By Lord Jareth (Send all questions, comments, flames, suggestions and requests to email@example.com)
Disclaimer: Most of the things in this story I don’t own. The monster concept belongs to Tecmo. However, the story is mine, as are any characters not shown in the TV show, the video game or any other fanfic unless stated by the author that they’re mine.
What do you want? You’re here, so you must want something from me. Nobody would come to the Realm of the Dead for nothing. So what is it? Spit it out, I haven’t all day, you know. Perhaps I do, but if I have all day I’m not going to spend it on you.
You say that I am evil, twisted—an abomination that should not exist. I am a horrible wretch—well, that much may be true, here and now—and I don’t deserve to live. But dying is too kind fro the likes of me. You humans are so silly! I wish you’d make up your mind.
I *was* evil… once. I *was* the abomination you think me to be, living only to see how far I could go and how cruel I could be to those who got in my way. I twisted minds and souls, broke hearts, crushed the weak and punished the strong for being strong… what a gloriously horrible life.
But that was quite some time ago. What you see here is all that I am… the torn, broken, empty shell—a mere shadow of what I once was. The only way I can really describe myself *now* is completely and utterly miserable. Yes… that’s it.
It’s too late for forgiveness, now. No matter. I don’t really want to be forgiven, anyway. I fought for what I believed in the way I felt I should. So I was a bit horrible. Anyone who believes that the end justifies the means would understand, maybe even respect what I did.
But since you’re here, and I’m busy talking up a storm, I may as well tell you what happened… and how all this came to be…
I won’t bother you with the story of my youth. It’s boring, lifeless really… I don’t even remember the first time I walked as a human. All I remember about myself from then is that I loved strength and power of any sort. That’s what brought me to Project Moo. The *real* story begins with the war.
The war of humans and monsters was positively insane. Even one such as myself, who loves hate and discord, cannot bear such a thing for long. I am Debuki Thanatos, a scientist. My colleagues and I are designing the one thing that will end this war for us… a weapon-monster named Moo. That’s a stupid name. A really stupid name. I didn’t choose it, okay?
Moo will be strong enough to win this war for us. I know it. He can crush anything in our way… and only a fool does not know that power is the only way to win a war.
“Thanatos!” a voice called from behind me. It was Kannuki, a colleague of mine. Nobody called me by my first name. It is unheard of. Nobody goes by first name here… except the newcomers, like Kannuki. I don’t even know his last name. “Thanatos, we’ve got a problem with the new weapon!”
I glared at him. “What is it? We don’t have a lot of time, spit it out!”
“There’s no driving power. We can’t build it.”
“What does it need?”
“A core. Strength from something alive.”
“I think I can manage that, Kannuki. Don’t mention it.”
“I meant that literally, by the way.”
“Good.” I turned on my heel and walked away, muttering under my breath. “Stupid newcomer… now I have to find a *power source*? Where am I going to get one of those?”
“Make one, stupid,” said a little voice in my head. “Do a little time travel here, break a relationship there, and there you have it… a superpower left alone and vulnerable. You fill in the details.”
“Riiiight. I got that down cool.” I sauntered out of the lab, pleased with myself. I shouldn’t change the past, so… “The future. I have to go forward in time, create a person with power beyond that of any human or monster, steal that power and bring it back here for Project Moo. I’d say… oh, ten years *there*. No time at all *here*. Juuust perfect.”
So I had to go forward in time. Simple enough, really. Of course, you’re probably wondering how anyone can travel in time—back, forward, whatever. It isn’t humanly possible.
But did I ever say that I was human? Of course I didn’t. I am Thanatos, I am not human but so much more… my arrogance is a painfully human trait, though it can occur elsewhere, and I try to rid myself of it, but you know what they say… nobody’s perfect.
I sat down calmly and stepped out of my humanity. The *real* Thanatos hovered in the air, a Monol-laced Joker, while the body lay on the chair, empty and lifeless as a discarded shirt. The body and the identity, the whole of Debuki Thanatos was expendable. Reassuring myself of that, I tapped into the abyss of power that any Joker can feel.
And I fly, soar, twist and turn in the midst of the raw power that surrounds me. I feel it and its knowledge, I soak it up like a sponge soaks up water. This knowledge and power keeps me going, keeps me alive, for when I land, I will be in a time that Debuki Thanatos—my identity—will be very, very dead.And I… am someone—and something—else.
The water below me is clear and blue. I can see the little fish swimming in it. And I can see the nets cast by a nearby fish ensnaring the unsuspecting creatures and dragging them to their doom. How I love the cycle of nature.
Looking closer at the ship, I see its crew. Blue monsters, the lot of them. Tiger blood in their veins, if I’m one to guess. Humans on the oars. Actually, half the oars. The other half are unmanned.
And I can see their destination: a small village, filled with bored-looking monsters and a large number of energetic children. They—the children, not the monsters—are running around, some running in circles, some chasing each other or monsters, some scrambling to reach some destination.
Many would never make it, regardless of where they were headed. Some of the monsters from the ship had left it—some flying, others swimming and a couple of mean-looking Hound Knights (Durahan/Tiger) who stood out from the background rowing a boat. Very efficient, these people.
I landed on the boat between the knights. “What are you up to?” I asked them. “Raiding a city or something?”
“You don’t look that stupid,” the one on my left (Who was wearing a red medallion around his neck) snapped. “What does it look like we’re up to?” he turned back to his rowing.
“Don’t mind Varon,” the other knight (Who was wearing a green medallion around his neck) muttered to me. “He’s a good enough guy usually, but he’s never in a good mood when he’s under pressure. And yes we are raiding a city… if you can really call it a city.” He grinned.
“I know how he feels.” I sighed. “Sometimes I feel the same about things I’m going to do. Sometimes I’m all laid back like you.” I floated out of the boat and toward the village. “I’d best get there before you. Otherwise there won’t be anything left by the time you’re done.”
He laughed. “We don’t take everything. Just what we need. We aren’t trying to wipe humanity out of existence, just use ’em for what they’re there for. Oh, and don’t get your hopes up about gettig there first.”
I looked. The purebred Tigers were climbing out of the water. Two Sloth Beetles (Beaclon/Tiger), each carrying a Drill Tusk (Worm/Tiger) landed on the sand, put their passengers down and advancd toward the village. Two Mints (Pixie/Tiger), with a Blue Terror (Joker/Tiger) (who looked suspiciously like my brother) flying between them also landed.
“A-hem! Listen up, humans!” The Blue Terror began to speak. The dark gold medallion around his neck glowed and his voice grew louder. “I, Lucifer, as leader of the Blue Devils hereby declare this town property of the aforementioned orgainzation!”
So it was a town.
“And… in English?” a teenager approached Lucifer (who wasn’t looking so much like my brother now since he was acting glamorous). “Could you translate for those of us who talk like normal people, please?”
“Absolutely.” Lucifer smiled coolly. “My gang, the Blue Devils, now owns this town. Simple enough for your primitive minds?”
The teen who had questioned Lucifer glared at him. “I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
“We’ll just see about that, now won’t we?” Lucifer’s smile widened. The monsters in the gang began to fan out and spread throught the town. “Yes, I think we will.”
The attack began so suddenly I wasn’t entirely aware of it. Of course, the Blue Devils were aware, and so were the town’s inhabitants, but I’m neither. I used a bit of my Joker’s power to give me the human shape that was now second nature to me and walked into a house. A boy of a little less than two years of age approached me unsurely. Without so much as a glance at his mother I picked the boy up and left.
That was my first and last interaction with the Blue Devils with me as… myself. The other times I… nudged others to do what I wanted. It was also the last time—to my knowledge—that the boy saw the town that he was born in. the boy, who, thanks to my guidance would grow up to be the dread Gustav Solaris, the most hated man to ever walk the streets of Naxos—the city that’s nothing of not a rule unto itself.
The boy, who thanks to me would be the father of my precious Project Moo’s power source. The boy who would be hated and feared by all who knew him. The boy whose life I would destroy to further my own ambition. What a pity.
At one point I’d have smiled, maybe even laughed at that horrified look on your face, but that was quite some time ago. Now I’m just old and tired.
Of course I kidnapped Gustav. How else would I end up raising a boy with no recollection of who his real family was? He wasn’t even two years old at the time—that age that he can walk and talk a little but can’t remember anything. You know what they’re like at that age.
This isn’t a lovely story. It isn’t even a nice one. I’ll finish it fast if you like… whatever. Shut up or go somewhere else.
Gustav grew up fast, and I was grateful for that. Raising small children is very difficult, even if all you’re trying to do is be the evil stepfather, or anyone for the kid to hate. But that’s what I was to him: evil. The boy was a social outcast from the beginning, how could he judge me like that?
Our home—if you could call it that—was a shack in a small town called Carthan that—if you overlooked the fact that it was a tiny, stinking hellhole—was exactly like Naxos. What I didn’t do to screw up Gustav’s life and persona, the city’s boys and even adults did for me. But most of it was my work.
I treated him badly from the start, and by the time he was twelve he’d run away with that girl who raised monsters… what was her name… ah, yes. Faia Tesaka. Poor girl. And yet she never stayed with my dear Gustav. Left him for that Mercris boy. Yosho, if I remember correctly. The man would end up the vessel for Moo—not that she’d live to see that. How sad, indeed.
But Gustav should have known he couldn’t run from me. I could call Gustav a lot of uncomplimentary things, but stupid wasn’t one of them. I followed him… I bound him… I twisted him to fit what I needed him to be. And then I took him as my vessel.
I can see that glimmer of recognition in your eyes. You remember hearing about my possesion of old Gus—he’s an old man by now, isn’t it? Of course. Even my new pet is aging… but that’s later.
Pay attention to me. I’m not going to tell you this story again.
With Gustav as my vessel, I went to Naxos. I made him strong. I made him respected. I made him feared. I made him hated. He—well, I—raised and trained monsters for a living. They all did well in the battle tournaments, and high bets were placed on them every time.
In the few free days I gave him he tried to be kind to his monsters but soon gave up. Intermittent kindness and cruelty is no kinder than constant cruelty. After all, everyone likes consistency, whether they like it or not. I know that doesn’t make any sense, but then neither does the human psyche.
We went through monster after monster together. And after a couple of years, we found that hot-tempered, deadly pixie. She was young, but she’d do… and her—our—kid was (right from the start, wouldn’t you know it) a dangerous hothead, just like her mother. Had her mother been human, she’d probably been a boy, but such is the way of nature.
Jareth complicated things a little, but I managed to work with it. I treated Jareth the way I had treated Gustav: left her to fend for herself. When I did pay attention to her, I was more horrible than I was even to Gustav.
But Jareth was *not* Gustav. He had crumpled and run away from me. Even as I tried to crush her, and even as I stole her power, Jareth became a friend to the monsters I trained. Sir Frostbit of the Blue Devils was a favorite of hers. I remember him all too well… an ex-Blue Devil since I’d kidnapped him and a man who fought me with the last of his strength.
As I said before, Jareth was not Gustav. Rather than run away as he had, she killed him. I would have died too, but I fled back to my own time. It was a close shave. I barely survived the encounter. That told me that even without the power that should have been hers, Jareth was a dangerous enemy. I could only imagine what she would have been if it had been me, and not Gustav, who had actually been her father.
That smirk on your face is absolutely disgusting, but I suppose that you might be able to tell me something. You can, you inform me.
You tell me that you’ve heard of the warrior Jansentier, a one-time friend of your parents’. She, you say, is the monster essence of Jareth, what she could have been. The warrior who could have struck down Moo but didn’t because she wanted to save the people she’d learned to call friends. I’ll believe that, and I’m glad now that it had been Gustav and not me who fathered the demon. She would have been too powerful for me—and at the peak of my strength, no less!—to control.
You don’t think she’s a demon? Of course not, she’s a hero to you. A great warrior, who became the backbone of the fighting force that stood against Moo. Whatever. You didn’t have to be her father for the first fifteen years of her life.
So I brought back the power. No big deal. We finished Project Moo, and put him to use. And we *would* have, *should* have, won the war. But we didn’t. They, the very ones we hoped to exterminate, created the Phoenix, a great flaming bird right out of a legend. It was too powerful for us to defeat, and it sealed away our precious Moo.
It cost them dearly. Their Phoenix was sealed up and hidden. But they had won the battle.
The war remained to be fought…
And fight we did. Good old Yosho Mercris helped me out once again, by unlocking our precious Moo. And Jareth joined forces with Moo, creating a virtually indestructible team. And they sealed *me* into a Mystery Disk… which was convieniently located and unlocked by Jareth and her new friends.
So I stirred up trouble. I cursed the ever-cheerful boy Genki with the darkest cloud of depression I could muster up. I made Jareth short-tempered and irritable… wait, no, that wasn’t me. *That* was her innate nature.
It didn’t help when the pixie that was Jareth’s mother showed up. So she hadn’t died. And, of course, I practically spat ink when Gustav returned from the place between life and death he’d been at for the past five or so years. But such is life.
I took Jareth as a vessel.
To be more accurate, I *tried* to take Jareth as a vessel. Holding her mind was hard work, and the way she struck time after time almost threw me loose, but that wasn’t what did it. What did it was Jareth’s death. I was torn apart by the impact of the loss. Yes, that was the first blow to my strength.
I traveled later, I traveled for a long time.
Finally I remembered what it was said my fate would be. “When the Trail of Blood ends, you will fall to the blade of the Memory.”
I didn’t have a choice.
I went to Durandel.
He killed me…
I remember no more. That is my story, young one. Leave me now. I must think on my fate for yet another eternity.