Raphael's Return

That night I will never intentionally forget. That was the night that my entire family was ripped away, and I was sent into a type of exile, seeing no form of human life for almost three years. That was when I really formed a bond with my monsters.

The ship had been peaceful, as had the entire cruise. But that night, a sudden storm swept up, devastating the peaceful scene. Chairs, tables, and families were swept overboard by huge waves. I was the only survivor. My parents and siblings died in the water that night, and they killed a part of me that never really grew back until eleven years later, when I first met my new colleagues.

Alister seemed okay, even though he had a strange taste in fashion and an obsessive need for revenge. Valon also was alright, even though he had come from prison. His attitude would need work; he always disrespected our master Dartz, the man who had led me from my old broken life into this new purpose. He also was a little rough around the edges, but being in prison or on the streets most of your life could do that to you. He and Alister never really got along. On later missions I found myself refereeing fights about the smallest things, like Alister's need to be alone or Valon's violent nature. Valon eventually calmed down, and he actually became a steadfast pillar of strength for when things got hairy. Alister was the same. Even though he almost never said a word, he could be counted on to watch your back in a fight.

When Master Dartz sent me after the Nameless Pharaoh, I couldn't help but feel honored. He sent me after the hardest target. I defeated him once by giving him the Orichalcos and letting it use him, but somehow his gentle alter ego got sent to the Leviathan instead. The second time I dueled him, he showed me the truth about Dartz and his lies. I had already activated the seal, but when I lost the duel, it could find no purchase in my soul. The darkness I had harbored for so long was gone, and I was saved. I followed the Pharaoh and his friends the Dartz's lair, where Dartz gave me the full story on how he got me to enter his forces. He did it all: destroyed my family, killed Alister's little brother, falsely accused Valon of his first crime. That did it. The dam of anger inside of me broke. The seal then was able to take my soul, and I faded into darkness.

In that bubble of energy, I had time to think about everything. I thought long and hard about everything I had ever done, the good and the bad sitting side-by-side. I realized that if I got out of this, I would have to apologize to the Pharaoh. It was him who had set me free from Dartz's lies, and him who had tried to save me, even when his life was in danger and I had just almost killed him. After that, I didn't know what I was going to do.

When the Pharaoh freed me, I returned to my body in Kaiba's chopper. We all took off, minus the Pharaoh, who had stayed behind on Atlantis, where the final battle had been fought while I was trapped. The Wheeler kid saw him on a sandbar soon after we took off, and once he had boarded, I thanked him. After that, I distanced myself as far away from them as I could. We had nothing in common, that young group and I. When the chopper landed, I realized that somehow someone had thought to bring along my bike, and I took it and rode off.

From there, I rode all over the world, trying to find my place. I settled for a little while in France, my homeland, but bad memories forced me to leave. Then I moved on to the states, where we had built many safe houses back in Doom. But the house always seemed too quiet. I was always waiting for Valon to come running through the door, pursued by an irate Alister. Or maybe Valon being chased by an irate Gurimo. Or maybe even, if Valon was really unlucky, he would be chased by Dartz himself. But it never happened. I was alone in an empty house, surrounded once again by the ghosts of my past.

Now I find myself in Domino City, the starting point of all of Doom's adventures together. One day, I had felt some urge to return here, and I have learned from my time on the island to never doubt my gut feeling. So I came, and here I am. Now I'm standing in the port, looking lost. I had forgotten how long a boat trip took, and now I was stranded in the city with no place to stay, job to make money, or even other clothes to my name.

I wonder what happened to my partners. Are they still out there somewhere? Or have they gone their own ways, disappeared off the face of the planet? Maybe one day we can meet again. Maybe one day, this hole in my chest will be filled by the warmth of family and friendship again. Only time will tell.