Since I noticed there aren't that many Shadow Hearts fics with original characters, I thought I'd try and write one. I'm still working out the kinks so it may be a little rough, but hopefully it's alright.
Shadow Hearts: Resurrection
Chapter 1: A Night at Sea
The luxurious cruise ship Matilda sliced through the inky darkness of the night, across the choppy sea and the clouded sky, the light from the windows being the only illumination across the entire expanse of water. The ship was carrying members of the social elite to a very expensive resort island in the middle of the Asiatic sea, and the boat itself was catered to the highest standards, with emphasis on their wine stores. Which is probably why no-one had noticed that there were more than a few stowaways.
Except for one person, Dawn Tyler, who was mainly looking for ways to escape the ever watchful eye of her grandmother. The two of them were taking a walk across the deck in the cool breeze of the ocean, enjoying the calm of the night (and apparently unaware of the choppy ocean beneath them). Dawn was bored to tears with watching 60 year old men flirt with her grandmother, playing shuffle-board and constantly being reminded that there was a reason they were here.
She noticed the first of these stowaways in the unimpressive act of being violently sea-sick. His clothing was what made her pause, the blond hair and white jacket made him look somewhat angelic, although the severe problems with the boat didn't help his appearance. She couldn't see his face clearly but he was obviously having problems with the whole 'sea-journey' thing.
"Grandmama," Dawn started, keeping her eyes on him "Do you think that man needs help?"
"Honey, I don't believe we should interfere in the affairs of others" was the airy response, which meant, she had no idea what to do.
If you didn't know the two of them were related, it'd be next to impossible to tell that they were family. Grandmother Tyler was still a fire-cracker at her age, her grey hair still straight enough to pony-tail and her wrinkles under control enough to wear a t-shirt and chinos without looking ridiculous. She cleaned up at the old 'guess your age' booths at amusement parks.
Dawn on the other hand was quiet, her hair was cut short and dyed a deep red and tended towards loose fitting heavy black hooded tops even though she was quite slim. Her lack of presence was often attributed to the overpowering aura of her grandma, but honestly, Dawn just didn't like the limelight. She had no desire to be special, she was happy just living life.
Which is hard when you're an heiress but she tries her best.
Grandmother looked at the sick man once more before giving a dismissive wave of her hand and hurrying Dawn off
"Come on dear, we must get ready for dinner this evening"
"Oh goody, more tight dresses and old men perving on me. Great…" Dawn mumbled into her hood.
"You'd feel more upset if they DIDN'T ogle you" Grandmother pointed out, quite right. That would've made anyone feel worse. Although, as they were so used to it, they probably didn't notice that the sea-sick man was watching them quite intently. He may have been sick, but he was still alert.
-\ -o- /-
Dawn was zipping the back of her dress up when she heard an argument outside her room. It wouldn't have been noticeable except that the voices were noticeably younger than anyone she'd seen so far. Rushing to get a look, she opened the door and almost immediately wished she hadn't, as she appeared to have wandered into the middle of war-zone.
The most aggressive of the two was a young Japanese girl, about the same age as her, who was wearing a strange fusion of priestly religious gear that Dawn vaguely recognised from a cartoon she saw once and recent fashion trends with leggings ending in fairly large, heavy boots. She was hitting the other conversationalist with a paintbrush.
The second was a young man in a slightly battered leather jacket, the sleeves torn off at the elbows, wear and tear showing in patches across it. Beneath it he wore a red T-shirt and had a silvery charm attached to a chord tied around his neck. He had messy brown hair and quite pleasant brown eyes. Although they were routinely shutting with each hit of the paintbrush.
"How could you FORGET it! You knew where we were going!" The girl shouted
"I know! I know! It just slipped my mind, what's the big deal? I'll just improvise." The boy seemed to be failing to read the situation well since this prompted another round of abuse.
"You always say that! ARGH! Why are you such a moron?" The girl finally stormed off, leaving the boy alone with Dawn standing besides him. Finally noticing her he blinked once or twice before pointing towards the walking girl and asking, flatly
"Did you hear all of that?"
"Most of it, I think. What did you forget?" Dawn asked, genuinely curious.
"A baseball bat. She just gets really… y'know?" his smile was infectious and Dawn wished she could stop smiling back.
"Yeah, I can imagine… well, good luck improvising. Will I, umm, will I see you at dinner tonight?" Dawn felt her heart beating faster, why was her heart beating faster?
"Dinner? Oh! Right, ummm, maybe? Stranger things have happened. My name's Charlie, Charlie Anjou" He extended his hand and looked expectantly at her to shake it.
"Dawn Tyler, nice to meet you Charlie" Grabbing his hand, Dawn felt something… strange. Was she getting a crush on him? Oh god, that was embarrassing, that girl was so probably his girlfriend. She noticed him frowning, was she making it obvious what she was thinking? Letting go of his hand she hastily blurted out that she wanted to see him again, and she'd look for him at dinner before shutting the door and diving on the bed, wishing to die of humiliation now.
-\ -o- /-
Dinner was held in the main dining hall, a series of huge tables centred around a raised circular platform upon which stood the evenings' entertainment. A lavish spread of food was presented to each patron, the finest of meats and immaculate vegetables prepared to the perfect standards.
But Dawn wasn't hungry, she toyed with her quail (secretly yearning for chicken) and wondered where Charlie was. She couldn't see him easily. She had no idea how old he was, but she was 18 and he looked maybe a little older? Definitely not younger. Did he look like a younger version of any of the people around them?
A quick scan said no and she sighed deeply, alerting her ever vigilant grandmother to her obvious distress. Laying her hand on top of her grand-daughter's she asked as genuinely as she could in public
"Are you alright, darling?"
"I'm fine, grandmamma, just looking for someone" Dawn's answer clearly surprised her grandmother. But before she could inquire further, a spotlight began to shine down onto the middle stage and a man in a suit stepped onto it. The suit was odd, a purple and gold cummerbund laced with red and strange golden triangles on the lapels secured a red cape. Clearing his throat, the man addressed them with great plainness, almost rudeness and he toyed with a strange stick held in his right hand. His gelled black hair stuck to his skull and gave him a strange, alien appearance.
"Good evening, my friends. My name is Markus, and I am afraid that there is no island. We are simply here for the Key and we didn't believe she would come unless she believed it utterly safe."
"Oh no…" Grandmother whispered, watching as Markus drifted down and walked between the tables. Dawn squeezed her hand supportively, it would be fine, all he wanted was some key, probably to the ship's vault for jewelry, they weren't in any danger since they didn't have it. But what did he mean by she?
"Would you come with me, my dear" Dawn looked to her side, to see who Markus was referring to, but no-one was there. With a horrible realisation suddenly occurring, she realised that Markus wanted her. But why? She wasn't a key, she was just some spoiled rich kid! Already she could feel the people around her shifting their moods.
They wanted to just throw her to the wolves! After all, they were important people! They couldn't die. Her grandmother was glaring the crowd down. When it came to protecting her family, Grandmama was a firecracker alright, but could she win this one?
As it turned out, she didn't have to. With a few expert flicks of the stick in his hand, a series of glowing green balls of fire began to float around the room, followed by a sickening materialisation.
Bodies of water clambered up out of the floor, as if rising from the deepest ocean, the water slowly solidified into a drowned body of a sailor. Each face was unique, they must have all been someone in life. But now they all looked like a horrific nightmare brought to life by a madman.
"Bring me the key, do what you want with the rest" He announced, sounding distinctly bored as he did so. With a shambling cry, the nearest sailor corpse grabbed an old man in an immaculate suit and punched him in the mouth, the fist turning to water and flooding down his throat as it did. There was terrible series of twitches as the old man tried to breathe before finally slumping down into death.
Dawn was horrified, she'd never seen someone die before. It was… horrible. She felt tears running down her face as Grandmama dragged her away, they were running now as the monsters attacked the guests and shambled after her.
The hallways were long and richly furnished, but with every step, the water-logged corpses seemed to make the hall darker, the carpet a sinister shade of red and the lights dimmed. Dawn was vaguely aware her grandmother was running towards their room, when she saw her being grabbed by two of the watery corpses, one on each arm and all she could do was stare as they started to pull
"Dawn! Run! You have to get away, darling. Run now!" Grandmama pleaded as gradual pops began to sound out from her arthritic joints. Her vision still clouded by her intensified tears, Dawn ran and tried not to hear the noise behind her as the corpses finally managed to achieve their goal.
She had only gone a few more feet when she felt damp, clammy arms wrap around her waist and she screamed. The drowned face of the sailor loomed up at her as he rose from the floor, his empty eye-sockets gazing at her and a rippling layer of water covering him as he reached up to her…
And to both his, and Dawn's surprise, found his head caught in a rough hook and forced back with such velocity that it was separated from his body. Dawn watched the body fall, now headless and useless, and saw the strange couple from before. Charlie was armed with what appeared to be a shuffle-board cue and was smiling at the girl
"See? Improvised" He grinned, the girl simply rolled her eyes and bent to examine Dawn
"Did it bite you? I still haven't identified the species of monster, I don't want you turning into one of those things later on the mainland"
"N-no, I'm fine" Dawn stammered, her tears still falling freely as she remembered her grandmother. Charlie seemed to be looking down the corridor and could see what it was that was making her so upset. He rested a hand upon the Japanese girl's shoulder and announced simply
"I'm going ahead, Kaede. Take care of Dawn" before sprinting down the corridor, cue in hand and already preparing for a swing at one of the waterlogged bodies walking around the corridor.
"I swear, once this is over, I'm leaving that guy to find his own jobs" Kaede muttered as she pulled out a thin sheet of paper. With a deft movement of her brush, she marked it with what looked like complicated Chinese symbols and slammed it on the ground. A small bubble of cyan coloured water surrounded them leaving Dawn deeply confused as Kaede began examining her carefully
"No sign of an infection… I think you'll be fine. Now, your name's Dawn? What's going on here, do you know what happened?" The questions were gentle but obviously necessary. Dawn tried hard to clear her head so she could talk
"It was someone called Markus, he-he called me a Key. What does that mean?" Dawn's fears were heightened by Kaede's obviously confused reaction. Doing her best to mask it now, she simply shrugged and got to her feet.
"At any rate, we should go and make sure Charlie's alright" Kaede offered Dawn a hand but saw her looking down the hall to where her grandmother lay. Wincing, Kaede looked down again
"Alright, Dawn? I want you to chew this, it's called a Pure Leaf, and close your eyes. I'll lead you past it, then we can find Charlie and sort this all out. OK?" Dawn didn't know how she managed it but she nodded. Kaede momentarily wondered if killing her painlessly now would be the best course of action bur rejected the thought. They'd find another solution. They had to.
-\ -o- /-
Something was off. As soon as they entered the dining room Kaede sensed it, the aura's were shifting incorrectly. Preparing a sheet of spell-paper, she began writing a spell on it as Dawn looked around for signs of Charlie. The Pure Leaf was helping her keep her head clear, but she was still having to focus on anything other than her grandmother.
Her eyes fell upon a single shoe sticking out from under the table. It was a battered old sneaker, not the kind worn by restaurant goers. Hurrying over, she dragged the body out and found the battered body of Charlie. He was covered in water and looked in a bad way, almost dead in fact. Looking fearfully over to Kaede, she saw that she was being held aloft by a blue and green fiery hand. Standing besides her, in all his glory, was Markus.
He began to advance on her, a spring in his step and a struggling to breath victim behind him
"You know, I imagined they'd be stronger. I heard there was a real master wizard who was coming aboard today. But what do you bring me? A punk with a stick and a slow-witted Taoist? I think you should save us all some trouble and come with me, right now"
Dawn looked to Kaede for help but she was still trapped by that flaming green hand. And behind her, for some reason, was the man in white. He still looked sea-sick but he was also staring at her intently. Dawn gasped as she noticed what it was about his face that had looked so odd. His eyes were red. Was he the wizard Markus had been talking about? Was this man going to save her?
As Markus' fiery hand reached down to grab her, a chair suddenly swung and smacked him square in the mid-section. Gasping, he stumbled back and looked up to see Charlie standing in front of Dawn, chair raised high, and ready to fight.
"I won't let you take her, you bastard" He coughed, he was obviously hurt, but not enough to stay down it seemed. Dawn reached out to restrain him but recoiled, there was something in the air…
"You're still alive? Well, we can fix that soon enough you… glowing?" Markus suddenly sounded worried. As was Dawn as she watched the glow emanating from Charlie begin to intensify, drawing in wisps from outside and into his body. Charlie himself seemed confused more than anything
"What's going on, my head hurts… I feel different, I feel like I… Oh god, I feel sick, make it stop. No, NO! AAAAAGGGHHHHHH!"
With a sudden explosion and rush of air, Charlie's body was engulfed in the light and Dawn glanced inside as best she could for the intense rush of air. Whatever was inside that light, it wasn't Charlie.
It was some kind of monster.
As the light dissipated, she saw the rake thin creature inside. Covered in dark scales and with luminous purple orbs for eyes, his legs were now long thin prongs and his hands dissolved at the fingertips into wispy black smoke.
Markus raised the stick he had used to summon the monsters earlier, clearly intent on attacking Charlie with it. But, before he could do anything, he felt a slice and noticed his hand was lowering. And his arm was staying in the same position.
As the blood began to flow he screamed and felt the harsh impact of a fist smacking into his jaw. With inhuman movements, the thing that used to be Charlie struck at Markus with his fists and legs, the spikes of his feet slashing across the ornate suit and occasionally sparks of black smoke from his hands would fire off and singe Markus' skin.
With a final screech of victory, the monster that had been Charlie held it's palms forward and a surge of purple flame wreathed in black mist shot out and scorched directly through Markus' chest. For an awful moment, he wobbled on his feet before he collapsed, the hole in his chest smoking gently.
The Monster breathed heavily over the body before it's eyes started scanning the room. Finally, they settled on Dawn. With a slightly uneven stagger, it began to walk towards her. Kaede was across the room in a flash, slight burns still standing out on her neck from the green fire, and two pieces of spell paper clasped between her fingers
"Stay back, Anjou! I don't want to hurt you!" Charlie ignored her, shambling closer as he stared at Dawn, the dark energy from his hands drifting through the air. He was only a few feet away when he stopped, a strange sound like cracking glass emanating from his body. With a sudden burst of light, he tumbled to the ground, smacking into the floor of the ballroom, completely unconscious.
Kaede and Dawn stayed still for a few moments, not sure what to think. Dawn finally reached out a hand to touch him and gently pressed her fingers to his neck. At the very least, his heart was still beating.
But what had happened to Charlie? Kaede was withdrawing a cell-phone from a sleeve in her robe when they felt the first hint of a crunch. Sharing an awkward glance, the two girls realised that Markus probably had a plan to get 'the Key' off of the boat and that if most of the guests had been killed
With an almighty crash the boat hit land. Tumbling across the room, Dawn felt her head smack a door-frame and that was the last thing she remembered as she lost consciousness. The cruise-ship Matilda sank two hours after that, becoming a famed ghost ship in the region. According to the legend, there weren't any survivors.