The Doom

Chapter 5: Shot Through the Heart

 

"Well, their particular weakness with water explains why Orcs stink." Mist put his
hand over his eyes to hide the tears from the laughter his body shook with. The sun
was rising over the blue sea as the salty smell whisked it's way through the streets
of Whitegate, into the Shararat Teahouse. Marin, Dyne, and Mist sat at one of the
tables, a cup of coffee sitting in front of each. Dyne smiled as he absently dipped
a cookie into his drink while Marin and Mist continued their conversation. He had
hoped to get Kaylee to come as well, but she had hissed at him when he tried to
awaken her.They had been assigned Rooms, two in each. Alphonse and Rage shared a room, Kaylee and Marin, and finally, himself and Mist.

It was only 6:25, but there was just something special about coming to the
Teahouse for Coffee in the morning. Dyne couldn't put it into words. The place was
virtually empty, it seemed like it was there just for them for this short period of time. Marin looked over at the Taru and could see right through his empty smile. She felt a slight pity for him, knowing exactly what
he was thinking. She herself had never been able to get Alphonse to do this with
her, and even though Rage came, he only stayed long enough to down a single cup of Tea. Afterwards he would always leave town to train himself or meditate. This particular time it had been the latter. But now since she had met the other Hume, she had someone to talk to and laugh with. In the last few days he had done almost an 180 change. She was unsure what situation exactly he had come from and was afraid to ask; but it seemed almost like he just needed some companionship. He had tried to push them away, but over the last several days they had managed to break him down.

"Dyne?" Marin turned to the Taru, who continued to dip the remaining half of his
Cookie into his coffee, lost in thought. She let out a whistle and his ears perked
up as he turned to her.

"Uh, yeah, huh?" The Taru tried to regather himself, realizing that Marin had
noticed he wasn't all there. Mist took a sip of his coffee and set the cup back down
onto the table. He had really enjoyed the last few days. Upon his return to
Windurst, he was going to try and open up more. Apologize to and thank Raka, catch
up with Malay-San, check up on Aucia, and dig the old Linkpearl out of his Gobbie
Bag. He hadn't touched it in awhile, perhaps it had picked up again. He had been
able to keep himself under control, and things finally appeared to be looking up.

After approximately another hour, Kaylee did appear. When she sat next to them there
was a twinkle in Dyne's eyes. He had trouble containing his excitement that she had
finally joined them. Dyne, Mist and herself had made a morningly tradition out of
this. They would come together and share each other's stories of their travels with
the others to pass the morning.

"Well, look what rolled out of beddy-weddy!" Dyne got up and pulled a chair out for
Kaylee as she staggered into it. the Mithra reached across the table and took Mist's
Coffee, finishing it in a single gulp. She twitched her right eyebrow, then sneezed
into her hands.

"Good morning..." The Mithra rubbed her nose and laid her chin on the table.

"Reeeaaaal Classy."

"Shut it, Fox." by the time Kaylee was fully awake, almost an hour later, Mist and
Marin had already left, leaving Dyne sitting next to her. As they entered
Philosopher's Alley, They came upon Alphonse.

"Did you guys hear? The swarm is prepping for another raid! Man, we just took care
of these guys! I'm gonna go get Rage!" Alphonse nearly knocked Mist over as he shot
out of the Auction house entrance. remembering his last encounter with a Lamia,
Mist turned away from Marin. He had been completely defenseless against her, and
even ended up healing the monster.

"Mist? Is something wrong?" Looking back toward the hume, Mist turned back again and
glanced at her over his shoulder.

"It's nothing. Forget about it." The side of the woman's mouth twisted as she
attempted to unravel what was troubling the Mage.

"Did something happen during the last Swarm invasion?" Mist raised his hand to his
forehead.

"I can't fight the Lamia...." Marin looked at him in confusion.

"But you fought that Qutrub just fine." Mist turned back away from the woman.

"No, I can't fight the Lamia...I met one after the others had retreated...she..."
Marin put her hand on her chin and tapped on her cheek.

"Oh..OHHHH...is that all?" Mist spun around and clenched his fist in frustration.

"Is that all?! I was putty in her boney hands!" Marin put her hand on the frustrated
mage's shoulder.

"It's was just a trick. It's called Charm, and the effects are always temporary.
It's not a big deal, some people are just easily effected by it." Mist slouched down
in a surge of relief and embarrassment. He felt foolish for letting it bother him,
and her words revealed that nothing was actually wrong. He had been worried that
perhaps the other voices had had some type of influence on him, overwriting his
sense of logic. That snake had gotten the jump on him that time, but it wouldn't
happen again.

"We'll just make sure to take them out before it gets to you this time. Okay?" Marin
rubbed Mist's shoulder slightly to try and calm him down. After she said that it
seemed to lift a rather large weight off his back.

"Yeah, sure. We'll get them."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"We have a critical situation. It has come to our attention that one of our colleagues
has gone rogue..."changed" if you will. We are going to charge you six with taking care of this. " Raubahn turned as he instructed the trainees. They had been quickly gathered due to the urgency of this mission.Mist had heard about the side effects of Blue magic, but all that echoed through the alleys of whitegate were rumors and stories.

If the common public was to know that the tales were true, there could be an outcry against the Immortals. The Blue
mage looked over his shoulder, back at the six.
"After this mission is completed, you will receive your official garbs, and become
Official Immortals. You will be the Empress's Guards, her Protectors." At that
statement the room filled with a tense excitement. Alphonse leaned forward and
clutched his fists in glee, being the only one unable to hide his feelings.

"The monster is in the Undersea Ruins. You have your mission, go."
Quickly exiting the Imperial White Gate, Alphonse let out a howl of joy.

"We're gonna be Important! We're gonna be respected! WE'RE GONNA BE" Rage covered
his mouth to cut him off.

"Secret." Alphonse nodded and the Galka removed his hand.

"I'm gonna be an Immortal!" Rage let out a sigh and slouched. Mist felt somewhat
confused now. Should he stay? It was true that what they had done to him was wrong, that he would eventually...give into to his blood lust, but maybe....just maybe he should stay. He had seen some of the Immortals fight during the beastmen attacks.

"I'm not going back to Windurst." Marin turned to Mist questioningly.

"Pardon?"

"I'm going to stay here. I'm not going back." Marin still appeared confused. Mist
realized she had no idea of his original intentions.

"Oh...It's a long story. But it doesn't matter now. I'm staying. With you guys.
After I became an Immortal, I was going back to Windurst. But..." Mist's face
flushed red as Marin took his hand. He tried to look away, but their gazes caught
and Mist couldn't pull himself away from Marin's brown eyes.

"I've got something better here."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Nashmaru was dark and foggy as usual, even though it was only 14:00. A few
Adventurers wandered the dark streets, but most of the movement were from the
mouse-like Qiqirn. As the party moved toward the Northern part of town a few of the
small beastmen tugged at Mist's clothes as they tried to sell him their goods,
several of which being simpily junk. The boat ride over had been uneventful, aside
from a conversation he had had with Marin.

"Mist?" the two humes sat in the cargo hold as the others fished and fought crabs on
the top deck. The mage turned to her, a calm expression on his face.

"What do you think Mr. Raubahn meant by changed?" Mist slotched and stared at the wooden floor, as it the answer was hidden in the grain of the wood.

"Sometimes I feel strange...like I'm not in control of my own actions...and I wake
up not knowing where I am...Do you think....I'll change too?" When Mist looked back
at the girl, he immediately noticed the sorrow and fear in her eyes. Not a fear for
herself, but a fear for those around her.

"No, of course not. You seem to be in perfect control Marin. Nothing's going to
happen. You're going to live as you are now for a long, long time." Marin turned and
gazed at the as Mist had just done.

"If it happens to me...and I become a monster....I want you to take care of me."
Mist clenched his teeth and his nails dug into the wooden floor.

"Please?" Marin pleaded to the Mage, a genuine concern in her voice.

"Alright....but I want the same from you. Ok?" Marin paused for a moment, then
looked back to Mist.

"Yeah...I promise." She moved a little closer, and rested her head on his shoulder.
Mist didn't move, all he did was pray that time would stop, so he would never have
to make good on his promise.
Mist replayed the conversation over and over in his mind, each time it hurt a little
more to think about.

"Fox?" Mist shook his head and glanced over at the Galka, who was trying to get his
attention. THe boat had landed, and they ahd work to do.

It was pouring rain in Caedarva Mire. The overcast sky shadowed most of
their surroundings.

"We're at the entrance to the Ruins. Anything you need to do before we go in?" An
Immortal guarded the mouth of the cave. She was a white haired Mithra, dressed fully in the Immortal Garbs.

"Sorrry, but the fee forrr enterrring the rrrruins is one Silverrr piece, apiece."
Alphonse scratched his head and approached the Immortal.

"But we're here on a mission from your Boss. Didn't he tell you we were coming?" The Mithra shook her head.

"Nope. But if Rrraubahn rrrreally sent you, then I'm surrrre he'll rrre-rrreimburse you."
Alphonse slotched down and reached into his pocket, removing the last of his
currency.

"All I've got is two bronze piece"

"It'll do." the Mithra snatched it from his hand, then held her other palm out for
everyone else's. The remaining five each dropped a silver coin into the Mithra's
hand and continued down the long dark tunnel. Just as they were out of sight she
muttered something under her breath.

"Good luck Fox-Boy. You'll need it." Raka snickered as she removed the Keffiyeh from her head and dropped her illy acquired gain into her pocket. She darted into the
brush just as the real guard, Nasheefa returned to the post.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The elaborately decorated halls appeared virtually new. There were very few signs of
wear, and the metal that garnished the walls and floor still seemed to shine. A long
twisting hall way led into a large open space with an enormous glass pane.

"Wow..." Dyne's mouth fell open upon seeing through the glass, into the sea itself.
There were a few other ruins outside of the glass,and a blue that appeared to
stretch on forever. A large fish passed inches away from the window, appearing to
gain Kaylee's interest.

"Wow is right." Rage gently poked the Mithra in an attempt to gain her attention.

"C'mon, we got work to do, you can drool over the fish later." The Mithra let out a
low growl and turned from the window. She put her hand on Dyne's head and turned him around as well.

"Alright...the rogue is somewhere here, I'd suggest splitting into two teams.
Marin, Alphonse and myself will take the teleporter, and check there. Kaylee, Mist,
and Dyne, I want you guys to stay here. If it pops up, someone get the other three,
and we'll all fight it together. Any opposition?" The room was silence as the Galka checked for alternate plans.

"Alright, Good luck guys. Drinks are on me when we get back." The Mithra, Taru, and
Mist all entered the Teleporter and vanished in a flash of light. Immediately after
their silhouettes were no longer visible, Kaylee slouched down and leaned against the
wall.

"Guess we wait." Dyne approached and sat next to her while Mist began to pace the
room nervously. There was an uneasy silence as they waiting for their target to
arrive. No one was quite sure what to expect of the fallen Immortal. Mist tried to
piece together its possible actions from his own dreams. He wasn't expecting a very diffucult fight, not against the three of them. He
removed the sword from his right side and twirled the hilt between his fingers.
Changed...Mist theought about what it ment. If the rumors were true, not only did the mind change but the body as well...
Damned to be consumed by the mindless beast that always chewed at his heels, waiting for a moment of weakness to strike.

"Mist?" Kaylee interrupted the mage's foreshadowing.

"Yeah?" He slashed the air with his sword twice, then stylishly spun the sword again
and rested it in his belt.

"Why are you doing this? Why do you wanna become an Immortal?" The Mithra appeared actually curious about Mist's intentions.

"Hmmm...to be honest I don't. I actually can't stand them." The Mithra looked at him
questioningly.

"But you're" Mist cut her off as she began to try and reason with him.

"It's better not to ask, trust me on this." Kaylee looked over at Dyne and shrugged in confusion.

"Okay....I'm doing it to help people. The Immortal fight to protect the City.
There's plenty of adventurers in the West, and every time the Shadow Lord reappears
there's a new Hero to smacky-wacky him right back down." Dyne adjusted his glasses and stood up.

"And I wanna Make Windurst Proud!" Kaylee cleared her throat.

"I'm doing it for Adventure. Aaaand if I'm not around Dyne might get eaten." She let
out a low laugh as the Taru staggered.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

It seemed like hours had passed since the other group had split off. Kaylee and Dyne now had a deck of Cardian Cards and proceeded to play some type of game with them. Mist had noticed the Mithra cheating, but said nothing. Dyne was smart, he would figure it out.

"Hey." The Mithra and taru looked up and Mist who was now standing over them.

"I'm going to go check on the others, stay here and keep your guard up."

"Okey-dokey." Dyne and Kaylee went back to their game as Mist approached the portal. Entering it he closed his eyes to block out the blinding light. When it faded he was welcomed with a grotesque scene. Blood painted the walls of the large room, dripping off the ceiling, off the glass, an onto the floor. Alphonse lie against the glass
virtually shredded apart. A low wheezing was heard as he struggled to breath. Mist
rushed to his side and shook him gently.

"Al, what the hell happened here?!" The Elvaan turned his head, exposing a deep
wound in this throat, which blood quickly leaked out of. Mist leaned down next to
the dieing elf.

"Mmmar...*gasp* marr..." Alphonse gurgled and moved his hand from his stomach. There was a deep cut, as if by a sword, and it looked like he had been here for awhile, there was no way in hell he was gonna make it.

"Save your strength...Marin? I'll go find Marin. Stay here, don't talk, and stay awake." Mist jumped back to his feet as Alphonse grabbed his leg.

"N...N..." The Elvaan's grip weakened as his last breath escaped his lips.

"...$#@%...Alphonse....$#@%..." He had been trying to warn Mist about something.
Marin? What if she was in danger? And where the hell was Rage? A bloody trail led
down the hall, Mist cracked his knuckles and took off in a sprint. He didn't have
time to get the others, if there was a chance of saving Marin or Rage, he had to
risk going it alone.

Almost slipping in the puddles of blood Mist turned the corner to see Marin kneeling
over the bloody mass that was most likely been Rage, sobbing. He ran over to her and rested his hand on she shoulder.

"Marin, c'mon, we've got to get the others and get out of here." Marin slowly turned
toward him, but her eyes were not red with tears, her mouth and hands were soaked
with blood and gore. Mist jumped back as his Dream of Jeuno came crashing back into his mind. There was no @%$#ing way this was happening. Marin rose to her feet
unsteadily and lunged at Mist. He removed his swords from his belt, holding the
right one blade up, and the left blade down. She jumped into the blades of the
swords, then backed away. The blades themselves only gave her minor cuts, since
there was no force behind them from the terrified mage. What was once Marin let out
a growl in frustration as Mist backed away and held a defensive stance.

"Damnit...#%$@....Marinnnn..." Mist let out a pitiful whine, he knew it wasn't Marin
there, but it was still her body. And maybe she would snap out of it? Like he did?
But Alphonse and Rage were gone, things wouldn't be the same. Marin hunched over
again, vomiting gore. When she regained herself, her dead eyes focused on the mage. Mist hesitated, it was too late to save her, but he couldn't bring himself to attack. He stomped his foot in frustration then leapt at her unready. Perhaps instinct would take over, perhaps it wouldn't. It didn't matter. If he lived or died it didn't matter. Marin was gone, none of it mattered.

Marin's Shadow quickly jumped back and in a single motion removed her
rapier, then thrusted forward. It caught him in mid-air in his right shoulder. The
impact from the weapon was plenty to pierce his flesh and bone, only to be stopped
by the handle hitting his shoulder. The shadow charged forward, the blade penitrating the wall and pinning him to
it. The nightmare staggered back,then leapt at Mist for a final blow, which was met
with a Sickle Slash from his left hand. Marin shrieked as it impacted her chest,
shredding her clothing and exposing a portion of her right breast. While the
creature was stunned Mist motioned with his left hand and casted Venom Shell. A
think poisonous cloud rose from the ground, causing Marin to scratch at Mist and
retreat. The nails cut through the skin on his forehead, and he felt a piece of
cloth fall infront of his eyes as the nightmare hurried away. It was his headband.
Mist swore as it fell to the ground and began to deteriorate in the gases of his
attack. The wounded mage breathed heavily for a moment, taking in more than his own share of the Toxic gas.

"Kaylee...Dyne..." He had to hurry, he had to at least try to help them. He couldn't
lose everyone. Using his left hand he got a grip on the sword piercing his left
shoulder and pulled. He screamed in pain as the weapon slowly came out, pooling his
blood on the floor. He staggered and reached into his pocket, quickly devouring a
small pinkish fruit. He had seen an Opo-opo eating them in the Jungle, and they
seemed to have some type of healing properties. AS ridiculous as the idea was, he did feel slightly better, and the
blood didn't seem to be comming out quite a fast. With
renewed vigor, Mist dashed through the halls back to the large room Marin has
escaped to. She was no where to be found, leaving only one destination. Mist leapt
into the teleporter with his swords ready, clutching his right shoulder at the same
time.

As the light faded again, he could see Kaylee and Dyne squaring off with the
Nightmare.

"It ain't Marin, don't hold back!" Mist let out a hard cough, exspelling blood from
his mouth as he did. Dyne shot a bolt of lightning from his hand, striking the
nightmare in the exposed part of her chest. The impact burned her skin, and
infuriated the monster, which immediatly retaliated with a Mandubular Bite,
splitting the Taru horizonally.

"D-D-Dyne?" The mithra dropped her sword with a tinny clank against the tile floor. She slowly approtched her fallen comrade, obvlivious to all else around her. She dropped to her knees inches away from the mess, her hands trembling above the body, as if trying to think of a way to fix things...to put him back together.

"Dyne...why'd I let you do this.....Why didn't-" the Nightmare raised Kaylee
off the ground, holding her throat. The Mithra struggled to get free as she regained part of her awareness, and dug her
claws into Marin's slimy hand. Mist rushed the monster while it was distracted,
rasing his sword to deliver a critical slash. Marin raised her arm, and catching
Mist off guard it extended to catch his throat, dragging him closer. He had dropped
his swords on it's impact and struggled to break the nightmare's grip. Still in a
frenzy of emotion Kaylee tried to talk.

"Dyne...why didn't.." Her sentence was cut off with a loud cracking
sound. The monster threw the lifeless Mithra onto the remains of the Taru. Turning
it's attention to Mist, it tried to lift him into the air, but due to the height,
his toes still touched the ground. The Mage could hear his heart beating, and his
brain pounding. Darkness crept into his vision as he could hear voices in the
distance. Malay's, Auica's, Raka's, some of the unfamiliar voices that he had heard
over the shells, and even Raubahn's. Mist's vision faded into blackness as the
creature tightened it's grip.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Holding the last victim in it's grip, Marin pressed down to crush its neck as it
did with the Mithra. She noticed the mage's mouth twitch, and it's eyes slowly open.
There was an indescribable fire in them, and he seemed to be getting heavier. The
mage sunk to the ground, where it's hands moved further up Marin's arm, away from
the fingers that clutched his neck. Moving one to her shoulder, and the other at her
elbow, he gripped down, even heavier than her's. In a panic the creature released
the Mage, but he didn't grant her the same favor. With a jerk Mist dislocated the
creature's arm from it's socket, the appendage dangling like it was pinned on. Blood poured out of
her wound as Mist licked his lips, tasting the blood that he himself had coughed up.
He mumbled some type of gibberish under his breath and leapt onto Marin. Stunned as she hit the floor, the Mage immediately ripped out her throat with his teeth, not
giving her a moment to retaliate. Marin faded back into consciousness just long
enough to get a quick glimpse of her crush before the blood managed to obscure her vision.

 



 

 

Continue to Chapter 6...