Previous Season:
Pillars of Evil

Current Season:
The End
 


War..

Since the beginning of Atarius we have allowed it to plague our planet.

So much bloodshed. So much death.

Atarian scholars write that at one point the dead outnumbered the living.

The destruction of our world did not happen overnight. Atarius was chipped away at since its creation with no heed to what might happen. A crater here. An inferno there. Villains and heroes battling with reckless abandonment never pausing to consider what might happen.

We basically killed ourselves.

There were some who could see the impending doom, but were they listened to? Of course not! Their voices and warnings could not pierce through the greed of those who focused on obtaining or keeping power. And now that greed looks to kill them.

Atarius is dying. There can be no other explanation. The Lifestream that pulses within it has become so weakened that the planet is basically hemorrhaging, as if an aorta had become shredded with no doctor in sight. Natural disasters have been occurring more frequently: Super storms, dormant volcanoes suddenly becoming active again, crazy weather anomolies.. and then there was the devastating earthquake that destroyed the heart of Tokyo. Thousands of countless lives were lost as the city fell into the massive sinkhole that opened up.

Heihachi had to watch in horror from a television as his entire life, his empire, his home.. crumbled to dust. Some called it fate, others a tragedy.

Since then, the state of the world changed. People all over the planet have started preparing for the end of the world. There has been an influx of new believers to various religions, cults, sects, and many other various spiritual factions. Some of the major rivalries between warring nations ceased, ending the “organized wars”, but only to give rise to a different type of violence: anarchy. Despite the urgings from the President Peach and the Atarian Council to focus on the bigger picture, new crime bosses and underlings have found success in rising to power in the cities.

As the planet shifted mindsets, two major occurrences happened: the Guardians awoke and Peach initiated the the Overwatch Program.


When the Overwatch Program began the majority of the Atarian Heroes were quick to sign up, eager to be a part of a unified global protection system to hopefully prevent any more destruction from occurring. Some Villains even suited up, realizing the global threat trumped their own desires. Yet, there are some on both sides of the line that are very outspoken against the initiative, its true intentions being attacked. Time will tell if the power given to the Overwatch proves to be the saving grace of Atarius or if its the final nail in the coffin to seal the planet’s fate forever.

The day the Guardians awoke was a true day of terror for all of Atarius.


​​
Let me paint the terrifying picture that the entire planet experienced: the skies darkened, the ground began to shake, and then a deafening roar of an ancient horn from inside the planet resounded across the entire planet. We now call it the Guardian’s Horn. It was the herald of the monsters.

Ancient beings from inside the planet emerged from within, no doubt put there to protect the planet in the event of annihilation. It’s assumed that the creatures are being controlled by someone or that they have the capability to target a specific threat to the planet.

Unfortunately, when the Guardians awoke their targets were us.

The Atarians. And not just the Heroes and Villains, but the innocents. Children have watched their parents go off to battle only to watch them be crushed, burned, and/or ripped into pieces on a television. We are fighting for our lives every single day now. If we have any chance to save this planet, the Guardians must be defeated.

A chance meeting with the ex-president Rufus Shinra led to the greatest decision of Peach's presidency to date.. she summoned the Legends of old. Now we have a chance!!

Join us now as we try to destroy the Guardians!

Join us now as we face annihilation!

Join us NOW as we save Atarius!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Welcome to the finale of Press Start RPG!



CHAPTER 1

  Atarian Council Headquarters

As the elected figureheads of Atarius scurry about, talking amongst themselves and exchanging various pleasantries, President Peach enters from behind the curtains and slowly walks up to her podium. As the council members find their seats, Peach places her hands on top of the stack of papers and then takes a deep breath before beginning to speak.

“I’ve delivered a public statement which should be airing as we convene now. It speaks of unity, hope, and a promise that we are working on finding a permanent solution to what’s going on with our planet. I made that promise on the hope that since our last meeting, you’ve been able to come up with something. So, I turn the floor over to you all.”

A wide variety of Atarians sit outward from the President, each possessing their own unique qualities to the Atarian Council. Some of the Council members have power and hold sway over the largest cities on the planet, while others are the best of their art.

Magic. Swordsmanship. Espionage. Etc.

“Madam President.” Erika, leader of the Gray Wardens announces as she stands among the other council members. “We have contacted the majority of leaders in our lands and have sent Wardens all the corners as well. While we detect no sign of any impending Blight, we were not able to discover anything that would help the current state of affairs.”

Earning a nod from President Peach, Erika returns to her seat. “And what news do you bring..Bison.”

General M.Bison earned his seat by being one of the most organized criminal warlords of this age, despite the atrocities committed by either his own hands or his orders. Bison’s reach stretched across all of Atarius and thus, to try and solve the current problem, he was here.

Bison does not feel it necessary to stand. “Nothing so far Madam President.”

“Of course you’ve found nothing.” Guile, the Commander of the Atarius Army, speaks. “You’ve done nothing but profit amidst all the chaos. I’d bet my neck you haven’t even been trying.”

Bison smirked, assuming he’d get a rise from Guile. “On the contrary Commander.. I’ve sent some of my best men out looking for anything unusual. Sadly, they’ve not returned with any news worth mentioning to this council.”

“And my best men, you mean death squads that force anyone to serve you or die.” Guile retorts, shedding light on Bison’s methods.

Not one to let his reputation be smudged, Bison kicks his black boots on top of the table. “Semantics.”

Guile felt his blood beginning to boil and rises to his feet, but Peach speaks first, calming the Commander before anything can happen.

“THIS IS NOT THE TIME!” Peach shouts, her voice echoing throughout the chamber. “If we are divided in here, then we stand no chance out there!”

The truth of her words seemed to resonate with each person in the room, even Bison who drops his heinous visage and seems to be listening intently.

“Contra City is gone!” Peach states. “Hundreds of innocent lives were lost. We cannot afford to be in the dark any longer.”

“Some of the Legends were there though, right?” Aqua, a Keyblade wielder, asks.

“Yes.. yes, they were.” Peach answers with half a smile.

“So there’s something.” Aqua replies, winking towards the President.

The small victory felt like the equivalent of winning the lottery with the way things had been going. It is in that moment that several black stars appear inside the chamber, shocking everyone and causing most to ready themselves for a fight. Their fear turns to awe as the black stars turn into a large portal and then the light blue dress of Princess Rosalina appears from within.

 
The Princess is being carried by several Lumas, their powers still hard to comprehend, and they lower her gently to the center of the room. Peach comes storming out from behind her podium and rushes to Rosalina’s side, cradling her head.

“Get the doctors.” Peach orders, seeing that she is in really bad shape.


Suddenly, Rosalina shoots straight up into the air, flailing about and screaming loudly. Peach grabs her and holds her tightly, trying to calm her down. “Rosalina, it’s me.. it’s Peach!”


The President’s voice seems to calm Rosalina enough so she can focus on the friendly face. “Peach.. is that you?”


“It is Princess.” Peach replies, stroking her hair and moving it out of her face. “What has happened?”


Rosalina takes a deep breath and looks right into the eyes of Peach. “I found something.”


​To Be Continued



Chapter 2

Atarius Council Headquarters
 
The President returned to the Council chambers a defeated person. It was only 24 hours since PacLand was stolen away from the planet; since the Legends of that land were murdered. And Peach was beside herself. She had already shed enough tears to fill a 5 gallon bucket. Her plan had worked. The Legends had rallied to her cause, but nothing could have prepared her for what she had just witnessed. Such power; such destruction.

Now, the President sits idly in her chambers, pondering over the decisions that she is about to have to make.

Is this what Rufus experienced? Is that what I’m going to have to become? No! I will never become like Shinra. Never! There’s nothing that can happen to deter me from leading this planet in the right way.
 
A knock at the door stirs her from her thoughts. “Enter.”
 
Aqua enters into the President’s chambers. “The council has convened at your request Madam President. We are waiting for you when you are ready.”
 
“Thank you Aqua.” Peach replies, wiping her face one final time and then rising to her feet. “Tell them I am on my way.”
 
Aqua nods and exits quickly. Peach finds herself rubbing her Fireflower ring absentmindedly as she looks out of her window and over the city.
 
“Wish me luck, my love.” Peach says softly as she takes a deep breath before departing her personal chambers.
 
As Peach makes her way down the hall, nodding to the various soldiers who salute her, she hears a strange noise coming from a room, strange enough that it forces her to stop and investigate. Peach tries to enter into the room, but finds the door locked. Stepping back, she realizes what room it is and knocks.
 
“Princess Rosalina, are you alright?” Peach asks, listening to the sounds in the room.
 
After a lot of shuffling, Rosalina finally unlocks the door and opens it for the President. “Yes, Peach, I’m fine.”
 
“Are you sure?” Peach presses in. “Cause I thought I heard something strange..”
 
“I said I’m fine!” Rosalina snaps back, much to the shock of Peach. “I’m sorry.. I’m just tired, I think. Yesterday took a toll on me.”
 
“I understand, I really do.” Peach said with true empathy. “It’s time for the Council meeting. Are you sure you’re feeling up to it?”
 
“Yes of course.” Rosalina says as she steps out into the hall, pulling the door closed behind her. “Let us go.”
 
Council Chambers
 
Peach and Rosalina enter together and Peach hugs the Princess before stepping up to her podium, while Rosalina finds her seat not too far away. The President taps the mic to make sure everything is in order and then gives a signal to the folks in the back who dim the lights. From the center of the room, a hologram of the masked man appears, providing a lifesize picture of the destructor of Pacland.
 
“This is our enemy ladies and gentlemen. His name is Orbis” Peach states as the room eyeballs the hologram. “All we know is that this man attacked Rosalina and has shown enough power to defeat a Guardian with a single attack and cause an entire city to vanish with a wave of his hand.”
 
Whispers and private conversations take place as Peach talks, each council person having their own opinion on the matter.
 
“This is an open floor.” Peach says, annoyed with the lack of open communication. “Speak your minds.”
 
“Alright Madam President, I’ve got something to say.” The aged, but respected Heihachi stands to take the floor. “What information do we have about this person? What can the Princess tell us? Has she told us everything? Have you asked? Have you made her tell you!?”
 
“Forced her? Made her? I am not Shinra!” Peach fires back.
 
“Maybe you should be!” Heihachi blurts out, perhaps pushing the envelope too far. “If she knows more, then we have a right to know as well! It’s our families and our lives that are at stake, damnit! Some of us have already lost everything and now we demand answers.”
 
An awkward silence hangs in the council chambers for a few moments, the words of Heihachi resonating within some.
 
“Rosalina,” Erika, the leader of the Gray Wardens, speaks directly to the Princess. “Have you told us all that you know?”
 
Rosalina stands and rubs her temples as to hopefully jog more information. “When I was in that cavern and my hands were glued to the orb, I saw a great many number of things. Up until Orbis showing up, I wasn’t sure if what I was seeing were visions of the future, hallucinations, or simply made up images to confuse me, but I remember him. I could see his desires as he probed my mind, looking for answers himself. He seeks to destroy this world, that I can promise you. He knows about the Heart Shards, hence why he was there in Pacland.”
 
The Commander of the Overwatch program, Winston, speaks louder than the rest as his question rises to the top.
“Is he controlling the Guardians?”
 
“I do not think so.” Rosalina replies honestly. “I think he is quite aware of the Shards that each creature leaves behind, but I do not think he has control over the beasts, no. I can assure you that he will continue to be present as more Guardians emerge eager to unlock the world with his Keyblade and kill everyone who is tied to the world though.”
 
“That’s not true!” A younger boy’s voice exclaims from somewhere in the back of the chambers.
 
All heads immediately turn towards the denouncer and wait for the person to reveal themselves. The figure stands and removes the brown hood that previously covered his face, revealing himself to be the Legendary Keyblade wielder, Sora. Sora leaps from his seat and lands in the center of the room.
 
“What do you mean.. what’s not true?” Peach asks in total shock.
 
“They aren’t dead.” Sora begins to explain, but is interrupted.
 
“Of course they’re dead! You saw them just like I did.. they, along with the entire city, vanished into thin air. They’re gone!” Peach replies, her voice cracking at the end.
 
“I can still feel them..” Sora says, tapping his heart. “It’s weird, but I know they are not dead.”
 
“Are you totally sure?” Aqua asks, moving towards Sora.
 
“No.” Sora sadly answers. “But I..”
 
Rosalina grows frustrated, having been called a liar, and screams at Sora. “I was there, in that cavern, when Orbis emerged from within. I felt his power in my mind. I saw his plans.. and those plans happened! Pacland is gone!”
 
“I can see that, but..” Sora tries to continue on, but is cut off once again.
 
“But nothing!” Rosalina exclaims. “We can’t rely on your feelings or focus on where people are or are not! Orbis is real and will attack again and this time it could be any of your families that he kills!”
 
Rosalina points towards the Council as she drives her point home. The whispers begin once again as she turns to the President. “What are we to do Madam President?”
 
Peach stands there in as much shock and awe as the rest of the room. Her hands begin to sweat and her cheeks become flush as she flip-flops back and forth over what has been explained to the room. Commander Guile sees the President struggling and leans down towards her from behind her, if nothing else to stir her from her trance.
 
“Madam President..” Guile whispers, causing Peach to jolt.
 
“We cannot ignore Orbis, that has to be true for both sides.” Peach begins. “While it would be convenient to know more, we have no way of knowing where the people of Pacland went. We must focus on the fact that they are gone and just like Rosalina said, it could be any of us next. I love this planet and I love all the peoples who live on it and I will not sit idly by and watch more of us vanish at the hands of this monster. We must act immediately.”
 
Half the room erupts into clapping and cheers, the other remain silent.
 
“Commander Guile, you put the word out that this man is to be found. We will use any and all resources to track him down so that we can interrogate him. Commander Winston, make sure your soldiers are ready for whenever the next Guardian should emerge. We know Orbis will be there then, so we have that small advantage. My fellow Atarians, we will come together to defeat this new threat, regardless of how powerful he may seem. We will defeat any Guardian that emerges in the future. We will fight and we will win! Now, who’s with me??” Peach shouts, her passion igniting the room.
 
Amidst all of the cheers and hope, Sora remains unmoved by the President’s rash decision. Without speaking another word, Sora turns his back on the President and the council and departs just as quietly as he had entered. Once a savior of the planet, now a rebel. Unbeknownst to Sora, his symbol of defiance would become a catalyst for others to make similar stands.
 
What should be a planet of one, now more than ever, would become a planet divided.
 
To Be Continued
​​
CHAPTER 3

Atarius News Network Headquarters

As Chun Li prepares her most recent notes before going live in the primetime 6:00 o’clock news segment, one of the newer reporters barrels through the studio and slams a piece of paper down on the news desk.

“What in the world?” Chun Li exclaims, both startled and annoyed by the audacity of this reporter’s actions.

The reporter is doubled over at the waist, heaving as she tries to catch her breath. She stands upright and manages to mutters, “Just.. read.. it.”

Chun Li looks over at the producer, who shrugs, and then picks up the piece of paper and begins to read over the notes. Her eyes widen as she scans the document. Her pace quickens and her heart begins to beat faster as she finishes reading.

“Look at me.. what’s your name?” Chun Li asks, looking dead into the eyes of the reporter.

The young girl stared back, a little intimidated, but meeting the gaze of the world renowned anchor with confidence. “My name is Alice.”

Chun Li continued to look over the girl, her edginess reminding her of her younger self; though without the purple, pixie-cut hair. “Alice, I need to know that this information is solid. I won’t ask you to reveal your source or the methods used to acquire this info, but again.. you need to assure me this real.”

Without flinching and with a calm, but confident tone she replies, “It’s the most real thing I’ve ever heard.”

Chun Li nodded back and then turned to her producer. “Change of plans.”

15 Minutes Later - 6:10pm

As the breaking news banners flash across all broadcasting sources across the planet, all Atarians tuning in are met with just Chun Li sitting at the desk, no other anchors to be found.

“We apologize for the delay in your 6:00 o’clock news, but we have just learned something so shocking that it took us all by surprise and we acted fast to provide all known information to you: Pacland, and all of its inhabitants including the Legends, Mr. and Mrs. Pac, have vanished for good. Sadly, they have all been killed by a new global threat to the world. This entity possesses incredible power, enough in fact that he was able to slay a Guardian with one attack. His name is Orbis and his current whereabouts are currently unknown.”

Chun Li pauses, both for effect and to catch her breath.

“This information comes directly from a member of the Atarius council. We have yet to..”

*Screen Flickers*

Despite noticing the flicker, Chun Li continues. “We have yet to be able to speak to the President..”

*Screen Flickers*

“I apologize, but it seems that we are experiencing technical difficulties.” Chun Li explains, looking at the producers in a bit of a panic.

*Screen goes Black*

“Someone tell me what’s going on..” Chun Li shouts to her producers out of frustration.

And then, as the screen fades back into existence, the news is replaced and all of Atarius stare at a new symbol on their screen.

And then, a face appears, the black mask mirroring the symbol that hangs over the figure’s head in the background. From behind the mask a raspy, almost robotic, female’s voice begins to speak:
“Lies. Everything you have just heard.. all lies. While Pacland is no longer visible to us here on this wretched planet, no one was killed. We have proof. We know the truth. Who are we, you ask?

We are the Blackwatch.

What the President and her council will not tell you is that this planet is dying and Orbis has shown us there is a way out. He alone has the power to end of all our suffering by unlocking the worlds and sending everyone back to where they belong. He is our absolution.

I know you’re out there. You. A person who is tired of the endless wars, the unnecessary deaths, and the lies. If you are fed up with all that this planet has to offer, you only need to seek us out and we will find you. We want you. We need you. You need us, more importantly.

We are not the murderers. They are! We are not the liars. They are! The President and the Overwatch seek to keep you shackled from the truth while we seek to unlock it and set this world free! Join us today! Take our message to the streets, flood your social media accounts with what you are seeing, and then make yourselves ready for the fight of your life as we liberate Atarius.

Some of you may be asking who I am.. let me be very clear about one thing.. come in close and open your ears..

I. Am. Blackwatch!”

As the masked face disappears, along with the Blackwatch symbol, the screen returns to the ANN’s feed. Chun Li is still sitting in the same spot as she was before, only her face is pale as a ghost, her eyes wide with fear, and her hands are trembling. In the background, a man’s voice loudly shouts, “CUT!” and the ANN news feed ends abruptly.

To Be Continued


CHAPTER 4

“Welcome to everyone just joining us tonight. We are here at ANN studios tonight, talking with Dr. Alan J. Hill about some of the confusion and concerns that Atarians have been receiving in the news as of late.” Chun Li turns from the main camera and looks directly at her guest, “Now Dr. Hill-“

“Alan, please,” the aging man requests, interrupting the interview.

“Alan, of course,” Chun Li nods with a smile before continuing the interview, “do you think that people have a right to be upset with the Council and the Overwatch program?”

“Well, you see my dear that is a rather complicated question. Do I think the people of Atarius should be worried? Of course. Should they be upset? Absolutely. Without a doubt. However, I’m not so sure the blame and anger should be pointed at the Council or Overwatch,” Dr. Hill says as he looks to each of the cameras before him.

Chun Li leans in closer and squints her eyes, “that’s interesting. So then who would you blame Alan?”

“There is a lot to be said about the protection that Overwatch has given Atarians since its creation. Without the help of the Council and Overwatch troops defeating Guardians as they tear apart our lands, who knows where we’d be now. No, I feel like if we are to blame anyone for the failures of this planet, Atarius should look no further than its own people. We failed this planet. We let our own personal matters get in the way and we’re the reason that this planet is falling apart. Endless wars have trashed the core of our planet and now it has become unstable,” Dr. Hill spoke calmly and directly into the camera before leaning back in his chair to take a breather.

“I think there may be some truth to what you’re saying. That was the stance of a lot of people when the guardians first appeared,” Chun Li nods once more, agreeing with Alan before turning her attention to the main camera once more. “However things seem to be escalating now. There are some very dangerous, very moving broadcasts that are being played on Atarius radio. I’d like to play a snippet of one such broadcast for you now. Do we have that ready?”

A few people in the back flip some switches on the boards before them. There is a screech of static and then an angry man’s voice comes through the intercom in the studio. Both Chun Li and Dr. Hill sit back and listen as the man rants.
“…I don’t have to tell you things are bad. Everybody knows things are bad. It’s a crisis. Everybody’s out of work and scared of losing everything. Ten coins buys now buy you one coin’s worth of product, banks are going burst, shopkeepers keep a gun under the counter. Thugs are running wild in the street and there’s nobody anywhere who seems to know what to do, and there’s no end to it. We know the air is unfit to breathe and our food is unfit to eat, and we sit watching our TV’s while some local newscaster tells us that today we had four guardian sightings and sixty-three people died, as if that’s the way it’s supposed to be. We know things are bad…worse than bad. They’re crazy."

"It’s like everything, everyone, everywhere is going crazy, so we don’t go out anymore. We sit in the house, and slowly the world we are living in is getting smaller, and all we say is, ‘Please, at least leave us alone in our living rooms. Let me have my toaster and my TV and my fancy smart phone and I won’t say anything. Just leave us alone.’”

“Well, I’m not going to leave you alone. I want you to get mad! I don’t want you to protest. I don’t want you to riot – I don’t want you to write the Council because I wouldn’t know what to tell you to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression and the crisis and the Guardians and the crime in the street. All I know is that first you’ve got to get mad. You’ve got to say, ‘I’m a HUMAN BEING, God Damn It! My life has VALUE!’"

"So I want you to get up now. I want all you to get up out of your chairs. I want you to get up right now and go to the window. Open it, and stick your head out, and yell, I’M AS MAD AS HELL, AND I’M NOT GOING TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"

"Things have got to change. But first you’ve got to get mad! Then we’ll figure out what to do about the depression and the Guardians and the world crisis…”

Chun Li signals to the man behind the camera and looks back to her guest for his thoughts on the speech, “it’s rather moving isn’t it?”

“It is. You have to hand it to the man in the broadcast, everything he says is truly inspiring,” Dr. Hill answers.

“This comes from one of Three Dog’s more recent broadcasts on Atarius News Radio. He has a talk show on there and he has all sorts of guests coming on who talk with this type of rage. It’s becoming a rather common place thing. Have you heard one of these broadcasts before Alan,” Chun Li points towards the ceiling where the broadcast had been played from the speakers.

Dr. Hill laughs, “I’ve heard a few of Three Dog’s broadcasts before. You know, you turn it on late at night while you’re driving home from work. It’s almost always on. But I’ll tell you I’ve never heard something quite so loud and boisterous before.”

Chun Li furrows her brow and holds out her hand, “what do you make of it?”

“This is a case where people are at their wits end. They are frustrated, tired, and angry. Nothing is going their way, they feels as though their backs are against a wall, and so it seems that their only out at this point is to make a statement. To go out and yell at the world, at the Council, and at Overwatch, and let them know they’re mad,” Alan shakes his fist in a mocking way before leaning back in his chair and growing much more serious. “I’m not sure what good that can do though. More than likely, if enough people do it, all that is going to accomplish is inciting a riot. Or worse.”

“What would you suggest Dr,” Chun Li sits up and speaks with genuine concern. “I hate to put you on the spot, but it is something I feel our viewers want an answer to. It’s the question on everyone’s mind right now. What can Atarians do? As both a people and as individuals, we are lost, and we need an answer.”

Dr. Hill frowns and takes a moment to gather his thoughts. When he speaks, it’s soft, and uncertain, “I…I don’t  really…you see…”

Suddenly the screens on the nearby monitors begin to flicker. It was something Chun Li had seen once before. She motions to one of her producers to check the signal. Turning her attention back to the cameras, Chun Li tries her best to save face, “I’m sorry Dr. What were you saying? We seem to have cut out for a moment.”

Alan looked from Chun Li to the monitors nearby, and then back at her, “Right. Yes. I uh, I was saying that…”

Static crackles throughout the studio as the screens flicker once more. Within seconds the feed is cut and all monitors are displaying white fuzz. Chun Li stands up and moves over to the technician’s area, “did we lose signal? Tell me we aren’t being hacked again.”

The screens flicker a few more times, and then it appeared. The one thing that Chun Li hoped she wouldn’t see during her broadcast tonight. The hooded face belonging to the Blackwatch.
“Why ask an old, washed up psychiatrist what the people of Atarius can do, when we’ve already answered that question for you,” a digitized female’s voice echoed through the studio as she spoke from behind her mask.

“The answer is incredibly simple. Join us.

Turn off your televisions. Turn off your radios. Quit listening to the lies and the propaganda that the Council continues to spin. Simply listen to us. Blackwatch has no ulterior motives. We have no need to sell you anything. There are no demands being made by us. And we certainly don’t answer to a corrupt and twisted Council who only looks out for their own needs. No. The one thing we offer is the truth.

What is the truth? Pac-land is alive and well. No one has died. Orbis has returned their world to its original place. He seeks to do this for every planet. As a means of restoration and balance. We would offer you let him.

Why fight him? Can’t you see that this is what is best for the planet? Atarius has survived alien invasions, portals from other worlds, wars, guardians, and even gods. It can’t take much more. We need to give it peace. Let it rest. How can we expect a planet such as Atarius to survive any longer when we can’t even handle our own individual world’s problems?

I beg of you. Let the worlds return to their original place. Nothing good can come from the continued battles. Some of us have lost everything to keep this planet going. For what? To see it fail anyway? If we let Orbis return the worlds to their original state, then we can at least hope to rebuild our lives, and bring peace to those that have sacrificed so much. It can be a chance to find a new home and start over. See you soon. We are coming.”

The screen flickers a few times and suddenly the cameras in the studio go live. Chun Li, who is standing, realizes this and finds her seat quickly. She brushes her hair back and looks to Dr. Hill for some comfort, “and what did you think of that Alan?”

Brushing his hand through his thin, grayed hair, Dr. Hill shakes his head and looks up at the camera, “clearly that was the voice of someone desperate. A person who has suffered due to Atarius’ continued existence. You can’t fault them for wanting the worlds returned.”

Chun Li rolls her eyes and looks from Alan to the cameras, “great…well that’s our time for tonight folks. Tune in tomorrow night as we interview an old friend of mine, Commander Guile of Overwatch! Good night!”

The stage manager looks at his watch and shrugs at Chun Li in confusion, “we still have 20 minutes.”

“I don’t care,” Chun Li whispers with anger. “Cut it. CUT THE FEED!”

“Alright, bye now,” she says once more, reassuring the audience that everything is fine, when everything clearly isn’t. The feed goes blank and a black screen with the ANN logo appears. Who had been right? Who made a better argument? Now it was up to Atarius to decide.

To Be Continued


Chapter 5 - Part 1

“I can’t sleep..” Aqua thinks to herself. 
 
Rolling up from the tangled mess of bedsheets, Aqua sits on the edge of the bed as her thoughts steal her much needed sleep from her. Everyone who resided in the Watchtower cherished what little sleep they were all able to get, so to be torn from it was quite the nuisance. Realizing she was quite thirsty, Aqua grabbed her robe and headed for the kitchens. Upon exiting her room, Aqua realized the hallways are quite dark and wished she had grabbed a lantern or a flashlight. 
 
“Oh well,” Aqua though as she continued down the hallway, eager to satiate her need for something to drink.
 
Almost having to feel her way down the hallway, using the walls to guide her path, Aqua finds herself a bit frightened in the darkness, not yet completely used to her new home. 
 
“Oh this is silly.” Aqua says reassuringly to herself. 
 
Aqua presses forward with no worry any longer only to hear something as she comes to a fork in the hallway. On one hand, Aqua knows the kitchens are to the right, but on the other hand, the sounds she hears are quite strange and warrants investigating. Aqua takes a deep breath and decides to head towards the noises and proceeds down the right corridor. As she feels her way down the hallway, the noises continue only now Aqua can make out that it’s a female’s voice, though the words are nothing like she’s ever heard before. As Aqua creeps closer, her skin begins to crawl as the fear of not knowing who or what was in front of her takes hold.
 
Suddenly, her hand touches something warm and the fright alone causes Aqua to scream out loud.
 
“AHHHH!”
 
The sheer terror causes Aqua to simultaneously scream and summon her Keyblade instinctively. The aura radiating from the blade shines enough light in front of her that she is able to see who or what is in front of her.. and as it turns out, it’s a who. Princess Rosalina is standing in front of her with one hand placed against a large metal door, her eyes rolled back into the back of her head, and she is fixed in some sort of trance. 
 
“Rosalina.” Aqua whispers, not wanting to be overly loud. 
 
Rosalina doesn’t even flinch as Aqua makes feeble attempts to stir her from her trance-like state. Aqua takes a deep breath and then makes the decision to really try and rouse her, knowing it could end poorly, however. 
 
“ROSALINA!” Aqua shouts while reaching out and shaking the Princess. 
 
Instantly, Aqua regrets everything about her decision as Rosalina erupts into a high pitch wail that grows louder with every second, echoing throughout the entire facilities. Just when Aqua thinks the screams have to subside, they grow louder and higher pitched than before. Aqua cannot stand the sound any longer and tackles Rosalina to the ground, silencing the Princess as the two land against the hard floors. Rosalina’s eyes flutter and return to normal as she finds herself staring back up at Aqua. 
 
“Where am I?” Rosalina asks, her eyes darting to the left and the right as she tries to figure out her surroundings.
 
Aqua answers as calm as she can. “Overwatch Headquarters. Currently, on the floor in one of the hallways.” 
 
“Oh my..” Rosalina squeaks out as she begins to realize the awkwardness of the moment, tears beginning to form in the corners of her eyes. “I’m so sorry..” 
 
“No need to apologize Princess.” Aqua says with a smile, doing her best to reassure Rosalina. 
 
At this point, the two can hear loud footsteps coming towards where they sit, no doubt the night guards. Lights flick on and voices begin to speak as everyone’s sleep has been interrupted. 
 
“Shall we stand before the guards get here?” Aqua asks as she begins to move before waiting on the answer, helping Rosalina to her feet. 
 
The two straighten themselves up as the guards come charging into the hallway, weapons at the ready. 
 
“What is the meaning of this!” The lead guard bellows, his own voice echoing in the corridor. 
 
“I assure you it was an accident.” Aqua answers and then looks at Rosalina who nods in agreement. “I was going to get some water, while Rosalina had just come from the kitchens herself and well, we ran into each other in the dark, and boo! We gave each other quite a scare.” 
 
“Is that how it happened?” The guard asks, looking directly at Rosalina.
 
“Are you questioning me, Soldier?” Aqua interjects, using her status to intimidate the guard. 
 
“No man..” The guard quickly backpeddles. “It’s just that.. nevermind. Carry on.” 
 
Aqua nods to the guards who sheathe their swords and head on about their business, the lead guard muttering something about the kitchens being on the opposite hallway to his partner. 
 
“Come with me.” Rosalina says, taking Aqua’s hand and leading her back to her own chambers. 
 
Rosalina closes the door behind them both and locks it as to not be disturbed and then leads Aqua over to a loveseat and takes a seat, prompting Aqua to do the same. 
 
“Thank you for your discretion.” Rosalina opens with.
 
“Not a problem, Princess.” Aqua says with another smile. “Is everything ok? What I mean is, do I need to get a doctor?”
 
“Oh, heavens no.” Rosalina replies back with a smile of her own. “I’ve.. I’ve been having some episodes since my discovery. Sleep walking is the best way I know how to put it. I’ll go to bed and wake up in the strangest of places.” 
 
“Where are your Lumas?” Aqua asks, the lack of the tiny creatures that normally are always around obvious to her. 
 
“They are staying back at the Comet Observatory, for now.” Rosalina replies. “Their safety is too important to have them with me now. I plan on visiting them in the next couple of days.” 
 
“Are you sure you’re ok?” Aqua once again asks, truly concerned. 
 
“Yes, I’m fine.” Rosalina smiles again. “Thank you for all that you’ve done for me in the past couple of months. I don’t know if I’d be here today without your assistance and loyalty. If there is anything I can do to repay your hospitality, please don’t hesitate to ask.”
 
Rosalina reaches out and places takes Aqua’s hand into her own, causing Aqua to blush slightly. “Water.”
 
Rosalina’s face twists into confusion. “I’m sorry?”
 
“Water” Aqua repeats herself. “I wasn’t lying entirely to the guards. I really was on my way to get some water.” 
 
“Oh!” Rosalina says before beginning to laugh, causing her to release Aqua’s hand as she tries to contain herself. “Certainly, certainly..” 
 
Rosalina walks over to a cabinet by her bed and opens up one of the doors, revealing several outfits, her wand, and several bottles of bright blue liquid. Rosalina grabs one of the blue bottles and returns to her seat, handing the bottle to Aqua. 
 
“What’s this?” Aqua asks, having not seen a bottled liquid like this before. 
 
“It’s water, I promise.” Rosalina replies. “My travels have taken me all over the cosmos and this particular water is my absolutely favorite.” 
 
Aqua tries to protest about drinking it, but Rosalina urges her on. “Go ahead! It’s the least I can do.” 
 
Aqua smiles and accepts, her own thirst outweighing her desire to be polite. Opening up the bottle and quickly downing about half of the cool drink, suddenly she feels very comfortable and warm, the water doing a number on her. 
 
“Are you sure this is water?” Aqua asks, the effects of the drink having an effect on her. 
 
“It takes some getting used to, but yes, it’s water.” Rosalina reassures. “Not to completely change the subject, but that’s a lovely Keyblade you have there.” 
 
“Thanks!” Aqua says, summoning it back her hands. “We’ve had quite a journey together.” 
 
“I can imagine.” Rosalina replies, her eyes fixated on the blade. “You know, in my travels, I’ve come across many records about Keyblades and their existence. Records written by historians that state that these magical weapons helped to forge this planet.” 
 
“Oh, really?” Aqua asks, her own knowledge of Keyblade’s been quite extensive, but open to hearing about more.
 
“Indeed. From what I can remember, at least in one account, it is theorized that this planet was created by someone thousands and thousands of years ago and that he used a Keyblade to traverse through the dimensions until he found a world worthy enough to be brought to Atarius, all using the power of a Keyblade.”
 
“I must admit, I’ve never heard of such a thing.” Aqua says, interrupting the history lesson.
 
“Well, I am quite old, and the specific historian that I am referencing left this world eons ago.” Rosalina says, her thoughts drifting to the past. “He explained to me that a Keyblade has the power to bind a world to Atarius, which makes the overall planet stronger and more secure. Locks the world into place if that makes sense.” 
 
“It does, actually.” Aqua says as her thoughts begin to think of the current state of affairs of Atarius. “Rosalina.. do you think Orbis is this person you’ve mentioned in your story?”
 
“Oh, I hope not.” Rosalina says with terror in her voice. “That would mean that the planet’s creator is killing its own children, basically. I still cannot get over what he has done.” 
 
“Nor can I.” Aqua replies, her blood beginning to boil. “So, you think my Keyblade might have the power to bind a world?” 
 
“I..I don’t see why not.” Rosalina says as eyeballs Aqua’s Keyblade. “But I have no way of knowing, my dear. All of this that I am telling you is all speculation.” 
 
“Here me out though. What if over thousands of years, full of war and disasters, Atarius’s hold over each world loosened. What if this original creator was supposed to be doing his or her job of keeping the planet held together after such events and that person to no longer be in existence and now the planet is destabilizing because of a lack of a protector. What if that’s the key to all of this!?” Aqua rants, questioning everything about the current state of the world. 
 
“Aqua, I don’t know..” Rosalina continues to question the thought process, when a loud siren begins to blare throughout the facilities. 
 
“Another Guardian!?” Rosalina asks as the two women rise to their feet.
 
“I must go to the President.” Aqua states, unsummoning her Keyblade and breaking for the doors. “Thank you for what you’ve shared with me. I know that the President will be eager to hear of this new information.. information that could change the entire direction of our fight against Orbis.” 
 
“Glad I could help.” Rosalina says with a small smile. “Aqua.. please be careful.” 
 
“Always!” Aqua says as she unlocks the door and heads off to join Peach as they prepare for the next Guardian fight.​
 
As the doors to Rosalina’s chambers close once again, suddenly the Princess jerks several times, as if her body is about to begin seizing. Her eyes roll back into her head and she slumps backwards into the seat. The same inaudible words that she was muttering when Aqua found her once again begin coming from her mouth, only this time the words are accompanied with sinister grin across her face.
 
 
To Be Continued


Chapter 5 - Part 2

“My name is Orbis and I am the Architect of this planet”


Sora was completely speechless. He never expected to find Orbis himself. He opened his mouth to talk, but Orbis continued. 

“Eons ago, my brother and I worked alongside one another to fabricate a world from nothing. Each of us wanted to breath life into existence, and after hundreds of years, we were able to successfully do it. At first, the planet thrived, and everything lived in harmony, Omnis and I included. We were considered deities to the original Atarians, walking amongst them and teaching some of our magic to them. 

However, over time, my brother began to change. He began to grow tired of the peace that reigned across the world, and without my knowing, used his power to pull the first world to Atarius. This act upset the balance of the planet, and soon war broke out as the purity of the world was shattered. Soon, the war consumed the world, and I was forced to bring another world of my choosing to the planet in effort to quell this global war. Fortunately, the world I selected yeilded many powerful champions, and the war ended soon after. Sadly, the beautiful world that Omnis had created was destroyed in the process. 

Despite his actions being the catalyst to his world being destroyed, Omnis became enraged over my meddling and withdrew into himself. Omnis became a hermit, and the world that we created together forgot his name. The brother and friend that I once knew, slowly turned into something else. Something evil. This evil culminated on one fateful day when I walked into Omnis' personal chamber and was attacked. Omnis stood at the center of the room, his hand affixed to a stone of some sort as powerful magic swirled about, protecting him from being disturbed. I was able to penetrate his powerful defensive magic and reach him before his spell could complete. Or so I thought...”


 Orbis shuddered as he came to a pause. After a moment, he took a deep breath and continued. 

“I'll never forget what my brother said to me that day. He looked me dead in the eye and said 'Your world will soon be all mine, brother! All will bow to me!' In that moment, I knew that my brother no longer existed, replaced by the demon that stood before me. Seeing no other choice, I used my own magic to seal us both inside the chamber, instantly bringing a calm to the room that would be our home for what I now know to be thousands or years. It would seem that my brother's magic continued to fester, as the Atarius you know today is the culmination of his plan; that every single world be brought together.” 

“So, where is your brother now?” Sora interrupted, obviously concerned with the prospect of an evil mage. 

“He's out there. Biding his time somehwere. Waiting for the prime opportunity to strike.” Orbis said bluntly. “At least, that is what I am to assume. I see you use a keyblade?”

“I do,” Sora answers, nodding to the apparent creater of Atarius. 

“I also possess such a weapon,” Orbis continued proudly. 

“We noticed,” replied Sora. 

“We?” Orbis asked immediately. “There are others?” Sora nodded, prompting Orbis to scratch his chin. “That's even more interesting. You see, we created them when we forged this worlds. If I have mine, then I can only assume Omnis has also found his. Our keyblades are the way we save Atarius, Sora. You see each keyblade has the ability to unlock a world from its bindings to this planet. When the Guardians are defeated, each one leaves behind that world's Heart Shard. That is the point which a world may be unlocked.” 

“So what explain what happened to Pac-Land?” asked Sora. 

“They are safe and sound,” Orbis answered with a smile. “Returned to where they belong.” 

“Peach and the Council are telling quite a different story,” remarked Sora. “They are spinning it to say that you killed everyone from Pac-Land.” 

“That is a lie, but how would they know either way?” Orbis asked, a look of confusion on his face. 

“The person who saw you when you woke up was Rosalina. She is claiming to be the one who awakened you, and she is the one who is giving intel to the President,” informed Sora. 

Orbis closed his eyes and remained quiet for a few moments before opening them and looking back down at Sora. “I must leave, but there will come a time in the future that I will need your assistance. I hope you will join with me to save this world.”

To Be Continued
 
 


CHAPTER 6

Overwatch Headquarters
The Watchtower

 
The past few weeks at the Overwatch Headquarters have been quite disturbing. Since the ‘line-in-the-sand’ was drawn, more and more committed Overwatch agents have felt pulled to stand against them. With several of the Atarian Council members deflecting to Blackwatch, their support has begun to dwindle around the planet. With all of the distractions going on, there were very few folks paying attention to the happenings around the headquarters, which allowed those who have less-than-noble intentions to wander around seemingly undetected.
 
Tonight would prove to be one of those nights as Rosalina creeps from her room and heads down the same corridor that she has traversed for over a month now. As Rosalina nears the Vault Door, her eyes roll back into her head and her hand stretches out and finds the cool metal of the door, the same ritual she has conducted almost every night. Unfamiliar words begin to leave Rosalina’s mouth as she stands in front of the door chanting when unbeknownst to her, an unwelcome and unusual person approaches the corridor.
 
Colonel Guile couldn’t sleep. For the past few nights he had rolled and tossed and as not a person to waste time, he felt compelled to make the most of his insomnia and patrol the complex. Leaving it up to fate, Guile made spontaneous decisions on which way to turn and fate had led him down these corridors tonight. Hearing the chanting, Guile pulls out a pistol as he carefully creeps towards whoever, or whatever, is speaking. As Guile gets closer to the Princess, he pulls back his gun and holsters it, now without worry.
 
“Princess Rosalina, what are you doing out of bed at this hour?” Guile asks as he approaches Rosalina.
 
Rosalina does not respond. Guile becomes concerned and walks forward and places his hand on her shoulder. In a strange coincidence, as soon as Guile’s hand touches the Princess, the chanting ends and the two disappear from outside the corridor and reappear inside the vault. Guile nearly vomits as his body is not used to the feeling of teleporting and falls to his knees as he tries to recover. Rosalina’s eyes return to normal and she looks down at the colonel with distain.
 
“You shouldn’t be here.” Rosalina growls.
 
“Princess..” Guile begins but is cut off by a coughing spat. “What’s going on?”
 
Rosalina extends her hand and telepathically begins to choke the colonel, lifting him into the air against the side of the vault. Using her other hand, Rosalina fastens several magical bindings from thin air and sends them flying towards Guile, each binding wrapping around his ankles, wrists, and neck.
 
“That feels good.” Rosalina says, a wicked smile spreading across her face.
 
Guile feels the chokehold end, but realizes he can do nothing but be a witness to whatever is about to happen.
 
“Rosalina..” Guile sputters, causing her to spin back to facing him.
 
“Pathetic!” Rosalina spat. “This planet has become weak! So very weak. But not to worry..”
 
Rosalina turns from Guile and scans over the large vault until she sees a large plush pedestal residing in one of the Vault’s corners. Atop the pedestal rest the Heart Shards that were left behind by the first of the Guardians. Rosalina thrusts her hand into the air, twirls it around in a circular motion, and then recoils her fingers back towards her. Each Heart Shard lifts from its resting place and flies towards Rosalina, stopping just in front of her. As Rosalina holds the Shards in the air with one hand, Guile watches in horror as a Keyblade manifests in her other hand.
 
“Behold true power.” Rosalina exclaims as she points her Keyblade towards the group of Heart Shards.
 
A beam of black and white light emerges from the tip of the Keyblade and then fractures into 4 different beams before bursting forward towards the Heart Shards. Each beam of light pierces the keyhole of the each Shard and then vanishes. Where before, when a Heart Shard is unlocked, it explodes into a burst of dazzling color, but now that these Shards are being sealed, a different process takes place. Each keyhole disappears entirely, the dazzling brilliance of light from within fades, and each Shard completely crystallizes and hardens as it falls to the floor below. Within the Vault, Rosalina’s cackling is muffled but for Guile the spine-chilling sound of her guttural burst of excitement is enough to scare him to death and cry out for help. His own voice echoes within the Vault for a few moments until Rosalina flies up to where he is pinned and places her Keyblade against the Commander’s throat, threatening to kill him right there.
 
“You know.. maybe I won’t.” Rosalina says as she removes her Keyblade from Guile’s throat. “You’ve witnessed the resurrection of a God! I suppose I’ll let you relish in what you’ve seen until your body finally gives out. Farewell, Commander. It’s time for this wretched planet to remember its beginnings!”
 
Rosalina flashes Guile a sinister grin as she waves bye and disappears into thin air. Guile begins to panic as he realizes he truly is alone and stuck and just as the Princess foretold, he would die inside this Vault. Despite knowing he is doomed, Guile begins to cry out for help.

"HEEEEEEELLLLLLLLPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!"
 
And sadly, help will not come.


To Be Continued
 


Chapter 7

The screen flashes to an image of Commander Guile while a voice over comments, “Overwatch’s former commander found nearly dead,” then the screen shifts to a low quality picture of Orbis stabbing Rosalina followed by the same voice stating, “Orbis is on a rampage. Who is next on his list?,” and lastly the screen displays an image of Kerrigan with the voice over adding, “Kerrigan has returned! What is she up to and what is next for Atarius?”
 
Music begins to play as the screen shows the logo for ANN’s Evening with Atarius. The camera zooms around the studio and comes to focus on the show’s host. She looks up from paper work on the desk and greets the viewers with a bright smile.
 
“Welcome everyone to another edition of Evening with Atarius, I am your host Chun Li.”
 
The view changes to a side camera where Chun Li spins in her chair and greets the new camera, “Tonight we will be discussing the potential return of Commander Guile after he was found yesterday and what that could mean for newly crowned commander Jack Morrison. A little later on we will have rare footage of Orbis’ most recent attack, and finally we will have an exclusive, on-the-ground look at Kerrigan’s camp and hopefully get an idea of what she might be doing now that she has returned. Thereis a lot to cover, so let’s get started.”
 
Back to the main camera, Chun Li shuffles her papers and waits for her cue. The camera zooms out and a picture of a battered and weak Commander Guile appears next to the host. Chun Li reads her notes and looks back into the camera, “We are getting reports that Commander Guile, who had been missing for nearly a week, has been found. Eye witnesses who were at the Overwatch base are saying the he was barely able to move, having lost a considerable amount of weight. The former Commander of Overwatch was found sealed in a vault that once housed Heart Shards. There are no details on who found him, or how he wound up in the vault, but we can report that he will make a full recovery. We at ANN hope to get an exclusive interview with Guile in the coming weeks, once he has had time to recuperate.”
 
Switching to the right camera, Chun Li spins in her chair and an image of Orbis stabbing Rosalina appears next to her, “We bring you an exclusive first look at the horrible attack on Rosalina during the most recent attacks. Although we don’t know what provoked Orbis or why he would attack a harmless woman in such a way, we have verified that the footage you are about to see is very real. We at ANN want to warn you now, this footage is very graphic, so please keep your children in mind.”
 
A blurry, shaky camera feed shows Orbis rushing aboard the Sonic Boom airship and stabbing Rosalina through the chest with his Keyblade. The footage plays a few times over, slowing down each time, showing the viewers how brutal the attack really was.
 
“This is an absolutely heinous attack on someone who has done nothing but care for Atarius. She has helped us with the Guardians since Overwatch was reformed. She showed no malice or evil intents. The woman was innocent, viewing the battles from afar with her friend, our President, Peach Toadstool. We tried to reach out to the President for a comment on the attack, in hopes that she could shed more light on the situation. Unfortunately she had no comment at the time of us going to air. The hope now is that she will host a press conference and tell her story to all of us who are waiting to know more.”
 
“Despite all of that, we here at ANN have only one concern. How much are the heroes of Atarius going to let Orbis get away with before they take action? The man’s agenda is still unknown, but so far, from what we’ve seen he is nothing but evil and needs to be stopped. Overwatch, we’re begging you, please, for everyone’s sake, put an end to this monster’s wrath. That could have been our President who was injured on that ship. She was standing right next to Rosalina. What was keeping Orbis from choosing her instead? We can’t keep letting this man act on his own. He has proven that he is much too dangerous.”
 
“Members of Overwatch medical staff are saying that Rosalina was fortunate, and that she should live through this horribly attack. Unfortunately we have been told that the Princess is in a coma and may never come out of it. Rosalina, we at ANN send our best wishes to you. Come back to us!”

 
The camera switches back to the main, center view. A picture of Kerrigan slides into frame, next to Chun Li who wipes a single tear from her cheek, “Our last new story tonight is that of Kerrigan’s return. Overwatch and the Council of Atarius issued a statement earlier this week confirming the Queen of Blades’ return. The attack last week, which was at first thought to be a Guardian battle, was actually a warning from Kerrigan that she was coming back. Luckily the two Zerg beasts were destroyed in the ensuing battle, giving a temporary reprieve for our planet. However, that leaves the question, why has Kerrigan returned? What are her plans and should we be concerned? The last time we saw the Queen of Blades she was working with the Pillars of Evil. A battle broke out in Hyrule and Kerrigan’s forces were destroyed, leaving her to leave the planet. Could revenge be in her sights? It would make sense, but thus far Kerrigan has yet to make any move. Her forces have remained in Hyrule. It’s been a week, and yet she hasn’t declared war or threatened anyone. We here at ANN aren’t content to accept the silence as a good sign, and so that’s why we’ve sent our field reporter Alice to Hyrule to see what she could find. Let’s go live now to Alice who is waiting with her discovery. Alice?”
 
A live feed of a young woman with strawberry blonde hair standing in a wooded area with a microphone in her hand cuts into the broadcast. The woman is clearly nervous and when she speaks, she whispers into the camera, “hello? Hi Chun Li. This is Alice with ANN and I am reporting live from the outskirts of what used to be Hyrule Kingdom. Unfortunately the Zerg armies are keeping a close eye on the kingdom, and so we haven’t been able to get super close. However, I can report that the armies of Kerrigan are definitely up to something. We don’t know what it is they are doing, but they seem to be building something in the center of Hyrule. There were several machines circling an area of the ground in front of the main castle. Sadly we couldn’t get close enough to see what it is they are working on, but I can promise you it isn’t anything good. The fact that the Zerg army is so quiet and clearly protective of the surrounding area tells me that whatever it is they are doing, we should be very worried. I have to ask, why hasn’t Overwatch done their own investigation? Why haven’t the armies of Atarius invaded Hyrule and stopped whatever it is that is going on here? Perhaps we will get those answers soon, but for now all we can do is speculate. Back to you Chun Li!”
 
The screen returns to the ANN studio where Chun Li looks visibly concerned, “thanks Alice. You’re doing great work out there. Please remain safe.”
 
Chun Li spins her chair as the camera angle changes to her side, “Alice brings up some great questions. Why hasn’t Overwatch acted yet? What could they be waiting on? My guess is that they are rather distracted with all of the tragedies they’ve suffered in the last week. We can only hope that they get things back in order and can finally look into what is going on within the former kingdom of Hyrule. We need answers and we need them soon. President Peach, if you’re out there, watching our show, please, we beg of you, give us some answers. We need them more than ever. The people of Atarius are scared and could use some good news at this time.”
 
The camera switches back to the main view, centering on Chun Li who tries her best to flash a smile, “that is all we have for tonight’s broadcast. Thank you for watching and keep your eyes peeled to ANN for all of the latest news. We will be reporting as soon as news breaks from the President or Overwatch. Enjoy the rest of your night and may peace find you and yours. Goodnight!”
 
An ANN logo floats across the screen and the little jingle plays once more. Then the feed goes dark, leaving Atarians with more questions than answers. Left to wonder what was next for their world.

To Be Continued.


Chapter 8
United Peacekeeping Republic Headquarters

“Commander, we’ve got to alert the planet!” Ernest pleads.

“I think we can handle it.” Commander Ghalt says, patting Ernest on the head condescendingly. “What’dya say Benedict?”

“Suns out, guns out!” Benedict replies, always eager to jump into battle.

“That’s the spirit!” Ghalt says, clapping his soldier on the back. “If we can handle the Varelsi, I think we can handle a few bugs.”

“Sir, the Articles state that in the event of a global threat we are to alert the President immediately.” Ernest states, pulling out his phone and flashing the original Deep Space Articles to the Commander.

Montana snickers as Ernest sinks back down into his chair, defeated once again. As Ghalt turns his back, a loud siren blares from the computer system, prompting Ghalt to slowly turn back towards Ernest.

“What is that?” Ghalt asks.

“The anomaly, sir.” Ernest says, rolling his eyes.

As the Commander stares at the screen, it suddenly flickers, and then goes black.

“What the hell?” Ghalt asks, tapping the screen with his oversized fingers as if that would fix it.

Moments later, the screen turns back on, but instead of the space radar, Lothar Rendain’s face appears.

“Ahh, Commander Ghalt.” Lothar says with a villainous smile. “So good to see you again my old friend.”

“Lothar..” Ghalt says through clenched teeth. “What in the hell is going on?”

“No doubt you have seen what’s heading our way and just in case there was any doubt, I have every intention of letting this Swarm do what its designed to do.” Lothar answers with a wicked cackle.

“You’ll kill us all!” Ghalt shouts into the screen, spit flying from his mouth as his temper flares.

“That is the goal.” Lothar replies. “You see, I’ll survive.. I always have. But you.. you’ll become nothing more than a quick snack for the Queen’s horde.. a fleeting memory as I stand at the helm of rewriting history!”

“You’ll never get away with this!” Ernest shouts.

“That’s what Lenore though too.” Lothar says, referencing his coup that he lead to overthrow the Empress and seize control of the Jennerit Imperium. “Farewell peacekeepers. My Queen awaits!”

And with that the screen darkens and returns to the blinking sonar map that displays the approaching Zerg swarm. Ghalt takes a deep breath and turns towards Ernest and before he can utter the first word, Ernest pushes a green button that opens the Teleporter doors.

“Already on it Commander.” Ernest states, earning a smile from Ghalt.

“We’ve lose our heads if it weren’t for you Ernest.” Ghalt says as he places his big hand on Ernest’s shoulder. “Thank you for what you do, my friend.”

Ernest blushes slightly. “Glad to be of service, sir!”

“Alright peacekeepers!” Ghalt shouts to Ernest, Benedict, and Montana. “Let’s go see the President.”

Atarius Council Chambers

“What’s the latest death toll up to?” Peach asks somberly.

“It’s over 10,000 Madam President.” Erika replies with a saddened tone. “We’re still pulling out bodies.”

The room goes quiet as the horrifying events of today’s devastating earthquake continue to sink in.

Earlier today, Liberty City was nearly wiped off the face of Atarius, the largest fissure to date opening up in the center of the city and swallowing up its heart and soul. It’s the worst natural disaster that has ever been recorded and definitely the worst since the Guardians have started appearing. Something bad is happening to Atarius. It’s death seems to be escalating. 

“Do we have any new information to report?” Peach asks the room.

A hand goes up, but in the center of the room, four odd looking beings appear from thin air. Several people scream, while others move for their weapons. Peach ducks down behind her podium and waits for whatever is it come next. Moments later, a large hand stretches down next to her and as she follows it back up to its owner, she surprisingly finds a smiling man awaiting her.

“Madam President.” The Peacekeeper says. “I am Commander Ghalt.”

Peach suddenly becomes very taken back by the Commander’s charming smile, despite his massive stature. As she is slowly lifted from the ground, she retakes her seat at her podium as Ghalt bows his head out of respect and backs up a bit.

“Well, Commander.” Peach begins with a smirk. “What do we owe the pleasure?”

“Sadly, there’s nothing pleasant about what I am about to say.” Commander replies, clearing his throat as he prepares to speak to the room, earning an approving nod from Peach. “As laid down by the Articles many years ago, we, the Battleborn, are charged with monitoring any and all deep space activity out in the universe. Earlier today, one of our scientists… OW!”

Ernest stomps down hard onto Ghalt’s foot.

“Our most brilliant scientist, Ernest, discovered an anomaly that seems to be moving towards Atarius.”

The room begins to chatter and the buzz of what it could be fuels all sorts of rumors as the news spreads like wildfire.

“I’m afraid that’s not all.” Ghalt speaks again, his loud voice naturally rising above all those present and still chattering. “The leader of the Jennerit, Lothar Rendain, contacted me and made me aware that he plans to attack our outpost as this anomaly nears. I regretfully come to you today to make you aware that this anomaly is has something to do with Kerrigan and her Swarm and to ask for planet’s help. While we may be able to contain the Jennerit and the Valrasi, we cannot do so whilst taking fire from whatever Kerrigan is about to unleash upon the planet. Madam President, I am calling upon you to honor the Articles and to help us defend our outpost above the planet.”

“Atarius will gladly answer the call Commander!” Peach states, rising to her feet as she gets caught up in the moment. “We will send for our best agents to stand at your side! Soldier 76, I assume you know what to do.”

“Yes Madam President.” Soldier 76 replies, placing his fist to his chest as a symbol of loyalty and understanding.

“Now, before the Commander beamed down, I do believe someone said they had information about the earthquake.” Peach asks the room, trying to eyeball whomever it was that raised their hand.

“That would be Madam President.” Alice, the up and coming news reporter from ANN, stands up. “I was able to secure some new footage from Hyrule today. I believe it explains the earthquake.”

“And you brought it here instead of taking it back to your station?” Peach asks, obviously aware that having the inside scoop could elevate her career instantly if she would have taken that route.

“I wanted you to see it first.” Alice replies. “I feel my station would be too eager to have the footage and stop focusing on the relief efforts from the quake itself.”

“And Atarius thanks you for your decision.” Peach says with a smile, causing Alice to blush a bit. “Now, perhaps you can bring me the footage.”

“I can display it in the center of the room if that would be easier.” Alice says, tossing out a hologram that hovers in the air where everyone can see.

Before Peach could reply, Alice clicks on the device and the entire room sees the cause of the earthquake in all of its horror.

In the middle of the old Hyrulian Fields massive Zerg building now stands, only the building is alive as it burrows into the ground of Atarius. The Mega Spire is being fed by a steady flow of Overlords that are bringing back live souls to feed the drill as it pushes deeper and deeper into the planet.

“That has to the cause!” Erika exclaims as the hologram clicks off. “We’ve got to stop it before its too late!”

“Erika is right!” Peach declares as she stands, causing the entire room to follow suit. “We cannot wait any longer! We must attack before Kerrigan she can reach the core of the planet. Commander Ghalt, please let your forces know we are coming and to make ready a star fleet that is battle ready. Soldier 76, prepare what agents you have left on the ground to join us as we take the fight to Kerrigan and her vicious Zerg. We will survive this! Atarius will live on!"

Shadaloo Headquarters

As the heads of the infamous Blackwatch organization gather together at General Bison's base of operations, they all sit patiently as Reaper and his lieutenant enter the room, accompanied by two odd looking characters.

"Thank you all for coming on such short notice." Reaper begins. "We have just recieved intel that the Overwatch will be sending a massive amount of their forces into outer space to help the United Peacekeepers in their efforts to fight against the Jennerit Empire and the approaching Zerg swarm."

"The United who?" Bison asks, unaware of such a force.

"Sacks of blood that think they were destined to protect this wretched planet from the terrors of deep space." An unfamiliar voice interjects. "As if the terrors aren't already here."


Who the hell are you?" Bison barks.

"Mind your manners." Beatrix's robotic voice hisses. "Else I'll show you who the hell I really am."

Bison rises to his feet, his pride swelling, but sits down as the sword-wielding man places his hands on his kitana, practically licking his lips and begging for Bison to make a move.

"Another time, perhaps." Bison states as he returns to his seat.

"I look forward to it." The Jennerit assassin says as he lowers his guard. "My name is Rath and I am the right hand of Lord Rendain of the Jennerit Empire. Your Commander has given us his word that Blackwatch will join our efforts to destroy the UPR once and for all. With the UPR out of the way, I can promise that our Empire can open up doors to other worlds for your organizations here on Atarius and I can assure you, those doors will lead to wealth and power beyond your wildest dreams."

The eyes of those present glittered at the thought, Rath's words feeding into their greed.

"Not all of us are here for those reasons." Reaper's lieutenant speaks, her words cutting the room like a knife. "Some of us are here because we believe that this planet is the cause of all of our suffering. All of our pain. Orbis and Sora have the answers to our survival and we must fight for them when we can!"

"A little touchy are we." Beatrix remarks, earning the ire of Reaper's 2nd.

The masked woman leaps from her chair with lightning speed and is on Beatrix before she can begin to consider mounting a defense, placing a yellow-bladed knife to her throat. The rest of the room react, but the Blackwatch Commander shouts, "Nobody move!" causing everyone to halt in their tracks.

"You don't know me and I don't know you. Not well anyways." Reaper's 2nd begins. "All of the pain I've endured over the past few years has hardened me. Hardened me to the point that it's not going to bother me a bit to open up your metal shell and let your black oil spill out all over the floor. Do you hear me you mechanical bitch? Do you feel the lack of care that I have for you? Go on, tell us how you feel."

Beatrix nods back, fully aware her life hangs in this person's hands.

"I can taste your fear, even if you are mostly recycled scrap metal." The female reaper spats and mocks the Jennerit soldier. "The life that I knew was stolen from me and I'll be damned to see another person's life ruined by that heinous alien. I will lead the Blackwatch forces to Hyrule and I will make sure that she is dealt with, once and for all!"

Reaper's lieutenant turns Beatrix loose who quickly backs away, retreating behind Rath who remains on guard, swords drawn and ready to attack.

"And on that note, we will be leaving." Rath states as he keys in a sequence on his wrist. "Commander, I'll let Lord Rendain know that you will personally be joining us in outer space. Till then.."

The two Jennerit soldiers vanish into thin air as they are beamed back to their own base of operations within Deep Space. Reaper turns to his lieutenant, annoyed, and shakes his head.

"Nice going." Reaper states. "Now I'm going into space."

"A birds eye view for Kerrigan's demise." The female reaper replies. "When you return, Hyrule will be finally be free of Kerrigan's plague or you'll have to find a new lieutenant. That I can promise you."

To Be Continued
Chapter 9

Remnants of Hyrule
 
As the dead continue to be identified on the old fields of Hyrule, Alice of the Atarius News Network continues to camp out to secure as much footage for the network as possible. Having become THE on-site reporter for the entire network, she has taken her new responsibilities seriously and really gone the extra mile to ensure the world is aware of what’s going on. Alice is currently preparing for an interview with a powerful Atarian, one that has stepped back into the spotlight as of late: the Ex-President of Atarius, Rufus Shinra. For a long time Rufus remained in the shadows of his side project, the World Regenesis Organization (WRO), which provides relief and aid to all those affected by his past actions and any current disaster that come up in the present. In recent days, Rufus has stepped out of the shadows and stepped up, becoming the public face of the organization as he stands against the constant wars and lobbies for peace and self-perseverance of the planet. His old motto, “For the Greater Good” has taken on new meaning for both Rufus and those under his command as he walks a new path; the path of true redemption.
 
The WRO’s relief efforts are in full swing in the old fields of Hyrule, working tirelessly to rescue any survivors and identify the dead. While most of the Overwatch and Blackwatch forces have departed, Rufus and his organization have set up camp to save as many Atarians as they can, summoning up some of the world’s best doctors and surgeons to aid in his promise; a promise for a better future for all Atarians.
 
“Why are you still here?” Alice asks Rufus Shinra as they walk through the medical tents.
 
“Because of these people.” Rufus says, pointing to the wounded. “These are the soldiers that fought for our freedom just days before and yet where is the Overwatch or even Blackwatch for that matter? Where are their leaders? Where is the President!?”
 
“I don’t guess you saw last night’s new report, by chance?” Alice asks, a look of concern on her face.
 
“We don’t have the time to watch your broadcasts out here!” Rufus barks. “We’ve trying to save people, in case you haven’t noticed.”
 
“My apologies, sir.” Alice says, realizing her error in words. “The President has been kidnapped.”
 
Rufus is taken back momentarily to hear such news, the pause allowing him to take a breath and calm down a second. “My apologies Ms. Alice. I’ve not had any sleep and I’m only concerned for my fellow Atarians. We’re running on limited resources and we are still finding survivors, so forgive me if I seem a little on edge. I do hope Peach is found soon and I wish her well until then.”
 
“So what’s the plan moving forward?” Alice asks, changing the subject and moving the interview along.
 
“I don’t follow..” Rufus replies, unsure of what she’s asking.
 
“Well, if the President cannot be found, someone will have to step up and stand in as the Interim.” Alice states. “Until she is found, that is. Any aspirations to step back into your old role?”
 
Rufus stares at Alice as the thoughts of his past presidency run through his head, causing a shiver to run up his spine.
 
“With respect, hell no.” Rufus states with a smirk. “I’ve been down that road, and let me assure you, it’s a hard road. I can do more good fighting for the planet on my own, without the added stress of Atarian politics. If the President needs council, I’ll be more than glad to provide my opinions, but I have no desire to be in office again.”
 
“Do you have anyone in mind that you would support?” Alice asks, prying for information.
 
Rufus opens his mouth to speak when a rumbling underneath their feet causes them to pause and look around. The rumbling dies down for a moment causing the two to look at each other, both wearing concerned looks.
 
“What was that?” Alice asks as she begins to sweat.
 
“No idea.” Rufus states as his adrenaline starts to pump. “Stay here.”
 
As Rufus turns to leave the tent, the ground begins to rumble yet again, this time more violent.
 
“SECURE THE PATIENTS!” Rufus shouts, as doctors and nurses grab the patient’s to prevent them from falling out of their beds.
 
Alice even joins in, grabbing a patient’s bed to help. As the rumbling begins to escalate, Rufus takes to the skies to gain a better vantage point.
 
“What now!?” Rufus asks frustratingly.
 
Suddenly, loud roar echoes across the barren wastelands and the hole leading to the center of the planet erupts, sending a cloud of dirt and debris flying into the air. Two monstrous size hands emerge from within the hole and grip the sides of it, using the planet to push itself out of the ground. As the ancient elemental emerges from within the core of the planet, the WRO forces become overcome with fear and panic and begin to flee.


Rufus hovers above the ground and he too is stricken with fear as the sheer size of the creature begins to block out the light. As the darkness spreads over the area, shouts of another “Guardian” begin to run rampant throughout the camp.

“It can’t be a Guardian.” Lulu shouts to Barret. “Hyrule is gone. This has to be something else!”

“I don’t care whatcha wanna call it!” Barret bellows. “We’ve got to get out of here! Where’s the boss?”

Lulu and Barret look over at Reno and Rude, who sigh, and then point in the air. Rufus looks like an ant as he hovers in front of the towering elemental.

“Has he lost his mind?” Reeves asks, joining the group and taking in the scene.

Up in the air, Rufus takes one final look down at the ground and knows he has to distract the creature to prevent it from destroying everyone below. Rufus looses a battle cry and then flies towards the beast, gunblade at the ready and ready to summon the mighty Bahamut if needed.

*ROAR*

The force of the creature’s roar causes Rufus to falter in his flight and lose control, spiraling to the ground. Green lightning bolts begins to crackle all around the ancient being as it prepares to attack. Everyone present braces for death’s embrace as they know the Reaper nears. A purple and black beam of light suddenly surges through the air and hits the beast square in the chest. The mighty creature roars loudly once again, but this time it’s cry having changed from ferocity to death as the light begins to engulf the creature entirely. Moments later, nothing remains. The creature is gone. A purple light continues to emanate from the fissure as all eyes become fixated on whatever is about to happen.

And then a figure emerges from within. With his arms outstretched in a savior like fashion, Omnis rises from the core of the planet.



“Atarius!” Omnis says, his god-like voice echoing across the area. “Your savior has come! Behold my power!!”

Omnis turns from the WRO forces and looks down at the fissure. With a series of hand movements, Omnis begins to weave a spell from the very air itself, a brilliance of color swirling around him. The unseen magic continues to crackle as the spell intensifies, all the energy of the area being absorbed to complete the ritual. An unfamiliar chanting can be heard as the wind picks up and carries the sound back to the Atarians.

“What’s happening!!??” Reeves loudly asks, though everyone is too awestruck to reply.

The colors begin to flash all around Omnis as the spell nears completion. Suddenly, the flashing stops as Omnis points down at the fissure, causing all of the energy and magic to come together coalesce at his finger tip. Omnis shouts something in an ancient language as he releases the magic, the magnitude of the spell sucking all of the energy towards him and physically causing every living thing to rock forward on their toes. The ball of light swirls down into the fissure with unimaginable speed and just as fast as its gone does the entire fissure explode into the same brilliance of color. Everyone watches as the planet begins to heal itself, putting itself back together until eventually the ground seals up completely.

The barren landscape begins to grow once again with flowers and grass popping up everywhere throughout the lands. From right over the hole, a massive tree begins to grow, stretching high into the sky. The tree is nearly as big as the defeated elemental that emerged earlier in the day, but brings a peaceful calm and sense of serenity to such a scarred area of the world. As the light of the healing spell fades and the light of the sun replaces it, the people of the WRO begin to clap and cheer for the miracle they have just witnessed.


Omnis falls from the air back to the ground, collapsing to his knees as he has spent the majority of his energy to perform such a feat. As Omnis slowly recovers from his spell, as a circle of people begin to form around him, all eager to stand in the presence of their new savior. Though the appearance of Omnis startles a few, no one can deny the miracle they just witnessed and the sense of hope they have just felt. Reeves, the spokesperson of the WRO steps forward, causing the crowd to gasp in anticipation, and then shocks the world by kneeling before Omnis.

“All hail Omnis, Savior of Atarius!” Reeves exclaims, prompting the crowd to follow suit.

From up the air, Rufus Shinra watches as the majority of his WRO forces kneel before the self-proclaimed “Savior” of the planet, swearing their hearts and loyalty over to the mysterious entity. Rufus flies back down to the ground, landing next to his council, none of them aside from Reeves a part of the circle of worshipers.

“I assume you got all that?” Rufus asks Alice, who nods back in excitement. “Make sure this is featured and aired all over the world. The world needs to know what’s happened here.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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The Watchpoint Medical Facilities

Halfway around the world from Hyrule rests the catalyst that has brought Atarius to this point. Receiving around the clock care, Princess Rosalina rests comfortably inside the Watchtower as those closest to her desperately wait for her to awake. Her room is filled with flowers and cards from those who have sent their love and support. A nurse shuffles around the room, checking on the Princess briefly before moving on to her next patient, when suddenly an increase in Rosalina’s heart rate causes the nurse to stop in her tracks. As the Princess’s heart rate quickens, the nurse hurries out of the room to find a doctor. As they both return to the room, Rosalina’s body begins to flinch, first her fingers, then her hands, and then finally her arms begin to move.

“What’s happening Doctor?” The nurse asks, looking at the doctor for answers.

“I have no idea.” The doctor replies as she pulls out her stethoscope and places it against Rosalina’s chest.

Suddenly, Rosalina sits straight up, causing both the nurse and doctor to shriek and move back away from her. Rosalina’s eyes pop open and she begins to blink as she tries adjust to where she is and what has happened. The Princess begins to heave and gag as she starts to choke on the breathing tube, prompting the doctor to lurch forward and quickly remove it.

“Calm down, Princess.” The doctor says as she works to get the tube out of her throat.

Moments later, as the tube is removed, the Princess starts to speak but finds her voice weak and her throat scratchy. Looking around frantically, Rosalina sees a bottle of water and points at it, the nurse quickly grabbing it and opening it.

“Slowly, ok?” The nurse states, earning an approving nod from Rosalina as the cool water slides down her throat.

Rosalina instantly coughs and sputters as the liquid rolls down her throat. Though painful, Rosalina can feel her throat liven up as her body positively responds to the hydration.

“O…” Rosalina tries to say, but still finds her voice weak.

“Take it easy..” The doctor states, reaching for Rosalina to calm her down, but is met with as much defiance as Rosalina can muster up.

Rosalina takes a deep breath and digs deep within to get out what’s in her head. “O…Or..”

Rosalina sputters and then bangs her fist on the bed out of frustration.

“Princess, please..” The nurse says, earning a cutting look from Rosalina.

 Rosalina reaches out and grips both sides of the bed and then with all she can muster, she finally screams out as loud as she can what’s been eating at her since falling into a coma.

“OOOORRRRBBBBIIIISSSSS!”

To Be Continued
Chapter 10

Fields of Hyrule
Two Weeks Ago

“Somebody help me!!” Reeves shouts as he rushes to Omnis’s side, both in awe of the planet’s savior and truly concerned for his health as he collapses onto the ground.

Others rush to his aide as they begin to debate over how they should move Omnis.

“We should take him over to the medical tents!” A WRO worker shouts in a panic.

“We can’t take a God to the tent!” Another one replies.

“Then to the hospital at least.” The first worker retorts with a sneer.

“There’s no hospital left in Hyrule!” The second WRO worker barks again.

“Enough!” Reeves shouts, silencing the petty argument. “Let’s at least move him from here to the tents and then we’ll coordinate where he’ll go from there.”

Earning nods from the group, Reeves takes the lead and reaches down and places his hands underneath Omnis. The other works follow suit and together they hoist their savior up into the air, above their heads, and slowly walk over to the medical tents. People clear space off the nearest table and drape fresh white sheets over the table. A fluffy pillow is placed at the end of the table where Omnis’s head would lay.

“Slowly!” Reeves barks as they lower Omnis down to the table.

As his body meets the table, everyone breathes a sigh of relief as they pull away from the God, Reeves stepping away and vomiting behind a truck. As he steps back under the tent, wiping his mouth with a rag, Reeves realizes all eyes are on him.

“Oh, right.” Reeves says, knowing they are all waiting on him to make a decision.

As Reeves begins to contemplate his next move, a blinding purple light fills the area inside the tent. Seconds later, as the light fades, Aqua stands inside the tent next to Omnis. As Aqua stares down at the savior, she is flooded with mixed emotions and endless questions.

"Does he know where Peach is? Did he take her? Did he kill her? Where’s Orbis? I bet he knows. Maybe I should kill him.”

“Maybe you should.”

The voice of Omnis fills Aqua’s mind, causing her to gasp out loud.

"Take me your headquarters and I will answer any and all questions you have, my dear.”

Aqua hesitates as she considers Omnis’s request. Reeves steps forward and begins speaking to Aqua, though it sounds more like an annoying gnat than actual words to her.

“Aqua?” Reeves asks, but gets no response. “Aqua!?”

Reeves places his hand on her shoulder and much to his dismay, Aqua reacts violently, swirling around and elbowing the WRO leader right in the nose. Blood spurts from Reeves’ nose as it breaks and he falls to the ground, wailing in pain. Aqua looks down as Reeves and suddenly the color in her face drains as she realizes what she’s done.

“I’m so sorry!” Aqua states as she lowers herself to Reeves to help him up, but feels rejection as Reeves pushes himself away from her.

As Reeves scrambles to his feet and backs up against the truck, he shields himself from Aqua as she tries once again to help the WRO leader. A white beam of light pierces the air and centers on Reeves’s nose much to everyone’s surprise. Moments later, Reeves reaches up and finds that his nose is completely healed. Everyone follows the beam of light back to Omnis and to his fingertip as he lowers his hand back down to the table. Reeves feels the magic pulsing through his face and then feels it spread through his entire body. A bright, silver “O” appears on Reeves’ forehead before fading to a dull silver.
“I have been Chosen!” Reeves exclaims as he kneels in the presence of Omnis once again. “Thank you Savior!”

Whispers spread throughout the crowd as they all begin to speak of the miracle they just witnessed. Aqua walks back over to Omnis and ponders over his words once again.

“I’m taking him to the Watchpoint!” Aqua suddenly shouts, making up her mind publicly and definitively.

“Thank you.”

Omnis’s voice fills Aqua’s mind once again.

Aqua winces as she partially regrets her decision, but places her hand on Omnis’s shoulder and then disappears in the same manner she appeared.

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The Watchpoint: Gibraltar
One Week Ago

Since Omnis’s arrival at the Watchtower, the entire atmosphere of the headquarters changed. Something about housing the Savior of Atarius shifted the mindset of all those affiliated with both the Presidency and the Overwatch. Soldier 76 was asked to give up his quarters, promising it to be temporary, as Omnis recovered, and reluctantly gave them up. As consolation, he was offered Peach’s quarters until her return, to which he declined, immediately.

“I’d rather sleep in the barracks with the troops.” Soldier growled as he grabbed his duffel bag and made his way down to his new sleeping quarters.

The Watchpoint was also buzzing with who would step into the role of the Interim President. The ANN had been flooding their airtime with various candidates and their qualifications. Candidates like: Commander Jane Shepherd, Deande of the new Jennerit Empire, Peach’s right hand, Aqua, former Commander of the Overwatch, Winston, Councilwoman and Leader of the Gray Wardens, Erika, Councilman Mel De Alkirk, though the stigma of “Hell Mel” has all but ruined his chances even despite his humanitarian efforts since then, Cecil Harvey, Grand Paladin and King of Baron, and even the ex-President, Rufus Shinra has had his name thrown into the mix, despite his public promise to not step back into that role ever again.

The Council would convene in one week’s time to make their decision.

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The search efforts have begun to dwindle as the new networks have turned their attention away from finding Peach and choosing to focus on whoever will take her place. Gaige leads the charge on finding Peach, however, having vowed to have Deathtrap chop off the heads of whoever was responsible for this heinous act of treason.

“We have to find her!” Gaige declared as ANN cameras rolled. “Screw all this crap about a new President. Peach is the best we’ve ever had and she loves us all!”

“Are you crying?” Alice asked, reaching for a tissue, but recoiled as she noticed an awkward sickness on Gaige’s face.

“DOH!” Gaige exclaims as she reached up to wipe her nose, pulling her hoodie over her face even more than it already was. “Allergies, damnit! Look, I won’t dop until she’s found!”


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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aqua has spent the majority of her time with Omnis, holed up in his quarters for hours, making sure to monitor his every need. Perhaps the two were discussing strategy. Perhaps Atarian history. The what or the why could not be known, but what could be known is that Aqua has barely left his side. There are some who suspect something malicious is afoot, not trusting Omnis in the least bit, but having no proof to support their theories the rumors remain nothing more than a whisper.

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Commander Ghalt has begun training the new recruits personally. Once he became Commander of the Atarius Army he instantly put out the call that the Army was recruiting. Ghalt’s face started showing up everywhere, especially in rural cities. Posters promising a chance to fight for the planet, food, protection, purpose. Naturally, Atarians of all kinds started showing up days after and since then a steady crop of new recruits shows up daily. Some eager to truly take a stand for the planet. Others just simply trying to get out of the squalor of the cities. Regardless of their reasoning, Ghalt was amassing quite an army.

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 Hidden Blackwatch Compound

“Are you ready to listen to reason?” A hooded figure asked the prisoner.

Across from the interrogator, strapped to a metal chair, sits President Peach, though few would recognize her in her current condition. Matted hair. Filth-covered skin. A cut and bruised lip.

“This is your doing Madam President.” The interrogator taunted. “We aren’t asking for information. We aren’t asking for you to divulge Atarius’s secrets..we are simply asking for your cooperation in finding Orbis.”

“Murderer..” Peach said with an addled smirk. “Snake. Fiend. Liar. Killer. The Devil himself!”

The interrogator stepped forward and raised his hand to strike Peach.

“GO ON!” Peach screamed. “Hit me again you coward! GO ON!”

“Enough.” A woman’s voice barked from an old, shoddy microphone system within the interrogation room. “Leave her to me.”

Peach slumped back in her chair as the interrogator stepped back, following his orders and immediately existed the room. The door re-opened and Peach straighted up, preparing for the worst as she tried to prepare herself to truly be tortured this time. Peach felt the presence of the person behind her and then felt the hands of the person touch her own hands behind the chair. Peach’s heart began to race and her breathing intensified as she waited for what is to come.

“No matter how much you torture me, I’ll never believe your lies!” Peach shrieked in rage, shaking she awaited the pain.

And then the shackles on Peach’s wrists fell off. Peach instantly pulled her arms from around the chair and back into her lap, rubbing her wrists, obviously very sore from the metal restraints. Peach heard the person walk around from behind her, though still lurking in the shadows, and then eventually wound up across the table in front of her.

“Who are you?” Peach asked, trying to make out the person’s face. “I demand you step into the light.”

The person removed a hood from their head and then did as they were instructed, stepping into the light to reveal themselves to the President.


Peach stared at the Princess for a few moments and then her eyes rolled back in her head, fainting on the spot.

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Hidden Blackwatch Compound
Present Day
 
Over the past week, Rosalina and Peach have spent their time together, discussing the past and certainly of the future. Rosalina has done her best at convincing Peach, but the President cannot be convinced.
 
“Peach!” Rosalina exclaims. “I am standing right here! I’m telling you something was inside of me, something making me do awful things. I can still feel his presence crawling around in my brain. Orbis stabbing me released whatever or whoever was inside me. He didn’t try and kill me, he tried to save me!”
 
Peach hears the words, but finds no proof to support her statements. “Rosalina, I hear you. I really do, but I’ve watched Orbis unlock people from this planet and kill them! Zelda is gone. Link too. Nothing good has come from that monster!”
 
“What’s it going to take?” Rosalina asks, obviously frustrated.
 
“Proof!” Peach fires back. “If you can prove to me that Zelda and Link are not dead, then what choice would I have except to believe you?”
 
At the moment, a white light fills the courtyard of the compound, Sora appearing as the light fades away.
 
“You traitor!” Peach shouts, lunging at Sora, but the Keyblade Master easily sidesteps the onslaught. “You let Zelda and Link be killed!!”
 
“On the contrary, Madam President, I gave them life!” Sora says rather harshly, perhaps tired of being called something he is most certainly not. “Maybe it was you that killed them. Maybe it was your choices and your actions drove Zelda so far as to beg me to send her away from this planet.”
 
The words hit hard as Peach stops and stares back at Sora. Rosalina is surprised as Peach stops because for the entire week she is constantly moving, always pacing, and has not wanted to sit down.
 
“I am not here to harm you in any way, but I will tell you the truth, regardless of how fragile you may be.” Sora states. “You want proof, yes?”
 
Peach nods.
 
“Then help me find Orbis and I’ll make sure you get all the proof you need.” Sora replies. “Do you know where he might be?”
 
Peach pauses for the briefest of moments before finally succumbing to the same question that has been asked of her for nearly a month.. she shakes her head. “I do not.”
 
Sora looks at Rosalina and sighs. “Then I have to keep looking!”
 
“I discovered Orbis when I was underground.” Rosalina states, shaking her head at the thought of being there. “Perhaps that’s where he’ll be.”
 
“So he be anywhere in this entire planet and he would choose to be underground?” Sora asks rhetorically. “Who knows how big the core of this planet is. Guess I’ll need some help…”
 
A scratchy voice shouts from the intercom system. “Come quick! Something is happening!!”
 
The trio look at one another and take off across the courtyard and back into the interior of the compound. All three rush into a common area and met with the sight of Aqua standing at a podium, Reeves of the WRO standing at her right, Soldier 76 standing at her left, and Omnis sitting behind her in a makeshift throne. The camera shot pans out, revealing their location: The Watchpoint.
 
“What in the world is going on?” Peach asks as she watches in bewilderment.
 
“We’re about to find out.” Sora says as she grabs the remote and cranks up the volume.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
"My fellow Atarians.” Aqua begins. “It pains me greatly to have to say this: President Peach has been declared dead. All search efforts from the Atarian government shall cease immediately. No one mourns for her more than I do, but I know that she would want us to move forward in saving our planet!”
 
Aqua pauses briefly as she chokes back her tears.
 
“But despite this great loss, a new hope has emerged! A new era for Atarius! Our Savior has come! And his name is Omnis.” Aqua exclaims as she steps to the side, the camera zooming in on the God-like figure sitting on the throne.
 
After a few moments, Aqua steps back in front of the podium.
 
In the wake of Peach’s death, many of you have seen various names tossed around by the ANN about who should fill her shoes. I stand here before you to state that I will be your next President!”
 
Reeves can’t clap hard and fast enough, while Soldier 76 claps in an obligatory fashion. All those present and surrounding the podium clap loudly enough that the clapping echoes out into the cliffs surrounding the Watchpoint.
 
“Omnis is here to save us all and I am honored to serve and lead this planet into a new era of peacetime. With Omnis’s help, we will defeat any remaining Guardians that emerge and will bind that Heart Shard to the planet, saving all of your loved ones and all of your worlds.”
 
Another thunderous applause erupts.
 
“Let me deliver a stern warning to all those who may try and stand in our way: You will be charged with treason and you will be punished accordingly for your crimes against this planet! All of your past transgressions against the state will be forgiven if you will stand before our Savior and swear your fealty to him. To not will result in your immediate, swift, and unapologetic death! Our Savior has come. There is no need to fear him. There is no need to fight amongst ourselves any longer. Omnis is to be worshiped! We are the Chosen that will help to save this planet. We are the Chosen that will inherit the future! I will stand strong as your new leader and I promise you right here, right now, to deliver us from the wars that have plagued our planet. We will have peace.”
 
As Aqua steps back from the podium, Reeves steps up and presents the Articles of Atarius so that she can pledge herself to serve the planet. The camera pans out as all present clap, whistle, and cheer for their new President.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
The trio of Sora, Rosalina, and Peach watch in total shock as they try to process what just happened.
 
“You look pretty good for a dead person.” Rosalina says in a joking manner, breaking the silence.
 
“This is absurd!” Peach shouts. “You have to let me go! You have to take me back!”
 
“Not yet.” Sora says with a calm voice. “Not till you know the truth.”
 
“Then show me the truth!” Peach exclaims. “Right now! I'm begging you to show me your proof!”
 
“The truth lies in here.” Sora says, pointing as his heart. “But I’m going to find the person that can unlock your heart so that you can believe without a shadow of a doubt, just as I do. I’m GOING to find Orbis!”
 
To Be Continued

Chapter 11

Comet Observatory

Inside the Observatory, the trio of Sora, Rosalina, and Peach wait patiently for Orbis to awaken from his medically necessary deep sleep. Rosalina had redirected some of the power of the Beacon to aid in restoring Orbis faster than normal, hoping the quicker he could recover, the quicker they could begin their plans to deal with Omnis.

“How much longer!?” Peach impatiently asks, tapping her thumb on the side of the chair she is sitting in.

“Patience, Princess.” Sora says.

“I’ve been patient!” Peach barks. “It’s been three days since we pulled him out of the dirt!”

“And it might be a few days longer before he wakes.” Rosalina offers up her opinion on the matter.

“Hmmph!” Peach frustratingly says, falling back into her chair. “This is ridiculous. Omnis is out there right now, doing who know’s what, and we’re stuck here.. waiting. Waiting while my people are potentially dying.”

“Don’t you think we know that!?” Sora says with an annoyed tone. “I promise you Peach, I’m painfully aware of the atrocities Omnis has committed. No offense to you Rosalina, but I was on the opposite end of decisions you two made not too long ago. Decisions that got people killed!”

“That’s not fair..” Rosalina begins, but cuts herself off, visibly upset.

“I know, I know..” Sora says, rubbing his head. “I’m sorry. It’s just that everything that I’ve been saying since the beginning has been claimed to be blasphemy. I was labeled a traitor, not you. Old friends turned their backs on me. I used to be thought of as a hero. Now I’m a wanted criminal.”

Peach shuffles in her chair, obviously aware Sora is dancing around the fact that Peach is the one who made such labels possible. Sora looks her way, perhaps expecting an apology.

“We’ve all made mistakes..” Peach says, shuffling some of her guilt on to the group, rather than taking responsibility for it all. “I only had the information that my Council provided me to go on.”

“YOU HAD MY WORD!” Sora shouts, causing Peach to draw back into her chair. “YOU SENT THE LETTERS! YOU ASKED FOR OUR HELP! AND WHEN I CAME TO YOUR AID, YOU TOSSED ME ASIDE LIKE A LYING CHILD!”

“Am I interrupting something?” The stoic words of Orbis instantly ease the tension in the room.

“Master Orbis!” Sora says, leaping from his seat and offering it up to the Maker.

Orbis accepts and makes his way over to sit down, Sora taking a seat across from him, between Rosalina and Peach. The Maker looks over at his rescuers and can feel the hurt in each of their hearts. Anger lingers within each of them, though for different reasons.

Sora, the hero of the planet, branded a traitor.
Rosalina, the watcher of the planet, possessed and used by Omnis.
Peach, the elected leader of the planet, loveless and shouldering the guilt of her decisions.

“My children.” Orbis says with a loving tone. “You have many questions. I understand. But let me share something with you first. When we created Atarius, my brother and I, we weaved ourselves into the planet. Every rock, every blade of grass, every animal of the planet.. we are connected. Were connected I should say. You see, when Omnis’s creations were destroyed his connections to the world began to dissipate. And then when he turned his back on the planet by using his darker magic for his own attempt to seize control, his connection to the planet was all but severed.”

Orbis pauses a moment to take a breath.

“As my brother’s essence faded, mine inevitably increased and I began to feel the planet more than ever before. I could not only feel the planet more, but all the inhabitants as well. Even when I was trapped in my stasis, I was aware of what was happening.”

Orbis turns to Peach and reaches out and takes her hands in his, much to her shock and confusion. “I was there.. with him. When he died.”

Peach looks into Orbis’s eyes as he speaks his words, tears forming in her own eyes as she marvels at their unique beauty.

“He was not afraid. He was not alone. I held him close, as you would have, until the end. His essence, his spirit, returned to the planet. He lives here, with me, and I with him.” Orbis states as he places Peach’s hand over his heart.

Suddenly, Orbis’s eyes begin to change from their mesmeric swirls of colors to the eyes of her beloved..Mario.

“Hello my love, it’s-a-me, Mario.” Orbis’s lips move and his voice comes out, but Peach can feel his presence as if he was standing right next to her.

“Mariooo!” Peach shouts, beginning to wail as she is overwhelmed with emotion.

Rosalina begins to also cry as she witnesses what she can only perceive as a miracle. An act of a God. Sora chokes back his own emotions as he too fumbles over the reality of what he is seeing.

“I am so proud of you.” Mario says, a smile spreading across Orbis’s face. “You look beautiful.”

Peach reaches up and feels her hair, wipes her face, and halfway laughs, knowing she looks a complete mess.

“Oh Mario..” Peach says through tears. “I miss you soo much.”

“And I you!” Mario says, using Orbis’s hand to reach up and stroke her face. “One day, we will be together again.”

Peach sobs harder. “I’m ready now. I don’t care anymore. I just wanna be with you!!”

Mario lifts her chin up to return her gaze to his. “Atarius still needs you. And you are strong. Stronger than I ever was!”

“I can’t.. I can’t do it anymore.” Peach replies with heavy burden of her position weighing over her.

“You can and you must!” Mario presses in. “You will save this planet Peach. You are the hope for this planet. Not any keyblade wielder, not anyone who controls dragons, and not any kind of savior.. no. You alone can save Atarius!”

“Why me??” Peach asks.

“Because we believe in you.” Rosalina says, falling to Peach’s side and clutching her arm. “The planet believes in you.”

Peach turns to see Sora looking on with utter bewilderment, but nods in her direction, agreeing and confirming what Mario is saying.

“I’m not strong enough though. I’m just a Princess.” Peach says while shaking her own head.

“You are the President.” Mario states confidently. “You were chosen to lead the people, by the people, and for the people. You alone can inspire the planet to rise up and save themselves. Do you still have what I had forged for you?”

“Of course.” Peach says, tearing at the chain on her neck until the Ring of the Fireflower hangs in her hand.

“Keep it close.” Mario instructs. “You never know when you might need a little extra firepower.”

Peach smiles and clutches Orbis’s hand tight. “Still looking out for me?”

“Always.” Mario replies with a smile. “I have to go now, my love.”

“Stay with me! Please!” Peach exclaims as she realizes her miracle moment is concluding.

Mario reaches up with his free hand and gently pulls Peach towards him. Mario leans down and kisses her on the forehead, causing Peach to crumple forward. Rosalina snaps up to catch Peach before she can crash to the ground.

“Goodbye.” Mario says as the spiritual hold is broken and Orbis returns to his normal self, Peach’s hand slipping from his own.

Rosalina holds Peach as she continues to sob, broken and obviously an emotional wreck.

“If Omnis returns to power, he could potentially corrupt the planet and steal away the purity of the planet. Mario’s spirit would belong to him.” Orbis explains. “Every time he locks a Heart Shard, his power will grow as he infuses his essence back into the world.”

“What must we do?” Sora asks, ready to act.

“Omnis will intentionally try to call out the Guardians so he can bind their Shards to himself.” Orbis says with certainty.

“Celadon..” Rosalina says as she strokes Peach’s hair and face. “I saw on the news where half the city was destroyed and then Omnis conveniently showed up to “save” them all. At least.. the survivors.”

“So it’s begun.” Orbis says with a heavy sigh.

“We have to stop him!” Peach’s voice pierces through the despair. “I will not let Mario’s spirit become a part of that monster’s game!”

Peach clambers to her feet with Rosalina’s help. “I am still the President of this planet!”

“Not according to Aqua and her current regime.” Sora reminds. “You were pronounced dead weeks ago.”

“We have to find a way to tell the planet all we know.” Peach adamantly says. “I spent so long telling the world about how much of a monster you are and that you are the enemy. I don’t know how to repair that.”

“The execution!!” Rosalina exclaims as if a lightning bolt had struck her brain. “All eyes will be turned to the President then.”

“Who’s being executed?” Orbis asks, awkwardly unaware of the world’s events.

“The ex-Overwatch commander, Soldier 76.” Rosalina answers to Orbis’s surprise.

“Why?” Orbis asks.

“For standing against Omnis and Aqua and for killing the Blackwatch commander in cold blood.” Sora answers instead, earning a scowl from Peach and Rosalina. “Don’t look at me like that.. we don’t see eye to eye.”

"How does the execution overturn what I've said and done?" Peach asks, still unsure.

"You do that." Rosalina says. "By showing up. And you'll be bringing a powerful ally."

Rosalina looks to Orbis who nods.

“Ok, yes, well, it’s got to work!” Peach says, perking up as the plan begins to form. “Is there a way to communicate with Soldier to let him know we’re coming for him?”

“I know a guy.” Sora replies, solving the dilemma.

“A guy?” Rosalina asks curiously.

“Mmhmm.” Sora states. “The sneaky, quiet type.”

“Ok then!” Peach says, giving her approval. “You ready to stun the world?”

“My brother won’t know what hit him.” Orbis says with a smirk of his own.

Orbis outwardly cheers with the Atarians, but deep down he knows this world knows nothing of Omnis's true power. Everything that he's shown them is a mere fraction of what he can do. Fortunately, Orbis has never unleashed his truest powers either.

The world cannot be prepared enough as the two superpowers are about to collide.

Brother vs. Brother

Maker vs. Maker

To Be Continued

Chapter 12

Entry in the Vice President’s Journal
 
August 16th. The Age of the Savior.
Watchpoint: Gibraltar. Lunar Eclipse.
Public Execution of Soldier 76
 
It’s both coincidental and fitting that a lunar eclipse peaks today, also called a Blood Moon. The red tinge of the sky will serve as the backdrop as the treasonous ex-Commander of the Overwatch, Soldier 76, is beheaded for his crimes against the planet.
 
A glorious sacrifice to our Savior to show our thankfulness for his willingness to save the planet. To save us. We must prove ourselves worthy to inherit the planet that he has graciously allowed us to live on. Our Savior demands our willingness to follow him and in return he will deliver us from hell and take us to paradise. We cannot fail! Today will mark a turning point in Atarius’s history. We finally get to give back to our Savior.
 
The Watchtower: Gibraltar
 
At the highest point at the Watchtower, a white altar has been placed. An altar to honor the Savior of Atarius, Omnis. An altar to offer up sacrifice to Omnis to secure that the planet remains in the favor of the most powerful being on the planet. And today that altar will run red with the blood of Soldier 76. And many different groups of people of Atarius have come out to witness the beheading of the notorious criminal, some out of mourning while others in celebration.
 
The current Celadon Gym Leader, Michelle, has gleefully come, alongside an entourage of fellow trainers and survivors of the most recent Guardian attack. While their previous protector and Gym Leader, Erika, has most recently returned to their city, the damage of her abrupt disappearance coupled with Omnis’s timely heroic efforts in saving Celadon City has paved the way for the survivors to look to the Savior for guidance and protection instead.
 
Vice President Reeves stands at the gates, welcoming his fellow Atarians to the all new Watchtower, greeting first time guests and shaking hands with the people. Fanned out in the crowd are WRO supporters, dressed in disguise while guarding over the Vice President, should anyone post a threat. The VP’s loyalty to Omnis and the President exudes outwardly as he has embraced his role, throwing both money and support to Aqua as she leads the new Overwatch.
 
Commander Ghalt, General of the Atarius Army, has his men posted at all the checkpoints and entry points. The Army is in High Alert status, meaning anything or anyone that seems out of the ordinary is to be contained until after the execution. Snipers are posted throughout the facility, armed with tranquilizer darts to suppress any protestors once the execution begins. Killing people in the middle of a crowd didn’t seem like the smartest move.
 
The President is right to expect ill company. Soldier 76 now stands to be martyred for his actions, actions that instantly quelled the Southtown Civil War. Actions that saved lives. The same actions that he has taken in the past that has saved countless Atarians.
 
While Omnis claims to be omniscient, he has no idea what is in store for him today.
 
Dungeons of the Watchtower
 
Inside a black-iron cell rests the ex-Commander of the Overwatch. Very aware of what is about to happen, Soldier has refused any comfort offered to him.. rest assured it has been very little. His request for a last meal, that of a juicy steak, spiced potatoes, and a cold beer was countered with warm water and an MRE pouch labeled “Steak & Potatoes” on the outside. Drawing a smirk from the war veteran, he opted to feed the dungeon rat instead, figuring he could do more damage by helping the rat population flourish than he could eating the food.
 
Soldier 76 can see the guards from where he sits. Stupid idiots. One picks his nose idly while pondering who knows what.. which sheep to screw perhaps. The other mindlessly sits, near comatose, as he thumbs his phone up and down. As Soldier watches the guards, the thumbing and nose picking suddenly stops along with everything else in his immediate surroundings. Soldier looks down at the rat and it sits with its mouth half open, not moving.
 
“What in the hell?” Soldier asks, knowing something funny is happening.
 
A figure in a brown cloak descends down the steps and into the dungeon, hovering as it nears Soldier.
 
“Shit..” Soldier says, backing up into the cell. “What now?”
 
“Calm yourself, Commander.” The cloaked figure speaks. “You will survive today.”
 
“Say that again..” Soldier says in disbelief, wanting more information.
 
And with that the figure disappears into thin air. The rat screeches underneath Soldier’s foot as it comes to rest on its tail, scaring the bajeezus out of Soldier as time returns to normal.
 
“AHH!” Soldier screams, causing the guards to pull themselves together and snap to attention as the sudden outburst startles them as well.
 
“Knock it off old man!” One of the guards shouts.
 
“Why don’t you come in here and make me?” Soldier barks back.
 
The guard looks up at the other one, who shrugs, and returns to his phone. The daring guard walks over to the cell, much to Soldier’s delight, eager for a fight, but grabs an Electro-pole off the wall.
 
“Come on.. fight me like a man!” Soldier shouts, not looking forward to being jolted and wanting one last fight before he dies.
 
“Nah!” The guard says as he shoves the Electro-pole through the bars and shoving the electrical spikes into the body of Soldier 76.
 
Several moments later, Soldier 76 collapses onto the ground in a puddle of spit and urine, his body smoking as the electricity fades from his body. Soldier hears the laughter of the guard and feels the pain of the rat beginning to gnaw on his cooked ear before passing out.
 
High Noon
 
The crowds have gathered. The cameras are ready to roll. The President stands behind the altar, a wireless mic strapped to her ear. Behind her, atop a glistening white throne, sits Omnis. Many people are gawking as the Savior sits idly by, awaiting the execution to begin, doing nothing at all but admiring the people that gave gathered. The hooded executioner stands at their flank, large axe in hand, ready for the very primitive, but effective execution.
 
As the clock strikes noon, the President taps her mic, signaling to the world that the grisly spectacle is about to begin.
 
“My fellow Atarians.” Aqua begins. “Thank you for coming here today. Thank you for supporting me as I lead this planet to stand against those who would seek to destroy it. Our Savior has promised to see us all to paradise and today will serve as a reminder to those who try and undermine the Savior’s promise. Know that the Savior does not want this for his children. Our Savior only asks that we choose to worship him for the God that he is and in return he will save us all, and the planet we love so dearly, from perishing.”
 
A thunderous applause echoes throughout the valley as the crowd claps loudly.
 
“Bring out the traitor!” Aqua exclaims, prompting the crowd to erupt in a series of boos and shouts of rage.
 
Right behind the altar but in front of Aqua, Soldier 76 begins to rise up, shackled to the column by his wrists and feet, but able to move about aside from that. The crowd begins to throw all sorts of things towards the traitor: rotten fruit, tomatoes, eggs, bottles, etc. A good ole fashion shaming before the execution. Soldier stands his ground, taking the splattered fruit-to-the-face in stride, his pride swelled to the highest it has ever been.
 
"Soldier 76!" Aqua says into her mic, silencing the crowd with her hands. "You stand guilty of war crimes and convicted of high treason against the planet. The punishment is death. Any last words!?"
 
Not expecting the opportunity to speak, Soldier ponders over what he might say. After a few moments, he takes a deep breath and with every ounce of strength and energy he yells, "LONG LIVE ORBIS!"
 
The crowd begins to boo and yell louder than before, hurling the rest of their trash and food at Soldier 76. Aqua's face turns red with anger, but Omnis begins to cackle loudly, the Savior's ascended voice trumping everyone's  until nothing but his laughter echoes over the crowd. Omnis rises to his feet, prompting Aqua and everyone present to drop to one knee, some folks in the crowd having to be pulled to the ground, not aware of the custom.
 
"With this sacrifice I promise that all who come to me willingly will sit alongside me in paradise." Omnis speaks prophetically. "Let the crimson blood of Soldier 76 be a sign to all those who stand against me. And now, let the execution commence!"
 
As if possessed by demons, the crowd begins to chant for Soldier's head, the thirst for blood consuming their hearts. The executioner steps forward and pulls a lever, causing the chains to retract back into column, forcing Soldier downward onto his knees, stopping only when his entire neck comes to rest atop the altar. The ex-Commander looks around at the crowd as they are practically begging for his head and chooses to close his eyes instead, not wanting their faces to be the last thing he sees in this life. 
 
The executioner grabs the axe and steps to the side of the altar, heaving the heavy axe over his shoulder and then letting it come to rest on the ground behind him. Looking to the President for the signal, the executioner awaits the order. Aqua looks up towards Omnis for approval. With a wicked smile on his face Omnis motions for Aqua to proceed at which time she turns towards the Executioner and signals for him to commence. The Executioner grips the axe tight and swings with all his might, not even halting as a bright light flares atop the altar. 
 
*CRASH*
 
The mighty axe hits the marble altar, causing the white stone to crack. The crowd gasps as Sora stands up, holding up Soldier 76, unshackled but still very weak. And standing next to Sora is the former President of Atarius, Princess Peach, adorned in her bright-pink dress that she is known for.  Aqua stumbles backwards, visibly shaken, until her back presses up against Omnis's white throne. She looks up at her Savior who looks back with disdain. The look bites deep in Aqua's soul, feeling Omnis's disappointment for the first time.
 
"You're supposed to be dead!" Vice President Reeves exclaims as she points towards Peach.
 
"Far from it!" Peach shouts, turning to find the cameras. "Atarius.. this is all a lie! I have seen the light and know the truth. Your Savior is nothing more than a wolf in sheep's clothing, leading you all like lambs to the slaughter. Omnis imprisoned the real hope for this world.. his brother Orbis!! They created this world together and then after Omnis tried to destroy it, the people of this planet turned against him, driving him mad until he tried to kill Orbis!"
 
"Lies! Blasphemy!!" Aqua shouts. "Anyone can make up stories.. you have no proof!"
 
A flurry of Lumas appear and Rosalina emerges, yet again another shock to everyone present and to the world watching. 
 
"It's all true!" Rosalina exclaims, adding her own testimony to the mix. "Omnis possessed me when I stumbled upon their hidden chamber many months ago. Orbis tried to stop Omnis from destroying this planet and in doing so trapped them both there inside that cavern. Omnis used me to do his bidding until he could become powerful enough to stand against his brother.. when Orbis stabbed me he wasn't trying to kill me, but rather kill Omnis to once again save Atarius! Omnis is evil and wants nothing else but enslave this world to serve him.. not at his side but at his feet. He cares nothing for the people of this world!" 
 
"ENOUGH!" Omnis bellows, his voice penetrating deep into the minds of everyone present. "I've heard more than enough lies today.. I AM the savior of this planet! I alone can save you! My brother is gone, dead, and there is no hope for this planet unless you bow down to me!!"
 
Suddenly, beams of blue and white light streak across the sky, swirling together overhead the Watchtower.
 
"It can't be.." Omnis mutters as he instantly realizes his mistake, reaching out to the planet's core only to find an empty cell where Orbis had been imprisoned.
 
All eyes are glued to the sky as the swirls take shape until finally Orbis fades into existence. The crowd gasps as they are showered by the Maker's glory and then feel a strange calm wash over them as Orbis brings peace to their bloodthirsty hearts.
 
"Know this.." Orbis's god-like voice calmly, but loudly states. "My brother will see you all dead before choosing to not worship him. Although once a good person, the twisted image that you worship is nothing short of evil incarnate. Every time a Heart is locked, Omnis's power increases and eventually he will be powerful enough to destroy all of you with the blink of his eye. Do not give yourselves over to his lies! Stand with me and fight for your planet!"
 
"The Shield stands with Orbis!!" Gaige exclaims, ripping a cloak off of her body and revealing her face to the cameras. "Who will help us!?"
 
"Hoo-rah" Hundreds of voices declare, removing their own cloaks to reveal their new insignia.


From high up above the Watchtower, lightning flashes and the clouds part as Bahamut LIFE tears through the veil of Atarius, loosing a ferocious draconic roar. 

"This is our planet!" Rufus Shinra shouts as he flies into the air. "On this day, we stand in defiance to our Savior! We will never bow down to you!"

"On the contrary.." Omnis says as he rises into the air, his battle armor covering his body as he prepares for battle. "You WILL bow to me!"

Omnis raises his arms, forcing everyone present to begin to bow, friend and foe alike. And then, Orbis blinks from his location to behind Omnis, emerging in his own battle armor and kicks his brother square in the chest, sending him flying through the air. Omnis's mind-control spell ends, allowing both sides to leap into the fray. Aqua summons her Keyblade to her hand and lunges for Peach, but Rosalina flicks her wand and a Power Star appears in front of Peach. The Power Star begins shooting smaller stars at Aqua, overwhelming her until she is repelled backwards, thwarting her efforts.

Meanwhile, Vice President Reeves issues commands, instructing both the WRO soldiers and Ghalt to begin their assault against the Shield.

“Become quite the Tyrant, have we?” Rufus Shinra asks, landing behind Reeves, figuring he’d cut the head off the snake.

“It’s not too late Rufus!” Reeves pleads with the ex-President. “You can still join us. You can still be saved! You can still be redeemed!

Rufus becomes angry as Reeves uses a sensitive word, the VP knowing full and well the path Rufus walks in his efforts to repair his past sins.

“We will protect this planet from the false Gods that wish to destroy it!” Rufus barks. “False Gods like Omnis!”

“He doesn’t wish to destroy it!” Reeves fires back, a glowing silver ‘O’ appearing on his head. “He wishes to save it! And so do I.. ATTACK!”

As the silver ‘O’ appears on Reeves’ forehead, so does a set of jeweled armor over Reeves’ body. Reeves calls for more aid as more and more soldiers file out of the Watchtower, using Cait Sith to Boost each one with Courage as they storm the battlefield. Rufus sighs and flies off, not wanting to have to kill so many people just yet.

As Rufus temporarily departs, the soldiers turn their attentions towards those still left: Sora, Soldier, Gaige, and Peach.

“Take Peach.. kill the rest!” Reeves instructs to the cadre of soldiers.

"Get them out of here!" Gaige yells towards Sora. "We'll handle this!"

"You sure?" Sora asks, a little uneasy leaving the fray. 

"Oh yea!" Gaige confidently states. "Rufy dun brought the dragon.. we got this!"

"Very well then." Sora agrees, knowing the impact Bahamut brings to a battle.

"Peach, go!" Gaige says, smiling at her long-lost friend.

"But Gaige.." Peach begins, but a tranquilizer dart whizzes past her ear, causing her to panic.

"We'll talk later!" Gaige says, running over to her friend and wrapping her up in her arms. "I can't do what I need to do with you here. Get safe. I'll see you soon, k?"

"Promise?" Peach asks.

"You bet your ass!" Gaige exclaims as she winks to Peach, before turning her attention back to the battle at hand. "Aww y'all done messed up now! Sic'em Deathtrap!"

Sora extends his Keyblade and opens a portal as he, Soldier 76, and Princess Peach depart from Gibraltar, leaving behind a battle of epic proportions.

To Be Continued
Chapter 13

Skies over the Watchtower

“Brother.” Omnis says to Orbis as the two stand before each other over the skies of the Watchtower.

The Atarians continue to squabble below the Makers, Omnis having no concern at all for the battle, while Orbis continues to scan below to see how its fairing.

“Do you actually care for them?” Omnis mocks, seeing that Orbis is torn between the Savior in front of him and the Atarians well-being below. “Pathetic.”

“Pathetic?” Orbis asks as his temper flares. “These are our people Omnis. We brought them here. We created a world so that we could bring other worlds together that were dying so that they could prosper and live in harmony! At least, until you.”

“That was your dream, not mine.” Omnis replies cold-heartedly. “You wanted their love. I wanted their worship. We are Gods brother. We forged this planet from nothing and saved the people that we brought here. We deserved all the glory and we could have ruled over this planet together.”

“I did not want to rule over anyone.” Orbis says with a passion.

“I know.. so boring.” Omnis says with a smirk, but the smirk quickly fades to contempt. “And then you turned them all against me.”

“You were killing them!” Orbis snaps back, but is interrupted.

“I was only setting an example.” Omnis replies.

“...like ants!” Orbis shouts.

“Aren’t they?” Omnis retorts, causing his brother to totally lose his cool.

“They are our children, damnit!!” Orbis exclaims. “Can’t you see that? We should never want to rule over them, but live in harmony WITH them and watch in admiration is they grow.”

“Again, your dream, NOT MINE!” Omnis fires back. “You ruined my dream when you locked me away in that stasis bubble! I was so close to ascending that I could taste it!! But no matter.. soon they will all bow to me. As will you."

“Over my dead body.” Orbis says as a bright blue aura illuminates around his body.

“That’s the idea.” Omnis says as a glow of purple shrouds his own body.

The two Makers fly towards each other, Keyblades drawn, and as they collide the planet trembles. The oceans ripple, the ground shakes, the clouds part, and the animals of Atarius cower. Historians will write that watching the two Makers battle is like watching two colored lights flip on and off in the blink of an eye.

Minutes pass as the two brothers do their best to destroy the other, but find themselves equals when it comes to combat. The two bounce off of another and halt their advances.

“This is madness!” Orbis shouts. “We’ll end up killing everyone if continue.”

“Sounds good to me!” Omnis roars as he turns his attention to the Watchtower and unleashes a hellacious blast towards it.

“Nooo!” Orbis exclaims as he speeds towards the blast to intercept it.

The air bends around the Maker as he flies towards the energy ball, managing to get in front of it. Orbis channels his power into his Keyblade and then fires a focused beam of light into the center of the blast, causing it to fracture and dissipate before it can reach the ground.

“Baited.” Omnis whispers into his brother’s ear as he grabs the top of Orbis’s head with his hand and squeezes, the spikes piercing through Orbis’s helmet and sinking into his head.

Instantly, Orbis drops his Keyblade as his entire body goes limp and begins to spasm.

“That’s it brother..” Omnis says softly. “Die for me!”

And then Omnis suddenly winces and loosens his grip on Orbis, causing his brother to fall from the sky. Omnis looks down to see his brother’s keyblade jutting from his abdomen. Omnis looks over his shoulder to see Rosalina floating behind him, white-faced and terrified. Omnis scowls as he sees his former host and backhands her across the face, knocking her from the sky and back down to the ground. The Savior groans as Rosalina falls, ripping the Keyblade from his body. The pain of the wound is nigh unbearable, even for the him, but it’s not fatal. Omnis places tip of his own Keyblade to the wound and slowly but surely begins to heal his body. Omnis watches as both Rosalina and Orbis continue to plummet to the ground, eager to finish them both off as soon as his wound heals.

“Death has come for you both.” Omnis says as his body finishes healing.

And then a portal opens up and Sora darts from the other side, catching Orbis in mid-air and then darts back into it.

“NOOO!” Omnis shouts as he sees the delight of finally killing his brother begin taken away from him.

Just as Orbis turns his attention towards Rosalina, Sora once again opens up another portal and snatches her from the air.

The rage in Omnis’s heart burns, but he suddenly becomes aware that he is no longer shielded by the clouds as he feels the eyes of the world upon him. Quickly transitioning from his brother’s destructor to Atarius’s savior, Omnis extends his hands and beams of green healing energy flow freely from them, each beam reaching all those wounded, including members of the SHIELD.

“You are all benefactors of my grace today.” Omnis says, his god-like voice echoing over the Watchtower. “Go and tell the doubters how you were healed by the Savior!”

SHIELD Headquarters

As Sora returns with Rosalina, they are met with a horrendous scene. Orbis will not stop seizing. His body goes limp for a second and then begins to convulse. Saliva falls from his mouth each time. His eyes roll back in his head. And then he begins intermittently screaming as his mind frays inside his head.

“What’s happening?” Peach asks as Gaige grabs her arm to comfort her.

“Omnis attacked him. Pierced straight through his helmet.” Rosalina answers, the doctors now focusing on his head.

“We’ve got to shave his head.” The lead doctor states, prompting the other doctor to run to a metal cabinet and return with scissors and a pair of clippers.

The doctors quickly shave Orbis’s head, revealing five large holes from where Omnis drove his spiked fingers into the Maker’s head.

“Get back, now!” Rosalina suddenly exclaims as she pushes through the gawkers.

Rosalina pulls her wand out and places her hand atop Orbis’s head, doing her best to maintain contact beneath the convulsions. Rosalina whirls her wand around until a bubble appears, encasing the two of them and no one else. Lumas appear within the bubble and begin to multiply until all the onlookers cannot see anything at all besides the Lumas. Suddenly the Lumas begin to glow, brighter and brighter, until the bubble becomes hard to look at. And then.. it pops.

The Lumas instantly disappear and Rosalina gently rests Orbis’s head onto a towel, his body finally still and the wounds sealed shut, but in the center of each wound remains a black spot. From the outside, it looked as if the Maker was ok, but no one could know what kind of internal brain damage had been done.

“What did you do?” Sora asks, marveling at the healing powers he just witnessed.

“I asked the Galaxy to assist me, channeling the healing spirits of the Lumas, and asking them to find him worthy or not. I assure you, my Lumas could have let him die, but instead they know his heart. He is good.” Rosalina replies, soothing the souls and mind of all present. “Let’s move him into a room to rest.”

Several Days Later


“He’s awake.” Rosalina says to the group of anxious SHIELD members.

Sora, Peach, Gaige, Tot, and Rosalina all enter into the Maker’s chambers as he smiles upon their arrival. The group waits patiently as Orbis tries to form words and when he finally speaks, the words come out in gibberish.

“Anyone catch that?” Gaige asks, just as puzzled as the rest of the group.

Once again Orbis speaks, each word hurting his brain to try and formulate his message, his face a tell-tell sign as he winces with every syllable. And yet, no one seems to understand what he is trying to say. Orbis falls back into his pillow, frustrated and in pain.

“What do we do if we can’t speak to him?” Tot asks the group.

Orbis can see his Keyblade resting in the corner of the room, but obviously cannot speak the words to tell Sora to grab it. Seeing a glass on a table next to him, Orbis uses one arm to move his other arm to be able to grab the glass and then hurls it with what energy he has at the Keyblade. As the glass shatters, several people in the room jump. They turn to see the broken shards of glass next to the Keyblade and it hits Sora like a ton of bricks.

“Of course.” Sora states as he walks over and grabs Orbis’s Keyblade, bringing it back to the bed. “Just in case, you should stand back.”

Orbis pauses to allow the rest of the group to back up and then grabs the blade with his own hand. Immediately, Sora begins to weep about as the two connect telepathically, the horrors of what Orbis is showing him cutting him to the core. Sora finally wrenches his hand free of the Kryblade and collapses to the ground, his emotions running high as he cannot pull himself together.

“We… have… to… stop… him..” Sora says through his raw emotion. “He’s…going… to… kill…us…all.”

“Well, that’s not new news.” Gaige says, a little annoyed that the show has yielded no new information.

“No..” Sora says as he begins to dry up his tears. “I mean, I’ve seen it. All of your deaths. It’s like Omnis was showing Orbis what was going to happen when Rosalina stabbed him and the memories are imprinted into his mind. It’s all he can see. And now, it’s all I can see!”

Sora once again begins to openly weep, unable to shake grisly images from his mind. “Metro City is next! He’s going to call out a Guardian!”

Immediately, Gaige and Tot spring into action, wasting no time to alert the SHIELD.

“Yo, Rufy!” Gaige practically yells into a phone as she contacts her counterpart, Rufus Shinra. “It’s Metro City. Yes, I’m sure. Don’t insult you asshat. I’m sorry, I’m sorry.. you butthat. Is that better? Yea, alright. I’ll get Alice’s team in place. See you there!”

“Arrogant prick!” Gaige says as she begins to hang up the phone.
”STILL HERE!” The voice of Rufus screams from the phone.

“Oops!” Gaige says with a smirk as she closes the phone despite the screams still bellowing from the other end. “Tot! Let’s get Alice’s team into position so we can record everything! Oh, we’re going to nail this asshole once and for all!”

“How can I help?” Peach asks, eager to suit up and join in.

“We need to try and evacuate as many people as we can!” Gaige states. “Your pretty face should help that cause!”

Peach blushes a little. Gaige blushes a lot seeing Peach blush a little. Sora starts to cry all over again seeing the two blushing at one another.

“Alright, let’s get everyone on the phone who isn’t stuck five feet up Omnis’s rear to help us!” Gaige shouts, various SHIELD members beginning to scatter. “Someone call that maniac Jhin and let him know what’s up too. We’ll need all the firepower we can get and lord knows he goes on and on about how much damage he can do.”

“22.” Orbis states, the group turning towards him and staring at him, wishing they could understand what he meant.

“Come on..” Rosalina says. “Let him rest. He’s going to need all his strength to help us fight Omnis.”

To Be Continued in Sitewide
Chapter 14

Savior’s Throne Room

As members of Omnis’s court sit around him, each with a silver “O” now permanently glowing on their forehead, the Savior relishes in his victory over his brother by sitting atop his throne. Since Orbis’s death, the opposing forces have been quiet, the loss of their Maker numbing them to idleness. Knowing the opposition are in hibernation and that very few legit threats still exist in the world, Omnis can finally take a step forward with securing his future by dealing with the last of the Keyblade Masters.

“I have a mission for you Aqua.” Omnis instructs his puppet from atop his white, marble throne.

“Anything you say, Master.” Aqua replies, lowering her eyes and head in reverence of the Savior.

“I need you to retrieve the X-Blade.” Omnis says. “It is time.”

“As you wish.” Aqua replies, rising to her feet and drawing her Keyblade forth.


Aqua opens a portal to Castle Oblivion and walks through, leaving the Savior in her wake. The rest of the Omni-Knights continue to look forward, their faces blank and their thoughts snuffed. By locking Kingdom Hearts to Atarius, Sora would become his new puppet and then nothing can stop him from seizing control of the entire planet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Aboard the Minerva

“Are you ready for this?” Sora asks Rufus as they prepare to confront a demon of their past.

“Let your power flow through me and guide my hand to vanquish this fiend once and for all.” Rufus whispers to himself. “Your will be done!”

Rufus opens his eyes and smiles at Sora. “She is with us today. We will triumph.”

The White Materia glows a bit brighter as Rufus checks himself over one last time, causing Sora to feel a bit more confident himself. Rufus did not possess this deep connection to the Lifestream when they previously encountered their target, so knowing that in some way they are fighting with an advantage encourages him.

“I am proud to fight alongside you today Shinra.” Sora states as he pulls out his Keyblade to open a portal.

“As am I, my friend.” Rufus replies, the pair walking through the portal to face their fate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Keyblade Graveyard

As Sora and Rufus exit the portal, they both are startled to be back in the ancient graveyard where all of the thousands of warriors who perished in the Keyblade Wars lie, their Keyblades jutting from the earth serving as their headstone.

“He’s here.” Sora states as the feeling of dread that only this man was capable of consumes his heart.

“Oh I remember this feeling all too well.” Rufus says as his own body begins to recall the horrible feeling of dread that comes with dealing with the demon ahead.

As the pair trek through the rows of Keyblades, the voices of the fallen seem to call to them from the beyond. Indiscernible, but definitely there. They look at one another to get confirmation that they are not going crazy, earning alarmed, but agreeing nods from each other. The rows seem to be leading them to the center of the graveyard, where before the most ancient of blades were placed, but now in those blade’s place sits a black bench.

And sitting on that black bench is the person that Sora and Rufus have come to confront for the final time: Master Xehanort.


Adorned in his black robes, the Master of the Keyblade seemingly awaits their arrival and as they finally leave the rows of Keyblades, a cloud of darkness rolls in behind them. The two glance over their shoulders, both aware this is going to end one way or another.

“So good of you to “finally” come.” Xehanort says with outstretched arms. “Do you like what I’ve done with the place?”

The two Atarians stare back, slightly confused as they can see no big changes.

“You look confused.” Xehanort says with a smirk. “Here, let me make it more obvious.”

With a wave of his hand, the black clouds of darkness begin to expand and fill the vast wasteland and the entirety of the graveyard. The cloud forms a circle around the center, providing enough space for the epic battle to ensue. Monstrous growls and eerie scraping sounds begin to emerge from within the cloud as if an entire horde of demons threatens to burst from the cloud to devour the trio. And then the yellow eyes of the evil beings begin to glow. As the fear begins to creep into the hearts of Sora and Rufus, the duo look to Xehanort only to find a smug look on his face and they realize why.

He presumably controls the demons. The Heartless. The Hopeless. Xehanort’s personal army of darkness.

“I must thank you for defeating the Pillars many years ago, yes, indeed.” Xehanort speaks, his voice silencing the hellspawns. “If not for you driving me into the shadows, I would never have been able to answer the call of all the fallen in this graveyard. For you see, a spirit wants nothing more than to be acknowledged. To be of use once again. And thus, one by one, I began to shape my heart to theirs until they trusted me. By the time they could see their demise a monster was already born and the power of each Keyblade came to live inside it.  So you see, now the hearts of all these Keyblades belong to me! Bwahahaha!”

“We defeated you once before and we’ll do it again!” Rufus shouts, his soul unable to take anymore of Xehanort’s spew.

“Always such a talker.” Xehanort replies to Rufus. “Tell me Shinra. How does it feel to be chosen as a puppet? A sheep even? You are simply being used until you are of no use any longer and then you will be discarded like yesterday’s news.”

The words bite deep as Rufus feels the pain in his heart. But then the light in his heart shines through the dark, reinvigorating Rufus’s resolve. “My light cannot be snuffed, Xehanort. Not this time. Not again. I am redeemed.”

“You are a fool!” Xehanort shouts, laughing at the ex-President. “And Sora.. pitiful, little, Sora. Couldn’t save Kairi, could you?”

“Enough!” Sora shouts, his own inner demons clawing at him at the mention if Kairi’s name. “I’ve heard enough of your filth!”

“You’ve finally grown up.” Xehanort says. “A pity it’s taken you this long only to come here and die.”

“The only one who is dying today is you.” Rufus states with a smirk. “We’ve dreamed of this day for a long time.”

The Ring of the Fireflower flares in the darkness at the sound of Rufus’s “we”, the spirit of Mario eager to take his revenge.

“You’ll get the personally say hello to the plumber by the day’s end, Shinra. That I can promise.” Xehanort states as he summons his Keyblade to his hand. “I will cover this world in darkness once more! All of….”

Xehanort immediately cuts his words short, retreating into his own thoughts. “It can’t be.”

“Nooo!” Sora bellows as he too is troubled by something.

“What the hell is going on?” Rufus asks, seeing the two Keyblade Masters visibly shaken by something.

And then Xehanort suddenly disappears, the clouds of darkness instantly dissipating.

“We have to go, now!” Sora shouts as he opens a portal to Xehanort’s location.

“TELL ME WHAT IS HAPPENING!” Rufus barks, turning Sora to him.

“The X-blade has been summoned!” Sora says as he pulls Rufus through the portal.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Savior’s Throne Room

Sora and Rufus arrive to see both Ventus and Aqua hovering in the air as Omnis extracts the heart of Ventus from Aqua and simultaneously puts it back into the body of Ventus. Aqua begins to scream as the heart is torn from her body. As the heart returns to its owner, the husk of Ventus breathes with new life and begins to move.

“What’s going on?” Ventus asks as he wakes up to the shock of seeing Aqua and Omnis.

“The future.” Omnis states as he extends his hand forward causing a beam of light to enter into Ventus.

The former Keyblade Master gasps as the X-Blade is pulled from his being and reformed in the air before Omnis.

“STOP!” Sora shouts, causing Omnis to avert his attention from the X-blade and over to the approaching Sora.

The inadvertent diversion by Sora is enough time for the unthinkable to happen and a cloud of darkness suddenly engulfs the entire room. And then from amidst the darkness, Xehanort hatches his master plan. The corrupted spirits of the fallen Keyblade Masters launch themselves at Omnis, clawing at him and threatening to tear him limb from limb. The surprise attack catches the Maker off guard and he screams as the demons rip off his armor, his wings, his skin, his entire ascended form. The finally screaming subsides and the demons retreat back into the darkness as the black cloud dissipates.

Those present are presented with a grisly scene: the former angelic Savior has been literally ripped apart. Blood covers the white marble of the throne room. The white wings lay on each side of the body of the Maker, each wing stained in crimson. And yet, Omnis remains alive. On his knees with his body arched backwards and his arms limp at his side. All over his body, muscle and bone are exposed. All of his glory and grandeur has been stripped away to leave an unrecognizable being, hovering between life and death.

“Revenge is finally mine.” The voice of Xehanort speaks as blinks into existence and comes over to loom over Omnis. “Do you remember what you said to me? Do you? You called me weak. You called me pathetic. You said I was unworthy to be your apprentice! But now look at me Master. Look at all that I’ve done. You and Orbis may have created this planet but I made it what it is today. I brought all of these worlds together so that one day you would see that you were wrong about me. But you cannot have my world. I will cover Kingdom Hearts with an eternal darkness and rule over it as its keeper, its king, its GUARDIAN! And now, to my destiny!”

Sora launches himself at Xehanort but the malefic sorcerer grabs Sora by the throat with an invisible hand and threatens to choke the life out of the young boy. With his other hand, Xehanort grasps the X-blade and thrusts it forward. The air begins to crackle as the fabled doors of Kingdom Hearts begin to take shape from thin air. A heart lies at the center of the doors, each half on either door, and as the swirling beams of light enter through the keyhole, the ancient doors to the kingdom slowly but surely creak open. Xehanort slams Sora into the ground before relinquishing his choke-hold. Rufus rushes to the side of Sora as he slumps backwards against a pedestal.

“My head..” Aqua says as she clutches her head in pain. “Noo.. wait!”

The mind control spell breaks as Omnis loses more and more of his strength. Aqua tries to do something, anything at all to stop Xehanort from unlocking Kingdom Hearts but watches in horror as the sorcerer ultimately walks through the doors. Turning towards Omnis, Xehanort flashes a wicked grin and then slams the doors to Kingdom Hearts shut.

“Goodbye Sh…” Sora says, sputtering blood from his internal wounds. “Rufus..”

Rufus blinks his teary eyes and then Sora, Aqua, Ventus, and all of those of the Kingdom Hearts world vanish before his eyes. Although the scourge of Xehanort no longer exists in the realm of Atarius, the fate of Kingdom Hearts looks to be an unfathomable and eternal darkness for all those within the world. Rufus pounds the ground in anger and frustration as the last of the Keyblade Masters is taken from them. How will they survive now? Xehanort condemned Atarius to its doom while seizing control of Kingdom Hearts. He won. The grim reality of the current state of the world is too much for Rufus to bear and he falls to the ground openly weeping and struggling to maintain his sanity. The moment of despair is only broken by the wail of the dying Maker he begins to succumb to his mortal wounds.

At least, that’s what Rufus hopes is happening as he pushes himself back to his feet to watch the “Savior” finally die. Instead, a black and purple bubble of energy begins to form around the Maker. The bubble begins to crackle and bolts of dark energy begin to arc from the cocoon. One of the bolts hits the white throne and instantly shatters it. The beauty of the majestic throne begins to darken as a black tar-like material begins to coat it.

“BAHAMUT!” Rufus screams as he realizes his life is in danger.

A bolt of black lightning once again shoots towards him, this time his White Materia protecting him as the Lifestream pulses and collides with the magic. The planet pushes back against the planet’s destructor until finally the bolt of black lightning dissipates and is enveloped by the Lifestream. And then Rufus both feels and hears the sound of the roof being ripped off as Bahamut arrives coming to the aid of its Champion. Rufus extends his wing and flies up to the mighty King of the Dragons and lands atop its back.

“Let’s get out of here!” Rufus shouts to the dragon.

Bahamut spreads it wings and begins to retreat back into the sky, but the two are not quick enough as the bubble finally bursts. Bolts of lightning arc all around them but the Lifestream keeps them safe as they bear witness to the rebirth of Omnis. Having proclaimed himself the Savior and ascending to his angelic form, now the Maker takes on a new form. A death angel. Soon, Omnis will amass an army of slaves that no one will be able to stop.





It's the end of the world as we know it

To Be Continued