All shall be well
- Nov 2, 2021
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When the dragon came to, there was only coldness. The coldness of ice, and nothingness.
Word Count: 2,200
Content warning: Reference to war, creeping sense of despair, downer ending (it's a pre-canon story for Kyurem...)
Hi, hello, please have this vignette-style fic that hopefully resembles a story.
I was racking my brain about whether to post anything while I put Luceat Lux Vestra on a break to gather materials from Legends: Arceus. Then one conversation shifted into what topic/legendary you want to see getting a Legends-esque game, and I remembered about my headcanon notes for Kyurem. Hey, I should unleash this on the world.
As with LLV, this verse features legendaries as gijinka (i.e. human form). Familiarity with LLV isn't strictly required but may be a nice bonus.
Fun fact: Dragonspiral Tower and Giant Chasm shared the same background music. Yes, this is relevant to the fic.
In the outskirts of one small kingdom, a traveler stood among a small group of armored soldiers and fiery creatures. The traveler was pale-skinned and silver-haired, clad in a robe of pure white. Like droplets of blood on fresh snow, his red eyes were the only trace of color on his person. And before the group, with an appearance conveying a coldness more severe, a gray draconic being of ice was chained down to the ground.
"I will ask you again," demanded the traveler, "is it true that it came from the sky?"
"Yes, sir!" One soldier answered, "It was last winter, sir. A star fell to our forest, then this monster showed up and attacked livestock and townspeople. We have never seen any monster like this before the disaster, so we believe they are connected."
The traveler didn't speak of it, but this was also his first time seeing the dragon. Which of his children brought this irregular existence to this world? And for it to be captured by the humans….
"Pitiful being, I shall allow you sympathy for the confusion in your heart," he said to the dragon, who watched him with wary eyes. "For the world to stop you from following the instinct you were born with is nothing enviable. However, if you are one of my children, instinct cannot be the only thing you carry."
The traveler stepped forward, separating himself from the group, closer to the dragon. Frost crept under his feet; the chains didn't allow movement for the dragon, but still it bared its fangs.
Without any sign of fear – for fear would be unbecoming for someone of his standing – the traveler asked, "Answer me: do you wish to live and find your purpose? Or do you wish to die as a chained beast?"
The barrier between the beings of this planet was tall, but for the traveler who straddled that boundary – and always will – he could invite anyone to walk on the same path as him. And extend his hand to the dragon of ice he did.
Clanks and thuds resounded as heavy chains fell off to the ground. The group readied their swords and flame, but there was no need to. The being before the traveler no longer held the form of a dreadful dragon, but of a person with long, flowing hair in the color of ice, tears welling up in their golden eyes.
"Yes… I want… to know…."
The traveler took off his robe and wrapped it around the newborn. "I shall bestow upon you a name, and with it, my protection. Listen well, my child: from now on, you may call yourself Kyurem. All shall be well, I promise you this."
For the first time, the dragon knew of warmth.
"It matters not if you are a sage or a god. We shan't forgive you if you bring catastrophe to this land."
With those words, the traveler in white left the throne room of the castle, his audience with the king had ended. He returned to his tower without delay where his pupil awaited. There was a glint in their golden eyes when they greeted his return with a question about the weather and the path of the stars above.
The traveler had struck a deal when he took Kyurem under his wings: in exchange for lodging and sustenance for the dragon, he was to raise them into something that can be of use for the kingdom. It would be easy to hone their physical strength – and they certainly didn't ignore it – but that alone wouldn't answer their question of what purpose they have beyond their primal instinct.
By now, listening to them musing about astronomy and alchemy like this, no one would expect them to be the same monster that terrorized Lacunosa Town. It surprised him how fast the dragon learned and took on difficult topics – truly irregular. There should be no problem now if he left them to their own devices.
Yet the king's words were so cold.
"My child," he said, cutting through his pupil's enthusiasm, "I won't be able to linger in this place for much longer. What will you do?"
Kyurem's eyes widened, followed by a frown. A moment passed in silence, only the wind blew in from the open window, whispering as it played with both the traveler's and his pupil's long hair – charcoal and ivory intertwined under a sheet of ice.
The uncertain edges in Kyurem's expression melted away with the wind, slow but sure, until only serenity was left. "I will remain here, in this kingdom," they answered. "It's the place where I was born, and I owe the king for allowing me to live and become what I am today. This is where I belong."
"I taught you, did I not? Living is the right you were born with. To feel gratitude for something rightfully yours is…."
"I understand, Master. Even so, this is how my heart feels. My apologies for the unsatisfactory answer."
A resolute answer. The traveler closed his eyes and muttered, "No, do as you wish."
Slowly, Kyurem rose from their seat and walked to the window. From this height, they could see not only the castle and its gardens, but also the city beyond its gates. Further on, they could see speckles of colors; of the fields, the forests, the rivers, and the mountains. The world, green and gold and grand. Even further on, they could imagine a vast blue sea.
As they took in the sight, a soft smile formed on their face. "I probably wouldn't have understood warmth and beauty if you didn't save me that day, Master. I probably wouldn't even have been able to see it. Trite, isn't it?"
"I have lived for longer than anything else in this world. I care not for a concept like triteness," answered the traveler.
Kyurem chuckled at that answer. "Yes, of course."
What was it that his pupil found amusing, the traveler could only begin to guess. He suppressed the urge, however, for it no longer mattered.
The next morning, when Kyurem woke, they found the bed of their master empty and cold, no trace of him left behind anywhere in the tower.
Many seasons had passed since, and the kingdom prospered through a period of peace. In its history, whispered like a legend, was the sage of the tower who guided the kingdom through decisive moments.
One day, bright light shone on the tower. For a moment the sage thought they would melt away if they didn't take cover, but they soon realized the light had a familiar, nostalgic warmth to it.
When they whispered that word, the figure from the old days materialized in the room. The same white robe, silver hair, and blood red eyes. In their youth, they would have run to him and asked him to indulge their curiosity, but now they bowed down with the grace befitting of a sage.
"You cut your hair," remarked the traveler. He stared down at the floor, muttering, "No, not just that…."
A smile rose to the sage's face. "It has been a long time, Master. As I promised before you left, I have remained and given my all for this kingdom." They stood and began walking toward the stairs – down, to a lower level. The traveler followed his former pupil.
"Have you heard? His Royal Majesty was blessed with not only one, but two heirs, both with promising capabilities. Yes, they are both characters with great conviction, loyal to each of their truths and ideals. I'm sure they will be able to lead this kingdom to even greater heights."
At the end of the spiraling staircase, they stopped and turned around to face the traveler. "Because they are such characters, I found myself alone insufficient in aiding them." From under their robe, they took out a gleaming silver wedge. Pressing it against the base of their own neck, their smile still lingering, they said, "So I offered my body and birthed children of my own, in hope for them to guide the princes. Didn't you do the same when you created this world, Master?"
Yes, they used to have long, flowing hair, now no longer than where that wedge was placed. Even the charcoal and ivory that used to color their ice-like hair had faded. Their golden eyes, which used to look at him with fondness, now had lost their shine and warmth. How much did they give up? The traveler couldn't voice that question. After all, this was the path chosen by his former pupil.
Instead, he whispered, "Forgive me."
The sage blinked in confusion. "For what?"
No answer came. No answer could be voiced.
After sheathing the wedge again, the sage entered the room downstairs – it was the room where the two rested together in the past. With a sweet yet chilling voice, they called, "Reshiram. Zekrom. Rise and shine, my dears."
"You look and smell similar to my master, but something is different. Who are you?"
Yes, this traveler had the same silver hair and red eyes as him, but his robe was a deep, dark blue. "You're Kyurem, correct?" asked the unfamiliar traveler. "And I guess you're talking about my old man— I mean, my dear father."
Hearing that word of affection, Kyurem's frown grew deeper. "Who are you?"
"Good question. I have many names, but to our kind, I'm best known as Dialga. Perhaps that would ring a bell," said the traveler with a polite bow. "Ah, but I'm no more than a passerby today."
Dialga, the guardian deity of time, one of their master's direct descendants. Anyone studying the history of the world would know his name, if not his existence. That bow was unlike their master, however – he was never one to lower his head for anyone.
Still, the frown lingered on Kyurem's face. "My master… where is he?"
"Deep in slumber, guiding the world in the way he knows best," answered Dialga.
"I see. That's right, he often dozed off…." mumbled Kyurem, closing their eyes, hands gripping the blanket covering them. It was cold. No matter how many layers they used, it was cold.
"Pitiful being," whispered Dialga. Those words earned him a stare from Kyurem – their eyes were empty, as if asking for something to fill them. Sympathy wouldn't fill them, but it was the only thing he could offer, so he continued, "You gave your blood and your heart, but this is how you end: forgotten and alone in a crumbling tower. Humans can be so cold."
"Can you blame them? The wars have taken a toll on all of us," said Kyurem in a low voice. "I thought I was on the right path. My children fought, but they worked together when it mattered. But eventually the distance between them grew more and more and…."
Dialga stood without moving, his red eyes staring down at the forgotten sage. Could it be that he had heard about their children before? He must have – anyone would have, in this land ravaged by the war between truth and ideal. When he spoke again, there was a quiver in his voice.
"Do you… regret giving birth to your children?"
A frozen sigh escaped from Kyurem's lips. They had asked themself that question more times than they could remember. For such a question, only another question was apt as an answer. "Please tell me, is destruction the only thing I can bring forth in the end? Is this my purpose in this world?"
Slowly, Dialga shook his head. "I'm afraid that isn't a question I'm permitted to answer."
Kyurem closed their eyes again – their guest's silver hair and red eyes had become difficult to look at. "Of course. Even your father never answered that question."
It was cold. They were a dragon of ice, so coldness was something they were used to, but when did it start bothering them like this? Would their master know the reason?
But their master had left them, never to return.
Perhaps they should rest too. They had nothing left which they could give to the kingdom, and they had grown tired of the cold and solitude, of scorn and resignation. To Lacunosa… no, to the chasm where they were born, where everything began.
So loud. So bright. There were voices – conversations in a language unfamiliar to their ears. Humans. Between them was a one-eyed man in an ominously patterned robe, laughing with an unpleasant voice. Ah, Kyurem realized, these people must have broken the ice cage they sealed themself in before entering a sleep of oblivion.
Questions began to fill their mind as their consciousness returned, piece by piece. Are these people from the kingdom? Or are they enemies? Does the kingdom still exist? What about Reshiram and Zekrom? How long have I slept? Have I awakened to bring forth destruction again?
The unpleasant man extended his hand to them. At that moment the dragon decided, if they had woken up to destroy, to bring everything to cold nothingness, this time they wouldn't back down from it.