The Carnage Saga
By Brian Yoon
A mournful scream shook the air.
It was long and sustained, seemingly coming from the air itself, wrapping its voice around all and anything that happened to be in the path. After a few minutes of his lone voice, another joined, this time from the huge rock on the ground. Soon, more and more voices joined in, until the cacophony of voices seemed to come from everywhere.
Then they appeared.
Like lost souls, they appeared as transparent as the mist, at the same time formless and defined. Some wore clothes that were ripped and torn, others clothes of immaculate taste. They wore masks of Some wandered around the area, floating and walking madly, with insane looks on their eyes. Others simply sat, mourning over their past loves or some mistake that they had done.
Welcome to Jigoku.
It was a dark, desolate place, where the souls roamed around until their re-entry to the mortal world. The ground that they haunted was rocky and uneven, as if Kami-sama himself had thrown it together with sloppiness. No trees or greenery of any type grew on this tainted land, and wind harshly blew, creating a cacophonous noise that almost drowned out the screams of the mournful. A heavy sorrow seemed to hang in the air, and it permeated the thoughts of the souls, causing even more sorrow.
However, this place was not without the happy. In a clashing discrepancy to the dark and mournful colors of the lost, many bright spirits stood, happy and proud. They were the ones that had lived good lives, the ones that were destined to lead even better ones. They mingled with the lost fearlessly, knowing that even the lost could not hurt them. Some wore ripped clothes, or some looked dirty, yet the main difference between them and the lost was their countenance. All the bright were happy. However, the sad outnumbered the bright by a lot. In this area of gloom and sorrow, several bright lights started to descend from the gray sky. The souls looked up, some shocked by this interruption of the normal. As the lights began to approach the ground, they gathered listlessly near their landing point, hoping beyond hope that this light would be their salvation.
When the lights finally hit the ground, the souls jumped forward eagerly. However, all were sent back by furious swinging of katana and hammer. The souls tried more and more, not giving up this chance at redemption. However, the katana and hammer continued their skilled barrage, the souls slowly backed away. This source was not to be their end of the pain. As the souls backed away, the people (who the lights had been) slowly let down their guard. Both dressed in suits of body armor, the man wore all blue and his armor shimmered with every movement. The other, a girl, looked young, hardly old enough to wield the huge hammer she held. Her armor was mechanical in design, perfect in battle.
They stood for a moment, catching their breath. The souls began to ignore this oddity: they had their own problems to mope about. As the souls started to moan again, the man shivered. The girl noticed and smiled sadly.
"Yes, Seiryuu, this is how Jigoku is like. Thank our Maker that you are a God and will never have to be forced down here." Seiryuu looked seriously at the girl. Even though the girl looked barely 14, Seiryuu knew that she was far older than that. She had been seriously changed by her experiences as the Guardian of the Future.
"How do you handle this every day, Skuld?" he asked. "These souls are tortured. How can you stand to watch over their souls, stand to hear their infernal moaning?" She smiled tiredly.
"It's my job, Seiryuu. Like how you are one of the Gods of War. It's what we've been assigned to do."
Seiryuu's gaze fell on the souls, his eyes pitying and sympathetic.
"Speaking of jobs..."
Skuld nodded, and started to illuminate again. "Tell me when your souls are chosen, and I shall guide them to their bodies." She paused. "You know, you are the fifth God to visit Jigoku this day. Has the disruption not been found yet?" Seiryuu's only answer was a sad nod. Skuld winced and started to rise. "Choose wisely, Seiryuu."
As Skuld disappeared into the sky, Seiryuu began to mingle with the souls, examining them, occasionally stopping one. Those he stopped, he asked their tale. He heard their past, and he heard their future.
I must choose my 4 seishi, Seiryuu thought. The rest will be picked by the other Gods of Sky and Earth, so I must make this team as strong as possible.
He listened more, rejecting some for their imprudence, more for their sadness. Finally, he stopped at one, one bowed by defeat. "Tell me your tale," he demanded.
The soul looked up sadly. "I have no past... I have no present. I only have the future to look for... I am destined to be mad, to always remember that my goal was in reach, yet I could not gain it. I loved every part of my goal, but in the chosen time, I chose to not fulfill it." Seiryuu smiled, and grabbed the soul's hand. He looked up, happy, disbelieving. Seiryuu's smile was reflected in his, as he began to ascend to the sky to be reborn.
Seiryuu looked even harder for the perfect counterparts to his chosen seishi, and he finally found them in 3 souls, 2 lost and 1 bright.
"I am also destined to lose," one spoke. "I am to follow my heart until the end, when my heart betrayed me."
"I am not a leader," the other lost soul spoke. "I am a follower, but I have no one to follow. I am a gaijin, rejected by Kotou because of my ethnicity. I am to be mad."
The bright one's voice echoed through Jigoku, happy and confident. "I know I might lose," he laughed out. "My future is not yet destined. I am a wild card in the game of life. However, I am content with it."
After his decisions, Seiryuu wandered deeper into Jigoku, where the souls of the currently living resided. He now had to look for the perfect embodiment of his power, his will. He listened to their stories, and to their future, hoping to find a perfect match.
<I am to be nobody. I am the face you always see, the face you never know.>
<I am to be the most famous person in the world. I am to find all I want, to fulfill all my goals.>
After a plethora of souls and stories, he finally stopped in front of a soul of a man. By the look of it, this soul was hardly a man, only in his teens. He bore a determined look in his face, and he looked ready to face the world.
<I will lose. I will be totally destroyed. I will become manic. My goals will never come true. However, I will never give up.>
Seiryuu smiled as he ascended with his Avatar, ready to face the world.
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