This fanfiction, called Limits on the Limitless, explores the adventure of Archarin before and after he became one of the God King's Devoted. Contains major spoilers if reader is unfamiliar with Infinity Blade characters and plots.
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Limits on the Limitless - Part 1Edit
For hundreds of years, the Bloodline would confront the God King and attempt to restore a peaceful reign to the people of Lantimor. He would hike from his hometown to the God King's palace, taking his father's armour and weapons with him. And then the words would be spoken, on the rocky ledge facing the palace:
"Father, I will avenge you."
It never occurred to anyone that the prospect of sending one lineage out was not only futile but stupid too. The people were keen to show their rebellion against the God King; no matter what it gained, they sent out the next in line without a second thought.
What if he doesn't have a child? Archarin thought angrily, walking towards a daeril wearing a severed horse's head. What would happen to the Bloodline then?
He unsheathed his father's- no, his sword, and settled into the opening stance of the Aegis forms. The daeril roared in approval and adjusted the shield on its arm. A few seconds passed, but Archarin dutifully waited for the first move. Then it came, slow and deliberate; the daeril was testing his mettle. He easily dodged to the left and parried a horizontal slash, forcing his energy through his muscles and into the blade. The daeril reeled back, stunned, and Archarin took the chance to gut his opponent, breaking through the leather armour and staining it red. The daeril tried to stand upright but Archarin kicked it in the head. It tripped over a boulder and he impaled it through the chest, silencing its pitiful gurgles.
He stood back to admire his work. Then he searched the creature for money, finding a bag bulging with gold and storing it within the sack he lagged behind him. If he were going to die, then he would die rich.
Archarin carried on, ignoring the Paladin standing at the front gates, and vaulted over the edge of the sewer entrance. He received a brief shock of surprise and fear as he fell down into darkness, feeling the air whistle past his helmet. But then he slammed into the ground, and brought up his sword and shield to attack a massive daeril enhancing with bulging muscles and rippling fat. It carried a nasty-looking club, and for a moment Archarin doubted whether his shield would be able to withstand a blow from it.
It was slow, almost lazy, and he managed to get in a few minor cuts before parrying a low slice to his right. Then the club came crashing down from overhead, and he dodged to his side, terrified of the spikes protruding from the weapons. However, the daeril was tired from the effort, and Archarin stabbed at its knees, before leaping into the air and driving his sword into its thick skull.
There was a chest in a secluded cell, and he pounced upon it. A health potion. He couldn't help but sneer as he held it up to observe its vibrant colour. Why didn't the blasted thing contain money instead? So far he hadn't received a scratch, so this was pretty much useless, as well as the other things his townsmen had given to him: bread to last the journey, flowers for good luck (seriously? If it wasn't poisonous, then it was of no use to him), and a gold coin. Yes, one measly gold coin. Compared to the loot he gained from the daerils' corpses, it was utterly pathetic.
Something was watching him. He whirled around and saw a daeril wielding two swords simultaneously. He suppressed the panic and advanced cautiously, taking in all of his advantages; there weren't many. He had hated fighting against his master when training against dual blades; thus he'd often lost the fight. But now he couldn't afford to lose. He had to fight the God King. That was his born destiny. Dying anytime sooner would be disgraceful.
For the first set of attacks, he held up his shield to protect him, feeling it creak and shudder as the swords whacked against it. Finally, he saw a break in the daeril's chain, and thrust his sword into its helmet. Feeling satisfied, blood splattered from the inside and flecked the metal in ruby drops.
He went through the wooden door, using magic all the while to heal the cracks in his shield, and came across a spacious cavern with braziers spewing fire and bones littering the ground. He darted over to a skeleton and prised a moneybag from its chest. Ugh. Hell take me, he thought. I'm getting money from skeletons. What would Mother think of me? It's like I'm benefiting from the dead. He stifled an otherwise mad giggle and approached a pedestal in the centre of the cavern. It held an interesting shape, one rather like a blade, and Archarin was sure that if such a unique blade existed, then it would fit perfectly into the imprint and perhaps unlock something.
The stairs were right before him, so he began to climb up. A figure dropped down and snarled; he rolled his eyes, adrenaline quickening his senses, as he accepted the knight's challenge. The swipes came quick and cleanly, and he had to adapt from the leisurely pace of the previous daerils to outmatch the knight's skills. Deciding that there was no way he could dodge, he parried the knight's sword, and the two pushed with all their might to overpower the other. He could almost hear the knight's laboured breathing, and that gave him a burst of energy; he plunged his sword into the knight's stomach and shoved him off the stairs, into the abyss below.
Light from the torches on the walls temporarily blinded him, contrasting to the darkness of the cavern and cells. The hall was circular, with the entrance facing a balcony that overlooked the entire room and the stairs leading to the abyss in the centre. Red banners hung from the walls, and chains tied to the ground led to the ceiling. The entrance was locked, so there was only one way to go now: up.
He took a step forward, and a platform noisily descended from the ceiling. On it was a giant mechanism, fizzing as electricity ran through its circuits. The golem moved into the Aegis stance and he obliged, unsheathing his sword and shield once again. I must be near the God King, he realised. This hall looks like it was meant for some sort of ceremony…the throne room can't be far away.
Archarin watched the golem aim its weapon for his torso, and quickly ducked to his left; he felt the air from the attack blast him and he almost lost balance. The golem saw this and seized the opportunity to ram its metal hand into his wavering shield. He gritted his teeth, holding against the impact, and retaliated with a combination of slashes that caused the golem to short-circuit and fall on its knees. He deftly climbed onto its shoulders and jammed his sword into its head. It buzzed in a sort of sad way and Archarin jumped down to avoid its carcass crashing into the floor and damaging him.
Excited but scared, he strode onto the platform, and after a few seconds, it began to rise, jolting him from his stationary position. He closed his eyes; the shadows weren't worth staring at. Instead, he focused on all he'd been taught. This was it: the showdown against the God King.
He felt the platform halt and he opened his eyes. There was the God King, perched on his throne. He could almost feel the tyrant's arrogant gaze as he walked forwards to fight the Dark Knight. It growled at him, smashing its sword against its shield, inviting him to attack. He adjusted his grip on his sword and parried several awkward slices that surely would've reduced him to a headless knight. But he returned the attacks, propelling his strength into his sword but conserving energy for the God King. The Dark Knight aimed a brutal kick for his gut but he dodged and scratched the black armour with the tip of his sword.
Finally, he shoved his blade into the Dark Knight's abdomen and heard it gasp raggedly, before collapsing onto the tiles. There was no reaction from the God King; Archarin didn't expect there to be one. He made his way up the steps, aware that he was being judged. He wondered what his ancestors had been thinking as they'd made their way up the steps. Had they been frightened? He almost snorted to himself. Of course not. They had been warriors, the finest, and he was glad to be part of the Bloodline. They had probably readied their swords, healed their shields, drunk all the health potions they could until their mouths were dyed blue, and then called for the God King's attention.
There was a chest just before him, and he tempted to open it. No doubt it contained the God King's most powerful weapons and armour. But no. He had to concentrate on the battle.
"Most impressive." He bristled at the amusement in the God King's voice. "You defeated my champions. Now you must face the true test." He flew down from the throne, landed heavily, and in a flash of bright blue light, the legendary Infinity Blade and a shield materialised. "Prepare to meet your doom!"
Archarin barely had time to register the blur of the Infinity Blade as it cut into his side. He grunted, feeling warm blood seep through the wound, but no pain followed: adrenaline took care of that. He raised his shield and the blade bounced off it, giving him a window to attack; however, he only managed one slash before the God King repelled the others with his shield.
He defended against the God King's skills, receiving blow after blow as he hid behind his shield. Then time seemed to slow as he realised something. Was this how his ancestors fought? Was this worthy of his talents? How dare he squirm behind a shattered shield as the God King beat him to death! Rage filled him as he roared and brought his sword round in a wide arc, attempting to parry the first of a ruthless chain of attacks.
He watched in amazement as his sword slammed into the Infinity Blade and the God King was thrown off balance. His instincts kicked in and he launched a series of devastating slashes that ripped through the God King's armour. Left, right, up down, right…he felt the sweat dribbling from his forehead and doubled his efforts.
After what seemed hours of attacking and defending, the God King snarled. "Of all those who dared to face me, you are the first to prove worthy. So, I offer you a choice, noble warrior - join me, and learn the true meaning of power. You need not perish this day."
Archarin was heaving for air, feeling an invisible band wrap around his lungs. His brain struggled to comprehend the God King's offer. Join him? Was he truly the first to be worthy? Was the God King tricking him into submission? Was he about to die?
The God King regarded him quietly, waiting for a decision. He took a deep breath. He'd dropped his sword and shield, but he could quickly grab them and be ready to intercept an attack – if he was fast enough. Still, it was an undoubtedly tempting offer.
Hardly believing his actions, he lowered onto one knee, submitting to the God King. He bowed his head, glaring down at his armour-clad thigh. He didn't care any more. He would decide his fate, not the people of Lantimor, not his adoring mother, not even his ancestors. He didn't care about the Bloodline any more. He didn't care if he was being selfish. He'd never had a choice; it was about time he was given one.
"Excellent - you have chosen wisely." There was satisfaction in the God King's voice, and for some reason, Archarin's spirit rose. "I was once a mere mortal, as you are now," the God King began to walk up the steps towards the throne, keeping an eye on him, "but as you will come to learn, there are more powerful beings in this world than I." He stood up straight, ready for a command. "Deathless ones who have grown too powerful, too corrupt - together we will vanquish them all." The God King settled into the throne, already comfortable, like the brief fight was nothing more than a mild arousal.
Deathless? Archarin frowned. Still, the God King's speech was promising. Much better than being mercilessly slain like a farmyard animal. The control he felt…surely the others had not denied it?
But he would not deny it. If the Bloodline suffered because of him, so be it. This power was not something to be neglected. He would become a stronger warrior, fight alongside the God King, and prove himself worthy. Maybe he would secretly help out the Bloodline.
Either way, he was the master of destiny now.
Limits on the Limitless - Part 2Edit
Hundreds of years later, the Bloodline continued to fight the God King, still attempting to restore a peaceful reign to the people of Lantimor. The God King's servant, a Devoted, had led Archarin to the stairs underneath the atrium. The Infinity Blade activated the pedestal he'd seen, and a huge set of doors opened for him. He stayed in the darkness for centuries, taught how to operate mechanics, studying the history of the Deathless, answering the God King's call without flaw. Knights traversed the castle but fell to the God King's hand; Archarin wondered whether the Deathless offered them a choice.He was working on a project, one that would prove him to be both skilled in mechanics and swordsmanship. He called it: Zero Mech. The design was complex and the machine reminded him of an animal he'd once seen before munching on bamboo reeds. He made it so that he would be able to climb in and pilot it from the inside, acting as a puppeteer to guide the Zero Mech. Banging and the clattering of tools upon the ground as he worked it to perfection constantly disturbed the nights. If he were attacked, then he would be armed with a powerful ally.
Although he would never admit it to the God King, he yearned to visit his hometown. No doubt his mother would be dead – Archarin scolded himself for not visiting her. After all, he was near immortal – or so the Devoted said – thus he had all the time in the world to do what he wished. However, the God King explicitly said that he had to remain in the dungeons and only appear when summoned. Archarin knew not to dismiss the God King's words, and so forced his yearning into the work of modifying Zero Mech.
After a while, though, Archarin began to get bored. He needed battle. He missed the days when he would fight for his life, knowing that he only got one shot at everything. Now he had everything he ever needed, except those days back. So he sent a challenge around the castle, daring anyone to fight him in the Zero Mech.
The challenge was well received: daerils and Devoted alike came to test their skills and rid Archarin of his boredom. Though they were relatively unimpressive and he managed to beat them down in three or so hits, he did find their initial confidence amusing. They obviously underestimated him, and that proved an advantage. Yet he never killed; they were still the God King's minions, and destroying them for pleasure was dishonourable.
Honour. He snorted as he fixed a glitch in the cockpit of the Zero Mech. What honour did he have left? He'd neglected his duty for a life of luxury – here he was, completing his project and thinking about the Aegis forms. He wasn't honourable. He was just a servant, a pawn. There was no honour in what he did.
It struck him one night how interested the God King was in his Bloodline. Of course, they were all valuable and excellent Aegis, but why did the God King accept Archarin's ancestor's challenge in the first place? Had the God King been weary of weak competition too? Or perhaps there was something more sinister at work? If so, it definitely involved the Infinity Blade.
Archarin admired the Infinity Blade, despite the fact it had slaughtered his ancestors. The God King kept it by his side when there were no opponents to distract him. He found out that something called an anchor disc was attached to the hilt of the blade. The disc connected to the God King's almighty ring, the one that allowed the Deathless to hurl flames and shoot ice; the God King could summon the sword at will through his ring.
So he finished his brief dinner and abandoned the Zero Mech. He wanted to discover more about his ancestry. He wasn't quite sure how, but if it meant an escape from his pen, it was good enough.
He was about to bang on the entrance to the laboratory to be let out, when a Devoted came in. He knew this person: Esarath. This Devoted was an intelligent assassin who had been recruited due to his high tenacity. Esarath still went out under the God King's command to spy on other Deathless and take note of approaching challengers. Sometimes unruly citizens in towns were also taken care of; those citizens usually spoke out against the God King or refused to cooperate with the patrolling daerils.
Esarath cocked his head to one side. "Were you attempting to leave the laboratory?" he said coldly, hands resting on the bandolier of throwing knives. This Devoted knew nothing of honour; he relied on stealth and long-distance assassination. He would never declare his intentions to an enemy. Nevertheless, he was the nearest Archarin had to an acquaintance in the castle.
"I want to study." The words sounded wrong coming from his mouth, but it was the truth. Hopefully Esarath would understand that. "I have finished tinkering my machine, and I need entertainment."
The assassin glanced behind him and then shut the door. "I will tell you what you want to know," he said, gesturing for Archarin to move away and back to where Zero Mech stood, deactivated. "I am a great source of knowledge, and I'm sure your curiosity will be satisfied by my answers."
Archarin was surprised at Esarath's generous offer, and immediately became suspicious. Had the God King known of his intentions to leave? "I thank you, Esarath. I'd first like to question you on my Bloodline." The assassin twitched, as if uncomfortable. "Is there another reason why the God King seeks my lineage? And how is it possible that the Bloodline continues when I did not sire a child?"
Esarath raised his eyebrows. "You did not have a child when you left to defeat the God King?" he asked in surprise. He began to pace up and down, clearly in deep thought. "Well, I'll admit that I've harboured a theory about your Bloodline for a while. The Devoted believe the God King's words without a doubt; I have the sense to take a pinch of salt whenever the tales are told." He saw Archarin's frown at his strange expression, and swiftly explained. "What I meant to say is that one should always apply common sense to the God King's records."
"The God King possesses records? Of what?" He found himself intrigued and ready to hear more on the subject. "How much do you know of these records?"
"Enough for me to doubt. If you have not had a son, then why does the lineage continue? I have read the records for myself, and I have deciphered an answer that you may not like to hear. It took me a while to comprehend fully the horror of which my answer suggested. If you are not ready for such a theory, I suggest you-"
"Esarath," Archarin said calmly, despite his heart pounding in excitement. "Your theory will provide me additional answers that will – as you said – satisfy my curiosity and perhaps other questions I may have. Please, continue."
"Very well. I shall begin with the Plains of Koroth. It was there that the God King supposedly slaughtered a vile evil, though no one knows what. After harsh reading and connecting facts, I realised this vile evil was a Deathless called Ausar." A shudder went down Archarin's spine. "Ausar was a tyrant that had done much wrong during his lifetime. When the God King slew him, the Deathless looked up to him with new respect.
"Ausar was well acquainted with the Worker of Secrets, and possessed the Infinity Blade before his death. The God King took it from his corpse and claimed it as his own. The Worker is currently imprisoned, as far as I know, and it took time and effort to extract that much information from the other Deathless.
"Now, this is my theory. I believe that Ausar never truly died on the Plains of Koroth. Perhaps he survived. Perhaps he came back as the first of your Bloodline to challenge the God King in revenge. Do you understand how Rebirths work?" When Archarin shook his head, Esarath sighed. "When a Deathless is destroyed, their soul will seek a new vessel. How can the God King be so confident that he killed Ausar? Ausar could have easily been reborn and remained incognito, slowly regaining his forces whilst the God King boasted his accomplishment."
"You're saying," Archarin said thoughtfully, "that I could be descended from this Deathless called Ausar?"
Esarath lowered his voice. "The Infinity Blade doesn't work, Archarin. Not yet. It needs a continuous supply of your Quantum Identity Pattern for it to function properly. When it does, it will be able to terminate the Deathless…forever. For now, the power is dormant. That is why the God King seeks your family. Ever since the first of your Bloodline – presumably Ausar, if my theory proves correct – challenged him, he has used your entire lineage to full the blade. But your lineage truly isn't a lineage at all. I believe it is merely Ausar, dying at the hands of the God King under the pretence of the Sacrifice, and then coming back repeatedly for revenge."
Archarin's blood ran cold. "How many more of Ausar's Rebirths will it take to fully-"
The assassin shrugged, and then whipped round to glance at the door. "I can hear someone," he whispered. "When they enter, distract them for as long as you can. I will slip out unnoticed." He was about to sneak into the shadows when Archarin spoke.
"How do you know so much? How did you come to this theory?" One could never entirely trust an assassin, a creature of deceit. "More importantly, what if such a theory is true?"
"Then let's hope we discover Ausar's intentions before we are slaughtered," said Esarath, smiling grimly. Then he merged with the darkness, and Archarin could see him no longer.
Archarin lay on the ground, dying. The Infinity Blade, the sword of the God King, had pierced his chest twice: once in the Zero Mech, where the strike had been dulled, and twice by his descendant.
Or rather, as Esarath had once theorised years ago, by the Deathless Ausar.
Esarath was long gone, and now Archarin had seconds left to live. The numbing sensation was spreading quickly from his chest to his legs and arms, paralysing him. He'd gasped the threat in an attempt to make the Aegis walking away from him now fear the consequences of his actions: the threat that the Infinity Blade would be recovered and the one who recovered it would be unstoppable.
Ausar. If Ausar gained the Infinity Blade, all hope for the people of Lantimor would be lost. The tyrant can't return, he thought wearily, heartbeat slowing to a halt. The horror inflicted would be limitless. With the Infinity Blade – the only limit – by his side, he would conquer.
He closed his eyes, exhaling softly, glad his own immortality had an end. A limit on the limitless.