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Banshee Boardwalk

<From The Forest of Nightmares>

Revan didn’t think that it could get any worse than the Tangled Green but as he stepped through to the Steppes he wondered if he had been very wrong. The landscape was covered in lava and blackened rock.
He immediately thought about going back but the thought of staying with the Empire was worse to him. Still if the Empire and others could travel through it surely it couldn’t be so bad. 

Revan began to make his way amongst the fire and ash heading in a general direction. The air was thick, heavy and hot. Soon he began seeing what appeared to be ruins sticking out from the scorched environment. There seemed to be no sign of movement anywhere as far as he could tell.
Revan came to a stop as a strange sound reached his ears. He turned around but saw nothing. Revan continued walking but the sound increased tremendously, he spun around as a large mound grew from the ashen landscape. 

At first Revan thought it was water pouring out from the mound but he quickly came to the realisation that it was insects. Revan began running as the swarm moved toward him, chasing him, the speed of the insects increased forcing him to pick up his own pace. 

Revan shot two fireballs back at the insects but they seemed to have little effect. He tripped over a rock, reaching for his sword he prepared to defend himself. The rocky ground then gave way forming into a massive hole. Revan fell as did a few of the insects in after him. Revan fell further and further and then he felt pain fill his body as his vision went black and all feeling left him.

Revan didn’t open his eyes but consciousness returned to him, he felt incredibly cold. He noticed that he wasn’t laying on rock but somehow was on wood, the sound of waves somehow crashed below him.

He opened his eyes and stared at the high rock ceiling but he could not see where he had fallen from. Sitting up it seemed he was on some sort of wharf but how could that be? Just where was he?

Revan stepped along the wooden planked ground as the platform shook but only the tiniest amount as waves crashed against its foundational beams. 
He had no clue at all at where he was so he just kept walking yet it seemed there was little in sign that to see but more wooden path and the shadowy water below. 

After more then ten minutes of walking he came to a stop as a structure seemed to loom ahead, above him a sign written in what appeared to be blood offering a simple welcome message. Revan hoped that it wasn’t real and kept on walking towards what seemed like an old broken down stone fort. His heart froze as a swarm of bats flew out over him, shielding his face he continued inside. 

The building was mostly empty apart from the bats that seemed to have made it their home, there was little sign of what this place had even originally been used for with only dirt on the ground.

“Hello there.” Came a voice from ahead in the darkness.

“Who’s there?” Revan asked as a lantern lit up revealing a green robed figure with face fully covered save for two dark black holes where the eyes should be.

“I should be the one asking you, this is my home, not yours.” The figure asked.

“I came to this verse,I’m searching for answers.” Revan said unsure if he was in danger.

“Lost yourself in the order of things, you must be a Prime.” The figure said sounding as if he had reached a realisation.

“Who are you?” Revan asked again feeling incredibly uneasy now.

“I am the Lantern Ghost, you are Revan Noctis.” The Lantern Ghost stepped forward as Revan went for his sword.

“You wouldn’t harm an innocent being would you?” The Lantern Ghost asked.

“No.. of course not, sorry I just feel-“

“You feel scared, do not worry you are not cowardly, this place produces an aura of fear in all beings that come here.”

“Why, why does it exist?” Revan asked confused.

“That isn’t our place to say, we merely use it for our own purpose.”

“What purpose is that?” Revan asked feeling like he was being watched from every direction.

“To find the truth within ourselves, for isn’t that why you have come here?” 

“No, I fell down a hole running from some sort of insects..” Revan replied feeling like maybe he hit his head too hard.

“You did not come here entirely of your free will, yet you sought answers and arrived here all the same, welcome to the Ashen Steppes Revan Noctis.” 

“How do you know my name anyway?” Revan asked hoping he wasn’t an Imperial.

“I am a loyal servant of King Koopa, ruler of the Ashen Steppes, unless you displease my master you are quite safe.”

“What do you mean by truth?” Revan asked suddenly feeling a cold chill wash over him.

“Ask whatever you wish and I will give you an answer.” The Lantern Ghost said.

“Ok, why am I here?” Revan asked still not knowing what he was even meant to do.

“You are a tool of Omni, created merely for entertainment, you will exist until you cease to do so.” Revan shuddered at the thought of being such a pawn.

“But there is more to it than that.” Revan replied not believing Omni merely did all this just for fun.

“There are those that may believe that, but there is no evidence I’m aware of that would change my mind, you shouldn’t complain, as a Prime you alone have a small part of Omni’s power to shift the world as you wish.” The Lantern Ghost said.

“Dracula is a Prime isn’t he?” Revan asked remembering what he learned from the Pale Moors.

“Yes, aswell as our glorious King Koopa, Primes change the world, shift it to match their own visions, whether good or evil.” The Lantern Ghost moved towards Revan more until he was right in front of him.

“The rest of the Primes fall in line and fulfill, lesser desires..” Revan could feel the figures cold breath wash over him.

“You brought me here, you sent those insects after me.” Revan said realising the truth.

“You can’t blame me, I could have left you to wander the lava streams and scorched rock, to suffer the clogged lungs and to fall to the ash like so many before you.” The Lantern Ghost said making itself sound like a hero.

“You just want to recruit me like the Empire did.” Revan said angrily.

“It is not my place to recruit you, only to enlighten you..” Revan felt something cold on his back, he turned around to see a pair of blue eyes and a floating translucent form hovering there behind him.

“Many have perished, come and gone, time is always short, you can find Omni but he won’t give you a sense of desire or a sense of direction, that is why he brought you here in the first place, because you have your own.” The Lantern Ghost seemed to shoo the larger spirit away.

“The question you have to ask yourself is how much do you really care, how much are you willing to sacrifice, and can your mind hold up to the torment that is about to come, like waves crashing against you, there are beings in this world that will splinter you and you will die, again and again until your will to go on fails, and then and only then, will Omni grant you a final rest.”

“Why did you really bring me here?” Revan asked angrily knowing that there was a lot of truth to what the Lantern Ghost just said.

“To warn you, and to test you, I’m unsure how far you will go but there is a lot of potential within you, for great things, and horrible things.” The Lantern Ghost took his own step back.

“You have already seen what threats are within this world, Omni doesn’t care who suffers or who dies, that morality is left instead to you.”

“What do you want me to do.” Revan asked knowing this thing was trying to influence him.

“I merely want you to be true to yourself.” The Lantern Ghost said as Revan heard the sound of cracking around him.

“I want you to be honest.” The Lantern Ghost said switching off his lantern, Revan looked around as strange skeletons rose from the ground, whatever they had been it wasn’t human.

Revan readied his sword as the creatures moved to attack him. He swung his sword taking the head off of one before swinging at the next as its body collapsed. 

“Ghost, get back here!” Revan yelled charging through the bones slicing and chopping away at them with ease.

“One warrior can make a difference Revan Noctis, but what happens once you are outnumbered?” The disembodied voice of the Lantern Ghost said.

“You cut off the head!” Revan roared slicing the heads off of two more of the skeletal warriors. 

“And yet more always replace them.” More skeletons seemed to rise from the ground surrounding the cloaked warrior.

 “What do you want!” Revan yelled doing his best to hold the undead back.

“Tell me the truth, what do you wish to do?” 

“What do you mean?” Revan asked slashing another skeleton and kicking another.

“What was your reason for coming here, for leaving the Nexus, for not joining with Camelot or the Empire, what makes you think you’re so special?” Revan noticed there was a load of jealousy there at the end.

“It has nothing to do with the power, I just have the will and desire to do what I think is right.” Revan said blocking a swing of an arm from one of the skeletons.

“Without honesty you won’t get far with me Revan Noctis.”

“I served once, a King, he made all my choices, and the world I came from was horrible, nothing but bloodshed and betrayal, I look here and I see even more potential and yet still the same curses my own world was subjected to!” The skeletons came to a stop before collapsing back onto the ground.

“Interesting.” The Lantern Ghost reappeared with his lantern again turning on.

“So you do seek power for yourself.” The Lantern Ghost said realising now why Omni had chosen yet another pitiful formed human.

“You know, you humans are quite common across the multiverse, Primes, Secondaries, so much seems to be modeled off of your species and yet you are some of the most arrogant, selfish, and power hungry types in existence, I feel that is one of the reasons Omni chose you, you give in so easily.”

“What do you expect me to do, nothing, hope that Omni gives in and destroys me?” Revan asked growing sick of this Lantern Ghost fishing answers from him.

“It isn’t in your nature, so you should do what is.”

“Give into Omni, be his entertaining servant forever?” Revan said skeptically.

“You said yourself you are beyond serving others, but not beyond helping, worry less about Omni and his games for now and do what he doesn’t, actually care.” 

“How am I supposed to save the people of this world, I can barely save myself.” Revan replied feeling helpless.

“You have the power and the will, the Omniverse is full of so many beings like you that have chosen to project their own suffering onto others, you have met many who like yourself seek to help others but even they are outnumbered, only together can you truly make a difference.”

“And shift the Omniverse into what we want it to be..” Revan now realised so much more about how the verses and the Omniverse overall worked.

“The Empire and Camelot are two of the strongest factions but we both know there are creations of Omni out there with the desire to see everything destroyed, even here we fought Nebula’s forces and lost our brothers and sisters in battle against them.” The Lantern Ghost said with sadness entering his voice as if he were about to break into tears.

“I’m sorry, I did all I could, even lost some allies of my own..” Revan said wondering why Omni would have lost interest in Sombra.

“Your past losses matter little now, you must look to the future Revan Noctis, when you leave this place you will be forced to make many difficult decisions, and learn more about how much betrayal and bloodshed truly is within the Omniverse, I only hope you end it where you can.”

“I will, thank you, Lantern Ghost.” Revan didn’t appreciate the skeletons but the information was invaluable to the continuation of his journey.

“Do not trust the Empire, but do not forsake them either, they have brought order where originally there was none, but do not trust Camelot either, its heart is as dark as the rest.” The Lantern Ghost began walking towards the ruins exit motioning Revan to follow which he did.

“The time has come that you move on, there is little in this verse for you despite what you have learned, but soon you will return seeking power and more answers, I hope when you do it will be as a friend of the Koopa Kingdom. 

Revan nodded doing his best to ignore the large white ghosts now floating around them. He felt so uneasy but at least he felt he had come to the right place. Below him was a rowboat with a lantern and what appeared to be a bag of supplies.

“I warn you this verse is not as empty as it seems, and the surface is a dangerous place to travel, King Koopa keeps order and safety for as many as he can but threats to our Kingdom are more important then the ones to travellers on the surface.”

“I understand, I hope I can be of use in the future.” Revan said sure that there was plenty to do here.

“I hope Revan Noctis, you find your way easily through the night.” 

Revan leapt down onto the boat below, laying forward on all four limbs before the boat ceased rocking, then getting up he grabbed the oars and began rowing away, he watched as the Lantern Ghost became a black silhouette and then seemed to just fade away. Revan knew he had to get to the gate to the next verse and hoped there weren’t too many more surprises before he got himself there. He did however think on what he had learned, there had to be power he could gain, he had to be the one to help everyone or the Omniverse may very well collapse.

The stream of water funneled into a larger surface lava stream where both combined to form black rock. Revan bounded off of his boat not risking its wooden frame anywhere near the fiery flow. He had preferred the cool and peaceful underground but if he was to move on no doubt the gate would be on the surface. In fact the short cut meant that he already had sight of the gate, that however wasn’t all that his eyes had fallen upon. Not far from him appeared a circle of black and white robed beings spread out seemingly encircling something. 

As Revan approached he saw two large beings made of rock covered in tattoos, the beings seemed to be performing some kind of ritual. The beings in the middle appeared tied up and seemed to be attempting escape, also inside the circle was a basket. Revan knew he couldn’t move on without breaking this up, whatever strange religious event this was.

“Hey, what’s going on?” Revan asked as the circle of robed beings began chanting.

Revan approached and reached out to grasp at the lead figure’s robe, before he could grasp it however the chanting ceased. The figure in front of him turned to face him slowly.

“Do not disturb our ceremony.” 

“What is your ceremony?” Revan asked.

“We are sacrificing these two to Deka Baba, they will bring us strength.” And then the Chanting began once more.

Revan understood what sacrificing meant and could tell the two beings in the middle weren’t too happy about it. “Stop immediately.”

The chanting stopped and the lead figure again turned to him. “You dare to challenge us.”

Before Revan could prepare a wave of blue energy washed over him forcing him to stumble back. Drawing his sword he prepared as the other four came at him, two on each side. He dodged left before charging at the one furthest that direction. His sword sliced, but the thing was gone before his blade found its target. Another dose of blue energy washed over him as he fell to one knee, it stung incredibly badly but didn’t seem to be causing him any sign of physical harm. 

Revan fired a fireball which took one of the creatures by surprise igniting it in flames. The other three spread out now forcing him he realised into the middle of what had originally been their circle. The next time the blue energy hit him he fell over as if he had instead been hit by something far worse, they came together chanting once more as if the death of one of their number meant nothing. Revan struggles but used his sword to cut the bindings of the rock beings. For a moment they did nothing but then they shot up wrestling two of the robed creatures to the ground sending the other two into a panic.

With his sword Revan stabbed through one, its large yellow eyes faded but when he pulled his blade out strangely there was no blood. The leader shot more blue energy at him but he managed to roll out of its way. Revan now stood up prepared for a fight. The creature vanished and seemed to reappear behind him where Revan felt a cold and painful grasp on his shoulders, he fell to his knees as he did his best to fight it. Before his vision went dark one of the rock beings charged and elbowed the robed creature sending it falling to the hard ground. Revan immediately regained his senses bringing up his sword and stabbing it through the robe and into the rock. 

Revan had no idea what they had been or what the rock beings now with him were but he didn’t really think a direct answer would come right now. Revan however noticed the basket was now empty. The rock creature tugged Revan forward which took him by surprise, he thought he was under attack but then saw the leader of the robed creatures stand up, eyes now glowing green.

“You have disturbed my ritual.” Came a dark and broken voice as if something was now speaking from within.

“I don’t believe in sacrificing living beings, for any reason.” Revan said unsure just what he was now facing.

“You will become my new home.” the robe began to tear as roots and vines began sprouting from inside. 

Revan didn’t feel too confident but the rock beings seemed to desire to help him in this fight, it wasn’t like he had a choice anyway. Revan’s palms ignited with flame, he fired two fireballs which collided with the creature as the two rock beings charged forward aiming their large fists. Their arms failed to fully hit as their arms and quickly the rest of their bodies began to be encompassed by the creature’s new tendrils. Revan slashed his sword as he charged forward taking advantage of the damage his flames had done. Bringing down his sword he cut the robes open, most strangely what came out was the mouth of a plant with an eye stalk inside. 

“I am a Deku Baba!” The creature roared bringing its vines toward Revan closing in. 

Revan fired another fireball into its mouth which caused a terrible scream as the majority of its body parts seemed to lose control and shake. Revan thrusted his sword into the creatures mouth through its eye stalk, the creature grasped his throat and both struggled for a few moments before it finally fell limp.

Revan cut through the vines still holding the rock beings. They appeared to be fine as they got up and placed their heavy hands on Revan’s shoulders. He understood nodding at them. The time had come for Revan to leave, he just hoped the place he was going to next was a bit more, well normal.

<To In the Desert>

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