Time of the Gospel Chapter 6
Carrying Jinn over his shoulder, Eliab down-climbed a north section of the mountain that was not as steep as the others. After leaving most of her equipment at the summits tundra field, the burden was light and he, being in top physical condition, made it an easy descent. As the height between his steps decreased, he began to think of where he was to go. Nisans Cathedral was the closest Ethos sanctuary, but it was a long walk to the Road to Nisan, and perhaps he could find a ride in Dazil.
Pausing over a short cliff, but one that was predominantly higher than any other hill that lowered him to a flat desert, he gazed off to the horizon. Facing west his eyes squinted shut when bombarded by the suns rays that cast his shadow high up over the mountain he came from. Nisan right, a channel between it and Ignas barely under the horizon. Dazil left, it too further than he could see. A thought: while at Dazil, why not cut through to Legends Valley? The monks there certainly needed more protection, and that gave him two options. He turned to march down Avehs border.
A Pointiff, duh.
He aint Taran.
Really Lance, thank you for letting us know. Her sarcastic comment was brushed aside as they pondered the Ethos knight approaching. The Pointiff was coming towards Sandstone Gate: two jagged, chaotic towers of rock pushing through loose sand. It was an easy landmark for travelers and passing between the pillars would straighten a course to Dazil. Or, if extremely lost, climbing them would bring the city just within eyesight. It was atop these two monoliths that the Guard elite watched the oncoming knight.
Whos that slumped over his shoulders?
I dont know, but one of them is showing up on my tracker.
Looking through a pair of binoculars, zooming in on the pair, adjusting lighting, raising his view up an inch, magnified by distance, and focusing, Xolis shouted his findings. Hey! Thats her!
The one who took the Soul Stone!
Alright then, lets get her.
What for? Ethos already did.
Maybe so but its still our mission, and maybe she can tell us where Taran and Solus are. She rested a rifle bought earlier that day between two natural battlements and stared through a long scope at Eliabs gold breastplate. What? Xolis and Lance stared at her with shock as she leaned into her weapon. Dont tell me youre chicken to go up against a Pointiff!
~ no! Lance defended. Its just that youve never been someone to go for this kind of attack. Like when I wanted to
Besides, this isnt just a Pointiff, this is all of Ethos. If we attack him, whats to stop an all out war with Aveh?
Xolis, we arent wearing our uniforms, and we arent acting in interest of the king, so dont worry. She relocated the knight in her sights and locked onto his heart. Are you guys going to fight him from up here?
Unofficial business: unofficial orders. Lance and Xolis jumped from the column and sank their boots into the sand. Just a hundred meters off he immediately spotted them. In a sliver of a moment between that and raising his guard, a bullet struck his armor, and actually pierced it. Eliab, astonished, glared at the dent. As it had not fully bored through, he was in perfect physical condition, but the mental setback of the direct hit put him on target for another. A second bullet crashed into the first, pushing it deeper until it bumped his flesh. Now anger subsided over amazement and a third shot was deflected as he turned his gaze upwards. This does serve a problem. I cannot hold up my Faith Shield while I take care of the melee Ill just have to be extra careful.
Dropping his captive and drawing his sword the man joined their charge and met what he thought to be bandits midway. Slicing downward his blow was dodged, and then held under by one of Xolis blades and Lances weapon. A Pointiffs senses, honed far beyond any earthly, were able to detect another bullet, so dropped his sword and jumped back, a mist of dust kicked up near his feet as the projectile struck sand.
Unarmed, he was an easy kill for two Guard. Catching up with him, Lance thrust his javelin forward, but fell to the ground as a blade slashed him. The Ethos weapon made another assault, this one defended. A third from bottom to top, a final from top to bottom, one of which hit, and the spinning, floating sword mystically returned to its owners open hand, just in time to block one of Xolis blows. Wielding two swords allowed him to attack again, even while the knight was protecting himself. Coming in with a quick strike, it and his metal clashing, the other sword attacking, then four consecutive blows blew the Pointiff down.
Again on the offensive, both elite circled around their victim. Every sharp edge grinded down through an invisible force, but could not break through, a number of bullets ricocheted off as well. Skies were dark, but it was a clear night, stars scattered the heavens like grains they fought on. From several white specks poured small rays, lines connecting constellations, then bolting down to erupt outward in a locus around the praying knight. Lance and Xolis fell back, Eliab was instantly upon Xolis, with a mighty bash sending one katana high into a wind that was slowly picking up speed, and picking up sand as it did so. Beating down Xolis with a punch he next took on Lance.
Falling blade down, Xolis sword easily split through sand, its hilt two feet above. Mara glanced at it and a smile formed under her cloth mask. Drawing it out smoothly she stood for the first time since up on the icy mountain. Her hood served well to fend off sand rocketing towards her on now fast wind. As the Pointiff dodged Lances spear and deflected Xolis remaining katana, the ninja twirled Xolis lost as effortlessly as her own. She then stabbed it into Eliabs back. He fell down to his knees, his sword to the sand.
Wind and stinging sand biting at her, darkness settled over the sky, a fast paced battle below, Allys reloaded her rifle and tried to take aim. An assassins strike allowed for a clear shot, and she took it. Three more shots pierced the Ethos knights armor and he fell face first into the dirt.
Jinn looked at Lance and Xolis for a moment, who stood as still and silent as she. Drawing Xolis sword from the Pointiff she flipped it in her hand and commented, Its a nice blade.
Thanks I crafted it Hey, you should be the one thanking us!
Why? If youre going to kill me Im at least going to put up a fight. So bring it on, but I promise you that only one of us leave here, if that many.
Oh, yeah, the mission. Actually, we need your help. Whats your name?
Glancing at Lance, she raced through a set of made-up names. This could be interesting. No, I wouldnt I couldnt oh yes I could. Karen.
Uagh! His lance fell just as she jumped back. Listen you! Youre gonna help us find Solus, and then youre gonna help us kill him!
Karen thought him amusing. Even if I knew who youre talking about, whats in it for me?
You wont die!
Ive already explained that road. Personally, I wouldnt want a repeat of your last mission.
Ahh! Picking up his spear on the way Lance lunged at the ninja, but was thrown across the desert.
Calm down Lance. Placing on a pair of goggles to counter the sandstorm and her rifle strapped to her back, Allys climbed down the Gate and joined the three. Karen, if you would accompany us to Bledavik, Im sure we could work something out.
With my help they were able to take out a Pointiff perhaps it is safer with them, definitely more so than with Taran and Elly Alright, Ill go.
Foam bubbled, fizzed, slipped, and sank off a thick, glass window and returned to the ocean. Crystal blinked out at torrent waters lit only by a ships guiding light. Turning inward to a cabin she glanced around a small, tilted room, a plain, firm bed almost too small to share, two bags filled with clothes and other traveling necessities, a flimsy chair attached to one of four walls, and Azule sitting in the middle of it all. He had come back, but not in ideal condition. She wished he would be more careful, and then prayed it. A silent one, eyes shot to heaven, and pleaded a blessing upon her husband.
Azule, stripped once again of his armor, also knelt in prayer, then toppled over. The bed slid an inch, their luggage to the opposite wall, and Crystal lost her footing, falling onto her knight supporting himself with a stretched back arm. Finding this new position convenient, they kissed. We must have hit a big wave.
Clutching her tight he lay back on an uneasy floor. No. Its Somethings happened.
She stared with him at the ceiling, her spiritual gaze reaching far beyond. Everything was supernaturally quiet: the ocean, the ship, their inner minds, their inner peace. What do you mean?
I dont know. I just felt it. Somewhere, something is wrong.
Could it be that man you met
Noah? No. He seemed more than capable of taking care of himself. Its something else Another wave crashed against the ship, not moving anything, but creating a sound. We cannot worry about it though. In time, it will be revealed.
Standing upright, still clinging to each other, she rested her head and looked back to the sea. A clear nights moon met her eyes in the sky. Perhaps someone from the Holy City will have heard something.
Perhaps. Though I suspect that the Bishops will have a lot to deal with when I bring up this Legion Gear matter.
Yes, father will have his hands full. Do you suppose that they will activate our Gears as well?
Im afraid they might. And then wed have a war to deal with.
Do not worry. A war might prove useful. It may provide a time for the Hero to rise to power.
Crystal smiled at the mention of the Hero. Her hero was with her now, but even he could not vanquish the Shadows alone. The Hero though, he would bring order to the world again, would call down justice, and destroy the oppressors of Ethos. That would be a day long remembered in the records of the church, and the world. When the Hero comes They had reached a whisper now.
It is late. Come, let us get to bed.
Sirens shouted and red lights flashed. Rise and shine Admiral!
Solus fell off a hard, uncomfortable, wooden cot and onto a hard, uncomfortable, cold steel floor. Scrambling to his feet he gave a salute. Ready for duty, sir! During a tour given the previous night he had picked up the proper speech used to communicate with High Admiral Ginlun.
No ya aint. Where is your uniform?
He quickly pulled on a lieutenants clothing to match the early morning soldiers. Ready for duty, sir!
Much better. Rations will be commissioned in the mess hall at 0-600. Solus put up a salute, the man spun on his heel, and marched away. Though not agreeing with his methods or intentions, Solus held the utmost respect for the High Admiral. After his Gear had shut down, he had found a series of underground caves, raided enough of the other non-working Gears to build a military base, and had maintained it, always trying to get his Gear functioning, always improving it, for the last two hundred years. Solus passed a control center, which Ginlun had told him operated a net of surface cannons, traps, and everything else to pull down valuable resources. Entering the mess hall, he looked around its one, short table and small kitchen. Welcome. Have yourself some food. The High admiral slid him a small bowl of something not too appetizing.
Uhm thank you, sir. Slowly he began to eat, trying to keep his thoughts from wandering to its taste.
So, Admiral Veritas, ya think we should set the mechanics to work on your Gear today.
We have mechanics? Sir?
Well, no. But there are the lower officers. Actually, its only me and you, but Im sure we could do it.
Good, Ill go scrounge some parts. Solus smiled and eagerly dropped his porridge, oatmeal, or whatever name could be applied to nutrient filled, colored mud. Following the man they once again entered his long Gear hanger / repair shop. Face down in a long, green tin crate the energetic elder through out tin parts which a half destroyed Tin Robo (which was moved and leaned against a wall to place Gabe in its place,) gazed at with separation anxiety. In a cloud of nickel, copper, and other loose metals, the High Officer emerged holding triumphantly a large ring. Got it! Bring around a fuel tank.
Right away sir. Briskly walking across the chamber Solus reached a row of wide, iron cylinders, his height just matching their diameter. Heading around them and pushing one from behind he situated it on a track a few cyarls below the floors surface and glided it down the lubricated gutter until infront of his Gear. Standing on a sturdy scaffold lowered to Gabes back, Ginlun attached the overgrown ring he had found. Picking up a thick, hose-like pipe he screwed it into Gabes back through the ring and tossed it down to Solus. After attached to the fuel tank, connecting the two, the High Admiral pulled a switch and the pumping began.
So, tell me Admiral, what is your mission?
Toward Kislev, to pick up the rest of my unit.
Thats good. Bring pride to the country, fight for Aveh.
It took several more hours for the repairs. Sheets of metal were stripped and welded onto Gabes skin, parts were replaced and tweaked, and finally Well, it appears your Gear has been repaired. Good luck soldier! Ginlun gave a salute as Solus hesitantly climbed up to Gabes cockpit. Look here, if any of your unit ever passes by here, be sure to stop by for supplies. Solus thanked him, then initiated his start up procedure. A segment of the ceiling opened away to blue sky and he blasted out, popping off the fuel cord and commissioning from Operation: Kick Steam Head. Shielding his eyes from sunlight he had not seen for a year or so, High Admiral Ginlun remarked on his fellow officer, There goes a good soldier.
Looking down as he left, Solus saw a sand box, which was holding back a wide square of sand, slide back beneath the dust, allowing it to fall back into place over a now closed steel roof. Flying for a hundred meters or so to escape Operation: Kick Steam Heads radius of automated guns and snares, Gabe then blasted on his rockets and flew toward Kislev.
Is he going to be alright?
Were doing the best we can He wont die, but he wont recover any time soon.
Rachel sighed. Ive lost three in one day She stood for a while, thinking, loosing track of the moment and being lost in the past. Then, she remembered. Oh, thank you for saving us, and him. The man with her was old, approaching one hundred if not past it. His head was wrinkled and almost bald, but his face shown of a strange youth. Legion will see to it that you are properly rewarded.
Thank you Lieutenant. You are from Legion? Elly nodded. There may be something that you wish to see. The two walked out of a small room into a small village. Snow covered the ground, but Elly was not particularly cold. He took them to a small patch of cleared snow where a wooden board was laid on the ground. It opened and the two followed it down a spiraling stairwell. Darkness overcame them, the man continued down, not noticing, Rachel placed her hand against a wall so that she would not loose her step. When they came to the bottom, a faint light was in the distance. As they drew closer, the man held up a glowing stone.
Divad? She stared down at her love, urgency and worry in her voice.
Ugh E Elly? He gazed up at her, soothed by her voice.
Shh Im here. Dont worry. Im here. Youll make it through, youll see. Her words, however, were shallow, only lying to themselves. Eyes could not even manage a fib; a tear fell and salted his face; then came a waterfall. Someone washed their weapon in the waters and they soon turned to blood. Elly fell limp over him, still pool eyes reflecting his, arms draped over him, entire body lay flat, lips almost touching his. But nothing more came. She stayed motionless.
Foolish sentiments will get you nowhere Divad. A dark shadow loomed over the fallen pair, a bloody sword hanging from its side. Oh you poor thing. Its darkness gaped even wider and spat over the girl, onto his face. And you cant do anything about it can you? Way to take it like a man. The shadow, his shadow, mocked him. Then, quite satisfied that no more feeble squirming was to come, confident, though disappointed, that there would be no retaliation, it turned, stretched, and faded towards dusk.
Ill kill you yet
Falling, plummeting, vanishing behind a line of hills, the sun left, taking the killer with it. But, at Divads words, it was sustained, even rose a little, keeping the shadow alive, daring for the fallen man to undo such. Will you now? But, you cant even get up As a dark reflection, it was its essence to imitate, yet it was far from miming and jeers were heard in its voice. Perhaps if I took a burden off of you Reaching and grabbing the girls garments it pulled and held her up by her hair like a marionette before her suitor. Then, as if a pin cushion, a blade was thrust through her thin stomach, joining a tear between her breasts where her heart was pierced. Help, save me ha, ha ha. Im sorry my dear, but Divad is too weak to be of any help, but dont worry, Im here. Oh Saul, it voiced for her. Oh, Elly! It brought her closed and kissed parched death, then tossed her aside.
~ you! Divad was now on his feet, muscles tense, tendons stretched, sweat serving as an outer skin. A fire caught grass beneath his feet and burned the man to ashes. In its place was another: Red armor, blazing hair, an inferno in his heart shining through glass eyes. An intense heat surrounded a gloved fist like a rock falling from space, and like a meteor, his fist made contact. A crater formed in dirt, but the shadow, with this new man, had dashed back as he came forward. Leaping into night, Divad (if he could still be called that) delivered a series of kicks before coming down, then repeated the same from there, lifting his hellfire driven legs, lifting the shadow, closing with a two palmed drive as darkness fell.
Congratulations, youve reached the next stage. But youve still got a long way to go in that flesh. Saul seemed as healthy and sinister as ever.
Lying flat in the background, grass dew forming on it, was a black steel giant. It too was consumed by flames and a titan took its place: one of refining metal still burning with temperament, one of blue wings that rode on steam and smoke of anger, one of finned, aggressive arms longing to be used. They snatched the black figure, tossed it into the air, then planted a round house kicking it higher. Before falling though, Saul hovered eye level with Divads new Gear. Several more shadows expanded from it, none taking from its ever deep void, and attacked the metallic warrior, battering it back for its flames to be extinguished as it again was covered with wet grass.
A cloud, blending seamlessly with an already black sky that allowed shadows nonetheless, began to drop rain. It stopped his Gear, but Divads flame was far from dying. He boarded the fighting machine and again challenged Saul, this time knocking him far back and to the ground.
Red blood drew lines down a black page, but the book was a delightful one. Welcome Divad. Youve just joined myself and the rest of the damned.
Well, what can I say? I wrote this before I knew anything about the "Perfect Works" and the complete story beyond the story. So, let's just pretend that there are a few things that the Perfect Works left out, okay? Thanks.
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