Sitting comfortably on the edge of a hotel bed, staring into the clear crystal ball in her hands, Aria suddenly started to laugh. Lor and Leah could only give her a look questioning look as she started to fall over and clutch at her side in tears. As she struggled for air between bouts of laughter, the words “sixty centimetres for a spell like that” could be heard. Without the context of what she was seeing, they could only conclude that whatever Aria had seen, wasn’t nearly as funny as she was making it out to be. The laughing fit distracted Aria and the scrying was cancelled. For that reason, she didn’t notice it when Daniel was beaten and pined to the ground.
That said, Daniel also was still laughing about that spell in the back of his mind, even as the Morrigan Order started to beat and kick him. He couldn’t tell if they thought he was responsible or were just blaming the messenger, but either way he was kicked around and dragged to a holding cell. Thankfully he had left his equipment at the inn, since it would have hurt him to lose that armour so soon after getting it. The only weapons he brought with him, the broken and intact knives, were taken by the presumable Zeeb woman.
The holding cell was a solid stone room, made with magic out of a single large stone. After the room was made, thick runes were carved deeply into the walls to nullify any magic that came in contact with the building. Just being in the room was sickening, as the cold stone drew the heat from his body and the lack of prana in that space confused his senses, like a room completely without sound. A thin blanket was his only insulation against the stone, and he felt that if any Draconian were to spend a night there they wouldn’t come out of it healthily. The cold sensation reminded him that Dragonkin were as warm-blooded as a human and would never know their fear. Fuck them. When he got out of that cell, he would cut that bastard’s hands off so he could never embarrass mages everywhere with his incompetence again.
He hadn’t seethed in the cell for very long when the Half-Elf member of the Morrigan Order came to see him. As the stone door rolled clear her face was could be seen, showing a near expressionless face that thinly veiled a look of pure hatred. In her hands was the broken knife that had been taken from him. He realised, then, just how bad that was. He remembered why that knife was important to him. He remembered that its previous owner was the reason he was there.
“As you seem to know,” Zeeb began to say, with a voice like ice, “my name is Anna Zeeb, Second Shield-bearer for the Order of Morrigan. And you, you lizard shit, are going to tell me why you have my sister’s knife and where she is. If I don’t like your answer, I’ll start cutting you to pieces and shoving ice cubes into the wounds.” There was no humour about her; she seemed to mean ever word of that threat. Hell, she might even do it anyway even if she likes his answer.
“Err, Ms Zeeb, I met Louise in a tower in the Celtic-Norse Disputed Zone.” Daniel tried his best to sound diplomatic. While he was reasonably confident that he could escape with just his mana, he would still prefer to fulfil his promise to Louise. While he had said the words, and it could be argued that he was done, he still felt that the intent wasn’t finished until there was some kind of understanding. “It’s probably not what you want to hear but that knife is what’s left of her. I’m sorry; she didn’t make it through that tower.”
Sorrow and anguish filled her beautiful, fair face for a passing moment before it took a rapid shift towards rage. Her piercing, sky blue eyes fixed on him and she moved smoothly towards him. Without the slightest amount of hesitation, she punched him clean in the side of the head, dropping him to the ground. The hard scales on Daniels cheeks cut her hands, but she showed no signs of even noticing. The pale red colour was characteristic of Half-Elves, neither the deep red of Humans nor the bright gold of Elves. In that way, her blood was similar to his scales. That was what he thought as she once again kicked him.
“That can’t be. THAT CAN’T BE!” It seemed that she was denying everything, unwilling to believe her loved one had passed, “Louise was terrified of towers; she wouldn’t go near them. You must have done something. You must be lying.”
Daniel didn’t have the slightest clue how to deal with a hysteric woman, so just tried calling out to the nearby guards, “Oy, you two. Since she won’t listen, deliver a message to the council for me. Tell them that Ares’ Spear attacked Smith Street Village and it’s fallen. Tell them that the armies of Olympus are going to make a push from two sides.” As he got that message out, other kick made contact with his side and rolled him back a few meters. He could hear Anna make an angry humph, and leave the room. He could only hope that one of them would deliver the message. Under the influence of his Fast Healing ability, he could feel his cracked ribs nit back together. His greatest regret about that situation; there was boot shaped dirt on his scales and he didn’t have anything to clean with.
He survived the night in that cold stone by slightly blocking the sill-less, barred window with the blanket and filling the room with steam. Under that condition, the room became very comfortable to live in, let alone rest for a night. Unexpectedly, the next morning the cave door rolled open and he was greeted by an unknown person. She seemed like a pure Elf, but she had the strange trait of having amber like eyes. He didn’t know much at all about Elves, but he was fairly sure that not having blue eyes was grounds for death amongst them. Not to say that they weren’t beautiful, they seemed powerful, mystical even; they might even be more beautiful than normal Elven eyes. Furthermore, from the way she held herself, it seemed like she was a warrior. While Daniel didn’t have even the slightest idea how to go about guessing an Elf’s age, he would guess that she had lived through the fall, simply because her confident aura was too much for it to be otherwise.
Were she Draconian, he might have been filled with uncontrollable desire, even as it was she was incredibly arousing. The bloody smell of death that followed her was so thick, it make Leah, a Death Bringer, seem like a saint by comparison. He couldn’t imagine what she could have done to cultivate such power, but he knew that she could easily kill him without breaking a sweat. As a part of their selective breeding, Elves had made it hard for them to maintain deathly auras, if the same aura were applied to a Human, even races without the natural ability to sense deathly auras would notice. Deathly aura was, simply put, small fragments of the souls from people and creatures killed. There was a rumour he once heard that the Glass Tower System used that to measure experience gained. Since he could only barley detect his own aura at level eight, if that rumour was true, he couldn’t even think what her level would be.
While he was dazed, she started to speak, “Firstly I’d like to apologise. Anna and Louise were very close and she’s never handled bad news well. Secondly I’d like to thank you for the warning. Ares’ Spear was planning on attacking last night and without the warning, we would have fallen by now. As things stand, it’ll be a prolonged battle. As such, when I walk away, I’ll probably forget to close the door; I’m forgetful like that, you know. If you were to somehow get out, you’d do well to use the battle to sneak out.” She chuckled to herself, apparently finding the situation funny. When the laughter ended, a tired expression could be seen on her face, like all of her strength simply existed for the sake of holding herself together through untold sorrow. “Also, thank you for being with Louise in the end; she was a sweet child, too much human in her blood.”
With those words, spoken barely audibly, she left the cell with the door wide open. Even if she had given him an opportunity to speak, he still wouldn’t have known what to say. He instead could only follow what she said, thankful that the friend he made in that tower had such strong people caring for her. As the sun’s morning rays warmed his body, he climbed a nearby wall and looked over it. To the east and to the north, both directions were covered with black and silver. Two of Olympus’s armies stood in the distance, and nothing could save Enoksen. He had forgotten to ask the amber eyed woman her name, but he hoped she somehow survived what was coming. It wouldn’t even be a joke if she had survived through the fall just to die to some unlucky bullet.
With a sigh, he yelled out. “Aria, you’re watching right? If you can hear me, get the car ready an wait for me to the north-west of the city.”
Obviously, he got no reply. It felt fairly stupid to be yelling into the air like that, and he could only hope that she heard it. Furthermore, he could only hope no one saw him talking to himself like a madman. With the message hopefully passed, Daniel left the wall and ducked down a back street, making his way slowly towards the gate. In the distant North he could hear the sounds of the battle starting, with the first blood going to an Olympian sniper. The extreme long distance fighting wouldn’t last long, as sniper bullets were rare and expensive and mana costs for long ranged spells were far from efficient.
He could hear the Enoksen army march forward; it seemed that they were meeting the enemy out in the wastes to prevent damage to the wall. He didn’t know enough about strategy to comment on it, but it was a lucky break for him. With the army out of town, it would be easier for him to move about. Looking at arms and armour stores, it seemed that the local militia had bought out their stocks, so he wouldn’t be able to resupply before leaving. He thought about Tyr’s warning, but knew there was no way for him to stop the battle. The best he could do was to continue moving, maybe reaching a neutral territory and trying to get them to negotiate a truce.
When he reached the gate, he found it reinforced with soldiers, militia, and members of various orders. There didn’t seem to be any real cohesion; more like each individual group was told to be there so they all were. That in itself was an opportunity. He quickly cast an invisibility spell on himself, but made it work worse than it normally would, giving the impression of heat haze or a shadow. With a crafty smile on his hidden face he approached the first group, the militia.
“Stand aside civilians,” he said in his best imperialistic and snobbish voice, “impeding the duties of a scout for the Nuada Order is grounds for imprisonment.” Honestly, Daniel didn’t even know if that order even had scouts, but he knew townsfolk wouldn’t risk offending someone from a warrior order, let alone one that sounded like a noble. As the let him through, he made his way to the next group; the standing army.
“Sorry to bother you, sir,” Daniel said, with a somewhat uneasy sounding voice, “I’m from the militia scouting division, and they told me to work with either the army or the orders. Where am I needed?”
Without even considering it, the stressed looking officer simply said, “Work for the orders” and returned to his work. That wasn’t surprising, amateur help would just endanger him men and he would have to make changes to his plans if he started adding more units in. It was far easier to just throw Daniel to the orders and let them deal with him. Daniel then made his way to the final group, the orders.
“Scout for the Enoksen City Standing army, requesting permission to pass through” Daniel said with a salute. His posture was held straight like any soldier and the order guard barely paid any attention to him; they were there to stop people getting in not going out, and he would have had to get through two other checkpoints before reaching the orders’. Taking the opportunity, Daniel slipped out.
Once outside the city, and out of the sight of the soldiers, he cancelled the spell and took a look at the armies. Both sides’ short range fighters were engaged in a melee and spells and bullets filled the area. He could hear the same coming from the east, so Ares’ Spear had apparently made their move. Not wanting to stick around, he made his move towards where he told Aria to meet up.
As he moved, he noticed a group of Olympian soldiers broke through the Celtic army and were headed straight for a group of officers. They were dressed as normal Olympian fighter, with bronze ring-mail and bronzed leather, all etched with hardening runes. It didn’t really concern him at all, until he noticed that that the leader of the officer’s security was Anna. While she had struck out at him, she was still an important person of someone important to him, and leaving her to die wouldn’t sit well with him.
As Anna fought the invaders back, she revelled in their blood. She blocked attacks with her shield and shot her attackers with a pistol. Her spear broke at the start of the encounter so she instead let the smell of gunpowder sooth her into bloodlust. As she was letting herself go, she failed to notice that the people she was supposed to be protecting had already been killed. By the time she noticed, she was already alone, with three opponents surrounding her. As the charged forward, she confidently shot one in the head, and turned to soot another, only to hear a dull click. As swords approached, she realised her gun was empty. As an emergency measure, she let a blade sink deeply into her shield, locking it in place, while she used the pistol to block the other attack.
The gun fell from her hand as she saw the blade rise up for another swing. It was swing that never came, as a strange force suddenly pinned the attacker to the ground, burring him in the sand. She turned to see the Draconian that had her sister’s knife; he used some kind of breath attack to same her. Not letting the opportunity go to waste, she grabbed the fallen sword and killed the soldier who was trying to get his weapon from her shield. As she turned back around, she found that the Draconian was gone.