tegu: (cecil // power to move you)
[personal profile] tegu
This isn't much, something written for Syvia over on LJ. Dissidia owns my soul, yes it does.

Title: None
Rating: PG?
Fandom: Dissidia Final Fantasy, references to FF1-10
Summary: Chaos builds an army.



It was written, in some legends of old, that when the great creator molded the beings of the world, the leftover bits and half-finished pieces of clay from the rejected, all swept to floor, were taken by the devil and reformed to make monsters and demons. That wouldn't happen here, though. Not this time. The devil had his own drawing board, and now, Chaos would force Cosmos' hand.

In a void, bound from Cosmos' prying eyes with a maelstrom and sealed with a touch of morass, there Chaos had all he needed: Easel, pigment, brush. Now, for the first...

Brush dipped in blue ink, he carefully wound the tip around from one edge to the next, then working farther in and in: a spiral, curling in and in to inevitability (not out and out of control; his composition created something he hadn't expected when he wound the spiral out of its mind in blue), ending in a dot, then pulling the brush away and waiting.

Then he appeared--tall and dark and brutally muscled, for a human. The face--coarse, was it supposed to be so coarse?--was softened in confusion. "Where'm I?" He asked, gravelly (for a human, again), then "Who'm I?" in the tone of a proud man too proud to show fear or concern.

"Inside the spiral," Chaos answered, calm but choosing his words carefully; the masterstroke must be verbal in pieces such as this.

"Don't have time for it," He dismissed, rolling his shoulder and looking at him like he would try and start a fight. "Gotta get back to--" He cut himself off, probably just now looking inside his head, looking to see a past or motivations or people and the time was now.

"Then, Jecht," Chaos said, simple and plain, "Who can break the spiral?"

Jecht didn't respond verbally. Jecht didn't have to, recognition flashed in his eyes, and that was enough--that Realization was precisely what was needed. Oh, what Cosmos must think, to find him at her elbow--did she have an inkling, yet?

"I would find him, were I you," Chaos said, and Jecht, perhaps still suggestible from that little moment, obeyed, leaving Chaos to his canvas. It was blank again, and had been for a while.

---

Next was a piece more complicated. Again, he took his brush and dipped in blue, but this time instead of a spiral came a circle--one then filled in with almost-squiggly shapes (all he had to do was approximate continents, really). When it was complete to his satisfaction, Chaos cleaned his brush before filling it with red--and now painting over the blue lines, precise and perfect, until now only the red planet could be seen.

He barely had to wait at all--he knew the other had arrived almost immediately, floating down behind him, a flourish of theater makeup and feathery costume jewelry swirling together like magic. "Gracing the stage..." said a voice that couldn't decide if it wanted to dramatize or purr.

"Kuja, star of the show," Chaos rumbled in agreement as he turned to face him. Was his hair always so long?

"Primo uomo," Kuja agreed, hand to his lips, pretending to demurr away the compliment. "Arias and cantatas, divine."

"Truly the greatest," Chaos said, keeping his tone even--a compromise between pretending to lavish praise and keeping a building sigh in check.

Kuja smiled at that--technically a smile, yes, an expression of pleasure that involved his lips turning upward, carefully manipulated though to never distort the curve, dip, and swell of a perfect bow mouth. "Alas, yes. Who else could perform such a piece?"

"Perhaps only the cleverest," Chaos offered.

"In only my interpretation of the part," Kuja said, and Chaos could see strain in maintaining the floating, graceful, aloof facade.

"Assuredly the most gripping."

"True, true, oh! the loneliness of those such as I!"

"Unbelievable."

"But what else can be said, gazing upon such grace, such magniloquence, such munificence and glory, splendiferous and--"

"Incredible."

"--Yes, my good man, yes! Mine is all the grandness and luxury of the stage, as a true prince among philistines of the arts, a fine and beautiful--"

"Irreplaceable."

And there. There, like a pin to a balloon, came the flash of realization and Kuja's subsequent silence. "Yes," He said slowly, shakily. "Irreplaceable, of course..."

"Of course," Chaos reassured him.

--

Time was of the essence here. Quickly, Chaos drew in black ink a circle, dotted with lines at the cardinal points, and quicker still he coated the side of one hand in the same black color. Heel of his hand in the center of the circle, paint on him and on the canvas shining-wet, he rotated his wrist counter-clockwise, smearing and distorting.

There was enough time to clean the paint-stained hand before the lady appeared. Dressed as she was for the ballroom, unchanged classic, there was only one thing to do: One right hand out, offered, one right arm folded to his chest as he bowed. "Might I have this dance, Ultimecia?"

When the lady took his hand, he knew without having to look the calculating smile on her face.

They spoke of many things--of philosophy and government, religion, history, and art--as they waltzed, somehow never finding a boundary to the room, somehow never straying too far from his easel. Time was still of the essence, yes, but not quite in the same way.

"But does not adherence to such ideals," Chaos asked, twirling her away, "necessarily require belief in predestination?"

"Fate?" She said, graceful and barefoot, "Do not most people find it guiding their lives?"

"What do you mean?" He said, and he had to remind himself to hold to the plan, meander as it would.

"It is accepted that fate binds us all, is it not?" Ultimecia returned, hand on his side and shoulders again. "Even you. Even I."

"What would your fate be, then, my lady?" Chaos asked with a sweep.

"Seeds of something, not mine to be known in this time," She idly deflected the question--

"But you knew before," Chaos said as he pulled her into a dip, and she couldn't close her eyes in exasperation before he saw her realize.

"And if I did?" The lady asked, an edge to her voice.

"Nothing, nothing at all."

--

A new piece. Another circle, this one in green: another planet? Perhaps. The brush was cleaned, and then Chaos immersed it in the black ink, twisted and swirled it until it was overloaded, heavy and trembling. Carefully, he held it over the canvas, until a thick glob of paint fell from the tip, impacting inside the circle.

There he was. Kind of him to advertise his presence, as well, the tiny tpp of boots hitting the ground as he floated down--rather less imposing than he had planned, but even so, cold detachment and cunning defined him. Chaos watched him, studied him studying the easel and the void and the god before him, studying the manner of his creation, or perhaps just creation in general.

His nature was inscrutable, but Chaos had an inkling...Silently, he handed the brush to him, and Sephiroth paused only momentarily before taking it, instinctively cupping his hnad under the still-oozing tip.

"A gift," Sephiroth observed.

"Indeed," Chaos said, watching the brush, watching another large black globe gather itself at the end and begin to fall. "What shall others give you?"

At the spatter into his hand, Sephiroth realizes and smiles. So does Chaos, inasmuch as he can.

--

For this one, the first phase of the work was irrelevant, so he sketched as he would--armor, opera, triplets--and then, when the canvas was full enough, he simply put his hand through it.

"Oooh-hoo-hoo!" Came the laugh, popping up from behind the easel--and then the garishly painted face. "Almost got me, didn't you?" He clucked his tongue and made a face, waggling the pointer finger. "Temper, temper."

"Kefka," Chaos said. "I was wondering what you'd think of the latest." He indicated the ruined canvas.

"Hmmmmm," He leaned out from around one side, tapping his chin with one hand and putting on overblown airs, as if he were an actual art appreciator. "I think--it needs a touch more...pizzazz." The last word was growled, and immediately after he kicked out at the easel itself, sending it skidding across the floor, paint spilling and spattering all over frame and canvas both. "Now--there, see? Very avant-garde," Kefka observed, framing it with his fingers and squinting through one eye.

"Masterful," Chaos humored him, then, "Where would any master be without their assistant, after all?"

"Up creeks without paddles," Kefka cackled, but there is a pause long enough beforehand to let Chaos know that Kefka, too, has had the same realization as those before him.

"So, time for a little witch-hunt, Bossman?" Kefka asked, all mocking insincerity, and is gone before Chaos can nod.

--

The next piece is also a work in green and black--one horizontal green line, then perpendicular to it a thick black one, thin where it connected to the green line, then thickening and coarsening until the hair of the brush is all splayed out. Twist, turn, and put away, and when Chaos looked to his left there stood the next of his army. More inscrutable than Sephiroth by far, cased in armor that hides what truly hides beneath--Man? Spirit? Tree? None can say.

It's hard to tell, but Chaos believed him studying his whereabouts--a grunt, and then "Fitting tribute to the Void," confirmed it.

"Should we not all give it its due, Exdeath?" Chaos asked.

"Indeed. The Void conquers all, given time," Exdeath concurred, thumping the pommel of his sword for emphasis.

"What is there solid enough to stand against it?" He said, watching the slit in the helmet for the reaction to such a leading question. Exdeath, for his part, went very still, and then, in a bass rumble--

"Turtle..."

"Not even that," Chaos said quickly, dismissing the notion. "Nothing stands against a void where even the wind cannot whistle through." And There we go he thought; he couldn't see Exdeath's face but the stiffening all through was tell-tale enough.

--

Red and blue. One red circle, vast, filling the canvas...before Chaos took his thumb to it and rubbed it into so much space dust, barring one tiny potion. That arc becomes a new red circle, one much smaller, intersected by a new, larger blue one. A cape rustled behind him, and he turned to greet his newest masterpiece--only to be surprised.

"Golbez?" He asked, and doesn't bother to not sound confused. A Lunarian he'd wanted, yes, but not this one.

"You created a destroyer, did you not?" Golbez returned, his own deep voice masking--contempt? Weariness? Or what...?

"I see," Chaos said quietly--perhaps he'd have to finesse his technique, but that is a matter for later; the here and now demands his attention. "So--you bear some manner of guilt."

Golbez's silence was itself as baleful as it needed to be.

"And so you seek absolution."

"Who would not?" Golbez replied, his voice sounding carefully controlled.

"But who finds it, Golbez?" Chaos asked, and though they both knew, for a long time Golbez stood before him, studying him, Chaos allowing himself to be studied, before Golbez turned and left him.

--

The next one was easy: A jar of black ink, upended over the canvas until it was soaked through.

"Ruined," observed a female voice from his side; a golden, toothy tentacle arcs over to give it a nibble.

"So it is," Chaos replied, batting away one other curious tentacle. "Though it would have come sooner or later--why not speed the process along?"

She made an affirming sound, floating over to touch it, rubbing the ink between her fingers. "A pale imitation in its transience, though."

"Of the Void?" He said, knowing well it was what she referred to, but keeping her talking nonetheless.

"Until all there is left is so consumed, the Void is eternal," said the darkening cloud, cape wrapped around her like a wraith. "Time will out. It is foolish to stand against it."

"Indeed, it is becoming to accept one's own inevitable fading," Chaos said, not believing too much of it but careful not to let her know. "A trait notably not present in callow youths, regrettably."

The paint-covered hand curls into a claw, the tentacles hiss. "Of course, they say youth is wasted on the young," He said, and if it was an apology, it was quite insincere.

"We wouldn't know," She says, haughtiness increased even more.

--

Color was irrelevant for the next work, and Chaos didn't even care to notice what paint he'd filled the brush with before applying it to the canvas (it turned out to be red). It was a simple swirling, starting narrow at the bottom but looping wide at the top, almost like a distorted spring.

"How interesting," said a voice even haughtier than the Cloud of Darkness, giving the canvas a cursory glance before focusing his full attention on Chaos.

"The work?"

"No," He said, marking the first time one of his creations has been so blunt with him. "That you would create one such as me."

"Is it?" Chaos asked--he knows this game, though. "Why, when I can make you powerful?"

Something lit up in those eyes, though not what Chaos sought. "For a price, I'd imagine."

"Only what you expect," Chaos said, noncommittally.

"And should I hold you to it?"

"Fear not, Mateus. You'll get what you want," Chaos said and watched those lips twist into a triumphant smile. "I cannot guarantee it will not be taken away from you, though."

After a momentary, necessary falter, the smile returned, knowing and sardonic. "You must think you're clever."

--

The last one was the simplest and most colorful yet. Three short vertical lines in a row, red yellow and green--Chaos paused, but only for a moment, before adding a fourth blue line above them, front and center.

There, and behind him he heard the clank of armor--his last servant is there, kneeling already.

"Garland--"

"A youth, my lord," Garland interrupts him, "Tall, strong, and true, and bearing a crystal's light."

Chaos said nothing for quite some time. "How did you know?" He asked slowly, carefully, a headache forming at the root of one horn.

"I merely anticipated your will, my lord," Garland said, head remaining bowed--though even had he not, his face was hidden behind an iron mask.

"Quite a lucky guess," Chaos said, voice so neutral it wasn't neutral at all.

"Indeed it seems to have been," Garland said in the same tone. "There is no need to cast such aspersions on me. Even had I lived for thousands of years, I would not think of betraying you." This was true, after a fashion.

"Very well," Chaos said at last, vanishing the easel and canvas and paint with a flick of a wing. "You have work to do."

"Then I shall leave you to your rest," Garland said, and Chaos did not realize what was insinuated by that for many days.

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tegu

May 2011

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