Children of the War Chapter 5

Master the Stars

By Nanaki

On the Outskirts of Limberry...

Koren Durai breathed heavily as he charged up the stairs leading to the church's bell tower. He didn't know how on earth this tactical move would help him out, but he knew he was in better physical shape than the heresy examiners chasing him, so this would buy him some time, at least. To his immense surprise, when he reached the top of the staircase, a Lesalian knight was waiting for him. Apparently the heresy examiners were a bit smarter than he gave them credit for. Not wasting a moment, he whipped out two Rune Blades and slammed them both into the knight at the same time. They did not pierce the armor, but rather did just what Koren had intended. The force of the blow was enough to throw the man from the bell tower, onto the roof below.

Koren quickly looked all around, and wondered what the hell he was going to do now. He tapped the sword in his right hand against the ground in his agitation, until he realized that the noise would only confirm the fact that he was up here. He dimly heard the examiners panting as they clambered up the stairs. Glancing up at the bell, Koren made a snap decision. He pulled his arm back, and then cut the chain holding the bell in place with a mighty slash. It landed on the wooden platform with a huge thud, and the men on the stairs stopped momentarily. Koren quickly pushed the bell over to the top of the staircase, and tried to get it rolling downward. 'It's too damn big!' He quickly realized. Koren grimaced, and then began the struggle to lift the bell above his head. He was going to give at least the first one of these bastards the surprise of a lifetime. Just as he brought the bell above his shoulders, a young priest appeared at the top of the stairs, breathing too heavily to really be cautious about it. Koren began to pull the bell back in preparation for the throw. "Let's see you burn THIS, you..." But he trailed off with a sudden realization. 'It's too heavy!!' The weight of the massive object was pulling him backwards. He tried to let go, but in the position he was in, the only way to do that would been to thrust it off with his fingertips. He tried, and the result was ten sharp pains shooting through his nerves as he toppled over the edge of the tower.

The bell smashed a hole through the roof, and the rafters below, and Koren had no choice but to follow its path of destruction. The bell made a huge dent in the floor and then bounced away. Koren also landed in the dent, expanding it a great deal, but he did not bounce. 'Thank God for padded armor.' He thought as he struggled to breathe, the wind knocked out of him. The ringing of the bell and the ringing in his head subsided just in time for him to hear the main doors of the church being thrown open. Koren struggled to get up, but only managed to end up laying on his chest instead of his back. He quickly reversed the activity. He didn't think a priest would stab him in the back, but he could never be too careful.

"Koren Durai, at last we have a chance to talk." Koren managed to raise his head enough too see an ancient and extremely well fed heresy examiner standing over him. "I don't know why you always insist on bolting at the sight of us. We just want to ask you a question."

Koren grimaced. "Cram it up your-"

"Yes, well, that lovely sentiment aside, we would just like to know, where is your mother?"

"Where are my father's remains?" He had told himself many times, that if they ever caught him, that was all he was going to say.

"Tell us where your mother is, and we can probably arrange for them to be delivered into your custody."

"Tell me where they are, and I'll "deliver" them myself." Koren returned, then allowed his head to sink back to the floor. He had to smile inwardly at the situation. The church was just so damn disorganized. A different bunch of heresy examiners had caught his mother a year ago, and burned her at the stake, exactly like Olan. Koren felt his hatred rising up at the thought, much moreso than it already was. Nevertheless, he knew he had to calm down before he could effectively fight his way out, and so decided to talk some more. "Although, since you'll never actually get your hands on her, why not? My mother is in Gallione." Technically, it was true. Her ashes were in an urn in Igros.

"Very good." The lead examiner smiled, then turned to his men. "You may dispose of him now." Every priest in the church began to gather their magic energy.

"Why am I not surprised?" Koren grinned, then somersaulted into the air, flipping end over end several times before landing in an offensive crouch. He drew out his two Rune Blades, and charged at the mass of white robes. He was willing to bet that every single one of these goons was warming up to cast Holy, and that meant that he had to kill them, or at least knock them all out, in a relatively short amount of time. One priest made the mistake of lunging at him, and Koren jumped into the air, then landed on the priest's head, and jumped off of that. In midair, Koren realized how he could get out of the church with his skin intact. He grabbed onto one of the main corner roof supports, and quickly chopped it in half. His weight caused the large beam to swing back toward the center of the church, and he rode it back to the floor. Charging across the vast space, he used another priest not smart enough to get out of his way as a springboard, and slammed his blades through the beam in the opposite corner. By now, they all realized what he was doing, and assembled where the beam landed when Koren rode it back down.

Koren ran the first one of them through, and stood back as red blood sprayed all over the white robes. The moment of regret he felt allowed the others to pile on top of him, most of them aiming for his head with their staves. His swords were knocked away, and his head was pounded into the floor. Koren growled fiercely and thrashed around, but couldn't seem to shake them all off. 'Trampled to death by a bunch of wusses?' He asked himself. 'I don't think so!' He stopped thrashing around, and quickly gathered energy into his fists. His whole body began to glow a bluish purple, and the priests, realizing they couldn't finish him before his spell activated, backed away. 'Perfect.' Koren smiled. He put his right hand straight into the air, palm up. "Galaxy Stop!!" A blue glow flooded the room, and the priests all froze in place. Except... for the lead examiner. Koren frowned at his still glowing hand in disappointment. 'It wasn't strong enough...'

"A nice try, I'll admit." The examiner said, still smiling. "But you're no Olan." Then the leader stretched his own hand into the air. Koren dove for his swords as a white glow filled the room, and all the priests were active again. Koren sliced the arm off of one who actually dared to get close to him, and the rest kept their distance. Koren raced to one of the remaining corners, and not finding a priest to conveniently bounce off, shoved his sword into the wall, then jumped on top of it. As he was in midair, about to slice through the beam, a white and blue burst raced up from the floor, freezing him in his tracks. He fell to the floor stunned, every muscle in his body aching. One of the priests had managed to get his Holy out already, and Koren was willing to bet the rest wouldn't be far behind. Wiping the sweat of his brow, he assessed his situation, and cursed.

He was surrounded, and about to be nailed with enough Holies to send him straight to Heaven. That is, if God wasn't too mad that he had just killed a priest. He had only one move left that could possibly help him out, and he would be totally exhausted when it was over. He only hoped that it would be enough to end it. He crouched down with his arms folded, but still held onto his swords. Now his body took on a red glow, and a low growl began coming from his throat. "Tetsusaiga... Offering!!" With that, he jumped straight up, easily gaining enough height to slice through the third roof beam. Upon landing, he jumped again, but this time sailing clear across the church to the other corner. This time, he didn't even bother with his swords. His body smashed through the last beam as the force of his jumped hurled him to the outside. The red glow around him faded as he landed, and he turned just in time to see the roof of the church cave in. He crossed his arms and waited for the satisfying thud that would surely come, but something stopped the roof's descent before it could crash. "Uh oh."

Koren once again gripped his sword, but this time his arm was shaking from fatigue. His eyes widened as the roof was raised back up to its previous level, and then higher. Peering out from underneath were the angry eyes of a Titan. "This is not good!" He told himself the obvious. He turned to run, but the Titan hurled the roof at him, then vanished as quickly as it had come. Koren growled again, then jumped forward, bringing his blades up to meet the roof as it crashed to the ground, sliding toward him. He sliced and smashed his way through the minor supports, but the remnants of another major beam proved to be too much, and he was dragged along with it until it finally came to a stop. He wearily got to his feet, and took stock of his situation. The priests weren't coming out after him, which meant they were probably cooking up more magic. He had to get farther out of their range, and fast. Looking past his immediate vicinity, he realized that there was a river canyon not very far away from his position.

This was confirmed when an unknown voice shouted, "Hey, this way!" From the very direction he was staring at. Koren got ready to run, despite the protest from his aching legs at the prospect of further movement. As he charged in toward the canyon, the air around him suddenly heated up. Glancing over his shoulder, he observed Bahamut, king of the dragons, or at least one of his subordinates, hovering in midair. He swore, and tried to run faster, though he wasn't successful.

Then, suddenly, he was there. As he ran up to the edge of the canyon, he observed a taught rope leading into it, secured to the ground with a large peg. He didn't see anyone else around, so his unseen ally must have already descended. 'Good, I can go hand over hand down there, and then...' His thoughts trailed off as the night suddenly got a lot brighter. Turning around, he saw a burst of dragon fire heading right at him. He hesitated a moment, but realized there simply wasn't time. Koren crossed his fingers, and leapt into the canyon. He looked up for the first second or so of his descent, and obersved the huge blaze roar right past his head. His hair caught on fire, but as he continued his fall, he realized that wouldn't be a problem very long. He realized in the next instant both that this was a very long fall, and also that there was quite a wide bank. He'd be lucky if he even made it into the water. As the ground rushed toward him, he crossed more of his fingers, and his toes too. As he heard water splash around his feet, and felt the cold rushing up, he began to smile. Then there was a terrific jolt in his left leg, and he felt something crack. As an incapicitating pain overtook him, he realized that the water had still been too shallow. After a few seconds, he also became dimly aware that having a newly broken leg while underwater in a fast moving current was not the best position to be in.

As he took his hands off of his leg to begin swimming to the surface, he felt someone yank on the collar of his armor, and drag him back up to the land of the air-breathing. He was similarily dragged to the opposite shore, and then helped to stand up back on the bank. Koren hobbled down the shoreline for a couple hundred yards, too dazed to bother asking who his helper was. He finally came to a stop as they reached a group of about six horses, and four men. He made an effort to stand up straight. The leader, who had been talking, turned around now, and Koren could see he was decked out from head to toe in pure black armor. "Koren Durai, I presume?" He asked formally. Koren wearily nodded. "It looks like we came along just in the nick of time. Allow me to introduce myself. I, am Donalbain Sadalfas."


"We have to stop this!"

"Why, so you can betray us again?" - Urza and Mishra


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