KZD: I own neither Dark Souls nor Kingdom Hearts.
Dark. Why is it dark again? There was nothing but a sea of blackness surrounding Aqua as she stood idle unable to see past an arm's length away. There was nothing, nothing at all but the great Abyss that surrounded and dulled her senses. Wait, the Abyss or the Realm of Darkness? No, they were the same. So why? Why was she here again? Aqua had already left this nightmare once and prayed every day that she would never see it again. But her she was with nothing.
Wait, wasn't she with someone. Yes, a knight, she remembered. The keybearer wanted to call out into the nothingness but a lump got stuck in her throat. She couldn't talk let alone breathe from how dense the surrounding darkness was. It felt like something had a hold of her neck and was squeezing ever so slowly in a teasing manner as if to try to get a gratifying reaction of distress from the women but she didn't let up except for her trembling body.
If she was here then the heartless should be on her at any moment in a swarm like they use to before. Flexing her hand to call her keyblade, Aqua was disturbed that it did not appear when called. She stared at her open paw completely terrified from the lack of action. Not even a simple spark of fire would ignite when she tried to channel her magic.
Her eyes widen and grew icy with panic. She didn't want to be her. She didn't belong her. Where were her friends, her family? Ven, Terra. She had just found them and now she was alone again and complete stripped of defenses. Not even her new ally was around to help.
The heat from her body just seem to dissipate in a single instant as it crew numb with a cold fear. The blue maiden's knees buckled from underneath her. She grabbed her head violently, nails digging into her skull tight enough to draw blood. This had to be a dream. Just a horrific nightmare. But she could feel the self-inflicting pain ebbing at her skull and the small sticky beads of red starting to form from her clawing.
A tremor shook her and the broken ground she knelt in. Aqua hastily looked up but found no source of minor earthquake. Crackles manifested themselves all around in a deafening shrill with no clear indication of who or what was making them. Heartless didn't make that kind of sound. They either hissed or roared, never laugh. Aqua jumped up on the balls of her feet and tensed her body.
"Who's there?" She said with a false authority. She wouldn't let this stranger know of her weakened state and would still find a way to fight back. All she received was more crackling in return. The sound was familiar but not something that she committed to memory.
From the coroner of her eyes, she swore that she saw something red staring right back at her but quickly disappeared. A certain heartless suddenly imagined itself in her mind. The dark stalker Red Eyes. The wild and only heartless with a feature that matched its name sake when in hiding. She remembered only barely wining the fight with that demon once, but with no protection from the keyblade or magic of any kind, she had little hope to defeat it a second time.
Aqua twisted her head to see where the Red Eyes would strike from but there were no sign or crimson orbs still looking back at her. The laughter kept getting louder and louder until she could no longer here her own thoughts and they seemed to echo into the ground as the shook it along with her body.
Out of the shrilling screams came one mighty roar that silenced all other voices. Everything stopped giving the keybearer a split second to regain her composure. She stared deep into the darkness and saw it multiple red orbs floated high above the ground and seem to get closer.
"Give…back. Give back thy pendent."
"Who are you? What pendent?" Out of nothingness a swirling shadowy limb seized hold of her torso, completely wrapping its massive hand around her entire figure.
"Give it to me!" The being bellowed as it began to crush her. Aqua struggled and gasped for breath under the presser of the giant hand but found little hope against it. Her very bones started to crack and pain splintered itself throughout her body. Her eyes started to grow heavy as death encroached on her.
Around her neck a near forgotten hunk of metal lied until it stared to glow a brilliant shade of gold. The creature hiss from the cleansing magic from the silver medal and retracted its previous actions leaving Aqua grateful for the air blackened air around her and banishing itself back into the dark.
With shaking hands, the maiden grabbed hold of the pendent from around her neck. It continued to glow brighter and brighter until she was completely blinded by magnificent light.
"Never lose sight of the light." She knew that voice. It was the last thing she herd before everything went black once more.
Aqua groaned in annoyance as she felt something shaking her out of her slumber. Her body felt heavy as she lazily open an eyelid to peer at her surroundings and noticed that she still wore her armor. "Well that explains the heaviness."
A clank of armor moved back near the humming of a blazing bonfire, the Elite Knight tilted his head as he stared at the mystic one curiously. She had been struggling in her sleep when he was admiring the broken pendent in his inventory. He had done his best to awaken her but his efforts seemed to be in vain. He even contemplate that the women was possibly going hallow and had readied his weapon just in case. Aqua final looked up at her companion and saw his hand brushing against the hilt of his blade.
"What's wrong, have you gone mad or something." The knight let out an amused grunt and lowered his guard. Aqua smiled from the unspoken communication, and just imagining what was going through the others mind. "It was just a nightmare. I get them from time to time is all. Nothing to worry about." The knight shrugged in response and made his way over to an opening in the wall that lead further below and beckoned her over.
The women struggled slightly to stand still in a mild daze from her dream state. Ever since she left the dark realm she had been plagued with nightmares cause from her mild psychosis that she suffered as a result. The keybearer had it under control for the most part with extreme meditation training but sometimes these nightmares would somehow find their way to her. And all the darkness around didn't help the problem. But this one was different. There was no heartless like the usual, and something actual talked back at her.
It talked about its pendent. Surly it didn't mean the silver pendent around her neck. She frowned at her thoughts. They're more important matters at hand and the longer the two wait, the worse things will only get.
In a matter of a second, the two could no longer see the light of the bonfire. It was quickly swallowed by the immediate darkness that overlapped their bodies and vision. Aqua's breath hitched as she felt that she had just been thrown right back into the Realm of Darkness. She shook her head. No, they were still in Oolacile if only barely. The heartless would have long started showing themselves otherwise. The two were only scratching the surface that was the dark realm. The Chasm of the Abyss.
Aqua took in a deep breath to calm her nerves and mumbled a spell into her palm while the knight dig through his inventory to fetch a specific item meant for dark times. A small ball of light formed in the mages hand and gave it a toss, letting it hover near her head for better visibility. Her friend pulled out something more sinister and disturbing. A lantern in the shape of a skull replaced his shield now resting on his back held tightly by its petrified hair in the knights left hand illuminated a white glow from its empty eye sockets and mouth. Just looking at it made the keybearers skin crawl. She didn't want to know where he got nor did she want to find out how.
Aqua overlooked a ledge but could still see nothing but the infinite blackness despite her spell. Squinting her eyes, she could have sworn she saw a ripple move down below but couldn't be too sure till they made it down there. The Elite Knight tapped her arm and pointed to a narrow path he found that led lower into the Abyss in which she nodded and followed his lead, skull lantern lighting the way.
They walked diligently along the path, taking in what little that they could of their surroundings. Everything was so god offal silent to the point that either hoped to hear some sort of noise, even that of the enemy, to at least now for sure that they weren't alone or where they stood on the food chain in this new area. Suddenly, the knight stopped dead in his tracks putting away the lantern, favoring in duel handling his sword. The mystic knight behind him nearly crashed into him.
"Huh, what is it?" Aqua looked over her companions shoulder to see something small but bright and bulbous resting on the ground just a little ways away, flickering its tail like a lure. After seeing all of the inhabitants and monsters of this world so far this had to be the most out of place thing she had ever seen. The knight seemed very keen on it though.
The master watched the knight suspicious movements as he crept towards the lizard like creature, completely unaware of his surroundings. The crystal lizard suddenly made a dash for it as it sensed the knight's presence and its pursuer followed suite without a moment's hesitation.
"Hey, wait!" What was the man thinking, dashing into the dark alone and all for a little lizard. Aqua watch the knight as he disappeared from sight in a blink of an eye. She peered in the general direction he and ran to and felt her blood go cold. A multitude of beady crimson glared out from the dark from where the knight was headed and one shriek a moment later confirmed her suspicions.
"Too many." A crackle from behind, and Aqua swung her whole body back full force, keyblade in hand. The shaft of the blade collide with the mid-section of one of the bloated headed citizens hoping to clobber the women with its freakish hands. It let out a squeal as its ribs shattered and body slammed against the wall, sliding down and dead.
The group heard their dying comrade. Half splinter off from the main group attacking the knight and the other, charge after Aqua. The mage summoned a ring of fire around her that lit up the area and startled her pursuers. There were about five of them on her along with a caster farther away, preparing to snipe at both of the warriors.
The first came out of its daze and moved into attack only to repelled back by a reflect spell, propelling its body back and onto one of its pack mates. Distracted, another was able to land a hit onto Aqua's shoulder. She grunted from the blow and cartwheeled back till she was left on the edge of cliff. With only the desire to fulfill its blood lust the monster jumped after the maiden hands put together for a strong attack. Skillfully, Aqua dodged forward and the beast fell to its death.
When she regain her poise, a blast of weighted darkness hit her square in the chest bringing her to her knees with a sharp gasp. The sorcerer crackled in success from hitting its mark and pointed at the weaken warrior, commanding the underlings to attack. The two left over charged with a joyful screeched at the easy kill. The women let out a growl as her hand crackled with electricity. Lightning struck from a thunderga spell around her as an offensive shield. It electrocuted the minions until they were nothing but a charred husk.
The female wheezed, she had used to much magic on that last spell and all the dark around hindered her strength as it drives from light. Aqua fumbled for an ether, distracted from seeing the caster advancing on her. She pulled a gelatin like blue cube and smashed it the item absorbing its essence. Aqua looked up at the last second to see the crazed magician pull its catalyst back as Abyssal magic swarmed around it.
Her hand reached for the silver pendent. A golden dome quickly surrounded her as a shower of black shot out of the catalyst at once. The moment the black spell ended the dome faded with a keyblade striking forward, stabbing the taller monster right where its heart should be. The mystic knight reared her blade back and removed it from the insane mutant. Aqua used a quick cure spell before looking around franticly for her companion.
A grunt and the sound of metal from a blocked strike gave away his location and Aqua could see her companions outline in the shadows through squinted eyes. It seems that he had manage to deal with his own group and was only dealing with a single opponent. The creature reared its contorted arm back to hit the knight, while intern, he prepared his shield. When the hand was about to hit, the warrior skillfully parried the monster and swiftly followed with a repost with his sword stabbed into the beast stomach. He kicked it off his blade with a huff before taking out and taking a long chug of his estus flask. What was it with crystal lizards that made him throw all caution to the wind?
The Elite Knight looked over to Aqua who looked to be having a hard time breathing despite her healing spell. The dark orb spell had taken more out of her then she thought. He walked over to her with mild concern and bowed as an apology for his behavior. The women looked at him from the corner of her eye and let out a huff and tried to stand straight while her heart raced a mile a minute. This darkness was much more…pure? Yes, that was it, she thought.
When she and her friends fought Xehanort, the old man's darkness definitely didn't match up to the one she felt now. His was much more corrupt and chaotic, while this Abyssal magic was untainted by the hands of man and much more reminiscent of someone else she knew whose magic had an identical weight.
"Vanitas." She hissed lowly. The darkling was no longer an issue since he compliantly, after a long fight of course, merged back with Ventus. Though he stayed quiet instead for time when Ven became enraged, the memory that Vanitas left behind stayed bitter in her mind. Her companion continued to stare at her when she final nodded that she was fine and ready to move on.
The knight spied a treasure, and this time treaded carefully before claiming his prize. Safely storing it away in his box, he stumbled over to Aqua who was traveling down a slop. He nearly crashed into her as she suddenly stopped in front of him to look at the main floor below. Curiously, the silent warrior looked over and was just as stunned as his companion at the sight. Black sprites outlined in white and varying in height watched them just as carefully as the two stared at them. He bowed his head in depression at the horrible sight knowing exactly what these beings are, or what they use to be. He watched his companion to see if she knew herself as she put a hand over her chest where her heart should be and over the silver pendent.
"Artorias told me, that human souls are inherently dark and that's why the Abyss doesn't affect us to the degree that it did him. Where I come from, the heart takes priority over the soul so my knowledge of it minimum but the basics." She paused to look around at the swaying spirits that looked right pack at her with their empty eyes.
"These creatures that we've been fighting now are like ones that I fought in the past. They have their hearts but there's nothing in them but the instinct to kill. This is them, isn't it? The citizen's souls. Human souls." She looked over to the knight who nodded his head signaling the answer she dreaded.
Aqua didn't know what to think of the floating humanities as they floated aimlessly. She didn't know if there was some way to save them. If they were heartless, it would just be a matter of slaying them. But these were souls, she did not know if it was even possible to return then to their bodies the way they are now or would they live normal lives if they could. The knight brushed her shoulder and shook his head at her. There is nothing that could be done for the people but to avenge their loss by stopping the spread of the Abyss. Again the silent communication between the two.
"Nothing then huh? Should have known. They look harmless at least." Just as she finished, Aqua heard a small sound. It wasn't like the horrible screeches of the corrupt but much more soft and feeble. "Did you hear that?"
The knight shrugged. He couldn't hear a darn thing but their own breathing. Again the sound came it was more like a yodel than anything else. The warrior seemed to perk up at the noise. Yes, he heard it! Strange, it sounded offal familiar to him but he quiet couldn't put his finger on it.
"I think it came from over there." The knight followed the female with more caution this time in his steps. They crossed a narrow bridge of stone that gave them a better look of the mass group of floating humanities that blankly stared at them. The sound of the mewling came once more and much more loudly. At the end of the path, a fork split the road. One that lead further into the Abyss and the other cliff to an obvious dead end.
"Strange," Aqua steeped over to the cliff, "it sounded like it came from over here." The master let out a yell as the floor underneath her suddenly gave out. She crashed down onto a lower floor filled with a strange mist. The maiden was shaken by the sudden impact with the ground but surprisingly, nothing hurt like she didn't fall at all. "Must be some magic."
Aqua looked up above her to see the knight with his skull lantern out to see her down below and she waved to him.
"I'm fine, just a little shocked. I'm going to see if I can't find a way back up. You go on ahead I'll catch up." The man gave a wave of approval before leaving her sight. Aqua let out a sigh as she watch him vanish. "Alright, alone in the dark again. I should be used to this sort of thing by now."
There was only one way to go, where a crack on the wall lead to a new part of the chasm. The rest was nothing but a bottomless pitfall. The call of the small animal came once more but much closer. Aqua moved to the new path and spotted something hunched over sitting in the way. Its form a ghostly white and nearly transparent with wisps surrounding it like the illusion magic earlier. Aqua narrowed her eyes with a though.
"Are you, Alvina?" The cat let out a yodel before completely disappearing from sight in a ripple of mist. "Wait, come back! I won't hurt you." She trailed after the cat and the mist it left behind.
As she followed the creature, it would constantly mewl then disappear as she got to close. As she walked, Aqua didn't see any sign of the corrupt citizens but did pass by the humanities. It was unnerving the way they stared at her and ever so slowly floated towards her but not at the most alarming pace, so she paid them no mind.
Again the cat appeared, this time corning its hide up against a wall. Once more, Aqua steeped up to it and again it let out a loud meow before vanishing. This time for good. The master frowned from under her helm. It seemed to be leading her somewhere, but where? She did sense a strong magic and it radiated from the wall in front of her. Hesitantly, she moved her hand to touch the wall. Upon contact her hand went completely threw and disappeared like the cat.
"Of course." This animal was definitely leading her somewhere and must be desperate for help if it created such a powerful illusion to hide something. The cavern was small and narrow with little mobility to be had. If something were to attack, it would be difficult to retaliate appropriately. Getting closer to the end of the tunnel, a soft humming started to vibrate her helm.
"Is that," a large dog like creature curled itself in a ball, sword in jaw, surrounded by a yellow magic circle. Humanities, large and small, floated near the wolf. If they got near, they were blasted away by a barrier that kept the animal safe. The beast looked lethargic and unable to fight back, the women good hear its hard breaths mixed with soft whines, "Sif!"
The young wolf heard its name and sluggishly picked up its head to spy the caller. Too weak to even see properly, all the animal could see was a suit of dark armor standing in front of it. Sif only knew one person who wore dark armor and couldn't help but wag its tail weakly in acknowledgement.
Aqua looked at the humanities then to the downed animal who looked pathetically at her. She deducted that the black souls were somehow hindering the Great Grey Wolf and unfortunately had to be dealt with. "Get away from him!"
The mystic knight shot firaga at one of the stray humanities and its specular body washed away and disappeared from existence. The reaming sprites slowly turned as they took notice of the lone female's presence. Aqua flinched under the blank stares that they gave her, at least the heartless had rage in their eyes when they saw her and a nobody knew how to fake them. No, these humanities had absolutely nothing. No hate nor signs of joy. Truly nothing and it disturbed her greatly.
Absorbed in her own thoughts, Aqua failed to see a child size humanity approach her. The dark sprite fazed right through her causing her to let out a gasp. There was no physical pain or to herself truly, but that of the humanity. She saw what happened to it as it shared its memory by touching her.
True, this humanity belonged to a child. In her mind, the women watched the memory of the child as the Abyss violated it and the other citizens. The living darkness caused there bones to crack and their sanity break until finally, their poor souls were ripped from their bodies from the madness and corralled into the chasm, drawn to the dark. Aqua felt like gagging. The whole ordeal of the humanities was both disgusting and disturbing.
"Humanity is attracted to humanity." That voice from that dream again silently whispered in her head. Humanity is attracted to humanity. Dark is attracted to more dark. So when the black sprite fazed through her, was it trying to merge with her own soul? Aqua swiped her keyblade to the side, vanquishing the small sprite.
"Sorry, but you won't find any peace with me." One by one the mystic knight took down each of the humanities, never letting one of them touch her ever again. With their varied size each had their own difficult of being taken out. The smaller ones died in one or two hits. It was the large fat ones that were a problem as they seem to absorb her attacks as they fazed threw. Thankfully, they went down like the others after some time.
Sif felt a new energy serge from within as the last humanity dissipated along with the magic circle. With renewed strength, the wolf picked up its head to look at its savior and was disappointed that it wasn't the person that it hoped to see, leaving a frown on the young wolfs face. Aqua walked up to the wolf before knelling down at eye level with the animal.
"I bet you were expecting Artorias, weren't you?" Sif let out a whine at the mention of Artorias name. "He actual sent me to come and find you. Both he and Ciaran are worried about you." The wolf spied the amulet of its master around the women's neck and began to wag its tail happily. The only way this person would have Artorias amulet if he personally chose her to be his succsor.
Aqua reached out her hand and the wolf sniffed it curiously. Sif let out a content whine before pressing its head against the metal coated palm. The keybearer grinned wholeheartedly. Finally some normalcy in all if this insanity and a reason not to lose her own.
"Do you think you can make it out of here on your own now? I don't think the humanities are going to bother you anymore after this." The wolf nodded. Sif still felt some weakness and wouldn't be of much help at the moment, but traveling shouldn't be a problem. Throwing back its head, the wolf let out a might howl and soon disappeared from Aqua's sight. "Looks like you do know a few tricks." She laughed dryly.
The women got up to leave and as she turned around, a certain knight was waiting right behind her only inches away causing her to nearly jump right out over her own armor.
"What in the worlds? How long have you been standing their? Nearly gave me a heart attack." She held a hand over her chest to still her racing heart from the fright. Normally these days if someone pulled this with her they would receive a blade an inch to the throat. Kingdom Hearts knows she nearly killed Ven a few times whenever he tried to sneak up on her for a prank.
He ignored her as he walked past where the wolf use to lie, more focused on what the beast left behind. He touched the golden sprite and in an instant it turned into great shield. It was nearly as tall as the knight in size. It was covered in dents and cracked on the side but a dull familiar magic still radiated off it.
"Must be his shield." She referred to Artorias. It made sense considering how badly his arm was broken and the mere size of the shield. "Can you even carry that thing?" Aqua watched as the knight struggled to lift the massive shied in front of him. Only with two hands could he actual hold it stably and affectively. She let out a laugh as the knight started to manage his inventory as to better equip the shield.
"Don't force yourself to use it if it's only going to hinder you." With a heave, he lifted the giant shield onto his back after replacing the old one before giving a proud nod to the keybearer. "Well, if it has the same magic as the amulet, it could come in handy."
The Elite Knight led the way out of the cavern, knowing the proper way that lead closer to the bottom of the chasm. Aqua noticed a distinct lack of the humanities floating around and wondered if her friend had something to do with it. Any of the remainder were left alone. The two followed a trail of broken prism stones on the ground that lit up in a multitude of colors that practically shouted, "This way!"
They ran into another caster who, unknowing, had its back turned away from the two warriors. It met its end with a quick stab to the back by the knight's sword and fell to the level below with a plop and the twosome followed it as it was just a short drop. A broken column acted like a bridge leading the two into the near bottom of the chasm. And as they descended a new pressure from a fierce presence started to swell along with a feeling of dread. Manus was near.
Following the lights from the stones there was only one pass left free a foes except for a few adolescent humanities. Sadly they had to be dealt with as there was no way to avoid their attempts to merge with the warriors with the narrow passage. At the end was a large white fog gate just past a small stone bridge that over looked a gaping hole of darkness.
Aqua steeled herself ready for what was to come, unknowing of who this Manus was and of he really was a human as Artorias said. She looked to her compatriot who seemed to be taking in the last few moments of peace. He looked relatively unnerved compared to her. The Keyblade Master looked deep into the darkness below and fought back the horrid memories of her time in the Realm of Darkness. This was not time for cowering. She would not be trapped again!
She glared at the darkness and defied it. Aqua sported a confident smirk from under her helm only for it to quickly turn flat in shock as a flood of red eyes peeked out from deep below in the dark and stared right back at her mockingly. It was true. Gaze long into the abyss, and the abyss stares right back at you.
KZD: Honestly, I don't think that the BBS crew should be the most stable people in KH3 and forward. But knowing Disney, they would never allow such a thing.