by Grant Smuts
— The UFFC (Ultimate Fantasy Fighting Championship) will kick off in Issue 6 of Troll Magazine! Some of the biggest names in Fantasy and Sci-Fi will collide in a series of dream-matches, all to decide who will be the greatest in every dimension. We decided to kick things off with two of the biggest names of the biggest fighting games around.
The prelude begins here, with four powerful warriors gazing out across a ruined plane. —
“I once was a king, and I ruled over all the world, with my queen at my side.”
The demon clasped two of his hands together. The natural cruelty on his face seemed to dissolve into something pensive and thoughtful. In a way, this side of him was even more disturbing than the violence that came more naturally to him. Standing at over nine feet tall, and with four, muscular arms, the demon Chaos sat upon the Throne of Delusion.
‘She was beautiful. Bright-eyed and golden-haired, and her every act bespoke her kindness. All who looked upon her loved her. But none more than I.’
‘At times I wonder if that is the past, or if it is just a dream. If it is the past, then how came I into such a place?’ He cast one of his other arms across the arena. The land they stood upon was pumice and obsidian, a flat disc upon a pillar as tall as a mountain. Along the edge was a stairway that led to the rest of this realm, a place of rivers of lava and monoliths that held doors to other realms.
‘And if it is just a dream, then why is it so cruel? I know what I am, after all,’ he stood up, and walked to the edge of the disc. Two bat-like wings spread out behind him as he beheld the hellish waste before him.
‘Dreams mean nothing,’ came another voice, deep and resonant. ‘I have been cheated by them before.’
Behind him stood another dark figure, his face hidden behind an iconic mask, his breathing deep and ragged, accentuated with mechanisms that made every breath audible. He stood with his arms folded, looking up at the demon.
They were tentative allies here, but Darth Vader knew that all alliances can so easily turn. As it was, they stood with a common enemy, one with power that went even beyond his capacity with the Dark Side. For now.
‘Yet our allies still hold to some reckoning of them.’ Chaos said.
‘I wouldn’t be so quick to call them our allies,’ Vader replied. ‘They are here, seeking their own goals. One is misguided. And the other… well, the other cares only for fighting. He will have his fill of it before long.’
‘And you?’ Chaos asked, turning to Vader. ‘What is it that you seek?’
Vader looked down at his hands. One of them was prosthetic, having been cut off years ago by an old enemy. He remembered Dooku’s terror when Vader took his revenge – the look in his eyes as he realized there was no escape. He had been used, just as Vader was. Vader remembered that fear, realizing that fear was the very reason he had turned from the light. He considered his broken form. Nearly half of him was a machine now. His legs had been cut away, and fire had nearly consumed him on Mustaphar… a world that looked much like this realm of molten rock and black shadows.Pain was a part of him, hardwired into his form. He had no lungs anymore – mechanisms placed in his chest breathe for him. Breathing is hard, and harsh, scraping nerves already raw. This was the reality of him, forever.
It had only been hate that had sustained him in the end. Hate, and the dark side.
Yet as Chaos looked at him, with that penetrating stare, he understood why he was here.
There was something of the light in the darkness – closed eyes will soon yearn for sight again. In the deepest of midnights, we cast our gazes to the moon, longing for the truth that light might reveal.
‘I am looking for the truth behind this world,’ said Vader. ‘Nothing more.’
Chaos didn’t hide the skepticism from his face. ‘As you say,’ he said, turning from him.
High above them, the sky was indigo, smothered by black clouds that hid a dozen moons beyond. But Chaos searched the sky for something, his eyes drawn towards a speck of gold that caught his gaze. It might be the sign of his old enemy – the one that wrestled him into submission long ago.
‘I sense a disturbance,’ Vader said, igniting a red blade. ‘Something approaches.’
Chaos nodded slowly, sensing it as well. He had sensed it as well, but it wasn’t the old dragon. Not this time.
A shaft of golden light pierced the sky and there he saw a winged figure falling, like a bolt of lightning. It struck the earth many leagues from this place, and the world shuddered.
Ash and fire rained from the sky in its wake, great balls of flame that turned this world even more hellish.
And, just then, several gentler lights descended slowly from the sky above.
Chaos, having lived through this before, knew what they were. He even recognized a few of them, though more were beings he had never known before.
They were the fighters of other realms, drawn into this realm for a game, a battle. He knew what it meant, though many would assume it would be just a dream. Chaos knew better. Those who did not take this dream seriously would find it to be their final fantasy.
‘It would appear that another conflict is beginning,’ said Vader.
‘Yes,’ said Chaos. ‘And it is time that we escape this endless cycle, once and for all.’
‘Shall I assemble the others?’
‘No need,’ came a third voice from behind them. They looked back to see an aged, balding man with twin spikes for hair and an impressive moustache walk towards them. Despite his advanced age, his muscles bulged beneath a grey karate gi that had a tiger emblazoned on its back.
‘I rather thought that our time here was not going to be dull.’ A cruel smile spread on his face. ‘New fighters. And I can tell that my good-for-nothing grandson is among them. He will regret stealing everything from me.’ He clenched his hands into fists, and lightning danced around them, reminding Vader that despite this man’s ridiculous nature, he was not one to be trifled with.
‘We failed last time because we each had our own agendas,’ Chaos reminded them. ‘We now need to work together.’ He looked down at the world below. ‘Those warriors will fight because the nature of this world will demand it. We met them before, the arbiters who demanded a blood-price.’
Vader nodded. There were judges here, creatures of a combat pantheon who demanded violence. The rules of this conflict still eluded him, in truth. Some battles demanded death, others required only that one be defeated. He looked at the grey-haired man and wondered how his strength measured up to his own, and if it would come to a fight between the two of them.
‘We need to act cautiously,’ Chaos was saying. ‘Let them do most of the fighting, so that we can capitalize on the blood-price.’
‘Very well,’ said the old man. ‘But I cannot promise that I’ll restrain myself when I see my grandson! And the same goes for him,’ he said, smiling.
The lightning danced around the fist of Heihachi Mishima once more. ‘Jin Kazama has learned the brutality of the Mishima Bloodline.’
Vader turned to Chaos, who nodded. ‘We all have enemies we won’t have any qualms about facing,’ said Chaos. ‘But let’s act within reason, at least. We shouldn’t seek out pointless battles.’
‘Hahahaha!’ Heihachi gave out a big-belly laugh. ‘So does failure turn you into such a cautious devil, then?’ Heihachi asked. Chaos made no answer. ‘Well, you needn’t convince me of it. But it’ll be hard for the other one to accept this. And where is our self-proclaimed ‘Master of the Fist’? He and I have a score to settle!’
A shaft of purple light, followed by a shout of ‘Messatsu!’ answered them from far below. The sounds were of a fight, grunts and punches echoed around them.
‘I suppose that answers that question,’ Chaos said dryly.
‘The bastard’s already fighting?’ Heihachi demanded.
‘Leave him,’ said Vader. ‘He would never accept your plan of caution anyway.’
‘True enough,’ said Chaos. His eyes narrowed. ‘I recognize two of my former SOLDIERs out there. We shall see what happens.’
And with that, the demon and the sith lord departed. Heihachi stared out over the ruined and shattered plane, wondering. ‘You’re already getting ready to fight aren’t you, Jin?’
He sneered. ‘I’ll see you soon enough.’ he drew from his gi a small purple orb. ‘And once I take back from you what you took from me, I’ll be taking everything else too. Then, Chaos, you and I are going to have a little talk.’
‘You’ve improved,’ said Akuma, lowering his fists. ‘But you’re still not ready, are you?’
‘What are you doing here, Akuma?’ said the warrior in the white gi. ‘And where am I?’
‘This is the Judgment Realm,’ said Akuma. ‘This is where all warriors on the verge of death come to prove their strength, and their will to continue. You are here to fight against your enemy, for the judges who decide your fate.’
‘You haven’t noticed them?’ Akuma shook his head, disappointed. He pointed up, and there he saw a creature of metal descending from the sky. It appeared as an angel, though its wings were covered in steel, and indeed it was covered in armor from head to toe. Only its eyes were visible, gleaming crimson. Their burnished forms reflected the intense reds of this place, the Judgment Realm.
‘And who are they to judge me?’ asked the warrior.
‘The rulers of this realm,’ said Akuma, ‘though Chaos may think otherwise. They judge their enemies by combat skill. If you win, you are permitted to continue, to see the truth of the fight. If you lose… well… that’s a little more complicated.’
The warrior’s eyes lit up at that. Akuma sneered. There was an irony to the man’s purity. It made him amusing to watch.
‘With that at stake, I can’t afford to lose!’ He adjusted his gloves and his red headband.
‘I suppose you’re my first opponent?’
Akuma smirked at how familiar this sight was.
With his white gi, red gloves, and red hairband, Ryu was the quintessential fighter. He was predictable, but his tenacity, more than anything is what made him dangerous.
‘No. I’ve already learned all that I need to, from you. Perhaps if you grow stronger, I will challenge you again. But don’t worry. Your next opponent is here.’
He pointed past Ryu.
Behind him a large figure was approaching. Ryu squinted. He wore a heavy jacket, despite the heat, and his hood was up, covering his forehead and eyes and casting a shadow over the rest of his face. All the same, there was something familiar about him.
Without explanation, the man stood before him, in a stance that suggested that he needed no explanation. Then he slowly unzipped his jacket and lowered his hood, pulling it off in one smooth motion.
Ryu’s eyes widened.
Jin Kazama adjusted his gloves and, in his soft voice, said only one word.
GET READY FOR THE NEXT BATTLE!
The Fight will commence in Issue 6 of Troll Magazine!
How will it unfold?
Only time will tell…
Check out Issue 5 of troll magazine today!