Malus: World of War I
The True Power of a God-King
Stories you should be familiar with:
The Legend of Zelda
ALAMUT, PERSIA, 2:52 PM
The city of Alamut, once the crown jewel of Xerxes' conquer, a trophy to the god-king of Persia, lied in flame and ruin in the span of a little more than an hour. Its entire army, all that remained of the Persian army, mainly consisting of monsters tamed and captured by Xerxes' forces, and his personal guard and greatest fighting force, the Immortals, were now corpses lying in the dead streets of Alamut, awaiting burial. The Holy Magic surrounding the city had failed to defend its god-king, who could do nothing more than cower in a citadel that did not even rightfully belong to him, awaiting inevitable defeat. But he knelt before the feet of another. Others knelt at his feet. What he did not know however was that his final beacon of power was falling not to any army, no legion of beasts or Gerudians, but one single Bearer of Power. And now, the flames of a fallen city surrounding him, the blistered wind blowing about him, his mighty cape flapping behind him like a rumble of thunder following an unstoppable onslaught of lightning, he approached the palace of Alamut. Upon him, there was no scratch, barely a sweat, and no signature upon him of weakness or wavering will. He walked forth in the name of the nation he intended to restore to its former glory, and with power of one of three deities long passed.
Within the palace, the final eight of the Immortals, one a monstrous and savage behemoth chained to a pillar of shimmering marble, cracking under the pressure of how hard he tugged on his chains, desperate to fight whatever lied out there for him. The Immortals had been pushed to the brink of their limits. Never had they faced an opponent so strong, especially not a single entity. There was no possible way this man could be entirely human. But the question of leaving the losing side for the proper god-king did not occur to them, for serving Xerxes was all they could possibly know throughout what could be barely referred to as their lives. They merely drew their dual Persian blades, their signature weapons, and awaited the next move from their enemy. The only thing to break the intense silence was the growls and snarls of the beast behind them, and the sound of twin doors bursting open, metal garbed footsteps slowly announcing the entrance of their enemy into the halls of the citadel. This was the end for them, they knew. But they would fight for their king, for it was all they knew.
"Valiant soldiers of Persia," said a deep, commanding voice, ringing a deep bell, or the hollow bellow from the deepest abyss, through the entire palace. Its presence was so potent that the Immortals could not tell whether it was magic enhancing the voice or if the words of their enemy bore that much power.
"You have fought with admiration for your empire. You are worthy servants to your king, and great soldiers for your land. But it is over. Nothing can hold of the inevitability. Persia was shrouded by the shadow of the Gerudian banner since before this war even began. The choice is yours. King Xerxes, you have a chance to save what remains of your kingdom. Surrender now to the might of the Gerudian tribes, and Persia will remain a strong nation. Your subjects will still kneel before your banner, if you merely kneel before the banner of my people."
Within the throne room of Persia, Xerxes' new adviser cowered behind the throne of the god-king, curling like a ball as he rocked back and forth, his terrified mumbling echoing through the room, perfectly hiding a concealed grin on his face. Xerxes however, did not cower. With determination born from a combination of courage against his enemies and the blind foolhardiness that came with a power that had remained unchallenged for too long, he stood against the end of his power.
"I bear no fear toward a cowardly desert vagrant. I am the god-king of Persia. And I kneel before no one. If I am to die here, Persia will die with me. It will remain in ruin, a monument to how Xerxes, a god among insects, stood before doom while the other deities fled to save their immortal souls."
"And you know that if you choose this, your soldiers will die as well."
"I am my soldiers. Do your worst."
"Very well. Now you will know the true power of a god-king."
Back within the treasure room of Xerxes, where the Immortals still lied in wait, the iron footsteps continued apace. They grew louder and louder with each slow progression, strokes of a pen in a letter of doom. The Immortals drew up swords, prepared to fight to the last man within their final battle, not so much as flinching in the slightest fear as their imminent demise approached down the hallway like a great apocalypse approaching the waiting earth. Their silver masks exuded pragmatic and emotionless fury, unwavering, like stone gargoyles upon a castle wall. And with their swords drawn, they looked like ghouls of the darkest night, merciless and unrelenting in the face of even the greatest evil. For they were indeed demons. Thoughtless monsters, deadly weapons in the service of the god-king of Persia, the deadliest fighting force known throughout their land. And here, their title would be put to the ultimate test.
One of them slowly walked forward, signaling his fellow soldiers to stay back. He walked out of the treasure room with his swords at the ready, his state of great awareness in what was soon to be the heat of combat doing nothing to break his cool. He stepped out of the doorway completely, like a wolf stepping out of its cave, ready to face whatever predator awaited it. The Immortal looked to his left as the footsteps grew louder and raised his swords. He could clearly see the enemy approach. He then lunged forth with speed and precision, the mask on his face making him appear as a phantom, ready to destroy whatever intruder dared enter the halls of Persia. As he vanished, the others could hear a chord of heavy metal striking upon heavy metal, then steel cutting through flesh almost instantly afterward. And then there was a visual, the Immortal's slain corpse, cut from right shoulder to left hip, sliding across the obsidian floor, a trail of crimson left in the lifeless husk's path. Not once had the sound of the footsteps ceased.
This time, all of the Immortals raised their swords, prepared for whatever opponent awaited them. As the iron clad footsteps grew ever louder and ever stronger, the Immortals stood perfectly still, like statues of steel. And then, as they reached their mightiest chord, the footsteps ceased. But the Immortals' position didn't. They remained close together like a pack, for despite their lack of free will, they were great enough warriors to know that if they hoped to defeat the man who approached them, they would need to fight together, as one. And suddenly, like a shadow descending from the one who cast it, as silent and deadly as a viper, with might and power of a titan, their enemy dropped from the ceiling, landing in the center of the Immortals like a ghost. In his right hand, a Gerudian sword stained with crimson, in his left, the Trident of Power, perched into the ground like a pillar, the Bearer of Power had arrived. He was the lord of the Gerudians. He was Ganondorf Dragmire.
The Immortals turned as quickly as lightning to face their opponent. One of them lunged forward, swinging both of his curved Persian blades horizontally to decapitate him, the force of the blades themselves brushing against Ganondorf's face like a cold breeze. But as quickly as a tiger leaping at his prey, the King of the Gerudians rose, deflecting both blows with his Trident, then cutting through his abdomen with his sword before the warrior could so much as blink. The treasure room was now ringing with the sounds of metal clanking upon metal and the bellow of the beast as the Immortals faced the true god-king five against one, being driven back like ants from their eater by the might and skill of the Bearer of Power. The Immortals' masks still bore the ferocious will of their king within what seemed like monstrous faces of steel, whereas Ganondorf's face bore one of unconquered and unchallenged power, yet also experienced and desolate as the desert from which he hailed. Within this great struggle, no war cries sounded from any combatant. There were no words, no screams, not even the slightest grunt of frustration or rage.
An Immortal lunged forth, his right sword raised for an upward strike toward his neck, the left thrust forward, ready to run the ice cold steel through the Gerudian's heart. But all Ganondorf needed to do was step aside, blocking both blows with quick, precise, and effortless parries of his own sword, before he cut the soldier down with a lazy, yet powerful flick of his blade. As the Immortal's slain form flew far from Ganondorf, another lunged forward, leaping like a boulder from a catapult into the air, descending to cut the warlord down. But once again, it was for naught, as the Immortal found both of his swords deflected away swiftly by Ganondorf's own and was sent flying with a single swing of the Trident of Power, which made blunt, bruising contact with where his spinal cord bridged into his skull.
The Immortal when tumbling across the room, one of his swords skidding away from him as this happened, toward where the beast, who was now desperately clawing at his chains, stood. As the slave of the god-king looked up at the beast, snarling and grueling with savage anticipation, he looked back into the direction where he could still hear the sound of metal clanking upon metal. And Ganondorf still held the upper hand, twirling about and parrying every blow, fighting not just as a swordsman, but as a force of nature, a storm unleashing fury divine. The beast was possibly the only chance they had of forcing the Bearer of Power on the defensive. So, the Immortal rose to his feet and raised his curved blade into the air, prepared to swing down and shatter the chains like hot knives through melted butter.
There was still silence of words, still a storm of dancing feet and striking blades as the skirmish continued apace. One Immortal performed a swift strike with his right blade going toward Ganondorf's leg, but found himself disarmed of the sword just as quickly with the pommel of the Trident and felt his feet fly out from under him as he was tripped over by the weapon. As the Immortal fell flat onto his pack, the air knocked clean from him as quickly as a bullet departing from a gun, and felt the icy grip of death upon him as the prongs of the Trident dove into his chest, killing him almost instantly after he had hit the ground. And now, there were only two left to oppose Ganondorf. Leaving the Trident of Power embedded in the dead soldier's chest, the warlord parried each blow of the Immortals with effortless precision and grace, a bearer of divine power against thoughtless warriors of usurped and stolen power. Quickly slipping past the one to his right's defenses, he severed his arms and cut him down in one masterful strike, a fountain of blood pouring over him like rain. And with only one left, Ganondorf merely had to defend against the powerful and experienced strike delivered toward him, disarm the Immortal of both of his swords with speed inhuman, and pierce him through the heart before the lost blades could even hit the ground, putting an end to the soldier.
However, it was not done yet. He heard the roar of the monster behind him grow ever louder, heard the heavy chains that restrained him drop to the floor, and turned to see the beast raising the Immortal who had freed him straight over his head. Ganondorf walked forward with no hesitation in his eyes, with no fear in his soul. And as the beast threw the kicking and resisting Immortal at the Gerudian, Ganondorf merely knocked him aside with the flat of his blade, leaving him to skid across the room harmlessly.
The beast tore a souvenir axe from the pillar next to him as he charged forth toward Ganondorf, who still continued to merely walk, as if there were all the time for him in the world which he was determined to subjugate in the name of the Gerudian tribes. The giant swung the mighty axe with no finesse, but might that cut through air like a vortex through decimated air. Ganondorf deflected blow after mighty blow with precision and ease. The giant swung left, then right, then upward, then reached forward to grab Ganondorf by the skull and crush him like an insect, but found himself reeling back as his hand was severed. Quickly regaining his balance, the beast continued his attack, swinging overhead with his axe and initiating a fierce bladelock with Ganondorf. He snarled, growled, and breathed a foul breath rotting of the humans, dead and alive alike, which he was fed, while Ganondorf simply stared back into the savage eyes of his enemy with fierce and invincibly determined eyes, no strain or effort within them. Opening his mouth to a gaping degree and making one loud roar, the monster then plunged the severed stump of his hand, the bone beneath the gored flesh sharp and jagged, stained with crimson, toward the Gerudian's abdomen. But Ganondorf pressed his advantage, pushing the axe downward to block the jagged bone before it could tear through his flesh, and with a swift stroke that was made before any reaction from the beast could, severed the monster's head from his left eye to the right side of his jaw. As a river of blood poured from the savage creature's severed skull, the giant fell to the floor with a loud thud, allowing his blood to spread through the room like water slithering through a crack in a dam.
Standing above a room filled with fallen enemies, Ganondorf turned without a word, without a sweat, and without a scratch, to leave to the throne room and claim if for his own. He doubted that Xerxes was foolish enough to remain in the palace, but it mattered for naught. The so-called god-king was now powerless. Persia would now be ruled under the banner and shadow of the Gerudian tribes, one of many lands that would follow. And as the Immortal that had been thrown forward the giant lunged toward him from behind, dual swords at the ready, Ganondorf did not even turn his head, bringing his swords over his back as if sheathing it to deflect the blow, and then decapitating the soldier with yet another swift blow, all while continuing to walk away from the bloodied room of corpses, all slain by a single man. Wresting the Trident of Power from the floor, the Bearer of Power proceeded in his path to the conquered throne room, having more than proven his namesake in this one day.
Meanwhile, in the throne room, contrary to Ganondorf's beliefs, Xerxes remained, patiently and stubbornly awaiting his fate. He would rather face the smile of death rather than surrender the kingdom over which he ruled as deity. For as a god-king, he believed death to be merely a setback to his immortality. His adviser merely continued to hide behind the throne, awaiting what was about to come.
As Xerxes stood proudly and coldly, unafraid of what may await him in the great beyond, the air behind him began to ripple and quake as if something ever present beneath it was coming forth from the void. And suddenly, the ripples became visible, spreading wider and wider, forcing Xerxes to turn to see what the source of this could have possibly been. And then the great ripple in the matter before Xerxes took form as a cloaked man, hooded, wearing an orange mask with only one eye hole within it, seated in the god-king's throne with his legs crossed. And beneath that hole lied a red eye with three black tomoe circling the pupil. Xerxes quickly recognized this eye as that of the Sharingan kekkei genkai. He was either standing before a warrior of the renowned Uchiha Clan, or a great imitator of their power.
"Come with me," the masked man said coldly, unflinching as he continued to sit before Xerxes.
"No," retorted the god-king.
"I will not flea like a coward as Ganondorf takes the land of the god-king! I will await him here and show him that the true power of Xerxes is immortal, eternal, the bane of the reaper itself."
"By awaiting death like an infant awaiting its mother's breast? Is this really your greatest strategy?"
"What could you offer me instead, you veiled cur?! What could you possibly offer?!"
"Revenge. And a chance to reclaim Persia from the ashes of defeat. But the question lies in whether you would rather be buried with your kingdom or live, survive, fight again to bring the land of the god-king back from its grave."
"Persia will have no grave as long as its divine ruler survives!" said Xerxes, stepping forth to confront the masked enigma.
"We will both see to that. You fair far too much value to lose this kingdom now. That is why I ordered Jafar to aid you."
Xerxes squinted his eyes. Nobody had ordered Jafar to help the god-king but the god-king himself.
"Always a pleasure, Madara," said the elderly adviser, the masquerading silhouette of Jafar, before vanishing in a cloud of bloody red mist.
Xerxes turned to see what the old man had did, immediately realizing the deception. Then he just as quickly turned toward Madara again, as if a predator turning about and about toward its prey, unsure about which to pursue.
"Madara Uchiha?!" inquired Xerxes with shock all too evident in his face.
"The last of the Uchiha. And I give my word in the name of my fallen clan to restore your divine reign of Persia, if you will but aid me in restoring my clan."
Then, like an animatronic, slowly and without emotion or care, Madara reached his hand out as if offering a handshake. Xerxes stepped forward hesitantly, not sure of what this man's true motives were. But whatever they were, he was offering him a second chance to fight for the land which was rightfully his. And he would take it. He would trade mind, body, and soul alike for it. So he reached his hand out in return and grabbed onto Madara's, as another ripple in the atmosphere formed around the two, taking them through the Nexus to where Xerxes' new campaign would begin. Persia now belonged to the Gerudians. But Xerxes was determined to return, make his enemies pay, and take back what was his.