A King, and His Tools
Daniel Ray

A small group makes their way up a mountain, one of their number having recently perished, sacrificing himself for them. They now ascend a mystical mountain, in order to bring this one back.

Except for one among them. One who is with them, and not with them. One whose attention lies elsewhere.

He has been called by many names and titles in his life: some would call him wizard, for the power that courses through his body, and that is his, and only his, to wield; others would call him murderer, for the lives he has taken without remorse; and still others would call him savior, for reasons he himself finds foolish. But no matter the name, no matter the title, he is Magus.

These are the thoughts and actions of this man, as he ascends this mountain.

Magus's long blue hair whipped about his face, and into his eyes. He brushed it back, and pulled his cape tighter around his tall frame.

The cold winds ripped at his face, cutting into his skin. But he paid it no heed. The cold did not bother him. He felt it, yes. It hurt. But he simply felt it wasn't worth his attention to show any real concern over.

He could probably still stop these winds with only a gesture if he tried. Even make it so the cold did not affect him. All this was within his power, but he chose not to do it.

He had to conserve the strength he had remaining.

The winds still biting into his face, Magus looked down at the weapon in his right hand: a blue bladed scythe. It was over six and a half feet in length, and constructed entirely out of an enchanted metal, few even knew existed. The blade of the weapon was covered in blood, as were his gloved hands. Blood was also splattered on his face and clothing. He put his hand up to his face, making a small gesture, and the blood disappeared. Another gesture removed the blood from his clothing. But he left it on his sythe. In a dark way, he liked the blood on his weapon. It showed that he had won.

Behind him, on the snow covered ground, in a heep of blood, lie a spawn. A spawn of "it". He walked over to the remains, his expression cold, and stretched out his right hand. A blast of fire erupted from his palm, destroying what remained of the creature.

During the battle with the spawn, the frog had used the word 'invulnerable' to describe it. Magus had chuckled at this, as he stepped forward and drove his scythe into the creatures orifice. The frog stood behind him now, along with the blond girl. Magus turned and walked up the frog, his red eyes glowing faintly.

"Not so invulnerable now, is it?" he said coldly.

The frog made no reply and walked away. The girl looked at him for a moment, as if wanting to say something, then ran on ahead.

The creature now dead, Magus continued his ascent, and returned to his thoughts.

He kept asking himself why he was doing this; aiding these who he considered weak. That was what they were, weak; fighting against something they didn't understand. As he walked, he looked ahead, toward the girl in the lead. Since the beginning of this trek, she had insisted on being in the lead. She was the most determined out of all of them, he knew that, trying to save someone who was already dead. She had in her hand, clutched close to her heart, the egg, the thing that could possibly restore the one she cared for. She was just now beginning to understand pain, loss, and death; which was good. They were things Magus knew all too well.

But she still knew nothing about what they were facing; about "it". Though she thought she did. In reality though, she just fought against it blindy, saying: "it was the right thing to do."

How stupid, how very stupid, he thought. You have to understand your enemy, and despite everything the girl thought she knew, she truly didn't understand "it."

Not like he did.

Magus sighed, and continued his ascent up the mountain.

Wiping a smear of blood from his face, Magus stared down at the remains of another spawn. Killing it had been even easier this time, and he had used his scythe again. He remembered the sound it made as he plunged it deep into the spawn's mouth, or eye, or whatever it was. There was a wet sound first, as the blade initially entered, followed by the sound of metal scraping bone, as the scythe cut through the exterior of the creature.

He wondered why he had used only the scythe, and none of his magic. But he knew. There was a certain pleasure he got out of killing with his weapon; watching the initial spill of blood, seeing the thing squirm for a moment, then die. Though in all honesty it wasn't always pleasurable. Sometimes it was hollow, pointless. It was only when he killed something he truly hated, such as these spawns, that he truly got any real gratification out of it.

As he did before, he removed any blood from his face and clothing, although this time he also removed the blood from his weapon as well.

Even he could only withstand a bloodied weapon for so long.

He incinerated the remains and walked on ahead, the girl in the lead, and the frog behind him.

He peered over his shoulder towards the frog. The frog's sword was drawn. It was always drawn when Magus was around. The frog didn't trust him, in fact, he wanted him dead. Magus chuckled at the thought. If the fool ever challanged him, Magus would kill him; show him who was superior, who was king.

But now would not be a good time for that. Magus was weakened, his powers partially drained. In his confrontation with "it", his powers had been temporarly drained. They would return to their peak levels in time, he knew that; they already were returning. And when they did, he would make sure all of them, these weaklings, and "it", would see.

As he scaled a rock wall, climbing ever higher, a sudden flurry of snow blinded him for a moment. He wiped his eyes with the back of his gloved hand, hoping to clear his vision. When his vision returned he saw the outline of a girl, standing above him. He knew it was the blond girl, but for a moment he thought of his sister.

His thoughts drifted to her.

He knew he had done more of the things in his life because of her, more than anything. She and his hate were his driving force. She was the only one he loved, cared for, other than himself. He would find her when this was over. Dead or alive, he would find her.

As he reached the top, the girl already running ahead again, his thoughts drifted again, this time to his mother. Maybe, he thought, maybe at one time he loved her. A long time ago, when he was young, when he was another person, when he was innocent.

But those days were gone, long dead. All he knew now is that he would stop her, kill her if he had to. She was no longer the women she once was; she was a shell. She had fallen into the hands of "it". Maybe it wasn't her fault, but that didn't matter now. When the time comes when he does finally confront her, he will not help her back up; he will knock her back down all that much harder. So she would never get up again.

He would let her rest.

Stepping over a mound of snow, Magus' thoughts left his mother, and returned to the present. He was growing annoyed. He would have preferred flying to their destination, instead of walking. But he knew he still didn't have the strength for that, yet. But it wouldn't be long before that changed.

His thoughts were suddenly interrupted though, as a group of things, he wasn't sure what they were, attacked him and the others.

The girl was knocked to the ground almost immediately, her weapon falling from her hand. The frog stepped in front of her and dispatched two of the creatures that were closest to her. Magus smiled; although he had no care at all for the frog's life, at least he knew how to fight.

Magus threw his scythe to the ground, growing more annoyed, as more creatures, a dozen at least, leapt down from the cliffs above them. They had only barely hit the ground as Magus, drawing upon his inner energies, incinerated all of them in a wave of superheated fire.

The small threat now gone, he turned and gazed at the other two. The frog, as always with his sword unsheathed, stared back at Magus, his look the mix of hatred and distrust he always gave him. Magus walked over and looked down at the girl on the ground. She looked back up at him, tired, cold, and reached out her hand; a gesture of help.

He looked at her hand, then her, and walked past her, leaving her on the ground. He heard her say something, but didn't bother to pay attention. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the frog help her up. He heard her steps, crunching in the snow, as she ran up to him, and grabbed him by the arm. He turned to face her. Her face was red, a combination of the cold, and her anger. He returned the look, tenfold, saying nothing, then pushed her hand off him.

After a moment, he spoke.

"What?" he asked, his eyes glowing brighter. "What will you do little girl?"

She didn't answer, and couldn't meet his gaze for long, and ran on ahead, defeated.

Magus looked back at the frog for moment, his expression as cold as ever. The frog stared at him for a moment, than shook his head, and walked past him.

Magus managed a small smile, and followed.

Walking on, now behind the frog, Magus's thoughts turned to them.

How pathetic, he thought. How weak they were. They, like the girl, were all so foolish, fighting against something they couldn't possibly defeat. They would probably die, if not for him, if not for his aid. They knew nothing of power. His, or "it's."

Climbing up yet another rock wall, he asked himself for the dozenth time, why he was doing this, helping them, helping the weak.

But he knew the answer, he always did.

For himself, that's why. He did it for himself. That was always why. True, he also did it for his sister, but more than anything he did it for himself. To quench his own thirst for blood.

And as far as the others were concerned, they were nothing. They were simply tools, his tools. He would use them, and then discard them.

Just like the mystics, they were tools.

His thoughts were interrupted once again though, as they reached the summit. The winds had weakened, and the snow had ceased. A tree stood a several feet in front of them, old and frail, with no leaves, looking dead, but somehow still alive. He thought for a moment how it could have ever survived here at all.

The thought left him though, as the girl stepped forward with the egg. He and the frog stood back, as she sat it one the ground, in front of the tree. They waited. Magus felt a movement in the air, a whisp of energy, and the egg began to rise, slowly. After only a moment it stopped, hovering in mid air, and then, suddenly shattered. The girl and the frog gasped, crying out. Magus just sighed. They are truly stupid. He knew it wasn't over.

They hadn't come all this way for nothing.

He watched along with them, as the sky suddenly grew dark, the sun eclipsed. Time stopped, and reality shifted, melting, then reforming into someplace else.

Even Magus couldn't help being a bit surprised about where they were; in a moment, a singular moment, that was frozen in time.

A moment he hated almost more than any other.

All around him were statues-- that's what they seemed like-- of himself, of his sister, of his mother, of the others, and "it".

He left the others to do what they had come to do, and walked over to himself, who lie beaten, and face down on the ground. He kneeled down, shaking his head. He hadn't been able to change a thing.

But despite his defeat, he could see on his twins face--and knew in his own mind--that he had not truly been beaten. The look of determination was still there, the fire in his red eyes.

He stood then, noticing his sister. She lay only a few paces away, in much the same condition as his twin. He moved over to her, kneeled, and touched her small pale hand. It chilled him more than the cold of the mountain ever could. He looked down at her face; she looked so sad, so weak, a look of defeat on her face that he hadn't had. Nor ever will, he reminded himself.

Magus lowered his head, vowing silently once again, that he would save her, and that the thing that took her, would die. He wasn't sure how many times he had made this same vow, but it didn't matter, he would continue to make it again, and again, until it was completed.

He stood, and looked back toward the others. They had finished, replacing the dead boy with the fake one. An instant later reality shifted once again. Magus looked back at his sister for one more moment, before time returned to normal, and they were back at the tree.

Magus took a step back and turned, no longer facing the others. The girl was embracing the boy, and the frog was greeting him warmly. All three were smiling and talking.

Already beginning his descent down the mountain, Magus looked back once. Let them enjoy this time for now. This small time of happiness. It will fade, and then they will have to face reality once again. They are going to be facing an enemy none of them but I understand. I truly hope they are ready. Because there will be no second chances. Not like today.

Walking farther and farther away, disappearing into the white haze of snow, Magus could feel himself growing stronger. His powers were returning now, by the minute. And his meeting with his "sister" seemed to add to that returning strength. He knew he would destroy "it", that, he had no doubt. And if he had to use the rest of these fools, these weaklings, as cannon foder to achieve that, so be it.

After all, they were simply tools.

Authors notes: I've read a lot of Magus fics, and most of them( though not all ) always seem take the character completely out of context. For some reason people like to make Magus into a "nice guy", a "good guy". But the fact is, Magus is not a "good guy, or a "nice guy". He just isn't. I don't believe for a moment that Magus ever truly cared for his "allies". Magus cared only about achieving his own goals, by any means neccessary. Including using others, and sacrificing them when he had to.

Magus undoubtedly loved his sister. She was one of his driving forces. But the fact is, Magus was cold, ruthless, and most importantly, intelligent. And getting people to trust him, even if it was only a bit, and use them( as he did with his "allies", Zeal, and the Mystics), was one way of getting what he wanted.

I'm sure many of you might disagree. And if you do, it doesn't matter to me. I've made my point. If you like this story, great. If you don't, well I guess that's too bad. Still, I've got a lot Magus stories running through my head, so this isn't the last.

And lastly, I really got the inspiration for writing this story, after reading Pepysuavy's excellent fic, Dark Heaven. Check it out.