Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Character Creation and Discussion (second reincarnation)
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Hotsprings Resort
“Sir, that AMF is too strong. We can barely lock on the bridge, let alone get a signal through,” a technician gave an incredulous look and a bewildered tone to his superior. “Forgive me if I sound disrespectful, but I don’t think we’ll be successful in our current state. You could gate out in the middle of that firestorm out there, or even in the planet surface!”
“I will worry when it comes to that, Warrant Officer, though your concern is appreciated. However, we still must get to that bridge as quickly as possible. Divert power from other systems if you have to. Brute force your way through that field,” Chrono ordered, back in his mask of calm. “Our priority is to rescue and recover our people, even if this ship has to take a few hits.”
“V-Very well, sir. But what about the boy? He’s… He’s too young to go out there!”
The admiral shifted his gaze briefly to his godson, the boy now clad in a hastily engineered barrier jacket and bearing a mass-produced Belkan spear device. The set up would hardly cater to Erio’s budding magical abilities, but at the very least, he was protected and armed. The spear in particular had a few special properties that could be useful, and it seemed the boy was already somewhat familiar with handling polearms.
All the better, he supposed. If circumstances had been different, the Blue Breaker might have thanked the incorrigible, horribly wealthy asses who had paid enormous sums to bring the boy into the world.
“I understand your concern, and I thank you for it. However, the boy has convinced me that he will not be a liability in this operation. He is my godson, and I will be responsible for everything he does, including worst case scenarios.”
“Sir, I don’t think— ”
“Warrant Officer, thank you, but please, focus on the hour at hand. The more time we waste here, the more lives we will lose.”
“…Yes sir. Diverting power now. We can only do this for one shot. Any more will burn out the systems and leave us completely naked.”
“Understood,” Chrono nodded, watching as the very lights in the room dimmed as power was focused into the teleport system. Already, he could hear the abnormally loud hum and electrical feel of an overcharge building up as the entire ship around him visibly weakened.
Incredible. The AMF is that powerful? The drain is enormous!
Almost immediately, the ship-wide intercom crackled to life with an alarming message: “All hands, brace for impact! Prepare for hull breech!”
The entire ship shook violently as the warning came true, tossing several of the crew to their feet and sending others scurrying for support. In an instant, alarms blared as crisis crews scrambled to site of damage.
How strangely fragile his ship was, despite being a ship-of-the-line. Then again, the ship designers had not planned on hyperboosting a teleporter to pierce an overwhelmingly powerful anti-magic field while under fire from thousands of gun drones blasting away at the hull. For an instant, the admiral entertained the idea of suggesting an improvement to the designers.
…Nah. It was too incredible to explain.
What other idle thoughts he had were dashed in an instant as a bright light engulfed the room, the teleport system straining to the maximum to maintain stability. Damn. His ship was taking one hell of a beating, inside and out.
“This is it, sir! Your only shot! Good hunting!”
Chrono nodded, looking to Erio one last time before stepping up to the platform.
“With our light, we will
the darkness away.”
They had all been defeated. That much could not be denied. But with the knowledge that all the horror was just a mere illusion, and that all his friends were only incapacitated, spurned a new fire within Yuuno.
Now that our morale is back up, what’s say we take this bastard on?
For the sake of my friends, I will put everything on the line. But our opponent is a legend!
Be it ancient horror or modern day warrior, it makes no difference. I refuse to cower before the enemy, and I refuse to let you do the same! We will stand and fight!
What a troublesome partner, but he would not have wanted it any other way.
“Alright then, Mana of Light. Show me the way! Light my path to victory!”
That’s the spirit!
Held between his forefinger and middle finger, the single card glowed in response to his renewed spirit. With a flick of the wrist, the card became an entire deck, fanning out in front of him. The fan spread even further, expanding into three rings of cards, orbiting around the young man. Another flick of the wrist, and Noland found three razor sharp cards barely missing his head.
“Oh ho! So the little ferret has fangs! Come then, unfortunate soul. Show me your rage!” one could feel the mad grin hidden behind the helmet as he charged forward. Yet Yuuno seemed unfettered by his opponent, even going so far as to turn his head aside and regard a handful of magical cards. Ten meters. Five meters. One meter away. Without a single glance back, the mage tossed the cluster at his foe just as he was close enough to strike.
“Power Seal, Magic Seal, Lock Seal! Bind his wings and chain him to the earth!
At such a range, there was no defending. The deck exploded upon contact, throwing the knight a short distance away. As he rose to his feet again, he discovered a new addition to his armor plate: a mysterious, bizarre character of an obscure and ancient language. It was barely the size of a fist, yet it blazed upon the knight’s chest brightly.
“What!?” Noland clawed at the strange mark to no avail.
Yuuno would soon answer that question. “Your strength, sapped. Your magic, sealed. And no matter how hard you try, I will never miss my mark.”
Noland growled low in response, the glow of his eyes ever bright. “Think you that I am any weaker for that? Magic is a mere facet of a knight’s strength!”
Though the three seals tied him down, Noland seemed no less slower or any less agile than before. As Yuuno attacked with a seemingly endless barrage of magical cards, the knight leapt, rolled, dove, and somersaulted with mindboggling dexterity. His defense was not perfect, however, the cards whittling his armor and stamina away. But still he fought on. Though the archaeologist did his best to keep his distance, it was only a matter of time before Noland pushed his way through the swarm. Now in close quarters, the young blond found himself on desperate defense.
Yunno panted and fought to see through the sweat that threatened to blind him. Every punch the knight threw, Yuuno brought up a reinforced shield to deflect the blow. Again and again, punch, kick, swipe, stab, Yuuno’s energy was quickly sapped. With the anti-magic field weighing him down and Noland’s overwhelming strength, the mage was quickly tiring.
Dammit. I can’t keep up. Mana!
I got him!
A piercing howl sliced through the stagnant air; a white blur soaring over Yuuno’s head and slamming into their opponent’s face. A great wolf, with brilliant moon-white fur and elegant red streaks, clawed and bit at the knight. Off balance, Noland could only roll backwards as he wrestled with the beast, finally kicking it off with an angry roar. This distraction was enough for Yuuno, quickly invoking another spell.
“You won’t escape this one! Strike from the heavens!
From above came another howl, followed by a blinding pillar of light that scorched the knight’s armor, searing his flesh and set the very ground around him ablaze with holy radiance. Noland’s roar of pain was lost amidst that same light, a bizarre cacophony of inhuman noise and beastly howls. When the glow finally subsided, Yuuno witnessed a sight that filled his heart anew with courage.
The knight had fallen to one knee! Such an opportunity could not be wasted. It was time to finish this in one shot!
“The cards have been dealt. In my hand is the key to victory. Now reap your reward and be cut to pieces!
The seal upon Noland’s chest glowed brightly as every card Yuuno had thrown suddenly hovered into the air. In an instant, from every direction around the knight, the cards attacked in a great swarm. Hundreds, what seemed like thousands, of like a violent tempest of furious insects. With his abilities sealed, he could do nothing but raise his arms up to protect his head. Again Noland released an earthshaking howl as his entire being was enveloped in this hurricane, the sounds of impact lost in the fury. Though victory seemed imminent, Yuuno refused to relax.
Until we see his corpse, stay alert!
The warning came just in time, as a black shape suddenly burst free from the frenzy. The cards immediately adjusted, seeking Noland once more as he leapt away… and towards Yuuno.
Suddenly, the world seemed to slow down around him as the young man reacted, tossing another handful of cards whilst simultaneously bringing up the other hand to defend. Like a vengeful demon, the mad knight seemed to glide through the air with a fist cocked back, behind him a literal wall of blades. Predictably, the fist slammed into Yuuno’s shield, but what the mage did not expect was the sudden vast increase of power behind the blow. Had this monster gotten stronger?! He really was a demon! Alas, the blow was simply too much; with that final strike, Yuuno’s concentration finally broke, and with it, the effects of Energy Seal. The shield shattered like glass before the fist, the storm of Trick Edge collapsing. In an instant, the blonde’s legs were swept away from under him, only then his side exploded in agonizing pain as a second kick launched him into the air. Through the haze of pain Yuuno saw the knight once more, leaping after him with punch ready. The blow drove him into the unforgiving earth with such force that he literally bounced slightly. Still no respite would come as Yuuno felt a knee be driven painfully into his back, then an arcing heel drop slam into his belly. The young Scrya folded like paper into the blow before slamming into the ground in gruesome finality.
Oh god. Oh god! His body felt shattered, his legs crushed, his arms like lead, and his mind in ruins. No amount of will could drive him anymore. Everything… everything was broken. Defeated, Yuuno barely registered the shadow that covered him.
stood over him, looking none-the-worse. His armor was chipped and cut, and there were scorch marks all over it, but the berserker seemed unaffected.
“Most impressive, little ferret! Most impressive, indeed. You’ve given me a challenge greater than I would’ve expected from a mage such as you. But the games end now.”
Noland’s giant form loomed over him as if he were a mere insect, a blood-soaked hand reaching for the librarian’s head.
Well… it was a good run. You did good, kid. I have no regrets.
Nanoha… Fate… Hayate… everyone… I’m sorry. I’m too weak…
A sudden, new light captured both mage and knight’s attentions. As if struggling to tear through the very fabric of space, a tiny star of light gradually grew brighter. The Mid-Childan magic circle, at first as small as a coin, slowly expanded to full size. Shimmering lights characteristic of a teleport spell filtered through the light, and from it…
Chrono? Erio?! What…? No…! They’ll… They’ll be caught too!
Yuuno was suddenly tossed aside, as if he were but mere garbage, landing roughly on the bridge’s floor. The Traitor Knight of Belka had new arrivals to his Necrofantasia, and it would be rude to not greet his guests.
Chrono’s senses were immediately assaulted by a wave of heavy, choking air. Nausea flipped his stomach in ways he had never felt before, and the anti-magic field weighed on him like the world on Atlas. However none of those feelings could match the horror that bloomed upon witnessing the carnage before him. The smell of blood was thick in the air, almost sending the mage reeling. But even worse were the sights of his friends far too late to be saved. Shamal, Vita, Signum, Hayate, they were all butchered in the cruelest of ways. Dear Fate and Nanoha, their heads missing somehow, and Yuuno, barely alive on his own.
Wha—What the fuck is this?! How did this happen so quickly?! This… This cannot be-! I refuse to accept this as the truth!
With every denial, a sharp pain pounded against his skull as he squeezed his eyes shut. Mustering every ounce of will in him, Chrono forced his mind to push through the heavy fog of confusion.
This… can’t… be… happening…!
For a moment, Chrono’s vision changed. He saw, rather than a massacre, a multitude of black chains crisscrossing the room. Just as quickly, however, the murders returned. The visions seemed to struggle against his consciousness; by sheer will and focus of his anger that he could repel this overwhelming imagery, but not by much. And from the sounds of it, Erio managed the same.
! STOP IT! These… these are all lies!” the boy screeched, his eyes wide with mad fury. What he must be seeing, Chrono could not even imagine. Yet through his struggles, he could see his enemy.
“Bastard! I’ll kill you!
I’LL KILL YOU
!” Erio howled, charging with his spear held forward. It seemed to be a move unanticipated, as the weapon pierced Noland’s armor uninhibited at the left shoulder. Though surprised that a boy so young managed to come this far, the knight did not seem to be alarmed by the wound.
“What’s this? A child with such intense rage! Commendable, boy, to land a blow on me. But this charade ends no—” Noland’s shoulder suddenly exploded, his entire left arm blasted off with a shower of dark, almost black blood. “—AARRAAAAGGGHHH!!!”
Still in his attack stance, young Erio now held a smoking, bladeless spear. The tip had a second function, intended for anti-armor work rather than anti-personnel, an explosive spearhead that would explode moments after piercing the target. With this, Erio managed to successfully wound his enemy. Unfortunately, his decisive blow seemed to only infuriate the knight even further.
“Brat! That hurt!” Noland’s remaining arm snaked out to grab the boy by the neck, lifting him to face level. “Begone!”
The boy would know nothing more as the knight’s visor smashed into his face, a vicious concussive headbutt that snapped Erio’s head back and banished his consciousness. With a disdainful toss of the hand, the redhead was thrown to the side.
“Erio!” Chrono resisted the urge to reach out to his fallen godson, knowing already that he could do nothing to help. Instead, he glared at his enemy with a fire that rivaled the latter’s fury. “Bastard. I will make you regret everything you have done this day!”
“Regret! Regret! What a mighty vow!” Noland howled with maniacal laughter. Sickening still, were the black tendrils that snaked out of from the bloody stump, seeking the lost arm. The strange things pulled the limb back to its socket, a wet, nauseating squelch as flesh was pressed back into flesh. The fallen knight roared his pain as the wound seemed to seal itself along with the break in the armor. In mere seconds, the severed limb had grafted itself back in! “You know better than I, o’ lost fool, what it means to regret!”
The Harlaown’s response was a swift strike with S2U, its head ablaze with magical energies. But like his adopted sister before him, Chrono found his opponent quick and deceptively nimble. Though his strike was unsuccessful, the mage opted to leap back rather than continue the attack. His foe was a Belkan Knight, a master of close combat. In contrast, Chrono was a Mid-Childan mage, specializing mostly in medium to long range attacks. In an open area, he would have the advantage, but in enclosed spaces like this bridge, the knight dominated. This battle would be an extreme challenge.
A tiny figure suddenly latched on to his arm, Chrono suppressing the reflex to lash out against it just in time to see that it was the still living Reinforce Zwei. Her barrier jacket was ruined, torn in places and sullied with dirt, and once shining sky blue hair was a dull mess. It horrified Chrono that so much had happened to her in the brief moments before he arrived.
“Rein? You are unharmed?” he breathed, a rush of relief temporarily calming his nerves.
The tiny girl buried her head into the folds of Chrono’s robes. “Hayate made me hide, to wait for your help! She knew you were coming!”
Blue eyes flickered briefly over to the mangled corpse that was once a happy, playful girl from Kansai. Or was it just a fake? It was near impossible to tell anymore. “That girl… I will avenge her, Rein. I swear it.”
“No, we’ll avenge her! We’ll avenge everyone!” the girl hugged Chrono closer, her face contorted into an uncharacteristically serious face. “I, the Blessing Wind, Reinforce Zwei, will fight along with you!”
Her tiny body was encompassed by a silver glow, an orb that would fade into Chrono’s chest. An odd cooling sensation spread from his chest, creeping to every inch of his body in moments.
“Rein…” he whispered out loud.
“I’m here!” the response came from within his own mind.
“The others. Are the others…?”
“…” Reinforce didn’t reply for a moment. “They’re gone too. Yuuno-san tried really hard to fight back, and he was doing really well! But… but he lost too. I wanted to help him, but I was so scared. I just watched him fight and… and…!
“Rein, girl, easy there. You did alright. We will get the bastard back for this, but you need to stay calm for this, understood?”
“I’m…I’m okay, now! I’m ready!”
“Alright then. Let’s do this, Reinforce Zwei!”
“I’ll take care of the processing! Take him down, Chrono-san!”
Stronger. Faster. Better. So this was the benefit of a Unison Device. Spellcrafting felt far easier now, and the weight of the anti-magic field felt less heavy. The physical changes were not that much either: black and blue robes had transformed into white and blue; fashion that befit a holy knight, it felt rather appropriate that he look the part to fight this demonic warrior.
Heh, not that I deserve to be called a paladin in the slightest…
“Blades of light, exterminate! Seal away the evil –
!” he called out in an instant. On command, dozens of electric blue swords of magic formed around the mage, immediately speeding towards their target. Control would paramount here.
Rather than dodge, however, Noland merely brought up a hand and uttered his response, “Shield of the War God –
The space in front of the knight flickered briefly, just before the swords struck. Abruptly those first blades were deflected off course, followed swiftly by every one after it. It was as if he were walking into a stream, his great form pushing the water out of the way. Those around him, bound in chains, were in danger as well, as the deflected blades came treacherously close to striking them.
“Stubborn bastard. Try this one then –
From a hail of swords to a single, greatsword-like blade, the weapon once again streaked to its target. No barrier would stop it now, that same shimmer fruitless in even slowing down in its flight. Noland reacted in time to duck his head to the side, the sword’s edge scraping loudly against his helmet. Immediately, he dropped low, letting the attack soar over him harmlessly. Again, he leapt backwards, dodging by a hair’s breadth. As the knight landed, he waved his other arm and brought forward a cluster of chains. Wrapped amongst the blackened links was a certain blonde ace, her ruby eyes glazed over as her mind was still trapped in illusion. Meek whimpers slipped from her lips, followed by short cries of unbridled rage as her body weakly flailed. Biting back a frustrated growl, Chrono diverted the Stinger blade away, instead sinking its razor point into the ceiling above.
No! I mustn’t lose heart now. At least, she still lives, and I will save her come damnation and hellfire!
“You would use hostages to protect you?! Coward!” the mage spat as he gripped his staff taut, almost painfully so. In good time, too, as Chrono suddenly found himself on the defensive. The same edge that dismembered Vita and took the head of Fate now bit deeply into S2U’s shaft, nearly splitting it in half in one go.
The damage was bad, but it would not make a difference now. Instead, Chrono slammed the butt end into the ground, forcing his opponent’s arm down while simultaneously aiming S2U for his head. Immediately a hot blue orb formed upon the device’s tip.
“O’ Mighty Flame by my command:
!” Noland angrily barked, a gigantic hand wrapping around the still fiery head of S2U, snuffing the attack spell before it could even reach full power. The device’s core cracked under the strength of his grip, the entire head crumpling like an aluminum can. “Enough of this child’s play!”
Immediately the mage abandoned his ruined device, flying quickly backwards to put distance between them. Noland was already on the move, throwing aside the now scrap metal. New plans, then. The destruction of S2U was regrettable, but it was not the only weapon he had. “Fine. Let’s try something different then. Awaken, Durandal!”
In an instant, the draconic Sceptre of Ice was in its master’s hands, already aglow with charged magic.
“Spread your wings and surround! Swarm and pierce the frozen sky!
Like the blades before it, numerous shards of ice sped towards their target in two streams. The shards first traveled to either side of the knight, trapping him amidst a storm of deadly crystals. Then, the shards turned inwards, transforming the entire area into a literal blizzard of icicles. Yet, there was one glaringly stupid weakness to this spell. So stupid, in fact, that Noland actually paused to glance incredulously around. Perhaps if he’d been a meter back, the spell would’ve then provided some form of challenge. But here? He took a single step forward into an empty space directly in front of the Bureau mage, completely bypassing the entire barrage. Idiocy to the 9th degree, and now the knight was within arm’s length of the admiral.
Right where Chrono wanted him.
!” Chrono yelled triumphantly, a brightly glowing blue fist punching forward. Noland brought one gauntlet up to deflect the measly strike, readying to counter it in an instant. To his shock, the entire gauntlet piece was suddenly encased in solid ice, the freezing magic quickly travelling up his arm and covering the rest of his body. Barely could the knight give an indignant roar before his entire person was enclosed within a sheath of ice, soon to become a full pillar of ice.
You got him! Hooray!
No… Not yet! It was not enough! He is breaking free!
Indeed, cracks were already forming within the icy prison. Fragments of ice fell off the pillar as the entire thing shook violently, a gigantic schism forming down the length. A terrible cracking sound thundered through the room as the ice shattered, the knight breaking free with a cataclysmic roar.
With shards of ice exploding all around him, Chrono instinctively brought his arms up to protect his face. What he managed to see through the diamond dust, however, caused his blood to freeze: the black and red shape of the Lunatic Knight charging him with bloodsoaked gauntlet ready to strike. A desperate hand came up to defend, a blue Round Shield springing to life in front of him. It offered little protection, shattering the instant the knight’s fist came in contact with the spell. Unheeded, the punch struck the Bureau mage and sent him reeling backwards. As if that would be all. Jaw, throat, kidneys, belly, knees, neck, every vital point on his body was struck with unbelievable ferocity, the shockwave of every blow rattling his very being. Like a ragdoll, Chrono was thrown about mercilessly. No matter what he tried, no matter how hard he fought back, the mage could not gain any leeway against the Ancient Belkan knight. Spells, deflected. Attacks, countered. His will, sapped. The futility of it all weighed heavily against him as he was held aloft by his neck.
“Is that all? Is that the best an admiral can do? How utterly disappointing. Even that changeling boy proved a greater challenge than you! Whereas you failed again and again with such weak and stagnant magic, he has grown beyond your reach! And that child drew blood whereas you could barely scrape my armor. Even with a Unison device, even when arriving fresh, you still failed! Pathetic
Chrono would soon discover how hard the bridge’s throne was, his body thrown with such force that the stone seat cracked from his landing. Through it all, he survived at the very fringe of consciousness. By the gods, he was hurting bad; the pain was excruciatingly intense, almost blinding. But how was it that he still lived? Though nearly every part of him ached beyond anything he had ever felt, there was not a single mortal wound upon his body. Was the Mad Knight toying with them?! Such unholy strength, capable of tearing a man limb by limb, yet he sought only to slap his enemy around? What cruelty, like a demented cat playing with its prey before killing it.
Damn it. Damn it all! His blood coursed with adrenaline; Reinforce Zwei supplemented his spellcasting; Durandal was pushed almost to its limits, and still it was not enough! Eyes wide, heart thundering, every part of him felt electrical and alive, yet no advantage could be held. The knight was simply too much for him alone to handle. There was no other alternative, now. Suicide or sacrifice, those were his choices. He could not risk this demon or this ship to run free and threaten the rest of the galaxy, even… even if he had to give up on everything and everyone.
Rein… I am sorry. I can’t go on.
It’s okay. We… we tried our best.
Help me one more time, Rein. I… I am going to invoke Durandal’s forbidden power one last time.
B-but that will get everyone!
I know. But... they would understand.
Is there really no other way?
If there is, I cannot see it. Either, we die here and let this monster free, or trap him forever in a frozen tomb. And, heh-heh, if that does not work, I hope that do-right captain on my ship has the balls to do his duty.
Chrono would hear no answer from the tiny girl, but he could feel her conviction. At least they could all be together, forever. Struggling to his feet,
Forgive me, everyone. No, I do not deserve to be forgiven. I…I have failed you all, again.
“Durandal. Get ready.”
Holding the staff before him, Chrono could feel the surrounding air cool to a deep chill. “Everfrost, construct a frozen coffin and deliver eternal sleep unto this beast.”
The bite of icy air stung his face and fingers, even through the gauntlets. Already, crystals of ice were rapidly forming along the ground. A prison of ice: what a fitting end for a man with a frozen heart…
“Freeze! Eternal Coff—”
Suddenly, standing before him, he saw her. Standing there, alive and well, the face of his long lost wife gazed pleadingly at him. Impossible! She looked exactly as he had last seen her, that accursed day, clad in an officer’s uniform and her hair tied back with her yellow ribbon. A little grime and dirt smudged her cheeks and the fabric of her clothes, but past that, she seemed so… so perfect.
“What are you doing, Chrono?! You’re freezing everyone! Nanoha-chan, Fate-chan, Hayate-chan, all of our friends! And me! Don’t bury us in the same tomb as this monster!”
“A-Amy?!” Chrono stumbled into a halt mesmerized, the light of Durandal dimming. Was this another illusion? It had to be! There was no possible way she could be here! But it all seemed so goddamn real. Everything, her hair, her eyes, her voice, even her scent, why was it all was so real!? “H-how?! This can’t… this can’t…! Y-you—you died!”
“But I’m not! Look! I’m here with you! How can I be dead if I’m standing here? I survived the explosion and found refuge in this ship. It’s okay now though! The Marines are coming, and the knight’s gone! We can go home!”
“Stop it! Stop these lies! You mock me with her image, torture me with her voice! I won’t let you fool me, demon knight!”
“Chrono… please… don’t leave me alone again… All this time, drifting in space… I was so cold, alone, and deathly afraid. I wanted to see you and the children so badly… why are you pushing me away? You’re scaring me, Chrono!”
The evidence was weak, and there was absolutely nothing that proved that she was as she claimed. What sanity Chrono had left screamed that it was merely another falsification, while the rest of his mind gibbered in madness. And yet, deep inside, a small part of him wanted to believe. Dear gods, he wanted to believe…!
The first step was the hardest, mind and heart fighting for control. The second, unbelievably easier, then the third, then the fourth, until he stumbled like a zombie towards the figure of Amy. The childish voice of Reinforce Zwei felt light years away, her cries unheard as he sluggishly limped over. But as the admiral came within arms length of her, his wife’s beautiful face suddenly contorted into a cruel sneer.
An armored fist buried itself into Chrono’s belly, expelling all the air in his lungs and even a mouthful of vomit as he flew back from the force of the blow. His landing was no more graceful than his flight, unceremoniously rolling with his impact until he came to a sprawled stop. With his vision swimming and his hearing muddled by a strange ringing, Chrono could barely make out the mocking laughter of his wife, her brown eyes glittering with insanity. Suddenly he could feel the weight of the ship’s AMF once again pressing against him. Had Reinforce separated? Where… where was Durandal? Ye gods, there really was no hope… Despair clawed at his mind.
Faintly, as if some distance away, he could hear his name being called.
“Chrono! Chrono!” Yuuno coughed, his sides and chest burning in agony. Yet still he crawled to the admiral’s side, leaving a thin trail of blood behind him. “It’s not real! None of it’s real! Wake up, dammit! Wake up and see the truth!”
With his last ounce of strength, Yuuno reached out to touch his friend’s temple and pushed the few remnants of power left in him. With that last bit came the clarity of vision the scholar once held, banishing the choking nightmares that ensnared the admiral. His objective complete, the archaeologist allowed the darkness to take him.
“You need to… you need to win, Chrono. Take out that monster! Pierce… the dark…”
“Y-Yuuno?” Chrono suddenly found his friend collapsed near him, alive but unconscious. No longer did those terrible images cloud his mind – the truth now guided him… and it gave him strength. “… Thank you. I won’t let this go to waste.”
“Clearly you see? Clearly then, you know of this futile struggle,” the Belkan knight seemed unaffected by the mage’s escape.
“I will not be taken by your illusions, knight! Never again! The battle is yet finished!”
“Ho? You still speak with such dramatic conviction! But does your speech hold truth? Are you truly stronger? How late this power is! Too late to save your wife, and now too late to save your friends.”
“That day… I will never forget it. That day, my sun, my light, my happiness, was taken away from me,” Chrono ground out as he struggled to his feet. “I was… a fool. Why did I not realize sooner how precious she had become to me? She was irreplaceable; her words still ring in my soul. Her fate… I will never forgive…”
No words came from the knight. He stood there, silent, with his eyes blazing red.
“I will never forgive - The Bureau - for sending her on that mission. I will never forgive myself - for letting her go…” by will and spirit alone Chrono stood once again, though his body shook in pain and exhaustion. “And I will never forgive you... for tainting her memory!”
“Forgive me? You have no right to forgive anyone, sinner,” Noland sneered.
“Then hear this, O’ fallen knight. I will show you the conviction behind my words,” Chrono snarled as he gripped his tattered collar and tore it away, revealing underneath two necklaces: the steel chain of Bureau dog tags and elegant silver from which hung a beautifully crafted Belkan Cross. It was his final memory, the last gift from - a lost love.
“I promised! Even if I sacrifice everything… Even if I lose my life… I will save my nakama!”
“Sacrifice. What do you know of sacrifice?! What? You… You…?!” How strange it was to hear him stutter, his hands gripping his head as if in pain. It was as if he were struggling with himself, a clash of wills that shook his very being.
! A knight’s duty to serve, to put his life before his king. A knight must forfeit everything for the good of his king! No, a knight serves his people? He serves himself? No. Yes. He serves the world! The king is his world? Yes. YES. What greater sacrifice than to kill your own king?! That is my sin! That is my victory!
Noland threw his head back and released a spine-chilling roar, a bellow that seemed to carry a hidden sense of sorrow and anguish. Deep within all that rage, that fury, was indeed a man forever broken. And though broken he was, still he could fight.
“Wretch! What loss have you suffered?! Your precious wife? What of your children, then? Those twins you’ve all but abandoned as you wallowed in your self-pity! Yet you dare to give your life now?! You have no right, Chrono Harlaown! You have no right!”
How did he know all this? Was it a product of that nightmarish power? To glean such details in an instant, of a man’s greatest sins and fears… what a terrifying ability. “I… I have been a terrible father,” Chrono shook his head sadly. “I cannot deny it, nor will I defend myself. They deserve a life without one such as me to give them nothing but disappointment. Which is why… Which is why now, even if I die, I am ready.”
“Coward. Death will not be an escape for you,” Noland’s tone was almost pitying.
This is it. Watch me, Amy. I – I won’t let you have died in vain. Everyone: they gave me - us this proof of living, the ‘Eternity’ known as our bond. They will be my - our living legacy.
Dropping his arm to his side, Chrono walked towards his foe with slow steps and whispered strange and forgotten words, ancient and powerful. By his feet, a Belkan spell triangle appeared first, overlaying yet another spell another brother to create a unicursal hexagram, ringed by a pair of concentric counter rotating spell circles of its sister. There at last, a supreme magical array – nay – mandala not seen since Forgotten Aeons, said to release the bounds of the earthly world and its material trappings, was born once more: “The King’s Star”! A bluish-white light gathered in his clenched fist, gaining in brightness with every passing moment. With each step, the louder his aria chant:
“Though the world rots away, I will shine brilliantly.”
Undeterred and perhaps ignorant altogether, the Knight of Calamity met step for step, distorted and mysterious words escaping his lips. A Belkan spell triangle appeared at his feet, supported by an array of smaller triangles hovering in formation, like cavalry prepared to charge, as the air around him shimmered with barely contained energy. With a resounding cry, great arcs of red lightning danced around him as mana gathered, his own spell aria like growing discord:
“I defy the laws of nature and transcend reason.”
In resonant cacophony they sang, their chants echoing clearly in the grand room.
“With a hoarse voice I call upon you, ‘o lost angel.”
“I am the will of destruction made manifest.”
“Grant me wings once more and be my sword.”
“From the sea of madness, come forth and destroy!”
“Release light into the darkness and fear not.”
“Scorch the earth and burn the skies!”
“We are stars that slash apart fate.”
“Consume these fools in blazing inferno!”
“Now, I shall take away your overflowing tears.”
“And tear their souls asunder!”
“AZOTH: BE INVOKED!”
A blade of dazzling light erupted from Chrono’s bloodied hand, the Belkan Cross now its hilt and grip. Pure in its radiance, the shining sword liken to the brightest shooting star was in great contrast to the dark violent firestorm of howling winds and white hot flames that exploded all around Noland.
The Sword of Light and the Blaze of Fury clashed.
A loud, unearthly crack.
Glorious white light.
“Waaah, that was really scary!” little Vivio cooed as she read the last lines of the book and shut its aged cover. The story wasn’t over yet! She still had a bunch of other ones to go through too! But which one? “Ne ne, Zaffy? What book should I read next?”
The wolf by her feet grunted lazily, offering little in terms of opinion.
Left to her own devices, Vivio looked over the books available to her.
Which one should she pick?
The Terror of Death
A/N: Now, before anyone gathers up a lynchmob complaining how unfairly the Aces and the Wolkenritter were defeated, or how Hayate should’ve done this or Nanoha done that, keep in mind that it was all a mass hallucination cast by Noland. This means that they saw what he wanted them to see in order to crush their spirits and weaken their will. As I feel none of them would be prepared for a sudden, aggressive, and thoroughly traumatizing psychological attack, they were at a severe disadvantage. Had they not been in such a situation, the battle would have progressed much differently. And guys? It’s just the third chapter. There’s a boatload more to come in the future. Relax. Oh. And do vote
Last edited by Tempy; 2009-01-25 at
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