Inferno lands in a barren area of land atop the dragon Kaosa, having been challenged in his realm.. although confused at first he decides to act: "..so it begins.."
-Rune appears in the arena in front of Inferno- "I'm not sure what you're planning, but it ends now".
Inferno steps down from the dragon, the ground beneath his feet withering away as if his very presence is corrupting - his eyes glowing red as he expands his wings, "I'm afraid, my friend - it does not end.. in fact, it is only the beginning.." - the sky starts to darken -
-Rune summons her fire sword, and glares at Inferno-
-the darkness stops, leaving the sky in continual twilight - "..the days of light and dark are at an end: welcome to a world of twilight" Inferno notes, then closes his eyes - the ground beneath him shudders for a few moments before shattering into a shockwave that bursts towards Hero.
-Rune raises a massive fire barrier that blocks the shockwave. Then, she counter attacks by unleashing a wave of fire at Inferno-
Inferno opens his eyes as the wave of fire comes at him and he extends a hand, forming a shield of darkness as he comments: "you would have me touched with the depths of human kindness: I shall have you touched with the depths of their hatred.." - as he finishes the shield starts to absorb the flames, as it does so the sky begins to rumble as it starts to form into a terrible vision of nations marching to war, people killing one another and other atrocities - like a slide-show being played across the sky itself -
-Rune's countenance changes to sadness- "Inferno. People are not as bad as you think." -Rune changes the visions to those of great deeds performed by man: self-sacrifice, altruism, and love- "You see?"
Inferno stops, his eyes momentarily flashing back to their usual state as he sees the vision change - he opens his mouth as if to speak when Kaosa the dragon suddenly lets out a huge roar and spreads her wings, <<enough of these games!>> *the visions shatter violently in a psychic assault that has the potential to strike an unprepared mind like a bolt of pure hate*
-Rune creates a fire barrier around herself to bloke the psychic attack-
Inferno turns to Kaosa for a moment, "..let us leave.. she is not our enemy..", however Kaosa growls in response <<you think she cares? remember who you are - what you have done - she will *kill* you.. just as your brother did..>> - Inferno frowns after this, his eyes glowing once more as he turns back to Hero.. "..you are right Kaosa.." he notes quietly as he forms an ebony-sword out of the surrounding darkness and prepares himself.
"No, Inferno. I will not kill you. But I will stop you." -Raises her sword-
Inferno nods slightly but Kaosa simply whispers to him <<..you think she'd be so caring if she knew what you did?>> - Inferno narrows his eyes and shakes his head, clearing his thoughts "..enough" - he heads towards Hero and takes a swing at her with the ebony-sword, in the style of an experienced swordsman -
-Rune blocks the attack with her sword, and the two swords lock-
Inferno growls slightly as the ebony-blade sparks with dark-energy, his strength is immense yet its almost as if he is holding back.. his eyes fixed on Hero, glowing "..no light, no dark - only twilight.. this I pledge..".
"Why would you wish for such a world?" -Pulls sword out of the lock and takes a swing at Inferno, unleashing a blue fire wave from the sword-
Inferno allows the fire wave to hit him, falling to his knees - "..because.." - he shudders visibly, starting to change - "..I am.." -sheds his form, transforming into a larger humanoid dragon with dark-grey scales, his sword vanishing- "..the Twilight-King"
-Rune stares in shock- "What the...?!"
Inferno growls, "..hmm, I suppose you deserve further explaination.. you see I was born of the pegacorn race, on an isle known as Avalon - we were masters of magic but I was born with one major fault: while my kind had the appearance of angels I had that of a demon - for this crime I was sentenced to a life of ridicule, hatred and ultimately.. death,,," - he narrows his eyes before he continues "..however Kaosa renewed my life, changing me from a weak, stupid fool into one of her own.. the king of her dragon-flight..".
"I know of the prejudice you faced. I sympathize with you, but I cannot allow you to shroud the world in Twilight!" -Raises her sword-
Inferno nods, "..I know, you are strong in faith - as misguided as it may be.. no more talking.." - and with that Inferno extends his hand-talons and takes a series of swipes at Hero, his new dragon-like form being much stronger than his usual one -
-Rune dodges most of the swipes, but one hits her left side, drawing blood- "Aaahh!!"
Inferno pauses, his eyes momentarily returning to normal - "..." - Kaosa's voice speaks out <<..finish it>> - for a moment it seems Inferno listens, raising his arm to take another swipe but he turns away and starts to walk away, "..another day.." he says quietly, starting to revert back to his normal-form.
As Inferno walks away an armored figure appears from a shadowy portal and stabs Inferno with a strange glowing weapon: the figure disturbingly swift and emotionless.
-Rune holds her bloody side- "Inferno..."
Inferno stops in his tracks, saying nothing as he falls to the ground - his form turns to ashes that vanish from the scene, Kaosa lets out a roar before she flies into the air and disperses into the realm of twilight - as she leaves the sky returns to its usual state and a strange calmness seems to fill the area.. yet words seem to echo in the air "..innocence is a funny thing, we are all born innocent - yet the world teaches us to be otherwise.. who is the true villain? a man lost to hate or the world that taught him what hate is?" - then there is silence.
-Rune lowers her head- "No...I didn't want this..."-She walks forward, and stops in the spot where Inferno fell, falling to her knees-
As Rune lands on the ground where Inferno fell a vision suddenly flashes before her, a pair of red eyes in a mist of darkness - "..one day you will understand, one day you will realise - you have won.. nothing" *the vision fades away*
-Rune bursts into tears- "Inferno! No!!"
-then Hero feels a comforting hand on her shoulder. Looking up, she sees Arbiter standing next to her.-
The armored figure watches as Inferno turns to dust, then opens the dark portal as they turn to Arbiter and Hero but say nothing - vanishing almost as quickly as they had arrived.
"No...I could've opened his heart...I've done it before..."-Collapses to the earth-
-As Rune collapses on the ground another vision flashes through her mind* - "..this is the Twilight Chest, within it lies the perfect balance between light and dark - right and wrong - I have observed the battles you beings wage.. I have been trying to combat the darkness within my own heart so I may be ready to truly merge with the Twilight.." *there is a pause before it continues* "..I don't expect you to understand" - then as soon as it began the vision stops -
-Rune raises her head- Ah, what? Why am I having these visions? Is Inferno...still alive?
-as if on cue a vision appears, this time visible to all - "..do believe me, I understand the futility of this quest but I realise now that all suffering stems from the conflict of light and dark: thus twilight shall be our future.. or we shall perish..". - when it ends one thing seems clear: the Twilight-King is not dead.. he has simply returned to that alien realm.. the realm of Twilight -
-Rune, not sure what else to do, stands up, opens a portal to the Twilight Realm, and enters, giving chase to the Twilight King-
-as the portal is opened a sudden roar is heard, Kaosa's voice echoes <<you dare to enter our world? no.. you will not enslave us again.. rise children, protect the King>> *suddenly several twilight-dragons arrive, although small by dragon-standards they are at least the size of a full-grown human male*
-Rune raises her sword in defense-
-the twilight-dragons blast at Hero with their breath, which is more like bolts of hate than the usual fire - from within the Twilight Realm a faint voice can be heard.. "..now what?" <<..finish it>> "must we?" <<you tried to leave, they struck you down..>> "..very well, you are right.. bring me the Chest.." -
-Rune raises a fire barrier against the breath, then, counter attacks with a fire wave-
-the twilight-dragons disperse in shadowy fog, then for a brief moment the sound of something akin to thunder can be heard from within the Twilight Realm-
-Rune narrows her eyes- "What is that?"
-suddenly the darkness fades away to reveal Inferno and Kaosa standing - Inferno holds the Twilight-Chest and smiles as he sees Hero- "I want to thank you Hero, for playing along with my plan for so long.. you as well Kaosa.." *Kaosa blinks* <<..what?>>
-Rune looks shocked- "Huh? What do you mean?"
Inferno smiles, "..you see I knew you were special Hero, that's why I created that vision - I knew you would counteract and show me the good of mankind, although Kaosa shattered that vision before I could fully cleanse myself of darkness I glimpsed enough to gain the knowledge I sought.." *Kaosa suddenly seems to realise something* <<..Inferno, what have you done?>>
-Rune's eyes widen in shock-
Inferno continues, "I fought you to test if you were sincere about your sympathy, to my surprise your sincerity was proven - so I walked away, safe in the knowledge you would follow me.. I admit the intervention of that blasted Kalen was unexpected but I suppose in a strange way it was helpful - because now you are here.." - he turns to Kaosa for a second and sighs,"poor Kaosa, so lost in hate and fear.. I could never betray you Kaosa, I'm sorry I didn't tell you about all of this sooner but you never were very good at acting, I didn't want you to spoil the surprise.." *Kaosa frowns slightly* <<..hrm, clever Pendragon.. clever..>>
"What? What is it you're trying to do?" -Raises sword-
"isn't it obvious my friend? I am about to share with you the grand finale of our little transaction.." *his smile widens as he opens the Twilight Chest and suddenly becomes engulfed in a gigantic shadow that twists and turns until he disappears, little more than a pair of red eyes in a mist of darkness - much like the vision* "..care to join us Hero? we can be powerful allies you and I.. after all, I could never have done this without you.."
"Do not listen to him, Rune." says Arbiter. "He hides the cold truth behind a veil of words."
-Inferno chuckles slightly at Arbiter- "oh, how shrewd and yet how flawed.. I hide nothing - I am beyond good or evil, right or wrong.. I am a god"
-Rune glares at Inferno- "No. I will never join you. You want to shroud the earth in Twilight...I could never be a part of that!"
"What you do not understand Pendragon, is that the universe is sustained by the eternal conflict between Light and Dark; Chaos and Order. It is the basic framework of our reality. Destroy that conflict by merging the two into Twilight, and you destroy the Balance. The universe will become undone." explains Arbiter. he pauses for a second, before saying "Let me tell you something, Pendragon. The power of Balance has made me a god too.
-Inferno cackles- "Earth? heheh.. no, no Hero.. you have been looking at this all wrong.. I have no intention of attacking earth, after all you have helped me and I know how much earth means to you.. yes, keep earth.. no, my target is not earth.. it is my home.. Avalon.." *starts to open a portal to Avalon, as he does so the area shakes violently* "..tell you what Hero, to make up to you for all of this I shall let you in on another secret: once Avalon is mine I shall have my brother executed for his crimes - since you seem to like your swords I shall have his sword gift-wrapped to you once he is dead" - as for Arbiter, Inferno simply states: "..please, the Balance is a disease - the worlds it corrupts will thrive without it".
-Rune takes a step forward- "No. I won't let you destroy Avalon. It's my job to protect all innocent people, not just the ones who reside on earth. Your brother tried to make amends with you...can't you find it in your heart to forgive him?"
-Inferno sighs- "..I didn't want to do this, I wanted you to be by my side - you could of been a part of something great.. instead you have proven yourself little more than those pathetic fools I had to do away with in the War Of The Crown.." - he pauses, almost as if in a mix of anger and sadness - "..but fine, you made your choice.. Kaosa, dispose of her" *Kaosa gets to her feet and heads towards Hero, meanwhile the portal to Avalon continues to expand.. shaking the area like a terrible storm, Inferno gives Arbiter one final look as he simply comments "I've moved beyond you.."*
-Rune teleports from her current position to right in front of Inferno- "Inferno Pendragon, you are not a monster. Many on Avalon may have seen you as one, but you can prove them wrong". -A tear falls from Rune's eye- "Don't do this."
"I can't let you destroy Balance". says Arbiter. Arbiter flies at Inferno Pendragon, charging up his power.
- Kaosa growls, surprised by Hero's move she changes her route and dives towards Arbiter, the brood-mother emitting a black cloud of smoke in an effort to stall him.. meanwhile Inferno looks to Hero, his voice becoming almost like a whisper, as if trying to enter her mind and twist her thoughts - "why do you torture yourself over this? is it because you see something in me? perhaps.. what you could of become?" -
"No, Inferno. Don't you understand? You're becoming the very thing you hate. Think about your mother, the queen. Would she have wanted this?"
-Arbiter stops his attack on Inferno, and holds out his palm in Kaosa's direction, stopping her in midair and dispelling the black smoke. He begins to speak into her mind.- "I do not want to hurt you. In fact, I can only pity you. You raise Inferno with a mother's love and care, only to see him become a monster in return...If you really do care for him...you will let me stop him from drowning in his hatred; from becoming more of a monster. I can help to turn him...there may be a way...maybe..."
-Kaosa growls and speaks in turn <<oh great servant of Balance, you are a fool to speak to me with such arrogance.. you haven't figured it out yet have you? Twilight was around before your precious "Balance" - it is infinite, both in love and hate.. all emotion, all faith, all life and all death - everything..>> she snarls darkly <<..I saw a young and weak prince, beaten and with his wings torn.. I raised him as my own.. yet he was born with a fatal flaw: regret.. thankfully with help from that wretched "hero" of yours and the Twilight Chest his heart is now pure of such petty things.. he can finally do his task without regret>> - *meanwhile Inferno simply stares at Hero, his eyes say it all - he can't see - he *won't see - he is lost to the twilight*
"Very well then" says Arbiter, indifferently. Arbiter then uses his telekinesis to slam Kaosa into the ground. Burning Columns of light shoot out of the ground, twisting themselves together into a cage that imprison Kaosa. "I have no more business with you." mutters Arbiter. He turns to Inferno, waiting for his next move.
-Rune wipes her tears away, and holds her sword in both hands- "If you won't listen to reason, then I'll have to use force. I will open your heart to the light."
-Inferno suddenly snaps out of it as he hears Kaosa's roar - upon seeing her imprisoned his eyes turn red as he unleashes a massive shockwave of shadowy energy that sends Hero flying backwards, then starts to grow via absorbing the shadows in the dimension, the portal to Avalon beginning to spark dangerously as the ground starts to shatter - "Hero, Arbiter.. you two are about to recieve a lesson on what happens when you push a god too far.." - his voice grows more bestial, enraged - "..and when I'm done with you I think I'm going to tear Avalon from the sky and toss it into your precious earth, you'd like that - two worlds happily united in a blaze of death and destruction.."
-Rune appears next to Arbiter- "We have to bring him down."
"What happens when we push a god too far?" Arbiter states. "Balance has made me a god too, but even the gods are not eternal." As he says this, Arbiter fades into the shadows. His voice resonates in their minds. "Let us see if you can handle the vast amount of power you were given."
-Inferno growls as the area continues to shake and quiver, the ground threatening to break down completely as sparks of energy fly out from the Avalon portal, surging across the realm like lightning- "..death to light, death to darkness.. long live the twilight!" - *he continues to absorb the shadows around himself*
-Rune swings her sword, unleashing a fire wave at Inferno Pendragon-
-Arbiter holds his ground, watching...waiting...-
-Inferno starts to absorb the wave of fire, causing it to swirl around in the shadows already surrounding his form - a crazed laughter echoing across the realm- "..sorry dear but I never was one for spicy foods.." *with that he sends out a tornado-shaped beam of flame towards Hero, darkened by the twilight into a force more akin to pure hatred than true flame*
-Since it is not true flame, Rune is unable to absorb, and instead, attempts to dodge it- "Whoa!"
Arbiter uses telekinesis to bend the beam back toward Inferno, adding his own energy into the mix.
-Inferno growls again and forms a large dragon-like hand out of the shadows and takes a swipe at the beam, dispersing it as he manipulates the hand towards Arbiter- "..alright then, show me what you can do "god" - there is nothing you can do that I can not - I will never be weak again.." -meanwhile Kaosa's voice enters Hero's mind- <<go ahead and kill him, I'll just bring him back.. as long as I live you will *never* take him from me..>>
-Rune closes her eyes and lowers her head- "No. I will not kill him. But he will most likely change before your very eyes."
-Kaosa's voice simply echoes in Hero's mind- <<you had no right to interfere, the Arbiter I can understand.. you however, you are meaningless..>>
-Rune smiles- "That's what you think." -Rune goes airborne and rams into Inferno-
-Inferno grunts as he's rammed into but anchors himself to the spot, though he visibly flinches - his focus still on maintaining the shadow-hand - "..ugh, what..?"
-Arbiter holds his ground, watching the hand approach.-
-Inferno clenches the hand into a fist and takes a swing at Arbiter, growling slightly.. "I..am..getting..tired..of..urgh.." *his shadowy form flinches again as another violent tremor shakes across the realm - forcing him to concentrate further on his attack*
Rune flies straight towards Inferno, and unleashes a fire wave from her sword by swinging it- "Take this!"
-Inferno's form absorbs the flames but in the process begins to visibly destabilise - the entire realm going into what can only be described as the tremors of an impending cataclysm.. "..no..I can control it.. I am a god.. I am.." *the skies begin to become engulfed in swirling energy as Inferno falls to his knees*
Arbiter watches as the hand dissapates in front of him. His expression turns from indifference to horror. "No...this is...impossible..."
-Inferno's form starts to break apart as he finally realises the truth- "..I.. I never purged the darkness, no I was still angry.. still mad.. and now.." *he looks to the sky, streaks of lightning flashing* "..Kaosa, Arbiter.. Hero.. run.. this realm is lost.. forgive me Kaosa.." -as he finishes his form rises into the air as another massive tremor shakes across the realm, shattering the ground-
Rune reaches her hand out- "No! Inferno!"
-Arbiter tries to quell the destruction with his telekinesis, yet for the first time, the task is too difficult for him. He senses more sinister forces at work but pushes them out of his mind as he runs to Rune- "Leave now! I'll follow."
-Rune keeps her eyes in the direction of where Inferno used to be- "But...Inferno..."
"NOW!" -Arbiter teleports Rune out of the Twilight Realm, then turns to Kaosa, still imprisoned in the light cage. With a wave of his hand, he teleports her after Rune, then turns to face Inferno, who has almost entirely deteriorated.-
-Inferno watches a final vision flash across the realm, of a young prince and a king "Inferno, you never cease to amaze me with your ability to fail at the simplest of tasks.." - the vision then breaks as the portal to Avalon shatters and the Twilight Realm finally gives up its struggle, beginning to cave in on itself - although slowed down by Arbiter's actions-
-Arbiter struggles against the force of the Twilight Realm's apocalypse- "I will not allow another world to be lost...I...must try...to save it..."
-Rune appears next to Arbiter and grabs his hand, fusing him with her power- Don't ever count me out!!
-the Twilight Realm continues to cave in on itself, Inferno vanishes completely now with no parting words on his part, though from the darkness a voice whispers almost too softly to be heard- <<..the watchers, they sing, they sing.. the watchers, they dance, they dance..>> -then as quick as it started it ends, whatever uttered the words clearly not around anymore-
"Rune...." -Arbiter says, under strain from trying to stop the impeding apocalypse- "I can't hold this... world together for much longer...flee while you still can..."
"No! I won't leave you here to deal with this alone!" -Focuses all of her energy into sustaining the realm-
-as the Twilight-Realm enters the final stages of its destruction something strange begins to happen, although powerless against the destruction it seems neither Rune nor Arbiter are affected as the realm simply vanishes in a sudden and rather anticlimatic fashion - as if time had simply stopped, standing (or perhaps more accurately floating) in the cold shadows it seems there is nothing left to do..-
Rune looks around- "What the...?"
"It was his hatred...it became something of a diabolical force, which consumed this realm. The Chaos of his hatred is now being balanced by the Order of this emptyness. But...did you hear those voices? About the Watchers?"
-the eerie silence that emits from the now empty realm speaks for itself, the battle is finally over.. though through the endless void it almost feels like this tragedy is being observed <<the watchers, they see, they see..>> - then, at long last, a strange peace comes over the area -
Rune looks at the ground, sadly- "I guess Inferno is...gone..."
"I don't think so. The Chosen Ones have a strange habit of...coming back."
-meanwhile quite some distance away, in a quiet little mountain-village on earth the sun begins to set - as the twilight sets upon the land a young girl sits and looks to the stars, her face hidden under long golden hair <<the watchers, they come.. they come..>>