• Published 6th Sep 2020
  • 181 Views, 3 Comments

Lightseeker: A Flame of Disparity Story - Cinders of War

Rainbow Dash leaves her homeland of Canterim to journey to the land of Veorea in search of Light.

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Chapter 1: Yakhub Bay

It had felt like hours since Rainbow Dash last moved from her hiding spot. She had been crouched down in the darkness, with dust and debris raining down on her head and shoulders from above as the Mad Horde stomped about above her, killing any soul they found that had yet to be taken by the disease.

They had staged a coup just four hours ago, wresting control from the royal family and executing them immediately, their minds taken over by the madness that was spreading from across the sea. Rainbow shook her head and sighed. She was supposed to leave Canterim today to journey to the faraway land of Veorea in search of a mythical light source, but here she was now, hiding for her life.

Her ship was supposed to leave at dawn, but here she was, stuck under the thundering boots of the Mad Horde. There had to be something she could do to get out of this predicament…

“Duh, of course…” she hissed and hit her forehead with two fingers. “I’m Rainbow ‘Danger’ Dash. I can do this. I just need to be fast as I always am and Veorea, here I come.”

With the destination of the harbour in mind, Rainbow crept out of her hiding spot and carefully took each step to ensure she didn’t crunch on any fallen debris as she went on. She had her two trusty shortswords strapped to her sides, in case things went out of hand, but she was hoping to make it well away from here before anything happened.

Under the cover of the night sky, Rainbow clambered out of the ruined house that was once hers, getting back onto ground level from a hole in the ceiling. The Mad Horde had ventured further now and she could see them marching on, their robed forms lit under the light from their torches. She didn't know how many still roamed the city, but she hoped it wouldn't be too many now.

It had been a problem for far too long now, with people all over Canterim going mad from some kind of disease. Her elders had said it was because of the spread of the Abyss on Veorea. Rainbow didn’t know, but whatever it was, Light could be a way to combat that sickness, and that was one of her reasons for wanting her own personal light source. If she could save her land, why not, right? Plus, she’d be hailed as a hero, which wasn’t too bad either.

Rainbow dashed away from her street, her feet barely pattering against the cobbled floor. After she rounded the corner around another ruined house, she came face to face with a mad bandit, clad in her robes and carrying an axe and torch.

The bandit groaned and approached, axe lifted high to strike. Rainbow removed her shortswords from her sides and rolled under the mad bandit’s first strike, then spun on her heel and slashed out, catching her across the back and tearing through both cloth and flesh. The mad bandit stumbled forward and turned, attempting another strike with her axe. Rainbow raised one sword and blocked the blow, stepping to the side at the same time to dodge it. She cut the bandit across the left thigh, then as she fell, she brought her sword down against the bandit’s back, finishing her off.

Spinning both swords to clean them of blood droplets, Rainbow ran on, keeping an eye around each corner. She could see it now, the open ocean at the bottom of a slope of burning buildings. All she had to do was make it there alive and all would be well.

As life would have it, before she could even get to the fish markets, two more mad bandits appeared from one of the destroyed buildings, this time one sporting a club. They approached her without a word, their madness driving them to attack anyone still alive.

Rainbow employed her same method and rolled away from the first one’s strike. As she spun to attack, the second one with the axe slashed horizontally at her, forcing her to block with one sword as she cut out with the other, catching the first bandit across the right arm. Both groaned at her and pressed their attack, trading blows with her as they fought on both her left and right. Rainbow exchanged blows with one of them, gutting him across the neck as his club crashed down into her side. Rainbow felt something give way and she was sure a rib had punctured a lung.

The first mad bandit went down, and as Rainbow dropped to a knee, the second one advanced, leaping high, his axe raised to kill. With all her strength, Rainbow rolled to the side, just barely missing an axe to her face. As the bandit landed down beside her, she spun one sword around and thrust it back as hard as she could without looking back. She felt the weapon pierce right through the bandit and she pushed harder, removing her sword only once she felt his weight drop against her.

Rainbow grabbed her side, panting and wincing as every breath drew sharp stings through her chest. Reaching into her pack, the rainbow haired girl produced a shiny glowing stone the size of her palm and crushed it. Warm light poured over her and she closed her eyes and breathed in. As time passed, she could feel her body slowly mend itself, allowing her to feel a somewhat sense of comfort once again.

Rainbow sighed. It was no bonfire, but at least it helped relieve her injuries.

Lifegems were valuable healing items one could create from amassing souls. They weren’t as effective as something like a flask of estus, but those were short on hand these days and finding someone with a flask was at least one in a thousand here on Canterim. Lifegems would have to do.

Getting up, Rainbow sheathed her blades and first searched the bodies of her attackers. So found a single firebomb and another lifegem, so at least the fight wasn’t completely useless.

Continuing on to the harbour, Rainbow spotted another three mad ones guarding the main road ahead. She didn’t fancy another fight just yet, so she slid herself into one of the derelict houses and snuck out the window in the back. This led her down an alley, where she continued on in a crouch to avoid detection. She weaved through another building before emerging out in a smaller street, this one sporting a flaming pyre where she spotted some poor soul, charred to black, hanging at the top of it. The smell of burnt flesh filled her nostrils and Rainbow turned her head away and placed one hand over her nose and mouth. These mad ones really were mad.

“Hello...?” a voice suddenly called from behind.

Rainbow turned, one hand already on one sword’s grip when she realized who it was. It was Fluttershy, that weird girl who lived away from town in some cottage in the woods.

“What are you doing here?” Rainbow hissed. “You picked a bad time to come to town.”

The pink haired girl began pulling at her hair nervously. Rainbow scoffed internally. She was such a weirdo. She didn’t know how she would even last against the Mad Horde.

“I-I’m actually here to escape. I heard there was a ship leaving…” she said slowly. “Ma-maybe we could… go together?”

Rainbow’s eyes widened. She was getting on that ship to Veorea too. She sighed. She didn’t want someone like Fluttershy running alongside her. She was such a nervous wreck. All it took was for someone to approach her and she would just stiffen up and become a clumsy lump of flesh. It made sense that she lived away from them, but it didn’t make sense she would want to escape with them.

“You’re only going to slow me down.” Rainbow pointed to the burnt person. “I don’t want to end up like them.”

“We-well, me nei-neither…”

Rainbow slapped a hand to her forehead. “Look, all you’re going to do is get me killed, okay? That’s the truth! I mean, what can you even do? Can you even fight?”

“I ha-have a bow…” The girl removed a shortbow from her back.

“Ugh…” Rainbow looked towards the harbour. It was still clear of the Mad Horde. “Just don’t expect me to save your or anything.”

The meek girl nodded slowly.

Rainbow Dash proceeded on, not ever stopping to make sure Fluttershy was behind her. Getting out of here in one piece was hard enough without having to look after someone who was essentially the village loser.

As if to make matters worse, two mad ones appeared out from behind a wrecked wagon, pulling along an ogre in chains. Rainbow grimaced. She hated fighting ogres. Sure, they give her a lot of souls, but they are incredibly resilient to death.

The ogre was the first to spot her with its single eye. It bellowed and shook its pale blue meaty body, knocking the two mad ones off its chains and sending them spiralling into one of the buildings, breaking the already failing wood and sending the roof crashing down on them.

The ogre first swung its right arm at Rainbow, who swiftly dodged to the side, then she dropped back into a roll again as its left arm came from the other side. The ogre spun around and she slashed at its legs, but then she realized it was now tilting back, standing only on one leg. Her eyes widened in surprise and she ran back just as the ogre fell on the spot she had just been standing at. That would’ve outright crushed her, but now, the ogre had left itself open.

Running back in, Rainbow slashed away at its head, cutting gashes across its hide and even slicing off its short horn. The ogre grunted and stood back up as arrows thudded into its chest from behind Rainbow.

She turned and spotted Fluttershy readying another arrow before launching it right into the ogre’s eye, blinding it. The creature grabbed its face and fell against the wagon, crushing it. Rainbow took this chance to rush it, slashing in a spin against its left leg, then she kicked off its knee and stabbed her shortswords into the ogre’s butt as she began making her way up, using her swords to get herself higher up the creature.

The ogre swung its arms around blindly, smashing apart another building and spraying splinters across the street, but it was unable to reach Rainbow.

The noise it was creating wasn’t likely to go unnoticed. She knew they had to make quick work of the ogre before the Mad Horde returned.

Spinning herself on one sword, Rainbow angled her legs above and somersaulted on top of the Ogre’s shoulders. With both weapons, she jabbed them through the monster’s already injured eye, digging her blades in deep until she felt something squelch and burst.

The ogre stopped flailing about and stood there for a whole second before falling forward, its body already fading into ashes.

Rainbow leapt from its shoulders and dusted her hands as Fluttershy ran over to join her.

“That was amazing,” the girl said with a small smile.

“Of course it was. Don’t you know who I am? I’m Rainbow Dash. You’re just a nobody, so I wouldn’t expect you to ever accomplish a feat like that.”

“Oh.” The girl’s smile was quick to fade off her face.

Light made itself known past the horizon, signalling that dawn would soon be upon them.

“Nevermind…” Rainbow shook her head. “We need to hurry. The Mad Horde would have heard the commotion.”

With the harbour of Yakhub Bay now within sight, Rainbow raced down the street, abandoning all forms of stealth. There was no time to take it slow and quiet anymore. They needed to get to that ship.

Passing along crates and barrels, Rainbow and Fluttershy traveled down a stony stairway, where the floor soon turned into planks, leading up to the main docking area, where she could already see a crowd of people gathered.

“Almost there…” she breathed to herself. A sense of hope rose in her chest. She was going to make it away and she was going to find the Sunlight Maggot that she had longed for for years now, and she was going to bring light back to her people and her land.

As she got closer to the group of people, Rainbow considered calling out to them, but something else tugged at the back of her mind. The people there were standing absolutely still next to a burning fire, and they didn’t seem to be preparing the ship at the dock whatsoever. Were they already done? What was going on?

Rainbow’s hope immediately deflated once she realized who those people were. They were more people from the Mad Horde and they were standing around a fire where someone was being roasted over. She recognized him as Gallant Sail, the captain who was supposed to take her across the sea. If they got the captain, then surely the rest of the crew were gone as well.

She wanted to stop now. She wanted to just give up and go home, but then she didn’t have a home to go back to anymore. These people had taken everything she knew already. She had to keep going if she wanted to return things to normal.

“With the power of our father, Pain! Or some say Painr… We give up these souls to you!” One of them cried out in a voice that sounded almost like every breath was killing his throat. He had a hood over his head and a white mask over the top half of his head that was shaped like a beaver. “You have shown us the way! The only way we may all live is through the dark! And so we burn these naysayers to you that you may receive their souls!”

“These people are cr-cr-crazy…” Fluttershy whimpered next to Rainbow, clutching her bow tightly.

Rainbow wanted to tell her how weird she was herself, but now wasn’t the time.

“I… Gorges, the Mad Herald, will bring all people to be yours, O’ Pain!” The man continued to plead to the sky. “Accept our offering and may we soon join you in Veorea!”

Rainbow’s eyes went wide. They were heading there as well. She couldn’t let them get there alive.

“We’ll need to take them out,” she told Fluttershy. Truth be told, she would probably be faster without the other girl, but some help was better than none. “Fluttershy, go left and distract them. We need to get that ship away from them and we need to take down their leader.”

“B-But what will you do…?” She anxiously grasped her bow.

“Just quit sniveling and go.” Rainbow pushed her. “If they leave here, they’re going to get to Veorea. That’s where I need to be and that’s where I don’t need them to be. Just do it.”

Fluttershy didn’t utter another word and scurried over to the side where a row of crates blocked the Mad Horde’s view of her. Rainbow Dash breathed and waited, taking out both swords in hand and getting into the right stance. She signalled to Fluttershy to fire, but the girl had no idea what she was trying to say.

Ugh, why am I even putting up with her…

Rainbow imitated firing an arrow from a bow and then pointed to the Mad Horde.

Fluttershy nodded with understanding and drew an arrow from her quiver.

Took her long enough.

Rainbow waited for the right opportunity. As soon as an arrow flew out from her left and sailed into one of the mad ones ahead. The man crumpled into the fire and Gorges and the rest started for the direction the arrow came from.

Perfect chance. I guess even weirdos have their use…

Rainbow charged out from where she was hiding, immediately getting behind one of the mad ones before they could turn around. She twisted both swords through the back of the closest mad one, lifting it up before planting its feet back on the ground and ripping her weapons out, taking it down instantly.

The other members of the Mad Horde only became aware of her presence after she eliminated another one with a backstab, but as they now faced her, Fluttershy began shooting more arrows from her corner, nailing another mad one through the back of the skull.

“Destroy them!” Gorges yelled and pointed a long spear at Rainbow.

The Mad Horde descended on Rainbow in a flash of steel and wood, but the rainbow haired girl rolled through all of them, slashing at one with both swords as she leapt to her feet. Another attacked her with her axe, but Rainbow parried it, then sliced her twice across the chest and once in the back, downing her.

She sidestepped another and slashed with her swords in an ‘X’ across one mad one’s face, but then another cut her across the left calf, sending her down on one knee.

Rainbow gasped in pain and blocked another mad one’s strike with a club, but that just jarred her arm and made her drop her weapon.

“Another one to fall needlessly. A shame.” Gorges approached her with his spear raised, its tip aimed for her neck.

The remaining mad ones went after Fluttershy, who vaulted over her crates and made a run for it, with them chasing her.

Rainbow Dash swung her remaining weapon at Gorges, who easily deflected it with his spear, but the girl took that delay to kick off with her one good leg and roll aside, a lifegem already being crushed in her hand. As life began to fill her, she got back on both feet, throwing a knife at one of the two last mad ones with Gorges, just as the Mad Herald swung his spear back and stabbed it into the wooden floor, just missing her.

The girl dropped into a roll and grabbed one of her shortswords as the other mad one reached her, swinging his club down at her. Rainbow’s feet touched the floor at the end of her roll and she speared her sword up, catching the mad one in the chest just as his club was about to hit her. He fell without a sound and stopped moving.

“Just you and me, Gorges.” Rainbow Dash pointed her weapon at the masked man.

“You do not know what is coming!” He spun his spear and held it in both hands. “Soon, all the world will be his! This is but the first step of man to ascend!”

“Uh, right.” Rainbow picked up her second shortsword and got into her stance, one sword held parallel to her body, the other pointed at the man. “You first. I’ve still got things to do.”

Gorges raised his spear to the sky and an orb of darkness shot out and hovered in the air above and between the two combatants. Dark beads, like hailstones, began to rain down in Rainbow’s direction.

Rainbow rolled away as the dark hail blasted holes into the ground. Gorges took the chance to lower his spear and charge at Rainbow, trying to run her through. Rainbow saw the spear coming and slashed one of her swords at it, the metal sparking as she pushed the spearhead out of the way, where it dug into the ground.

Gorges pulled the spear free, but Rainbow was already behind him. She stabbed at Gorges’ exposed back, her blade piercing through his robe quite easily. Gorges yanked his weapon from the ground and swung the spear around, clocking Rainbow Dash on the arm and making her stumble. She flipped herself on her back and kicked away from him as his spear unleashed a flurry of thrusts towards her, each one almost striking true as Rainbow twisted and turned on the ground, until she could finally get back on her feet. She planted a foot against the spear as it came again, then kicked off of it and jumped up over Gorges. With a spin, she slashed across the mad one’s hood, shredding it to bits and cutting gashes across his bald head, before landing behind him and performing a cross cut on his back, splashing blood across her chest and face.

Gorges stumbled forward and propped himself up with the shaft of his spear. Looking down at his hands, they began to flake away into ash, slowly floating away into the air.

“Pain…” His beaver mask fell off, revealing his decaying grey face. “I am called by your Abyss, and I answer…”

And then he was gone, leaving behind only his spear, which toppled into the fire they had started.

“Phew, easy for someone like me…” Rainbow pushed her fringe from her face and consumed a lifegem to give herself some relief.

She quickly looked around, noting that the remaining members of the Mad Horde here were either dead or chasing after Fluttershy somewhere. Rainbow looked to the ship she was supposed to depart in. It was a small one, likely only able to carry a handful of survivors to the land of Veorea. On the upside, at least that meant she could probably operate the ship herself.

Rainbow Dash looked around for Fluttershy. That weirdo was still out there somewhere, dead, alive, still fighting, she didn’t know, but she knew she was still around. Thoughts to find her crossed her mind, but Rainbow shook her head. She didn’t know Fluttershy enough, plus, did she really want to have someone tagging along with her on the whole ride to Veorea?

“Yeah, no.”

She climbed up the ladder for the ship and got about lowering the sails to ready her departure. She needed to make it to Veorea one way or another. The Sunlight Maggot awaited her. She was going to get there and she was going to get it.

The wind was blowing in a favorable direction, and Rainbow was certain that once she raised the anchor, she would be on a swift course to her destination. Come to think of it, which was the right way to Veorea? It couldn’t be a straight line, could it?

Speaking of the anchor…

Rainbow went over to the anchor winch and pushed at it, but the gears seemed to be stuck. The rest of the ship seemed in good condition, so perhaps they weren’t stuck, but just that she wasn’t strong enough. If she could just have one more pair of hands.

“Um, hello?” Came a soft, familiar voice.

Rainbow turned around. Fluttershy was there, climbing up onto the ship’s deck, looking a little the worse for wear.

“You again?” Rainbow groaned. “What are you doing here? It’s dangerous.”

“I’m-I’m coming… To Veorea. That’s where you’re h-headed, right?”

Rainbow grumbled, but then again, a second person would help with the anchor and the sailing, so perhaps it was a good idea to have her around. For now.

“Just help me out with the anchor.” Rainbow placed her hands on one of the handles and together, they pushed against the anchor’s capstan, steadily bringing the ship’s anchor out from the deep. As soon as it was high enough, the wind carried the ship away from Yakhub Bay and off to open water.

Rainbow Dash ran to the front and stood on the bow. They had made it. They were leaving the ravaged Canterim behind and were finally on their way to the land of Veorea, the land where the First Flame originated from and the light of the fabled Sunlight Maggot. Rainbow knew it. She was going to find it one day and this was a mission she was going to accomplish.

Author's Note:

And so begins our first chapter of a Flame spin off story. I do hope this will be able to live up to what Flame had. As always, thank you for reading. I hope you found this entertaining.

If there are any questions, do let me know! Cheers!