Author Topic: A Light in the Darkness.  (Read 1708 times)

Sam Hain

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A Light in the Darkness.
« on: September 14, 2014, 03:48:03 PM »
Quote
"What do you stand in the Darkness for?"

"..."

"I stand in the Darkness... because that is where the danger is.  To seek and find those who are lost, and light their way back home.  To be vigilant for the coming danger; to sound the alarm when it comes, and stand fast between it and those I am sworn to protect.  I stand in the Darkness... because someone has to.  I am the heather on the hill: I burn to find, guide, warn, and protect."

"..."

"Then the time has come, my valiant little guard, to be burned that others can be saved."

That last moment...  Those last words...  echoed again and again in her mind. 

"...to be burned that others can be saved." 

There was no time for fear.  There was no time for pain.  There was no time for anger or resentment.  There was no time for regret or self pity.  The danger was clear and present.  The time was do or die.  There was a job to be done: duty called.  She was the one in the place, at the time, in the uniform.  Duty called: and she would answer. 

The gray mare stepped through the door without hesitation.  The blackness filled with the yellow glowing eyes, the eyes of countless more of those monsters from beyond the door.

"And not.  One.  More.  Gets.  Through.  Not without going through me," she thought to herself.

She closed her eyes tight as she focused.  Her horn erupted; its magic aura like a pillar of fire.  The doors were enveloped in in an aura of flaming orange and yellow.  Her hooves dug into the barren ground of that space beyond the door.  She gritted her teeth.  With everything she had: she pushed.

Slowly the doors began to creak shut, the light beyond streaming to that dark place.  She opened her eyes, squinting and wincing under the strain; and was met with that chimaeric face from beyond the closing gateway.  He smirked at her.  Why was beyond her.  Could have been relishing at the thought of the chaos soon to befall her once those doors were closed.  Could be because her sacrifice was all part of some grand plan.  Could be that he admired her answer.  Could be his face was just stuck that way after having done it for so long over the years.  She didn't know: and would never find out.

The door closed with a heavy, echoing boom: like you'd expect to hear in an empty castle or cathedral.  Something clicked from the other side.  He had carried out his end of the bargain then.

The door... was closed.  It dissolved away before her very eyes shortly after.  There was no going back.

Her fate, whether she was ready to accept it or not, was sealed.

Panting, her magic nearly exhausted, the nameless guardspony whose sacrifice would never be known to the annals of history, turned to face it.  The place was barren and unnatural.  The countless eyes of those... things stared out at her from the abyssal surroundings.  Mindless, hungry eyes.

She stamped the hoof of her foreleg into the dark soil defiantly.

"Come on then!"

She lowered her head to level her horn threateningly.  She was going to die here: but at least she could take some of those... things with her.

"Who wants to the be first to try a taste of me, huh?"
Heatherblaze Lamplight - Unicorn Magic Knight
Dead Drunk Jimmy Jock MacFeegle - Wee Pally-dan o' Kord
Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz - Evil Scientist

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Re: A Light in the Darkness.
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2014, 04:33:56 PM »
Heather did not belong in the Dark.

The same way that water erodes the earth, the Darkness had a way of breaking down the elements of memory in those that affiliated with Light. It clawed at her, pressed up against the window of her Heart and licked its lips. It hungered for her, drooling over the light within, gnashing its teeth for just a taste of a sweet memory. The brighter the light, the greater the shadow they say. Or in this case, the greater the number of Heartless.

The Heartless did not think. They merely hungered.

From where the guardspony stood, a twisting, sickly path wound before her, leading to some end just beyond her sight, good or ill. But along that path, loomed those monsters of the Dark. And today was their lucky day.

Seven Neoshadows were the first to attack. They were inky black and shaped like the race of man, with two muscular legs and long arms ending in sharp, black claws. Jagged antennae fell back behind their heads, like strands of electricity. Their eyes glowed like yellow lanterns in the dark. Three of them launched into the air at the same time, spinning into a kick they hoped to land on the creature of Light before them. One approached just to her left, the other dead center, and the other just off to the right. The remaining four spread out, taking their time to strategize and find Heather's weak points.

Even they did not really belong here, hiding in the corridors of Darkness. They merely found a way to squeeze into the narrow confines and travel between the Worlds in an endless hunt for more Hearts.



Sam Hain

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Re: A Light in the Darkness.
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2014, 05:07:16 PM »
The Heartless did not think.  But Heather did.  However, the ability to think was only a small advantage.  Especially compared with the massive advantages these things had: while not native to them, they practically had a home court advantage here.  Then there was their biggest advantage: sheer, overwhelming numbers.  Heather would have to think, fight, and be lucky many, many times.  Any single one of these things only had to be lucky... once.  Then it would be over for her.

"Here they come."

Heather tensed, bracing herself for the fight of her life.  She waited until the three attacking were on their descent arc in their jump, timed her move, and leapt forward, towards the center attacker.  Her horn fired off a bolt, a shot of white in the blackness of this place: a partial light ray.  Hopefully, she could disrupt its attack - with any luck, shooting it out of the air in front of her to be trampled as she charged forward. 

She had to move.  Standing still against such numbers was a death sentence.  But the path... maybe it led somewhere: anywhere.  Maybe she'd find a more strategic position she could take advantage of, or dig in for a longer haul.  She had to hope she could run faster than they could: otherwise the hope the path offered her was fruitless.

They'd have her before she could formulate any real strategy.
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Dead Drunk Jimmy Jock MacFeegle - Wee Pally-dan o' Kord
Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz - Evil Scientist

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Re: A Light in the Darkness.
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2014, 05:42:50 PM »
The light of Heather's horn filled the space like lightning, temporarily stunning her attacker and, indeed, sending it in the way of her trampling hooves. It tumbled and melted into the floor to avoid being injured further. The light reflected against the confines of this strange land, illuminating the path for a brief moment. It was difficult to tell (only a glance to be had), but it appeared as though there was...a door. Yes, a door at the end of the trail; the proverbial (and metaphorical) light at the end of the tunnel.

But it was just as quickly gone as the light faded. The other two jumping Neoshadows hit nothing but air, but they were not the only ones on the move now. The remaining four Heartless, sunk into the ground like shifting puddles and maneuvered themselves towards Heather so that they near surrounded her completely.

She was fast. With four legs, she could move faster than they could, but there was no way in the Worlds she could stand against their sheer numbers. As they caught up, they would come out of the ground and tackled one after the other, one before her, one behind her, and one on either side. Her only chance was to make a run for it while she still had the chance.
 

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Re: A Light in the Darkness.
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2014, 09:14:32 PM »
The door behind her was locked.  He had promised that much, and had apparently delivered.  She could never go back: but they could never get in.  Not through that door.  With her life, everything she'd ever known and loved, forever behind her; all she had left was her life itself.  And that was not something she was willing to lose if she didn't have to.  That one glimpse, that one flash in the darkness had given her all the information she needed for the moment: and she knew what she must do.

Run.  Like.  Hell.

Heather took a deep breath to prepare herself.  Light.  She needed light.  She could take no chances in this place.  One false move; one stumble, one trip and she was a gone.  Her horn began to luminescence: orange and gold to light her way.  She was ready.  She was set.  It was time to go; do or die.

Heather broke into a full gallop; a mad dash down the path in the door's direction.

She dared not look anywhere but straight ahead, watching for obstacles and focusing on her goal: that point some ways off in the sightless dark where she had once seen her salvation stand.  Her ears pivotted, listening for the tell-tale signs of an impending attack: the scratch and sudden silence of claw bracing, then lifting off the floor and the things leapt again.

She could see two moving in the floor, moving ahead, trying to cut her off, corral her.  This spurred her forward all the more.
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Dead Drunk Jimmy Jock MacFeegle - Wee Pally-dan o' Kord
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Re: A Light in the Darkness.
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2014, 08:00:33 AM »
The light showed the way: four-hundred feet to freedom. Even now, the door to Heather's salvation could be seen more clearly. It was not beautiful or grand in design as salvation should look, but crooked and bent with a large copper-colored latch. She left the Neoshadows behind, racing through the windless tunnel of Darkness.

But there were plenty of other obstacles in her way. At about sixty feet towards her destination, three Shadow Heartless, waiting along the path sprung. They immediately leapt at her all at once, even as she continue to gallop. They latched on and crawled and pawed at her heart with their small, but deadly sharp claws, digging them into her coat, holding on despite her speed. True they were not as large and strong as the Neoshadows, but they had tenacity and a ferociousness that was not easily shaken. They did not weigh much individually, but with enough numbers it would not take long for them to swarm like a nest of angry, black ants.

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Re: A Light in the Darkness.
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2014, 01:10:51 PM »
Salvation, true salvation, was more often than not modest in appearance.  Like the Cup of the Carpenter, the door in the distance was humble.  What mattered most was that it was a door.  A door to anywhere but here.  A chance on a better throw she was making in her gamble with Fate.

She was so close.

And that was when the little ones stuck.  She could feel the weight of her armor shift as two of them landed and clung, then crawled around.  There was also the pain.  The stabbing, stinging pain of the third who’d managed to land on a relatively unprotected area of her front: her throat and upper chest.  Heather cried out, her gait faltering under the new weight and the surprise pain a few paces before she tried to pick it up again.

It was no use.  She’d broken her stride.  Her body was already sending signals to itself that the run was over; that it was time to rest.  The extra weight, the broken stride, and the claws digging into her, or searching where else she might be dug into; it was slowing her.  The bigger ones were gaining.  She knew it. 

"Do something," she screamed at herself, "ANYTHING!"

One word was the only reply her mind produced.  A single, quiet, soft word; a warm word, a beautiful word; a sad word, a frightful word.  A word of light and warmth and fond memories just as much of pain, death, and destruction.

"Burn."

A word that defined her.  She could feel one of the Shadows that had landed on her armor had found her exposed rump-flank.  Its claws would soon carve into her as well.

"Burn!"

A word that started off soft as an ember, but quickly swelled and spread.  The Shadow at her neck was clawing, searching…

"BURN!"

A word the struck.  A word that shielded.  A word that guided, and a word that turned away.  A word that built and a word that destroyed.  The Shadow at her neck plunged its claw into her chest.  The sensation was painful, to be sure; but more so than painful, it was… strange.  Like some great pit had just opened in her heart; like there was a hole in her chest.  She could feel its claws searching, groping.

"BURN!!"

Her mind fell silent.  The world fell silent.  Everything seemed to just stop.  Heather took a deep, deep breath, expanding her lungs against the encroaching claw in pursuit of her heart.  It was agony.  But she had to endure.  Endure: or die.  With her newly reclaimed breath: Heather spoke.  Crisp.  Clean.  Commanding.  Even laced in pain, the voice of a sergeant was the voice of a sergeant.

"Burn."

Heather’s horn began to glow brighter… and brighter… it’s personal magic aura taking on the visual appearance of a torchlight as she unleashed her spell.

Her body erupted with a burst of spiraling flame: Fira.
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Re: A Light in the Darkness.
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2014, 07:03:47 AM »
Silently, the Shadows went up in flames, overwhelmed by the dawning surge of fire and light. The twitched and shriveled and disappeared, into the dark, to be reborn under the cover of darkness: For all the fighting and destroying that the good people of the Worlds did against the Heartless, it was the Heartless' fate to be born again and again until released by the one who carried the Key.

Still, Heather's ring of flames devoured the surrounding night, burning a small clearing for her to make her escape through.

She was so close! One burst of speed, one surge of energy, and she would be there. Now was the time to put her four legs to use and gallop for her life!

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Re: A Light in the Darkness.
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2014, 12:30:59 PM »
The fire burned.  The fire spun.  The fire danced.

It danced over and around her skin.  She could feel the searing touch of its wild embrace.  She could smell the scent of burning hair.  The Heartless were gone, but she was burning.  She had found and drawn out some reserve of magical power as fight or flight seized her: the knowledge that if she did nothing, she would die.  She did something.  And she poured all she had into that something.  Meaning she’d nothing left to keep it clean, and control.

While strong, her Fira spell was sloppy.  Rather than spiral around her, it spiraled over her.  Over her skin.  It had handled her would-be predators, which meant she would live.  But now: she was on fire.  In every possible sense of the word.

Pain.  Pleasure.  Terror.  Anticipation.  Desperation.  Hope.  Panic.  Relief.  In her adrenaline-addled mind, they all pooled into one, welded together by the fires of the moment.  The fire had started.  The fire was burning.  She was burning.  She had sent them back.  She had closed the door.  She had fought.  And now she would go.  Either on to salvation on wheels of fire, or down in flames.

Like the wildfire she has unleashed upon herself, inside and out, literally and metaphorically, Heather did not stop.  She could not.  She knew what fat awaited her if she did.  If she stopped, the fire, and the Darkness, would consume her.  The fire; the double-edged sword.

Her mane and tail singed.  Her fur curled and burned away.  Her horn charred.  The fire spread.  Agony.  But she was a blazing star shooting across the darkness; she felt unstoppable.  Elation.  Her muscles screamed at her.  Her lungs burned and her eyes and nose stung from smoke of the pyre around her.  She was mere moments away from burning out. 

The door! 

She was coming up on the door!  No time to stop!  She was in a dangerous place pursued by dangerous beast while she was dangerously on fire.  She was a shooting star; she would do as shooting stars did.

She would collide.
Heatherblaze Lamplight - Unicorn Magic Knight
Dead Drunk Jimmy Jock MacFeegle - Wee Pally-dan o' Kord
Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz - Evil Scientist