The Shadows Chapter 12
Fall From Grace
By Keith Adams
Captain Alexander looked grimly at the remains of his knights, scouring the ruins of Dorino for any signs of life after the assault of the Shadows. It had been a village of nearly ten thousand - surely even these Shadows weren't powerful enough to annihalate that many civilians. From all indications, however, they had done a fairly good job. There were one hundred and twenty three survivors, who were mainly found huddled in cellars, incoherant, entirely unknowing of what had happened. Corpses were everywhere - Captain Alexander had even gotten used to the smell in the two days since the massacre. It was a horrible thing. Even during the Mystic Wars, he had never gotten used to the smell of death. Now that smell was omnipresent, as rotten, charred corpses littered the streets, their faces in expresssions of horror and fear. Captain Alexander knew that at it's heart, this was his fault. The Shadows (for the Shadows were truly the most important now of the Mystics) had tossed away twenty thousand men and one of their own to lure him away. The tactic didn't make sense. They had only destroyed a fraction of his forces, and had lost twice of the number they had killed here. It was completely against all strategic and military sense, and that was why Alexander had ridden so blindly into their trap. This was too send a message, that the Shadows were willing to kill off every Mystic in existence for Victory. Alexander had sent a message to Guardia via one of the three ships that survived the assault. It was a Scout/Courier designate of Porrian build, and one of the fastest ships in existence. With Zenan destroyed, the journey to the castle and back would take at least 4 days. He had sent a dispatch to Porre, but had the sneaking suspiscion that Porre would be unable to send help. Perhaps they were already destroyed.
Alexander had to face facts; he had lost. Ten thousand people dead. Guardia might not call for his resignation - it would be unlikely Guardia could find a better Captain. But all of Alexanders, and everyone else's, training had just gone out the window. The Shadows completely ignored their own sides casualties - they could be killed, but they could take out a hundred trained knights with ease for every Shadow killed, and the Knights had been extremely lucky. If it weren't for that arrogant fool Gaston, the Shadow proabably could have killed them in a lure intended for sacrifice.
"Sir," said a young ensign, a man in his 20's with black hair "We have discovered the remains of what appears to be a Shadow."
"What? I thought that they were destroyed in a flash of light," answered Alexander.
"I can't tell you anything else. Commander Gaston was the one who found the remains."
On top of everything else, Gaston had found the remains of the Shadow. Knowing how Themain promoted people in a crisis, he'd proabably be a full Commander now. That smug, self-righteous jerk had been promoted for saving his life and for discovering that the Mystics were coming, regardless of the fact we'd proabably do better if he hadn't.
Alexander arrived at the location where Gaston, Themain, and another Lieutenant Commander by the name of Chirson were leaning over a pile of Black in the desert sands. Everyone was in their uniforms - wearing armor here would roast them alive. As Alexander arrived, all three got up.
"Sir, we have discovered the remains of what appears to be a Shadow. It's robe is a black ...... matter, that appears to be fairly tough. Not as tough as Plate Mail, but close, and not nearly as heavy. The remains themselves appears to be black dust, nothing more," reported Gaston with a smirk on his face.
"I understand. What killed it?" asked Alexander
"There's a small thrust point in the Robe. I'd say it that killed it," answered Gaston.
"And you needed, for some inexplicable reason, to bring me out here for this? This goes for all of you - I don't want to be disturbed for the next few hours. I need to be alone. Understood?"
"Yes sir," replied the three in unsion.
Alexander wandered north, towards the remains of Zenan. He arrived at the small bluff where there was still a few feet of bridge, but even they were charred, blackened by the Shadows.
Hope was lost. The Shadows could be killed, but they would win. There was no Frog, no Crono, no Robo this time to deliver them from Magus. Frog was god knows where, and Crono and Robo popped in sporadically to the Castle of Guardia. They had no deliverance this time. The Southern Continent was lost - without Zenan Bridge, large numbers of troops could not be deployed. And ships sank, with great ease. A Single of these Shadows could destroy a transport of hundreds.
Hope was lost. He had failed Guardia. He had let himself be lured into a trap, and for that, ten thousand were dead.
Hope was lost. Captain Alexander took of the pins of rank, four full dots, on his uniform. He took of his uniform too - he would not soil it with what he was about to do.
Captain Alexander unsheathed his sword and plunged it into himself. He wasn't dead, yet, but his eyesight waxs failing - black spots were appearing. With a single last breath of strength, Captain Alexander launched hmself off the remains of the bridge, falling into the icy water below.
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