Tyrell's heated words. To see her so haunted startled him a little.
The girl held her clawed hands to her head but otherwise she didn't make any kind of response to the two. It was then that Matthew felt a sensation that he realized was attuned to the usage of psynergy and a purple aura usually accustomed to that of the power of Jupiter briefly flared around Sveta. While this aura was usually as calm and tempered as its owner, however, Matthew could see fluctuations and sudden spikes that made the aura look erratic.
"My Spirit Sense Psynergy," Sveta started, her voice trembling slightly, "is activating itself…without my will."
Matthew was only able to stare with deep concern, floundering in his thoughts as he tried to think of what he could do. From what he knew, Spirit Sense was similar to the Mind Read psynergy that Karis's father Ivan was known to use. Spoken as a double-edged sword, Matthew could see why as Sveta seemed to be tormented with an unknown horror that he couldn't assist her with or even see. If her power was not being controlled by her will, Matthew could only wonder what was currently flooding into her mind, thoughts and images that she had no control over the flow of.
After another long pause Sveta suddenly turned her head in one direction, her eyes widening further as she whispered, "Brother…"
And he actually did see what had caused Sveta to be so worried. They all had. Her brother, King Volechek, venturing into the opera house that his men had warned was where they had managed to quarantine monsters that had been ravaging the city. They had found the building empty before the music suddenly started, being played by an unknown source at an unknown location. The door closing behind them, trapping them, the music becoming louder, the curtains that had hidden the stage being pulled open to reveal-
"Stop!" Sveta screamed, startling Matthew, bringing him out of the vision before he could see what, exactly had been waiting for Volecheck and his men.
They had decided to go to the opera house in hopes of seeing what they could do to save her brother and perhaps fight this encroaching darkness despite Kraden's demands that they should find transportation and leave the city as soon as they could. Karis and the others had followed Matthew's decision without question, the son of Isaac having become the de facto leader of the group just as his father had. Hoping to get to the house quickly, they had been cutting across the northern part of the city, traveling by where the musicians had been playing tunes such as Mountain Roc Rising and Arangoa Prelude that Sveta had told them to request to meet up with her again.
But that was when they found the body, the first of many. It was dressed in the armor of the city guard and though Matthew had desired to move around it, Sveta had been speaking again. But not with her words and not with her will.
"I stood guard, peeled a potato or two," Sveta was speaking, her eyes focused on the body while her mouth moved on its own accord. She was backing away from the body, as if that motion could make it stop, but she continued to speak. "Cleaned the latrine. No actual soldering!"
That was when they came. The creatures that were responsible for all of the horrors they were witnessing, coming out of the shadows, suddenly surrounding the group. Matthew and his friends had fought and when he had slain the last of them Matthew had turned to look around and found himself alone. Karis, Tyrell, Sveta, Amiti, Rief; they had all vanished. This was where Matthew had trouble when it came to retracing his steps and deducing where, exactly, he was. He remembered passing the inn only a few minutes ago before he had ducked into the alley and he remembered heading south…perhaps a little to the east.
The entrance to Belisk should actually be nearby and for a brief moment Matthew entertained the idea of using it to escape this nightmare that had engulfed Belisk. He rejected the idea immediately. Other then the fact that Kraden had been quite clear about using a boat to get very, very far away from Belisk – that the current debacle was not just contained inside Belisk but outside as well -, there was also the fact that Matthew would not abandon his friends. Though Tyrell and Karis were his childhood friends, he had come to like Rief and Amiti, the two Mercury Adepts having become close friends as well during their adventures in not only Belisk but Ayuthay and Kaocho too in their quest to retrieve the feather from a Mountain Roc. Matthew was also concerned about Sveta for not only her brother but her own well being.
Northwest then, Matthew decided with certainty as he turned to where he hoped the opera house was located. He was going to have to look out for any familiar landmarks that could further point him in the right direction but for now that was his best bet. As he was entertaining thoughts of hoping to run into the others during his journey, Matthew saw one of them appear at the corner of his eye.
They looked like your standard insect if insects grew to nearly the same size as Matthew and seemed to be made out of the very shadows that they appeared from. Three of them seemed to appear right next to him and Matthew immediately back-pedaled, his sword coming up to defend himself while he wondered how they managed to catch him off guard like that. It was as if they appeared from the shadows themselves which, really, considering what Matthew had experienced so far – djinn, Mountain Rocs, giant trees with faces on their barks – couldn't be ruled out as a plausible explanation.
Matthew managed to bring his sword around just in time as the lead insect scurried forward on its four legs. There were two appendages on its back, extra limbs that Matthew didn't want to see if they were as sharp as they appeared. One of them slashed down and Matthew managed to parry it before immediately ducking under the second one that came around to strike at his undefended side. Bringing his sword up, Matthew sought to bring it down right between the red orbs that had to be the thing's eyes but one leg covered in a shadowed carapace blocked it. A stab of one of its back appendages sought to pierce through him in response but Matthew leaped back in order to gain some distance between them.
Gritting his teeth, Matthew lunged at the bug, his sword coming back up in a similar attack like the one that he had tried before. However, there was a minor difference as the blade of his sword suddenly glowed in pure yellow Venus psynergy, a silhouette of one of his djinn – Flint – able to be seen despite the radiance. When the insect brought up its leg to defend again, it was soon proven that its carapace was not strong enough as the power of the Venus djinni allowed Matthew's sword to cleave through the leg and, quickly, its body.
He only had a moment to admire his handiwork before the second of the three monsters rushed him, its two appendages pointed forward as it charged in an attempt to spear him. Letting instinct takeover, Matthew fell backwards and dropped to the floor, landing on his back. The appendages stabbed at the air above him and, too late, the insect realized that Matthew had a clear and unobstructed view of its underside. An underside that wasn't as armored as the rest of it as Matthew found out when he stabbed his sword into it.
The insect twitched, letting out a loud, rattling noise that had to be the only kind of scream it could produce. Quickly, Matthew pulled his blade out and sought to crawl out from underneath the bug. He succeeded only halfway through before the monster dropped right onto his legs, the corpse pinning him down. Cursing his luck, Matthew turned just in time to see that the third bug was already taking advantage of this as it skittered forward to try and finish this trapped prey. Desperately, the Venus Adept thrust his hand forward at the charging bug, a yellow glow forming around it as he drew upon his psynergy for an attack that he hoped to pull off before the bug got to him.
He was glad he didn't. Just as Matthew was able to cast, someone dropped down from seemingly out of nowhere and landed upon the insect's back. That broke off the thing's charge and it immediately backed away and started thrashing, the sharp appendages at its back immediately seeking to stab the offender. Unfortunately for the creature, the individual on top already had the axe in his hands swinging up and then down to cleave right into its body.
That one strike must've been all that was needed for when Matthew managed to pull himself out from under his own kill, he had turned to find the creature already dead and his savior standing next to it, using his axe as a support which he leaned against casually as he waited for the Venus Adept to stand.
"Tyrell?" Matthew questioned when he thought he saw some red hair on top of the person's head.
"Tyrell?" spoke the individual in a voice that was certainly not Tyrell's and yet sounded familiar to Matthew. "You mean that loudmouth buddy of yours?"
Who…? Matthew started to question until, after coming a step closer, he was able to make out the individual. He wasn't mistaken about the red hair but it was long and pulled back in a tail; Tyrell's wasn't like that. Besides, the person was larger, taller.
"That makes us even," spoke the man as Matthew stopped in front of him. "You got me out of the cage, I got out from being bug chow."
"Eoleo!" Now Matthew remembered! With the Luna Tower and the monsters, he had forgotten about the latest member of their party that they had freed before this catastrophe.
Son of the famous pirate Briggs, Matthew had learned that his father and his friends had tangled with the pirate before. Eoleo even claimed to remember seeing Isaac with his own eyes but Matthew assumed that he couldn't have been more than a baby during that time; the man looked a little over thirty years old. Briggs had come to Matthew and his friends and requested that they save his son and though some of them were unsure of the merits of the action – mainly Amiti -, they had saved Eoleo from a date with a boiling pot of oil that the beastmen had been ready to punish him with for his crimes.
If what he heard was true, Eoleo was supposed to be as much of a terror as his father. And Matthew didn't think of that as a bad thing considering that may be just what they needed for their current situation. Shaking his blade in an attempt to remove some of the dark ooze that had to serve as the blood of these monsters, Matthew looked around for anymore threats before focusing his full attention on Eoleo.
"Have you seen the others?"
Tilting his head to the side, the older man looked left and then right as If he could just spot the rest of their group through the fog before turning to face back at Matthew and shaking his head. "Nah. When those buggers showed up we all seemed to have gotten separated. I haven't seen any of them since until I saw you trapped and about to get eaten." He shrugged. "I suppose you're a more welcome sight then that Ayuthay; not sure I would've saved him."
"Trust me, I had welcomed the idea of seeing you doused in oil. Or left hanging in confinement."
Both Matthew and Eoleo turned at the sound of the voice and the former smiled while the latter scowled at the blue-haired Mercury Adept that stepped out of the shadows with the same suddenness as the insects that they had just dispatched.
"Amiti!" Matthew spoke with relief.
"Oh look, you're alive," Eoleo spoke, though his enthusiasm was hardly on par with that of Matthew's. Indeed, he seemed to speak of Amiti's survival in the same way as someone who stepped in animal droppings.
Despite the man being larger than the teen, Amiti glared at Eoleo as if he was the one that sought to tower over him. Matthew glanced between the two warily but when Eoleo's axe remained planted in the ground and Amiti kept his bow pointed down, he blew out a long breath before turning his full focus on Amiti. "Have you seen the others?"
Ignoring Eoleo for now, Amiti slowly shook his head as he looked to Matthew, his anger being replaced with worry. "No. Sounds like the same thing happened to me; I got separated from the lot. I thought I saw Rief with Tyrell and Karis before I lost track of them."
Amiti shook his head in negative.
"They couldn't have gone far," Matthew spoke, worried and frustrated now. "If Tyrell, Karis, and Rief managed to stick together, surely they're still alive. Tyrell and Karis can handle themselves as well as I can and Rief has proven to be quite the Adept as well."
"Agreed," Amiti confirmed though his brows were still knitted in worry. "But what about Sveta? You saw her just as I did; she wasn't exactly handling this well."
"The beast chick?" Eoleo intervened. A cocky smiling sprouting on his face, the pirate shrugged easily. "She's fine. I probably have more experience with beastmen then you do and I can tell you right now that they're almost as scary as I am." Lifting his axe from the ground, Eoleo rested it easily on his shoulder as if it weighed as much as Matthew's smaller sword and handled it in a way that hinted to his expertise with it. "And I'm only talking about the nice ones; should see them when they get angry."
Matthew nodded and even Amiti did so as well with no sign of the previous hostility that he had shown to the pirate just a moment ago. Other then Sveta's Jupiter powers and her more natural armaments of tooth and claw, both Adepts had witnessed another ability of hers: that being to transform into her more ferocious beast form. Matthew had been in awe when first seeing it upon their duel with Blados and Chalis. Not only was her strength increased but her speed as well, allowing her to go toe-to-toe with Blados while the Adepts made use of their psynergy and djinn.
Still, he was worried. Her Spirit Sense had left her in a state that had worried Matthew when he had last seen her and he was unsure of how she could possibly be faring with everything else that was happening; the fate of her brother at the opera house and the fact that her home was being taken over by these monsters.
And we're partly to blame for this, Matthew reminded himself, the current lull in the fighting allowing the shame that he had been able to ignore to once again take hold. Chalis, Blados, and that masked man that they only knew as Arcanus had played them and good. It was their manipulations that forced Matthew and his friends to kill the Mountain Roc and take the Magma Orb. And it was them that had activated the Alchemy Dynamo and caused the ascension of the Luna Tower.
So many things that they could've done to prevent all this. They should've left before the Mountain Roc woke up, they should've left the Magma Orb where it was. They should've turned back when they had ventured into the ruins beneath Belinsk and found another way into the castle to save Eoleo and Hou Ju. Yes, they had done it all in hopes of making sure that Tuaparang wouldn't be able to do it but lo and behold, they had done everything for them! And now Belisk was doomed, possibly the world too, all because of what they did-
Pulled out of his thoughts, Matthew looked up at Amiti to see a worried look on his friend's face which was directed at him. Even the big pirate Eoleo was looking to the Venus Adept with a raised brow and a question of his own.
"Sorry, just thinking about the others," Matthew assured quickly, causing Eoleo to shrug it off yet again. Amiti, however, kept a narrowed, concerned look on Matthew for a moment longer before turning to once again examine their surroundings.
"You were all heading to the opera house weren't you?" Eoleo asked. Upon getting two nods the pirate rolled his eyes. "Well they're probably still heading there aren't they? Where else are they going to go?" With a scoff, Eoleo turned his back to the two. "Of course, if you want my opinion, I say we head to the pier like Kraden said and find a ride out of here."
"We'll be on our way there soon," Matthew assured. "Kraden was already heading there to find a boat and will be waiting for us." His blade still held at the ready in case more of the bugs appeared, Matthew turned to look in the direction that he had thought the opera house was. "But you have a point. If the others are going anywhere it's probably the opera house."
"Agreed," Amiti chimed in. "More than likely they're heading there with the thought that we're going in that direction."
As if to prove his point, there was a sudden boom of thunder in the direction of the opera house that caused the gathered trio to jump and immediately get on the defensive. Nocking an arrow to his bow, Amiti pointed the weapon in the direction of the loud noise while Matthew kept his sword raised. Next to him, it seemed that Matthew's suspicions about Eoleo was proven correct when the larger man bounced the axe from his shoulder and flipped it into a two-handed grip to hold it at the ready. However, while Eoleo continued to stay at the ready, Amiti and Matthew both relaxed when they saw the reason for the thunder.
"Karis," Matthew spoke with relief as, even with the fog, they could clearly see a bolt of plasma that lit the darkness off in the distance.
"Yeah and she seems to be busy," Amiti spoke before he sped off in that direction. Looking over his shoulder he called out, "They come from the shadows! Watch where the dark is darkest!"
Watching him run, both Matthew and Eoleo looked at one another. It was the pirate that first questioned, "Dark is darkest? But everything is dark!"
Shrugging, Matthew murmured, "Just do what he said" before the two ran after Amiti.
"Tyrell where are you?" Karis shouted as her latest Shine Plasma spell sent bolts down to cook and burst open the carapaces of the two latest monsters. Taking note of a movement to her right, Karis ran to the side just in time to avoid a pounce of one of the other insects. "I can't take them all on!"
"I'm already taking them all on!" came his reply.
Glancing in the direction of his voice, Karis had to admit that the Mars Adept had a point. Surrounded by four of the insects, she was just in time to witness one get blasted away when Tyrell fired a Heat Wave in the direction of one of them. Similar to Karis's Shine Plasma, the fire attack cooked and blasted apart the carapace of the targeted insect, leaving a smoking pile of ooze where the creature had been standing a moment ago. The trio of remaining insects immediately skittered forward to take advantage of what they perceived as a distraction but Tyrell turned, spinning and swinging his long sword around in a circle to drive them back.
On my own then, Karis thought with exasperation. Along with the insect she had just managed to avoid a pounce from, another one was immediately coming to back it up. Pointing a hand at it, Karis cried, "Doldrum!"
The Jupiter djinni obeyed her call. Surrounded in a purple aura the djinni shot forward towards the insect which immediately made a stab at the approaching creature in response. It was no use and, in mid-strike, the insect suddenly found itself not able to move at all. Karis saw the reason why as, surrounded by the same purple aura, the air around the insect had stilled. The insect, the fog, everything in the space around it had suddenly frozen in place.
"I got the other one!"
Surprised at the sudden but familiar cry, Karis was nonetheless thankful for the assistance that soon came in the force of blue, Mercury psynergy that assailed the other bug that had been about to repeat the pounce that it made before. The area around the bug froze around it but, unlike Doldrum, the spell that had been cast literally froze the bug in a cube of ice. A second later the cube shattered along with the insect, sending frozen bits of it everywhere.
"Thanks Rief," Karis spoke in relief.
Not far from her, the other teen smiled sheepishly, using a finger to push his glasses up the bridge of his nose. "No problem. That Ice Queen Stone has been coming in handy."
"No kidding." Smiling herself, Karis turned back to the other insect which was still trapped by Doldrum. With a wave of her hand, another bolt of plasma struck down from the skies, cutting through the fog and darkness to finish it. "Alright, let's help Tyrell."
Such help ended up proving unnecessary, however. When looking to see how Tyrell was doing, Karis saw the last of a sword made of pure Venus psynergy dissipate, leaving behind a shadow insect that had been sliced completely in half by the Ragnarok. Similar to the bug that Rief had dealt with, another of Tyrell's opponents had shattered into frozen bits. As for the last one, the insect was struggling weakly on the ground, trying to get back on its legs despite the fact that the two front ones were missing, courtesy of a particularly strong blow from Tyrell's long sword.
"That's the last of them," Matthew spoke, sheathing his sword at the scabbard on his back while Amiti shouldered his bow. Behind the two came Eoleo, his axe still resting against his shoulder.
"Just stay out of where the dark is darkest and we won't have to worry about anymore," Eoleo advised as he examined the latest kills.
Tyrell, wiping the sweat from his brow, gave Eoleo a curious look. "Dark is darkest? Isn't it dark everywhere?"
Eoleo shrugged and jerked his head in Amiti's direction. "He's the one that said it, kid."
"Stop calling me a kid!"
"Have you guys seen Sveta?" Matthew asked, working quickly to try and defuse the situation before it could get out of hand. Surveying his gathered friends, he saw that their party was still short by one person.
"We were hoping she was with you," Karis replied, who had also been examining the faces of Matthew, Amiti, and Eoleo and seeing that Sveta's was missing from among them.
Amiti shook his head. "We were just trying to find one another. We had hoped that we would find everyone at the opera house."
"Funny," Tyrell cut in. Despite the fact that they could be attacked again at any moment, the Mars Adept allowed himself to the drop to the ground, sitting with legs crossed and his long sword laying across his lap. "That's where Karis had hoped to find you guys before we had to kill the latest batch of these bugs. They just keep coming!"
"There's no end to them," Rief agreed. Seeming to follow Tyrell's example, the Mercury Adept took the chance to remove his glasses from his face and use his robe to rub at the lenses. There was something black, gooey, and sticky stuck to the left one which he rubbed at furiously to try and get out. "It's like they just keep coming out from the shadows."
"I'm thinking that, that might be the case," Amiti confirmed. Nodding his head to an area behind Tyrell he continued, "See how the shadows are darker over there? Watch out for those spots because I've noticed them appearing at places like those."
Looking over his shoulder, Tyrell looked at where Amiti pointed out. Squinting his eyes, craning his neck out, he tried to spot where, exactly, Amiti was suggesting but after only a few seconds he shook his head. "I don't see it."
Rolling his eyes, Amiti just spoke, "Just stick with me. I can see them."
"And what is this? You were able to notice all that while we were fighting and running blind?"
"Yes, you'd be surprised with how much time I've been able to have for such intellectual pursuits. I also composed a symphony and drafted a plan to bring peace between Ayuthay and Kaocho who can then unite all of Angara and finally Weyard."
Amiti buried his face into the palm of his hand.
"Anyway…" Karis cut in, giving Amiti a bewildered look before focusing on the current issue. "Considering that Sveta's brother had been at the opera house, I'm going to assume she has more reason than any of us to head there." Leaning against her staff, the green-haired teen finalized, "She was taking care of herself long before she met us; I'm sure she could survive a simple walk to the opera."
"Hardly what you would call simple," Eoleo replied with a smirk. "But then again, you're the children of the Warriors of Vale, yes? I mean if half of the things my old man told me about your parents are true then this has to be nothing to even the likes of you."
"You should've joined us a lot earlier," Rief chimed in. Apparently finished with his glasses, the teen gave them one final examination before placing them back on his face. "We've been fighting Mountain Rocs, navigating through ruins with deadly traps and puzzles, curing giant trees of poisons, fighting secret military organizations..."
For once Eoleo actually looked impressed. "Sounds like those stories of your parents alright."
"We need to get moving," Matthew cut in who, more and more, was growing increasingly wary of their surroundings. "We need to find Sveta and get out of here. It's….getting worse. The darkness. I can feel it; not just here, I can feel it spreading to the surrounding lands."
"I can feel it too," Karis replied, her own face having grown as wary. "The air too. It's getting thicker, stronger. We need to get out of here soon or we may never be able to."
"I guess you were right after all, Mom," Sveta spoke. "I shouldn't have become a soldier…"
Not for the first time since this catastrophe started that Sveta was nearly brought to tears with the thoughts that assaulted her mind. The words that she had just whispered within the silence of the opera house were the voiced thoughts of the dead. Lying amongst the seats, right at her very feet, was a fellow beastman. Dressed in the garb of the guard, the soldier had died with the thoughts of a loved one and a life's regret.
There were more bodies here, most of them dressed in the same guard uniforms. Most likely they had been the ones that had been guarding her brother when he had ventured into the opera house, when they had discovered the monsters that had been waiting for them. And then they died.
But they're not, Sveta thought despairingly, her hands coming to clasp the sides of her head. They're not dead. I can hear them. Their final thoughts, their regrets; they won't stop!
"I thought I'd die on some glorious battlefield, not a gaudy opera house…"
"I wish I had two more lives to give for my country and King Volechek!"
Volechek. What had her brother done?
"A girl," Sveta suddenly spoke as a thought drifted to her mind. She did not know why but she immediately clung to the thought that came to her mind. There was no regret or hate in this thought, just…concern. Caring. Like a lifeline she clung to it, trying to save herself from the torrent of the other departed souls that assaulted her mind.
She hated this. She had hated this the moment she had seen what this power had done to her father. When she had shown signs of this he had warned her about it, that the gift that she had been given was more of a curse, a burden that she will have to learn to shoulder and deal with when the time came. Despite her calm, patient demeanor, her one, secret fear that she had never wanted to encounter was to suffer as her father had done.
It was a nightmare that had become reality. She had experienced this before but not to such a degree as she did now. The suffering, the pain and despair, all that this eclipse and these monsters were responsible for far exceeded anything that she had experienced before. Her people were dying, their final thoughts being of the horrors that were taking over their home that reverberated in her mind.
A girl. There was a girl. Squeezing her eyes shut, Sveta focused on that.
"Where did that girl go? I hope she's all right…"
"I hope she's all right," Sveta spoke, though the words were actually her own. So much death around her, there needed to be some kind of hope that she could latch onto. There was someone that could be saved. There just had to be someone that she could help.
"Please, Crystallux, watch over my granddaughter and keep her safe."
There was a body that was not dressed in the uniform of a soldier and it was that body that the thought had come from. Her legs shaking, Sveta nonetheless forced herself to support herself upon them and stumble over to the body. Dropping to her knees, she could only stare down at the body, dressed in a festive kimono that many others had worn for the festival. This man…he had a granddaughter that he had been enjoying with during the festival.
But where was she? The question stuck out in her mind, acting as a shield against the other thoughts that sought to drive her insane. Clinging to it like a lifeline, Sveta focused on that questioned and shouted it over and over in her mind. Where was the girl? Where was his granddaughter?
"Where did that girl go?" Sveta murmured to herself, her hands still at her head, her eyes sealing shut again. "I hope she's all right…"
Despite the calming voice that spoke to her, Sveta did not draw her focus away from the thought that could possibly be all that was keeping her from insanity. There was the girl, the granddaughter. Where was she? She hoped that she was alright, that Crystallux was watching over her and keeping her safe at this very moment so that she could find her.
There was a touch at her shoulder, a point of warmth that acted as the beacon within the cold aura of death that surrounded her. Sveta focused on that warmth, on that touch, her own hand coming up to lay upon the one on her shoulder. At the source of that warmth came thoughts, warm and comforting. Concern…care…for her? Worry about her state of mind, stories of individuals called Ivan and Sheba flashing through her mind, the words of warning of a power like Mind Read. Thoughts that carried hope that she wasn't succumbing to the dangers, hoping that she was all right.
Finally, Sveta opened her eyes and stared into ones that held the care and concern for her that now gave her so much comfort. They were…someone's. Someone…name…what was the name of this person? The thoughts that whirled around in her mind made it difficult for her to know which were hers and which were not. But she started to remember. The scent came first, a scent that she had first detected in the Te Rya Village and lured into the Teppe Ruins. She had wanted the scent to…to…take a bag that she had found, that she thought the scent may be able to deliver for her.
Promises of loyalty, of friendship. She had told the scent to request the song Arangoa Prelude when he was ready to see her again. But the name…the name.
"Matthew," she spoke, the name finally coming to her mind. "Matthew."
"I'm here," Matthew spoke, giving her shoulder a squeeze. "It's alright. I'm here. We're all here. Karis, Tyrell, Rief, Amiti…"
Names of friends. Friends of the scent, friends of Matthew…friends of her. She helped them as a guide, helped them through the ruins beneath Belinsk, help them…
I helped them cause all this. The death, the sorrow, the regrets, the granddaughter. Our fault, my fault. What have we – I have done?
"Karis, what can I do? How can I help her?"
"Just keep talking to her. Get her to focus."
"Sveta! Sveta listen! Please Sveta, focus! It's me Matthew! Sveta we have to-"
"-leave," Matthew pressed, his other hand having come up to grip her other shoulder. "Sveta we have to go."
"We can't," Sveta replied and despite the curiosity that came from Matthew at her question she felt the relief that she was talking; the relief of him and everyone else that were with them. "The granddaughter. We have to find her. She's here…somewhere."
Sveta felt Matthew's attention drift from her and move towards the stage of the opera house. She felt wariness and a sense of danger that forced Sveta to open her eyes and look in the same direction. There was something waiting on the stage, the same thing that her brother and her guards had stumbled. Something that had caused all these deaths…
The roar startled them and Sveta was suddenly filled with fear; not because of the roar but because of the thoughts that she was able to hear and were coming from the stage. Frightened, scared out of her mind, hoping that Crystallux would protect her long enough for her grandfather to come and find her-
"It's her!" Eyes wide, Sveta focused on the stage, trying to find her. "The granddaughter! We have to save…"
But it wasn't what Matthew and the rest were focused on. Instead, seeming to be stretching from the roof and towards the stage was a dragon. What had once been a chandelier that had been hanging on the ceiling of the opera house had now taken on the shape of the dragon. And that dragon had its focus upon the stage, its attention centered on the creature that had made that terrifying roar.
"Don't hurt it!"
Fear and alarm – not just hers but Matthew's and the others' – coursed through Sveta upon seeing the little girl that suddenly appeared on the stage, jumping between the dragon and the monster that was responsible for everything. Seeming to be trying to protect the dragon, the girl stared defiantly at the monster.
"Please don't hurt Crystallux!" the girl, the granddaughter, begged.
But the monster – what looked like a green troll except lankier, but still powerful and terrifying and absolutely evil – raised a thick hand and batted her to the side.
Rage – again not just hers but everyone else – coursed through Sveta. Finding her strength, finding her drive, Sveta leaped to her feet. Roaring in anger, she ran to the stage, transforming as she leaped forward.
Author's Note: So not exactly a bad piece if I do so myself. I had actually completed Belinsk today and I had typed this up in the next couple hours after that. So if you manage to spot any spelling or grammatical errors, my somewhat-rushed job may have something to do with it. If I do say so myself, however, I think I did pretty good and at the very least this is far better than the abominations I had written in the past. I was actually going to make this fic a oneshot but as I started typing the ideas kept pouring in and now I think I may make this a two parter…possibly three. We'll see how that goes. Until then, leave your reviews if you wish and patiently wait for the next portion of this thing!