Setting Sun Story: Departures
The Savior looked across the burning and barren earth before Him. All of the glorious colors of creation, faded as smoke pillared and spread in the blue sky, slowly but surely blacking out the realm He was gifted. What a mistake it may have been, the persistence of free will.
"If flames are all you wish to alight, than an endless red in your honor the world shall know," the Savior spoke out in divine resonance.
As his words traveled far along the lands, too with it came a bloody sea, expanding across the sky.
-Excerpt from "The Birth of Truth" of the Savior's Prophecy.
Chaos. The Chaos that dictates every action and reaction, a chain that rose from the world's earth, binding every soul that will ever be. The link to birth, force feeding into one's heart a need for change, a drive for freedom and happiness. The bitter thorn, implanted deep in the skin, its nostalgic pain, drawing blood in the form of the slow and continuous losses, the reminder of one's fleeting grasp over the hands of the ticking clock of life.
Humans work in circles; each feeling a pit in the heart, burning flame of desire, or the quake of a thunderous boom of the future's coming storm. No matter how one may rise to meet these calls to action, they will be met with Chaos every time, forever throwing Man into a remorseful battle against one's own nature.
Is this a curse borne as it's told of ancient sin? Or have our eyes been merely fixated upon the red of the sky, throwing the blame of our mortal blood to another; so long gazing that we've forgotten a truth lost inside ourselves?
"He birthed the world in this shape in response to our retaliation. The Savior's love is certainly a riddle, but surely as I unravel His plan, might we ascend our lands to one deserved of it?" The Hero of the Savior asks aloud as he mediates on the thought of his life, staring off into the desert.
His eyes yearn for something more, the red hue of his irises practically shining through the thin veil of a white masquerade mask, and the black of his pupils dancing, envisioning the beauty of a perfect world in the wasteland before him.
Hundreds of feet from any ground, this nameless Hero stands along the edge of a series of treacherous stone bridges, eroding and decaying in the wind for decades. Built on high stilts that press down into the side of a mountain, this rising path was once home to a massive and powerful cult. The broken down and decrepit homes and ritual sites are to this day erected upon platforms, slowly falling apart, that connect and tunnel through the mountainside.
Yet the Hero remains fearless and loose, as he turns to an incline in the bridge, setting off to the beat of embroidered and gold-belted boots. His foot passes over the carcass of the only foe he's seen in his path on this ascent. A massive wolf lies in death on the stone, its blood seeping into the faded glyphs etched into the architecture.
His hand, gloved too in white, flicks at the wrist, cleaning his blade; a golden Excalibur, a long, slightly curved blade, with a wide handguard. It glistens with golden light as the Hero sheathes it at his hip.
Bright red burns down on the mountain, the desert below, even every cobbled stone of the bridges. The entire planet is caked in nothing but hot sanguine, no color surviving the wrath of the crimson Sun and bloody sky.
A cape of the same white and gold fluttering behind him, the Hero reaches another platform. More buildings with caved roofs and fallen walls, sitting broken and lost as they hang over the abyss. The tailored cloth that clings to the Hero's chest, the exoskeleton of white steel that covers it, the flashing gold that twinkles on his pauldrons, even the cathedral, far ahead, whose painted glass stands a beacon beyond the many paths he has yet to travel, nothing stands out amidst the soulless red, a blanket that serves to warp the world to a dull gray.
Just as he passes the lonely foundations of the houses, cutting between the buildings to reach the next stair set, a wet snarl bounces off of the walls in the packed, dead district, echoing across the platform.
Paws and claws grind across the stone behind, before the sound stops.
It's in the air.
The Hero drops to a knee, his fingers sliding under the guard of his blade. The open air lies before him, and an alley behind. Feeling warm breath upon his neck, he whips his shoulders with lightning speed.
The strike cuts along the coming wolf's side, opening its stomach and altering its trajectory, sending it leaping out over the edge of the stone plateau.
One last hall of nothingness expands out, turning slightly to line up with the particularly East-facing cathedral.
With calm breath, he takes his first step down the stairs, and with the tap of his foot on the step, the sound of a sinister organ blasts out from somewhere inside, like magic, darkening the sky to ruby, summoning a bright shimmering from the round stained glass.
A clear view ahead, the massive structure is seen to be held up by thick pillars, reaching down to plant where they can in the slant of rock below. The Eastern direction lines the window with the morning Sun, casting a thick shadow on a courtyard before it, but shining a long, warm glowing ray of light across the bridge, encompassing the Hero.
The Hero's thin lips curl into a frown.
Something isn't right.
"All of the traps and familiars that had lay in wait for me, but now at the foot of his sanctuary, I'm without toil?" The Hero asks himself as he walks along the lit bridge, stepping into the court, beckoned by the holy sound from within.
For the first time in his climb, a railing surrounds the platform. This place is far better kept than the rest of the mountain, clearly, as this church contains the only human life apart from himself.
The reverberation of the organ vibrating the ground, the Hero walks on.
Dropping down from somewhere out of sight, two more wolves, far larger than the rest of their pack, with ice-blue fur that appears a dim red-ish gray, and long tails.
They block his path, standing dead-still, their sides facing the Hero.
Two of gold, and two of silver. Deadly, primal eyes remain trained on him, tracing without a heavy breath nor twitch of the snout.
Another step forward. The wolves' quiet stillness turns stonelike. Their eyes, still beaming forward, grow pained and large, rigid, as something stirs inside them.
Putting both hands on his blade, the Hero lifts it up, pointed forward over his head.
After several seconds of anticipation, a mass begins to sift around under the skin of the wolves, a quick laceration tearing the centerline of their backs from the inside, as if pulling apart stitches.
The Hero is taken aback, watching closely as two steel swords, wrapped and bound by flesh, muscle, and sinew emerge from each of their backs, creating massive, bladed, swinging arms.
"Even the anatomy of nature isn't out of your grasp," the Hero whispers as the wolves realign themselves, standing side-by-side, facing him head on.
"It's no wonder the Savior finally woke me here, if such a fiend could reform the world in his own image as so."
As the wolves dive forward, the Hero squares his hips.
The wolves spread their wings of bone and flesh wide, pointing the blades forward at the ends, ready to sweep like a farmer's scythe down over a patch of wheat.
With inhuman strength, the Hero leaps into the air, tucking his chest and swinging his legs over his head to flip over the coming swords. He slices beneath him, cutting cleanly against the right arm of the silver eyed wolf that guns for his left.
Its golden brother barely avoids a grazing of the flying arm, pulling to the side.
The Hero lands in a roll, orienting his back against the wall of the cathedral. The golden eyed wolf takes the lead, pulling ahead and bringing its joints forward, rapidly fanning its arms in a full offensive.
Dashing in just as the left arm passes, he jabs his sword into the path of the right arm, pinning it to the ground. The right passes once more, avoided with a swift duck of the head.
The wolf resorts to a bite, and the Hero pulls his body over, sending a left hook into the wolf's jaw, causing it to slide across the court, collapsing into an old bench.
The silver eyed wolf approaches from behind, but the Hero lays into his already stunned opponent.
He cleaves the right arm of the golden eyed wolf as it tries to stand.
The left arm swings over the wolf's body in desperation, but the Hero chops it at the hilt.
Weakened, golden eyes still comes. Kicking the now weaponless wolf the ground, the Hero turns. All in. A driving thrust straight at its mouth. He pushes his shoulder forward, deftly glancing the left arms swing off of his pauldron.
His sword reaches down the golden eyed wolf's throat, cutting through its insides, and killing it. Gripping its snout, he spins back around, using its dead weight and the Excalibur's added length as the force to throw it into its twin.
The wolves connect, and with one last howl, are sent through the heavy railing at the edge of the courtyard, down to the ground below.
Once again swiping his blade clean, he looks to the cathedral doors, the organ still blaring.
"Banding the souls I tried to save against me. Truly evil," he mutters, catching his breath.
He then takes a knee, and putting a hand to his heart, utters a prayer.
"May the Savior grant you rebirth in a colorful world."
Floors, walls, and pillaring of marble run from the front to the back of the hall. As night has suddenly fallen, they begin to shimmer from the light of tall windows in decadent cleanliness with perfect reflection of the single red carpet, leading from the large double doors, to a throne, raised above the ground. Two doorways enveloped in darkness sit on either side.
The sound of the organ is unbearably loud in here.
The double doors burst open, kicked in by the Hero, one hand already on his glorious Excalibur.
He's left speechless by the incredible hall, but even more so by the one who sits upon the throne.
Leaning softly along the wooden arm, is the perpetrator of it all, the evil wizard; naked as the day he was born, delicately nursing a chalice of wine.
A hat with a brim expanding over the throne like a mushroom cap is the only article covering him.
The sight grows further perplexing, as sitting on the arms of the throne behind the wizard, are two women, seemingly out of the fantasy of a young boy.
The first, leaning on the head of the throne in nothing more than a bra and shorts, the button on upon which undone, is a short-haired teenager, an olive, muscular leg propped on the left arm. Lush moonlight filters in through the window beside her, contrasting the edges of her toned abs and large chest in shadows.
Her eyes meet with the Hero's, prompting her to shyly pull away, shifting her silver bangs shortly after returning a disgusted face.
"Oh hero," the wizard calls, nonchalantly drawing attention.
The Hero is frozen, a cold bead of sweat running down his temple. His eyes are hooked on the next shape. He tries with his might to evade the other, but is hopeless in his attempt.
The second, with bronzed, dark skin, sitting with her backside presented on the right arm, raises her head, tilting it over her shoulder to smile at the Hero. Shiny black hair, running down with the slightest of twirling curls, flows over her shoulders, and finds a resting place at the small of her back. Her red eyes narrow to daggers as she licks her lips, running a hand down a high-cut leather bunny outfit, her fingers dancing along the furry seams, and across the broad end of her thighs.
As she blows him a kiss, the Hero finally looks to the wizard. The only feature visible on his face is a crooked smile.
"Why don't we put our differences aside?" The wizard proposes, his words barely even reaching the Hero's ears.
The Hero has lost so quickly. The music has stopped, and the game is deemed over.
Dazed in this unimaginable situation, the Hero finds no words to release.
The organ's player appears.
She walks from the abyss of a passage behind the throne. Tall, slender, and pale, she walks lightly, her hands clasped at her stomach. Fanning out an elegant blue dress in curtsy, she sets herself to the floor at the wizard's feet. Her blonde hair drapes down to motherly hips, and her large, dark red eyes are glossed over, staring up at the wizard in an endless space of melancholy and loneliness.
"What does he wish for? Will he make a decision, ever?" The newly appearing woman asks up to her master, a frog in her throat.
The wizard returns no reply. He simply raises his face to the Hero's view. As the shadow of the hat pulls back, the Hero finds his own features pointing back to him from the villainous delinquent.
With a calm and secure smile, the wizard reaches out.
"Join us, Adam."
As the words trickle out of the mirror image's mouth, Adam's eyes open, feeling the grass under his back.