Forum:Shadowkeeper Apocalypse (Reworked)
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- "Dear Diary,
This is pretty much the first time I've written to you. In this new world, that is. The diary from my world doesn't exist anymore. So, the two of us are gonna have to acquaint. Maybe for the rest of my life. I don't know. Everything is a blur now. A dark, unforgiving blur. Much like me. But enough about that. Where do I start? Oh, there's too many places to start, but I guess I should start with why I'm writing to you.
It's been exactly 29 days since I woke up into this new world. A world I created. Long story short, I killed Maleficent and avenged my parents, but in doing so, I created a world even worse than what anyone had imagined. Just because this world isn't Maleficent's, it doesn't mean it's any better. The Shadowkeepers rule all of Auradon now. Kirito and Asuna are at the top of it all. That's right. The Shadowkeepers have won. I didn't just change reality. I changed history. To keep it simple, there was a war. A war that lasted 5 years. The Shadowkeepers, as I mention, won. The heroes are all dead, although some few unknown souls are in hiding. Kirito mentioned a resistance, but who knows how big or small it is.
As for me, well, I have it all. At least, what the old me ever wanted. A boyfriend who's proud of me. A luxury bedroom I can call my safe haven. Feared and respected by the entire kingdom. A lifetime supply of strawberries. Okay, that last one wasn't exactly what the old me wanted or expected, but you get the point. But I'm living the good life. The good bad life. I can't deny that a part of me is loving this, but a huge part of me knows this is all wrong. It's not real. It's just an illusion created by some few floating Pyramids. I didn't wish for all this. As far as I'm concerned, everything I created is random. If I ever wished for anything, I'd want to change myself completely. Be the good girl that everyone expected me to be. But I haven't changed. I'm still the same me I've always been. I may not possess the dark scepter anymore, but the transformation I went through when I touched it, it still remains inside of me.
My parents. Oh, how I wish they were proud of me for real. For being a sort-of good girl. Not this ruthless, heartless vixen they believe I am. For the past 29 days, I had to keep up the act. That includes acting like a bad girl, which isn't exactly hard. The hardest part so far was what happened on the anniversary of the Shadowkeepers' victory. Apparently, in this world, since I was 13, Kirito presents me with an innocent life to execute just for the fun of it. I know. It's sick. Hypocritical, I know. The next victim was a member of the resistance. A husband. A father. A soldier. I was asked to behead him. But I didn't. I put my sword down in front of everyone. But I knew that I couldn't risk suspicions. So, I burned that poor man alive. He screamed and screamed as his body slowly turned to ash. The Shadowkeepers, as you expect, cheered at the sight of it. You'd think I'd feel pleasure for burning someone alive, well, I didn't feel it. I felt disgusted with myself. The worse part, I barely hesitated.
I've kept myself locked up in my room since then. I just couldn't swallow the fact that this is the world I'm living in right now. It's horrible. Everything and everyone I touch, I'm worse than poison. But now, I'm done hiding. it's time I get out there, familiarize myself with this new world, and see how I can manage all this. Like they said, I'm gonna rule it all one day. Might as well start by getting to know everyone all over again, if they don't remember anything. Whoever's alive, at least.
I just wish the others are okay. Maybe they've gotten better or worse, but I would really like to see them. Evie. Jay. Carlos. Ben. Oh, Bennyboo. I miss you.
'Til next time.
- — A page from Mal's Diary, retrieved by the Exo Stranger.
The Shadowkeeper Apocalypse (also known as the Apocalypse and sometimes the Second Collapse) was a massively cataclysmic system-wide conflict fought between millions of Guardians and inhabitants of the Solar System and Kirito and Asuna and their armies of Shadowkeepers, Shadow Army minions, and Ghosts of Nagasaki to take back Auradon, save Mallory Bertha, and protect the Light. Although this crisis was initially triggered when Mal killed Maleficent, it actually began when the Shadowkeepers murdered countless people in Auradon, including Ben, Evie, Suguha Kirigaya, Emperor Calus, the Auradonian Kids' parents, and Commander Zavala, in order to take over all of Auradon and begin an eight-year reign beyond the heart of Aincrad. Unlike the previous enemies the Guardians killed, the Shadowkeepers sought to rewrite history and create a dark future, with them controlling all worlds as gods.
After years of fighting against the proxy forces of the Darkness and emerging victorious, the Guardians found themselves traumatized and losing the will to continue fighting when the Shadowkeepers launched a surprise attack on Auradon, brutally killing Zavala and terraforming it into a realm of Aincrad. With replicas of their powers and arsenals corrupted by the Shadow Army and their timeline fractured, the Guardians ventured into the birthplace of the Shard of the Traveler and acquired Fusion. Shortly after reuniting with Cayde-6, the Guardians recovered and planned a counterattack in order to save their home and legacy.
After much sacrifice and determination, the Guardians succeeded in killing Kirito, Asuna, and the Shadowkeepers, driving the Shadow Army and Ghosts of Nagasaki away, saving Mal, and destroying the Darkness for good. Despite this momentous victory, various figures of the Shadow Army, including Kirito and Asuna's eldest son Tatsuyi Kirigaya, would resurrect the Shadowkeepers and his parents as Nightmares and attempt to carry on the Shadowkeeper Apocalypse, either for their own purposes or to finish what the Shadow Army elites and the Darkness had started in destroying the Guardians. Despite these new foes, the Guardians maintained their strength and determination, while also contending with major threats besides the Shadow Army and Ghosts of Nagasaki.
Prelude: The Swordsman's Arrival
- "We have watched over majicks and worlds since the stars were young. But man has destroyed the balance. Just as they tried to destroy you."
"But you brought us back. Why?"
"Because you can right what the mortals made wrong."
"How do you know that?"
"You come from their world, but fight for ours. You will be the Black Swordsman and Lightning Flash, Overlords of Shadows. You will be the instruments of our reckoning... the heralds of our ascension. With your powers, we can finally destroy the Light once and for all."
- — The Darkness, speaking to Kirito and Asuna.
Some time after the Guardians' victory during the events of Lightfall, the Darkness, having found a still-open portal, used its dying breath to send the Black Fleet into the dimensional gateway to recruit its new allies: Kirito and Asuna. Having known firsthand about how they had seen what it saw and mourned for the deaths of their friends and of innocence, the Darkness not only gave them back their powers from Sword Art Online, but also granted them permanent access to its Pyramids, knowing that they can succeed where its previous forces failed.
Upon accepting the Darkness's gift, after stepping out of their dimension and into the Guardian's universe, Kirito and Asuna would go on to recruit various villains from numerous dimensions, including Totomaru, a former member of the Phantom Lord guild and the manipulator of the Solar element; Eobard Thawne, the Reverse Flash and a speedster who murdered Nora Allen, the mother of Barry Allen; Malcolm Merlyn, the Dark Archer and the man who orchestrated the destruction of the Queen's Gambit and played a role in Sara Lance's apparent death; Damien Darhk, the leader of HIVE and the man who murdered Laurel Lance; Tobias Whale, a crime lord and the man who murdered Jefferson Pierce's father; The Doctor, a Framework persona of Leopold Fitz and HYDRA's ruthless second-in-command; Anton Ivanov, the leader of the Watchdogs and a powerful mercenary known as Omega; Hiram Lodge, a powerful businessman and the leader of a notorious criminal empire responsible for the emergence of the Ghoulies; Morgana le Fay, the Mother of Monsters and a powerful wizard who was betrayed by Merlin and allied with Gunmar and his army in her quest for revenge on the Trollhunters; Uldren Sov, the Prince of the Reef who was presumed dead during the Battle of Saturn; Djin, the leader of the Numeros and a former member of M.A.T.A.; Sasuke Uchiha, the lone surviving member of the Uchiha clan who acquired the Sharingan and the Rinnegan; Phoenixaro Uchihamaki, the leader of the Akatsuki and Kakashi Hatake's estranged brother; and Ruby Hale, the Destroyer of Worlds and the daughter of General Hale, who had been genetically engineered by HYDRA's leader Daniel Whitehall, forming a notorious organization unlike anything the world had ever encountered known as the Shadowkeepers. They would also resurrect Sachi and Eugeo by implanting the respective memories of Reign and Fikrul, the Fanatic into their vessels' bodies.
At some point in time, Kirito and Asuna would also rally numerous enemies of both the Traveler and its Guardians, instilling into them a profound sense of freedom and purpose, promising them that they would be the one to save them and those cast out and left for dead by their own people from the Traveler's lies. During the course of the impending war between the Guardians and their enemies' forces, many key leaders of various Fallen houses, Hive sects, Vex collectives, and other factions would pledge their allegiances to the Shadowkeepers.
Attack on Auradon
A New Aincrad
- "My loyal and ambitious subjects, you are here today to finally end your troubles, finally end your griefs over your losses, finally to end your droughts against The Last City's forces...and to finally bring your people's salvation. The wait is finally over, for I, Kirito, Chosen by the Winnower, Champion of the Black Fleet, Bringer to Light's End, will bring you the Salvation and justice that you crave so dearly..."
- — Kirito, addressing the Shadowkeepers and his elites.
Moments after taking over Auradon, Kirito and Asuna set up countless programs and SIVA networks from his computer that the Pyramids used to rebuild Aincrad as they saw fit and split up the Shadow Army into its six respective groups: the House of Shadows, led by Kotrik, Bloodcrafter of Kirito, the notorious Fallen Kell of Shadows who formerly worked with the House of Devils; the Shadow Swarm, led by Zharves, Shadowcaster of Kirito, a surviving Hive Deathsinger who formerly served Crota and his father; the Shadow Divisive, led by Hydrax, Mindkiller of Kirito, a massive Vex Axis Mind Hydra who possessed the ability to stop time; the Shadow Legion, led by Gha'arn, Crownforger of Kirito, a powerful Cabal warlord who helped restore the Cabal Empire to its full glory; the Reborn, led by Thu'urg, Blightmaker of Kirito, a Taken Cabal commander who sought to seize control of Oryx's army; and the Cult of Shadows, led by Vayeriks, Fatesmith of Kirito, Fikrul's right hand and a commander of the first Scorn.
Hoping to further weaken the Traveler, they sent their forces across the system to launch countless waves of devastating attacks against its forces. On Earth, the Shadowkeepers led a series of invasions against valiant heroes, including the Justice League, Simon Templar, Milo Murphy, and Legends of Tomorrow, and successfully managed to slaughter them and their fellow allies, including Cisco Ramon, who was killed by Tatsuyi, who fused his gauntlets and Thorn with Vibe's metahuman powers. Across the Sol System, the Shadow Army attacked various factions, including the Dusk Splicers, the Houses of Emperors, Vipers, Dragons, and Time, and other enemy factions, which led to some of the members of these aforementioned factions to pledge their loyalties to Kirito and Asuna, while those who survived the attacks would depart to another worlds.
- See also: Forum:Battle of Bannerfall
- "We thought this would be just another ordinary fight against the Fallen. We were wrong."
- — Shiro-4, moments after the House of Shadows's invasion on Bannerfall.
Some time during the Apocalypse, Kotrik and his House of Shadows and their operatives had managed to compromise the outer sensors, defenses, and outposts; as well as suppressing the Satellite's communication systems of the City and Reef and concealed their presence, stealing Guardian tech and the Last City's arsenal along the way. In anticipation of the heist on the City, Kirito directly sought to use Kotrik's attack to his advantage in the hopes of crippling the Last City's defenses. To achieve this, he even managed to blind the Guardians' precognition and prophetic abilities in order to enable Kotrik's surprise attack to be 100% effective.
On the anniversary of the Battle of Six Fronts, the Vanguard discovered that all of their outer defenses, satellites, and outposts went dark in the cover of a storm. In a sudden bombardment, the House of Shadows severely devastated Bannerfall, but the Vanguard survived with the help of Ikora's Nova Bomb, and mobilized against the invasion. As the House of Shadows's Ketch assaulted Bannerfall, a massive Skiff latched onto the tomb of Sofia the First, defiling her corpse and soul. Civilians were successfully evacuated, but the Vanguard and their elite orders were quickly overwhelmed.
Enraged by the atrocities committed by Kirito and Asuna, Ikora Rey and Rasputin, along with numerous Guardians hellbent on getting their revenge on the Shadowkeepers not only for killing Zavala, but also for robbing them of their arsenal, created Dawnrise Protocol in the hopes of fighting back against the Darkness, retrieving their tech, and saving the Last City, while factions such as the Stygian Brood and the House of Lions would lead countless assaults against the Shadow Army and those who pledged loyalty to Kirito and Asuna.
- "So, it seems that one of Vizzy’s precious servants turned traitor and joined up with that stupid brat and his boot-licking army. That rat bastard Ahnkra’s been tearing up the Shore with a resurrected army of brainwashed soldiers. A trick he picked up from Xivu Arath, I assume. Anyhow, the Shitkeepers are gonna be even more of a problem now that they have knowledge of the Stygian Brood’s special blend of necromancy, so....you know what to do. Time to take out the garbage."
- — Vothriks, the Lost
Some time after the War of Dimensions between AJ and the Shadowkeepers, the Stygian Brood fell under attack by Kirito and Asuna and their army. While most remained loyal to Viznoor despite the damage they suffered, a few did defect to Kirito’s army, among them being Ahnkra, the Desolate, who viewed the swordsman as “the true pillar of strength.” Ahnkra pledged absolute loyalty to Kirito’s cause and the Shadowcaster, and shared his knowledge of the Stygian Brood’s necromancy and the method they used to free themselves of their Worms. Setting up a base deep within the Tangled Shore, Ahnkra then began replicating Xivu Arath's method in resurrecting a wide array of previously slain foes from Fallen, Cabal and other sects of Hive and corrupting them into his mindless servants, effectively creating the Shadow Army’s sect of Wrathborn, the Shadow Ravagers.
In the following days, Ahnkra would launch repeated strikes against the Stygian Brood while adding more to the Shadow Ravagers’ ranks from across the system. Furious, Viznoor rallied his brood to stage a counterattack on Ahnkra’s forces, leading to a violent large-scale conflict between the Shadow Swarm and the Stygian Brood amidst the Tangled Shore. Sometime after the skirmishes began, Ahnkra began preparing a ritual to infest the Tangled Shore with Darkness in Kirito’s name, which a Fireteam, led by a wandering Guardian, would discover when they were sent to investigate the Hive activity. Working with Viznoor and his forces, they managed to break through the Shadow Army’s defenses; however, before they could have the chance to stop the ritual from being completed, the crew would be slaughtered by Ahnkra, forcing Viznoor's forces to retreat. Moments after discovering that one of the Guardians slain by Ahnkra was in fact a friend of her, Hannah Ciel went to her friend's last spot on the Tangled Shore and fought a harrowing battle against Ahnkra. However, just when Ahnkra was about to slaughter her, she is saved by Eris Morn, who sends a series of brutal attacks against Ahnkra, who is forced to retreat, but not before vowing revenge on Eris. Astonished by Eris's daring effort, she would eventually work under Eris's tutelage and help forge a powerful weapon of Light known as the Silent Scream, her personal Scout Rifle that combined Symmetry with both Void energy and Hive runes, which she would soon use against the Hive.
Strike on the Dreadnaught
- "While you have been too busy laying dormant on your throne, I've rallied our kind to carry on what our ancestors began... what you failed to accomplish."
- — Ahnkra, challenging Viznoor and his Stygian Brood.
Assault on the Empire
- "I need to warn Castris and the City... Kirito's planning an onslaught against the Empire and our world. If I can get that message to her in time, we might have a fighting chance."
- — Robert E. O. Speedwagon after uncovering Tatsuyi's plan to frame Castris.
Some time during Dawnrise Protocol, Kirito and Asuna and their daughters Yui and Konno and sons Tatsuyi and Yuji met up with Castris and her Elites, offering them a chance to work alongside his syndicate. At the same time, Rudolph McAlister, one of the spies whom Robert E. O. Speedwagon dispatched to investigate Castris's criminal empire, found numerous evidences about Castris's past and attempted to rendezvous with Ashe-5 so that they could bring down the empire, only to find that Ashe had been slain by a Guardian-issued Sword. Appalled and shocked by this, he attempted to find Castris and apprehend her, but is suddenly attacked by Kotrik, who immediately slaughtered him, but not before Rudolph sent a message to Speedwagon, telling him that Kirito had returned. By the time Speedwagon and his associates arrived, Castris had already escaped. As Speedwagon attempted to pursue Castris, he runs into Tatsuyi, Kirito and Asuna's eldest son who had stolen Cisco Ramon's metahuman powers and fused them with both his Necrotic Grip gauntlets and Thorn before murdering Vibe. Enraged by Vibe's unjust fate, Speedwagon summoned his version of the Burning Maul, an alternate form of the Hammer of Sol, and attempted to end Tatsuyi's life, but finds himself temporarily paralyzed by the effects of Thorn, which gave Tatsuyi an escape plan. Some moments after Kirito's family escaped, Speedwagon, no longer paralyzed, woke up to find his associates dead and vowed revenge on both Castris and Tatsuyi.
Picking up on the investigation, however, he would discover a distress call from the syndicate's main arms supplier, Wren, who stated he and his band of smugglers was currently under siege from the syndicate. Perplexing the Titan, he followed the distress signal to the gunrunners personal Cabal carrier and provided support for his gang. He would meet up with the Warlock and would begin interrogating him about the syndicate and it's prior transgressions to which the Warlock stated that the syndicate is currently still neutral at this time. When Speedwagon told about Ashe's fate and the sword used to slay her, Wren was shocked, stating that the Dreaming City-make sword was recently purchased off him by one of the Empire's associates. Before he could let on about the buyer, the two are attacked by two mysterious Fallen assailants armed with a mysterious power. The two are quickly overwhelmed by the empowered hostiles and Wren would end up abducted while Speedwagon would be knocked out, but not before meeting a third assailant who threatened his life if he got in the way again.
The Titan would be awoken by one of the Empire's Barons, Solviks, who consoled him that Castris and her Empire were allies, not enemies, albeit unconventional. Speedwagon would also meet one of the Empire's lesser known, yet most treasured associates Myra Winters, who told him that she had upgraded his Ghost with tech that just might help with his investigation and prove the Empire's standing on the Shadowkeepers, starting with a previously recorded conversation between Wren and his trusted Psion friend, Lithwe, who were conversing about Castris's decision on the deal with the Shadowkeepers as well as what might happen if they did accept. But before the two could let on about her decision, the two are interrupted by a familiar looking, muscular Fallen brute who was asked if he could purchase a special sword; Speedwagon recognized the Fallen brute as one of the attackers who snatched Wren, learning his name was Kamrak. The Titan hesitantly thanked the two Criminal associates before the two left, stating that they had some business to attend. Continuing the investigation, he would utilize the "ECHO" tech to discover the murder of Ashe, where he would see the Vanguard representative being escorted by some of the Empire's associates, learning that they were there to guard her on her way to Rudolph. Expecting them to turn on her, he would, instead, discover that the squad was picked off one by one and the Exo Hunter would be murdered by the other mysterious assailant from the night prior. Raising even more questions, the Titan would attempt to go back to where he meet Tatsuyi to learn more. Going back to the site and activating the recording software, seen from his eyes, the Shadowkeeper scion would be seen conversing to the members of the assailants and gave them new orders, attempt to frame Castris and rope the faction into war, telling the female assailant to stay here and wait for Speedwagon and attempt to escape to give the guise she was Castris while telling the other two to hunt down and capture some of the syndicate's higher weapons designers and suppliers such as Wren and Vyslaks to which a respected new member of the Shadowkeepers would get them to replicate some of the Empire's work. It all came to the Titan that this was a conspiracy, one that will force the Empire into war with the Shadowkeepers.