Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LA. Not the cool one.
Working on and off on the next chapter of collision but I just can't make the scene right in my head.
Edit: Decided to just finish it up so I could post it. It's not my best, but at least it's a continuation.
Taggart and Talbot paced just inside the plastic-coated headquarters of their operation, Taggart biting his knuckles with his head practically buried in his chest, and Talbot constantly cleaning and re-cleaning his glasses every few seconds. Taggart kept glancing at the projector screen, where the computer’s images were being displayed on the backdrop.
The HK leader had had a video camera mounted on his helmet, which documented everything from the first sighting where the elf had gone speeding by at well over twenty miles an hour, to the final moments before she was shot in the side by one of the team members. She’d pulled her sword, though hadn’t actively attacked anyone, and a different team member had shot her in the chest, thankfully stopped by the thick armor she wore. Taggart had been surprised by this, as the shot hadn’t even seemed to damage the armor, and the elf hadn’t seemed very phased by taking a direct high powered rifle shot to the chestplate.
They’d downloaded the video directly from his helmet to the computer using a wireless connection, and they’d been studying it while waiting for the ambulances to arrive. They’d set up a makeshift field hospital in the area anyway, as several men had had accidents with equipment or other things, and the area’s hospital wasn’t very well equipped.
The altercation had happened at an area about half an hour’s drive from here, and they had sent several ambulances to pick up both the wounded men, and the alien. Taggart was more nervous because the operation had gone to complete shit under his watch, while Talbot was worried he wouldn’t have a chance to speak to the Alien at any length before she died. If she could even understand him! Talbot growled with frustration, causing Taggart to glance at him with a raised eyebrow.
Both of them almost jumped when someone banged on the plastic door to the room, and Taggart was surprised to see Dwayne banging on the glass with his fist, yelling something Taggart couldn’t make out. He gestured to one of the Military Police in the lab, waving his arm. “Let that idiot in before he breaks something.”
The MP nodded curtly and snapped a quick salute before moving to the door. He barely had time to unlock it before Dwayne pushed through, pointing an angry finger at the General. “You got her shot, you asshole!” He growled and tried to jump at Taggart, who was thoroughly surprised. Dwayne was normally docile, and he hadn’t expected anything like this from the younger male. Two MPs wrapped him up with their arms, and Dwayne struggled against them.
“What? You think I wanted this to happen? Are you some kind of idiot?” Dwayne cooled a bit as Taggart spoke, barely keeping his voice from becoming a yell. “The first alien we’ve had contact with in history, and she gets shot. How do you expect that makes me look, huh?” He glared at Dwayne, who finally pursed his lips and nodded. “Why do you care so much anyway, son?”
“Because I-“ They both turned their heads to look down the hallway as several people began running down it toward the doors.
“They must be here!” Taggart pushed Dwayne out of the way and took off down the hallway toward the front door. He almost knocked several people to the side as he ran, pushing through the swinging doors out the front of the station where an ambulance and two EMT Humvees were parked. He skidded to a halt as the military medics unloaded the two wounded soldiers first, rushing them inside the building.
One of them didn’t look very serious. He came out of the first medical humvee on a stretcher, his boot removed and a pack of ice around his ankle to keep swelling down. The second soldier was removed from the ambulance, with a civilian paramedic at his side. His right arm was bent at an odd angle from his shoulder, and he was writhing in pain. They quickly carried him into the building and out of sight.
A crowd was gathering around the last medical humvee, emblazoned with a red cross on a white field to denote that it was a purely medical vehicle. Guards were trying to keep soldiers and a few curious civilians who had gathered around out of the way, as the operation, as per Taggart’s orders, hadn’t released very much information about what was happening, and why they were there. One of the MPs gave an order, and the soldiers backed away slowly. The civilians still hung around and tried to get a good look.
As the medics pulled the stretcher bearing the alien out of the humvee, Taggart was mortified to see that it was covered in a sheet. Splotches of purple blood covered the sheet, and the form underneath was still. Taggart rushed over, pushing one of the MPs out of the way, and stopped one of the medics. “What happened!?” His face was pale, his actions more hurried than he would have liked.
The medic spoke quietly, trying to reassure him. “She’s stable for the moment. We just knocked her out with an injection and covered her with the sheet to keep eyes off until we see her first, Sir.” The medic nodded toward the door. “She’s bleeding internally and we need to get her inside. Sir.”
Taggart nodded, only just now realizing that he was blocking the way to the door. He stepped to the side and let them pass, only to follow them moments later. They quickly led the way through the cleared hallway, having had it emptied by the soldiers on gurneys passing through moments before.
Taggart kept pace with the medic as they wheeled the alien on into their command center, then around to the side where the hospital area had been set up. The other two soldiers had already been taken into medical bays and curtained off. All Taggart could hear from them was the quiet groans of pain from the soldier with the shattered arm that had been hit by her sword.
Taggart considered him lucky, if she had chosen to, she could have removed the arm rather than just break it. He was still curious why, even when being shot, she had chosen not to react lethally. She could have potentially killed or seriously wounded multiple members of the HK team. He supposed that he’d have to try to ask her. If she survived, and if they could find some way to speak to her, he mused.
The medic wheeled the stretcher with the elf atop it into the largest of the medical bays, reserved for actual surgery and that maintained as much of a clean room environment as they could manage. The medic gently pushed Taggart back. “We need space to work, sir. We’ll notify you when the operation is complete.”
Taggart nodded, though he noticed that the medic hadn’t said ‘when the operation was successful’, choosing to just say ‘complete’ instead. That really didn’t bode well for her, Taggart thought. He began pacing back and forth outside of the operating area, waiting for something to happen that he could actually take part in. A few moments later one of the medical bays with one of the wounded soldiers pulled it’s curtains aside, and a soldier on crutches came hobbling out. “The one with the ankle.” Taggart thought.
He made his way over to the soldier, who was hobbling away, and put his hand on his shoulder to stop him. “How is it?” Taggart moved to the soldier’s front, stopping him from going anywhere else, and watched his face. The young man’s nametag read “JOHNSON” in big block letters. When Johnson looked confused, Taggart gestured to his ankle.
“Oh! It’s… well, it hurts sir, but the doc told me that it’s just a sprain. She didn’t hit me hard enough to break it. Guess she just wanted to knock me over.”
Taggart raised his eyebrow at the young man. “You mean the alien? Why say ‘she’?”
Johnson’s face colored a bit, his hands waving womanly curves into the air in front of him. “Well, if she isn’t a she, you’re going to have a few confused men in your hands.” He shrugged his shoulders. “She’s certainly something to look at, sir. We’ve all seen the pictures from the room you have set up over there.” Johnson hooked his thumb over his shoulder, pointing toward the plastic-encased room where Taggart and Talbot had been going over all the evidence.
Taggart gave the man an odd look for a moment then finally nodded, patting him on the shoulder. He moved to walk away, but Johnson called him back after a moment. “Sir!”
Taggart turned, facing Johnson once more, a somewhat confused look on his face. “Yes?”
“I… I’m the one that shot her. In the chest. She raised her weapon, and… well, training took over. Sir.” Johnson looked ashamed of himself, but Taggart just nodded, his face setting a little.
“We’ll handle that later, son. Go do whatever Doc told you to do.”
Johnson nodded, then quickly hobbled away.
Taggart began moving back toward the command tent they’d set him, and a sidelong glance at the door told him that Dwayne was still watching the room, his eyes glued onto the curtains that hid the alien from view. As Taggart opened the plastic door to the tent, he waved at one of the MPs. “Someone bring him in here. We need to talk.”
“Who, sir?” Replied one of them.
“Dwayne. And his little friend Colin, wherever he is.”
The MP nodded. “Right away, sir.”
Talbot was waiting for Taggart when he returned to the tent, a horribly worried expression on his face, glasses clutched between his fingers where the nervous scientist was still cleaning them. “How is she?”
Taggart grabbed a mug and began pouring himself a cup of coffee. The afternoon was beginning to turn into evening, and he had a feeling it was going to be a long night. “Bad. But we’ve got some of the best army medics here. She’s in good hands, Talbot.”
Taggart noticed that even he was calling her a she now, but he supposed that was just going to be easier. He glanced up at the feed from the HK lead’s helmet, noticing the frame had been frozen on the elf’s face, screwed up in the expression of tense combat. He guessed they wouldn’t need images and video now that they had the real thing.
If she survived the night.
Last edited by Slywyn; 04-10-2012 at 09:57 AM..
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LA. Not the cool one.
I updated the first post with all the links to the other chapters of the story, posted the new chapter in the post above this one, and I guess doubleposted. Or something. Meh.
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Northwest Ohio
Couldn't stay away, could you? I'm always amused by how many people "quit," but end up coming back. Anyway, I'm not here to gloat. I welcome anything.
Taggert is surprised to hear the alien as a 'she?' Hasn't the command staff been doing that behind the scenes for quite some time?
Very good, as usual. I note I seem to be developing a liking for dashes...
EDIT: And if you're up for it, I'd like to invite you to where the cool kids are playing these days.
"A dictatorship is simply a bureaucracy with a license to kill."
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LA. Not the cool one.
Well, I'd stipulated in my "quitting" post that the only things I'd still be paying attention to here would be the fiction forums and my own threads.
I just actually left everything for a while because I was pissed at a few people here. I lost my temper and needed to cool down for a week or two.
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Mexico, Jalisco, Guadalajara
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LA. Not the cool one.
Taggart sat on the steps of the police station. Things had been quiet in the last week or so since the female alien had been brought here. She’d survived the surgery alright, but either as some kind of coping mechanism, or possibly through loss of blood, she’d been unconscious. It wasn’t clear if she was simply sleeping, or in a true coma, as they knew nothing about her, or her physiology, other than what they were able to document while trying to save her life.
The bullet from the rifle had penetrated her armor, but through luck, or perhaps as a testament to the durability of the metal- which they had stripped from the elf nearly as soon as she’d arrived on the stretcher and was still undergoing tests, the bullet had been deflected up, and barely missed what they were assuming was her stomach. It had penetrated a lung and perforated her diaphragm, meaning that for a day or two they had her on an artificial breather until her body took over.
Talbot said he hadn’t seen anything like it. She was healing at a rate that astounded the scientists and doctors brought in to study her, and which had never been matched in Humans. They didn’t know how she managed it. As Talbot had so aptly put it: ‘It’s not like she’s out of a comic book, you know, that guy with the claws… But it’s definitely inhuman. We’ve never seen anything like it.’
Taggart frowned and looked down at the small wooden block in his hands. He was sitting off to the side of the training area they’d been set up in, on some stairs that led what he guessed were showers. He’d never gone exploring in the station before now. He’d always been too busy with leading and finding the alien. Now that she was finally here, and wasn’t a threat to anyone at the moment, most of the CIA and FBI personnel had left. At least the ones that didn’t need to be here for some reason or another.
The HK agent that had fired on the elf was being court-marshaled for disobeying the direct order not to fire, but Taggart had recommended he simply be punished instead of jailed. He assumed that Johnson would probably be knocked down a rank, and removed from the HK teams, but he wasn’t sure. And it was out of his hands now, that much was certain. He frowned and tilted the block in his hands from side to side.
He was whittling, something his father had taught him when he was a young boy in the ‘40s. He was trying to figure out just what it was he was carving, as he hadn’t been paying much attention to the strokes he was making. He tilted the carving the other way and finally realized that he had been carving the armor that the elf had been wearing. He’d spent almost an entire day in there with the analysts, looking over the armor, and he had to admit to himself, marveling at it.
The thing was practically a work of art. It was held together by a combination of riveting, welding, and leather straps, but the leather didn’t match any known species of animal. And the welding and riveting was on a level that he wasn’t sure Humans could even match. Every rivet and weld were absolutely perfect, and his fingers tingled when he touched the cold, blue-hued metal. The analysts had informed him that the same strange radiation that they’d found in her blood was coming from the metal.
However, it didn’t seem to be some kind of ambient radiation that was on everything from… wherever she came from, as her pants and shirt were entirely absent the radiation. It was coming from her, from the armor she’d been wearing, and the sword she’d been carrying was practically –glowing- the readings coming off of it were so strong. But otherwise the objects she’d been carrying were practically ‘normal’, if not for the strange materials that most of it was made of.
The cloth didn’t match any known samples, the leather of her boots and leggings didn’t match DNA of any known animal species, and the metals were all strange. Except for one sample of Iron they’d collected from a buckle. That had astounded everyone almost as much as the rest of it had. Wherever she was from, they also had iron. And the iron hadn’t been anything special. It was just… iron. Good old Fe on the Periodic table.
The spectral analysis of her blood was still in it’s preliminary stages, mostly because they’d been afraid of taking more than a little because she’d lost so much during the surgery and from her injuries. The surgery itself had been complicated by the fact that they didn’t have any blood or fluids to give her, meaning that whatever she lost, stayed gone.
Talbot had come up with the idea of using a dialysis machine jury-rigged in ways that Taggart didn’t understand in order to clean and recycle some of her blood, and the doctors credited him with likely saving her life. Taggart supposed that he’d have to reward him somehow soon.
While he waited for something to happen, Taggart continued to muse. He glanced around the room a few times, noticing several soldiers talking animatedly. He pocketed the small knife he’d been using to carve, swept the wood shavings against the wall with his boot, and placed the small carving in one of his pants pockets. He’d likely simply trash it later, but it might come in handy for now.
He stood then made his way toward the two soldiers talking, starting to be able to make out what they were saying as he neared them. “Did you see the blood!?”
“Yeah, I saw it Jones.” The second one seemed almost bored, as if they’d discussed this several times. As they likely had. All the personnel involved, other than those already sent away for debriefing, were being contained here. All communication devices, including phones and computers, had been confiscated. They couldn’t risk anything about what was going on here getting out.
“It was purple, man! Who has purple blood?” Jones continued. “I mean, it was on the floor, and the tools, and the Docs had it on their scrubs. It’s crazy, man.” Jones scoffed incredulously. “This is some straight up Aliens shit, man, I swear.”
Taggart stepped up behind the two soldiers and stepped a little louder than he needed to. Jones turned to stare at Taggart for a moment before he clapped to attention, saluting Taggart. His friend, name “BLYTHE” on his jacket, followed suit quickly after. “Sir!”
Taggart snapped the two a quick salute. “I heard you were talking about our alien friend.”
Blythe frowned and glanced toward Jones for a moment before nodding. “He was.”
“Well.” Taggart began. Talking about the alien wasn’t against the rules or anything, but they were trying to discourage too much talk about it, as it was less likely for rumors and things to start that way. They were hoping that by keeping a lid on discussion would keep rumors and speculation to a minimum. Some of the soldiers were spooked enough as it was, and Taggart didn’t want things to get out of hand. “How about you two go get some lunch, hm? I’d say that there’s probably something you two could be doing other than standing around with your thumbs up your combined asses, no?” He smirked a bit at the end. His soldiers generally knew that he was teasing them, as Taggart preferred not to be a hardass to his command. It tended to grease the wheels, and make subordinates more willing to do what they needed to do, if they didn’t feel threatened or cowed by their command.
Both of them saluted again quickly before hurrying off, two hurried ‘Yes sir’s following them. Taggart smiled and began making his way back toward the tent set up inside the large gymnasium-like space, when he saw Talbot practically come flying out of the plastic tent. He skidded to a halt several feet away.
“General! She’s waking!”
Taggart’s eyebrows flew into what was left of his hair. “We better hurry then! And get the boys!”
Colin and Dwayne were sitting in one of the cells of the prison’s jails, and though it had been dressed up a bit with a TV and magazines and somewhat more comfortable seating, it still felt like a jail cell. They were effectively trapped here until further notice.
Taggart had corralled them in his tent just a few minutes after the elf had been brought into the station for surgery or something, he hadn’t been clear in the details, to explain that it was now out of his hands, and that they were going to be staying here at the station until further notice. He’d allowed them a phone call each to their families and workplaces, to explain that they wouldn’t be home for a while, but that was it. Aside from news, which had moved on from the odd occurrence on the interstate once new information hadn’t been forthcoming, and re-runs of old shows they could find on basic cable, they were bored out of their minds.
Dwayne had tried to get them a gaming console or maybe even an old computer with no internet, but nothing had shown up yet, even though Talbot had promised that he was working on it when he came down for a visit the other day. Dwayne wasn’t even sure what day it was anymore. The soldiers had even taken their watches, since they were digital, and no natural light got down here, since the jail cells were underground.
There was a clamor down the hall, and Dwayne and Colin both stepped out of the cell to see what was going on. They were stuck on this floor, where they had three different cells between the two of them, one for sleeping, one was a makeshift kitchen, and the other was the ‘living room’, where they’d just been, so they weren’t locked in a tiny cell. Just this floor.
The peered down the hallway to see another soldier they didn’t recognize come running. He stopped a step or two away from them and beckoned them with a hand. “The General wants you! She’s waking up!”
Dwayne glanced at Colin and then back to the soldier. “Okay. Cool.”
Slywyn slowly opened her eyes. For the third(or fourth?) time in recent memory, she awoke feeling like she’d been run over by a mammoth. Or maybe chewed on by a shark. Or maybe a little bit of both. She felt like shit, she quickly decided, and she didn’t like it. She also felt strangely naked.
She managed to open an eye and also immediately decided that it was far too bright, in wherever she was. She raised a hand over her head- well, attempted to. She found that she couldn’t even manage that. She was trapped in some kind of white, scratchy cloth that she again decided she didn’t like- so many things she didn’t like about this situation.
She struggled against the itchy fabric for a moment before she finally managed to free an arm. She also noticed that she felt much weaker than she would have liked to feel when waking up in an odd place. She placed an arm over her eyes and opened both of them, now that they were shielded from the sun-like light overhead.
She was in some kind of very strange room. It was very bright, the bed, or whatever it was she was on, was very, very uncomfortable, the blanket itched, and she was cold. This place smelled like death and blood, though she quickly realized it smelled like -her- blood. She frowned at this as she began to remember why she was here in the first place. She’d been shot by one of the strange, smaller Humans, with a gun that she didn’t recognize. She certainly couldn’t build it, she was sure of that.
She let out a quiet groan and cursed in Darnassian. She felt so weak that even holding her arm over her head was taxing. And when she tried to take a deep breath she had to catch herself because of the pain. That’s because you got yourself shot in the stomach, stupid, She remembered.
She let her arm fall to the bed and squinted her eyes while they continued to adjust to the bright light. She had no idea where she was, she was cold, tired, weak, and for the first time she noticed that there were two Humans holding what looked like clipboards of some kind on the other side of what appeared to be glass.
Today was not going to be a good day. She could feel it.
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LA. Not the cool one.
((Written for my characters on ToR. Where I recycled names, because I'm super-duper creative. Bite me.))
A Jedi walked slowly through the space station drifting somewhere in Hutt space. Her head swung from side to side, more like a radar dish scanning for signals than someone actually looking at the wrecked interior of the derelict space station.
Her hair was stark white and pulled back into a tight bun on the black of her head, and her eyes were covered with a thin, matte black metal sheet. Contrary to what most Jedi wore, she was clad in battleworn durasteel armor, scorch marks and saber burns readily apparent, and worn proudly as scars of battle. A single, silver-colored lightsaber hilt hung on her hip, always easily accessible and readily available for use.
Behind her walked a man taller than she was, wearing a large floppy hat that covered his eyes, and a collared blue trench coat that swept the ground as he walked. The way the fabric was stiffened at the shoulders and around the neck hinted at metal reinforcement in his clothing as well, showing clearly that these two were ready and prepared for battle- as if their cautious steps and careful gazes didn't belie that already.
All around them was the detritus of destroyed military equipment, scorched and destructed metal, and even debris from the space station itself. Whatever had torn through this space station had done so with the force of a rancor, leaving the entire area looking as if a bomb had gone off. Or several bombs, was more likely.
Slywyn the Knight stopped and raised a hand, her head pointed off and to the upper right of a hallway. She was a Miraluka, a strange and unique breed of alien. Near-human and without eyes, they saw entirely through the powers of the Force. They possessed precognition as a rule, making them especially deadly and powerful melee fighters, and spent so much of their lives immersed in the Force that they were able to become some of the most powerful Jedi ever known. And the most depraved, lunatic Sith, should one fall.
The man stopped up right beside her and glanced in the direction her head was pointed, then let out an exasperated sigh. "You know not everyone can see through walls."
She seemed to come back to herself, her face softening for a moment. "Right. Sorry, Doc. But... she's up there. I can feel it."
"I'd rather she not surprise us... but she can see us too, can't she?" Doc placed his hand atop his blaster, as if expecting his quarry to come flying around the corner ahead at any moment.
"Yes. She too is a Miraluka. She likely already knows we're here." Sly's voice was soft and controlled, completely modulated to be as even and neutral as possible. Miraluka were a people of extremes. As they spent their entire lives immersed within the Force, their alignments played a much more prevalent role in how they acted, and even perceived the world around them. Light-sided Miraluka were known to be the most peaceful, determined, level-headed Jedi on record. Dark-sided Miraluka were abominations of the Force, twisted and malevolent on a level that astounded even most Sith. And incredibly powerful.
"Remember, Doc. She's fallen. We can't give her any chances." Sly's face contorted for a moment. "If you get an opening, you shoot to kill."
Doc drew his blaster and nodded his head quickly. He flipped the power switch , letting the small handheld firearm whir to life. "Got it." He also brushed his trenchcoat to the side, revealing the scattergun hanging behind his back on a sling. "Ready when you are."
They began walking toward the end of the hallway, where one of the bodies of the station's Republic crew was still smoking. Doc cringed as they passed it. Slywyn didn't even flinch. Doc stepped faster for a moment, pulling level with Slywyn. "Sly. I have a question."
Slywyn let out a soft sigh. "Ask away, Doc." Somewhere deeper in the station there was a deep groan, as if an entire section of metal had been torn away, and the floor beneath their feet shook with a gentle tremor. The lights of the station flickered.
"She's your daughter. Are you sure you won't hesitate?" Doc asked the question he knew they were both wondering.
"You and I both know I can't afford to."
The Sith stopped. She pivoted her head like a magnet, looking down and off behind her and her companion, her long black cape swishing around her feet.
The man behind her stepped back as if she was about to attack him, but stopped short when he realized her attention was focused elsewhere. "My lord?" His voice was nasally, as if his nose was constantly stopped up, and his eyes were covered with what appeared to be sunglasses, but were actually extremely high-tech HUD readouts, with battle data and a constant stream of information. At the moment they were simply cataloging dead bodies.
"Mother is here, Malavai." She stated simply. Her voice was deep for a female, but was also electronically filtered. She wore a breather mask over her face, providing a constant stream of painkillers directly to her airway. Dark-side Miraluka wallowed in the agony of their own sins constantly. Amonem had reacted by growing incredibly introverted and passive on the outside and around normal company, but prone to incredible bursts of fury and rage in battle, fueled by her own pain. Which only grew worse with every atrocity and murder that pushed her farther along her path to the Dark.
Encouraged by her Sith masters, and groomed by an especially interested Darth, Amonem had been twisted from the Light path her mother had raised her on. She was now spiralling uncontrollably into unfathomable levels of Darkness, and she only grew stronger the farther she fell, her rage and pain fueling her Force abilities. Now that she had grown so potent, the Empire wielded her like a tool, sending her to capture and destroy targets that would have otherwise taken platoons or even entire battalions of normal footsoldiers.
Malavai Quinn, Amonem's loyal Imperial Captain companion and sometimes-healer, went rigid. "Your mother is here? Then she fell for our trap as expected! We need to act now." He clenched his fist before his chest. "Imagine the political victory in store for us if all goes to plan. The fallen daughter of a celebrated Republic war hero, capturing her mother and turning her over to the Sith for questioning." He took a deep breath. "It will shatter morale on planets across the Republic."
"Capture. Yes." Amonem wasn't going to let on that her plans were anything but. She blamed her mother almost as much as herself for her fall to the Dark, claiming that her mother's strict teachings and Jedi upbringing left her feeling cloistered and repressed. Most of her hatred was directed inwardly, at herself for allowing herself to grow weak enough to succumb to the temptations of power and prowess, but she always felt a red hot spike of pure hate toward any Jedi, or any mention of her mother. She had to prove which of them was the better. And she intended to do so today, with the death of her mother.
Amonem waved a hand toward a hallway. "Come, Quinn. We settle this." She turned to make her way deeper into the station, her cloak swirling about her as she did. It revealed the twin matte-black lightsabers hanging from her hips. Where her mother favored a single saber, Amonem dual-wielded them, allowing for much more force and destruction behind her blows.
The corruption within her was readily viewable even with the metal band covering her eyes- which happened to have been stolen from her mother before her daughter jumped to Imperial space all those years ago- as dark bands of black lightning on otherwise soft, paling skin, following the veins along her eyes in her face.
Mother and daughter began heading toward each other, and even at this distance Amonem could see the shining beacon of Light that was Slywyn. Even as Slywyn could see the sucking vortex of pain and anger that represented Amonem in her vision. It pained her to see her daughter in such a state, but she knew from experience that the only release for a Miraluka so fallen into torment was the cold embrace of death. She was only relieved that it would be her doing so, as she still felt guilt over her daughter's defection.
As they moved closer and closer toward each other, Slywyn was beginning to be able to feel the pure power radiating from her daughter, driven by her agony. She turned to Doc and whispered- for the first time appearing visibly nervous. "She's grown so strong, Doc."
The man hefted his blaster. "She can still be taken down by your lightsaber, or a shot from the 'Doc Special', here. Remember that. As powerful as she may be, she'll go down just like anyone else. We just need an opening."
Slywyn nodded. "Of course. Sorry, Doc. It's just..."
He placed a hand on her shoulder. "I know. Now, that's enough of that. You need to be strong. For her, as much as yourself. We're going to save her. You know that. One way or the other."
Sly nodded and clenched her fists. They were getting even closer now, the Darkness radiating off of the Sith actually beginning to overpower and cloud her vision. It was going to be a hindrance she hadn't anticipated. She stopped in the middle of the hallway, just around a corner from the hallway she could see Amonem walking down. "This is it, Doc." She took a deep breath, then kneeled. "You better head back to the ship."
This was the part that Doc had been dreading. He knew that she had been intending to send him away, worried that he'd make an easy target. "You know I'm not going anywhere."
Sly turned her head toward him. Even though she didn't have eyes, Doc always knew when she was looking at him. It was one of the qualities he liked the most about her. She knew how he felt, but he also knew that she wouldn't, couldn't return them. Not without breaking her Jedi vows. But she had also intimated to him one lonely night in the reaches of space that if there was ever a man she'd break her vows for, it'd be him. But that day hadn't come. Not yet. "Very well, Doc. Just try to keep yourself safe."
He hadn't expected her to relinquish the fight so easily, and was actually a little shocked. But he nodded and clenched his jaw anyway. "I'll have my eye on you, hot stuff." Doc winked at her and turned to find a place to hide. He was confident in his own abilities, but he wasn't about to make a stupid mistake and give Sly's daughter an easy target right from the get-go.
Slywyn began to meditate as Doc took up a position further down the hallway, and waited. Soft light began to billow up around her as she communed with the Force, drawing on it's strength and peace, steeling herself for the fight she knew was coming.
Amonem could see her mother further down the hallway, just around the bend. She turned to Malavai and pointed to a small nook with a computer access that they'd scouted before her mother had arrived. "It's time to get to work, Malavai."
The Imperial Captain nodded, quickly hurrying over to the terminal. "I'll have the station's defenses online before you two finish talking."
"Don't fail me, Quinn." Amonem began walking away from the Captain, leaving him to shake in his inspection-ready uniform.
"Wouldn't dream of it." He still had nightmares of what she'd done to the last companion that had failed her. And it'd taken him weeks to get the vomit smell out of his uniform.
Amonem began taking a strictly measured pace down the hallway. She had planned the entire encounter with Quinn, even going so far as to spike several computer terminals along the route she knew her mother would take toward her so that Quinn would have easy access to the station's systems, in order to bring defense shields and turrets online when needed.
Her metal-clad boots slapped audibly against the metal floor of the wrecked station as she walked, as if the hammerblows of the bringer of armageddon himself were ringing out in the hallway. She knew she was stronger than her mother, but her hatred only fanned the flames of her power. It was going to be a onesided match, and only one of them would be leaving the station alive.
She finally rounded the corner, seeing her mother in the state she'd expected her to be in. Her mother meditated before every battle and fight she'd ever taken part in, centering and calming herself so that her vision would be as clear as possible. Amonem wanted to shake her up.
She paced before her mother, holding her arms out in front of her in a mocking gesture. "Do you like what I've become, mother? Do you still blame yourself for our argument? Would you have let it go if you knew it'd come to this?" Amonem was referring to the argument they'd had the night before she'd defected. The night she'd finally had enough of the prim and proper, and stifling and backward, Jedi Order.
"You'd severely injured your trainer. You know as well as I do that we couldn't have let you continue your training after an outburst like that." Slywyn hadn't been intending to respond, but the pure malice coating her daughter's words like a poison had drawn the response out of her.
Slywyn pushed herself to her knees and forced herself to look upon her daughter. She wanted to disown the thing before her, she didn't even want to call her a Miraluka anymore, she was such a twisted perversion of what the majority of her people stood for, but she knew that she had to face her fears and doubts in order to overcome them. She had to admit that what Amonem had become was partly her fault.
"I was too strict on you. I was trying to form you into an instrument of the Light. I wanted to-" She was cut off as Amonem barked a laugh, muffled by the breathing mask her daughter wore.
Even with the constant stream of painkillers, all the mask did anymore was dull the edge. And even that was losing it's effectiveness. Her breaths were audible because of her mask, and everything she said was given an electronic overtone. "You wanted to what!? Turn me into another Jedi lapdog? As brainwashed and obedient as you?"
Amonem practically spat the words, and Slywyn wanted to recoil at the pain behind them. "No. I wanted to save you from the darkness I saw within."
Amonem drew her twin lightsabers. A light behind Slywyn winked three times. On-off, on-off, on-off. The signal from Malavai that he was in control of the station's defenses. Her dual sabers flashed on with the distinctive sound of a lightsaber being powered on, each one glowing a bright and potent green.
Slywyn drew her lightsaber as well, but didn't light it just yet. "This doesn't have to happen, Amonem. We can take you back to the Order. They can fix this. You know they can." It was a last-ditch effort. But Slywyn had to try. At least once.
"Oh, mother, it does. It very much does." Amonem raised a saber to the sky. Her signal to Malavai. "NOW!" She lept toward her mother with a roar. Doc stood. And a shield sprang across the hallway before and after Amonem and Slywyn, cutting them off from their companions.
"NO!" Doc cried out and flung himself at the shield. He was so stupid! He should have expected this. He slammed his fist against the unyielding energy of the energy field. But it didn't give. Wouldn't give. And several turrets popped out of hatches on the walls. "... Oh crap."
Slywyn barely had time to light her saber and grip it before her daughter's twin sabers collided with it, sending sparks leaping into the air between them. The telltale sound of lightsabers meeting filled the air, screeching and whining in protest.
"You die here, mother!" Amonem cried, and lashed out with the Force. Slywyn was thrown back several feet from the blast, but landed lightly on her toes.
"I tried to warn you, Am! It didn't have to come to this!" She raised her bright blue saber in front of herself in a guarding stance, and activated her shield generator. It wouldn't do much other than deflect some of the off-center thrusts, but after seeing what levels her daughter was willing to stoop to in order to secure victory, she knew that only her own unwillingness to see the depravity her daughter was capable of had led to her being separated from Doc. She couldn't squander any possible advantage. Not now.
Amonem slashed both sabers in front of herself, bright green blurs of light, and unleashed a primal scream of rage that was strong enough to actually stagger Slywyn. She's so strong!, Slywyn thought, and she instantly knew that it was a mistake to come here.
While Slywyn was still staggered, Amonem charged, pointing both lightsabers straight ahead at her mother, trying to spear her through the chest. Slywyn slipped to the side and batted them to the side, settling into the calm of battle.
They began exchanging blows with ever-growing ferocity, neither one managing to land even the smallest of touches on the other. The two Miraluka's precognitive abilities were proving a match, as they were able to anticipate each other's movements. Sparks flew, and soon the floor and walls were seared and scorched with marks from lightsaber tips as the two Force-wielders duked it out in the square of space that the force shields had created.
Behind them, Doc was barely holding out against the turrets when a lucky shot from his blaster knocked out the power supply of one of them. "Aha!", he cried, and instantly turned to the other. It wouldn't take him long to disable this one now that he knew how. "I'm coming Sly! Just hold on!"
Malavai grunted as his console. Slywyn's companion had gotten lucky. He had miscalculated. There was only the one turret left in the compartment he'd trapped Doc inside. And the station's Droids had all been destroyed in Amonem's attack. He cursed and glanced to the corner where the Jedi and Sith were battling. It would take him exactly six and one-half seconds to cover the distance at a dead sprint. He quickly began punching commands into the computer.
Slywyn was beginning to flag. The blows being exchanged were so powerful and furious that the battle was starting to drain even her Force-amplified reserves of strength. She had to do something to turn the tide. She noticed a piece of metal hanging from the wall, barely attached by a few wires.
Attempting not to think about what she was doing, since Amonem would be able to sense it and block her attack, she let the Force guide her instead. As Amonem raised her sabers for an attack, Slywyn swept her arm across her face.
The chunk of metal tore free with a screech, flying toward the Sith. Malavai had just reached the energy field when both of them failed, as timed. And Doc managed to take out the second turret just as his barrier flickered and died.
Both companions turned toward each other, and there was a moment's pause. Then Amonem's cry of pain rent the air as the metal collided with her back. She had only her armor to thank that the impact didn't instantly break her back. As it was, it threw her off of her feet.
Malavai reached out a hand in horror. "No!"
Doc leveled his blaster at Quinn and cried, "Sly! Now!"
Amonem lay on the ground before Slywyn. And Slywyn hesitated. She raised her lightsaber to strike down her daughter, and a memory flashed unbidden to her mind. The day that Amonem was born, pink and crying from her birth. She realized that she couldn't bring herself to kill her own daughter.
That was all the opening that Amonem needed. She lashed out with the Force, sending out a blast that was so concentrated and forceful that it actually broke Slywyn's nose when it impacted, and sent her flying. She flew right into Doc as he fired at Quinn, causing him to just barely miss. His shot went wide, striking Malavai in the arm instead.
He let out a bleat of pain and spun on the spot, blaster arm flinging wide. Amonem sprung to her feet and relit both of her lightsabers, then let out a bellow of rage. She lept at her mother, laying defenseless atop Doc. Slywyn gripped a chunk of the floor, and literally threw it at the incoming Sith, using her Force-augmented strength to speed it along it's way.
Amonem cut through the sheet of metal as she flew, but it altered her course enough to cause her to land several feet away from Slywyn. This gave her mother enough time to take her feet again, but the Jedi was clearly losing this fight. Her normally tight bun was coming loose, leaving ragged strands of hair to dangle at random intervals along her face, her breaths coming in quicker than she would have liked.
Amonem twirled her lightsabers in her hands and began to pace around her mother. Slywyn raised her lightsaber in front of her face, steeling herself for the incoming attack, and began to circle, keeping Amonem in front of her at all times. Doc began to sidestep with her, staying just to her back and side to cover her with his blaster. He muttered "Just need one opening..." to himself, keeping his weapon leveled at the Sith.
"Are you so weak you need to bring help to our battle, mother?" Amonem's tone was mocking, biting. She swung a saber in front of herself, taunting the Jedi. Her face was leveled at her mother, just waiting for the perfect moment to strike. A cobra circling the wounded mongoose.
"And who is he supposed to be, then?" Slywyn gestured with her head at Malavai, who was beginning to climb to his feet, clutching his arm. Doc's shot had gathered enough force behind it to spin him, but it was just a burn. It hadn't taken anything out of his arm. But it was still incredibly painful.
Amonem glanced back behind her for a moment. "Quinn? Why, he's the one who almost killed your lover there."
Slywyn's impassive mask faltered for a moment, and Amonem seized it. "Oh? Struck a nerve, have I? Is the Jedi who always lectured me about controlling my feelings actually -falling- for her compatriot?" Amonem's face contorted into a malicious sneer. "I wonder how much you'd suffer if he died..."
Doc started to say something, when suddenly he was lifted from his feet and began to choke. Amonem let out a sadistic cackle. "Save him, mother! Save him like you tried to save me!" She raised her arm high above her head, and Doc was lifted with it. His blaster fell from his fingers as he clutched at his throat, gagging and clawing for air.
"No!" Slywyn cried out, and for the first time, took the offensive. She lept at her daughter, who deflected her, just barely, with her lightsaber.
"I believe I've struck a nerve." Amonem sneered and pulled her hand into a fist. Doc cried out in pain and fell to the floor. He didn't move.
Slywyn let out a cry of distress and swung her blade. There was a power behind it that Amonem hadn't been expecting, and her lightsaber was knocked from her grip. She screamed in rage and lit her saber's twin, but she wasn't fast enough.
Slywyn cut across Amonem's stomach, nearly spilling her daughter's insides out onto the floor. As it was, metal, cloth, and skin smoked from the lightsaber's passing, and Amonem went rigid. "My lord!", shrieked Malavai. For all their planning, Slywyn had managed to beat Amonem in single combat.
Amonem fell to her knees before her mother, clutching at her stomach. "N-no..."
Slywyn herself didn't seem able to believe what had just happened, and she fell to her knees in front of her daughter. "Am! No, Am!" She couldn't bring herself to accept that she'd just sliced open her daughter's front.
Malavai struggled to his feet behind them and leveled his blaster, but this time at the wall. "Time... to put the exit plan into motion." They'd discussed what he needed to do if she lost. But he hadn't believed they'd actually need those charges.
Slywyn realized what he was doing a moment too late to stop him. Malavai fired at one of the many pre-placed charges along the outer wall of this hallway, which was along the outside of the station. The charge went off instantly, blowing a hole into space.
He was barely able to grab onto a wire to hold himself in place as the vacuum of space began to suck everything not bolted down out of the station and out into the inky blackness. Part of which included Amonem.
Slywyn reached out for Amonem as she began sliding along the floor, but she realized that Doc's body- no! He was still alive, but barely clinging. She had to choose.
Slywyn chose Doc. She used the Force to pull her friend to herself, and then launch the two of them behind the blast doors that were beginning to close themselves across the damaged section of hallway. Malavai was trapped on one side, and Slywyn on the other, as Amonem's limp form was sucked out into the blackness of space.
As the blast doors sealed shut, cutting Malavai off from Slywyn and Doc, the suction forcing him to cling to the wiring that had saved his life abated. He was able to release it, and he instantly turned to the window out into space and snapped a smart military salute. "It has been an honor, my Lord."
Slywyn gripped Doc's body and stood. She paused for a single moment to watch what she thought was Amonem's body float away like so much garbage, and for the first time in her life she wished that she had functioning tear ducts, so that she could put physical action to the pain she felt welling up inside of herself.
As it was, she couldn't do anything of the sort, and so she did the only thing she could. She broke out into a Force-driven sprint back to her ship, carrying Doc's limp body. The ship droid could save him. She knew it could.
As Malavai watched the Jedi's ship disengage from the station and head away, he knew that he could easily take one of the ship's defensive guns and blast it out of the sky. They wouldn't be expecting it, and it would be the ultimate coup de grace, to strike when the enemy thought herself victorious. But the will to do it just wouldn't come.
His Lord was gone, and he began the lonely trek back to her- now, his, ship. He would be the ranking officer aboard the Fury-class vessel now. He'd have to be the one to bring the news back to Drommund Kaas, that Amonem had been slain in battle.
But as he began the long walk back through the empty station, something began pulling at his mind. It directed his gaze out into space through a window. Could it be...?
He began running to his ship. He had to try.
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Northwest Ohio
It's been one of those times. We've all had them — those times where you keep meaning to do something but stuff keeps happening to stop you. At long last, I got this done. *pant*
EDIT: Just noticed word-play on 'blythe.' Well done!
"A dictatorship is simply a bureaucracy with a license to kill."
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: LA. Not the cool one.
Dust and Echoes
((A story from Slaye's training as a Warden. It's been nearly a month since I've written anything at all, and I was inclined to write this. Enjoy it, if you like.))
"And now you shall see the world as it could be. As it shall be. As it will be. As it will never be. This is our burden. To know what must happen, what will happen, and what will never come to pass. We must work to ensure all of the outcomes remain pure and viable, even those which we may find horrifying. Including this one."
Slaye stood in complete darkness, as she had when she stepped into the timeway, watching nothing. Then, without warning, the bottom seemed to drop out of the world and she was falling. Falling into nothing. It almost felt like that moment between the waking world and the world of dreams, when nothing is real. Reality has a way of dispelling dreams.
She slammed into the ground with a thud, landing square on her chest with a slight 'ooph'. For anyone else, it would have knocked the wind out of them and cracked a rib, maybe two, but for the Warden, it did little other than cause minor discomfort. Such came with being removed from time- minor annoyances could be completely ignored. Like breathing.
She pushed herself up from the dirt, realizing that she tasted ash on her tongue. She pondered for a moment before she forced herself to take a breath, and she realized that it -was- ash she was tasting. And smelling. And breathing. She let out a quiet gasp as her eyes adjusted... and she realized she was standing on the edge of Teldrassil.
If she had been breathing, it would have taken her breath away, the realization that she was standing on the edge of a dead world tree. She hadn't landed on dirt, as she'd thought. She'd landed on burnt wood, long turned to charcoal and ravaged by the weather and remaining forces of nature.
Slaye turned, boots kicking up little puffs of ash in the night, to glance behind her, and what she could see would have frozen her heart in her chest had it been beating. It was Kalimdor, as far as the eye could see. Or... what had once been Kalimdor. The Mists that had covered the sea were long gone, leaving dark water thrashing against a dead land. Where once Darkshore and the trees of Ashenvale had stood, there was nothing but glass, blackened and burnt trees, cooked sand, and here or there she could make out the white shapes of bones. At this distance, they were likely something extremely large, perhaps dragons or drakes.
Mount Hyjal rose majestically in the darkness, topped by the skeleton of what must have once been Nordrassil, now as blackened and dead as the world tree whose boughs she stood upon. She felt, for the first time in many, many years of training to be a Warden, she felt something. She felt despair, she felt sadness, anguish at seeing the lands she had known for millennia reduced to a dead husk.
But at the same time, she knew that this was a timeline that had been preserved. The drake that sent her here had made that much clear. This was the correct path for this timeway. This world of death was the pure, true ending. It could not be changed.
That thought seemed to grip her chest tighter than even the abominations of Icecrown had managed when they'd gotten their hands on her. But she knew it was something much deeper than the clammy grip of an undead beast. It was the grip of fear. Something she'd thought that she'd forgotten in the intervening years.
This had to be a test of some kind. A test of resolve. Seeing if she could still complete her mission as a Warden. If she could preserve the timeways, even if it meant the result was the world that was all around her. This dead husk of nothing.
She looked around, wondering if the drake was there, when she began to feel that sensation of falling once more. But she hadn't moved. Instead the world itself was moving, first bright orange, then like paint running from a canvas in reverse, color bled back into the world from the bottom up, like a bizarre dream gone horribly wrong.
She blinked several times, wondering if she was going insane, and if her mind was unraveling finally, but everything worked fine. It was the world that had gone mad, not her.
Then, as if some giant god had breathed life upon the world and forced it to drop into order, the paint dried, and she was left with the breathtaking sight of Azeroth in autumn. Leaves blared color like only Teldrassil could manage, in every bright, fiery hue of the rainbow that she could imagine.
Slaye felt a breath on her shoulder, and she turned to find the drake that had brought her here was staring her directly in her eyes, watching her. Studying her. Slaye felt more alive than she had in years, more vibrant and more ... more. Seeing Teldrassil in it's full, vitalized glory after the vision she had quite literally been dropped into, seemed like it had awoken something within her, some kind of Elven spirit that had never died, only been forgotten.
She could feel a smile gracing her features, and she wondered what it was the drake wanted.
"You have exactly ten minutes." The drake's mouth barely moved, but the sound of Draconic grated upon her ears.
Slaye blinked. She was brought back to the world as it was, her world, the world of a Warden, by his rumbling voice. "Ten minutes until what?"
"Ten minutes until the Destroyer comes. Until Deathwing rains fire upon the world. In this timeway, Deathwing had grown so strong before his return, that once he emerged with the Cataclysm, he set fire to the world. He reduced Azeroth to a cinder in a matter of hours, never to recover."
Slaye could feel the darkness, the apathy, settling in upon herself. "Why are you telling me this?"
"In Darnassus, a short sprint from this very spot, there is a portal open to the Maelstrom. Deathwing was not the only one to grow in strength in this timeway. This very moment, Thrall and the Aspects are charging the Dragon Soul with power. They will strike Deathwing at his most vulnerable, when he is first breaking free of Deepholm, and stop the Destroyer forever."
Slaye gasped. There was still time, time for this world to thrive. "What happens?"
"In exactly eight minutes and thirty-four seconds, Deathwing's first tremors will shake Azeroth. Kalecgos will lose his footing on the outcrop, and be tossed into the sea. He could resume his Draconic form and recover, of course, but too much precious time will pass. They will fail in their ritual. A small chance, a tiny occurance, of someone losing their footing, will doom this world. You can save it. You alone know what will happen. Thrall will reach for Kalec's shirt, and miss by scant inches. You can stop his fall. If you do, there will be enough time for them to fire the Dragon Soul. This world will be saved. By your actions. And your actions alone."
The drake lowered his head, placing one glassy eye directly in front of her own. "You have exactly seven minutes and fifty-seven seconds."
Slaye didn't know what to do. She knew what she wanted to do. She wanted to run to the portal, to grab hold of Kalec as he fell, and save this world. But there was another voice trying to reason with the first. It was an internal war, and she knew that this war was the purpose of her being here. She knew that she could save this world, save the life, save everything that had ever meant even the slightest iota of importance to her.
She also knew that if she did, she would be as evil as the Infinite Flight. She had seen the timeways in which the Infinites had prevailed. They were contained, of course, the coming death of Murozond made sure of that. The moment of his death, the ceasing of the Infinite Flight as a threat, was bound and always would be bound within all timeways, wrought by the Timeless One himself. But the timeways in which they had prevailed, some went on to be prosperous for many eons. Others unraveled and threatened chaos for all the others.
Slaye knew what she had to do. The timeway must be preserved. She closed her eyes, gathering herself and everything around her into a moment as she had been taught... and pulled. The world shifted. Exactly seven minutes and thirty-seven seconds into the future.
The drake, who she had pulled along, looked into the sky for a moment, thoughtful. She wondered if he was judging her. She found she didn't care. The moment she'd pushed the timeway forward, erased her chance to save it, she'd felt that vibrancy, that life that she had felt awaken, wither and die within her. She knew now that it was not gone, simply... reduced. But she also knew it would be harder to awaken next time, after seeing what she was forcing herself to see.
"You have exactly... eighteen seconds. That is not enough time to save this timeway."
Slaye frowned. She diverted her gaze out over Kalimdor, though the clouds and across the lands, to where she was surely imagining she could see the Maelstrom swirling. It was surely hidden by the curvature of the planet, but she imagined she could see it all the same. And she waited. She didn't have to wait long.
It happened with the same sort of distant power that heralded a coming lightning storm. A distant orange haze upon the horizon, like the blooming of an impossibly large flower just over the line that separated sky from earth.
"This timeway is doomed."
She felt it before anything else. A shaking, an ominous groan that shook Teldrassil to it's roots. The entire tree shifted inches, swaying as the planet broke. She could see the black plume that rose, heralding the smoke and flames of Deathwing's return. A gout of orange burned into the sky, impossibly bright, the fight sign of the Destroyer himself upon the world.
Kalimdor itself split in two with a crack that shook her to her very bones, signalling the beginning of the end. The fire that rose over the land, she could see it from where she stood. A black shape, big enough to blot out an entire section of sky even from this far away, rose into the air.
"You seem unconcerned about the death of this world."
Slaye turned her head a fraction, glancing back at him through the smallest corner of her eye. "The correct, pure path of the timeways must be preserved. This is why I am here. This is why we Wardens exist. Had I taken the portal, I would be no better than those I hunt."
She grew silent then, turning back to force herself to watch the Destroyer raining his vengeance upon Azeroth. She was now responsible for this timeway. She could have stopped the death. And she had done nothing but hasten the timeway's demise. She had to watch. She owed everyone who was now dead or doomed that much.
She would be the last one to see the world. She would be the herald of it's end. She alone would bear witness.
She drew her hand across herself and gathered the thread of time that governed the drake and herself... and shifted it. Just enough to place the two of them out of sync with the world by a few minutes. This would give them plenty of time to watch and leave without danger to themselves. It was an unnecessary precaution for Slaye. Even if her time loop was disrupted, the fail-safe would kick in and restore her within a day or so's time. She didn't know if the dragon was so unfortunate.
"All is as it should be..." She watched in silence as the Destroyer rained fire upon Azeroth. Her eyes filled with burning orange and angry red, her ears filled with the terrified screams rising from the city of Darnassus. And once the Destroyer had passed, once the fires had died, only then did she once more shift them into the timeway, leaving them safe from the flames.
"All is as it must be." The drake corrected.
"Dust.... dust and echoes."
Slaye felt as if the life within her would never return.
"Take me back. I must attend to my duties."
The drake smirked, or would have were reptiles capable of the expression. "You will make a fine Warden."
He opened a rift in time, stepping through. It remained open, but left Slaye alone in the newly-desecrated world.
"Dust... and echoes..."
A moment later, she stepped through the tear and sealed it behind her, leaving a silent autumn behind, with no one left to bear witness.