Wax And Wane Pt 2

From the Story Arc: Coming Home

Previous Story in the Arc: Wax And Wane Pt 1 by Victoria Victrix (Monday, January 12, 2009)

Next Story in the Arc: Wax And Wane Pt 3 by Victoria Victrix (Monday, January 12, 2009)

(posted Monday, January 12, 2009)

((written by Red Djinni))

There was nothing to announce their presence. No flash of light, no loud bang, no eerie hum. One moment there was nothing more than a calm breeze, and the next… they were simply there.

Three travelers.

The two men were armed. The shorter of the two, a bald man wrapped head to toe in rough leather, gripped an obsolete musket in his left hand while the fingers on his right tapped lightly on the hilt of his sheathed rapier. The larger man shifted under the weight of his armor, a full suit of brilliant metal plates bound together by gold-colored links of chain. His visor fell as he brought his broadsword and shield up, to the ready.

The girl, clad in a plain brown woolen dress, held no weapon. Only a doll, pieced together from a chaotic blend of mismatched fabric, stuffed with coarse wool and clutched protectively to her chest.

As one, they winced. Their eyes adjusted to the harsh glare of the early morning sun. Warriors, all of them, their first instinct was to form up, backs to each other, and scan their surroundings. Nothing acknowledged them, save the rustling of leaves and a light mist rising off the water. It was too early in the day for much activity. Even Clockwork had to rest, it seemed.

“Perez,” Red Djinni murmured, squatting to rest on his heels. “We’re in the Park.”

“We’re in Paragon,” Titian Paladin agreed as he laid his shield down. “Our Paragon. We’re back.”

“Shuma is home,” the sad girl whispered.

For a moment, none of them spoke. The Oath was a fresh wound. They could hardly utter a single word without feeling the awful burden of it. All they had seen, all they had done and all they had lost could never be mentioned. Ever. All they could do was honor the dead by going on, silently.

And by fulfilling Rancor’s last wish.

Red reached into his belt pouch, his fingers nimbly sifting past his ammunition, and pulled out a small earpiece comm unit.

“C’mon…” he muttered.

At last, the small LED lit up, pulsed gently, and came to a still. Red nodded, relieved, and spoke quietly into the comm.

“End of days,” he whispered. “Final chapter, final page.”

The LED began to blink, accelerating to a furious pace, and came to another stop. Red dropped the comm unit to the grass.

“Only one way to find out,” Paladin said. “Give it a try.”

Red undid the knotting on his bracers and let the leather coverings fall to the ground. He raised his hands high, his face flush with concentration. The onset was slow, but it was there. There was heat, there were shimmering waves of air, and then, finally, a spark. Fire.

My fire, Red thought, and felt his pulse quicken.

The comm unit crackled and hissed as the flames consumed it.