Halo: The Unchained

Going to summer camp was just about the worst decision Ryan Winters had ever made. Spending three months around a bunch of idiots who thought "tru dat" was correct grammar was certainly not his idea of a good time. But, according to his adoptive mother, he wasn't good enough at pretending to not be a mutant. So, there he was, trying to spend more time with the human persons so he could learn how to be a human person. There was only one problem:

Jared Hall.

*Read full summary inside*

**This story is currently undergoing some editing, all unedited chapters have been unpublished :)**

***This is a Seven Realms Novel. For More Seven Realms fun, please read The Forest of Eyes and Shadows and The Marked Series***

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8. Deals with The Devil Are (Probably?) Better Than Death

Deals with The Devil Are (Probably?) Better Than Death

Tyrin somehow managed to catch himself before slamming face first into the ground. His body may have been freed, but he still felt like a captive in that place—and there was no doubt in his mind that he wouldn’t find freedom until he listened to the King’s story. He looked up once more, allowing their eyes to meet.

The King began to speak once again. “Everything you know is a lie. A lie that has been forged by a powerful and corrupt God to keep you captive, and under the illusion of peace. Your universe is among many others, all trapped without any means of escaping.”

“The Seven Realms, seven independent universes each operating separately from the next in simple harmony.  The First Realm, also known as the Realm of Light, is the home of the vengeful God who selfishly rules with an iron fist.  The Second, the Realm of Wish, is home to the deities who blindly carry out the laws the Creator puts in place to oppress their subjects.  Third, the Realm of Earth, which I’m sure you are familiar with.  Fourth, Realm of the Marked, home of the Daevanaeglusia, who are rather overpowered beings abusing their magic for personal gain.  Fifth, the Realm of Memories, where all things experienced by all beings are kept in a large file room, guarded by the sisters Time and Sloth.  Sixth, the Realm of Spirits, home to all the souls that exist outside of a physical form, and the only beings in the universe with the ability to pass freely between the Realms. And last but not least, the seventh realm, Realm of Insanity, a place nestled between the heavens and Earth, covered in darkness, and the place we call home.” The King paused, turning his head to look at Tyrin with intensely red eyes. “And that concludes all the boring trivia.”

Tyrin’s head spun. Other universes? Other races? So essentially, this guy was talking about aliens. Aliens and alternate dimensions and gods and demons and nothing that he really believed in. What the holy heck was a Daevan… Daeven… Whatever the hell that was??? None of what was just said could be real. It wasn’t possible. Tyrin locked eyes with the King, ready to challenge everything that was just said. Instead, he found himself captivated by those swirling red eyes. He hadn’t noticed before that the red seemed to move around, like clouds, or waves… A whirlpool…

His thoughts silenced.

 “Deep in the Realm of Light, the Creator sat on their mighty throne.  But you see, The Creator had grown mad with power. They had always been a… unstable being— a forced union between the two once powerful gods known then as Origin and Oblivion. Fearing that the abuse would turn into the eventual death of all our universes, a mighty warrior decided to take charge, building up an army out of beings from all seven Realms, so the army could rise up and take the throne from the Creator.” The King’s face twisted with anger, and a low growl escaped his throat. He stood, getting caught up in the intensity of his story.

“Then, disaster struck. The Creator discovered the plans, and in order to keep their power, the Creator damned the warrior and every being in the army to the Seventh Realm, where they had to struggle to survive.” The man paused, taking a breath and relaxing a little. He turned and sat on his throne again. “However, this did not stop the brave warrior. Time passed, and the army the brave warrior had created morphed into what the beings in the other Realms were calling ‘demons.’ So, the warrior took the title of The Great Demon King, Lucifer.” The King paused, the corners of his mouth twisting up into a crooked grin. “That would be me.”

Tyrin stepped back, eyes wide. Woah, wait, Lucifer? As in the literal devil? Wait, why was he even surprised? The guy literally has horns and bat wings; did he really think, this whole time, that that was just normal? What had gotten into him? And why was that discovery somehow more surprising that the fact that, evidently enough, the Devil actually existed? He backed away, putting as much distance as he could between him and the literal Devil in an attempt to leave the throne room and get back to the campsite where things made sense. He didn’t get very far before he was stopped by Lucifer’s servant. Tyrin looked around frantically, trying to find an out, but it was only seconds later that Lucifer appeared before him, leaning close and making a point to look straight into Tyrin’s eyes.

Lucifer hovered off the ground, his fleshy wings spread out far across the room. The room didn’t feel nearly as big and empty as it had before. Tyrin had never felt so small in his life. “Now, now, you can’t be trying to leave before my story is done.” Tyrin tore his eyes away from Lucifer, but the Demon King grabbed Tyrin’s face, his long fingernails piercing Tyrin’s cheeks. He yanked Tyrin’s face back so their eyes met again. “Don’t you want to hear the rest of my story?”

Tyrin stared deep into Lucifer’s eyes, noticing how the red seemed to swirl and pool with the smallest hint of blue. Swirling. Swirling… Swirling…“I would like to hear the rest of your story.”

Lucifer pulled away, and Tyrin had to look up to keep eye contact. “That’s a good boy. You may speak again when my story is through.” Lucifer waved his hand. Tyrin tried to open his mouth, to ask why, but he couldn’t. His mouth was literally clamped shut by some invisible force.

Lucifer returned to his throne, stepping onto the platform and hooking his wings back around his shoulders. He began his story once more as if nothing had happened. “That day, I vowed to free the Realm of Light from its corrupt ruler, along with all the other realms stuck under The Creator’s control.  I began to build a new army, in the safety of our new home here, in the Seventh Realm.  I created creatures of unimaginable power, capable of destroying worlds.

“And a millennium passed.”

Lucifer paused, closing his eyes for a moment and sighing. “Yet again, it was not to be.  Whispers of my new plan spread through the seven Realms.  Panic rose, and chaos broke out.  Soon, the Seven Realms were filled with lies— claims that I, their savior, planned to see the universes destroyed when all I wanted was to free each of the seven Realms one by one— starting with Earth, the weakest Realm, but also the most corrupt. Still, I pushed forward, hoping that one day, the other beings of the Seven Realms would see the truth. And I was close to getting everything I wanted…”

Tyrin still found it difficult to wrap his mind around what Lucifer was claiming. Well, he couldn’t argue that Earth was corrupt, but Lucifer was seriously starting to sound like an extremist. All that talk about corruption and freeing the Realms and everything… It was so extreme.

“Until twenty minions to the Creator rose up, blinded by lies and vowing to end my reign of hope before it had a chance to begin.  They threw away their bodily forms to remake themselves in the images of humans, but they were still packed with enough power to put an end to me and my worriers forever.  I knew what had happened— the Creator had corrupted them, making them believe that I truly was the enemy.  I only had once chance to save the Earth from their wrath.  With their heavenly bodies deteriorated, their souls were weak and vulnerable. I sent my attack.  With a great beam of light, I deteriorated each of the souls one by one.  The Earth was saved, but I was greatly weakened.  I was forced into hiding once more, putting off my plans to free the Realms until I had gained enough power to begin anew.

“A few months passed, and terrible news flooded the castle. Five of the warriors survived the attack.  The warrior’s souls had been damaged, and they were forced to harbor in the wombs of host mothers until they could grow to be strong enough to regain their strength.” Lucifer looked at Tyrin. “But hope was not lost. You see, I have a child. A child who was so loyal, that child sacrificed their form in the Realm of Insanity so they could also be reborn on Earth. Then, when the time was right, and the souls of the five warriors of light were found, they could destroy all five and save the universe from destruction at the hands of the Creator.”

Lucifer gestured at Tyrin. “That child, of course, was you.  You are a being of this Realm, destined to take down the five warriors who are conspiring to take me down.”  Lucifer crossed his legs and flashed that same, terrifying grin Tyrin had seen earlier.  Tyrin felt a little pale.  Him…?  The son of the Great Demon King…?  Surprisingly… Tyrin wasn’t surprised. In fact, he didn’t feel much of anything.

Tyrin felt a weight lift off his lips, and suddenly he could open his mouth again. It seemed the story was finished. He took the opportunity to ask a rather stupid question, but it was the only one he could think of. “So…  You’re saying that you’re my father…?”

Lucifer thought for a moment.  “Hm… I suppose that by your human definitions of gender that would be correct.  I am your father.”  Tyrin had to stand there quietly for a few moments to let that sink in.  Him. Son of the literal devil. Wow. Okay. That was big.

Curiosity bubbled in Tyrin’s chest, and he looked at Lucifer with an eyebrow raised. He wasn’t scared so much as intrigued. He still had so many questions. Still, he thought it would be best to get the most obvious ones out of the way first. “And… I’m here because …?”

Lucifer waved his hands, and a black mist like the one Natasha had appeared out of danced in the air. The mist swirled around for a few moments before it parted to show an image— the campsite.  “I want you to locate each of the five warriors and put an end to them.  Their souls are weak and still regenerating, and since we have located the leader, the other four should not be far behind.  The souls are attracted to each other, you see, even if their memories are damaged like yours, they have a way of finding each other. We call it Soul Binding.” Lucifer laced his fingers together.  “However, it will not be an easy task.”

Tyrin shook his head in disbelief, something inside of him clicking.  “You want me to kill people? You can’t be serious!  No way in hell I’m going to do that!”  Tyrin snapped.  Father or not, that was way too much to ask! Plus, that guy was a demon! As in pure evil! Why was Tyrin even listening to that guy in the first place? Where the fuck was his brain? He was just sitting there, blindly listening to everything they were saying like some robot… Where were his morals? His logic? His sense of danger? Why weren’t huge red alarm bells going off in his brain?

Lucifer’s grin turned into a frown, and his eyes dulled to a deep blue.  “Can’t you see what a good cause it’s for, my child?  Those heathens plan to send the Seven Realms into a land of corruption and chaos.  Five lives sacrificed for the good of the universe is but a small price to pay.”

Lucifer looked at his servant, who stood behind Tyrin. She nodded, stepping forward and placed her hands on Tyrin’s shoulders again. Tyrin felt his head cloud, and he almost felt dizzy. What was he thinking about again? Oh, well, it probably wasn’t important if he forgot so quickly.  He could feel Lucifer staring at him like he was dinner, but he wasn’t afraid. He wasn’t anything. He couldn’t think. Hell, he didn’t even feel like himself and it still didn’t bother him.

“Well… When you put it that way…”  If it was for the good of the universe, then what was the harm?  If those five… whatever-they-are plan on plunging the universe into corruption and chaos…  Then Tyrin would be doing everyone a service, right…?  “Alright…  Who is this leader…?”

Lucifer’s grin returned, his eyes pooling back to red. Lucifer waved his hand, and the image swirled again until it finally focused in on a familiar face.  “His name is a familiar one.  I’m sure you’ve heard it— Jared Hall.”

Tyrin blinked and shook his head in disbelief.  “What?!  No way, that’s my cabin mate!  He’s just some major geek from my school named Ryan. He’s no celestial warrior, and he’s certainly not Jared Hall!”

Lucifer frowned.  “You don’t believe me?  Look at this.”  With another swirl, the image changed to show Ryan standing in the middle of a meadow, shrugging off his shirt as he unfurled two, large, pure white wings. Tyrin’s eyes widened. Yeah, ok, he couldn’t argue with that evidence.

“Damn…  I didn’t see that coming… He always seemed so… Careless. I didn’t think he was smart enough to hide anything.” Tyrin shrugged, looking back over at Lucifer. “How do I know that he’s plotting to take over the universe, again? Am I just supposed to take your word for it?” Finally, something came out of his mouth that sounded like him. What was going on?

Lucifer frowned, growing more and more impatient. He flicked his wrist, and the color of the mist lightened from deep black to a dull silver. “Don’t take my word for it. Take his.” Lucifer pointed Tyrin’s attention to the screen, where two unfamiliar figures stood. The first figure was significantly smaller than the other- which wasn’t exactly hard since the larger figure could have easily been over 8 feet tall- and had large, off-white wings unfurling out of what appeared to be gold armor. The larger was wearing white robes and had wings twice as large- one pure white, and the other dark black.

“That, my dear child, is The Creator and Ryan- well, Ryan in his past life. Back then, he was known as Jaquillian,” Lucifer explained. He snapped his fingers, and the picture began to move.

Jaquillian was sideways, facing towards something that appeared to be off camera. “Power like this… It could destroy everything in all Seven Realms!”

The Creator simply nodded, stepping towards whatever-it-was that couldn’t be seen. “Exactly which is why we must,” the picture flickered with static for a moment, “release it. It is the only way to save the Seven Realms. I am putting you in charge of… this task.”

Jaquillian and the Creator turned towards each other, and Jaquillian kneeled, his head bowed low. “If that is your wish, then I will not fail you.”

The image flickered again and turned into mist before fading away into nothing.

Tryin’s mouth hung open as he turned to face Lucifer again. “I thought you said that was Ryan’s past life? As in Jaquillian is dead? As in no longer alive? How could we watch that?”

Lucifer chuckled. “Oh, child, you have so much to learn. That was a memory. We keep them all, you know. Valuable things can be found in the memories of the dead. What you just watched was history. It happened nearly 50 years ago.”

Tyrin fell silent. Well… If that already happened, then there was no way it couldn’t be a lie, right? And if the Creator was planning on unleashing something that could destroy worlds… Maybe it was better if certain precautions were taken. “Alright so…  Say I did trust you... You want me to do what exactly…?”

Lucifer gestured to the woman in black, and she turned to Tyrin, hanging him a little medallion with the initials JH carved into it.  “Take this and plant it in the campsite.  When someone finds it, suggest that you call the authorities.  While the leader is scared of being exposed, he will be at his weakest.  That is the time to strike.”

Tyrin took the medallion in his hands and looked it over for a few seconds.  Well, this was probably just a crazy dream that he would wake up from later, right? It couldn’t be happening. “Ok. I guess that makes sense…”

Lucifer nodded at Natasha, and another medallion was brought over to Tyrin. Hanging at the end of a long, gold chain was a simple, silver jewel dotted with bits of rosy red. Tyrin looked at the medallion briefly, then back up at Lucifer in confusion. “This medallion will give you the ability to travel between the realms. This way, you can come and go whenever your services are needed here.” Lucifer explained, gesturing at the necklace. Tyrin couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something more that Lucifer wasn’t telling himself.

Tyrin frowned, looking back at the medallion closely. The color of the jewel swirled as if it were alive somehow, captivating him. Well, who cared if Lucifer was hiding things? It would be nice to know… But there must have been a good reason for it. “I don’t know… I’m not sure if this is…” Tyrin’s voice slowly trailed off, and he forgot what he was even trying to say. He reached out to take the medallion, captivated by the swirling mist that seemed to be contained within the jewel.

“Well. Put it on.” Lucifer urged, and Natasha came up behind Tyrin to help him clasp the medallion around his neck. Tyrin simply nodded, not stopping Natasha from wrapping the silver chain around his neck. Natasha clasped the chain together, letting the medallion fall on Tyrin’s chest. When it did, the jewel clouded again, the color slowly becoming tainted until it was a dark, piercing silver-ish blue.

Tyrin blinked, shaking his head for a moment. Woah, what had just happened? His mind had gone blank for a second. “Now, what do you say, my boy? About the task I just gave you?” Lucifer asked.

Tyrin looked up at Lucifer, blinking in confusion. He paused. Wasn’t he concerned about something? Probably a lot of things. A lot of pointless things, no doubt. It didn’t matter. He couldn’t remember. “Oh, right… I’ll get it done right away.”

Lucifer grinned, settling against the large back of his boney throne. “That’s what I thought. Now, be gone. I have no more need for you here.” Lucifer waved his hand, dismissing Tyrin. It was all going according to plan.

***

When Tyrin laid in bed, fast asleep with the JH medallion tucked away safely in his pocket, the Great Demon Lord sat on his throne, feasting on the body of a light being as a celebratory meal.  Phase one of the plan was finally complete.  Natasha, however, did not share the enthusiasm.  “Why are you not eating, Natasha?  Come, enjoy this feast with me!”  He held up the arm of the being, dripping in blood— it was her favorite part.

She waved it away. “But, Sire…  What if the boy does not do what you ask of him? His will is strong. Even with both our powers combined, we struggled to keep him under our influence long enough to convince him to take the Imperium Stone.”  She turned back to gaze into their little window into the Realm of Earth, staring at the sleeping boy.  Lucifer did not look concerned.

“He will do as I say. As long as that jewel around his neck glows red, we have at least minimal control of him and the fragment. When we no longer have a use for him,” Lucifer paused so he could pluck an eyeball from his meal, “we will dispose of him too.”

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