Adversary Chapter 3
There is no such thing as time in Limbo...
Were his eyes closed or open? Was he dead or alive? Was that the ground he felt under him, or a hallucination, product of his tortured mind? Nothing made sense to him anymore, and it hadn't for what seemed like an eternity. This truly was the cruelest method of torture. The scathing fires of all nine plains of Hell, or the flesh-hungry demons of the Abyss could never amount to the everlasting pain one endures in Limbo. One was condemed to lie awake in nothingness, forever, with not a soul to comfort them. It was like a strange half-consciousness, a feeling that cannot be comprehended unless experienced personally.
He could not move his limbs, nor open his mouth to speak. There was nothing to smell, and his eyes could not tell the difference between the infinite darkness, and their closed state. The only sound available in his existance was the faint sound of his own breath, coming in a regular pattern of quiet inhalaltion and exhalation. He had been damned to live an eternal nothing.
Oh, Gods...you have punished me well...you've locked me away, melted my key, and shot the local locksmith. Is this what all "evil men" experience in their deaths? Am I somehow different from the rest of the people in this universe? Did you feel a special need to imprison and torture my soul forever in this little piece of nothing? I ask you this: why can I not rest? Why am I bound to lie here like this? Is not my physical life enough of a sacrifice for me to make? You know why I chose the path I did, and you also know, whether you acknowledge it validity or not, why I chose to leave it. You deny me of my sole want, and furthermore, strip me of my rights of a resting place. I have no fires to burn in, nor stars to reside in, nor anything to occupy my mind. I lie here...forever...and wait for something...which will never, ever happen...
He put his full concentration into his anguished thoughts, wondering that if this time, just maybe they heard him, something would be different...they would take pity on his decaying soul. He would try this every so often, when his rationality would fail him, and he felt that he could not endure it any longer. Yet he never achieved any kind of response. He sighed, miserably.
They can't hear me...they never hear me...or maybe they can...maybe they listen to my every thought and laugh at the fool they've made of a once-great man...I wonder how much suffering a single entity can take before it ceases to acknowledge is very own existance...perhaps if I let myself go completely...it will eventually end...
He wondered. It seemed logical that everything had a possibly unforseeable, yet inevitable end to it. Even the mightiest gods in the universe were powerless to fracture this simple law. His mind smiled.
Yeah...I was great once, wasn't I? Nothing could stand in my way...and now someone thinks they can hold me here...Maybe you should know, he who imprisons me, that if given the chance, I would mutilate you beyond possible recognition. You have no idea what you have and are still putting me through, and yet you sit back wherever you are, and mock me in my most pitiful state. I gave my life for a reason, and it was not to spend eternity in Limbo.
He began to work his consciousness into a blinding rage...all he felt was hate and pain; much more than he'd ever felt before.
You cannot hold me, do you understand? I am greater than you will ever be...I will destroy you...I will destroy the prison you've placed me in...and I will get what I gave my life for, do you understand me?
He began to feel odd sensations gradually registering in his brain, but nothing recognizable. He continued his mental tirade.
The sensations grew stronger, and now he knew exactly what they were.
His limbs, for the first time since he'd been alive in the physical world...began to twitch.
Yes!! You cannot hold me! You cannot hold me!!
His hand, in a clawed position, spasmodically jolted into the air, at his mind's command. He wrung his fingers out, absorbing the phenonmenon of "touch" once again. His body ached from its first movements in ages, but it was a pain he relished; it marked the beginning of his victory over his captors. Slowly, ever so slowly, his body returned to his complete control.
"I WILL DESTROY YOU!" He roared, lashing his arms and legs out furiously. They burned and pulsed with agony, but still he enjoyed every sick moment of it. Finally, with a tremendous shout, he rose to his feet, once again, his face twisted into a wicked grin of triumph. Now he could finally see just where he'd been all of this time.
He had not been laying in darkness, rather on damp grounds encircled by gray mists. The parylization must have affected his eyes as well, for the little bit of light that was present in this place seemed almost painful to his weary lenses. The fog was thick, but he knew that it must end somewhere, for Limbo was the neutral plain between the Upper and Lower plains, and there always was a way out. He gathered himself together, and gazed up into the mist.
The odd atmosphere and bright lights threw his equilibrium through a loop as he struggled to stay focused on what he came here for. The plainar transition had been extremely difficult, and the very composure of this new domain, this holy realm, seemed to watch him, stonily. Never before had one, especially one of his ilk, ever dreamed of a place conducive to such peace and beauty as this, but the details were only secondary at this point, as his eyes were fixated upon the sleeping woman before him.
She was young, astoundingly beautiful with shimmering brown hair, and placid features that would make the great goddesses of love sick with envy. Her body lay fast asleep on a sunbathed stone, her arm cascading down from the side of the rock, leaving the tips of her fingers barely touching the crystalline pool of water that lay adjacent to her. He'd waited so long, and now she lay just feet from him. Pausing to savor the moment, he wondered just where he would take her. It wouldn't exactly be easy to just walk away with her body slung over his shoulder, yet somehow he wasn't afraid of having to subdue her. She made him feel so at ease. She created a small breach in the dark clouds of his mind, and he hoped that she could one day feel the same for him.
He put a quivering finger to her lips, brushing them lightly...admiring their perfection. This little action calmed him, and he lowered himself down on the slab beside her. His fingers moved about her face, touching what they'd longed to touch for years, filling his mind and heart with...an actual joy. This was all he wanted. Just this one moment, etched in his soul forever, the last peaceful time in his existance since as far back as he could remember. However, his bliss faded when his eyes opened and were met with hers, staring directly back. Her jaw rattled, and she became tense as the stone she lay on, trying to remain perfectly still. He watched as she lay frozen in fear, neither of them saying a word, breath coming in barely- noticable measures.
"Please don't be afraid." he begged her. "Please...don't fear me anymore. Please..." he repeated. "I...know what I've done...to you...but please...I've never regetted anything more." He hung his face low, and his silvery locks of hair obscured his face. "I never meant to hurt you...never...I'm so sorry..." She remained silent as he released his pain unto another living thing for the first time. "One reaches a point...a point in which all of the suffering he endures pushes his mind past the boundaries of sanity...and he does something rash...something so insane...and its usually the opposite of what he feels." He spilled his feelings out on the ground before her, discarding his usual solitary and insensitive facade. Four years of torture were finally taking their toll on him.
"What are you saying?" She whispered, almost making him jump. He sighed heavily, and looked away.
"I'm saying that...I..."
"You what?" She whispered again.
Her eyes bulged, and she spoke no more, for she was too dumbfounded by his last statement.
"I love you, and always have...since the very first time I saw you...and I grew to envy you and desire you to such an extent, that I couldn't bear it. You thought of me as some evil man, someone who must be stopped...destroyed...for your and everyone else's safety. I knew at that point I could never have you...and so I made the absolute worst decision in my life...to take yours so that he couldn't have you." He stopped and inhaled deeply.
"I...came to realize, shortly before my death, what exactly I'd done, to you and your friends...and I couldn't bear it anymore. And, I thought that maybe, if I could give my life to pay for yours...I'd be here with you...but instead...for longer than I want to remember...I've been trapped in Limbo...and it's given me a lot of time to think, and look at exactly what's become of me." She lowered her eyebrows.
"You...you didn't give your life! Cloud destroyed you! I saw it!" she said, still keeping her voice relatively low. He shook his head.
"No...Cloud is skilled, and a very brave man at that...but he's too predictable. Every action he takes follows a certain pattern...but that's not the point! He destroyed me without my even raising a hand. I lowered my sword, and he attacked me in a rage...splitting my flesh until I lay lifeless on the ground before him. I could've killed him...but I chose not to. I gave it all up, just so maybe you'd forgive me one day. And here you are..." He broke off, and turned his face away from her again. This wasn't going to work...it was ridiculous what he was attempting to ask of her. His existance was pointless. It was now that he wished that it would just end, and abruptly stood up, looking back once more at her.
"Wait." She said, raising her body from the stone. "Don't leave." She came to him, and looked up into his troubled eyes. "Where are you going?" He didn't respond to her question, and she placed her hand on his arm.
"Fall with me." He said. She looked taken aback.
"What with you?" She asked him, completely startled by his question.
"Fall with me. Down...down to the lower plains...don't worry, you'll be safe...but fall with me...out of this place." Tears began to well up in her eyes.
"I...I can't leave this place!" She cried. He remained stolid.
"There's nothing for you here. I will let you live again. I'll give you another chance at life...if you'll just fall with me." He stated. She said nothing, but held to him tightly as he began to glow with a mysterious aura. It spread from his fingers into hers, and soon filled the both of them with and incredible disorientation, as the world around them seemed to...melt away, and crumble before their hazy eyes.
Aeris Gainsborough was dead. Or at least she had been at one point, when Sephiroth had run his blade through her back as she stood, locked in prayer. But now, it seemed incredible...the very man who'd stolen her life, was able to return it, or so he promised.
He claimed that he loved her, and that he'd sacrificed his power and life for a chance to be with her in the eternal resting place, but never reached it. The Gods had labled him "fit to be eternally tortured", and cast his soul into Limbo. However, overcoming all known possible mortal boundaries, Sephiroth was able to make the transition from Limbo to the Upper Plains to find her, and then down again, to the Realm Of Shadows. Such bounds had only been made by warring Gods, leading interplainer invasions across the universe.
New lives began for Sephiroth and Aeris in the Realm Of Shadows, as he'd promised. They had two sons, one born a single year after the other, on the very same day, when all three moons shone in the midnight sky at their brightest. The first boy born was named Alexander, the younger was called Elianor. The elder born of his father's liking, with a similar style of silvery flowing hair, and sharp, almost elven features. The younger, however, was more akin to his mother, with thick, dark eyebrows masking huge eyes, and short locks of brown hair draping not lower than his chin.
The new family had prospered over the years, both sons growing up to be fine warriors, taking after their father. Alexander recently reached his eighteenth birthday, and Elianor celebrated his seventeenth, respectively. However, through observing their sons' maturitation, they'd succeeded in noticing one thing: their own lack of aging. Both Sephiroth and Aeris Gainsborough had not aged a single day since they'd been alive in the Prime Material Plain, yet both boys had grown at a seemingly accelerated rates. After months of meditation and theorizing, Sephiroth had concluded that one's body is only prone to the effects of time in its native plain, and when resting in another plain, such as the Heavens or layers of Hell, is immune to conventional aging. It seemed to make sense to everyone around, including the other lost souls, whom were either lost or seeking refuge in the Realm Of Shadows. The only one who seemed discontent was Aeris, who from time to time, would gaze out into the dark haze, wondering what she gave up for this "new life."
Sephiroth noticed her this time, her long brown hair sweeping behind her, with her head slightly bowed, and her hands folded beneath her chin. What was it that she was thinking, with an expression so sullen, and hands clenched so tightly? Was she unhappy in this world he made for her? Why shouldn't she be unhappy? She'd given up her eternity in heaven for an existance in the shadows, and he was to blame for it. A dark guilt hung over his heart. There was no chance of them ever getting back to the Heavens, as they were both Fallen Angels, and how could he find a way back to the Prime Material Plain? The Gods had banished him forever...yet they'd also doomed him to Limbo, and were foiled by his efforts. Therefore, there were no limits that could be placed on Sephiroth that would stand the test of time. He approached her, whispering softly into her ear.
"I will find a new home for us...I can promise you that."
"But...Sephiroth...we're dead! Remember?" She responded hopelessly. He smiled, darkly.
"I know nothing of this 'death' that you speak of. Please tell me what it's got to do with you and I." She looked back at him with sad eyes. His defiant tone wasn't what she wanted to hear right now, but he did seem strangely confident. It was a small comfort to her troubled heart as he embraced her, and walked her away from the ledge near which she stood.
It was a darker night than usual in the Realm Of Shadows. Only one moon was slightly visible, and it cast vague shadows behind obscure shilouettes of once-familiar things. One shape noticable above them all was that of his, eyes glistening in the dim light. He threw is head back and shouted in his most boisterous voice.
"I have a challenge for you, o' he who still imprisons me. I'm going to get the hell out of this place, and you're going to try and stop me!" The air around his body rippled and hummed as he focused his inner energy, that he'd so long left unused. A feeling of euphoria coursed through him, as the ripples in the air glowed, and cast occasional multicolored beams of light out into the sky. The tides in the sea rose, as the waters began to spiral into a growing whirlpool. Purple streaks of lightning rent the air, and the ground shook with deafening rage.
"Not so great, are we now? I've told you before that you couldn't hold me, and it's still the same to this night! Never, ever will you hold Sephiroth against his will! Tonight you...all of you...will come to see what a grave, grave mistake you all have made."
The storm grew and grew, fueled by Sephiroth's fury, becoming more wild and out-of-control than even he himself had expected. The Gods themselves seemed to roar and clash amonst one another in the sky as the grey droplets of icy rain pelted his skin, stinging sharply with each contact. Where water once lay, a pool of liquid flame rose and fell with each wave of the storm. Where trees once stood, smoldering wreckage fell in a heap. The powers of Balance had more than met their match this time.
It's time you fools stopped obscuring my path...
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