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by John Gomes

Amid the ruins of a decaying building, deep underground, energies of unknown origins stirred. Many years after Chaz Ashley defeated the Profound Darkness and returned to the confines of Elsydeon as a protector, centuries later from that time, peace had settled on the solar system of Algo. However, a thing of the past, a thing thought vanquished, began to emerge again. Energies of unfathomable power synchronized and coalesced into a vaguely human form, deep within the heart of the rusting ruins, the remains of Nurvus, itself forgotten, no longer needed. With an abrupt clap of thunder, the energies disappeared, revealing a pale human form, lean, with a crop of hair the color of the blackest night. Naked and shivering from the cold of the underground ruins, Zio, cold and delirious, awoke from his hell of non-existence. After Chaz Ashley had killed him, with the aid of the fifth Lutz, Rune Walsh, Zio's immortal body was undone by the power of the Light flowing through Chaz and Rune. His soul, stuck in a limbo, existing, yet non-existing, floated for many centuries, dormant. Until a great light, a being of extraordinary power gave him an opportunity.


He slowly rose, his momentary lapse of sanity brought under control. Before he had given in to the Dark Force's false promises, Zio had been an Esper of incredible power, a rival to Rune and was next in line to become Lutz. Swelling with pride and arrogance, he prepared for the ritual of linking with the Telepathy Ball, to receive the memories of four different Lutz's. But his pride made him a target of Dark Force, and on Dezoris, the demon flattered him, and, in his arrogance, he accepted the Demon's proposal. The demon gave him an immortal body, and powers beyond his comprehension, powers to invoke the Dark Force itself. Dark Force gave him the suit of black armor, the Blood Gem in the middle to amplify his powers, and Zio thought he was invincible. However, even an evil immortal body faded before the true power of the Great Light, and Zio was vanquished.

Floating in his limbo, Zio was ripped out of the dark place in between dimensions, by someone, or something, he knew not what. It offered him a way to wash away his past transgressions, to once again become a child of Light, as he once was. Zio, realizing finally his foolishness at helping a destroyer, believing it's promises of immortality, when that was beyond it's power, finally made the right choice. He choose good over evil.

Looking at his confines in the real world, naked and powerless, a mortal, Zio wondered if he was dreaming, if he was alive again.

" Zio. " A voice called from behind him.

Zio quickly turned around looking for the source of the voice. However, his human eyes could not see anything in the darkness around him. However, his esper powers were still formidable and he could feel a great power, all around him. He was awed and humbled by this overwhelming force. Lifting his hand, he channelled some elemental force into his hand, and it glowed a soft blue color. It lit up the room some more, and as he looked for the source of the voice, his eyes beheld a sight so majestic that he came to his knees at the sight.

Standing before him was a giant of a man, a mammoth of muscle, wearing a simple loincloth of a white cloth that almost shone. The man's eyes, surrounded by wrinkles, were a merry blue, his hair long and white, to his shoulders. A great beard, down to the collar of his neck, almost hid his mouth, which was in a broad smile. A great hammer, emblazoned with the insignia of Algo was strapped to his side. Zio looked around at the disrepair of Nurvus, the rusting super-computer and the broken terminals, small insects scuttling about. He thought of the irony of this being, to bring him back to life in the place of his death, at his supreme humiliation, where he realized how stupid he had been just before he died. This being obviously had an obscure sense of humour.

" Zio, do you know what I am? " The giant asked him.

" I know not, great spirit. You have brought me back to this physical world, and I thank you, but why? " Zio asked, humbled by the giant's presence.

" Zio, I am Le Roof De Rykros, an incarnation of fate. You, my young student, still have a part to play in the grand scheme of things. Your part is not yet complete." The giant replied.

" My part? I know not what you intend for me holy one, but I know that, for my transgressions, I am not worthy of such a task. "

The giant wondered to himself if this was truly Zio, the evil esper who had almost brought about Apocalypse. This man was humble, almost sacrosanct. The giant then saw that this was Zio's true self, unclouded by his ambitions, pride and arrogance. Zio had learned a lesson, albeit harshly, but he had learned that a destroyer does not keep his promises. Zio finally saw the error of his ways. Le Roof De Rykros then knew with certainty that he was the one. He laughed at Zio, humbled, and prostrate before him. This whelp, at least compared to him, was the one.

" Zio, since I am an incarnation of fate, I knew you were destined to do great things. The Profound Darkness also saw this and tried to warp your soul, but the Great Light prevented you from becoming evil, from losing your soul. She granted you this chance of redemption not only out of love for a prodigal son, but because she knew you possessed the talent to do it. You, Zio, will be the instrument of her return. But even I cannot completely see the true path of destiny, for it always changes. This does sound to be a contradiction, but your destiny has always been in your own hands. However, I now know. "

" Now know what, holy one? " Zio asked, bewildered.

" Zio, it is your job to awaken the Great Light from her sleep. " The giant stated, almost as if it was some menial task.

" What ! A being with your power cannot do it, but I am expected too? My power does not even compare to yours, yet I will awaken her? I could not begin to understand how. "

" Zio, you, like many espers, have been touched by a power handed down for millennia, the power of the Desans, which was given by the Great Light herself. However, in you, like in Rune Walsh, Chaz Ashley, the androids Wren and Demi, the Motavian Gryz, the Dezorian Raja, the esper Kyra Tiereny and the parman Hahn is the power of a true protector. Like them, in you is the true power of the Desans' of old. The rest of the true protectors have passed away, and now preside in the paradise created in Elsydeon. You, however, have one last part. You will release the Great Light, who will once again guide the universe, and you, like all the protectors who reside in Elsydeon, will be at her side, guiding the Universe. "

Zio was dumbstruck. Here he was, a traitor to the Light, given the task of reviving a Goddess, to aid her in creating a heavenly kingdom, and to be accepted back into the light of Creation. Zio was almost in tears. His mind was flying in different directions, like how was he to do this, why him, why not the giant. But at the same time, he realized that if ever was to redeem himself, this was the way to do it. At least he would die trying, and maybe then, have some peace from his guilty conscience.

" Le Roof De Rykros, although I am not worthy, I give you my oath that I will accomplish this, or die trying. I have much suffering to make amends for, and if it lasts me all my days, then I shall do it. " Zio replied firmly, the light of determination in his pale blue eyes, his pale, handsome face set in grim resoluteness.

The Giant smiled.

" Zio, you have just taken the first step into your destiny, and although you think you can't accomplish this, I see still a great deed in your future. Zio, the prodigal son of the Great Light, you will indeed be one of the greatest of protectors. "

The smith removed his star-born hammer, glowing an incandescent white, and threw it at the ceiling of the decaying Nurvus centre. It crashed through the high roof with a deafening boom, opening a large hole to the outside world, the bright sun of Algo lighting up the main computer room. In the middle of this light stood a naked Zio, his eyes closed, basking in the heat of the sun, a sun he thought he would never feel or see again. Tears of joy streamed from his closed eyelids, a smile of peace on his eyes. All the pain he had suffered under the power of the Profound Darkness, all his mental torment in the limbo between worlds, all of the suffering he had been through, for this moment of peace and tranquility, it was all worth it.

" Ummm, Zio, you might want to do something about some clothes. Just a suggestion. " The giant said.

To Be Continued......

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