Deep within a dark, decrepit catacombs far below the surface, where eons had passed since the dust and cobwebs were disturbed by even a breath, eerie purple lights danced, breaking the gloom. In a place so quiet you could hear the blood pumping through your ears, quiet, intermittent snarls and snickers pierced the silence like a thunderclap. What was this place? It was built countless lifetimes ago, and though it had been abandoned and then forgotten eons after it was built, it might as well have been forgotten the very next day, compared to how long it had been since anyone had set foot here. Perhaps it was a ruin from some ancient time of war. Perhaps it was the remains of an ancient civilization, buried by some natural disaster and gradually sinking further into the planet's crust as geology rolled on.
But now, it was a place of congregation for the angels branded as 'fallen'.
The dark magics that Morgana had delved into had drastically altered her appearance. Where flesh was once a flawless, radiant hue, there was now a sickly purple. Pearly white hair had been replaced by a deep, powerful purple. But none of this held a candle to what happened to her eyes. Pupils, retinas, all were gone, replaced only by white. Though it was a pure, flawless white, her eyes had truly become the most terrifying aspect of her appearance, the unnatural centerpieces of the look of malice she gave most anyone she laid her gaze upon.
Morgana's hands – which had been partially twisted into birdlike claws – glowed with eerie purple light. Morgana had spent years mastering her new talents, and now, they had become second nature. As practice, she waved her right hand in front of her, unleashing a large bolt of purple magic, which sailed through the air and slammed into the far wall, exploding in a flash of light. It didn't do much to the wall itself, though. This spell wasn't meant to kill. This would be the spell she used to paralyze her sister. Morgana didn't want to kill her quickly. Her sister would have time to watch Morgana approach, have time to realize she had lost, have time to feel the pain that she had given Morgana in this war. If Kayle was going to betray her own flesh and blood, Morgana would be the first to spill it. Kayle would suffer.
High above the surface, hovering in place, flew Morgana. Battle was near, but Morgana was not dressed for it. She wore her usual, elegant white and gold skirt, with a incredibly revealing gold top that had quirked many a brow from her angel brethren. She was not dressed for any physical altercation, but this was the perfect wardrobe for the personal battle that would begin at any moment.
The light was near blinding up here, the ground so far below that all structures and natural formations had homogenized into a vague blur of greens, blues, and grays. Morgana hovered in place here, easily visible to anyone who was looking, and simply looked down, thinking deeply and waiting. Soon enough, she heard the voice of her sister.
"Morgana!" Kayle yelled, from behind.
Morgana turned around, and saw Kayle flying up to meet her, already covered head to toe in her golden armor.
"Sister, what are you doing here? Battle has begun, we need every warrior we have!" Kayle said urgently. "The traitors are storming the East front! Get your armor!"
"...no." Morgana said quietly.
The silence that followed lasted but a few seconds, but they passed like hours. Morgana could feel her sister's surprised, piercing glare through her helmet. Kayle had never been a reasonable woman, having killed many of her former friends in this war, but surely her own flesh and blood could convince her to stop aiding this draconian tyranny.
"This war has gone on far too long, sister." Morgana finally said. "How much of our own blood must we spill for the sake of our inflexible ideals? Why are we not allowed to live despite our meaningless differences?"
"You speak heresy, Morgana." Kayle said flatly. "The traitors seek to destroy all that has taken us eons to create. How dare you speak sympathetically of them?"
"I don't speak sympathetically of their treachery!" Morgana protested. "I speak sympathetically of our brothers and sisters. That's who they are, Kayle. They are not animals, they are not the savage beasts of the Void, they are our friends, our allies! They-"
But Morgana stopped herself. She knew that what she was about to say would assuredly brand her as fallen in her sister's mind, but it had to be said. This could end with them fighting to the death, but... Kayle was Morgana's sister. Maybe, if Morgana said it, Kayle would have a change of heart.
"They what?" Kayle demanded.
"They... they don't seek to overtake us, sister." Morgana said. "They just want an end to this war. They just want to be allowed to live, as their own body, in peace. Why can we not allow this, why can we not afford this of our own kind?"
The tension could be cut with a knife. Morgana and Kayle stared at each other, Morgana wearing a pleading look, while Kayle's expression was masked by her helmet. Finally, Kayle broke the silence.
"...sister, I will excuse your words, only because you are my own flesh and blood, and I love you." Kayle finally said, clearly saying this through clenched teeth. "But your words are those of a fallen heretic. So, I will ask you once more. Get your armor, and join us. You want an end to this war?" She paused, her tone growing less malicious. "...so do I, sister. We all do. But the traitors seek to destroy all that we know, all that we believe. We have no choice, they must be destroyed. If you want an end to this war without a loss of life, help crush them now, in every battle we do have. If they are forced to surrender, we will surely be able to spare many of them death,, giving them instead a few centuries of imprisonment."
Morgana clenched her eyes shut, wishing this was all some dream. A single tear escaped from one eye, as she realized what was about to happen. Seeing this, Kayle readied her sword, also realizing exactly what was to happen.
"I will not, sister." Morgana said, opening her eyes. "I refuse to spill the blood of any more of my own kind!"
"...so be it." Kayle said flatly. "Don't move, and I'll make this merciful."
Morgana's scream echoed through the Great Hall. She grasped her head with both clawed hands, forcing the probing telepathy from her mind. She spun around in place quickly, surveying her surroundings. The pristine, shiny Hall was a stark contrast against the decrepit labyrinth she was last in. But suddenly, she was yanked into a painful memory, and now, she was here.
"Explain yourself!" Morgana called out. "Why have I been brought here? What is the meaning of this?"
"We apologize, Morgana."
Morgana turned, and saw two men and a woman, their features obscured by their hooded robes. They stood in front of a large, closed door. Morgana glared at them, but after a moment, she pieced together what this was. She had heard much about it, but didn't think it was actually going to happen.
"Do you know where you are?" The lead man asked, after giving Morgana a moment.
"Yes." Morgana said. "You seek to use your League to decide all political decisions. And you seek to use me as your pawn." She added the last part in a tone dripping with spite.
"We don't wish you to be our pawn." The woman clarified. "We would not do this without giving you something in return, and we believe there are things you want, that we could give."
Morgana looked them over, and smirked, certainly impressed by their gall.
"Power." Morgana said flatly. "You know of our war, you know of my sister. I have spent years gaining the power to end it and destroy her, but I want more."
"You need more." The second man added.
"Do not doubt my power!" Morgana yelled. But she stopped herself. Looking at their motionless, stoic stances, she quickly realized that they were testing her.
"You speak the truth, Morgana." The lead man said. "But there is more to it than that."
Morgana stared at him. She balled a hand into as close to a fist as she could produce with the length of her claws, and gritted her teeth.
"My people have been at war for millennia, spilled blood over ideals that could easily coexist." Morgana said darkly. "I loved my home, once... but its draconian brainwashing as forced its loyalists to commit countless atrocities. My sister, my own flesh and blood, wants me dead for simply disagreeing with it all." She began to speak in increasing volume. "I want them all to feel the pain and misery that they have wrought upon their own kind by branding them traitors and cutting them down. I once thought that a mutual peace could exist, but I now see that it cannot happen while Kayle's brand of tyranny still exists. I need the power to end it. My government, and my sister, shall share in the pain they have caused. They will suffer!"
The summoners stared at Morgana, judging her response. Morgana realized she had pretty severely broken composure, and collected herself as best she could. After a few moments, the lead summoner spoke.
"You will grow in power as you fight on the Field of Justice." He said. "We will make sure of it. This, we swear."
Morgana looked between the three of them, and slowly smiled.
"Fine." She said. "I will be the pawn of mortal politics, for as long as it suits me."
The lead summoner nodded.
"Welcome, Morgana." He said.
With that, the summoners turned, and walked through the door behind them. Morgana watched them go, reflecting on everything that just happened. She had relived that memory countless times, but never this vividly. It lit a renewed fire under her, which she realized was no doubt their intention. How she hated being used and manipulated like that, but it was a small price to pay for more power. And when she had enough, she would leave this place, and finally put an end to her sister, and the war.
With a satisfied smile, she too walked through the door.