By BendragonX

In the beginning there was Darkness.

As he walked, he remembered the long, hard struggle he had just been through. The Beast Rune was now destroyed. Highland was vanquished. The City-State of Jowston would no longer be in danger. No, he thought, the country of Masamune. It had been everyone's idea. Name the country after the liberators, make the leader into a king. He wanted no part of that. He sighed, and shook his head. There had been such a terrible cost. As he continued to walk, he remembered the countless who had died in the war. Thousands of children had no more fathers, thousands of wives had no more husbands, thousands of parents had no more sons. Klaus would no longer know the happiness of having a family. He hoped that Shu would be able to help him through his grief. Finally, he reflected on his own loss. Nanami. His big sister. She had died protecting him. All of them had died for this cause. What right did he have to force these people to their deaths? What gave him that power?

The Darkness lived alone for eons.

His face became grim as he continued his journey. He knew that he should turn back, and should never have come this far. He knew, though, that he had no choice. The rune on his hand pushed him forward. His own heart pushed him forward. He had to finish this. He had to fight the final battle.

Suffering in solitude for so long a time, the Darkness finally shed a Tear.

Looking around, he knew he recognized the surroundings. He had entered Highland at last. He continued to walk, towards the site of a place he had known long ago. The place where the war had first begun. The place he had sworn to return to.

>From this Tear, two brothers were born, Sword and Shield.

As he walked into the camp, he gave an involuntary shudder. So many people had died here. Died because Luca Blight had wanted more blood. He shuddered again as he remembered that face. So twisted with bloodlust and evil. It looked more like a rabid wolf's face than a man's. He remembered how he had felt when he killed Luca Blight, and how he knew the war was going to be over. He remembered the shock when he realized that the war would not stop, because of the runes pulling the two into this final battle. As he climbed the mountain, he recalled how close they had been. He cursed this shattered rune on his right hand, cursed it for all the suffering it had caused. As he finished his climb, he saw a familiar shadow waiting for him by the rock. They had both kept their word. "Jowy..." he muttered. The figure leaning against the rock turned to him. "Dragos..."

Sword bragged that he could cut anything to pieces and to that Shield answered that nothing could ever harm him.

"I knew you would come, Dragos. The 'Bright Shield Rune' drew you here. As surely as the 'Black Sword Rune' drew me here. It is time to end this. It is time for this long, bloody war to end..." Dragos sighed, and approached his friend. "Why!? Why, Jowy!? Why must we fight!? Is it because of these runes? Is it because you led the Highlands, and I lead the Masamune Army? Why should the two of us be forced to battle?" Jowy smiled a grim smile, a sad chuckle escaping his lips. "Yes. You know why we must fight. It is for all of these reasons. I hold the rune of the Sword. You hold the rune of the Shield. We were destined to fight. That is why I became the leader of the Highland army. It is for this day. Sword and Shield must battle once again. That is our fate." Dragos shook his head. "No, Jowy. I don't believe in fate. We must make our own choices. These runes cannot make us fight. Come on, Jowy. Forget about this final battle. We do not need to fight. Neither one of us needs to die here. I cannot spill your blood. Not for the rune on my hand, not for the army I lead, not for anything. We are friends! I cannot fight my friend." Jowy laughed grimly. "It doesn't matter what you believe. This is our destiny. One of us must die here!" With a loud cry, Jowy launched himself at Dragos.

And so the two went to war.

Reacting quickly, Dragos drew his Tonfa. As Jowy's bladed staff cut towards him, Dragos blocked the blow. Jowy delivered another hard slash, and was again intercepted. As Jowy continued his relentless assault, Dragos continued to parry every attack. With blinding speed, Jowy drove the sharp blade towards Dragos' leg. He tried to block, but Jowy quickly changed his target. Dragos cried out in pain as the metal blade grazed his cheek. A thin streamer of blood trickled down his face. Something inside of Dragos shouted for him to strike now. Dragos ignored it. Instead, he quickly knocked aside Jowy's next attack, and used an old trick Genkaku taught him. He wrapped his leg around Jowy's and pulled it in. As Jowy stumbled, he reached out with his staff, and used the leverage to launch himself into the air. He flew to the ground, blade aimed for Dragos' heart. The deadly attack was turned aside by the spinning Tonfa, and Jowy fell to the ground. He quickly jumped to his feet, and both warriors faced each other once again.

The battle raged for seven days and seven nights.

Every second felt like a minute, every minute felt like an eternity. Jowy lashed out at Dragos once again. Dragos could clearly see his friend getting more tired, and could feel his own energy fading as well. He quickly dived to the ground, and rolled to safety. "What's the matter, Dragos? Can't you feel the runes pulling us? The time for games is over. One of us must be defeated. I am the leader of Highlands! You are the leader of the Masamune Army! You were raised by the general of the City-State! I was raised by a Highland noble. You hold the 'Bright Shield Rune!' I hold the 'Black Sword Rune!' We were destined to fight this day!" With this, he and Dragos began the battle once again. He hacked down at Dragos, who blocked with one of his Tonfa. Dragos considered the situation. He thought to himself. All he had to do is knock Jowy out. That was all. Seizing the opportunity, Dragos smashed the side of his Tonfa into Jowy's head. He hit Jowy again and again, but Jowy showed no signs of giving up. With a loud growl, Jowy hit Dragos in the jaw with the butt of his staff. As Jowy and Dragos fell back, blood gushed from both of their faces. Jowy shouted to Dragos, "This ends now!" He charged towards Dragos, and delivered a devastating slash.

Sword cut Shield, Shield smashed Sword.

As Jowy's blade fell towards Dragos' heart, he quickly blocked it with his Tonfa. The two continued to push against each other, both trying to knock the other one's weapon away. Though it lasted for seconds, the deadly stalemate seemed to last for eternity. Finally, Dragos' right Tonfa broke. The momentum of the conflict launched both of them into a collision. Jowy's staff shot into Dragos' side with tremendous force. Dragos' left Tonfa's sharpened edge tore into Jowy's chest. As they both cried out in pain, the runes on their left hands touched. Red mingled with green, white mingled with black. Both runes began to glow with a sacred light. Time seemed to stop. The runes then exploded.

Fragments of Sword rained down and formed the sky.

As Jowy flew backwards, the blood from his wounds flew up into the air. The force of the blast knocked the spear out of his hand. The pulsing blackness on his right hand continued, as the Black Sword's power was released. Jowy finally crashed into the rocky face of the cliff, his rune shining with an unholy light

Fragments of Shield rained down and formed the earth.

Dragos was launched backwards by the force of the blast. As he was catapulted to the ground, his blood poured out onto the earth. As he gasped in pain, his rune began to glow brighter and brighter. The shining light from his rune was binding. He began to get up, and gasped as he saw Jowy screaming in agony, black energy beganning to swarm over his body.

Sparks from the battle becomes the stars.

"Jowy!" Dragos shouted. Jowy began to gasp something to Dragos. He could barely hear it, but Jowy began to repeat himself. "I...I used too much of the power... The Beast rune... I used the Black Sword rune to... contain it..." He screamed in pain, and continued. "When... the runes... are whole... then their power will... be whole... As it is... I had to give my own life-force to... contain it..." As Dragos went over to his wounded friend, Jowy continued. "Please... Dragos.... Take the rune on my hand... It is the only way... that they can be united... Dragos! You... must... take... it... Please..." Dragos shook his head. "No Jowy. That would kill you. I will not let you die! There has to be another way." Jowy convulsed in pain. "There... is no other way... If you... are truly my friend... you will take it... Please... Dragos..." As Dragos walked towards Jowy, he knew that Jowy was right. However, he could not let Jowy die. "No, Jowy. I will not let you die here." He reached out with his right hand, and grabbed Jowy's right hand with it.

The 27 jewels adorning Sword and Shield became the "27 True Runes..."

"What are you doing, Dragos!" Jowy began to tremble in pain. "What are you doing!" Dragos began to convulse as agony rocked his body, and he smiled. "Saving you, Jowy. I am saving you." Black energy and white energy arced up and down their bodies. They both died, and were reborn, then died again. One second, their blood flowed like water. The next, their wounds vanished. One second, they were without pain. The next, they writhed in the grasp of agony. They became whole, and then were torn into pieces. As the energy crackled over them, the runes began to glow. The Black Sword grew darker and darker, the Bright Shield grew brighter and brighter. The runes tore off of their hands, and they both fell to the ground. Sword and Shield spun in the air, faster and faster. As they continued to swirl around, it almost seemed as if they were one. The glow became blinding, and both Jowy and Dragos had to turn away. When the glow faded, they looked in awe. Instead of two parts of a broken rune, there was but one. Sword and Shield lay intermeshed. The rune of beginning had been reborn.

and the World came into being.