– Six Months ago, somewhere in Kyushu, East Asian Protectorate (formerly Japan).
Kari stared at the pale human corpse with her silencer pointed at it and fired. She shot the skull into broken bits, worms, and rotten brains.
“Again,” Uncle said, lining up another corpse against the tree’s bark; this time, a hobgoblin rather than a man.
Uncle had robbed a grave, stealing the corpses and lining them up against trees, to teach her how to shoot other humans. He also had had her butcher one animal a day for a month so she would lose her fear of blood. She cried the first time, and he comforted her, but he still made her do it.
She could recount the day with clock-like precision. Physical exercise at six; hand to hand combat at seven. Firearms and explosives from eight to twelve. Eat for fifteen minutes, then small unit tactics until three in the afternoon. History, geography, and conversation training until five. Forgery, accounting, and origami until six. Animal skinning, then body disposal techniques. Uncle had let her pick a discipline for eight in the evening, and she picked music—she would have imploded without it. Finally, free time for one hour before bed.
She had shot twenty-one corpses and twenty-five animals since they had arrived at the compound and disposed of all of them by severing their limbs and dropping them in acid.
“This will be your first mission in the field with me,” Uncle Toshiyami droned. He had grown frailer over the years due to age and stress, his hair graying at the edge. He always wore his old commando uniform when he trained her, his sullen, whitening eyes betraying his grim resolve. “You mustn’t hesitate for one second. One second is the difference between life and death. In the field, you can rely only on yourself.”
That way she wouldn’t freeze when she would shoot at real targets. She had shot at humans in video games her Uncle had purchased for her, but never real ones.
Uncle had, though. One of the corpses he brought back, he had shot them first; she recognized him on the news, saying he was missing. A local official who sold out to the dragons during the War.
They didn’t have a home. They never stayed in the same place for too long, never left a trail. Even the compound Uncle had rented under a false name. It was harder to stay on the run, as the dragons replaced more people with machines, tightened their grip on the country with cameras and Gearsmen.
One day Uncle would get sloppy, and she would be alone.
Uncle had told her all about her family’s history. How they descended from Hattori Hanzo himself, how they had served shoguns and emperors. She herself doubted half of those stories were true, but Uncle believed in them enough to mystify her.
While she could recount her clan’s history up from the Warring States era, she didn’t remember her parents much. She remembered the fires that consumed them, and her old house, more vividly.
While he spoke a lot about their family’s past, Uncle didn’t tell her much about his own. He had been in the JSDF, killed foreigners abroad for the Ministry of Defense, and lost a daughter and a son during the War of Dragon Aggression. He didn’t speak about her cousins and grew cold and silent when she mentioned them. Kari didn’t even know their names.
Kari didn’t know many people.
She didn’t have friends, not really. She had penpals, online, especially that American girl, Sam, whom she had met on a music forum. Uncle let her post and chat on forums, as long as she remained careful to leave nothing that could allow Governor Blightspawn’s forces to implicate Uncle. Otherwise, she could do whatever she wanted.
Kari stopped before she pulled the trigger.
What did she want?
She knew she should have cared about freeing Japan and avenging her blood, the same way Uncle did. But she didn’t. She didn’t care.
She didn’t care about anything.
“Shoot,” Uncle ordered, bringing her out of her daydreaming. She pulled the trigger and didn’t miss.
Kari did her exercises for the day, but her heart wasn’t in it anymore. The question ate at her the entire time. By noon, Uncle noticed, and cut her music and free time in half as punishment.
What did she want?
She knew what Uncle wanted. Kill all the dragons and their lackeys, free Japan, and have Kari finish the mission if he died beforehand. The last decade he spent preparing her to inherit his dream. His dream.
Kari didn’t have a dream of her own. Kari liked music since it helped her blow off steam from the training because it made her nostalgic of kinder, older times. She liked origami a bit, and she would have wanted a cat if Uncle had allowed it.
If Uncle died, if she succeeded in freeing Japan somehow… what would she do afterward? The lack of answer, the sheer void within her soul, frightened her more than Uncle’s wrath.
That evening, in her half an hour of allocated time, she resolved to look at self-help forums instead of discussing things with Sam Brown, like usual. Instead, she found an email invitation, from an address she never contacted before.
“Magik Online Invitation.”
She heard the Gearsmen land outside her window, and then the gunshots.
Everything was a blur afterward, as if her memories, her time, had been eaten. She could barely remember fleeing flames, watching the Gearsmen shooting the farm with Uncle still inside, and one of those machines impale her Uncle with his own sword when he ran out of bullets.
But she clearly remembered Uncle’s screams, as his corpse rose from the ashes, a black shadow of himself. She remembered the darkness seeping out of him, the metal tearing his flesh apart to reveal the horror underneath the skin, the rattle from beyond.
“Kari… Kari…” it rattled, his sword still midway through his chest as the Gearsmen circled him. “Please… it’s me…”
For the first time in her life, succumbing to fear, Kari Matsumoto disobeyed to her uncle for the first time.
“You left me to die.”
The words hurt deeper than the backslash of her spells undone. “I wasn’t ready…” Kari pleaded, struggling for breath. Her heart hammered in her chest like a bomb. “I wasn’t ready…”
“You had that power…” Toshiyami condemned her, shambling towards her. Shroud wriggled in pain nearby from losing his spells. “You had that power, but you kept it for yourself… even when the machines ground my bones to paste… while you watched…”
All of the facade of strength she had built over the last months, ripped away. Uncle made the world colder just by walking towards her, sucking the heat, the warmth, the joy. He had become the void incarnate.
“I’m sorry, Uncle…” she prayed, her head down in shame. “I shouldn’t… I should have helped…”
“You should have… yes, you should have… when you heard them coming for me… I was blood…” He touched her face with his cold, dead hand, raising his black blade above her head with the other. “There is only one way to forgiveness… blood washing blood…”
“This is a gift, Kari…” Toshiyami insisted. “A gift from the gods, so I can continue my mission… I can give it to you… extinguish the light of your soul, leave nothing behind… cleanse you in the same way I have been. Together again… forever.”
A shadow lunged at Toshiyami.
Mathias. Grabbing a glass shard, aiming for his neck in a desperate, foolish attempt to save his teammate.
Time is broken.
Toshiyami dodges the shard, now devoid of sorcery. He worried the blow could have destroyed him. He was mistaken.
The sorcerer could not win. No one could win against him. Not even death. He had been chosen by the heavens to fulfill his mission, and no one would stop him.
He loathes that boy with every fiber of his being, as he hates all living beings. He envies his vibrant youth, his heat, his warmth. He wants to drown his light in darkness, to make him an echo of his own despair.
He could cut off the glass man’s head in one blow, but a shred of the man’s former self still feels remorse at taking a human life, especially one loyal to the cause. He knows Kari will never forgive him if he dealt the killing blow, and he still loves his niece.
But offenses must be punished.
The arm that would hurt him, he cuts it away with one strike from the shoulder down. His Null Blade cuts through the molecules, erasing them from existence. The limb falls, spraying Kari with sweet warm blood.
Mercy. This was mercy.
Time is unbroken.
Drops of blood fell on Kari’s cheek, while Mathias’ limp, left arm fell onto the roof.
Mathias didn’t scream, but he went into shock, looking at his own limb and then at the bleeding hole in his shoulder, completely despondent. “Did she tell you?” the corpse that had once been her closest thing to a parent told Shroud; unaware, or uncaring, he couldn’t understand him in his current state. His voice echoed with that of his human life but sounded more like a broken record. “How she let me die?”
With a strong kick to the chest that made ribs break, Toshiyami kicked Mathias out of his way and towards the edge of the roof.
“Please, Uncle!” she begged the monster. “I accept death… just leave him be… please.”
Who was she deluding? Mathias would die from the bleeding within a minute without medical care, and he could no longer cast spells. But at least, Uncle—whether out of madness or mercy—left him alone.
“We will kill the Ryu and their spawn, and return the Earth to its former beauty… Nippon abandoned its guts, its honor… its people must be cleansed away, too.” The deranged ghost kept going, unable to stop rambling. “And the Americans, and the Chinese, and everyone. We will go to the stars and extinguish the Ryu… one by one… until all is black… alone in a quiet world.”
This was a nightmare, and she couldn’t wake up.
A form leaped on the roof. Kari looked at it, hoping for it to be Sol-san.
It was Lugh.
Drenched in blood, but unharmed.
“Martel. You made me kill Failinis.” Kari found no trace of his previous friendly sportsmanship in his voice. Just cold fury. “You made me wound my own hound.”
He stood on the roof, swinging his spear, with only eyes for Shroud. “Lugh memorized your Flux scent, Martel. I can track you anywhere. I do not sleep, I will not tire. I will hunt you, but Lugh will not give you a worthy death. He will scalp you first—”
The hunter suddenly noticed Toshiyami, his eyes widening in disgust. Lugh knew what Uncle was, what horror he would unleash if left alone. Lugh faced a threat far worse than the Dragonslayers. For a brief second, Kari saw the hesitation in his eyes. She thought them saved, that the hunter would make the right choice.
But he didn’t.
Lugh’s anger was stronger than his honor. “Martel’s life is mine to take,” the hunter said. “Not yours.”
Toshiyami hissed, still possessively shielding Kari.
“Keep the girl. Stay out of Lugh’s way, and Lugh will stay out of yours.” Uncle stood silent, appraising the words; then he turned back to face his niece. Lugh took it as an agreement and moved towards Shroud to deliver the killing blow.
“Ace… Ace… Ace…” Mathias whispered. “Load…” But nobody came, and Kari lost all hope.
Lugh would kill Mathias and then Toshiyami would kill her. Maybe Sol and the others had been killed by the other hunters already. They would all die on this cold, foreign world, never to see Earth again.
Then, before Lugh could reach Shroud, someone fired a warning shot.
Stitch. Entering the roof through the door instead of climbing, the undead doctor wielded a strange, coiled rifle seemingly made of living matter and pulsating flesh. “I apologize for my tardiness,” Stitch said, pointing the rifle towards Toshiyami first. “I had to bring this out of storage. Very hungry and rebellious, this one.”
Stitch fired faster, a green projectile impacting on Toshiyami’s face and covering the metal mask with thick mold. The horrible matter suddenly grew like a bloated mushroom, intent on crushing the unliving’s face. Her uncle held his face with both hands, his dark blade nullified.
Stitch then aimed at Lugh, who threw his spear at him first. The weapon pierced Stitch’s cloak and chest, hitting the spot where the heart should have been. Without slowing down and the weapon halfway through him, Stitch merely fired another shot at the hunter. The mold hit Lugh’s skin, who willed his spear back to his hand. As he raised it and tried to stab the growing mold, lightning stuck the spear, causing the hunter to let out a scream of pain.
“Make that one off my tab, nerd,” Maggie said, as she leaped on the roof. She had put the guns back in her holsters, but her fingers crackled with lightning. “Actually, if I saved you and Matsumoto, does that make it double?”
Shroud was too busy bleeding out to answer, which made Stitch sigh. “Your affinity for violence surpasses mine,” the doctor said dryly. “If you could take care of the hunter, I could fulfill my doctor’s oath and save our leader’s life.”
“Sure, Boneface.” Lugh, still reeling from the thunderbolt, let out a wail of rage, leaving Shroud alone to charge at Maggie with his spear up. Maggie pointed her fingers at him and snapped them. Her lightning shocked Lugh through his silver spear.
“Hello? Silver? Best electricity conductor?” Maggie taunted him as she kept Lugh screaming and immobilized through electroshocks. “I was always bad at chemistry but even I remembered that.”
Stitch reached Mathias, dropping his gun and bringing scalpels out of his torn coat for an emergency operation.
By then, Uncle had drained the mold of life and turned it to dust; his mask was breached, oozing darkness and oil. Kari looked into the darkness and dim light where the eyes should be.
– Evermarsh Beach, One week and a half prior
Side Quest: Family Matters
Difficulty: Dot Three
Your uncle Toshiyami still haunts the living, neither dead nor alive. One day he will lose control of himself and hurt innocents. Send the dead back to death.
Rewards: Oversoul upgrade (⅓)
YOSHIKAGE: You are cruel.
ADMINISTRATOR: Side-quests are automated, even if I am credited as the sender, but it doesn’t surprise me.
YOSHIKAGE: I refuse. I thought about it, I cannot fulfill it. It is my fault he is this way.
ADMINISTRATOR: No, Kari. It is his fault. He led you both into an impossible situation hoping to take his pain out on everyone else.
YOSHIKAGE: I let him die.
ADMINISTRATOR: You couldn’t have helped. There is a reason we never approached your uncle to become a Player and instead chose you. He was mad and broken long before he turned into a monster.
YOSHIKAGE: What is he? A yuurei?
ADMINISTRATOR: Concordia calls them Pandorians, after Pandoria, a world which they overwhelmed and consumed. They are bugs in reality, people who are alive and dead at the same time. Sorcery made that contradiction possible.
YOSHIKAGE: Like ghosts?
ADMINISTRATOR: No. Undead are dead, but their soul is anchored to the living world by Yellow sorcery. Ghosts are aware on some level that they died; Pandorians deny their death with such willpower that they create a glitch in reality. They are alive and dead at the same time. That paradox allows a vicious force to seep inside our reality, giving them the power to maintain their unnatural existence, for a price.
YOSHIKAGE: He radiates darkness. Like Oversoul. But black.
ADMINISTRATOR: Black, yes. The eighth color. The anti-color, the color of paradox. So dangerous the Sponsors are still fiercely debating whether or not to make it available to Players.
YOSHIKAGE: Can Uncle be cured?
ADMINISTRATOR: I’m sorry, Yoshikage, but no. Your uncle is gone for good. That thing may behave like the human he was, but it is a force of annihilation now. Even Concordia’s Gearsmen have an entire subroutine dedicated to their destruction on sight. They are that dangerous.
YOSHIKAGE: Even if I fully unlock Oversoul? If I gain knowledge, I could save him.
ADMINISTRATOR: Kari, this is a fool’s errand. The only way you will save your uncle is by putting him down and allow him to rest.
YOSHIKAGE: There has to be a way. He’s following me. I can see him at the edge of my vision, sometimes; but he runs when I get too close. He looks in pain.
ADMINISTRATOR: He is. A Pandorian’s existence is unending torment. But they will never let themselves be helped because the alternative is death. Pandorians need Flux to power their unnatural existence, but the void within them is never satisfied; in time their hunger consumes them. That man is at war with the darkness, and one day that man will lose. He will come after you.
YOSHIKAGE: I… I can’t.
ADMINISTRATOR: Even if he hurts innocents?
YOSHIKAGE: I can’t kill my own family.
ADMINISTRATOR: Then, what do you want?
What did she want?
She asked herself this question, as a familiar notification popped up before her eyes.
Magik back online!
She glanced at her teammates, who risked their lives to save her.
She glanced at Lugh, whom Maggie’s assaults had forced to abandon his spear to pursue her on foot with impressive speed.
Then she glanced at her uncle, who wouldn’t stop until everyone, everywhere, was dead.
She knew what she wanted.
Even if Oversoul was still down, she felt a surge of purpose and confidence. “Killer Sense,” she said, reactivating her spells. “Peak.” Kari moved to fight her uncle, looking at her Magik Account for Dot Two Spells.
Activation: Passive, Thought.
The caster creates four invisible “hands” of telekinetic force, with a five meters radius. Those hands possess enough force to lift roughly two hundred kilograms each, and can manipulate objects with the same dexterity as hands of flesh and blood.
That would do.
She stared at uncle with Killer Sense, trying to find the opening in his metal skin as invisible tendrils manifested around her. She looked at him with the same lack of mercy he showed her teammate.
New Hack created!
Hands of Slaughter
Components: Kinetic Choke + Killer Sense
Activation: Passive, App Switch.
You can summon dozens of ghostly, telekinetic hands, each with a five-meter range, with the speed of bullets, and immense strength. These hands are not under your control and possess a will of their own, and will automatically strike to kill any perceived threat within range to protect you. Hands of Slaughter will act even if you are unaware you are under attack.
“You are betraying me… after everything… I raised you…”
“I’m sorry, Uncle,” Kari said. The second she was within five meters of him, ghostly crimson hands sprung from her back, assaulting Uncle with the fury of a Gatling gun. “That is why I must let you rest.”
“Not until… the dragons are dead…” The Pandorian, who seemingly could see the hands as she did, prepared to cast a spell. “Disrup—”
The hands moved like bullets and hit him in the face before he could cast. As they impacted on the metal, they failed to pierce it… but they made the bones below crack.
And they didn’t stop. They kept pummeling Uncle without giving him any opening until the steel of the roof bent under the onslaught. Even if she could feel a little of the hands vanish with each blow, she carried on.
Time is broken.
The shadow retreats into the darkness, trying to blind his niece with his obscured time; to regain control of the battle’s tempo, to set the beat and regain the initiative.
The crimson hands reach for him, acting on their own even as his niece moves unaware. They can perceive him inside the erased time, react to his movements. For the first time since he found the path to that quiet, silent world, the shadow finds himself challenged there.
He finds no opening and feels his embers drained by the hungering darkness. He decides this is not worth maintaining.
Instead, he would meet force with force.
Time is unbroken.
Uncle coated his hands with shadowy blades, cutting through the hands and attempting to do the same with his niece. She dodged around, matching him blow for blow; with her offense automated, she could fully focus on agility and defense.
Meanwhile, Maggie struggled with Lugh, who had tossed his spear aside and instead attempted to punch the girl’s head off. Maggie radiated lightning, her costume shining with power. The lightning extended from her finger to her body, coating her flesh with thunder.
“Huh?” Maggie said, her agility increasing to the point she seemed to leave electricity afterimages behind her as she moved. “Sweet, new Hack!”
As Lugh raised both his hands, intent on smashing the entire roof down, Maggie unleashed lightning from her body with enough output to fry the Reaver even without a silver lightning rod. “Matsumoto!” she called out, “Help, I can keep him busy but he won’t stay down!”
Kari would have liked to help, but Uncle kept her firmly occupied. And if he undid time again…
A violet flash brightened the night, coming from right next from Shroud.
“Sorry, sorry!” Ace said as she materialized at the flash’s epicenter. “Lots of bullshit on my end, what did I miss?” She took a second to scan the area, from the bleeding Shroud at her feet, whose condition Stitch seemed to have under control, to the two duels happening nearby. She quickly put two and two together.
“Lugh,” Ace didn’t hide her disgust, as Lugh pushed Maggie away with a backhand. “You’re fighting side by side with a Pandorian. A Pandorian. Even Mammon wouldn’t sink that low.”
“I will hunt him after washing my honor with Martel’s blood,” Lugh replied. “Leave, Ace. This doesn’t concern you.”
“You won’t, and it does,” she replied, searching for something under her coat. “Rainmaker.”
The wetness in the air gathered into clouds above them, a thin rain starting to fall over the roof. Ace brought out a dozen, sharp throwing knives, wielding them with both hands. “Splash.”
Without a signal or warning, she teleported out of sight. A second later, a volley of knives hit Toshiyami in the back, throwing him off balance and offering Kari’s hands an opening to punch him backward a few meters. Other blades hit him before he could even stabilize himself.
To Kari, Ace moved so fast her eyes could barely see her. She didn’t move as much as she teleported around. A Violet spell? No. She used the raindrops to move, leaving an Orange glow behind. Not a single color.
This woman was one of them.
Realizing the rain-drenched Lugh was wet, Maggie renewed her lightning assault with greater ferocity, keeping the Reaver down with such voltage, the light from his fried fur was almost too blinding to look at. The Reaver fell to his knees unable to move.
“Negafield,” Toshiyami said, his body turning into a sphere of darkness, sucking in the light around it. The sphere charged at Kari like a rolling boulder, the ground disintegrating beneath it. The Hands of Slaughter and Ace’s knives impacted on it and were consumed for their trouble.
Kari had no choice but take a few steps back, the sphere rolling around in a circular fashion without rhyme or reason. If this void sucked even light and sound into itself, then maybe Uncle couldn’t see within it.
Switching places with a raindrop, Ace teleported right in front of the sphere. “Accel Switch,” she said, glancing at Lugh.
In a flash of purple light, both the Reaver and Ace had switched places. Before the hunter could dodge, Toshiyami’s black hole form hit him head on, vaporizing his entire body but his hands, which fell on the roof.
The devastating attack made no sound, shed no blood; not even fumes went out of the wiggling hands. Lugh had disappeared, erased by the darkness in an instant.
Believing he had hit one of his foes, Toshiyami regained his natural form. Maggie immediately hit him with a lightning bolt, frying his metallic flesh, but doing little damage.
In fact, the influx of energy seemed to recharge him. “The Black Tower… I have seen the end beyond… beyond chaos…” Toshiyami said, lost in his own nightmare. “Pandoria will consume everything… bring merciful oblivion to this sick world…”
“Any idea how to put him down?” Ace asked. “I don’t have many offensive options.”
“I do,” Kari replied, as she reached a decision. “Forgive me, Uncle.”
“Feather of Ma’at, Toshiyami.”
As soon as she uttered the fatal words, the faint image of a white feather appeared right before her eyes, before collapsing to dust. Golden, ghostly gates of phantasmal substance materialized right behind Toshiyami. A flash of yellow illuminated the cold night, although it seemed only Kari and Toshiyami could see the doors.
A deep, thundering voice uttered a judgment.
The doors opened behind Toshiyami who cast a spell before Kari could see what lay beyond. “Recursion!”
Time is broken.
The shadow escaped the jaws of oblivion, as he did before. Retreating in the darkness, where time itself is no more. Where he can escape even death.
“Nothing escapes death, mortal.”
The shadow stops as he sees Death looking at him from within the broken time. A jackal-headed watcher, the inexorable death that waits for all.
“Not even time.”
The darkness no longer feels safe.
“Not even you.”
The gods will not be denied.
The shadow tries to turn into a living void again, but no one runs away from Death forever. The jackal grabs him, his hand firm and his hold unbending. He drags Toshiyami, kicking and screaming, through the doors of Duat and into the afterlife.
A kinder, warm darkness welcomes the shadow, but his torment is far from over.
Time is unbroken.
Uncle was gone.
So were the ghostly doors.
Kari felt a pang of sadness, but more than that, she felt closure.
But then, she noticed Lugh’s hands had melted together in a pool of golden ichor when time had skipped. The puddle quickly expanded back into the shape of a man.
Within seconds, Lugh regenerated back to full health, unharmed, and angered. He raised his right hand, his spear flying back to it. “That was painful,” he told Ace, furious. “It almost worked, too. Cost me many points. But Lugh has enough of them to die a dozen times.”
“Matsumoto, you got a second feather?” Maggie asked, sounding slightly afraid. “‘Cause I’m out of options.”
“I can get us out of there,” Ace said, while Kari shook her head.
“I will find you,” Lugh said, walking forward. “I will…”
He suddenly stopped, as he sensed another presence on the scene, at the edge of her vision. Another attacker?
No. A shadowy woman, the most beautiful Japanese geisha Kari had ever seen, emerging from the darkness as a siren from the ocean. The Shadow Queen.
“Enough,” she said, calm and regal. “Your tantrum against my guests ends right now, spoiled prince. Be quiet or be quiet.”
“You do not wish—”
“Quiet, I said,” She waved her hand dismissively, her eyes shining with a golden light. “Pierce Shadowbind.”
Lugh fell on the ground with a loud sound and went numb, as his shadow emerged from the ground; a perfect replica of Reaver in his prime.
Kari froze astonished by that display of Yellow sorcery. She had snuffed out his soul without a fuss. “You killed him.”
“Half so, but he will wish he fully was soon,” the shadowy woman replied, while Lugh’s shadow glanced down at his own corpse with a sliver of horror on his face. “You fought very well, Dragonslayers, although you should have called for my help. Will Mathias recover?”
“Yes,” Stitch said, having patched up an unconscious Shroud’s wounds.
“Good. Your last opponent fled at my presence so you may call this your victory.” Then, as everyone looked on, Lugh’s shadow grabbed his former spear and offered it to the shadowy woman. She lifted it, unaffected by the heat of the electrified metal.
“I believe,” she told the group, “this should convince the locals to stop troubling you. Ace, would you kindly return this spear to Lugh’s estate on the Upside? His father will want to recover a memento from his departed son.”
Clearly, the woman would have rather disobeyed, but wisely kept her mouth shut as the sinister entity handed her the spear. “I believe this stern scolding should make the point across for the Reavers,” the Shadow Queen continued. “If not I will send a message to Mammon, who will not be so gentle with them. Do not disappoint me, Dragonslayers.”
Then the Queen vanished into the darkness, not even wasting a glance at Lugh’s remains. The hunter’s own shadow followed her, a silent, ghastly trophy.
“The fuck just happened?” Maggie asked.
“She got what she wanted,” Ace replied ominously.
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I would like to thank my patrons on Patreon, namely Dex, Warwick Robertson, BlissForgotten, Johnathan, Marc Claude Louis Durand, Rhodri Thornber, Drekin, Bald Guy Dennis, Floodtalon, Dax, Karolus, Daniel Zogbi. No amount of vicious hunters can frighten them.
The picture is pretty much how I see Toshiyami (picture property of Benedick Bana, whose work you can check out here), a being irradiating darkness and making it difficult to see his features.