Tira had been given a task. Her master had sent her to find new servants to help protect Soul Edge after being weakened in his latest battle with his former host. There were a lot of potential servants, from those that sought to wield the cursed sword to those that sought to destroy it. She had observed so many warriors from so many different countries and backgrounds, of different levels of skill and conviction, and she knew that some of them could be easily used for her purposes, given the right... motivation.
She took out the shard of Soul Edge she'd been given to complete her mission and recalled how she'd found it on some traveller whose soul she had offered up to her master. To her surprise, he hadn't immediately reintegrated the shard into the sword, but had instead imbued it with some of his power and given it to her to use in her mission.
She had travelled from Ostrheinsburg Castle to a nearby town, where she observed the busy streets from a rooftop. She could feel the shard's power resonating as she held it in her hand. A smile crept onto her lips as she anticipated the chance to test such power on an unsuspecting victim. That was when she caught sight of someone that she immediately knew was the perfect target: long blonde hair tied into a thick braid and wearing all white, a wreathe on her head, a silver breast plate and brown knee-high sandals: Sophitia Alexandra.
Sophitia walked at a brisk pace through the crowded streets. Her boat home was going to set sail soon and she needed to get home to Athens to make sure her children were safe. After her run-in with that Tira girl, that was all she could think about. She'd implied that Sophitia's children were to be the next hosts of Soul Edge, a horrifying thought for any mother to be sure. She hurried along, oblivious to the girl stalking her from the rooftops, and took a quick shortcut down a back alley, sure that no one would try to attack her after seeing her weapons and armour. A grave mistake. She heard a sound like something hitting the ground behind her and gripped the hilt of her sword. She whirled around, sword and shield at the ready, to see a girl crouched in the alleyway behind her. She didn't recognise the girl at first; her dark brown hair was in a pair of lopsided pigtails and she wore a red one-piece outfit that went down to her knees and exposed her cleavage and midriff, and brown boots and talon-like gauntlets.
But the second she saw the bladed hoop she carried around herself, Sophitia knew exactly who it was. "Tira?"
"Hello, Sophitia. Like the new look?" she taunted. Tira had had much shorter teal coloured hair and a green and blue harlequinesque outfit when the two had had their run-in at Ostreinsburg Castle not two weeks ago. Perhaps the hair change was a result of Soul Edge's power. The sight of her alleviated some of Sophitia's fear somewhat as there was no way Tira could have travelled from Germany to Greece and back again in such a short period of time. Regardless, this girl was a servant of Soul Edge and worse, had threatened her family. Sophitia entered her combat stance but, to her surprise, Tira did not. In fact, she put her weapon down on the ground before reaching into her pocket to pull something out in her clenched fist.
"What are you doing?" Sophitia asked cautiously.
"Oh, nothing," Tira replied, sounding playful yet somehow a little sinister as well. "I just wanted to show you this gift my master gave me." She held out her hand and unclenched her fist to reveal a shard of the cursed sword. Sophitia could literally see the evil energy seeping from it. She couldn't hold back, even against an unarmed opponent, if a piece of the evil sword was right here in front of her.
She lunged forward, aiming for the shard but Tira sidestepped her attack and countered with a roundhouse kick to the side, knocking her completely off her feet and causing her to drop her sword. She'd been kicked by Tira before but she'd been nowhere near this strong. "Now now, that's not very nice," Tira taunted. "You don't want to see my darker side, do you?"
"H-how...?" Sophitia struggled, trying to catch her breath.
"My master gave me this power. You can have it too if you serve him."
"I'll... never serve... Soul Edge," Sophitia replied, her breath steadily returning.
"Aw, that's too bad because he really wants you to serve him and my master has ways of getting what he wants."
"W-what? What do you mean by that?"
"Oh, you'll see soon enough," Tira replied as she cupped Sophitia's chin with her left hand and held the shard with her right. "You should just sit back and relax. Let the power of Soul Edge flow through you. You could have so much power if you served my master. Enough even to protect those children of yours..."
At the mention of her children, the fire returned to Sophitia's eyes and she smashed Tira in the side of the head with her shield. Tira stumbled backwards and, as she regained her composure, Sophitia noticed a change in Tira's body language: she was hunched over and had a more serious look on her face. Sophitia recalled Tira being somewhat bipolar in the past and it seemed she'd 'flipped the switch', so to speak.
"I tried to be nice," Tira spoke in a deeper, angrier voice than before, sounding like a completely different person. "But now, you're going to serve Soul Edge whether you like it or not." Sophitia scrambled for her weapon but Tira was too fast for her and kicked the sword away from her before kicking Sophitia herself in the gut. Winded, she collapsed on the floor, gasping for breath. Tira sat on Sophitia's stomach and held out the shard again.
It was only now, lying on her back and struggling to breathe, that she really took in the sight of the shard. She didn't feel threatened by it. On the contrary, what she felt from this shard was more akin to... calmness. The pain and windedness in her stomach were slowly fading, being replaced by a warm, soothing feeling; a feeling that was spreading outwards. "You can feel it, can't you?" Tira asked with a smirk. "You can feel the shard's power flowing through you. You see? It isn't so bad. It feels quite nice, doesn't it?"
Sophitia couldn't deny that the energy flowing through her felt really good and that scared her. She knew that the full sword could fully possess the mind and body of the one that wielded it so this shard clearly had a similar ability to control its victims, which meant she was beginning to succumb to its power. She had to resist. She'd spent years pursuing the evil sword with the goal of destroying it; she couldn't allow herself to become its servant. She had to resist.
"I'll never serve Soul Edge," Sophitia repeated. And she could feel the influence of the shard becoming weaker as she said this.
"Are you sure about that?" Tira asked, having reverted to her more cheerful, child-like persona. "I can already tell that you're enjoying the feeling of warmth and calmness from the shard. I know I am. If you just submit to my master's will, you can enjoy this feeling all the time."
That sounded tempting to Sophitia. She did enjoy the feeling and she couldn't deny that the idea of feeling like this permanently sounded too good to resist. She shook her head free of such thoughts and shouted a defiant "No!" The corrupting thoughts again began to subside as she showed Tira her defiance. "I'll never submit!" She began desperately trying to get Tira off but her arms were pinned.
"Oh, I think you will," replied Tira's darker persona. "Because your blood was infected when you fought the dread pirate years ago and that blood passed on to your children." At the mention of her children, Sophitia's blood ran cold and her struggles lessened. "Which means..." Tira continued with a sinister giggle, "...that if Soul Edge goes..." Sophitia knew what was coming and silently begged the gods that it wouldn't, "...your children go too." With these words, all of Sophitia's resistance, physical and mental, ceased. She could feel the power of the shard flow through her but she didn't care. She knew that the only way to protect her children was to submit, mind, body and soul, to Soul Edge. To become its servant and defend it from those that would bring harm to it. Those that would bring harm to her children.
Sophitia's eyes glazed over and turned a deep shade of maroon, a colour befitting a servant of the cursed sword. As she watched this change, Tira's anticipation grew and she unconsciously began to lick her lips. Once Sophitia's face slackened lifelessly, Tira leaned in and kissed Sophitia. She wasn't sure if these feelings were her own or if they came from the shard but it didn't matter very much. Tira smiled wider than she had in quite some time. She stood up and Sophitia didn't react at all. "Stand up," she commanded. Sophitia did as she was told, standing at attention with her arms by her sides. Tira walked around Sophitia, taking in the sight of the formerly strong-willed enemy of her master, now completely under her power. "Stand on one leg." She did so and Tira couldn't resist abusing her newfound power over this woman. "Okay, foot down. Take off that wreathe and that breast plate. Oh, and call me 'mistress' while you're at it."
"Yes, Mistress Tira," she replied and did as asked. The wreathe hit the floor quietly and was soon followed by the loud thunk of the breastplate landing on top of it. With the breastplate removed, the only thing covering Sophitia's sizeable breasts was the rather thin fabric of her clothes. Somehow, this made Tira very happy. She placed a hand on one of them but received no response. Because of this, Tira lost all interest in continuing and released her. Sure, she could always command her to react but that would be no fun. She decided to just move on. "Sophitia, you are now a servant of Soul Edge. You would gladly give your life to keep it safe and you would gladly give your soul to it if told to. Is that clear?"
"Ye... no... No!" Sophitia struggled to regain control. Her struggle could be seen in her face as she had the expression a person would have trying to lift something heavy and her eyes were beginning to regain their natural blue. "I'll... I'll never serve... Soul... Edge..."
"Still fighting, eh?" Tira replied. "You won't surrender even if your children will die otherwise?" After hearing these words, Sophitia's will was again broken and her eyes became glassy maroon again. Tira waved a hand in front of Sophitia's face but she didn't so much as blink. "There we go. I'm glad you see it my way. So, you are now a servant of Soul Edge, correct?"
"Yes, I am a servant of Soul Edge."
"You would gladly give your life to protect it."
"I would gladly give me life to protect it."
"You would gladly give your soul to Soul Edge if told to."
"I would gladly give my soul to Soul Edge if told to."
"Very good." Tira was positively beaming as Sophitia repeated her commands back to her. "Okay then, follow me. We're going home."
"Yes, Mistress Tira," Sophitia replied and followed behind as a single tear ran down her cheek.
Although she was unaware of it, her time as a servant of Soul Edge would be cut short by the intervention of Soul Edge's previous host, Siegfried, leaving the evil sword in a dormant state for seventeen years, whereupon it would be destroyed by the very children she was willing to sacrifice so much for.