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Long Live the Shield

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Lucis May 16th: The Citadel

It hurt like hell.

He felt the pain.

But he couldn't feel the King's magic.

He knew what it meant, it meant more then one thing.

Regis was dead.

He failed his King.

He failed to save his best friend.

He was conscious, but everything around him was nothing. He was only aware of the blade in his chest just barely missing his heart. He could also feel the pain in his ribs that the sword had broken. He knew what blade could do this.

It was his very own.

Many thoughts ran through his mind, he was unsure of which would be the last. He was dying with his own sword in his back, inches from his heart. His best friend who he swore to protect was dead. Thought after thought went through his mind. His thoughts went to the pain, to dying, to his children.

Iris and Gladiolus, he let his mind focus on them, he wanted his finale thoughts on them.

The wound in his chest continued to bleed, he could feel the warm substance stain through his council armour. It hurt worse than any other injuries he had through his fifty-five years. He knew it was the end, it had to be.

"My, my, what do we have here?" said a voice.

It was chilling and familiar, it sent off every last nerve in his body. It made his mind and thoughts speed up. He knew this voice because he had heard it earlier, and days before. It was the Chancellor, the one who personally offered them the invitations to their deaths.

Clarus could feel adrenaline run through him, causing more pain through his body. The pain forced him to accidentally let out a sound between a gurgling of blood and a hoarse sound of pain. He hated himself for it, he had given away the fact that he was conscious.

"Still alive are we?" He could hear foot steps come to a stop behind him. "Oh dear that looks to be quite painful, perhaps I should assist you." There was humor in his voice.

Clarus could hear a snap of fingers, followed by the unearthly sound of a Daemon. His mind froze at that fact, the last way he wanted to die was by the sickening creatures of darkness. Bleeding to death as what was happening, was far better then dying to one of those beasts.

He suddenly felt the blade being ripped from his chest with great force. The pain that accompanied it was enough to make him nearly black out. Six he wished he had.

He was having trouble breathing, his lung had been punctured or possibly damaged. Not to mention his blade had punctured his ribs, there was no way it would have gone through his chest if it hadn't. He was sure it was only the adrenaline keeping him alive now.

"I recognize you, Clarus was it? You acted as the so called Shield to the king correct? I regret to inform you, your dearest king lays dead. From the looks of it, your not far yourself." Ardyn spoke with a sick humor in his voice.

Clarus attempted to move, but pain shot through his body. The Chancellor knew this and knelt down on one knee to see his pain closer. This made Clarus force out another sound of pain, though the gurgling was far worse this time.

"You know, an old friend of mine was quite similar to you. Very skilled with many kinds of weapons and a fine swordsman. However, he decided to side with my brother, and attempted to kill me. It's quite unfortunate I could not see either of them suffer. However, you and your king will have to do." Ardyn smirked.

He summoned what looked to be a potion, the one little trick alone was enough to shock Clarus. Before he knew it he was being healed, the pain and internal damage was partially gone. However, the wound in his chest remained partly opened.

"I have the most wondrous of plans for you," Ardyn smirked darkly.

Clarus was still unable to speak as some fluids were still in his throat. But he managed to let out just one more sound as Ardyn showed his true form. With black slime running down his face, he smiled and cut a wound into his hand.

He then proceeded to allow the dark substance that ran through him to flow freely from the wound. It dripped rapidly as he held his hand over Clarus's chest. Clarus could do nothing as the dark liquid flowed into his opened wound and mix with his blood.

It felt so cold, yet at the same time it burned him. It burned as if one was applying medical liquids to clean the wound. But it was also burning as if acid was being poured on to him. The process became to painful him to handle.

He passed out to darkness.

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Lucis May 17: Somewhere in Lucis

By the time he woke up he had no knowledge of where he was.

Where ever he was it was dark.

The empty feeling of Regis's magic gone from his body made him ignore everything.

Regis was dead.

Compared to the physical pain in his body, knowing that one fact hurt more then anything else he could think of. But as time went on the physical pain suddenly vanished, it became nothing more then a numbness in his chest. What was left in it's place was an eerie cold feeling.

As the pain numbed he slowly regained his senses, he could hear something dreadfully familiar. It was the sound of an airship engine, below him. There was only one explanation, one he hated.

He was on an enemy ship, wounded.

He would have mentally cursed himself for eternity, but the exhaustion and the cold feeling in his chest didn't leave him. It was a new feeling and it wasn't a good one. Something felt wrong, so wrong. He didn't know what the chancellor did to him, but what ever it was he didn't like it.

The lights suddenly came on, Clarus's instincts kicked in. He froze and evened his breathing, making the illusion that he was still unconscious. But it was a vein effort.

He felt the coldness inside him move, it literally moved inside him. It burned like acid against his insides, like it was alive. He started coughing roughly, he attempted to grab at his chest but he hadn't noticed his hand s were restrained at his side's by metal.

"Good to see my new pet is awake." Said a voice with cold humor.

It was the chancellor, with Iedolas Aldercapt beside him.

Clarus took note of his surroundings, he was in what looked to be a holding cell. Four MT's were present in the room, two on either side of the cell doors and two at the main entrance.

He couldn't speak, both because of the shock and because really couldn't. It was as if his body was being controlled, by something but his mind remained free.

It was such a horrible situation, Clarus knew this was the worst case scenario. It could only get worse from here, and Clarus knew what was going to happen, or so he thought.

"Your king is dead," Iedolas had no emotion as he spoke.

Clarus tightened his fist, he knew very well that Regis was dead. He knew because the feeling of the kings magic in which he held for over thirty-five years was gone. He knew what it meant, yet somehow to hear it out loud made a part of him break.

"I know your name well Clarus Amicitia," There was a cold hatred in his voice now. "For decades you stood as the so called Shield of my enemy, as far as my knowledge falls I know it was you who have made battle orders against my army." He now looked Clarus in the eye with a glare.

Clarus wasn't at all hesitant to send a glare back.

"All common sense and wisdom would tell me to kill you. However, I have other plans for you." The older man turned away with an obvious smirk on his face.

"If you even think for moment that I would dare give you any know-" Clarus raged at them both.

Iedolas cut off a smirk still on his face, "Knowledge is nothing, I have no need for it. You however, have a grand use for my army." Iedolas let the words slip from mouth.

Clarus froze at that, he wasn't sure what that meant but he knew it meant something horrible.

Most likely, mind control.

"I expect results," before he knew it Iedolas left the cell. Clarus was left alone to the mercy of Ardyn.

Ardyn simply smirked his eyes being covered by his hat, Clarus knew he would have seen a dark humorous look in the man's eyes. A sick look displayed on previous tortures Clarus had to deal with. It was a dark look that would make anyone sick.

"Let us begin," Ardyn snapped his fingers and in came three more people. One held what looked to be a mask, another was an enemy general the last came in with a what looked to be armor?

He didn't even have a chance to look at it, because that cold feeling from earlier came back.

It sent a horrible pain through his body, and before he knew it he blacked out.

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Red.

It was quick and red.

Yet, he had no control.

He could feel himself move, he could see himself move and attack his enemies.

Red.

That's all it was.

Red.

He wanted control he really did. But it was denied, whatever the cold feeling was it denied him any control. He could do nothing and think of nothing. But he could watch and think with out processing anything. It was as if running in a panic you don't care for anything you just run.

Thinking without processing, it was like knowing the answer to a question. But you have no idea what your saying. This process was the same he past by everything. He didn't know what, couldn't recognize anyone or anything. It was just watching thought his eyes, as it took control.

But the one thing he could process was the color.

Red.

Perhaps it was all he saw? Or perhaps his vision itself turned red?

The red suddenly disappeared it was replaced by darkness. He slowly felt himself become weak and fall unconscious.

When he woke up it wasn't a pretty sight. Wherever he was it was cold, damn near freezing cold. Whatever was causing the temperature wasn't normal, he could feel the magical force making it. Or perhaps that was just his imagination?

"Clarus Amicitia," a voice spat out his name.

Clarus barely recognized the voice, it had been years since he heard it. Until just, was it yesterday? At the so called treaty signing, it was Ravus Nox Fleuret.

"What do you want?" Clarus had heard the commotion, had heard him scream when he put the ring on.

Clarus could barely see as he opened his eyes, his vision was blurred and no longer red. But as his vision cleared he saw a familiar yet unfamiliar face in front of him. The last time he had saw him, it had been at the signing ceremony. Now looking at him Clarus saw a prosthetic metal arm on him.

He was sure that something like that would have taken a long while to install. Seeing as it looked directly attached to the young man, and the color of his right eye now purple. Proof of the corruption behind the magitek technology, and also proof he had been out a while.

There was no way to install that arm without surgery or days with recovery from it.

Ravus gave a snort before answering.

"Nothing," He answered with a tone that reminded Clarus of satisfying venom.

"You of all people wouldn't be here unless you wanted something, we both know your ranking is above watching an imprisoned failed Shield." Clarus knew there was something much deeper he wanted.

"Your smart, smart enough to know why I'm here and why I refuse to leave." Ravus began to slowly pace the room side to side yet he didn't take his gaze off of Clarus.

"Heh, came to see me weakened? At my lowest? Because of what? A life long grudge? I hate to disappoint you, but I will let you know now your not going to feel any better from it." Clarus looked to the floor, as he was still restrained and still unable to move.

Ravus was suddenly in his face.

"You don't get speak about how I feel, last I remember you and your sorry excuse for a king ran away like cowards! Leaving me and my people behind to burn after we helped you and your prince! I was left wounded in the ground with my mother dead in front of me!" Ravus hissed at him every word laced with anger.

"You think we would have left you behind on purpose? Glauca was there He was the one who killed your mother, she died to protect you from him." Clarus looked up to meet the form or princes mismatched eyes.

Clarus suddenly felt a punch to his face.

"You do not get to speak about my mother! If you and that cowered of a king didn't leave us behind I wouldn't have become this! I wouldn't have been left with no choice but to join the murderers who killed my mother! My sister wouldn't have had her childhood ripped away from her!" Ravus continued to scream.

"If we had fought that day none of us would have been alive. Just look at me now, look at what happened to the council and to Regis. None of us stood a chance now, what makes you think we would have stood a chance then? Glauca took us all out, even when we had the help of the kings magic, when Tenebrae fell Glauca had an entire army. It wasn't a battle we could win." Clarus justified.

Ravus just glared at him and turned away.

"Yet, even after your escape you didn't even try. You had the best warriors, all of the magic. Yet you still didn't try. Now look at what I've become just another one of them." Ravus looked to the floor his back still towards Clarus.

They both went silent after that.

"Perhaps your right, but your also wrong." Claruif broke the silence.

"How so? In the way you didn't even attempt to help us after your escape, or that I'm now a monster because of your own failure to do so?" Ravus turned his head but still didn't face him.

"Both, perhaps we didn't try enough. Perhaps we did and it still wasn't enough. As for being a monster, I doubt anyone heartless would have put on the ring of the Lucii just to help those he hated. But perhaps it is all that anger you refused to let go of that made you unworthy of that power." Clarus explained.

The last thing he expected upon waking up was to be giving a former prince who hated his guts advice. Or perhaps a sixteen year old who grew up over night, who was only motivated by his anger, grief, and fear. A person, who never had anyone, in the last twelve years, tell him why or how he had to let it all go.

Both of them went silent again. But this time it was because Clarus gave Ravus something to think about.

Suddenly Ravus started screaming again, but he didn't face Clarus. Almost as if he couldn't look him in the eyes.

"Damn you! Damn you and damn Regis for allowing himself to die! All I wanted was too see both of you, see the look in your eyes as you lost everything. I wanted you to feel the pain, feel the pain you put me through by leaving us behind! I wanted revenge!" He yelled at the wall.

After a moment Clarus spoke again.

"There's a difference between wanting revenge, and just wanting someone to understand. Revenge is just wanting to stab someone back after they've done you wrong. Wanting them to understand and to feel the same pain you did is different entirely." Clarus kept his voice calm.

Clarus remembered when Gladiolus had gotten upset. Whether it was just something simple as forgetting somthing, or as complicated as the Prince skipping training. Clarus always knew how to calm his son down. Even if Gladio yelled at him after an argument and stormed off.

Clarus knew he would come back calmer, all he needed was something to think about. Just a few words out of his mouth to help him understand, or to calm him. Even if in anger of Gladio didn't care he always thought about it later. Sometimes all it took was a few words, or a clear mind and his anger was gone.

Ravus looked as if he was about to say somthing, but before he could the door opened. Revealing the sick scientist Clarus had come to know as Verstael Besithia.

Clarus could feel himself go pale.

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Meanwhile...

Cor gasped.

After years of fighting this had never happened before.

One of the new Nif generals almost kicked his ass.

The victory was his of course, but he had never had something this close in along time. Holding his wounded shoulder he turned to walk, only to nearly collapse. Whatever Niflhiem had done they've out did them selves he'd give them that.

It was late in the night, he had just left the outpost to do a solo mission. He succeeded of course, but to his surprise a new Niflheim soldier had jumped him. Whoever they were they injured him to the point he wouldn't make it back to the outpost at least not on his own.

He barely made it to a Haven as the Daemons started to surround him.

Now here he was miles from his equipment and stranded on a Haven in the middle of the night injured. He could only hope he would make it the night, and hopefully find a way to get back to the outpost. Without running into anything.

He tried his phone again for the seventh time, still no signal.

"Damn it!" He yelled throwing his phone. It was useless to him anyways.

He knew Monica or Dustin would notice him missing, but he knew they were smart enough not to go out at night. He wouldn't want them to anyways. He's been in similar situations before, some better some far worse.

He moved towards the center of the Haven.

Taking out his flashlight and removing his jacket he begun to take a better look at his injuries. He nearly dropped the flash light the moment he made a connection.

Only two people in the world knew where to strike him and how to do so. Only three knew he had weak spots, one of them being Cid who couldn't even use a blade the proper way. The other two were dead.

As much as it hurt him to even come across those thoughts, he knew it was the truth. For Niflhiem to have a new soldier who knew exactly where to strike, Cor didn't like it.

He didn't like it one bit.

Either Niflhiem was just that good, or someone he trusted was under that mask.

The thought made him sick.