The City of Light is a complete rewrite of the entire Homestuck webcomic, albeit in a different setting. And by complete I really mean COMPLETE. EVERYTHING. The Scratch, God Tiers, Guardians, Sburb mechanics - all here, but in a very different form. Call me ambitious, but I WILL SEE THIS THROUGH TO THE END.
In the eponymous city, four children wait for the annual ritual: the Trial of Twelve. However, the city is threatened by unseen forces that may destroy their world - once and for all. Things are much more complicated than they seem and the protagonists are thrust into prophecies that they may not be willing to comply with. The very boundaries of perception are changed as a world parallel to their own appears - a world only accessible through dreams.
There will be a reset, though the reset will spawn a world drastically different from the one before - several variables have been irrevocably changed, most prominently the appearance of a god that defies all definition. The protagonists will need all the help they can - especially if they are even to hope of defeating the lord that guards the ending. And yet - is the end truly The End of their journey? Or is there another, final catch to their quest across the worlds?
At last, the legends of old come to life, and with them surprises that nobody will have ever expected. There are circles within circles, and everything may just be more complex than they can handle...
There is a mirror of this story running on Archive of Our Own, under the same title.
ACT 1: This Is Just The Beginning.
A young man steps into his bedroom, and is instantly confronted with a cloud of dust. As his coughing fit subsides, we are able to better peruse his features. This boy has a relatively derpy demeanour which is emphasised by his square-frame spectacles, and no less camouflauged by the white outfit which declares his unsorted status. What sorting, you ask? He asks the same question too, appalled at his sudden lack of knowledge. No matter. We will get to that later.
His name is John Egbert. Today happens to be his thirteenth birthday. It has been almost forever since his room was last inhabited, and the possessions scattered within have already collected dust. The walls are whitewashed, and so are the furniture; an appropriate colour for the unsorted. A heavy tome occupies much of the space on the only table, and its pages are faded with age. Upon the door a sole poster hangs, depicting a house-shaped symbol and the words SBURB in black.
This young man has a wide variety of interests. He likes to play games sometimes and has an insatiable curiousity, including and especially for paranormal lore. He also considers himself an amateur prankster and dabbles in practicing stage-magic. He has recently been on an apprenticeship and made three new friends, which he loves very much. Almost as much as his Na-
"John, dear?" A voice calls as the door swings open. A motherly-looking old woman shuffles in. Her face is lined from age, but it is quite apparent that she would have been considered nice-looking in her youth. Her grey shawl matches her grey her hair and the grey plastic ladle in one hand. "So you've come back from your training! Why haven't you come to tell me?"
"Nanna!" The boy turns around with a childish pout. "I was planning to give you a surprise."
"Hoo hoo hoo!. Ain't you the trickster, dear?" Nanna smiles at her grandson. "How was your apprenticeship? Both I and your father have missed you. He's out at work though – you just missed him."
"It was fun!" John pauses for a moment, and then continued, "I met loads of new people, and most were all really friendly!"
" What about the tutors, dear?"
"Uh, they were okay."
"Did you make any new friends?"
"Oh, yes! Three of them live around our place! I found this really cool sword with Dave, and even though I don't really understand Rose all the time she's a great person, and Jade-"
"You must have had a lot of fun, John!" Nanna beams. "Come on down for some cookies, you must be hungry! You can tell me all about your new friends while you eat."
"Uh, no thanks?"
"John dear, what is it with you and my baking?" Nanna quipped. "It really isn't as bad as you make it out, you were three last time and I probably didn't let it cool down enough- why not another taste?"
"It's okay nana, I'm fine!" John insists with a bucktoothed (forced) grin, nodding fervently. "I...ehh...the Trial's coming up, you know? I've got no appetite!"
"You and your excuses, hooh." Nana huffs. "Yes, the Trial is quite the object of discussion around town these days- so is my carefree little boy finally worried?"
John nods slightly, the reminder of the event making him fidget a little.
"Alright, then. Cookies another time. Don't get your knickers in a twist, dear! Hoo hoo hoo!"
The door shuts. John sighs, his prank having failed, turning back to the window-
"Hoo hoo hoo! Don't forgot who the pranking master is in this house, young man!" With a chuckle the door shuts for the second time, and doesn't reopen.
Stop that, John, this is important!
Every year, the kids who had turned thirteen were due to undergo the Trial of Twelve, a rite of passage for all within the city. One's performance within the Trial would determine the occupation that they would undertake in the later stages of their lives. There were twelve possibilities, each sector possessing a Guardian from the twelve that watched over the world. However, the details of the Trial were shrouded in mystery, and none of the children knew anything about it.
Dave never let him live down memorizing all those details, albeit paraphrased. But Dave considered himself 'too cool' for such things, and while John would really much like to be as cool, he considers his future a little more important than that.
Like John, most of the city were skittishly awaiting their newest batch's entry into the workforce.
But really, the apprehension in the air was creeping him out.
"It doesn't work a second time, Nanna."
"Up for the challenge, John?" A blonde boy leaned back against a pillar of the Egberts' porch, adjusting the pair of shades above his eyes. "Or is Egbert's precious boy scared of the Trial."
"Why can't you stop rambling about it then."
"I- well, everyone's talking about it!" John crossed his arms defensively. The other boy sat up, stretched like a cat- the stripes on his monochrome shirt shifted, and John focused on it to distract himself from the heat rising in his cheeks- and quirked a smirk towards John.
"I'm not. Admit it, John."
"Fine...I'm kind of nervous..."
Fine, no one can beat the great Dave Strider at being aloof. At this indirect admission Dave relaxed his aloofness a bit, ironically. "Mmm. Everyone else is nervous. It's a universal constant, and undisputable. Like-"
"-how cool you are?" John grumbled. "Yeah, yeah, I get it... what should we do now? Standing around isn't helping."
"Whatever. Up to you, I guess." The shade-wearing boy got to his feet and aimlessly kicked a loose pebble out into the street, shrugging as he stared after the pebble's bounces on the uneven cobblestones.
The new cars hated those cobblestones, which was a main reason why horse-drawn carriages were still popular.
One such carriage comes cantering down the avenue, and the horses were smart enough to avoid the pebble. The two boys watched in silence as the fancy azure vehicle careens past, the coachman bedecked in grey paying the kids no attention.
"You're zoning out, aren't you."
"Then why are you staring after that carriage like a lost puppy."
"Uhh...let's go visit Rose and Jade!"
It was close to noon, but the sun had not yet fully warmed up the city.
The duo ended up not visiting any of their friends after all, instead buying refreshments at the marketplace. John paid for a roll from a woman in grey, while Dave munched on a carrot from a produce stall manned by a middle-aged uncle in brown. They walked down one of the cardinal streets that divided the circular city, until Dave tilted his head and flicked a finger towards one of the people roaming the area.
"Look, a chick."
"Dave!" John groaned. "One, I do not believe that all the girls dig you and don't try to hit on her to prove anything to me- two, you don't need any girlfriend!"
"She's got nice eyes, why not?" Dave drawled, an amused expression on her face. Looking closer, John realized that the girl did have interesting eyes- bright golden. She wasn't wearing white as was customary for most of the city children; adjusting her green silk shawl as she turned from the shopkeeper she was talking to.
"Uhhh- Dave, it's rude to stare..."
"Don't worry, I've got it covered. Besides, she's got a fancy fashion sense, don't you think?"
Bright red skirt, black top, neatly styled hair along with the green shawl. Very multicolored, for one. But John had to admit she was quite pretty, with her porcelain skin and-
"Um, Dave, she's going to see us..." They had come to a dead stop, opening staring. John fidgeted nervously as the girl raised her gaze towards them, quickly looking away.
"Oh well. Too late." Dave replied, not breaking eye contract as the girl started towards them. "Hey there, miss!"
"Is there any Reason why you two gentlemen were so Balantly staring at me?"
Dave shrugged. "Your clothes are very pretty."
"Are you implying that me as a person am Not as pretty?" Unlike Dave's lazy slur, the girl was very sharp and particular about her pronunciation- she enunciated her words very carefully. "Or maybe You are simply covering Up with An excuse for your True intentions? I've heard that Men..."
"No! We're not like that!" John exclaimed, alarmed. "Really, your clothes are pretty, and uh, you are too, really! My friend's just kind of untactful like that, don't mind him!"
The girl raised her eyebrows. "I Hope that what you Say is true. My name is Kanaya. I assume that my feelings now are Pleasure to be acquainted with you two."
"Of course." Dave said with a charming smile. "All the girls-"
John elbowed him. "Um, your clothes are really pretty!"
"You already said That." Kanaya was just plain amused now.
"Do you, uh, do magic?"
Dave sighed "Egbert you dork, explain things properly. We color-code our clothing according to job. The magic-users wear only a certain shade of green. The one on your shawl."
"Well, I suppose I am. I Am Only an Apprentice though." Kanaya replied with a pleasant smile. "I Am Actually a Foreigner. I am visiting, and So are my other Eleven Brethren."
John grinned. "Welcome to our humble city, then!"
"John, stop flashing your dorky teeth."
Dave only laughed, and even Kanaya couldn't resist joining in with a light chuckle.
"Humble? Oh, very! It's so humble you Could never Get Lost in its astonishingly few streets. There Is no reason whatsoever why I'm alone and not with my Companions as we speak." Kanaya quipped, folding her arms. With her perpetually careful and thought-out tone it was hard to tell if she was joking or serious. She reminded John of Rose.
"We could help you find your friends, if you'd like! Where are they?"
"I have no Idea. I Believe they are Somewhere Else in this City. If you Run into them, Please tell Them that I Would like to Meet them in the City Square. Their Skin is not as...um...Luminous;" Kanaya looked shifty as she said this.
"-but they have Golden eyes, Something I believe your City's Residents do not." Kanaya paused, and then continued, "Please be Patient with the Others, However. They are quite Socially Awkward. Although that is...Quite an understatement."
"We could help you find your friends! We can give you a tour of the city too!" John said excitedly, making it a point to ignore Dave's annoyed look.
"Very well. I do not See why Not."
A/N: And there you have it, the first chapter of Pantheonstuck! :D I appreciate comments and feedback, so please give me suggestions both on how to improve and how to continue the story.