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Like a Puppet on a String?

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It has been some time since his jaunt of Vol and though the deity called The Changer has tried to wipe the minds of most involved, Vaughn being descendant from a deity himself has trace memories of those events. They gnawed at the back of his brain like a cancer. The more he tried to put it out of his mind, the stronger they became.


He soon realized it wasn't happenstance that this was occurring, he felt the influence underneath it all. That cursed sword calling his name, beckoning him to take it in hand again. But he knew he couldn't allow himself too. For so long he had held the sword's influence at bay, but it had tasted much blood in his hands as was starting to regain it's will back over Vaughn's influence.


That sword was called The Black Blade, a twisted abomination of a broadsword made of steel, flesh, and bone. It in reality was a horrible and powerful blood thirsty demon had been trapped and reformed into the sword in an attempt to bind it and render it harmless. But it used it's new body to feed as it could pierce the flesh of it's victims, sucking blood, life and soul from their bodies. It would pass itself from owner to owner once it had used them to fulfill it's hunger and that they couldn't be of any use anymore, then they too would be consumed.


So it went, passing from owner to owner desperately feeding itself to regain and surpass it's former power, trying to break free back to it's original form. But it fell in to the hands of someone it couldn't control. A man whose will was so dark and so immense, it had no choice but to be the slave instead of the master.


It came to be in Vaughn's possession through the final act of it's previous owner. Sensing that Vaughn was different, the man entrusted the blade to him in the event of his untimely demise. Not long after that very thing happened and Vaughn took ownership of the Black Blade.


At once the sword sensed that it was in dire trouble. "Who is this man? Why does he hold dominance over me? Why do I feel my will bending to his?" it asked itself among other questions. "Why? Why? Why?" it screamed in it's mind until ultimately it was just a sword and nothing more.


What the man had sensed in Vaughn was the blood of an ancient demon god and he felt that that alone was enough to hold the sword at bay. But as Vaughn's own dark, demonic powers began to awake so did the sword's.


Once Vaughn had accepted and gained his full demonic form and powers he could feel the sword's soul gnawing at his own. He knew he could no longer use the sword but also could not allow it to fall in to anyone else's hands. Gathering a group of mages and magic-enabled friends, they constructed the most elaborate means of sealing the Black Blade away hopefully for all time.


--- this part is skippable ---


They encased the sword inside of a block of salt, then that inside a block of ice, then inside a block of copper, then a block of iron, then a block of steel, then a block of stone, then a block of marble, then a block of quartz. Around this pillar they cast over 20 different protection and barrier spells. Then they did the same for the entire room, before collapsing it. The room was now entombed with in the core of a great mountain. Around the mountain they constructed a barrier system using 20 pillars of obsidian. Finally with the 20 pillars they cast 5 different 20-pointed protection and barrier spells, ultimately encircling the entire perimeter of the mountain with a massive 100-point spell. A task that took one demon and about 29 others with magic skills, a total of 3 years to complete.


--- resume normal stuff ---


All should have been at ease, until some years later he felt the presence of the sword simply vanish as if it had never existed. He frantically checked the spells and barriers, they were all intact, and there was no trace of the cavern they had sealed having been entered. It was as if the Black Blade has ceased to exist. This concerned him. He could feel the auras of any being or thing with a dark aura even the faintest hint from the greatest distances, but the sword's was simply wasn't there.


Sometime later... He had returned to Vol to try and make sense of his past nightmares. The planet was pristine, though a bureaucratic mess. Nothing of the events that trailed his mind seemed to have existed. The Changer, being as powerful as it was couldn't affect fully the mind and memories of another deity, even if it was one in a mortal form. Vaughn resigned himself to be satisfied that the nightmares of Vol were remnants of a past that it's course drastically altered. He wasn't too happy about the idea of some light god mucking about in his head, but better that than to have actually had the erased events actually happen.




Night (as his chronometer said) had fallen on his way back home. Asleep in bed thinking of his love, Ferolina, a sudden horrible feeling came over him and he shot upright to scan the room. Nothing but his clothes and other odd-and ends, so he laid back down.


As he lay in there with his ruby colored eyes staring into the darkness, the room was a faint glow of red from them. He felt the horror again but this time knew EXACTLY what it was. The Black Blade had returned. Somewhere, somehow it was out there.


Vaughn glared at the thought as if staring down the monstrous sword itself. He whispered a vow, "This time I will make sure you will never return...ever.".


In the morning he sent off a message "Love, I've had something important come up. See you soon." But he knew as he wrote that he might never see her again since it would be as it had in the past. Him, alone and against all odds.


The ship homed in to a location he thought he felt the strongest aura from the evil sword. A massive structure came into view, "Surely this can't be right." he thought. But in his soul he knew somewhere in the complex that lay before his eyes, THAT sword was there and it was searching desperately for a new owner.


Grabbing somethings he thought necessary, he had exited his suite only to find he was no longer in his ship. He now occupied a room with a single door, the wall decorated with similar flame patterns to his clothes. On the dull white floor there was a symbol made from red tiles, an "O" made of 4 tribal spikes. It was his own symbol. This room has been custom tailored to his style masterfully. Someone, or something had been expecting him and seemingly was using the Black Blade as some kind of bait.


"Just great. Another one of THESE events. The MDb World was bad enough, but this random crap gets annoying. Who the hell decides to rope me into these things anyway?" he grumbled to himself as somewhere in another dimension a fuzzy eared dingbat giggled. *groan* "I wonder who else got sucked in to this with me."

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"Excalibur," Gilgamesh muttered to himself. He never slept anymore, but meditated. Sleeping is for mortals, as far as he was concerned.


He sat in the middle of a grassy field, atop a large boulder that just happened to be lying there. Legs crossed indian style, hands clutching his knees and eyes closed tight. He was surrounded by various swords stuck into the ground, his trophies of travels far and wide.


There was some kind of signal from far away in the future massaging his soul... only it wasn't a signal at all. It was a voice... a nice voice.

"What you seek..." the voice's sultry tone and whispy volume put his mind to ease. "Is here... follow my voice..."


Gilgamesh rose with a start. "EXCAAAAALIBUUUUURRRR!" he practically sang to himself with operatic timbre. "The Sword of Legend! Wherever you may be, you will be mine and mine alone!"


"Come... to the garden..." the voice was fading, barely audible in Gilgamesh's mind at this point. It didn't matter to him. He could follow this voice to the end of existence itself.


"Enkidu," Gilgamesh spoke to himself aloud. "I may require your assistance for this, faithful sidekick! I only trust you heed my call when the time arises!" And with that, he leapt off of the boulder, grabbed the sword closest to him, a jet black katana named Black Blade, and took off running. "I'm on my way, Sword of Legend! You shall pine for me no longer!"


A rift opened right in front of him, and he slid into it. He knew exactly where it would lead to.


Well, almost. He couldn't stop in time, and collided with a rather wall-like object. It was, in fact, a wall.


Gilgamesh spat out an onomatopoeia as his sliding stop abruptly ended, and peeled himself away from the wall. A quick look around the room revealed it to be covered in flame-like patterns. There was a fancy looking ring of spikes emblazoned on the floor. One door lied to the east of him. And, lo and behold, some kind of white-haired old man! Only he wasn't old, just grumpy-looking.


And, by Shinryu's beard, he had swords! Gilgamesh could feel the evil power erupting from a few of them. He shook the cobwebs out of his head and set his sights on this new target.


"Where the hell did you come from?" The grumpy white-haired man inquired.


"I am from nowhere and everywhere," Gilgamesh spoke through the fierce, never-moving grimace that was the mask of his helmet. With his halberd in his right hand and Black Blade (or, at least, what he was told was Black Blade) in his left, he declared, "I am GILGAMESH! Your weapons are forfeit to me!"


"Perfect," white-haired grumpy thought to himself. "I'm not here five seconds and already some idiot flies in from nowhere looking for a fight."

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A fiery blast echoed out into a room of flames and thorns, a scorched door crashing into the room's center before being crushed to splinters underneath Gilgamesh's back. Vaughn stepped out of the now smoke-filled room he had appeared in, watching as Gilgamesh swiftly jumped back onto his feet with a laugh.


"I see you are more than the old man I took you for," he said, pointing the Black Blade towards Vaughn's face. "Very good! This sword hungers for worthy opponents!"


"Doubt that," Vaughn said under his breath. "Are you going to fight or just exercise your tongue some more?"


"Ha, I will let my blade do the talking!" Gilgamesh said, swinging back his sword and dashing towards Vaughn. Vaughn took Kurohiarashi into his right hand, held downward upon unveiling to immediately block Gilgamesh's strike. A trail of flames licked at Gilgamesh as he quickly leapt back as Vaughn swung. "An impressive sword, just as I foretold! The outcome shall see me as its new owner!"


Vaughn uttered caustic laugh, swinging his weapon upward and releasing a wave of fire towards Gilgamesh. The Genji-clad warrior quickly leapt to the side and out of the way of the fire and immediately lunged forward, initiating a chorus of colliding metal as demon and quarter-god exchanged blows, none of which managed to hit either wielder. Now locked against one another, each blade supported by both hands, the two glared as one tried to overpower the other and vice versa, Kurohiarashi and (fake) Black Blade gnashing together as both warriors refused to compromise their ground. Gilgamesh grunted, taking a step back and allowing his opponent enough room to lessen his pressure, using that opportunity to swiftly shove back and knock Vaughn's hands over his head. Before he could recover, Vaughn felt Gilgamesh's foot press against his chest and knock him to the ground, a curse escaping his lips as he hit the floor. Eyes snapping open, Vaughn caught sight of his enemy, now airborne, and rolled out of the way and back on to his feet to avoid being skewered against the ground.


"Nuisance," he said, his body giving a jerk as he tried to assume a defensive position. His eyes glancing back, Vaughn gritted his teeth as he spotted the thorns that now entangled his sword. Gilgamesh, always one to exploit an opportunity (unless he missed it), readied his sword and charged, stumbling backwards as a ball of fire slammed into his chest and ended his advance. "Forget already?"


An exaggerated gulp escaped Gilgamesh as he watched another fireball form in Vaughn's hand and launch towards him. He teetered to the left, narrowly avoiding collision, and wobbled into an unsteady run as more fireballs were sent his way. The last of Vaughn's barrage went off with a bang more impressive than the rest, knocking Gilgamesh off balance and causing him to trip near one of the more toasty parts of the area.


"Geh! What man dishonors himself with such tactics?" Gilgamesh said, climbing to his feet. "A swordsman should fight with sword even when said sword is tangled in conveniently placed bush!"


"Your hat is on fire," Vaughn said.


"What does my hat have to -- huwha!?" Gilgamesh waved a hand over his helmet, feeling the flames that now engulfed the brush at the top. "Aiyeeh! By Lich's ghost, this is no time to be hot under -- or over -- the collar!!"


While Gilgamesh pounded at his head and jumped around like a crazed baboon, Vaughn took the time to untangle the Kurohiarashi and distance himself from the thorns. He composed himself some and then apathetically watched Gilgamesh finish up his bout of hooting and jumps.


"An appreciated call, but not one that will earn you any mercy!" Gilgamesh said, thick smoke still rising from the charred stub on top of his helmet. "Our clash must continue, and it must continue now!"


Vaughn said nothing. Instead, he conjured an even bigger fireball then before, making sure Gilgamesh got a good idea at where he was aiming it, no surprises at all. As the mighty blaze was unleashed, Gilgamesh laughed, performing a jump so quick and so high that the fireball would have never struck. A jump so quick and so high that he slammed his skull into the low ceiling of the room.


"Um," Vaughn muttered, watching as Gilgamesh fell to the ground in an unconscious heap. He looked around, as if wanting to avoid the embarrassment of having been seen in the fight. "You, uh, you better watch yourself now. I might not... be so light on you next time. Yes..."


Vaughn put Kurohiarashi away, giving one last pause and backwards glance towards the unconscious Gilgamesh before exiting the room.

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Gilgamesh slowly came to consciousness, his head full of tweeting birds and ringing telephones.


"Guh... where am I...?" Rising to his feet, his memory began coming back to him.


"That man... he was no ordinary man, to say the least! Why, I haven't had such a battle since... yes, him. I wonder how Bartz is doing? I should pay him a visit sometime!"


The 'Black Blade' disappeared from his hands, returning to its place among Gilgamesh's arsenal. "I must find that man again. His blades will be mine!"


Suddenly, a rift appeared directly behind Gilgamesh. "But... most importantly... I must have my revenge!"


With that, he turned around and leapt into the rift, the portal closing behind him. Not even he himself knew where he would end up in the garden...

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