Title: Unfettered Glory

Genre: Fantasy/Adventure/Romance

Rating: T

Disclaimer: I own everything


Summary: Sol really didn't want to save the world. The Gods, however, had other plans.


8 Months Prior

Solomon glared at his reflection in the mirror. He hated the way he was dressed at that moment, wearing his cleanest pair of pants, tucked neatly into his steel toed boots, and freshly pressed shirt. His long black hair was pulled up into a high ponytail, bangs kept out of his face for once. His large golden eyes looked himself over and frowned in the process. His face was the same as it had always been dark skin with high cheek bones and nose that was a little too wide, with eyes too large to belong to that of a grown man.

"I've only been free for less than a week and already I'm back in this suit," He grunted, trying to loop his tie and doing a horrendous job of it. The metals on his left breast gleamed with every movement that he made. He traced the jagged scar which ran from above his left eyebrow down to his jaw line, a frown marring his face.

Beside him was his best friend since childhood, Asher-Lynn. She had managed to put her usually curly mess of hair up into an elegant side bun. Her brown, almond shaped, eyes gave him an amused look through the mirror. "I realize this. You should be honored that they wanted you to be here badly enough that they waited until you got back. Stop pouting Sol."

Sol gave her a mock glare, "I'm not pouting Ash. I just hate these types of things."

"You hate weddings?" She couldn't fight the smile that had been threatening to bloom on her face.

"Shut up, you know it's not the weddings that I hate. I just hate the fact that I feel like some sort of doll."

"Oh, you mean the dressing up part," Ash grinned, rearranging her skirt. Her dress was something that she had managed to have tailored before Sol had gotten back home. A light pink color which complimented her tanned skin tone and dark features, "I feel more like a doll. I'm even wearing make up. Don't complain. You look very distinguished in your military uniform."

He rolled eyes, and turned away from the mirror so that he was facing her fully.

They were in the bedroom of her apartment, a place located above the bakery and constantly smelled of sweets. It took an entire day for him to get use to the scent, after having nothing but the smell of blood, dirt, and death surrounding him for the last four years of his life.

It was a tiny apartment, probably not worth as much as Ash was charged rent for. The tenant was an older woman who gave his friend a job and allowed her the attic space that had been available for rent at the time. Really it just consisted of a tiny bedroom, small living room, half kitchen, and cramped bathroom. The entire apartment was decorated with cream colored lace and soft pink floral patterns. It was entirely too feminine for his liking, but at the same time he enjoyed the softness of it all.

Sol's eyes wandered back over to her form, when she had gotten him from the station in the town over he had been surprised with how…girly she had become. Over the last four years while he had been away at the front lines they had written to each other, and he could honestly say that being so close to her made him anxious. She was not the same girl that he had left behind. She was now a young woman who left him feeling odd, awkward, and like a young boy again.

"They're lucky that they found someone who was still a part of the church to wed them. Ever since Celestine had left the monastery it's been difficult for him." Ash commented, putting on the pearl earrings that Sol had sent her for her birthday two years before. There was a swell of pride inside of him at the fact that she actually liked them enough to wear.

"An elf and a half-dragon, tying the knot," Sol shook his head, carefully so that no strand was out of place, Celestine would kill him if anything went awry during his big day. "What's the world coming to?" He smirked as Ash beamed up at him, she really was a tiny creature compared to most.

"Come on, we better get going. The entire thing is taking place at the Inn , because, you know, the whole issue with the church and all." She shrugged, grabbing a shawl to throw over her shoulders. "Since Celeste raised me, I'd like to get there early, before anyone else."

Sol nodded; he understood where she was coming from perfectly. "Alright, I can't leave a lovely lady such as yourself walking around such a town alone. I'll have to accompany you."

Ash rolled her eyes at him, giving him an amused smile as they left her apartment.

Rosalea was the town of flowers. There were fields of them surrounding the area, a sea of blues, yellows, pinks, purples, oranges, reds and whites. Rosalea itself was located at the base of the mountains, in front

of thick woods, leaving for a nice view.

The roads were made of cobblestone, and the buildings had old fashioned brick faces. The town was breathtaking.

"It's such a pretty place," Ash said in awe, noticing how the sun was lowering over the mountain tops, the sun would be setting once the ceremony began. "No matter how long I've been here, I can never get over its beauty."

Sol looked down at her, "I know what you mean." He grinned as he noticed a blush spread across the bridge of her nose and towards her ears.

The Inn was just as quaint as the rest of the town. It was a small bed and breakfast, with a white exterior and a large sunroom at the back, which faced the flower fields. There were about four noticeable chimneys and a balcony which wrapped around the entire second level.

"This entire place is taking away from my masculinity," Sol eyed the doilies and plush antique sofa's which consisted of the front sitting room that they had to pass to get to the stairs.

"Hush," Ash reprimanded, passing by the innkeeper with a confident smile on her face, and leading the way upstairs. The heels of her shoes clacking along the polished wooden floors. "He said 2-07. That should be right down the hall, no?"

"Sometimes I hate how you speak with an Elvin accent."

"Shut up Sol. That was a rhetorical question anyways."

"You two are as loving towards each other as always." The voice had a thick accent from the island of Cockney .

Sol growled low in his throat, and Ash grinned widely as they both turned to face the new speaker.

"Look at you Huntley, as handsome as ever." Ash said playfully.

The man before them was well over six feet tall, his dirty blond hair combed back stylishly, his military uniform looked pressed and well taken care of. He gave the two of them an amused smirk, gray eyes shining knowingly. "You know, had it not been for your voices I'd not have recognized you two. It's safe to say that the two of you clean up well."

"You always were the charmer Hunt," Sol rolled his eyes, turning once more to look for the right room.

"Asher, you look as lovely as ever. You've gotten more beautiful as the years went by. And here I'd have thought that would've been impossible, but you're breath taking." Hunter took her hand and placed a sweet kiss on the inside of her wrist.

Ash blushed brightly and Sol scoffed, turning around and walking towards 2-07.

"Green doesn't suite you." A voice a clear as a bell commented. "I'm pretty sure envy is a sin."

Sol looked up at the door for 2-07, the man before him was smaller than him, more delicate looking and reminded him of a bird. His ears were pointed upwards, bright blond hair tucked into a low braid which hung to his mid-back. His eyes were a clear blue, a color which rivaled the sky, and his clothes were silky white robes which flowed over him easily.

"Celestine," Sol smiled honestly, "You look good."

"I feel good," Celeste answered, chin tilted upwards, his entire demeanor was regal. "It warms me that you've all come to visit."

Ash looked at the elf for a moment, "You look beautiful." She said in awe, "I can't believe you're getting married." Her eyes misted over as she stared at him. He had been her caretaker for her entire life, having taken her in when she was an infant. It was difficult to believe that he was going to settle down with anyone.

Celeste moved over and opened the door to the Inn's room wider for all of them to enter. "It's not a marriage." He corrected as he closed the door behind him. His movements were graceful and fluid.

"We're aware of that," Hunter stated as he flopped down onto one of the sitting room's chairs, one long leg resting easily over the arm of it. He was draped across it casually, looking like a bored king. "But that's exactly what it is you know."

"It's a ceremony to bound two souls to one another. It's very romantic," Ash sighed, lying down on her stomach atop of the only bed in the room. Her elbows bent and the palms of her hands cupping her face. Her feet were in the air, skirt hiking up and exposing a large portion of her legs, ankles crossed.

"You're dress is going to wrinkle." Sol stated, ignoring Ash's disapproving glance as he sat across from Hunter. His back straight and his posture perfect. "Where's Xing?"

"He's somewhere on top of the mountain, praying to the Sun God. He's been gone for a week now, but should be back by the time the ceremony needs to take place." Celeste answered, sitting at the edge of the bed, beside Ash.

"I heard that Jetizen's going to be here for it," Hunter said casually, staring out of the large bay window which took up the wall closest to him. "It always amazes me that you're old enough to know a big wig like him."

Celeste gave him an indulgent smile, "Yes, well. It's been years since I've seen Jetizen. It's only a rumor; he might not even be on the continent. I wouldn't blame him, with the war going on and all." He smoothed the floral sheet underneath him, tracing the pattern with his finger.

"He's supposed to be like a Demi-God, right?" Ash asked, her legs lazily kicking the air, "If he's so powerful then why doesn't he stop Victoria from terrorizing us? She's a demon who managed to pull together an undead army. They've taken over the entire Western half of our continent. He could step in at any time if he wanted to. Why doesn't he?"

"Sometimes, when people have that much power, they see no need in helping others." Sol answered, "If you're strong enough to be on the Gods' level, then chances are that you'll act like one. He'll just continue doing what he's doing, and he'll watch as everything else around him changes while he'll forever remain the same. I mean, there's really no point in him doing anything."

A heavy silence fell upon them, and the sun's dying rays washed over them through the window. After a few minutes Celestine stood up, brushing imaginary wrinkles out of his robes.

"It's time."

The ceremony was to take place in the middle of the flower fields, lit torches surrounded the area, and the full moon was heavy in the east while the sun was lowering in the west. The sky up ahead was a mixture of purples and pinks, stars twinkling down at them. A member of the church was already there, waiting next to a man wearing deep red robes, his hair back in a strict ponytail, his posture perfectly poised. His obsidian eyes remained on the paladin before him, jaw set and olive skin becoming a color to an ember color in the firelight. It was tradition for him to not look at his mate until they were before him.

"Xing looks so handsome," Ash whispered to Celeste, she received a happy grin aimed at her from the elf.

Hunter and Sol walked up first; the path to Xing was a simple one, and the entire area was a circular clearing, ribbons were looped between the torches, adding onto the natural beauty surrounding them. After the two men walked up, Ash was next, her steps surprisingly graceful and dainty, she kept her chin held high as she stood in-between the two men, watching Celeste arrive last.

The paladin began to speak words in the Elvin native language before switching to the language of the Dragons. Fireflies filled up the valley as the moon shone brightly down on them.

"You may now say your vows," The paladin nodded towards Celeste first.

The elf beamed at Xing, his face blooming into a look of pure happiness. "Xing, I—" Whatever else that was going to escape Celeste's mouth was cut off when an arrow flew through his chest. The elf stared down at it with wide eyes, glancing up at Xing once more before falling onto the ground.

The paladin fell next, an arrow through the head.

"Shit!" Sol yelled, pulling Ash close to him as they fell onto the ground as more arrows flew down onto their area. She held onto him tightly, eyes squeezed shut as Hunter lay next to them.

"What the hell's going on?" Hunter asked through his teeth. His grey eyes focused up on the sky as he grabbed his pistol out from the holster which was part of his military uniform, nodding at Sol as the other did the same. "Who the hell would be attacking us?"

Ash struggled out of Sol's grasp and shimmied her way towards Celeste. "Oh Gods," She breathed, exchanging a shocked look with Xing before staring back down at her foster father. "It didn't hit anything vital. Thank Gods." She touched the base of the arrow tentatively. She tried to ignore the dead paladin next to her, swallowing back the urge to vomit.

Celeste's breathing was shallow, "I'm…surprised…I didn't… hear…the arrow." He rasped, his hand holding onto Ash's weakly.

Xing stood up, sucking in a deep breath, which caused all of the torches to go out; the arrows stopped raining down on them. His black eyes shone dangerously as he stared at the woods which were a few dozen feet away. The silence surrounding them was deafening. The only sound was Celestine's breathing.

"May the Gods grant me the power of divine light." Ash began muttering healing spells that had been taught to her as a child under her breath as she grabbed the arrow and pulled it out slowly, one hand on Celeste's chest while doing it. "I cure you of your ailments, heal you from your wounds, and help ease your pain." White light washed over the wound, her brow furrowed in concentration and sweat beginning to drip down her temple.

Sol and Hunter stood up, taking stances that they had been taught while in the military and holding their pistols in position. Ash's prayers and spells became a background noise as the three standing men strained their ears to hear whatever was coming.

Xing's eyes widened as he stared at the woods, "Zombies. There's an army of undead a little over one hundred yards away from here." He walked forward, passing both Sol and Hunter, "It's safe to say that they wish to attack Roselea. I think it would be easier to just burn the woods down before they continue their trek." His eyes flickered to Celeste, whose breathing was beginning to even out as Ash continued the spell. "I'll make sure that every one of them disintegrates into dust."

"And if the fire spreads?" Hunter asked, eyes still on the woods.

"I'll be able to control it."

Sol watched as the first zombie stumbled his way towards them, a shadow moving within more shadows. The only light above them was the heavy moon, and clouds were quickly rolling over their clearing. Sight was limited.

Behind them, Ash did the best she could with Celeste, grabbing the dead paladin's sword and tracing as close to a s circle as possible around the fallen elf in order to produce a shield over him. She panted for breath as she struggled to stay on her feet. Magic was a tricky substance to work with; it was an other-worldly energy which she did not enjoy tapping into. Her disuse caused her body to be drained and sluggish.

"How do we kill them?" She asked once her task was accomplished. Her spell would hold on Celeste just fine, as long as she didn't die in the middle of battle. She held onto the heavy sword with both hands, unfamiliar with the weight in her hands.

Sol stared down at the sword, gently prying it from Ash's hands and giving her his pistol. "If you're going to get involved in this, then I'd rather you do it from far away."

"We kill them by either chopping their heads off; any trauma to the skull will do actually. Or fire, that's a good way to get them." Hunter answered, he knew once their bullets ran out then they would have no way of escaping the undead. "Whatever you do, don't get bitten."

Another zombie followed the first, and a few dozen more followed behind them. Xing sneered, glancing over at Celeste once more before kneeling down and jumping high into the night sky, the sound of his robes tearing and his wings flapping echoed throughout the clearing.

Sol looked over at Ash, taking in her dirty dress and lopsided hair. She looked back over at him, trying not to act out from the fear which was washing over her. "Go back to Celeste, stand outside the circle you created. If anything happens I want you to get inside it, keep the pistol loaded, and just survive until morning."

She gapped at him, "Sol—"

"Do as I say Asher-Lynn," Sol gave her a pointed look. He held onto the rapier which had once belonged to the paladin securely. He was ready to fight.

Ash bit her bottom lip to prevent it from trembling, nodded, and headed back to Celestine's side.

Hunter listened to the entire exchange without taking his aim off of the first zombie, "If Xing keeps taking his sweet arse time like this then we're going to be fu—"

A ball of fire fell onto a group of zombies from above, causing them to scream out loud. It was a horrible sound, hollow yet painful at the same time. More fire began to fall from the sky; the zombies shriveled and fell to the ground. Flesh and bones melding together until they were nothing more than unrecognizable ashen corpses, resembling charcoal husks or what were once humans. But for each dozen that Xing managed to kill, another dozen appeared behind them.

"They're like ants," Hunter spat, shooting one that had gotten within ten feet of them in-between the eyes. "Where are they coming from?"

"If there's so many," Sol watched as yet another dozen were killed by fire, "Then that means there's a Death Knight around here." Fire was spreading throughout their entire side of the fields, taking out zombies as it went. They felt the heat from their spot, bodies poised and waiting for whatever was to come next.

Then, through the smoke and fire, a figure came walking towards them with a confident gait that proved that whatever it was, it wasn't a zombie. They could make the outline of its armor from their spot, black as night and with large horns coming off of the helmet. Violet eyes glowed as it stared at them, wispy white hair poking out from underneath the helmet and against its face. Ashen colored skin taking on an orange tinge due to the fire surround him.

"He doesn't look like much," Hunter stated. The Death Knight was no taller than Sol, his armor causing him to look bulkier than he really was. Hang limply from his right hand was a large, black, battle ax created out of human remains.

The Death Knight calmly made his way towards them, stopping once he was fifteen feet from them, eyes which were probably too large for his face when he was alive were sunken in, but familiar. His nose was a little too wide for his face, and his full mouth was pulled into a sadistic smirk.

"I heard there was going to be a wedding," The Death Knight's voice sounded like gravel. "I was upset when I realized that I wasn't invited."

Realization dawned on Sol; his blood ran cold as he stared at the creature before him. "No…but I thought—"

"That I was dead? You always were the stupid one."

Hunter's grey eyes narrowed, pistol pointing perfectly in-between the Death Knight's eyes, "Good to see you again Vladimir. However, at this moment in time, I can't really say if that's a lie or not. Since we've been under the impression that you've been dead for the last two years."

Vladimir's violet eyes glanced over their shoulders and towards Ash; he stared at her for a brief moment before looking back at the two men before him, "I see you're still around her. Don't you know how bad she is for you?" His head tilted to the right as he looked over at Ash again, "There's something not right about her soul you know."

Hunter scoffed, "As if you're one to talk. You don't technically have one anymore now, eh? Being a Death Knight and all."

A few more fire balls fell down onto the ground behind Vladimir. "I'm surprised none of the villagers are coming out here to help you, then again I suppose they saw four idiots trying to neutralize the situation and figured that it would all be okay."

The fire was a high blaze, and Xing landed easily on his feet behind Sol, his red robes a tattered mess, and his hair falling around his face. He glared hard at Vladimir, fangs exposed as he snarled, smoke coming out of his mouth.

The screams of zombies continued, deafening and soul-shattering.

Vladimir let out a bored sigh, picking up his battle ax, "It is a bit unfair that I'm fighting you all when you're just about defenseless. Especially with Celestine dying behind you right there. The arrow was poisoned with dead man's blood, a tricky substance to cure, I can assure you."

"You bastard," Xing's eyes were blazing; he was ready to pounce on top of the Death Knight at any moment.

Time suddenly stopped. Ash blinked, noticing how nothing around her was moving. She took a step backwards into the protective circle that she has created, pistol cocked and ready.

"Sorry that I'm late," a calm voice stated from her right, causing her to look sharply and aim at whatever was there.

The man was about Sol's height, perhaps a little shorter. His messy brown hair curled around his ears, his brown almond shaped eyes held a look of interest as he stared at the weapon in the young woman's hands. He was covered in a midnight blue robe which looked close to black in the firelight; a plain wooden staff was in his hand.

"You can shoot me if you'd like, I just thought I'd step in and stop what I know might happen from happening." He nodded to himself, walking towards Ash. It was then that she noticed a thickly bound leather book chained to his person. It moved with his every step. He looked Ash over and nodded to himself once more. "You might feel a little disoriented after this."


He snapped his fingers, and everything went white.


XIVZ: Chapter 1 done! Hooray! This was so hard for me, action was never my strong point, but I'm glad I'm working on it. Please review, flames are always welcome.