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[Fan Servant] Samson, Berserker of Israel
Berserker of IsraelClass: Berserker True Name: Samson Sex: Male Source: Old Testament Region: Israel Alignment: Neutral Good Height: 230cm Weight: 298kg
Character Creator: u/Eggplant_168 (Me) Character Designer: Keisuke Itagaki Character Voice: Daisuke Ono
Strength: B++ Endurance: B+ Agility: C+ Mana: C Luck: C Noble Phantasm: A
Class SkillsMagic Resistance A- Cancels spells with a chant below three verses. Even if targeted by high-thaumaturgy and greater rituals, it is difficult for him to be affected. However, should he lose his temper to a significant degree, its effectiveness will decrease somewhat.
Madness Enhancement E+ Normally doesn’t receive the effects of Mad Enhancement. In exchange, he keeps his normal ability to think. He has a remarkably short temper but while difficult, it is not impossible to reason with him while enraged. Having gone into a great rage many times in life, yet also displaying a cunning wit during these moments of fury, the rank of this ability stays at E+.
Curse of Delilah C- The cause of Samson's misfortune and death: the wiles of annoyingly persistent women. Upon a woman requesting information from him, a persuasion check is performed. The rate of success is quite small but increases slightly for each attempt made. After a certain point he will become too frustrated to deceive her any longer, yet unable to lie to her to save face. Thanks to his Madness Enhancement, as well as his desire to not repeat the same mistakes he made in life, this skill receives a demerit for women who don't remind him of Delilah.
Personal SkillsMonstrous Strength (Divine) A+ A subset of the offensive special characteristic possessed only by monsters and Mystical Beasts. This skill is born from the anecdotes of the Holy Spirit flowing through him and increasing his strength during combat, as well as anecdotes comparing him to the Sumerian Enkidu and the Greek Heracles. It temporarily increases his Strength and Endurance parameters by one rank should the "will of God" allow it, while only slightly increasing his stamina should he fight of his own will.
Vow of the Nazarite EX Abstain from all alcoholic drinks. Abstain from all unclean foods. Abstain from making contact with corpses.
The vows taken up by Nazirites, given to him since even before his own birth. Each vow he has taken increases his body’s fortitude while imparting a demerit should he choose to break it. All alcoholic beverages save for wines will be rejected by his body, all unclean foods have a risk of giving him painful stomach cramps, and all corpses that are more than a day old give him hives. As for the vow against cutting his hair, that is taken care of by his Noble Phantasm.
Last of the Judges A His status as the last of those meant to judge Israel, imparted as a skill. A skill representing his own intelligence. He was recorded as having been a cunning man, creating a riddle that the Philistines could not solve in a week as well as tying pairs of foxes to torches to burn down an entire village's crops. Allows for clear and concise strategies to be formulated while under a state of rage.
Noble PhantasmsLocks of Samson: No Razor Shall Come Upon My Head Rank: B++ Type: Anti-Unit (Self) Range: 1 Number of Targets: 1
Locks of Samson. "And no razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb; and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines." - Judges 13:5 NKJV. The primary and most well-known Noble Phantasm of Samson. This is the main source of his overwhelming strength, his own hair sublimated into a continuously-active type Noble Phantasm. His strength is at B Rank with two plus modifiers, allowing him to go toe-to-toe with even the strongest of Heroic Spirits. Should he say its True Name, his body will be filled with a mysterious and potent energy, allowing his strength to be increased to slightly exceed that of his opponent. But just as with his legend should his hair be cut short, he will lose his strength. As a Servant, his Strength and Endurance parameters will drop to E Rank, his Monstrous Strength (Divine) skill will be sealed, and he will be rendered blind. As such he keeps his hair in a tight bun wrapped under a thin cloth fitted with several holy sacraments of protection. A little much, sure, but necessary.
Jaws of Samson: I Have Made Asses of A Thousand Men Rank: C+ Type: Anti-Unit Army Range: 1 Number of Targets: 1000
Jaws of Samson. "Then Samson said: 'With an ass's jawbone, I have made asses of them. With an ass's jawbone I have killed a thousand men!'" Judges 15:16 (Alteration from SAO Abridged Episode 6.) The jawbone of a donkey Samson used in life. It looks and feels like an ordinary piece of bone because it is an ordinary piece of bone. But having used it to slay 1,000 Philistines on one occasion without ever being recorded breaking has allowed it to be "upgraded" by its mystery. Frighteningly potent and surprisingly durable, this jawbone, dubbed "Shimshōn" ('Man of the Sun', the translation of his Hebrew name "שִׁמְשׁוֹן") by him, is able to clash with the finest of weapons from all across history. However, it has no other benefits other than allowing Samson to hit someone really hard.
Vengeance of Samson: Let Me Die With The Philistines! Rank: EX Type: Anti-Fortress Range: 50 Number of Targets: 3000
Vengeance of Samson. "Then Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he pushed with all his might, and the temple fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than he had killed in his life." Judges 16-30 NKJV. A Noble Phantasm representing his feat of regaining his divine strength one final time to kill the Philistines who made a fool of him. Normally it is sealed whenever his "Locks of Samson" is still active. But should his hair be cut and that Noble Phantasm deactivated, he gains access to this. His hair grows back to its full length and he utters a prayer for strength before saying its True Name. A final attack to surpass all final attacks. He regains his strength one final time and pushes his body to its upmost limit and beyond. By pushing the ground with all of his might a large shockwave is sent into the area around him, dealing severe damage to his enemies and allies alike. As a bonus it embodies the concept of [killing more people upon my death than while I was alive]. Whether it be 1, 10, or even 100 people, this Noble Phantasm will always kill "one more" being than the total amount he killed since his summoning. However, this only reproduces his strength, not his endurance. As such he will absolutely die from the backlash of the attack.
CharacterA proud and responsible judge. A pious and faithful man who refuses to take the name of God in vain. If he were to identify himself as the Nazirite of God, others would immediately believe him. His nature is like that of a helpful uncle, always ready to help you with anything you might need should his strength be sufficient for the job. But be careful when triggering his short temper. Furious yelling should be taken in stride, but pure silence should be met with a swift apology and a prayer to the Lord for His mercy.
Despite relying mostly on his strength in life, that is not his sole tool. Were that the case he would not have become a judge for the Lord in the first place. He is quite capable of forming small strategies and utilizing his environment in creative ways. He also enjoys creating riddles for others to solve, relishing in the impossibility of the tasks he has presented to them. And while he will tolerate those genuinely curious of the answer, if they are respectful and patient, he absolutely loathes cheaters.
Underneath his reliable uncle persona, he does have a part of him that's slightly more wary around women. He had always ben plagued with annoyingly persistent women in his lifetime. They would never take no for an answer, and every time he gave in he would live to regret it. First his feud with the Philistines, then his ambush at their hands. While angered at the presence of his curse as a Servant, he accepts his punishment and strives to further stand his ground.
Motivation/Attitude Towards MasterHe will serve them without fail as a righteous and obedient Servant. He would be willing to kill anyone so long as there is proper reason for it. Towards those he bore no ill will towards he will make their deaths as quick and painless as possible. But for those who have incited his wrath, no mercy shall be saved for them. As for his wish for the Holy Grail, he simply wishes to know the answer to one question: Did Delilah ever truly love him?
He enjoys carrying people on his back, and should an appropriate opportunity present itself he will offer the chance. Do your best not to touch his wrapped-up hair. He does not like that.
Dialogue Examples[Servant, Berserker. I am Samson, the Man of the Sun and the Nazirite of the Lord. Hehehe...don't be afraid, Master. I promise I'm not as rough as I seem.]
[Hmm? "Why did I wrap up my hair so much" you ask? Well if you were to have a glaring weak point that could easily be taken advantage of during a fight, wouldn't you want to keep it protected? Besides, it feels nicer having nothing blocking my sight.]
[With an ass's jawbone, I have made asses of a thousand men! And with this ass's jawbone, I will make an ass of YOU! Go, Shimshōn, the JAWS OF SAMSON!]
[Something I hate? People who think they can cheat me, and I'm not just talking about riddles. Please be patient and respectful if you're stumped on one and really want to know. It wouldn't be nice if you were to piss me off now, would it?]
Historical Image/Character ImageA man conceived to be a Nazirite from birth based on the instructions of an angel of the Lord. As a young man he fell in love with a Philistine woman. Ignoring his parents warnings he set off to marry her. Along the way to ask for her hand he was attacked by a lion. At this point the Holy Spirit of the Lord filled him, granting him the strength to easily kill the lion. He kept this a secret from even his parents and became betrothed to the Philistine. On their way to the wedding he found that the lion's carcass had allowed for bees to nest and make honey. After eating it and sharing with his parents, he went to the wedding and presented a riddle to his thirty groomsmen during the feast:
"Out of the eater came something to eat. Out of the strong came something sweet."
As this was a riddle taken from a private experience, none of the groomsmen could guess what the answer could be. The Philistines were furious, both at the impossibility of the riddle and at the price of the wager they made prior: After seven days time, thirty pieces of fine linen and garments to be given to the groomsmen should they solve it, lest they cough up that same prize to Samson should they fail to answer.
Threatening to burn the wife and her family should she not learn the solution, she tearfully begged Samson for the answer and told them once she had retrieved it. At the last minute on the seventh day they said to him:
"What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion?"
Samson calmly said:
"If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have solved my riddle."
He then held up his own end of the bargain: Thirty pieces of fine linen and garments...looted from the corpses of thirty random Philistine men he had slain. This would be the start of a lifelong feud with the Philistine people.
Samson was denied the chance to see his wife, now married to another man under the assumption she would not want to see him. He burnt their crops with torches he attached to pairs of foxes.
The Philistines murdered his wife and father-in-law in revenge. He slaughtered many more of their people in revenge.
The Philistines demanded the Judahites hand over Samson, in which they complied. Samson accepted their request on the demands that the Judahites not kill him. As such when he was handed over, he broke free from his restraints and slaughtered 1000 Philistines with the jawbone of a donkey.
This came to a head with his last love, Delilah. After three failed attempts of her persistently guessing and testing the source of his strength, he finally conceded to her begging and told her that his strength laid within his hair. Having fulfilled her end of her bargain with the Philistines, they ambushed him at night and cut his hair, paying Delilah 1,100 silver coins as compensation before taking him away. Having lost his strength and being unable to oppose the Philistines any longer, his eyes are gouged out and he imprisoned and sent to turn a millstone and grind grain.
One day they celebrate their capture of Samson by hosting a public religious sacrifice to their god Dagon. 3,000 people all attend, including Samson who was brought to perform for them. Samson asks to lean upon a pillar to rest and he is dragged between two supporting pillars. However, his hair had begun to grow once more during his time in captivity. Uttering one last prayer to his Lord, pleading for strength to fell his captors, he pushed the pillars supporting him to the ground. The temple fell upon everyone in eluding him, crushing all 3000 people while leaving his body intact.
So is the story of Samson, the last judge of Israel and the Nazirite of God.
Character Image in FGOO' Lord that stands above all. O' Lord that has given me life, strength, and wisdom. O' Lord that deserves nothing but the highest of praises.
O' Lord...I am sorry.
I am sorry for my slyness, which had lead me to plant the seeds of discord with the brethren who should have been family. I knew not of the threats they had made against my wife, nor did I ever stop to ask.
I am sorry for my spite, which had lead me to reap the lives of innocent Philistines who had not wronged me in the slightest. For the thirty lives I have taken for their possessions, for the many people I slaughtered to avenge my family, and for the thousand asses I have made on a whim with your divine blessing, and a jawbone.
I am sorry for my weakness, which had lead me to fall in the face of temptation of that devil...no, of that woman named Delilah. I know not if she laughed at me whilst I was taken away, nor if she mourned for my sake or for her shame and guilt. But I will not scorn her for what I do not know.
I beg your forgiveness for my many mistakes, I beg of you to bring mercy upon these people, and I beg of you once more for one last favor.
...Grant me strength once more.
Grant me strength for the wife they denied me. Grant me strength for the family they stole from me! Grant me strength for the grudge they have kept burning for twenty damned years!
Sovereign Lord, please! Remember me, O' Holy God! As your judge sworn from even before my birth, it is my duty to pass judgement onto those who deserve it! All I require is the strength for one last blow. If not for me or for my family, then for the eyes they have taken from me! And should this final push end my life...
...then LET ME DIE WITH THE PHILISTINES!
Connections with Other CharactersDavid David holds high respect for the last judge of Israel before its monarchy, and Samson returns such respect for the great king of Israel. They will often hang out together, though he will excuse himself whenever David starts flirting with other women.
Achilles Became friends over their well-known and obvious weak points. Samson is quick to scold him of how such little care for something so essential could backfire on him someday. Achilles retorts that he never let his guard down around a woman.
They routinely fight in the Simulator.
Heracles His training partner. They can often be seen sparring in the Simulator. Despite his lower strength and agility, Samson is quite the match for the Greek hero. Should the berserker be sane enough, he would remark at how Samson "is a natural fighter who could master my Nine Lives if put through enough training."
Enkidu While not very close to Samson, he would notice the strange energy flowing through him and analyze it. He believes it to be the energy of the Counter Force enhancing his strength whenever he needed it most, but Samson stubbornly reminds him that his strength is God's blessing, not the World's. Whether or not either are right, or even if both are right somehow, remains to be seen.
Apollo/IshtaQuetzacoatl/Other Godly Servants Cordial with them but unwilling to respect them as "gods".
"There is no doubt that you are all beings greater than man. But the only God I will ever acknowledge is the Sovereign Lord who stands in the Heavens and created the Earth."
Queen Medb "Nothing good could ever come from that woman", Samson says shortly before turning into his Spirit Form and running away.
And now...the Holy Grail War begins.
Book 1: Chapter 30: Ultimatums
From Timothy’s arrival on earth at fifteen-years-old to the multiple deaths of his comrades at Xyphiel’s hands, Timothy told me everything.
How he received visions from the previous Metatron, Saint Dinah, the restoration of the Guardian Temple, all done by Timothy. He also told me of his rise in the United States Military and his tasks in finding artifacts on earth, both holy and unholy.
He informed me about the werewolf, Demond Winter, that he recruited, and his undead brother, Elon, who Xyphiel had killed. This touched on a sensitive point, as Demond and Timothy seemed close companions, and the recent death of Elon had placed some strain on their relationship.
My heart sank as it seemed that every comrade Timothy had lost was killed at the hands of Xyphiel.
The first casualty was Colonel Anderson, a close friend, and mentor of Timothy. Next was Fred and Sandra Macaione. Which Xyphiel added salt to the wound by turning Sandra into some cybernetic monstrosity who he named Serenity. Lastly was Elon Winter, who was a subordinate of Timothy and apparently was Xei’s romantic interest.
My heart went out to Xei, she had poor luck when it came to romantic partners.
That led to the most recent events. Timothy informed me that, though Evangeline was still alive, her soul was trapped in Sheol, a realm between Heaven and Hell.
Elon Winter, a deceased comrade of Timothy’s, who apparently was a reaper, informed him of Evangeline’s plight. Which made me more than curious.
“So, allow me to recap:” I began, looking Timothy over, “you speak to God?”
Timothy gave me a nod, “With Eva’s help, yes. We speak to God.”
“Because Saint Dinah is your grandmother?” I clarified, my arms crossed. This seemed unlikely and I was curious how this came about.
I remember Xyphiel had left Saint Dinah on earth, if she was Timothy’s grandmother that would mean that Rachel would be her daughter. I suppose it was possible, after all, Xyphiel did find Rachel on earth a number of years later.
I looked down at Timothy, “I attempted to help Evangeline, but Zepherina would not let me near her.”
“That figures,” Timothy sighed.
“Why didn’t you tell Zepherina about me, Timothy?” I asked, addressing the elephant in the room.
Timothy heaved a sigh, looking up to me, “Because she was the only one who could have killed you. Her mind had to be clear, without any thoughts about you being her mother.”
“It’s not the first time you've tried to kill me,” I smiled, “she almost got me, you know.”
Timothy did not laugh as I had hoped.
“You act like I’ll hold it against you,” I pushed further.
“I hadn’t expected you to be so…” Timothy trailed off trying to find the words, wringing his hands and glancing at the floor.
“Proud that my son was able to mobilize a force against Xyphiel and me? That you successfully subverted our systems and took out our most powerful weapon? That you have been driving Xyphiel and I insane as the most formidable adversary we have ever faced?” I boasted.
Timothy gave me a perplexed look.
“You do realize that every other world we came upon, the initial forces we would thwart within a day or so,” I laughed. “We rarely found any resistance, even from the supposed ‘heroes’ of the world.”
“Yes, I’ve seen how Xyphiel handles ‘heroes’,” Timothy narrowed his eyes.
“Yes,” I rolled my eyes, but smiled at him regardless, “Timothy, if I didn’t almost die fighting you, you wouldn’t be a worthy opponent. I’m telling you that I’m proud of you.”
Timothy chuckled at me, “You’re insane, mom.”
I gave him a nod, “Now, Evangeline's situation…?”
“We have to find the daughter of Persephone,” Timothy informed me, “so that Persephone will release Eva from Sheol.”
My heart twisted a little bit as I smiled softly, “It’s interesting to hear that Persphone is looking for her daughter.”
“Why?” Timothy asked, “Do you know who her daughter is, mom?”
“Of course I do,” I laughed.
“Tell me!” Timothy shouted, “I need to know so we can save Eva!”
“Persephone's daughter?” I grinned at Timothy, “Why, that would be me.”
“What?!” Timothy shouted in surprise, “Why did you never tell me?!”
“It never came up, besides,” I smiled to him, “my mother is Yuki Misho. She’s the one who raised me.”
Timothy frowned, “but then how do you know your birth-mother is Persphone?”
“I may have never met my birth-mother, but mind you, I knew her name,” I explained. “When I was first brought to Nite, I was an infant. The woman who ferried me with her wasn’t my mother, but she was a close friend of hers. She carried with her a note, stating that I was the daughter of Persphone and in need of protection.”
Timothy jumped to his feet, “Then if you’re the daughter of Persephone, we need to act fast!” He began to pace.
I beamed to him, “I can see your brain working hard.”
“What would your mother, Persephone, Queen of the Underworld and ruler of Sheol, want with Eva?” Timothy asked out loud.
“Catching up with family?” I mused, smiling, “Timothy, you’re rather frantic,” watching my son panic and pace was amusing.
“We have to find a way to save Eva. How do we get into the underworld?” Timothy asked, wracking his brain.
“Calm down,” I said, stopping his rapid-fire thought process, or trying to, “you act as if Evangeline is in danger.”
“This is important!” Timothy pointed out, “without Eva we can’t properly communicate with God! We need her, as soon as possible, for all we know we’re running out of-”
“Time,” I interrupted, “is relative,” I reminded him calmly.
Timothy glared at me, “I know that, mom!”
I gave a nod, “in the Underworld the flow of time doesn’t function in lock-step with our flow of time.”
Timothy seemed perplexed, “I don’t follow.”
“You told me that whenever your friend Elon went into his shadow world’ that time ceased, yes?”
Timothy nodded, “yes, he said it slowed down.”
“That makes sense,” I explained, “As a Reaper who ferries souls, the task would be impossible if time flowed normally,” I postulated, “For Elon to interact with you,” I stated, “in order to get you this information, he likely chose the proper times to tell you. So you, Timothy, need to tell Elon of what you have discovered. I’m sure he’ll come to you soon.”
“Then what?” Timothy frowned.
“From there…” I heaved a sigh, leaning back in the chair, “it’s not really a matter of how I get to the Underworld or not.”
“What do you mean?” Timothy asked.
“Timothy, if time doesn’t function normally down in this 'Sheol' then it stands to reason that Elon, being ‘a reaper’ as you put it, will simply ferry me to my mother upon my death,” I smiled at him.
“But you’re…. immortal,” Timothy pointed out.
“Everything dies at some point, I’d hate to discover I never die,” I got to my feet, “now I’ll know: if Eva wakes up shortly, then my time does come at some point or another.”
“And if not?” Timothy asked.
“Well,” I thought for a moment, “I guess we’ll have to convince Zepherina to let me look into Evangeline’s consciousness. The soul has to return to the body at some point, once it's fully healed.”
Timothy heaved a sigh, “Maybe this was a mistake like Sofia said.”
I narrowed my eyes, “Sofia? That witch? I do not grasp how you can stand such a heartless woman.”
“She’s my wife,” Timothy informed me.
My jaw dropped, “That murderous, raging bitch? She’s an absolute brute and a monster! You married her?!” I shouted.
Timothy laughed, “well, they do say men choose women who are just like their mothers.”
I couldn’t stay mad, as much as I tried, “Oh, of course. You would pick a strong-willed woman wouldn’t you, Timothy?” I laughed.
“I learned from the best,” Timothy walked to where the door was. We had been in here a better part of a day or so. “Please, consider my offer, mom?” Timothy pleaded to me.
“And consider mine,” I argued. “Timothy, fighting Xyphiel is just going to get one or the both of you hurt. He does love you, you know.”
Timothy nodded to me, “you say that. But I don’t think you’re right.” Timothy turned to me, his eyes narrowing, “So tell me, mom, why do you still follow him? No man has hurt you like he has and yet you still tolerate him. Why?”
That question made my heart sink. Timothy was right. Xyphiel had hurt me badly. Killing Moira, driving away Rachel, surely both of those were terrible acts. But Timothy didn’t know of all the good times we had.
The times Xyphiel and I were far simpler. When we were Kriggary and Sellenia. When I would work at my internship with Aunt Rezza only for Kriggary to happily drag me away so I could help him with his work in the church.
The wonderful memories I had with our friends Tassel and Lasser and how I missed them all terribly so, even today. Just to reminisce with Xyphiel about days long past.
Even our times as we aged and tried to discover our immortal curses’ origin. The times Xyphiel comforted me when I received yet another rejection from a woman who wouldn’t have me.
“You don’t know him as well as I do,” I finally confessed.
“I don’t think you know him at all,” Timothy shot back. “I think you’re recalling a man who died years ago. I don’t believe Xyphiel is the same brother you once knew.”
I sighed, “Timothy-”
“I will die when I fight Xyphiel,” Timothy said simply.
I rolled my eyes, “he will not kill you, Timothy!” I argued, “you are his only son! He would never cause you harm. This fight you wish to spark up is only going to end in a stalemate: Xyphiel will not end your life.”
“We’ll see about that,” Timothy said, “I’d like to leave now.”
I clicked a button on the small device in my hand, the door opening.
Outside Tasha and Rachel were waiting as if we had never left.
As we walked out, I looked to Tasha, “you’re more than welcome to practice in the Penthesilean churches again, Tasha. You’re not barred.”
“I’m afraid that ship has sailed,” Tasha said softly.
I turned to Timothy, clearing my throat, “ehem?”
Timothy walked up to Rachel, looking her over, “You’re a selfish, egotistical, sociopath and at the same time a complete and utter coward.”
I covered my face with my hand, shaking my head.
“But,” Timothy sighed, “...I know you left me because you thought I would temper Xyphiel’s anger… as Alyssa did.”
Rachel nodded to him, “I was also going to a city of women, Timothy. I would have had to surrender you to a stranger,” Rachel explained. “The devil you know vs the devil you don’t know. And I knew your father wasn’t going to hurt you.”
Timothy looked Rachel in the eye and for a moment I feared he was going to tell her something that I was not entirely sure she could handle.
Finally, Timothy just hugged her.
Rachel burst into tears and hugged him back, “I never wanted to leave you…”
“I forgive you,” Timothy said softly.
Tasha was all smiles as she approached the pair and as soon as Timothy was done holding Rachel, Tasha was hugging him tightly.
“Oh, I’m so proud of you, Timothy!” Tasha gushed.
Timothy hugged back and moved a few steps away from us, Tasha in tow.
“I’ll be in touch with Xyphiel,” Timothy said, “so expect me soon.”
With that, to my surprise, a pair of massive doors opened behind Timothy and Tasha.
As they swung open, I saw the Guardian Temple, in all the splendor it once was before I had razed it so thoroughly all those centuries ago.
I beamed, “you did restore it…”
Timothy nodded, “near to perfection. Thanks to many friends, many who Xyphiel has killed.”
With that the pair walked inside, the doors closed and vanished.
Rachel walked up next to me, holding my arm, “thank you for talking to Timothy .”
I nodded, “it took a lot for me to convince him to forgive you.”
Rachel hung her head low, holding my arm tighter, “I never should have left.”
“No,” I lifted Rachel’s chin, looking at her guilt-ridden eyes, tears flowing from them silently. I dried her tears away and tilted her chin upward, kissing her sweetly, “but that’s the past. The future is what we should focus on.” I said placing my hand on her flat, for now, stomach.
I groaned as I lay in my bed. Bella was on my right, Serenity on my left.
Bella’s finger traced over my chest, her head laying on my shoulder, “So, I see everything’s working,” she kissed my chest and purred, “perfectly, yes? Are you feeling all better?”
“Thanks to you,” I reminded her.
“Bella, you did great!” Serenity giggled, her hand caressing my left-wing, “I’m so happy Master has been fully restored.”
I turned to Serenity, smiling at my white-haired creation, “are you now?”
Serenity smiled and pushed herself up to kiss my cheek, “yes, Master!”
Bella gently dragged her nails over my stomach under the covers, “I’m glad to see everything worked so,” she lifted a perfectly sculpted eyebrow at me, grinning, “seamlessly.”
Serenity’s eyes widened and she sighed, “Master, your sister has informed me she wishes to complete the Coven of the Alexandrata.”
I sighed, turning to Bella, “You’re certain you can break open the seal?”
Bella smiled, her hand caressing my right palm, “if what you showed me is true? The only thing I’ll need is a proper sacrifice.”
I grinned, “Good,” I looked to my stomach, “There’s no drawback to what you've done to heal me, is there?”
“Well, normally the drawback is that four people have to die for your healing,” Bella chuckled, “not exactly a loss if you don’t care about the lives of mortals.”
I scoffed, “Mortal lives?” my eyes traced Bella’s supple form as she slipped from the sheets.
She snapped her fingers, black flames covering her body. As the flames vanished they left behind a black and gold dress which clung to her curves alluringly. The shoulders were framed in black feathers, the skirt was slit to reveal her lovely leg and an elegant high heel.
“Your magic is the only thing that has given those pathetic creatures any true worth,” I grinned, sliding out of the bed, slowly dressing myself. “Serenity, tell Ragna she can leave me out of the covenant.”
Bella frowned to me, “Xyphiel, are you sure you don’t wish to control the Titans?”
I shook my head, “There exists the slightest chance that if I were to breach the gate, Lucifer might take command of me. I’d prefer to leave the Alexandrata to Ragna, if at all possible.”
Serenity nodded, “I’ll inform her, Master.”
I was sleeping or trying to. I was kept awake wondering where on earth Zepherina had gone.
It had been days since she left and she hadn’t tried to reach out to me. Was she being kept from me? Who could keep her from me?
Was she hurt?
The door was soon opened forcefully and I shot up in bed, shocked to see Rasper in the doorway. “Rasper?”
Rasper moved to me and grabbed my arm, “Sorry brotha, but it’s time.”
“What?! No! You swore I’d be myself and-” I tried to protest before Rasper dragged me down the hallway.
“The plans ‘ave moved up and changed,” Rasper said, turning to me, a mixed look of excitement and worry on his face, “don’t ‘ate me brotha.”
I tried to pull away but his grip was too strong, “Rasper, please!”
“Sorry, brotha,” Rasper turned from me, marching down the hallway, “orders.”
As we continued down the hallway, my eyes widened as I saw Ragna standing before a large doorway.
“Zithero,” Ragna smiled, “welcome home.” She flicked her head to the right as Rasper continued to drag me behind him.
“Release me!” I shouted as Rasper dragged me into the room.
“In a moment,” Ragna smiled and followed Rasper and me inside, “I won’t get this opportunity for long. Xyphiel has relinquished his claim on the Alexandrata.”
“You promised Zepherina!” I shouted.
Ragna huffed, “my daughter hates me even when I shower her with affection and gifts,” she walked towards a large circle where Alexis and Syria stood at points of a five-pointed star. “Doing this will not make her hate me any more than she already does.”
I narrowed my eyes on her, “I do not blame her!”
Ragna rolled her eyes, “Rasper, get him in position.”
I was moved to another point of the pentacle on the ground. Rasper soon shackled me to a chain that was attached to the floor beneath my feet.
Rasper moved to a point on the other side of the star from me, looking away from me.
I turned to Syria, “Don’t worry,” Syria offered a weak smile, “when it’s over, Zithero, you’ll feel much better.”
“Zithy-poo!” Alexis giggled, “I can’t wait till we can do whatever we want!”
I glared at Ragna as she moved to the further point of the pentagram.
“Let’s complete this coven and all of you can continue the remainder of your existence under my rule only,” Ragna announced.
Rasper nodded, “Thank God.”
Syria was apprehensive, “Are you certain Master Xyphiel has authorized this?”
Ragna nodded, “he has and I don’t want to hear any more on this matter,” Ragna snapped.
Syria shrank back at Ragna’s order.
“I haven’t authorized it!” I shouted, “Release me! I don’t want this!”
Ragna sighed, “Zithero, to be honest, you need to let this happen. At this very moment, it is your best option. My brother, Xyphiel, has relinquished his claim on all of you and as such I will take the reins. As Rasper can attest, I am the better option.”
“Aye,” Rasper reluctantly agreed, “If dis is the only way for us to become titans again, so be it.”
“There must be a better way!” I argued, “I protest this!”
“Your compliance isn’t really needed,” Ragna shrugged, “now, let’s begin.”
Rasper’s hands were soon engulfed in flames. I turned to see electricity spark around Syria’s hands and water swirl around Alexis’s.
Ragna turned to me, “and now the earth shall rise.”
I narrowed my eyes, but before I could resist, I felt the earth spirits rise out from the ground below me and surround my hands. “No!” I shouted, closing my eyes tight, ‘Zeph, I’m so sorry.’
The ground shook for a moment and I heard Zeph’s voice in my mind, ‘Zith?! Where are you?!’
I looked around, not seeing Zeph, and turned to see Ragna’s eyes closed, as she started chanting.
‘Ragna has me and she’s going to activate the Alexandrata!’ I informed her.
That’s when an announcement came from Rage.
“Ragna, your daughter Zepherina is demanding you cease,” Rage droned.
Ragna opened her eyes and sighed, “tell her to come here.”
“I am directing her to the Ritual Room now,” Rage informed Ragna.
I sighed in relief.
“Damn it,” Rasper cursed.
After a moment I heard Zeph’s voice shout from the doorway, “Ragna, what are you doing?!”
Ragna turned to the doorway, “what are you doing here Zepherina?”
Zeph was silent for a moment, “I want you to leave Zithero alone!”
Ragna narrowed her eyes, “No, Zepherina. I am done trying to appease you at every turn. Nothing seems to satisfy you, so why should I continue to try? I am going to do what I must,” Ragna declared. “Now, young lady, if you wish to put a stop to this come here and speak to me face to face or leave.”
I frowned, “Zeph?”
Zeph slowly walked in, her head hung low. Her wings were black, blade-like and she wore some strange blackened armor that had markings of Penthesil on them.
“What is this Zepherina?” Ragna said, stepping off of the symbol, looking concerned, “look at me.”
Zepherina shook her head, refusing to look up, “Ragna, just let Zithero go.”
“No, I will not!” Ragna narrowed her eyes on Zeph, “If I do, then Xyphiel will take control of Zithero,” Ragna said, moving her hand to Zeph’s chin, tilting her head up to look her in the eye, “Is that what you want?”
I looked up to see Zepherina’s eyes were gone, replaced by two burning orbs of violet steam. I tugged hard at my chains.
“What did you do to her?!” I screamed.
“What have I done?” Ragna turned to me, “I have done nothing.”
Zeph turned from the sound of my voice.
“Zeph!” I shouted, “are you okay!?”
Zeph clenched her jaw and turned to me, “Zith, I’m… sorry I…” she trailed off, she turned from me once more.
I frowned, “Zeph?”
Ragna looked between Zepherina and me and walked over to me, undoing my chains.
“What-” I was about to say before Ragna whispered into my ear.
“She is terrified of what she’s become and she is afraid of showing you, you idiot! Now comfort her,” Ragna hissed, “or I’ll destroy you.” she emphasized this by pushing me towards Zepherina.
I stumbled to Zepherina’s feet, looking up at her, “Zeph?” I smiled up to her, “I was so worried about you.”
Zepherina knelt down and hugged me tightly. Her stiff wings soon wrapped around me tightly and she picked me up in her arms. “I’m sorry, I was just…”
I tried to look into her eyes, only seeing the void broken by the light of the glowing wisps of violet. I realized the orbs of steam were her soul, manifested. I could see Zeph’s spirit, “so can you blink or… just… always seeing?”
Zepherina half laughed and half sobbed at me, holding me tightly, shoving my face in her shoulder, “I won’t let her take you, Zithero!”
Ragna crossed her arms and smiled at us, “Zepherina, if I may pose an amicable solution for everyone here?”
Zeph looked up to her, pulling me away from Ragna’s gaze as if I were nothing but a toy she was trying to take from Zeph, “what?” she snapped at Ragna, her eyes shifting from orbs of steam to balls of fire.
“Xyphiel has relinquished his stake in the Alexandrata,” Ragna explained, “thus why I wanted to act and consolidate my hold on them.”
Zepherina narrowed her eyes, “Consolidate? They aren’t objects for you to collect! They’re people!”
“Perhaps,” Ragna grinned as she shrugged, “regardless, I will do what I must to take complete control over the Alexandrata. The Alexandrata, after all, cannot be complete without a master.”
“It’s true!” Syria shouted, “We always need a master! That’s part of the covenant! We will become Titans in exchange for our free will.”
Rasper growled, “for the rest of our lives, sadly.”
Ragna nodded, “indeed, a master is needed to keep the Alexandrata in check.”
Zepherina lifted an eyebrow, “why are you all so willing to sell your souls over this?”
Rasper growled, “Because being mortal is a curse after we’ve become one with the spirits!”
Alexis whined, “I miss the ocean and sea whispering to me.”
“And I long to become nothing but wind gentle or terrible as my mood of the day,” Syria confessed.
“All of their powers will be restored once I bring Zithero into the fold,” Ragna grinned,
Zepherina narrowed her eyes, “Unless what?”
Ragna grinned wickedly, “Zepherina, why don’t you take control of the Alexandrata?”
I returned with Tasha and saw Sofia waiting for both of us.
“So, how did the talk go?” Sofia asked.
“Well enough,” I sighed.
“Well? Is she going to kill him?” Sofia probed.
“Not without proof that Xyphiel is no longer Kriggary,” I informed her.
Sofia closed her milky eyes and gave a short exhale through her nostrils, “which means you’re going to run off to your death, to die by your father’s hands?”
Tasha walked up to Sofia, “Sofia, listen, you and I need to put our differences aside here-”
Sofia opened her eyes and narrowed them on Tasha, “Oh? Are you also for this insane plan?”
“No!” Tasha protested, “Absolutely not! My avatar is the protector of Enoch! I can’t just let him roam off to his certain death!” She pointed at me, “Help me talk him out of it!”
Et Tu, Tasha?
Sofia turned to me, with Tasha now standing next to her, “You’re getting outnumbered pretty quickly here, Timothy.”
I winced, my full name from Sofia always felt like a knife jabbed into my heart.
Tasha clasped her hands together, “Timothy, I’m begging you, don’t do this! You don’t know what Father is capable of.”
Demond soon joined the pair, seemingly having caught wind of the discussion with his enhanced hearing, “I do and I can say it was disappointing to realize that he was fighting me with one hand tied behind his back.”
Tasha turned to Demond, dismay on her face, “What?”
“I was fighting him and I thought I was doing well,” he turned to Sofia and Tasha, “but the final blow he hit? He pushed me back with one arm and cut me down with the other. He was toying with me the entire fight, likely for shits and giggles.”
“I know what Xyphiel is capable of,” I informed Demond.
“Do you, Timothy?” Sofia asked, walking up to me, Sofia's small size doing very little to hide the fire behind her milky eyes as she glared up at me.
I gave Sofia a nod, “I know what he can do. I know what I’m up against,” I tapped the side of my head, “I have Sync to guide me.”
Demond looked to Sofia and Tasha, then to me, “Major, sir, I want to help if you’re going to face Xyphiel.”
I shook my head, “Demond, I understand your desire but you cannot, I need you for other operations.”
Tasha nodded, “Yes, that much I agree with.”
“I have a score to settle with him, Major,” Demond narrowed his eyes, “I want to be the one to take him out.”
Tasha heaved a sigh, “is this a man thing? To want to rush to their deaths?” she asked Sofia.
“Maybe,” Sofia turned and approached Tasha, “come on, if these two get their way, we’ve got funerals to plan.”
Tasha frowned, turning from us and giving Demond a devastating look before turning and leaving with Sofia.
Demond and I stood alone in the foyer watching the pair leave.
“Well,” Demond heaved a sigh once they had exited the foyer, “they’re upset.”
“Yeah,” I swallowed hard, turning to Demond, “Tasha needs you.”
Demond turned to me, “Sir-”
“Drop the sir,” I said, “My sister needs you.”
“And what about Sofia?” Demond shot back, “doesn’t she need you too?”
I turned from him, looking to where Sofia had walked off too, “I never wanted her involved in any of this. But she climbed her way in and forced herself to be part of this operation.”
“Yeah, that sounds like the Captain,” Demond confirmed.
“If I had my way,” I sighed, “she’d be safe under Colonel Anderson’s department, working a safe desk job.”
“I’m pretty sure that, one way or the other, Sofia would have found you, Timothy,” Demond said simply.
I turned to face him, “oh?”
“She’s not the sort of woman to just lay back and accept things the way they are,” Demond smiled, “reminds me a bit of how my mom was with my father. To a lesser degree, sure, but she was always strong. Even in the end.”
I placed my hand on Demond’s shoulder, “I want you to know, that wasn’t hyperbole. I need you.”
Demond turned to me, a smile on his face, “What for? The US has basically turned their back on you and I’m guessing they’ve done the same to all of us.”
I chuckled, “the United States isn’t the only superpower in the world.”
As I approached the bridge, I felt as if I had an entourage behind me.
Bella strode next to me on my right, in her lustful humanoid form, while Serenity was on my left.
Serenity was wearing a form-fitting suit, hugging her from neck to toe. Her feet were clad in combat boots. Fingerless gloves graced her delicate yet deadly fingers, all the same grey and glossy fabric that I knew was laced with the nanites that empowered the cyborg.
On the bridge was Ragna and Rachel, both clearly waiting for my arrival.
“Fashionably late, I see?” Ragna mocked.
I glanced up to the main screen, seeing Timothy wearing a heavy trench coat, his wings prominently displayed.
I sneered as I sat at my seat, looking at his face.
I’d seen this face before.
He was about to bluster about ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and ‘faith’ and how my tyranny would come to an end. Or perhaps about how I’ll reap what I sow and so on.
I was slightly surprised by what he said.
“I’ll meet you here, soon. Face to face. I picked a location that’s devoid of potential collateral damage,” Timothy informed me.
Apparently he wanted to move the location of his little speech. “Fine, boy,” I said, “after our talk, you’ll be coming home.”
“I am home,” Timothy said as the communication was cut off.
I took a deep breath and heaved a sigh.
“He’s done well for himself, Xyphiel,” Ragna stated.
“He’s our son, I’d expect no less,” I argued.
“Well, I’m proud of him,” Ragna turned to me, “he’s been very resourceful,” she lifted an eyebrow, “Why are you wearing the Claws of Echidna?”
“Protection,” I said simply, glancing to my gauntlet.
“And the Flint Boots?” Ragna asked, looking them over, narrowing her eyes. “I didn’t expect you to pull out powerful weapons from our previous allies.”
“Gifts are gifts,” I grinned to Ragna, “Why the concern?”
Ragna shook her head, “nothing. Bring our son home safely, please?” Ragna asked me.
“I will try,” I turned from her, standing up and walking away.
“Master, do you need our assistance?” Serenity asked.
I turned to Bella and Serenity, “no. Why don’t you wait here for me? I shouldn’t be too long.”
Serenity smiled, “I’ll be awaiting your return, Master.”
Bella scoffed, “fine, but don’t expect me to be friendly with the boy.”
I turned to Bella, “actually, why don’t you send me down to him.”
Bella smiled, “Certainly,” she snapped her fingers, a dark portal opening for me.
I walked through the portal and before me stood my son, Timothy.
“Timothy,” I smiled to him, “it’s been too long.”
“Not long enough,” Timothy responded.
I sighed, the portal closing behind me, “Timothy, I think you need things placed into context.”
“Context?” Timothy narrowed his eyes, “you walked into the Guardian Temple, strode into the Guardian Council room, and slaughtered those responsible for enforcing God’s will on the mortal plane!”
“Did you ever ask yourself, why I did that?” I offered.
“Why?” Timothy said, confusion on his face.
I closed my eyes, shaking my head, “My boy… I had hoped to spare your faith but it seems you’ve taken the road of Zealotry. So allow me to free you from the lies.”
“I doubt you can shake my faith,” Timothy sneered, “father.”
“Do you know what happened to me? How I was cursed?” I asked.
“I know you fell from grace and that you didn’t get your way, so you destroyed the Guardian Temple,” Timothy claimed.
“I was the Scribe Lord of Nite,” I laughed, “I was the point of contact for the Angels of God!”
Timothy narrowed his eyes on me.
“When I fell,” I described, “I was transformed into this…” I motioned with my hands to the present state of my body, “Only able to achieve my pure Niten form when angered. A terrible irony. But,” I questioned, “do you even know who cursed me?”
“Lucifer,” Timothy stated
“Correct,” I snapped. “I was cursed by Lucifer himself... and as you know a curse can only be undone by a more powerful angel, deity, or the angel who performed the curse.”
Timothy was silent.
“So,” I grinned to Timothy, “when I went before the Guardian Council I was certain my curse could be lifted,” I narrowed my eyes, “but do you know what that charlatan Dinah said to me?”
“I am pretty sure the word was ‘no’,” Timothy said.
“No, she said: ‘I am unable to remove the curse from you’,” I narrowed my eyes, “unable. Meaning she did not have the power of God, nor was she even more powerful than Lucifer. Meaning her and all the angels within, were nothing!”
“They were avatars!” Timothy shouted, “they served God, they are not gods themselves!”
I shook my head, “Avatars… they’re imbued?” I laughed. “Yet they still cannot perform a simple cleansing? My Boy, that is shaky ground for your faith to stand upon.”
“Good thing I have wings,” Timothy shot back.
I couldn’t help but laugh at the naive boy.
Timothy was not amused.
“Come. boy, return home. Your mothers are waiting and I’m sure everyone else would like to see you again as well,” I offered, extending my hand, “I’m willing to let this all slide by the wayside.”
“I’m not,” Timothy snapped, “You’ve killed a slew of my friends and comrades.”
“To be fair,” I smiled, “they were trying to kill me.”
“This isn’t a joke nor a game,” Timothy growled.
“No, you’re wrong,” I mocked, “it is a game and you, my boy, are a joke.”
Timothy’s fist clenched as his eyes narrowed on me, the blue of his eyes pulsed with energy.
“Are you insulted? By all means, my son, you’ve played well. It’s been damn near entertaining to clash with your wits,” I smiled to him, “dare I say? I’m proud.”
“Your praise means nothing to me!” Timothy spat.
“Be that as it may,” I continued, “the game here, is no longer in your favor. Now that I know who you are and what you’re trying to do, I can say with impunity that you will lose today.”
“And I can say, if you love me as a son, you won’t kill me,” Timothy pointed out.
Damn. Maybe, he is not a complete fool.
I grinned, “Oh?”
“You’re my father, I know you must have some love for me, somewhere in that shriveled thing you call a heart,” Timothy jabbed.
I laughed, “I do love you boy, that I do.”
“So I have an advantage, if you love me, you can’t kill me, but I can kill you,” Timothy reasoned.
“Ask Eva how that worked out for her,” I grinned, “the girl bit off far more than she could chew.”
Timothy continued, unabated, “Regardless, I have the advantage here, I have the will to kill you.”
“But do you have the capacity?” I mused, “doubtful. You can claim you wish to kill me all you want but you lack the ability.”
“I’ll give you this one chance: Give up. Go away, find something to fill your time that isn’t breaking open the doorway to Hell,” Timothy requested.
I couldn’t help but laugh. I laughed long and well at the boy. Finally, when I was done, I grinned at him, making sure it was a wicked grin, “That’s your ultimatum? If I can remind you, you destroyed my only way to go anywhere else!” I chuckled, “do you expect me to take your pathetic space station? No boy, I’m here to stay now.”
Timothy’s lip lifted up in a sneer and I could have sworn I saw his skin darken.
“Here is my ultimatum,” I began, “you come with me, take your angelic friends and powers with me and together we will unlock the gateway to Hell. I will go down into the depths, slaughter Lucifer himself as vengeance for all of Nite and then, after that task has been completed… you may kill me.”
Timothy shook his head, “I’m afraid I’m going to have to skip the better part of that plan, father.”
I grinned, “you cannot kill me.”
“I’m going to give it my best,” Timothy glared, “it’s like you said Father: Inaction is action. But I won’t stand by and let you get away with murder after murder and atrocity after atrocity. Today is your reckoning. As God as my witness, I will end you here and now!”
Timothy pulled out the Spear of Destiny, as I knew it and I couldn’t help but smile.
He had the tools but I knew the skills were lacking. I wondered if he even knew that I could see every card on his table.
The game was set and all things considered, Timothy would have been a worthy opponent. Though I was disappointed by one assertion he made.
“God?” I shook my head, “you’re still under the delusion that he cares about you.”
Timothy nodded, “God loves all of his children.”
“Even me?” I asked, grinning ear to ear.
“Even you,” Timothy growled.
I shook my head, “no, Timothy.”
Timothy was at the ready, like a kitten who found a moth to pounce upon, but I wasn’t in the mood to fight him, not yet. I had to ensure he understood his position.
“You claim that I will not kill you,” I narrowed my eyes on him, “is that because that’s what Synchronous is telling you?”
Timothy’s eyes went wide.
“Ragna found she was missing, Ragna’s video to out you was actually a trap to determine if Sync was, indeed, here,” I grinned, “clever as Xei is, without a quantum computer of Synchronous’s caliber she’d never be able to decrypt Rage’s encryption.”
Timothy was growing frustrated now that I had unraveled his plot.
“You don’t seem to understand how much I’ve suffered,” I growled, “Do I wish to kill you, Timothy? No. But you are making the mistake so many men before you have made.”
“And what’s that?” Timothy asked.
“You’re standing in my way,” I growled. “Do you know the formula for a hero?”
Timothy looked confused.
“A hero is a man who’s bravery pits him against immeasurable odds,” I smiled, “but you’re not a hero unless you die for your cause.”
Timothy took a step back, readying himself.
“So, are you ready to become a hero for your God?” I mocked.
“I am ready to die for God, yes,” Timothy declared.
I shook my head in disappointment, “God sees you as nothing more than a pawn, boy. I wish you could see that. We are naught but pieces in his continued game against His most potent son.”
“So, what?” Timothy snapped, “you plan on moving up from pawn?”
“I am no pawn,” I grinned, clenching my gauntlet before him, “I am the King.”
Timothy’s eyes widened, “You’re insane.”
I laughed, “And I will not remain a simple chess piece,” I declared as I lifted my fist into the air, “I will become "The Player". I am the piece that shall strike his master and take his place!” I shouted, “I shall take my own destiny! And I will destroy anyone who stands in my way!” I narrowed my eyes on Timothy. “Even my own son.”