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Reason: Old version of Dark Prophecy.
City of the Tokarthi is the sixth story in Volume 2 of the Dark Prophecy story arc.
|City of the Tokarthi|
|Story arcs||Dark Prophecy story arc|
Chapter 1: Through the Looking Glass[edit | edit source]
The trip from Delse to Ashadra was not terribly far. Not long after arrival in high orbit, on the visual appeared a planet that once prospered, now reduced to an abandoned backwater. Gazing upon this planet filled Galiana with horrifying memories: the helpless cries and screams of terror as those horrifying monsters came; the screams then silenced by relentless flames permanentely scarring the lush world with patches of barren wasteland. Her home, her family and everyone else she knew there...burned...or worse...
"Galiana?" Ahrganot said to her, "Something wrong?"
"Nothing," Galiana replied, her voice cracking. "I..." As her face reddened, tears begun to slip from her eyes, and she promptly left the bridge.
Sol I Dor then said, "To see that planet in such a state must really break her heart."
"Errr...," Tholker said. "Can she do the mission or not?"
"She has to," Ahrganot replied. "There's no backing out of this for her. Where do we land?"
"The fabled Amulet of the Tokarthi is said to be located in the ancient fortress known as Lemuria. No one has ever set foot inside of it," Sol I Dor replied. "There's an area nearby that used to be a major spaceport." The Batra dropped down, entering the planet's atmosphere after several minutes, then hovered above the ground until finally landing. The team stepped out onto the scorched, dead ground. The only thing they saw around them were ruins. For miles, it was just rubble. Any structures that were still standing were crumbling in a state of disrepair. Being fascinated with ruins, Ahrganot had already begun to admire what this world was like was once like in its golden age. Of course, he never said anything out loud with Galiana nearby.
As they ventured deeper into the ruins, Galiana stopped, laying her eyes upon a structure utterly familiar. She quickly flashed back to imagining this same structure far more intact and a very homely state. Noticing a metallic gagdet, she rushed towards it. As she pressed a few buttons in it, it opened revealing a smudged picture of herself two decades ago.
Tears streamed from eyes as she cleaned the smudge from the picture. But as she noticed a nearby Harvester skeleton, these tears quickly turned to rage as she kicked its skull off, separating it from the rest of the body. Any Vaikan in her position would have gone into a Maj frenzy.
"Ahem, we have a mission to do," Tholker said. "Mind if you...I don't know, stop the angsting?"
"Ever heard of sensitivy?" Sol I Dor sternly replied. "Just give her a moment at least!"
"She's obviously emotionally compromised. I don't she can..."
"Tholker," Etah interrupted, "We've already travelled halfway across the galaxy to get here. She's staying with us. The whole point of this is to make sure we're all up to speed before we face Infra."
Galiana soon enough stopped. "Right...we have to...keep going."
The team prepared to depart, when a squeal could be heard. Suddenly, Galiana got her weapons ready. "This is not good," she said.
"What is it?" Tholker asked, getting out his weapons just in case.
"That squeal, that was Harvester Language. And it was Harvester for..." Suddenly, from the debris, a Harvester lunged. "Attack..." Galiana finished.
The Harvester charged, but Tholker easily put it down. "Let me guess: Harvester?"
"Yes," Ahrganot responded, recognizing the shelled hammerhead.
However, suddenly, several horned Harvester Drones appeared. "I could have expected something uglier," Etah said.
"Still," Ahrganot said. "They are pieced together from other aliens."
"Reminds me of the Kklxin," Tholker casually replied. "Cobbled together bits of atrocity." He fired on the cobbled-together soldiers, and found they were much more resiliant than he thought. Still, they started to fall before they were in range. Suddenly, a massive roar sounded, and a Harvester Colossus charged in.
Tholker readied to fire, but the Colossus just batted him aside. Etah openned fire, but it just passed him by. Galiana, however, had an idea. She waited for the Colossus to get close, before diving to the ground, slashing towards the creature as she did so. It continued to charge at Sol I Dor...at least, until it started to fall apart: Galiana had hit one of the stitches holding it together.
Galiana looked at the fallen Colossus, then, suddenly, saw something in the corner of her eye. It almost looked...
Galiana dashed towards the back of the building. "What is it?" Etah asked as she passed.
When Galiana got to the back of her old home, she found...a human, apparently taking a rest. He was about her age, dressed in worn clothing. Could he have survived what the Harvesters did, several years ago? she asked herself.
The young man seemed to notice her, and seemed confused. Maybe he thought he was all alone. "Who are you?" he asked in Ashadran.
"Galiana," Galiana answered, in the same language, though with some difficulty. It had been almost 18 years since she spoke in her native tongue, and she barely remembered it. "Galiana Arcad...you?"
"Enrico Placidi," the young man responded. Just then, the rest of the team arrived. The young man seemed startled by them. "What are they?!" he asked.
Galiana looked back, and saw the team. "With me, friends," she said. Then, to the others, she said, in a language she was more familiar with, "So, what do we do now?"
"What do you mean, 'what now'?" Tholker asked, "We go find Lemuria, we recover the artifact, we leave."
"I mean, what about Enrico?" Galiana asked.
Ahrganot responded, "We have to keep going, Galiana. The mission is a priority."
"I'm not going to just leave him here! He's the first human like myself I've seen in a long time, and I cannot just let him rot here!"
"He's made it this far. He can go on a little longer," Tholker said.
"Would you just-"
"Enough!" Etah barked. "Get him to the Batra. We'll take him back to Ilion."
Galiana thought about it. Tholker, however, said, "Another human in the Bunker? Don't we have enough non-GSSOC members already?"
"Oh yeah?" Sol I Dor responded smugly, "What about Karla?" He was referring to Tholker's girlfriend who had to stay in the Bunker after being chased by terrorists.
Tholker just stood for a moment, before responding, "Okay, fine. But that's it..."
"Thanks," Galiana said. Then, she turned to Enrico, switching back to Ashadran. "That way," she said, pointing in the direction they originally came from, "Our ship. Wait for us. We have business. Will let you come, once we leave."
"Thank you," Enrico responded, "I'll never forget this." He then ran off towards the Batra.
Then, Etah said, "Now that that's out of the way, let us get to Lemuria."
Chapter 2: Into Lemuria[edit | edit source]
The team continued through the neighborhoods, until they reached a forest, untouched by the Harvesters: there was even some wildlife left. This seemed to raise Galiana's spirits a bit. Finally, they exited the forest, and faced a large plain...with a massive wall at the end. They reached Lemuria.
The sprawlling fortress reached into the sunset. To the veteran GSSOC members, who knew about Gaea, Lemuria looked like Aztec and Mayan Architecture, right down to the carvings on the walls.
They approached the wall and found what appeared to be an excavation site. Apparently, the humans of the world tried to access the continent, prior to the attack. They approached the site and found a section of wall that looked different: like a door should be there.
The ruins reminded Ahrganot of images of Aztec Ruins from Earth. He initially thought it was Titanic in origin, but the cuts on the walls' stones were imperfect: this was not Titan Architecture. However, they were more accurate than any primative civilization could perform: they were obviously made by an advanced civilization.
On the wall, they found a symbol: a dot with 8 points sticking out of it. However, as Galiana approached, she recognized it. "It’s a pair of hands, one human, one alien, over each other..."
The others thought she was joking, but, looking at the symbol like that, it made sense. "It’s like a keyhole. Apparently, you have to put your hand to it, and...it does something," Etah guessed.
Sol I Dor found the skeleton of a human: apparently an archeologist who was damaged too much in the Harvester attack to be of use to them. He found a journal on it, and read it out loud, using what little Ashadran written language he knew.
The symbol on the wall is most obviously a key. The symbols below continue to elude understanding. We believe that it supposedly describes how to open the door: some pattern, a key, something. We're working to decypher the message, but, so far, we can only read the first message: "Only the Chosen can heed our warning". We do not know what this means, and, it is likely, we may never know...
Galiana then approached the symbols, then, looking at the first message, repeated from the journal, "Only the Chosen can heed our warning." Then, she looked at the 2nd message, and muttered, almost unconsciously, as if she wasn't aware of it, "Only the Chosen can recover what laith within."
The team seemed surprised by this. If the message was correct, and Galiana did just read that message, that meant that...
"Galiana, you have to open the door," Etah said.
"What?" she asked, incredulously, "What makes you think I know what to do?"
"Isn't it obvious!" Tholker urged, realizing what Etah was getting at, "Only the Chosen can heed our warning. Only the Chosen can recover what laith within."
Ahrganot explained, "The first half says, 'Only the Chosen can heed our warning.' That means that, if you can read that, you must be the 'Chosen' the inscription speaks of. Each of us was obviously the Chosen of some artifact. You must be the Chosen of the 'Tokarthi'."
Galiana seemed uncertain: this WAS a lot to take in. Sol I Dor then said to his adopted daughter, "Galiana, ever since I found you, I raised you as if you were one of my own. However, it's been obvious to me that you've always been destined for more. I'm certain you can do this." Galiana still seemed uncertain. "Come on. This is your moment. We've all had to face ourselves on this quest. Now, it is your turn."
Galiana stood uneasily near the door. "But...what if I'm not..."
"Seriously, Galiana," Tholker complained. "Just do it already. It doesn't look that hard anyway."
Galiana looked nervously between the door and her team. Then, slowly, and, with gradual purpose, she approached the door, and placed her hand on the dot and the lines that represented human fingers.
The lines began to glow blue, as did the gaps in the bricks on the city's outside. This caused Galiana to pull her hand back, startled. The bricks then began to shift, folding in on themselves, openning up pulling themselves aside, revealing the hallway behind it. Galiana nervously looked at the others, who were still awestruck at what just happened, and she entered the structure, the others following soon after.
They entered a large atrium. Immediately, a device in the center of the room activated. As it rose, several hologram projectors activated. They showed wisps of light swirling around the room, finally meeting in the center, at the top of the raised device. Then, the wisps of light coalesced into a single, reptilio-humanoid form.
The creature was floating, its feet not touching the ground. It's face had small hooks underneath it. Its hands were armored, with 2 fingers and a thumb, similar to the symbol that Galiana used to open the door. It was armored in armor that Tholker thought looked like Human Samurai Armor.
When it was finally fully formed, it looked at Galiana, and said, "At last, the Chosen comes..."
Galiana just stood, shocked by the holographic creature before her. Tholker pushed ahead. "Who are you?!" he asked.
With a snarl, the creature turned towards Tholker, "This one speaks to the Chosen, not you!"
"Gee, nice way to greet people..." Tholker complained.
Galiana, also curious, then asked, "Who are you, then?"
The creature turned to her, and said, "This one is known as Grandmaster Fal'Kor'Rih'Dah, a digitized consciousness of a Tokarthi, one of the last of them. This one's final duty is to guard Lemuria, withholding the legacy of the Tokarthi, to the end of Time"
Galiana then thought to say, "I think it would work out if you were to answer the others' questions, in addition to my own..."
The Tokarthi looked at her, before saying, "Very well.."
Ahrganot remarked, "You speak in third person."
Fal'Kor'Rih'Dah answered, "The Tokarthi race practiced the mannerisms of Lord Selvarius, their leader, and one of these 'Titans' you speak of. This one is of the Tokarthi, the ones that brought the Chosen's kind to this world."
"You introduced the humans to Ashadra?" Sol I Dor asked.
"Yes," the Tokarthi said, "Not just humans. Many species in fact. Ashadra was terraformed many years ago, and we wished to create a crucible. A world where eventually, the best would come out on top, one single individual to be the Chosen of Selvarius. The attack of the Harbingers on our people and even the Harvester invasion on Ashadra was not totally unforeseen. We knew that our creation would be destroyed one day."
"So Ashadra was an experiment?" Galiana replied in surprise. "But why? Why would you do something like that?"
"Selvarius is the Titan of Willpower. He despises the ancient Covenant that the Harbingers have encroached upon all of us. He wants them...destroyed."
Galiana replied. "The Harbingers have already been defeated. Isn't your purpose fulfilled already?"
"No. The Harbingers have always been reborn and will always return. We devised an amulet that could grant you the powers of a Titan, a loophole in the Covenant that forbids the Titans from intervening. Should you prove your worth, we will grant you this amulet so that you can destroy the Harbingers once and for all...it is an honor to finally meet the Chosen."
With that, a door openned, revealing the way. The team prepared to walk through the door, but Galiana stopped a few steps away from the Tokarthi. The Tokarthi tilted his head. "Does the Chosen of Selvarius have more to ask?"
"That's just it," Galiana said. "Why me? I...I do not understand why I'm this 'Chosen'. What makes me so different from any other Ashadran Human?"
The Tokathi looked down at Galiana. After a few moments, Fal'Kor'Rih'Dah responed, "When this one's kind brought yours to Ashadra, the Tokarthi modified the DNA of those humans, so that, when the time came, the modifications cam all meet in one human, and they can rise, as a Chosen of Selvarius, and lead their race through its greatest trial. While it can be said that you are not the only Chosen to have existed, this one knows with certainty that you are the last of them alive."
"What do you mean?"
"You are one of many that had the traits needed to become Selvarius's Chosen, but you are the only one to survive the trials set before you. Now, here, you must face your final trials, and claim your destiny."
Galiana tried to take this in, and, still nervous and uncertain, asked, "What do I need to do?"
"That, you must find for yourself. Even this one knows not what laith within. It is your destiny to enter the city, and it is your destiny to face the trials alone. Only then can you claim the Amulet."
"I...understand," Galiana said uneasily.
"Good Luck, and may Selvarius guard you." With that solved, the team walked through the door, which sealed behind them. Once they were a distance away, a large, Tokarthi-Like Figure appeared next to Fal'Kor'Rih'Dah.
"So, servant of Selvarius, is it done?"
"Yes, God-King, your Chosen has arrived, to face her destiny..."
Chapter 3: The Trial of Ingenuity[edit | edit source]
The team entered the next room. The floor, walls, and ceiling were all polished, and statues of Tokarthi decorated the room. At the head of the room was the statue of a massive Tokarthi, with more ornate armor and an unusual amulet.
Suddenly, machinery whirred, and a set of artificial constructs appeared: massive, mechanized Golems pulled themselves from the walls and rose themselves from the floor. The massive machines held themselves up on massive, pillar-like legs, and their architecture made them look similar to medieval Europe Castles. However, these Automatons looked a lot older.
"What are these things?" Tholker asked.
"Golems - ancient robots. Quite advanced." Ahrganot remarked.
"They look like the architecture of the fort. They must be Tokarthian in origin," Etah added.
The torsos of the Golems looked like furnaces, and their eyes blazed like fire. Their torsos glowed brightly, and the team dove for cover, as the Golems emitted massive bursts of light. The team just barely missed getting vaporized by the Golems.
"That's a lot of firepower!" Etah commented on the Golems' attacks.
Galiana looked at the Golems. How were they going to get past them? Suddenly, Sol I Dor pointed out, "These things look like they were made to guard the Amulet from unwanted intruders!"
Then, realizing, Ahrganot called to Galiana, "Show yourself to them! If Sol I Dor's assumption is correct, they should stand aside for you!"
"And what if they don't?!" Galiana called back, uncertain.
"Come on!" Etah called, "You need to have some faith in yourself!"
Galiana remained hidden for about a minute, before finally mustering up the courage to face down the seemingly-invincible Golems. The menacing automatons stared her down...before the fires in their torsos and eyes began to die down, and they returned to their spots in the floor and walls, blending seemlessly with them.
Galiana just stood there, surprised by what happened. The others came up to her, and Ahrganot said, "More than meets the eye..."
Then, Tholker said, "Let's get moving, before those things change their minds..."
The Team entered what looked like an arena, with 3 symbols on the floor between them and a statue. On the statue was an Amulet with glowing runes all over it. "There's the Amulet!" Tholker called.
Suddenly, as the team rushed forwards, Metal Spikes shot out of the ground, separating Galiana from the others. The floor then drew the others into what looked like a jail cell. Then..the first of the symbols on the floor, one bearing the image of a serpentine 5-headed creature slid aside like a trap door, revealing a large, 5-headed 4-legged monster, each head armed with a menacing mouth. The team thought the creature looked very much like a Hydra of Earth Legend. They realized this beast may very well be the inspiration of that legend. They suddenly realized that Galiana was in the room with the Hydra by herself.
"We have to get out of this thing and help her!" Sol I Dor exclaimed to the others.
"He's right," Etah responded, "She won't last five minutes against that thing."
"No," Ahrganot responded, suddenly.
"We cannot let her die out there against that thing..." Sol I Dor angrilly responded.
Ahrganot sharply answered back, "Each of us had to face battles of our own to get our artifacts. If we interfere, what good will she be against Infra?"
As much as he hated it, Sol I Dor realized that Ahrganot was right: this was Galiana's fight, and he could not interfere.
The Hydra launched its insect-jawed head at Galiana, who barely dodged the attack. Then, a shadow loomed over her. She looked up, and rolled away from the Radial Head of the Hydra. However, the bug jaws shot forward and clenched Galiana down.
The team began to shout at this, shouting encouragement to Galiana. Unable to escape the Hydra's grasp, she looked over the creature, in a supposedly vain hope to try to stop it. Then, she saw it: between the creature's necks was its eyes. As the creature drew her in, she dug into her supplies and pulled out her energy pistol, which she fired at one of the beast's eye. The shot struck home, and, with a squeal of pain, the creature let go.
Now, taking her swords into her hands, Galiana charged past the heads of the Hydra. The beast desperately tried to grab her, but to no avail. She dove in and swiped 2 of the creature's eyes. The beast roared in pain. As Galiana dove for the last eye, however, the Hydra's Shark Head struck. Its razor sharp teeth left cuts in Galiana's shoulder and back, causing her to collapse in pain.
"Galiana!" Sol I Dor called, fearing for her. Suddenly, she forced herself to her feet. Then, with a final exertion of effort, she stabbed her blade into the Hydra's last eye.
The monster roared in pain and anguish, as it backpedaled into the hole it emerged from. The creature tumbled into it, and then the symbol that was sitting there moved, sealing the creature in again.
Chapter 4: The Trial of Courage[edit | edit source]
Galiana then wobbled over to the group again and rested herself on the bars of their prison. She hissed as the metal bars made contact with the wounds sustained from the Hydra's attack. Etah moved close to her, on his side of the bars, and examined the wound. "It looks pretty bad," Etah said, "Those teeth practically filleted your shoulder. It's a wonder the nerves survived."
Galiana cringed as Etah had to touch the wound to examine it. Suddenly, the Amulet glowed, and Galiana's wounds began to heal. Etah leapt back, as Galiana exclaimed in shock, "What the..."
Ahrganot noticed the Amulet, and remembered the Symbols on the floor. Then, he realized, "It's the Amulet. It's preparing her for her next trial."
"Next...trial?" Galiana asked nervously. Suddenly, the 2nd Symbol, bearing the image of a wolf, slid aside, and a bipedal, werewolf-like creature sprang out. Its howl chilled the team to the bones, bringing up a felling of fear into them.
The creature immediately stared at Galiana, and, to her misfortune, Galiana's eyes met its. Immediately, she was overtaken by a piercing, burdening feeling of dread. She knew she had to do something, but because of the utter feeling of terror she felt...she couldn't do anything. All she could do is just stare at the beast, and back away, as the werewolf-like monster slowly approached her.
Suddenly, a shout pierced her terror-blocked mind. "Galiana!" It was the others. She could not let this thing stop her. If she did, it was all over. If she failed, Infra would take over, and destroy everything she cared for. She could not let this beast beat her. She could not lose...
More out of pure instinct than anything else, Galiana swiped her blades at it, as if the swords were alive and hunting for the beast's flesh. This sudden display forced the beast to leap back, a fatal mistake. Galiana suddenly realized something: if any of those attacks were to have hit, they would not have caused much damage. This lead to one single conclusion: the creature hates pain, and will do everything it can to avoid it: it's nothing but a coward.
Now, newly envigarated by this revelation, Galiana now attacked with reckless abandon. Now, the creature worked desparately to defend itself, and, then, suddenly, Galiana struck several times on the beast's hide. The beast howled in pain, and it backed from Galiana. She prepared for the creature to charge again...but then, the creature was pulled back into the hole from where it emerged.
Chapter 5: The Trial of Determination[edit | edit source]
When Galiana sat down there the team's cell, it was Ahrganot that was the first to realize what that fight was about. "It must have been some creature of fear," he stated, "A creature designed to test the limits of your courage. To see through its visage to fight the weak foe behind it..."
"Hold up," Sol I Dor started, then he started counting his clawed fingers. "That was only 2 creatures, and on the floor, there's..."
Just then, the final symbol opened. This one was very familiar to Ahrganot, Etah, and Tholker. "That's that symbol for the Egyptian Scarab," Tholker said, "A creature in Egyptian Mythology. The Scarab itself is a real creature...but its Mythological Counterpart was much larger..." Tholker said, "Like THAT!" He pointed toward the symbol.
Out of the new crevice in the ground came a massive beetle the size of an Elephant. It released a menacing screech as it emerged onto the ground. Galiana was taken aback by the size of the creature, but, taking a deep breath, she readied her swords. Crossing her arms in some kind of Delson battle meditation she learned, she tried to recover some of the energy she spent in the previous battles. However, being a non-Delson, it didn't revigorate her as well as it would have an actual Delson.
Soon, the Scarab charged Galiana. She easily dodged the bulky insect, but, when she struck, her swords merely slid off the shell. The creature seemed to snicker, as Galiana tried again and again to pierce its shell. Her frustration mounted, as she realized her weapons didn't seem to effect it.
This is too difficult, I can't seem to beat it! she thought angrilly. It's hide was too hard, her swords not strong enough. There was no way she could deal enough damage in one area, this foe was beyond her... No, she thought to herself, I cannot think like that. I can defeat this, I MUST defeat it! She knew she had to defeat this thing, and she realized that meant piercing its armor. However, she could not deal enough damage in a strike to do it. Then, suddenly, she realized, I do not need enough damage in a SINGLE strike, if I can just deal enough continuous damage...but that would mean...
She knew what she had to do: she HAD to perform Soul Purge. It was the only attack she knew of that could cause enough continuous damage to have a chance of breaking this thing's shell. It was also the only <to be renamed> Style attack she failed at: every single time she tried to practice it, she fell flat on her butt.
She immeditely felt paralyzed: she'd never successfully executed the maneuver before, and now she had to perform it perfectly or the she would possibly die here. The situation seemed impossible...
Suddenly, she remembered many incidents in her life: when the Harvesters devastated her homeworld, when she adapted to Delson life, when the Harvesters later kidnapped her and she was left alive long enough to escape them years later...her whole life has been filled with impossibilities turned reality. With these in mind, she decided that if all that could happen to her, she could do this too.
Well, she thought, Now's as good a time as any to try it again... she decided.
She then closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and concentrated. As she did so, the Scarab began charging her. Then, suddenly, she swiftly dodged to the side, and swung her blade at it. She felt the momentum of her swing, and, with it, swung the other sword she had. Her hit struck the same location as her first.
As did her next, and her next, and her next...
Sol I Dor was shocked by this. "I don't believe...she must be crazy..."
"What?" Etah asked.
"That's Soul Purge," Sol I Dor explained, "Each of the 13 Delson Martial Arts has a special maneuver that can only be successfully performed by a master of the art. And Soul Purge is the master move of Galiana's chosen art, <to be renamed>."
"So?" Etah asked.
Ahrganot remembered Sol I Dor tell him about this. "She never mastered the move," he explained, "And, now, our mission depends on her ability to execute it perfectly here."
The team watched as Galiana's strikes hit the Scarab again, and again, and again. With each hit, Sol I Dor began to show more and more of what looked like a Delson grin. "Maybe...is she? She is!
Galiana's strikes began to weaken the tough shell of the Tokarthi Scarab, until, suddenly, her blades shattered the shell underneath. The Scarab shrieked in pain, and retreated backward. She readied for it to charge, but, instead, the thing backpedalled into its hole. As a glowing light mended the hole in the beast's shell, it climbed back in its hole. The hole sealed above the Scarab, ending the last trial, and causing the bars of the jail cells to evaporate.
Chapter 6: The Harbinger of Cleansing[edit | edit source]
Galiana crouched to the ground, so she could catch her breath. Using Soul Purge had knocked the breath out of her. Sol I Dor rushed over to her. "Galiana, are you alright, kid?"
"...Yeah...yeah...I'm...ok..." she panted. She got up, and walked over to the pedestal with the Amulet, and picked it up.
Galiana the put the Amulet on. The metal of the artifact was surprisingly warm, and was covered in glowing runes. Inset in the center was some kind of gem that changed color. One moment, it looked like a Ruby. The next moment, it looked like a Sapphire. The next, an Emerald.
"That was quite impressive, Galiana," Ahrganot said, refering to her passing the trials.
"Yes," a hissing voice that sounded human said, "why yes it is, indeed." Suddenly, a net of Darkness shot out of the shadows and netted everyone except for Galiana. Then, a humanoid figure that Sol I Dor and Galiana recognized appeared from the shadows.
"Artin Markoth!" Sol I Dor roared.
Galiana recognized the man as the supernaturally-powered murderer that had, on multiple occasions, tried to murder her. Each time, either her or Sol I Dor was able to fight him off. "What are you doing here?" she asked, "How'd you find us here?"
"My master has forseen your trek here..." Artin answered.
It was Ahrganot that got the message. "You work for Infra?!"
This revelation shocked Sol I Dor and Galiana. That explained Sol I Dor's feelings that the powers used by Umbra Castra during Sol I Dor's op on Herit were familiar. He saw them before, used by Artin Markoth. It was odd for a human to have such powers, and Ahrganot theorized he was genetically altered much like the Besala back on Delse.
Artin smiled. "Smart Vaikan. Now, shut up. My business is with the young lady. But don't worry, Delson, I'll deal with you soon enough."
Sol I Dor just empowered his claws with Psychic Energy and pulled and teared at the net, to no avail.
Artin approached Galiana, who brandished one of her swords, 2-handed style. "Now, now, what's that for? All I want to do is talk."
"You and I have nothing to talk about," Galiana vehemently hissed.
"Oh, but we do. You passed these trials, so it's quite obvious that you have a strong will. A Will like that would be useful under my master."
"Galiana!" Sol I Dor called.
Ahrganot finished Sol I Dor's statement. "Don't listen to him!"
"Young child, unable to save her world, helpless and weak against an invading force. You're strong now, but my master can make you stronger."
Galiana's grip on her sword loosened as she heard the Dark Warrior's words. She looked back at the team then. She realized what would happen if she faltered now. That was all she needed. She spat in Artin's face. "You only want the power of the Amulet. You'll have to take it from my cold, dead body!"
Suddenly, Galiana's surge of willpower caused the Amulet to glow. Artin backed off, as the glow intensified. Sol I Dor, uneffected by the glowing light, watched as some kind of skin spread across his adopted daughter's body. When the glow subsided, it was clear to everyone that she was now covered in a glowing, runed armor. Her face was obscured, and, when she spoke, her voice was distorted in a way where it sounded like Dominion's or Na'zrah's voice.
"Your master will not have this universe, not while I still draw breath." She drew her other sword, and, suddenly, the power of the Amulet caused the swords to transform, into a pair of intricately-designed Greatswords. The strength given to Galiana by the Amulet's power allowed her to heft both weapons.
Artin backed off cautiously, but then he said, "You don't scare me!" and fired 2 blasts at Galiana.
A barrier of energy appeared over her, and the attacks merely washed over it. "I should!"
The person said, "What can you do! You may have new powers, but you're still the scared little girl that failed to save her home! Your world is gone! You have nothing!"
"Not true," Galiana said, looking at the team. While facing them, she said, "I have all I need..." She then turned back to the Dark Warrior, "All I need to fight for, and, as long as I still draw breath, NO ONE will take them away!" Then, she charged forward, and, as Artin tried a futile attempt to block the attack, Galiana swiped the Greatswords with tremendous force.
With the slash combined with the powers of the Amulet, nothing remained of Artin but dust and an echoing scream. Finally, the net holding the team dissipated, and released them. Then, the armor covering Galiana fragmented, her swords returning to their original state.
"Great work, kid!" Tholker called to her. However, she was un-responsive.
"Galiana?" Etah asked nervously. Suddenly, Galiana fell over, unconscious
Sol I Dor was the first to her. "Oh, no...she's out cold. We have to get her to the Batra! NOW!"
Galiana found herself in a somewhat empty area. It looked like she was floating in some clouds. She slowly stood up, her head throbbing. She looked around, seeing only the surrounding environment...until she saw a figure.
The figure looked like a ghostly crimson robe. It just floated there, as if watching her. Then, a wave of intuition gave her an idea of who it was. "You're...you're Dominion, aren't you? Ahrganot mentioned you..."
"Yes, this one is the one known as 'Dominion'," the Titan responded, "This one sees you have Selvarius's Amulet."
"So...what's going on? Where is everyone?" Galiana asked.
A second voice answered, "You are within your mind. This one's Amulet has drained your spiritual energy. Do not fear, you will awaken when your spirit is refreshed. Until then, however, your body remains unresponsive to all." Then, a second figure appeared. This one looked like a re-postured Tokarthi, with an unusual, bladed helmet and ornate armor. "Dominion and Selvarius merely wish to talk to you."
Galiana realized, "And you...you're Selvarius...aren't you?"
"Yes, young one, this one is that whom you've named," Selvarius responded.
Dominion said, "These ones merely wished to congradulate you: you really went above and beyond your comrades' expectations, whether they show it or not..."
"As you have this one's own," Selvarius said, with pride, "This one has selected many Tokarthi and other sentient beings to be Champions of Will, but this one believes you were the most impressive of all."
"Champion of Will?" Galiana asked.
Dominion explained, "Selvarius is known by mortal, Ancient, and Titan alike as the Titan of Willpower. His domains lay within Ingenuity, Courage, and Determination...the 3 Trials of Lemuria."
"And, during the Trials and in your fight with Artin Markoth, you showed all 3," Selvarius finished, "This one is proud of how you showed one of those 'Dark Warriors' that the strength of Willpower will always defeat Darkness."
"Wait, I'm still a little confused here," Galiana said, "How do I..."
"Patience," Selvarius said, "Even while not in this one's domain, Patience is one of many things any of all beliefs should follow."
Galiana, this time slowly, asked, "How do I fit in into all of this? I'm...I'm not as skilled as the others: Etah, Tholker, and even the one I call 'father' have powers that I cannot even hope to comprehend. And the only one who doesn't, Ahrganot, has more training than I can ever hope to have. Where do I fit into this fight?"
Selvarius was silent for a moment, before he uttered a name Galiana hadn't heard in years, but its mere mention brought her entire life's purpose into focus.
"Katia Matveev. Galiana Arcad. Harbinger of Cleansing. Chosen of Selvarius. All are names you have gone by, go by now, and will go by in the millenia to come. You're destiny has been written in the stars by the Titan King before you were even born. The destiny of all of your team, your GSSOC has been written. You are destined to defeat a great evil. You are destined to delay Armaggedon. The Ancient, the Half-Life, the Assassin, the Dragon, the Predator, and the Youth. These are the names of the 6 destined to hold back Doomsday."
Suddenly, Selvarius and Dominion began to fade. "You and your team are destined for great things, Katia, destined for great things indeed..."
Galiana jolted awake in the Batra. The team and the young man they rescued were there with her. Everyone bolted back when Galiana jolted into an upright position, breathing heavily.
"Galiana!" Sol I Dor called to her. Then, without thinking, he wrapped his arms around her. "Thank goodness you're ok."
"What happened?" Galiana asked, "The last thing I recall is my blades striking Artin, and then..." At that moment, she decide against telling them the vision yet, she'd tell them in a minute, once she composed herself.
"You fell over unconscious," Ahrganot said, "You've been in a coma for the past 24 hours."
"A whole day?" Galiana asked. She only remembered the vision being only 5-10 minutes at most. Maybe it was longer than she thought...
"So, what happened?" Tholker asked, "Each of us, except your father," he said with amusement, "had some kind of contact with the Titans. What about you? You have any wierd dreams during your nap?"
Galiana then decided to explain her vision.
Once she finished, the team was shocked. "Destined for great things?" Tholker asked.
"Destined to hold back Doomsday?" Etah contemplated, "They must mean stopping Infra."
"I think so too," Sol I Dor replied.
"Are you sure it was Selvarius that was with Dominion?" Ahrganot asked, checking to see if Galiana got the Titan's identity correct.
"I'm positive," Galiana responded, "He was the one that explained everything to me...including..." Galiana remembered Selvarius's words, and the names he said were, or will be, associated with her.
Katia Matveev. Galiana Arcad. Harbinger of Cleansing. Chosen of Selvarius. All are names you have gone by, go by now, and will go by in the millenia to come...
"He...revealed to me my name...my real name..."
Sol I Dor was taken aback by this. Galiana had forgotten her name almost 18-19 years ago, when she was rescued from Ashadra, when the trauma of the event had effected her memory. And now she finally knew her name...
"'Real Name'?" Tholker asked, "Your real name isn't Galiana?"
"No," Sol I Dor explained, "Galiana is the name I gave her when she couldn't tell me her own, and Arcad is my clan name, not her own."
"So, what is your real name?" the human Enrico asked, using one of the team's translators.
"He said my name was...Katia Matveev..."
Galiana was standing outside the Batra, looking over the devastated terrain of the area of Ashadra the ship landed on. Moments later, she was joined by Enrico and Ahrganot. "You've grown a lot in the small amount of time I've known you," Ahrganot said to her.
"Thanks..." she said, as she stared out at the terrain. Her expression initially showed some saddness, but, suddenly, it changed to one of comfort.
"Galiana?" Ahrganot asked, confused by this.
"That Dark Warrior...he was right in a way...I was too weak to save my world...but..."
"Hmmm?" Ahrganot sounded.
"...I was only a child then. I couldn't fend for myself then. But...even now, I don't think I could have done a thing anyway."
"A lot of soldiers died defending the world," Enrico explained, showing he remembered the event more vividly than Galiana did. Galiana wondered how the event must have affected him then, if at all. "If armies of our race could not stop them, how could you have?"
Galiana just looked in the direction of the setting star. A smile appeared on her face. "While I was using the Amulet, I realized the exact same thing. All this time, I was too sad, due to how sad I was over what happened to my homeworld, but now..." She turned to Enrico and Ahrganot (finally), as the rest of the team emerged from the ship. Her face was relaxed and smiling, as if at peace with herself. "I have something more to fight for. Something...worthwhile."
"The ship is ready," Etah reported, "I've made contact with command. We have to go. We can stop by the bunker to drop off Enrico, but then we need to rendezvous with Science Officer Seru."
"So, do we have to call you 'Katia' now?" Tholker asked half-jokingly, although it was something everyone was wondering.
Galiana thought, before saying, "All this time, I've gone by Galiana...and, even though it's nice to know the name I was born with...I think Katia Matveev disappeared with my family. I am Galiana Arcad now."
Sol I Dor seemed glad to hear this, not that she kept his clan name, but, rather that she seemed finally at peace.
Then, Tholker reminded, "Ok, guys, time to go..."
Galiana nodded. As the group walked towards the ship, Galiana looked around...and saw a small, green plant, pushing through the blackened soil. The sight of the plant living in the devastated area filled her with comfort. To see that her world was not as dead as she feared, it warmed her heart. Then, she boarded the Batra with the others, and, giving her world one more silent good-bye, she and the team left Ashadra.