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Luminous Heart [Pending Title]

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  • Class: {{esusrinfo_class442696}}
    Level: {{esusrinfo_level442696}}
    Guild Name: {{esusrinfo_guild442696}}

    Alright, we're back! I ended up picking up a second job a couple of months back. This combined with my extra hours on the weekends with my fulltime job left me with almost no time to write. I've been piecing this together bit by tiny bit since then. I apologize for the wait! I hope you enjoy it!
    Raul was at the end of her patience with Illipia. She was well aware that her sister possessed the means to heal grievous injuries, but she did not know that she could mend herself quickly enough to avoid death from a fatality. Even Oryed and Dryad would die instantly upon being impaled through the abdomen and then shot full of deadly lightning. If the injury itself was not fatal, the internal damage caused by the lightning would end them on the spot.

    It seemed that Illipia could repair such damage swiftly enough to avoid death from such an attack. This was frustrating at the very least for the violent Celestial, to see her great power mitigated by such… cheap tricks.

    But she could see the pain on Illipia’s face. How her jaw clenched, how her breathing rapidly escalated, how her brows furrowed. She was in agony. Raul sneered; for all her sister’s great talents in healing, she could not overcome pain.

    And she was good at administering pain. She sidestepped a swipe from her sister’s blade and conjured a small knife of lightning in her hand. She felt a giddy sensation well up from inside her as she drove the small blade into Illipia’s thigh and tore the blade through her leg, her sister screaming in agony the whole time. She went for an arm next, locking it into a hold and snapping it at the elbow, embedding the knife into Illipia’s shoulder just for the hell of it. She wrapped up her torture session with a lightning empowered chop to Illipia’s good wrist, severing the hand.

    Then she backed off, twirling confidently through the air. “I’ll give you a moment to sort yourself out, Sister,” she taunted, summoning another spear and resting it on her shoulder. She watched as Illipia’s catalyst, her pendant, shined and engulfed her in a warm light. Once it faded, her arm was set, her leg mended, and her hand returned. But her breaths were still rapid and shallow, her face contorted in agony. She brought her weapons to the ready again.

    Raul rolled her eyes. “How long do you plan on keeping this up, Illipia? How many times am I going to have to run you through, dismember you, and kill you before you give up?”

    “As many times as I need to endure to put an end to this madness…” Illipia managed.

    Raul rolled her eyes dramatically. “Dear El, that is so cliche it makes me want to gag. You’re going to die, you know? You can’t defeat me, Ilipia! You know it! I know it! So hurry up and keel over so I can get back to my judgment!" She did not bother asking for her sister to concede. She was having far too much fun torturing her. Centuries of resentment, hatred and false appearances fueled the wrath in her and cried in joyous anger at the opportunity to end Illipia.

    She charged forward again, a manic smile splitting her face as she and her sister clashed again and again. Again Raul cut her. Again she stabbed her. Again Ilipia's blessing healed her.

    Again. And again. And again.

    And still, under the excruciating pain, Raul could still see a glimmer in Ilipia's azure eyes. A spark of life. Of defiance.

    And she hated it.

    She would see this spark smothered and the light of this defiant life destroyed...
    Screams erupted below and away from Eun as she rampaged across the valley and the sky split with bolts of lightning. Xin warriors rose to challenge her, but were no match for her powerful wrath. Civilians ran to her with offerings of food, drink, and gold, hoping to appease her. Their lives proved more valuable than any offering they carried. Her roars uprooted trees and flattened homes, her claws crushed stone and gashed the earth, and her breath ignited flesh.

    How Drabaki would despair to see her like this, she thought. But her love would not go unavenged. After everything it had done for man, after it had protected them, enlightened them, loved them, man sought its death. The Emperor sought its blood to fuel selfish ambitions. How could she not be furious at this betrayal? How?!

    Barriers of energy were erected before her, cutting off a direct route to the palace. The Xuanze had taken to the field. Her burning gaze looked through the orange shields and saw them. The Emperor and that man - the one who brought down her love - were with them. Fury exploded from her chest and she channeled it into a sphere in front of her. The burning energy was flung into the barriers and dug into them. The Xuanze braced from the impact, but were able to channel enough of their energy to deflect the bomb into the mountainside. A small feeling of pride welled up within her at this; she taught them well. But it was swiftly squelched by her anger.

    As much as she wanted to kill the man who brought low her love first, The Emperor was the true traitor. She would slaughter him, then the man, set the valley ablaze, and then leave the rest behind to die in the ruins. It would be a fitting retribution for the murder of her love.

    So she roared and threw herself at the barriers, hungry for the blood of Xin’s hope and strength.
    Haan steeled himself for his most harrowing undertaking yet. A part of him reassured the warrior; if he could bring down Drabaki, Eun would be a simple matter. Another part of him refuted; Drabaki desired not to fight, Eun was eager to slaughter. But perhaps the biggest part of him was terrified. Terrified of Eun. Terrified by the thought of failing again.

    Terrified of being alone.

    He looked to the stormy sky above. The clouds seemed to heave and twist like a furious monster. Arcs of lightning carved gashes through the air and the thunder thudded like the elements themselves were engaged in combat. It was truly a day of ruin, like the Great Disaster told in legends. The land was aflame and the sky might well have been falling. Truly a ruinous day.

    But he also thought on his friend, Illipia. Where had she gone? Was she alright? Was their silent companionship an illusion he had fabricated and believed? Why did she leave him alone now of all times?

    He wanted to see her. To speak with her. To learn the truth behind the mask he knew she wore. To remove his before her. To stand shoulder to shoulder against whatever may threaten his home.

    But now it fell to him alone to bring this disaster to an end. He drew his sword, readied his spear, and turned his gaze to the titanic Eun. She was assaulting the barriers erected by the Xuanze in a reckless fury. Blow after blow the barrier held, but the Xuanze were quickly growing exhausted. Some had broken ranks with the others to form the ritual site to seal away Eun, leaving fewer to tend to the dangerous task of holding back the rampaging beast.

    Due to The Emperor’s presence before her, Eun did not concern herself with the minute details of fewer Xuanze. She continued to attack the barrier again and again. The Xuanze that remained were hard-pressed to withstand her assault, but they knew they could not afford to fail here. To fail would see their Emperor slaughtered by the monster. Xin would follow not far behind.

    Haan would have only a single opportunity to seal away the monstrous fox. He knew The Emperor would instruct the Xuanze to avoid assisting him out of contempt, so he was figuratively alone in this endeavor. He closed his eyes and drew in a deep breath. He would not draw the hairpin until the last possible moment. Eun herself had taught his people the art of energy manipulation and exorcism. She would see through their plot if she caught sight of an item that was not a weapon being thrust at her.

    Behind him, The Emperor shouted words of encouragement to his defenders, empowering them with his own El to keep them standing. Haan could feel his glowering gaze linger on him for a moment. The warrior found it unlikely that The Emperor would restore his honor if he succeeded in sealing away Eun. But he had to try for the sake of the scraps of pride he had left. For his neighbors in Fahrmann. For the people of Xin.

    For Chunhua.

    He opened his eyes and beheld dim glimmers of El energy shining from five hidden corners in the city. Eun did not notice them, or perhaps she did not care. It mattered not. The Emperor himself intended to complete the ritual after Haan advanced. This would give the Xin warrior a very small window to perform the final piece of the ritual: piercing Eun’s head with the hairpin. But this would afford Eun just as much time to react.

    And he hoped it would be enough for him, and not enough for her.
    I have fewer hours on my second job in the near future, so I should be able to get updates up more frequently. I hope to see you all there at the end! We're almost there!


    • Class: {{esusrinfo_class442712}}
      Level: {{esusrinfo_level442712}}
      Guild Name: {{esusrinfo_guild442712}}

      Originally posted by GirgeFE-solace- View Post
      And she was good at administering pain. She sidestepped a swipe from her sister’s blade and conjured a small knife of lightning in her hand. She felt a giddy sensation well up from inside her as she drove the small blade into Illipia’s thigh and tore the blade through her leg, her sister screaming in agony the whole time. She went for an arm next, locking it into a hold and snapping it at the elbow, embedding the knife into Illipia’s shoulder just for the hell of it. She wrapped up her torture session with a lightning empowered chop to Illipia’s good wrist, severing the hand.

      Then she backed off, twirling confidently through the air. “I’ll give you a moment to sort yourself out, Sister,” she taunted, summoning another spear and resting it on her shoulder. She watched as Illipia’s catalyst, her pendant, shined and engulfed her in a warm light. Once it faded, her arm was set, her leg mended, and her hand returned. But her breaths were still rapid and shallow, her face contorted in agony. She brought her weapons to the ready again.
      Unfortunately for her, this doesn't kill her.


      • GirgeFE-solace-
        GirgeFE-solace- commented
        Editing a comment
        I wanted to have a drawback of some kind to Illipia's power of near unending healing. Great power must come at a cost. Raul's price for the prowess she possesses is her utter lack of ability to heal herself or others, so if Illipia gets a good hit in, that's it. Illipia's disadvantage is that despite repairing her injuries, the pain still registers with her body. She may stand yet, but she will suffer for it.

      • Tyrannicide-solace-
        Editing a comment
        I don’t disagree with anything regarding the drawbacks of strong healing factor/immortality per your descriptions, I think your take of the problem is logical as well, as I have explored quite similar scenarios when reading/watching other fictional works before.

        My point was simply that the scenes with Raul were quite gruesome, when you think about it. I don’t like reading/watching or even imagining the parts about bad guy torturing people in fictional works, as I would prefer skipping them when those parts appeared, or a time skip which showing only the beginning and then the aftermath of those.

        I think I myself and other readers could recognize Raul as a very nasty and messed up character since very soon before, not needing a whole... uhm... “Exhibit A” which showcasing her torture activities to hammer that point home. Unless the “gore” parts were vital to understand the whole story, but doesn’t seem like so.

      • GirgeFE-solace-
        GirgeFE-solace- commented
        Editing a comment
        I apologize if it made you uncomfortable, but I want my readers to understand the pain that Illipia is experiencing viscerally. For me simply saying that she is in terrible pain is not enough to convey what she is going through. Hence, I specifically detail a moment in their duel to not just say she is in agony, but to illustrate it. The lower you knock down the hero, the greater their rise will be - assuming they get there, of course.
    • Class: {{esusrinfo_class451846}}
      Level: {{esusrinfo_level451846}}
      Guild Name: {{esusrinfo_guild451846}}

      Hey all! I hope you're all staying safe and healthy in the midst of this madness. Just remember, we gamers have been preparing for an event like this our whole lives! Things have been pretty crazy on my end, so I've only been able to work on updates bit by tiny bit. But hey, here we are! Enjoy!
      Illipia blinked away the spots in her vision as she ducked under her sister’s spear. Her hands spasmed, denying her the opportunity to counterattack and she was forced to retreat. But Raul was relentless, chasing her down with a sadistic grin on her face. Illipia dodged again, blocked again, retreated again, was struck again. But no more was she able to press any sort of offense on her sister.

      The agony of mortal wounds clouded her mind and slowed her movements. To conserve her El, she no longer mended the minor scrapes and bruises Raul managed to slip in under her guard. She was grateful for the pain, as it masked the panic that was beginning to overtake her.

      Illipia knew she was losing. If - which was beginning to look more and more like when - she fell, Raul would be free to terrorize the people of Xin. Perhaps if she held off Raul long enough, Haan may give The Emperor Drabaki’s blood and empower him to protect them from the disaster unfolding in the sky. She glanced downwards for a moment and felt her thoughts freeze.

      The valley was burning. Spots of angry orange spat black smoke and columns of furious flames erupted around the valley. Raul couldn’t have done this, she was up here with her. Could it be Oryed?

      Her eyes caught a glimpse of a giant, white beast before Raul’s taunt reached her ears. “By all means, look away from me, sister…” Illipia spun around and deflected a thrust aimed at her head just in time and locked their conjured weapons together. Raul peered over her shoulder at the burning valley below. She laughed, “Well, look at that! Someone else is doing my job for me! They better save me a piece of the action!”

      Illipia grit her teeth. “You will not touch them, Raul!” How her voice shook from the pain racking her body. But that sight was just what the Celestial needed to push the agony into a corner of her mind.

      She now thought of the men she traveled with: Xiang Zhen. Chandragupta. Takeshi. Haan. These men faced their every trial with fear in their hearts, yet without hesitation. Even as death was inevitable for Takeshi, he still charged at those wicked men for their sake.

      Death was foreign to her, a Celestial. It was why she hated seeing it take someone she had grown fond of. But the fear of death pushed these men to perform the great. The incredible. Even if their own lives would be the price.

      She was scared. So scared. Of what would happen after she fell. Of what would happen to Haan. To Chunhua.

      Of death.

      And if she was afraid…

      Colored spheres of El sprang into existence behind Illipia and rocketed towards Raul. The angry Celestial let out a surprised cry and kicked away from her sister, evading and swatting away the orbs. “The darkness is this, Illipia!? Holding out on me!?”

      If she was afraid…

      Illipia soared high above Raul while she was distracted. Her sister still fought off the orbs, seemingly oblivious to her sister’s absence.

      If she was afraid…

      Illipia watched from the clouds above for the perfect moment. Raul in time turned away from her, and Illipia dove like a raptor, daggers of El brandished. Just when she was nearly upon her, Raul spun around with a condescending grin on her face.

      Her spear of lightning pierced Illipia’s abdomen, stopping her charge cold. The orbs fizzled and sputtered out of existence. “That was a cute trick, sister. But not a good one.” She did not call the lightning to strike her sister. Illipa was right above her, so the bolt would strike her as well. But the wound was mortal enough. Raul moved to throw Illipia off. “Now hurry and heal up so I can kill you agai-”

      She stopped, her gaze locked with the unexpected: Illipia’s very alive stare. Her face contorted in agony, and a healing light was shining around the spear. She was healing the wound around the spear to keep it in her. She was finally inside Raul’s reach.

      If she was afraid....

      Illipia raised her two daggers above her head, El concentrating behind the hilts. Raul struggled to lose her off the spear. “Are you crazy, Illipia!? Do you want to die!?”

      She must be brave.

      The El at Illipia’s hands roared like rockets and propelled her attack towards Raul’s chest, Illipia roaring with every emotion she had experienced in this beautiful land. Raul brought up her free arm to block Illipia’s wrists, causing the El thrusters to send the two into a breakneck dive.

      The two sisters rocketed towards the ground, shouting the whole way. And when they collided with the ground, Raul’s arm snapped and Illipia’s daggers pierced her heart. The Celestial cried in pain briefly and in a death induced spasm called down the lightning. The bolt pierced Illipia’s chest and flung her off her sister and onto the ground some distance away.

      Her pendant, dim now, glowed again and loosed healing light on her. But Illipia had not the strength to pick herself up from the ground. She looked to her dead sister, watching her slowly disintegrate into a flurry of blue lights.

      She set her head on the ground and muttered an apology to her sister. For as violent and merciless as she was, Raul was still a sister to her. Darkness took her conscious, but an unseen, firm hand plucked it from the shadows of sleep and dragged it to the heavens...
      Haan waited for a lull in the monstrous Eun’s attack before he made his move. The moment her claw impacted the barrier in front of him, he pushed off from where he stood and leapt forward. Sprinting faster than he had ever done before, he passed through the barrier and ducked into a nearby alley.

      “YooOOoUUUuu… YOOOUUUUU…!” Eun’s angry roar shook the walls around him as he continued his run. He caught a glimpse of a growing shadow beneath him and willed his legs to carry him faster. Rolling away at the last moment, Eun’s great paw came crashing down on the alley and propelled the Xin warrior into the open street. He rolled to his feet and kept running.

      He could feel her burning glare on him as he sprinted for another alley. Not a moment too soon either, as one of her tails crashed into the street, flattening stalls and homes. For her to suddenly turn the direction of her fury to him alone sat ill in his mind for a moment, but he threw the thought into a distant corner of his mind as he continued to sprint towards, using the buildings as cover.

      He suddenly felt the air bristle his skin and an orange glow illuminated the air above him. Using his spear, he vaulted forward and up over a wall. An explosion rocked the homes behind him and reduced them to rubble, the shockwave throwing him further forward. He rolled upon landing and continued to run at the monstrous fox.

      Her attention was truly on him alone now, and her furious stare burned into his mind. He was nearly within leaping distance of her now. She snarled, drawing back a giant claw. Haan leaped forward and seemed to intend to meet the attack head on. The claw came crashing down, and the moment the Xin warrior felt the wall of air before it tickle his hair he kicked.

      Not the claw, but the air. Concentrating El into the soles of his feet, he was able to create a temporary footing in the air, allowing him to barely dodge the massive claw. He did not bother taking in Eun’s surprised expression as he stabbed his spear into her outstretched arm and used it to pull him onto the limb. He continued to run up the monstrous fox’s arm towards her head.

      Heat rose beneath him and he sprang forward at her face as angry, orange energy enveloped her body. Suddenly, the energy condensed into a sphere in her now opened mouth, and he knew then that he had made a mistake. He was going to die here, incinerated by the wrath of the lover of a god he felled. Perhaps this was his divine punishment for his hubris.

      He took a moment to silently apologize to Chunhua for the suffering that would follow. He apologized to the people of Xin for bringing this disaster upon them. And he apologized to Illipia for not being a better friend, and wished the best for her from the bottom of his heart.

      Then nothing greeted him…
      Illipia awoke in a familiar place; white stone, golden lights.

      “... Illipia...” She was before her Goddess.

      The low call was laced with fury. Never before had Illipia witnessed her Goddess angered. This journey of hers was truly one of new experiences. She looked to the golden globe, and like always the ball of light burned in the seat between ivory greaves and gauntlets. Nothing looked at all different than her previous visits, but she could feel something was different. It was clear why.

      She said nothing in answer. “... What have you done, my child?” One of the gauntlets opened its palm to reveal a sapphire earring. Raul’s catalyst, dim and lifeless.

      “... My Goddess…” She did not kneel, but she did bow her head. “I could not stand by and allow Raul to hurt those people. They have suffered enough pain.”

      “Even if it was by my command that they suffer?” The question drove into Illipia like a knife. Raul was not lying. Granted she was not a lier, she was strangely honest if not overly forward. But when Illipia heard that it was by her Goddess’ command that Raul rain ruin upon Xin she desperately prayed it was a lie.

      She raised her head. “Why? The mission was nearly complete. All that remained was to deliver the monster’s blood to the Emperor.”

      “The conversion of faith is never an easy task, Illipia. You should know this better than your sisters. Power must be demonstrated to be believed.”

      “But to demonstrate it by spilling the blood of the innocent…”

      “The blood of the few will enrich the faith of the many.”

      “That does not make it right!”

      Silence. A long, heavy silence. She shouted at her creator. If she was not angry with her yet, she certainly was now. And it terrified her. The gauntlet holding Raul’s earring closed and returned to the arm of the throne.

      “... You claim to know what is right, then?" Ishmael said lowly.

      Illipia never assumed herself greater than her creator. She still did not. But her Goddess' plan still sat ill on her new conscious. "No, but I've seen enough to believe fear does not cultivate faith. It…" Her heart thudded in her chest. A cold sweat threatened to break out over her. But she did not stop the next words leaving her mouth. "It breeds courage, my Goddess."


      "Yes…" She brought a slightly trembling hand to her chest. "Courage to stand against what they fear. To invoke that terror upon them would be to earn their defiance, not their faith."

      Silence again. Illipia could feel her Goddess' glowering gaze on her. And then she spoke. “You will not dare speak of defiance before me, Illipia. Not after what you have done. Not after what they have done.”

      Illipia looked to her, half terrified and half bemused. “What… they have done?”

      Her Goddess motioned to the fractured continent on the map. “You know how this world was shattered. Brought to the brink by a singular, selfish desire.” She spoke of Solace, the rogue El Master of the Sun. “That defiance nearly ended the light of the El. I gave them a chance to forge their own destiny. After all, what better weapons exist than ones that believe themselves beyond a tool?”

      Illipia felt her blood cool. “... Weapons?”

      “To destroy the darkness, Illipia. I thought, long ago, that they would be the perfect instruments of war against the shadow. That their own light would shine through the blackness and cut down Sult himself. But no more do I believe that…” One of the gauntlets clenched into a fist.

      “You… what do you mean by weapons of war?”

      A gauntlet reached for the mote of light as if to cradle it in its glimmering palm. “You know how it all began: with the birth of Elia, the God of Light, in the empty void. And as Elia shined its light through the void, a great shadow was cast. From that shadow came Henir, the God of Darkness, hungry as the void from whence it came. And yet, Elia stood by and did nothing.”

      Illipia knew this. This was how light and darkness were born. But she unsure of why that mattered. Her Goddess continued. "Elia, instead of beating back Henir and ending its foul darkness, chose to promote the light. To that end, I was born, a child of the divine light. And I saw…” The gauntlet clenched into a fist. “I saw what Elria could not or refused to. I saw the danger the shadows held; the ravenous mouths that could not be sated. They had to be struck from the fiber of being itself for the light to shine! The darkness - all of it - must be destroyed!”

      Illipia recalled what Chunhua had said of her faith: That it was antagonistic. That behind its love for all that was bright was a deep hatred for that which was dark. The words of the mortal woman had cast a shadow of doubt upon the Celestial. And Her Goddess’ words confirmed it.

      The Goddess saw the life she had created not as living beings, but as walking weapons to be used in her obsessive crusade against the darkness. Tools to an end.

      There was no love from Ishmael. Not for the darkness, and not even for the life she had created.
      I hope this was worth the wait! Stay safe, stay healthy, wash your hands, and love from afar. I'll catch you all at the next update!


      • Class: {{esusrinfo_class452167}}
        Level: {{esusrinfo_level452167}}
        Guild Name: {{esusrinfo_guild452167}}

        Pardon me, but I still don't quite get it. It's about Goddess Ishmael again, and to a lesser extent, Goddess Elria, Goddess Henir and Demon God Sult.

        I don't think Northern Empire (which you call Xin Empire in this fic) was founded AFTER the event of El Explosion. Moreover I don't understand why Ishamel intervened in the world of mortals that extensively. For example, are you suggesting that "gods need prayer badly" in this setting - people worshipping and praying so that the gods/celestials can get power/strength??

        Also I don't think that Goddess Ishamel and Elria are antagonistic toward Goddess Henir and vice versa. Moreover in the lore, Elria and Henir were survivors of Ragnarok which meant that previously there were gods other than them, so I don't think Henir and Elria came to be that way.

        Also I don't think Demon God Sult was on the same side as Henir either.


        • GirgeFE-solace-
          GirgeFE-solace- commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for your questions! And sorry for not responding sooner. Didn't see a notification pop up on my feed and I've been distracted by FFVII Remake.

          There isn't much on the ancient history of Elrios in terms of the rise of civilization. It can be argued that the Northern Empire (Xin in this case. I like to think that outsiders of Xin call it the Northern Empire while its inhabitants call it Xin. Not canonical, but I think it adds some flavor) arose prior to El Explosion, but there isn't really much to suggest the opposite either.

          As for Ishmael's reasons for intervening, she has a specific motive that will be unveiled in the next update, but it follows her modus operandi of destroying the dark.

          Finally, I never wrote that Elria was at all antagonistic towards its counterpart, Henir. I understand that Elria and Henir were survivors of Ragnarok, but in this story I have reimagined that event from one of destruction to one of creation. After all, Ragnarok was both an event of destruction resulting in the death of many Aesir, but also an event of creation as it allowed the world to be reborn. I have a little one shot sitting in the oven right now detailing that event.

          As for Ishmael's antagonism towards the dark, I have a rather long winded explanation that I will outline in some notes after this is done.

          Hope this clears things up a bit for you! Thanks for the read!
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