Vita, a stone golem and homunculus of three different entities--Varren being his father, Megan being his aunt, and Spirit being his long-missed mother--stood with his father and aunt on a beach. Behind them was a forest, trees scattered around with numbers so great that it was impossible to see what was behind it all. The waters stretched out to the ends of the horizon, never ending in itself. A sunset dimly lit the dark waters, and the casual chirping of a bird in the distance could be heard. The wind would blow, and the waves would swish in its direction, letting the air guide it in a dance of nature.
Megan, the Spirit Maiden of pale skin, with a crimson dress and eyes just as red, grinned warmly at the beautiful scenery. "It's been a long time since the family has gotten together like this, to behold something beautiful..."
Varren, gentleman in brown with a fedora to match, nodded in agreement. "Indeed..." Though under usual circumstances he was loquacious and never truly seemed to know when or even how to stop talking, his environment was so utterly captivating that even he was left speechless.
Vita, on the other hand, did not find anything fascinating about this view at all. His body a blank mass, his eyes two blue dots, gazing blankly into the sun, his head slowly drooped to his shoulder. Energy ground against itself within his throat to project sound waves, in the voice of a child. As an entity of stone, it was the only way he could talk. "There's nothing cool about water. I don't know how to swim..."
Megan turned to Vita. "Perhaps you should try walking around the beach for a while. It's nice and relaxing out here."
Vita let out a whine. "It's just a bunch of sand." He squatted down, poking the small assemblages of rock and dust that had become sand over time. "I can't even feel any of it, all it does is squish whenever I touch it."
Megan and Varren, being aware that Vita was created from earth and stone, shared a silent understanding as to why he had a harder time of taking in textures than the average, organic entity. It was amazing that he could feel at all, but most of the time, Vita was absent of texture, unable to feel the gentle warmth of the sunshine or the loving touch of his mother. But sometimes, if he really focused, he claimed to feel certain things, like stone, incredibly hot or cold temperatures, or sometimes even something as simple as a hug.
Vita began to pace back and forth, standing up from his squatted position. "I want to do something fun," the bored child complained. "Something new!"
Varren looked behind them, to the sea of forest from whence they came. If something new was what Vita wanted, then perhaps... "Perhaps you could venture off that way. If you want to find something new, make it your mission to explore the depths of the woods and discover new things that nobody else could have imagined possible."
Megan looked to her brother, her red eyes full of worry. "Varren, what if he gets lost?"
The twin brother met her gaze evenly with confidence, attempting to dismiss that possibility within Megan's mind. "Since we share the same energy, he should be able to track us down. And if he runs into any trouble, well... he's powerful enough to make even the strongest antagonist look like a complete laughing stock. I'm sure he can manage his own."
Hesitantly, Megan nodded, giving her reluctant agreement. "Alright..." She turned to her nephew, wiggling her fingers with a small wave. "Goodbye, Vita! Have fun!"
Varren waved as well, more genuinely, larger, and seemed honestly outgoing. "Farewell! Discover new heights!"
Vita's disappointment morphed in seconds to excitement and eagerness. Likewise, he wasn't able to control his energy--overflowing with the stuff as he was--to project sounds normally. He sounded like a radio trying to find the right channel as he jumped up and down, clapping excitedly. Odd, strange noises echoed from the blank, blue-dotted mass as he quickly hurried into the woods. He waved his farewells to Varren and Megan, barely managing to make a telligible, one-word sentence: "B-Bye!"
The stone child skipped through the forest merrily, almost forgetting to control his weight--a process which had become instinctive ages ago, and was quite important when you had the mass of seven mountains in your body, all condensed into a thin, human-sized being. For ages, he had been doing the same things over and over again with Varren and Megan, or with himself. He would play cards with Megan while Varren was away, or he would simply create small, temporary manifestations of energy to fight and destroy for the fun of it, or he would simply talk to Varren and discuss facts of life--facts which were rather boring to him, and didn't much care about while he was still just a boy. Finally, he had the opportunity to do something new, and he would relish in this fact for as long as he could, determined to make this new activity as interesting as possible.
He skipped around trees, dancing in the forest as he projected a peaceful song. The lyrics to the song were quite simple: one sentence chanted over and over again, while a a xylophone played in the background. "Happiness is my friend, and it will never end!"
His song played throughout the forest, bringing music and life to this previously mute place. The positivity of his tune seemed to make Mother Nature wear the grin that his empty face could never have. Vita danced merrily, twirling around a tree, before grabbing the tree by both of his hands and casually ripping it out from its roots. As though his godly strength were a toy to play with, he, without effort, tore the tree in half over his head, and tossed one of the halves away without concern for whatever it would hit. Then, pretending like the remaining half was a person, he began to dance with it, skipping around with it in his arms, before occasionally sliding to a stop to sway with the severed tree-trunk in an almost romantic motion. The sunlight beamed down on his stone body as he held the dead plants in his arms, dipping it down. The music changed in its lighthearted atmosphere to something out of a cheesy romantic comedy. Elvis's voice was generated from Vita. "Ohhh, mama."
Quietly, amidst his background music, there was a rumbling in the distance. Vita caught notice of this unexpected noise, and slowly died the music to nothingness. With a ghostly reverberation, he asked to nobody in the voice of the child that he was at his core: "What's that...?"
He dropped the tree carelessly, and stepped over the inanimate object. The earthen homunculus followed what he thought was the source of the sound, his sense of hearing being incredibly detailed in contrast to his sense of touch. From far away, he saw what looked like a strange, smoking lump in the ground from beyond the trees. Groaning in frustration, he clenched his fist. "Move!" he shouted, angrily punching one of the trees out of the way. The tree flew from the ground immediately, dragged from its roots to topple over sideways while still midair, crashing into and knocking over several other trees that once stood in Vita's path.
Now that there were effectively no trees which dared to stand in front of his path, it had been made clear what the smoking lump in the ground was: a volcano.
When his two blue, glowing dots for eyes fell upon the volcano, every emotion within his psyche came to a stop. In its place, memories of his mother came rushing back. Spirit, Varren's loving wife, used to live in a volcano that was quite similar to this. He hadn't seen Spirit in a very long time; sadness began to flow in the earthen child's mind as the emotions reintroduced themselves. Attempting to overcome the negativity, he shook his head as though his feelings had turned into sticky goop plastered to his cranium. Thankfully, he managed to shake it off before they could get too intense.
With that same, slightly eerie tone in his voice, Vita spoke to himself, "This will be a nice to place to stay when I'm feeling lonely. Also if I need to be left alone."
He walked towards the volcano for a while, before he used his monstrous strength, combined with his constantly active levitation spell, to rapidly ascend high into the air, easily lifting several mountains' worth of weight high above the ground. Vita, midair, used his magical spell to bolt himself towards the volcano. To prevent himself from destroying any of the land in front of it, he came to a complete stop just before his feet touched the ground, causing the air to ripple underneath the human-sized bullet's insane amounts of energy that had been so immediately halted.
Vita stared into the depths of the volcano, which actually had an opening: a cave. If he could smile, he would have been beaming so wide. Excitement coursed through him once again, and likewise, his self-control was being altered dramatically. The ocean of power within him acted as static, twitching all about his person. Again, instead of talking to himself with words, incomprehensible voices from what could be a radio show played at ridiculously fast speeds, overlapping each other, the occasional sound of a glitching video interfering with the already chaotic cacophony that was his elation. He, still making those noises, wandered into the cave-entrance of the volcanic reminder of his mother.
What he saw made everything come to a halt: a small pond of lava in the middle of the whole place, and a pair of majestic footwear at the end of it. It appeared to be atop a pedestal of sorts, but it was hard to tell from this distance.
But these golden boots were not the only thing that had caught his interest; the lava, too, had a certain touch to it that reminded him of home. But it also made him quite curious. Though it is true that he'd been inside a volcano many times in the past, in order to visit his mother, he had always been told to stay away from the lava for some odd reason. Why? It couldn't possibly do anything bad to him.
Just as many times as the overpowered child had visited his mother, he had been in fights with incredibly powerful foes. And each time he was in a battle, he had won with little effort. Robotic enemies, fleshy enemies, elemental creatures, heroes, villains, anti-heroes alike--everyone who had dared to challenge Vita had fallen before him. How badly could lava hurt him if nobody else could beat him in a fight?
Vita walked over to the edge of the solid ground, looking down at the glowing lava below. In the voice of a grown man with an English accent, the golem homunculus taunted the element. "You want to battle, bat? Bring it, then!" He slowly bent down, and, without hesitation, dipped a few of his fingers into the lava.
He stared blankly as it poured through the cracks in his fingers. It was exactly like the boring water that he saw at the beach with Megan and Varren... except there was one thing that was separated it from normal H20. "It's warm..." he said, with a child's voice again. His sense of touch, dull as it may have been, had detected the incredible hot temperatures, and classified it as simply warm. Only suitable for something that looked pretty and glowed. The stone golem pulled his hand out of the lava, and used his finger to draw a smile on his empty, black face with the lava, his two dots glowing with a mild sense of accomplishment. "So this is what I would look like if I could smile. It's sad that I don't have a mirror... But it's always nice to imagine."
The poorly-drawn smile began to drip down his face, the lava becoming unbalanced, but he didn't seem to notice. He was losing his sense of touch again.
He looked over at the golden boots in the distance, as though he'd almost forgotten about them entirely. Vita's eyes stared at the artifacts, bewildered by the beauty of their glistening in the lighting of the all-encompassing lava. "I wonder what those are for... They look all fancy, and pretty."
With no sense of danger, as always, the boy simply jumped over the large pool of fiery liquids. Though, out of habit, he delicately landed on the ground, his feet contacting the surface as elegantly as a ballerina in mid-dance. Vita noticed, up close, that the golden boots had several lines engraved into it, swirling at the heel of the footwear. It was the symbol for wind. Vita's drawn smile had melted into a mass of lava on the lower-half of his face, dripping down his chin. But, despite it's dire circumstances, the child still felt the emotions of a smile in his heart. "Does that mean that you can run like the wind? Cool!"
Eagerly, Vita's hand tore through the glass barrier around the boots, and grabbed the artifact itself. Carelessly, he threw it on the ground to begin to put them on. However, when they made their impact on the unstable surface, the ground cracked hugely, nearly, and the lava around the young golem boiled angrily. Once again, Vita had no sense of danger. Simply ignoring it, he literally hopped into the pair of golden boots. Were his feet actually hands, one could say that it fit like a glove.
Vita clapped happily. "Fashion!" he exclaimed.
Before he could break into another burst of unintelligible utterances, his black ankles began to glow a golden colour. Vita, surprised, looked down at his feet. "What...?"
The gold quickly spread all throughout his body, overlapping every single inch of him, recolouring his black form into a golden one, but leaving his green arm the way it was. Fear pulsated through the child as he gazed down at his new self. At last, the danger of the situation had kicked in. He was surrounded by lava, and now this happened. To make matters worse, the boy was paralyzed, helpless to whatever threats the environment should offer.
"Why can't I move?" The now-golden Vita asked out of desperation, struggling to at least twitch a finger.
The shoes beneath him unexpectedly provided him with an answer. "Don't act so scared, kid!"
Startled, the juggernaut of a child he was unintentionally released its wrath. Green waves of power blasted from all over his body, blue striking above his head like lightning, blackness piercing through the walls of the inner volcano. Vita screeched out a deafening wail, his energy going completely haywire.
With all the destruction happening inside the volcanic death pit, the lava stirred angrily. "Ah, crap," said the golden boots. "Come on, let's get out of here before this place blows!"
Unable to control his body, Vita was forced to flee from the environment, the energy that had once gone out of control suddenly getting snuffed out like a quick flame upon the disturbance of his movement. The golden boots forced Vita to jump into the air, drawing back his mighty fist and slamming it into the searing earth that was the edge of the volcano. A hole in the wall burst from the container of lava and death, and through it, Vita flew, before landing on the ground.
Just as he couldn't control his physical form, it was nearly impossible for Vita to control his energy, either. Thus, he could not fly with powerful levitation spells as he had once been able to. If he released any energy at all, it would surely come out in powerful, uncontrolled bursts induced by fear.
The boy looked behind him under the will of the boots to see that a hurricane of heated death and lava was hurling after him. He screamed out of fear once again, panic racing through him.
"Holy fuck!" exclaimed the boots, before they forced Vita to run as fast as he could. Thankfully for Vita, that was just fast enough to avoid immediate demise the volcanic tsunami behind them.
The boy ran wildly, screaming. A boulder that had been spouted up within the mass of the explosion fell towards Vita, but the boots noticed, and just barely he dodged. Still, he screamed out of fear as it broke into pieces around him. The boots, less afraid, grabbed a hold of one of the pieces of the exploded boulder and used it as a mildly helpful surfboard, sliding across the earth at the same speed they ran earlier. Vita stumbled on top of the poorly constructed surfboard, arms flailing as he tried to catch his balance. "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Static burst from Vita's voice as he desperately tried to control his energy to speak. "Let me off of this thing!" cried the child.
"No way!" replied the boots, laughing as it used a rock slanted upwards as a small ramp to soar into the sky, twirling around branches from still-living trees that had not been touched by the hot death behind them, dodging around other trunks and obstacles in their way when it landed. "This is way too cool for me to give up!"
Just like that, the stone broke underneath Vita's weight, sending the golem tumbling through the air.
"Oh, boy," the boots said. "Hold on!" He, in midair, quickly grabbed at the ground for a brief moment so he could land his two feet onto some solid surface, before continuing the run just as fast as ever. "There we go, still got this! Now where are we going?"
Vita noticed that they were getting to the edge of the forest, where the beach had once been with Varren and Megan. "Oh, no..." As loudly as he could signal out with his energy, he screamed, "Varren! Megan! Look ouuuut!"
Varren, from the other side of the forest, recognized Vita's voice immediately. "What the devil...?" The father figure of Vita turned from his peaceful examinations to look into the forest. It came across to him as completely unexpected when, in the distance, he saw Vita being chased by a gargantuan wall of lava. Though somehow, he still wasn't surprised. Rather than being fearful or shocked, the frustrated father simply smacked his face with his palm, letting out a sigh of mild disappointment. "I leave you for minutes, Vita. Minutes, and this is what..." He slowly inhales, gathering himself. Looking over his shoulder, he looks at Megan.
The Spirit Maiden had a surprisingly satisfied look on her face, arms folded. "I told you we shouldn't have left him alone."
"You did not," Varren retorted. "You merely advised against it." The father waved the subject off. "Come with me, we must settle this issue together."
The brown-suited man held out both of his hands, and closed his eyes. Though chaos wreaked out of the lava and the fear within Vita's heart, he could still feel the life energy of the earth below. Everything is alive, thought he. Everything has a heartbeat. If I can synchronize my energy into the rhythm of life, then maybe... Varren opened his eyes, the earth in front of him rising from below, forming a massive wall to keep the destruction as contained as possible, preventing it from demolishing anything more than it already had.
Vita, trembling with fear despite the control the boots had over his form, grabbed hold of the wall that was made. He desperately tried to crawl up the flat surface, scratching desperately, but sliding down like a cat against glass. "Someone help me get up! I can't do it!"
"You can jump!" Varren called from the other side. "I know you can! I have confidence in you!"
"He can jump?" Megan asked, completely outraged by Varren's words.
"I wouldn't tell him he could if he was incapable of the act," retorted her brother.
Vita, on the other side of the wall, was in such a state of fear that the control of the boots meant nothing to him anymore. He found his own voice amongst the sea of chaos and lept over the wall that seemed only seconds ago to touch the skies. The heavy child landed next to Varren and Megan, still aglow with a golden color.
He turned to Megan out of desperation, the one who would usually show him kindness and make all the bad things in his mind go away with a lullaby. "Help me! Please, I'm scared!"
Before Megan could respond, the golden boots regained control of Vita's body. "Shut up, kid! All that fun and you're scared? I'll give them something to be afraid of!"
"No, don't! I don't want to hurt them!" Vita, his voice overlapped with higher and lower pitches, began to weep.
He unwillingly swung his fist at Megan, who dodged, without any intent of fighting back. She couldn't bring herself to hurt this precious child, even if he was assaulting her. Tears of her own formed within Megan's eyes. “We don’t want to hurt you, either!”
Varren, holding his emotions together, looked down at the boots that Vita wore, and then at the colour of the stone child’s ‘skin.’ They had to be related. Putting two and two together, it was easy for him to come to a solution. “These boots somehow have a mind of their own, and have possessed Vita’s body, but not his mind, when he put them on.”
Megan continued to dodge Vita’s attacks, unable to do anything else. “These boots are alive?” she asked, wiping away the tears.
As the golem clumsily punched at Megan, the boots shouted, “Damn straight! Now hold still so I can bash your skull in, for Christ’s sake!”
Megan, dodging backwards from another fist which would have connected with her face, had tripped over a small root that had reached halfway out of the ground. The boots used this opportunity, and forced Vita to throw another punch at her throat.
Vita angrily growled through his sadness, fear and desperation. It quickly transformed into absolute hatred for the element that had taken over his body, and temporarily regained control of his arm, forcing it still to avoid hurting his aunt. “I won’t let you do that!”
Varren saw the opportunity, having come up with a strategy in the midst of their dialogue. “Megan! Hold him down!”
Putting faith in her brother since he had a long history of strategy under his belt, the Spirit Maiden did as she was told and tackled Vita to the ground, coating herself in a thin outline of Light Magic. “I’m sorry,” she whispered, grabbing hold of either of Vita’s wrists, to avoid the risk of him punching her.
The golden boots laughed at Megan’s apology, unknowing of the fact that Varren was running to the scene. “Hah! Have you forgotten that I’m the strongest fucking thing in this domain! I could tear your arms clean off right now if I wa--”
They were put to an abrupt silence as Varren grabbed either of the golden boots from Vita’s feet, and pulled on them. Suddenly, a wave of negative energy burst from in between Vita’s ankles and the actual boots, surrounding the three of them in black fires instantly. The outline of Light Magic around Megan spread, growing to defend Vita from its fearful wrath. The child held onto Megan and hid into her shoulder, screaming in fear. The darkness howled back in rage of being separated from the ultimate power source that had been its only second ago. It screamed and hollered loudly in the ears of Varren, but he, the father of Vita, would not simply stand by and allow anyone or anything to scare his boy. Likewise, Varren wouldn’t let anything stab fear into his own heart. He ripped the accursed footwear out of the strange magnetism that had bound it to Vita’s feet, holding them high in the air. When they were out of range, the negative energy around them abruptly swirled back into the boots, and ceased to wail out in fury any longer.
Varren was out of breath, and he stared at Vita, amazed by what he had just done.
Megan’s barrier faded when she realized that all was safe once again. Vita, who was trembling, unbelievably afraid, still held onto Megan for comfort. The Spirit Maiden felt pain for her nephew, and rocked him back and forth in her arms, running her hand down Vita’s smooth, stone back. “You poor thing...” Megan whispered, before kissing Vita’s forehead, beginning to sing a soft lullaby.
While Vita was being comforted by his aunt, Varren stared at the golden boots curiously. What in God’s name were these things...? He looked to Vita, who was still being held in Megan’s arms, and called him in a voice nearly as gentle as Megan’s, “Vita...”
The frightened child slowly turned to look at Varren, his blue-dots for eyes staring at him, coated with dread.
“Where did you get these boots?”
Vita hid into Megan’s shoulder again. The ghostly reverberation was more noticeable than usual, and his voice alternated between genders and ages. “Please don’t--” woman’s voice, “--be--” child’s voice, “--angry at me.”
Varren calmly approached Vita, and knelt down in front of the two of them, placing a hand on his child’s shoulder. “I’m not going to hurt you... I wouldn’t be cross with you when you’re like this, nor would I be cross with anyone else. Hurting someone while they’re in their state of need is simply cruel and wrong... I’m merely asking a question...”
The boy stuttered, static going off momentarily, attempting to regain his focus. “A-A-A volcano.”
Varren looked at the shoes, and tilted his head, scanning them in his mind. “What on earth... would a pair of shoes be doing in a volcano? Probably to lure people in as bait of sorts... It’s a classic trick, really. Give someone an obstacle and have a reward at the end--grab the reward and find out that the whole thing was a booby trap. I’m assuming that’s what caused the explosion of the volcano and your possession, is that right, Vita?”
Gathering himself within the comfort of the Spirit Maiden, though still shaken, Vita turned to his father and said, “No. It didn’t cause the huge explosion; I-I did that because I got scared. But it did possess me... I couldn’t control myself. I’m sorry for all that I’ve done to you, and to this forest...”
Varren patted Vita’s head, smiling at him reassuringly. “Relax,” said the hatted father. “Nobody was hurt. You’re okay... You haven’t done anything wrong. Besides, I can control the environment anyway, I’ll simply conjure a replica of our previous abode to give us another one. It’ll be as simple as that.”
He looked at the boots in his other hand, growing rather curious once again as his mind searched for answers. “Hmm...”
Megan looked at the boots as well, her red eyes coated in concern and timidity. “What should we do with them?”
“Burn them!” Vita shouted. “Burn them in the lava on the other side! They’re evil!”
“No,” Varren replied calmly, his voice serious and thoughtful. “I have many questions swirling around in my brain at the moment, and only these boots hold the answers. Until I figure out everything, we’ll keep them as our own.”
Before anyone could interject, Varren began to pace back and forth, one hand behind his back, while the other dangled the pair of boots in front of his face. “Question number one: who created them? Obviously someone incredibly skilled with the art of Black Magic, as obviously demonstrated when it howled in my face. It had loads of it all jam-packed in there, which I think was necessary for it to develop a sense of consciousness. I noticed as much when it was talking to us during the time in which we were combatting it. If someone is that skilled in those demonic arts and happen to be within the area to make these boots possible, then it’s a necessity that we find the answer to this question as soon as possible. I’ll be able to locate the criminal responsible for the construction of these atrocities by tracking down their energy from the energy that resides within these boots. All of that negative power in here will be their downfall...”
“Number two,” Varren went on, “why the devil would someone want to create something that had the ability to possess others? And why would they be shoes? Alright, we have two pieces of ideas. Shoes, and possession. If my assumption is correct, these shoes were intended to override the consciousness of whoever wore them, and force them to desire to go wherever the creator desired. For what reason they didn’t possess you, Vita, well, that’s an easy answer.” He chuckled, turning to look at his own creation. “You are a powerhouse in yourself, so much that you completely destroyed the full method of possession... but fell victim to the bodily possession.”
Megan spoke up, “If someone is strong enough to outmatch Vita, even in one category, with only an artifact, then I fear what sort of power the actual magic user possesses on his own.”
“Undoubtedly so,” Varren agreed. “That’s why we must locate this evildoer as soon as we can, so we can vanquish him before he can inflict any further damage upon this land.”
The intelligent theorizer continued to pace himself, staring at the shoes. “As for why they would want the one who wore these shoes to arrive at their destination, well... I’m uncertain. There are a number of theories that come to mind, but I won’t say anything until I’ve had the confirmation...”
He turned to the two others in the group. “It seems as though we have a mystery to solve.”