At the sound of the familiar voice, Harry lashed out. Before he was even conscious of what he was doing, he spun around, jewel encrusted goblin silver sword in hand, swinging it swiftly and true. However, in the very moment the sword would have sliced through the man, he exploded into a swarm of locusts, flying directly at Harry, bypassing him, only to reform into a man behind him.
"How rude." The man stated.
Harry quickly turned around, bringing the sword around with an overhanded swing, only for the man to block it with a blade of his own- a rusted katana. However, where Harry held his blade in a two handed grip, the man was lazily holding his sword with one, and did not look like he was even straining to hold Harry in place.
Harry's furious expression met the man's smirk. There was no doubt that the man before him was someone Harry had mixed feelings about.
Ardyn Lucis Caelum.
The man had been every bit as much of a pawn of Bahamut's machinations has Noctis and... The Oracle had been. Still, between the death of King Regis Lucis Caelum and the Fall of Insomnia, the capture of Prompto, tricking Noctis into initiating the Endless Night, Ignis' crippling injury, and the destruction of Altissia and Tenebrae and the death of... The man had, had much to answer for.
In a surprising show of strength, Ardyn pushed Harry back. Harry backpedalled, but kept his balance, keeping his blade between the two of them. Ardyn's sword, however, melted into dust.
"Is that any way to great a guest, Noct?" Ardyn asked mockingly.
Harry took a moment to calm himself. It would not be beneficial to him to lose his head, either literally or figuratively. While the dreams of his past life had stepped up in frequency after the dementor incident, they had exponentially increased in intensity after Luna had revealed the existence of the Eidolons and confirmed that Harry's dreams were real. He remembered the smell of salt in the air; the pain of hitting the ground after Leviathan had smacked him out of the air; the helplessness of being forced to watch as Ardyn...
In the aftermath of what happened in Altissia, Noctis had shutdown. He'd hoped to get some closure in Tenebrae, only it was on fire and overrun by demons by the time he, Ignis and Gladiolus had arrived by train. From that point on, there had been too much to do to dwell on it. It had taken a significant portion of his time in the crystal for Noctis to fully process and grieve for... For Her. Harry, being hit with the full force of Noctis' emotions as those events happened, hadn't had the time to fully process them himself. Even knowing that She was out there in the world somewhere and would be reunited with him soon, hadn't helped in the slightest. However, where Noctis had spent most of his grieving waffling between stages one and four, Harry skipped straight to stage two.
"Ardyn..." Harry said through clenched teeth. It was taking quite the effort to keep his anger in check and not just make another attempt at stabbing the man. "I'm not Noctis anymore. What are you doing here, Ardyn? Noctis died killing you!"
Ardyn chuckled. "Noctis, Harry... You are who you are. Whatever I call you won't change that. As for the rest... One of three. You'd best step up your game if you are to live up to your titles. I'm not Ardyn Lucis Caelum any more than you are Noctis Lucis Caelum. In fact, I'm less, as at least you and Noctis share the same soul."
"You're an Eidolon. I don't trust your kind as it is. You're not doing much to make me trust you by looking like Him," Harry pointed out in irritation.
Ardyn laughed. "If you truly take umbrage with how I look, you only have yourself to blame. I appear before everyone differently. Unlike the rest of my brethern whose forms are locked and differ very little from one incarnation to the next, my form is influenced by what you associate my... Sphere of Influence with. This is the form that you chose for me. And regardless of the reverence my brethern hold for you and yours, I am not beholden to you, Prince Harry, any more than you are beholden to me. Ours is a relationship of necessity, until it isn't. We need you and you need us."
That statement only served to make Harry even more angry and distrustful of the Eidolons. "I refuse to be your pawn!"
"Oh, Harry... Eidolons and mortals alike are Instruments of Fate. For the time being, our fates are entwined with yours," Ardyn replied. "There are only three individuals, two other than yourself, to whom I would potentially swear my loyalty to. All three of you are equally unworthy of me at this time. Only once you have become worthy and have defeated me, your final enemy, will you gain my loyalty."
"Then what's the point of introducing yourself?" Harry asked demandingly.
"To take your measure," Ardyn explained. "You leave much to be desired, Young Prince. Of the three, you are currently the least worthy of me."
"Is that all you have to say?" Harry spat.
"Everything comes with a price, Young Prince," Ardyn replied. "The Oracle only asked for one thing in return for hers and your service. For the two of you to be reunited in happiness. While you did not state as such, your soul was very much in tune with hers. The Astrals, our counterparts on Eos, could have chosen to allow you to pass on and claim your happiness as your final reward, but they didn't. Instead, they turned you both over to us. While the two of you have been given a second chance at life to find your happiness with each other, there is a price to be paid. In the days to come, you both will have a role to play."
Harry gave into his impulse and stabbed Ardyn, who once more dematerialized in a swarm of locusts, shifting away from Harry's blade and reforming. "Haven't you had enough of using us!?"
Ardyn ignored the question, gracing Harry with that damnable smirk of his. "Until we meet again, I suggest you put that sword away before you poke someone's eye out." He then burst into a swarm of locusts and faded into nothingness.
It was at that point Harry realized he was holding the Sword of Gryffindor. He'd been so enraged at the presence of Ardyn, or the Eidolon that looked like him, that he hadn't realized he'd had it in his hand. Although, how it got there was a mystery even to Harry as he hadn't been holding it at all until Ardyn had revealed himself. So startled was he by the sword's presence in his hand, that he dropped it, only for it to disappear in a small burst of light.
Harry stared at his hand in disbelief. He'd unknowingly managed to summon the Sword of Gryffindor. Somehow, he had gained a small fraction of Noctis' power. Concentrating on his hand, he attempted to do so again, with no success. Even falling back onto disjointed memories of his previous life afforded him no success.
He shook his head. It was a mystery for another time. For the time being, Harry felt it prudent to inform his friends and Luna of his encounter with an Unnamed Eidolon. The first of their kind to reveal themselves to someone other than Luna. His excitement at the prospect of being reunited with Lu... His once betrothed, was severely dampened by presence of a passively agressive Eidolon that wore the face of the man who'd... Been responsible for what had happened to her.
Not sure what to think of that. On the one hand, it further cements the fact that the Eidolon's are just as bad as their Astral counterparts and shows Harry can learn Noctis's abilities. But on the other, I think it might be trying to hard to make Harry come off as the Underdog.
Harry can, but he can't control them and won't be able to with any sort of consistency. That will come in time, but it will be a long process and Voldemort will continue to be a challenge. I have a vague plan in mind to make it so.
Not-Ardyn is and isn't like the Astrals. The Eidolons as a whole are more benevolent, but he specifically has a plan. The Eidolons have maintained a hands off policy for a while, one his brethren aren't too keen to change, except in the case of Noctis and Lunafreya's transmigrants. They take care if the little picture while Not-Ardyn looks at the big one. What sets him apart from the others is the conditions of his loyalty. In truth, he is more bound by fate than even Harry is.
Harry was never going to trust the Eidolons, not on his own. The Leviathan, Ifirit and Bahamut of Eos had assured that from the start. More the latter two than the other one though. Not-Ardyn gives Harry an obvious outlet for his aggression and mistrust. Despite what Not-Ardyn told Harry, he knows that of his three potential masters, Harry is the best choice.
It doesn't make him any less of a manipulative douche, but he is balancing loyalties: to Harry, to his brethren and even to fate and magic.
That's hardly fair. Leviathan was the one who fucked everything up, and Ifrit was a possessed corpse being piloted by the Starscourage. Hell he fights alongside Noctis and Luna against Bahamut in the Novel.
That's hardly fair. Leviathan was the one who fucked everything up, and Ifrit was a possessed corpse being piloted by the Starscourage. Hell he fights alongside Noctis and Luna against Bahamut in the Novel.
I know it's not fair. It's not supposed to be. Harry semi-blames Leviathan for Lunafreya's death. Not entirely, or even mostly, but Leviathan did play a small role in what happened to her. He blames Leviathan the least.
And yes, Ifirit was being manipulated and controlled by Ardyn through the Starscourge, but that doesn't mean he didn't have to be overcome so Noctis could face off against Ardyn and stop the Endless Night and destroy the Starscourge.
After all, Bahamut helped Noctis master his powers and fought against Ifirit with Titan, Ramuh, Leviathan and Shiva. But that doesn't necessarily absolve him of his actions.
Having to fight Titan for his loyalty didn't help matters either.
His most positive interactions with the Astrals is with Shiva.
I really don't understand why though. Ifrit was a mindless tool, Leviathan was fully cognizant of what was going on, and trashed the entire city and was 100% the reason Noctis wasn't able to save Luna.
Ardyn was still the one who killed her, so the Lion's share of the blame goes to him. Then there's fact that instead of trying to help herself, Lunafreya put everything into empowering Noctis. So to an extent, Harry even blames himself/Noctis for her death.
And, contradictorily, Leviathan still helped out with the daemons on the train, with the shroud and with Ifirit.
Keep in mind emotions aren't the most logical of things and while Harry is experiencing Noctis' memories and feelings, he has a different perspective on them than Noctis did. And that isn't even touching I'm the fact that he's not experiencing them all at once, but incrementally, so he doesn't have all of Noct's memories and the ones he does have are disjointed.
A woman sat at the zenith of Stoatshead Hill, blue flowers never seen on Earth all around her. The sky was a blinding endless field of white. Her blonde hair was tied back in a loose braid and her dress was black as night.
"Mummy!" a young girl shouted. The girl looked to be only six years old in appearance as she ran up the hill, barefoot and wearing a white sundress. She was followed by a small flying moogle. "Mummy, I've missed you!"
Her hair was equally golden blonde as her mothers. However, she had her father's silver colored eyes, which were wide open, as if the young girl was in a constant state of surprise. She glomped onto the woman, by all indications her mother, and held her tightly. The woman reciprocated the clench.
"I know, Moonbeam, but it was necessary," the woman soothed the girl. "As powerful as I am, Luna, it is far more difficult for me to manifest on the physical plane than it is for the others."
"But now Harry hates you!" Luna cried with a pout.
"He was always going to hate and mistrust us. I'm merely giving him an excuse to do so," Not-Luna's Mother replied.
"But why? If you need to work together, why let him hate you?" Luna asked.
"Because this is the best way forward," Not-Luna's Mother answered.
"I disagree," said a deep voice. It belonged to a red lion-like creature. His proud mane was a glowing orange and yellow and the colors shifted as if it was made of fire. Then end of his tale was a simple flame. His large cat-like eyes were yellow and red. He was the bestial Eidolon of Fire and Pride. He was Ifirit. "Enflaming the ire of the King of Magic is counter-productive to our aims."
The moogle that had been trailing after Luna, landed on his head. "Kupo!"
The single, two syllable word said more than it implied as the moogle also showed it's disapproval of their leader's plan.
"More than any other being, alive or dead, I am far more aware of the grim realities of our world. Of Magic. Of Fate," Not-Luna's mother stated. "If the King of Magic is to truly succeed, he needs to contront and take control of destiny, independantly of us. For far too long, we have been inactive in this world. We, moreso than any mortal, are bound to Fate's whims. If we are to have a say in our destiny, we need Mortals- a specific mortal, Harry Potter, to intercede on our behalf. The only way to do that is to have him take control of his own fate and, by extension, our own."
"I can see the logic in it," A buxom woman with long white hair responded. She was a full figured woman, who wore armor that only accentuated her assets. Her winged helmet looked draconic and her spear also had draconian design influences. Her gauntlets had taloned finger tips and the greaves of her boots were shaped like a dragons paws. She was the Draconic Eidolon of Honor and Valor, Bahamut. "But you play a dangerous game, Eldest."
Not-Luna's Mother, sometimes referred to as Eldest by her siblings- a title bestowed upon her for the obvious reason, conceded the Dragon Knight's point. "I know, Bahamut, but what else can I do? Three potential Chosen Ones, two of whom would see the world to it's end, either through stagnation or destruction. Harry Potter is our best hope, but not while he is being held back by his Brothers-in-Fate."
"Is there truly no other way, Eldest?" asked their mutual sister, Shiva, Eidolon of Ice and Magic. She was completely nude and was completely comfortable in being so, having transcended the need for clothing. Her pale blue skin glittered, her eyes were like bright sapphires and her dark blue hair was done up in a series of elaborate and intricate braids and reached down to her ankles. The only adornments on her body were a series of glittering gold bangles and anklets on her arms and legs respectively and glittering earrings, with a single golden stud on her left eyebrow. Her hair was also held in place with a number of jeweled, golden hair fasteners. Her finger and toe nails were painted blue with snow flake designs on them, though she had white painted lips and eye shadow.
"There are plenty of other paths we could follow, Shiva. Some of them would even see the King of Magic succeed in completing his own personal destiny and reuniting with his lady love, living a full and happy life. One he richly deserves for his deeds in this life alone," Eldest admitted. "But those are not the optimum paths he or we could take."
The moogle frowned. "Kupo!"
"No we don't, but I'm going to any way. A time of great upheaval is coming and if the world is to stand a chance, it's going to need us. As we are now, we'll be unable to act. We've languished over the centuries. We are no longer as we once were," Eldest stated firmly. "For far too long, we have held ourselved apart from humanity and the physical world."
"We had reason to do so," Ifirit argued. "Our interference was causing more harm than good. We all agreed, some more reluctantly than most, that our separation from the humans was for the best."
"At the time, it was the best decision we could make," Eldest agreed. "But that time has passed. We are older and, hopefully, wiser than we were back then."
Bahamut leveled Eldest with a hard glare. She'd been one of the strongest objectors to separating from the Mortal Plane. "You've seemed content not to act until now. What has changed? Why do you suddenly care now?"
Eldest closed her eyes. "Content, but not satisfied. Don't take my inaction as apathy. Our separation from Mortals was never meant to be permanent. But there never seemed to be an ideal time to reintegrate with them and because of that, Magic has suffered and fallen into obscurity. For a long time, I have sought champions to restore the balance, but each time I was met with nothing but disappointment. Contrary to my advocacy for separating from the Mortal World, my connection to it is stronger to it than yours, than everyone else's. Intricately linked in ways few could understand on a conscious level. I can't fully explain it, not even to myself, but Harry Potter is different and not simply because of his soul. Harry of Earth will far surpass Noctis of Eos if given the chance. Moreso than the magical giants like Myrddin who came before him, Harry Potter has the greatest success to succeed as my champion. But ours will not be a partnership of equals. He will be as much our King as he will be of Magic."
Ifirit frowned disapprovingly. "You intend to make us subservient to mortals. To be nothing more than servants to their whims."
"Kupo!" the Moogle argued.
"Kupo has a point," Bahamut agreed. "They couldn't do any worse than we did when we were worshipped by them as Gods and we treated them as our servants."
"I intend for Eidolons and Mortals to be partners. Equal in all ways," Eldest interjected. "The only one of us to be bound in subservience will be me and ONLY to King Harry. However, he must be strong enough to bind me. Just as I am the most powerful Eidolon to have ever existed, he must be the strongest Mortal in magic and character to be worthy of binding me."
Bahamut giggled in amusement. "Kinky."
Eldest leveled Bahamut with an unamused glare. Her current form was influenced by Luna- the image Luna associated with her Aspect. Something Bahamut was all too aware of, as Eldest's true form held no actual concept of gender.
"Mummy, what did she mean by that?" Luna asked Eldest in a completely innocent and unassuming manner.
Despite not actually being Luna's mother, Eldest held a certain fondness for Luna. A fondness that intensified whenever Eldest took on Luna's mother's form. "I'll tell you when you're older."
Luna closed her eyes and Eldest had to admit, if only to herself, that the child looked absolutely adorable with her face scrunched up in concentration, right up until Luna jumped from being six years old to her actual thirteen years of age. "Will you tell me now, Mummy?"
Eldest leveled Luna with a glare that could only be described as maternal. "No."
"But..." Luna began to protest.
Bahamut got a playful look on her face. "I could..."
"Kupo!" Kupo admonished the Draconic Eidolon, who looked completely unashamed.
"Why not have the Oracle handle this one," Shiva suggested.
Luna frowned. "But I still don't know who she will be. You've refused to tell me."
"You will know, as will Harry, once the time comes," Eldest assured the teenage girl.
Luna pouted cutely. "Why can't you just tell me?"
"You know why, Moonbeam," Eldest replied.
"Even if we wanted to, such matters are not for us to interfere," Ifirit chided her sternly.
Luna frowned. Of all the Eidolons she'd met, Ifirit was her least favorite. His stern, humorless demeanor clashed with her free spirited nature.
"Kupo..." Kupo stated with a frown directed at the bestial Eidolon.
Ifirit merely scoffed at the Moogle. "Coddling her does her no favors."
"Ignore him, Lu. He's grumpy when he hasn't eaten recently," Bahamut said conspiratorily to Luna, though she made no effort to hide what she was saying about the lionine Eidolon. Luna generally liked Bahamut. She was like the bad influence Aunt that every girl was supposed to have. At least according to Bahamut. Actually, Bahamut said she was the "fun" Aunt, but Kupo had said that she was a bad influence. Still, Bahamut was fun, even if her mother- who wasn't really her mother, but looked like her- seemed to generally disapprove of the Dragon Knight.
Ifirit's eyes narrowed. "I don't eat."
"Thus, why he's always grumpy," Bahamut replied, as if she was inparting wisdom of the ages upon Luna, who was by far her most favorite human she's ever interacted with.
Ifirit growled at Bahamut, his mane glowing more brightly, his eyes turning more red than yellow.
Not really. This segment served the purpose of establishing Eldest's reasons for manipulating Harry, Luna's relationship with the Eidolons, and even some of the Eidolons personalities and even a bit of their history. Once more I hint at Eldest's identity, without actually spelling it out. All in all, this was a necessary segment that was mostly character development.