A/N: Hi. I kinda came up with this story when I was randomly reading about DoomKnight Overlords at the Adventure Quest Worlds Wikia. Observe that it may contain heavy spoilers for some things; while it also is heavy Alternative Universe. A real heavy one. It takes place after the defeat of Drakath (which hasn't happened yet!). And I don't own Adventure Quest Worlds (which is an awesome game).
'Doomknights show little remorse for living, sympathy is only derived from brute force,' was one of the thoughts that went through the Hero's head as he was practically thrown into the throne room of Shadowfall. The undead skeleton behind him; the one that had pushed him through the door, he mentally noted, gave no expression as he (it?) entered the throne room and forced the Hero; the Adventurer, up on his feet.
He didn't raise his head to look at the person who he knew must've sat at the throne, no. Instead he focused his eyes on the floor. Oh, what he would've given to just get away from here, to be back in his home, anywhere but where he was now. Heck, he admitted to himself, he would've fought Drakath again, only to get away from the place; the position, he know was in. A voice from the person who sat on the throne got him on other thoughts.
"You know, little Hero, it's impolite, not to look at the emperor of Shadowfall, of Darkness. " The Hero raised his head at the figure on the throne.
"You're not the Emperor of Darkness. Gravelyn is. Nothing is going to change that." The Hero winced when his eyes met the gaze that belonged to the Champion of Darkness. "Artix, please. It's not too late to go back to how it was before." At this point, the Champion of Darkness, no Artix, the Hero tried to tell himself, began laughing, almost at the point of it being maniacally.
This unnerved the Adventurer to no end. That was the reason Artix did it, he realised, because Artix wanted him to feel fear, and any feelings close to it. Finally the laughing ended. It was instead replaced with ten nervous seconds of silence.
" Even if I wanted to go back, it would still never be the same again. I think you know it, deep inside, too. You're just too naive to understand." The Hero's gaze once again travelled down to the floor. He could hear how his once-friend got up from the throne and began walking towards him. The undead skeleton let go of him as Artix grabbed the Hero's chin and forced his old friend to look at him.
Artix sported the normal paladin armor, but with changed colours; black in the place of silver. Sadly enough, just as the Hero one time had joked about, it fit the newly-turned villain perfectly. A dark smile decorated the former paladin's face. The blood in the Hero's body run cold when he heard Artix's next words.
"I'll make you understand. But first... I was hoping you could tell me about the whereabouts of the Champion of Light." Still on his knees, the Adventurer's eyes widened.
"You know I can't do that." It was barely a whisper, but the Hero knew that Artix could hear every single word that had left his lips.
"It's for your own best that I advise you to tell me now; it will prove much easier on your part." The Adventurer wanted to spit in Artix face, to show his friend, ha, if you could still call him that, exactly where he stood. If it had been any other villain, he would have done so. But this... This was Artix. One of his eldest companions. How was he supposed to... Fight Artix? The answer was as clear as water; he couldn't. But... He couldn't join Artix either. It was wrong. But then again, so was the whole fact that it was Artix that was the villain. Yet... He had defeated Drakath and all the Chaos Lords. He couldn't just give in.
"I'm not going to tell you." Artix sighed and let go of the Hero.
"I guess you won't listen to my arguments. Not that surprising to be honest." Artix's eyes narrowed. "Gravelyn will still be found and the Champion of Light will be destroyed."
"You won't find her," The Hero insisted. A smirk was now appearing on Artix's face.
"We will. You will, in fact, be the person to find her for us." The Hero felt fear grab his heart and shook his head.
"No." Artix's smirk broke out into a full smile.
"Yes." The Adventurer's eyes widened as a flick of Artix's wrist made the undead skeleton once again pick him up.
"I really don't want to do this to you, but seeing as you refuse to join me, or even give me the slightest bit of information, I have no choice."
The undead skeleton then began dragging the Hero out from the throne room, through the halls of the castle that now had regained its former glory, into a room that was empty from everything but one thing. An armor.
'No', was the only thing that went through the Adventurer's head. Artix couldn't be serious, he couldn't be willing to do this, right? Right? Or maybe Artix was willing to do this. In that case, the Adventurer couldn't be sure what was going to happen. Artix had sounded very confident in this method and that made the Hero worry to no end.
The armor of a DoomKnight Overlord stood against the stone wall in the room he had just entered. He could feel the chill of the armor from across the room, Darkness seeming to gather around it.
The skeleton behind him was suddenly joined by yet two other skeletons. Two of the now three skeletons took a steady grip on each of his arms while the third skeleton walked further into the room, up to the armor.
He tried to struggle in an attempt to get free, but found it as his earlier attempt at escape futile; those blasted undead fighters of Artix just hadn't taken his weapons and equipment, but all of his energy, all his magic, too. Only a little bit physical energy had remained in order to make sure he didn't fall to the floor like spaghetti and now, he realised, he had used it up. He was immobile and fear now took a steady grip on his heart, even more so than before, when he had stood in front of Artix. The skeletons still had their steady grips on his arms and now brought him closer to the armor.
If it had seemed like Darkness had been gathering around the armor, it was nothing like how it felt when he was put into it against his will. Nothing could have prepared him for the very feeling of the Darkness when he put it on. Absolutely nothing.
It was agonizing. It was cold. It was so very, very cold. Worse than the Frozen Northlands, worse than anything. But at the same time, it was so incredibly warm. So warm that it hurt, and he couldn't understand how something could hurt so much. Every little part of his body hurt; he could feel it; the Darkness, wrapping around his body, his mind, his heart. It was cutting into the very core of his being. A terrifying scream was heard and the Hero realised it had come from him.
He couldn't do a damn thing about it, and that was the worst. He could understand now what Artix had meant. This armor, it was slowly but surely turning him into a being of the Darkness, and his fighting back did as good as nothing. As the Darkness began attacking the very last defences of his mind the pain entered a completely new level, and so did the screams. The Adventurer couldn't quite understand what he had done to deserve this. It hurt so damn much.
'Then give in," a voice inside his mind said. 'Give in to the Darkness.' What did it matter anyway? There wasn't any way out now; the option of his allies saving him now and taking of that damned armor was as close to zero as you could get. And while he waited for something that wasn't going to happen, the pain only intensified with each passing second. So he did something that he a couple of days earlier wouldn't even had considered doing.
He gave in.