The Sorceress War Part I, Chapter XXII
AN: That picture was Salt Lake? I though it was just some cove, or something. Uh... crap? Eh, well, too late to re-type it. It doesn't matter, I don't think it said that it was really the lake, but oh well. So no, Laguna is not president, he's in boot camp during this. Sorry this chapter took so long to get up, but you see I sprained my fingers in gym and couldn't type again very fast.
Zion quickly spun his head around when he heard Julia's voice call his name. He looked around in confusion and terror for a moment, since she sounded as if she was in distress. Looking through the wall of people that surrounded him from all sides, he was able to barely see the woman's face trapped within the arms of a man that he recognized as Virados, the man they were meant to kill in Helios. With him was Satori, who had nearly defeated all of them in Esthar, had it not been for Raine's skill with a sword. He knew very well that he couldn't stand up to the both of them and win, and that he would need the entire Pack with him in order to take down the two enemies. But it was good for him that he had never been one to listen to any sense of reason.
Raine, who was still within her Shaduna state, heard it even louder than he did. She quickly looked up and tried to pin point where the voice came from. She knew it was Julia, for she was used to hearing Julia yell at her when she did something to the girl. Her first reaction was to look for Satori, and low and behold, there was Julia. But Raine didn't expect to see her passed out and being dragged away by Virados of all people. Capturing her best friend was one thing, but to have him capture her was one thing that the leader of the Pack could not stand. Cutting down enemies left and right, then pushing fellow Galbadians out of the way, she tried to follow them as fast as she could.
Before running any further Raine quickly took out the slim silver communicator that would allow her to communicate with entire Pack, if they had their own communicators on. She brought it up to her mouth, flipped on the power switch, and then continued to run as she began to talk. "Listen up guys! Heartilly's in deep shit! Seriously this time!"
"Why, what happened? Did she make a really big Estharian angry again?" Came the reply from Edea on the other end of the communicator.
"Or blow herself up with the grenade launcher?" That was from Andraia.
"Or the ever famous incident when she shot herself in the foot? Did she do that again?" And Celeste.
Both Raine and Zion looked down at their communicators with stunned and shocked faces. But in the end it was Raine who replied to the entire group who had chosen to talk with sarcasm. "No! What the hell?! I'm serious this time, I said! Look, Virados and Satori have captured her and are heading back towards the Helian flagship. Everyone try to cut them off and get Julia loose. Group up again and maybe we can kill both of them right here and now!"
"O-okay... I'm moving in now. Don't worry Raine, we'll get her back!" Came the nervous reply from Celeste once she had realized the Alpha Wolf had been serious. Then one-by-one the rest of the Wolves also replied, stating that they were inbound and rushing towards the two leaders before they could get back to the ship.
Out of all of them, it was Andraia who was the closest. Zion and Raine had started to run far earlier, but were farther away and couldn't reach the two captors in the time that the summoner could have. Ramuh, the summon that had been on the field earlier, had been depleted of all of his battle energy, so using the eldest thunder guardian was out of the question. Instead, she had another plan.
Though Ramuh and Fenrir were the summons she preferred, she did have three others with her. Carbuncle was of no use in this situation, Tritoch was far too powerful and would probably end up killing Julia as well if she summoned it, and Diablos the guardian of darkness and gravity would be her choice of summons in this battle. She quietly whispered his name as if it was a curse, and drew her hand back as it began to gather a black aura of energy around it. She threw her arm forward and the energy flew out towards the battle. The dark magic grew into a large sphere, until the demonic guardian found it large enough to exit out of. Spreading his large dark wings, he sped airborne towards Andraia's intended targets.
Andraia knew she had to stop Virados and Satori before they reached their flagship, but she knew very well that even with her summons she wouldn't be able to destroy them by herself. She had to find a way to slow them until the entire Wolf Pack could support her. Thus, she instructed Diablos to do so. The guardian of darkness wasn't used to finding ways to stop enemies, since he was simply used to attacking them head on, but he figured manipulating the forces of gravity would do the trick in this situation.
Layering gravity force upon gravity force, he built up the pressure above the ground that was a few meters before the fleeing enemies. When the force was great enough, the rock simply crushed down on itself. This created a several meters wide and at least two fathoms deep crater in the middle of the battlefield. Normally, had they been dealing with average Centrans, this would have stopped anyone from fleeing. But the guardian was not dealing with average Centrans. Being a Mysidian, Virados simply used his advantage when it came to the use of his angelic wings that could be called upon whenever needed. Though due to the haste of his wish, they only looked like a white aura appearing against his back. He jumped into the air now that the gravity had disappeared, and glided to the other end after grabbing Satori by the waist and pulling her along with him.
Before Virados had a chance to even land back down again, Diablos applied the same technique he had as before, but this time in a reverse pattern. Sucking the gravity out of the area in front of Virados, he tried to stop the escaping Mysidian again. The rock ground shot upwards into the sky, creating a large solid wall. Had Virados been just a meter closer, the rock would have impaled him. Banking upwards and increasing his speed with a flap of his wings, Virados easily flew over the rock wall and down to the ground once more.
This time Diablos was too far away for his powers to work, and Virados was moving too quickly for the guardian to fly after him and stop him another way. The summoner reluctantly recalled her summon, letting Diablos disappear into thin air as he escaped back into his domain of darkness and death. By this time, Virados and Satori had begun to run up the boarding ramp to their airship. It slowly closed behind them and they finally escaped to the safety of the interior part of the vehicle. Andraia hung her head in defeat and gritted her teeth as the ship began to take off into the sky.
By this time, Zion and Raine had finally caught up with Andraia, but watched in sadness as the flagship rose into the air. Zion gripped his hand so tightly that his nails almost pierced the skin on the palm of his hand. Raine's lips curved into a snarl and she forcefully kicked up the dust from the ground with a swift kick of her leg.
Zion looked at the flagship once more, then turned to Raine. "Damn it! Raine, we have to follow the ship! We have to get Julia back!"
"I know that!" Raine snapped back at him. She took out the silver communicator again and set it to another channel. "Lilliana, don't land! Get back over here and pick us up again! Julia's been captured and we have to go after her! Do you hear me?!"
"Yeah, I copy! I'm going to turn back now, I'll ---" Lilliana's answer turned from clear to garbled, then Raine could only hear static.
Now, instead of Lilliana, she heard the distinct voice of Colonel Reinhart, who could tap into the communication due to the fact that it was a Galbadian channel, and anyone could listen in if they had the correct code. "Negative Major Leonhart! Call your troops back into the battle to assist the other soldiers. Sergeant Frieda, land that airship now, that is an order! If you all do not do as you're told, then I will have no choice but to court martial all of you!"
"But Sir--!" Raine tried to argue, but was cut off. "Do it Leonhart! You don't have much of a choice. Your career or Heartilly! I will send a party out to rescue her later, I promise you!"
"What should I do, Raine?" Lilliana asked over the communicator, worry in her voice for both Julia and her career on the line.
"What's the flagship's heading? Where are they going? The Valhalla should be able to tell." Raine asked, receiving an unsatisfied grunt from Reinhart afterwards.
"South. The only thing down there if he doesn't stop in Winhill is the Centran Ruins."
"Land Lilliana. I'll think later. Just land." Raine replied. Reinhart praised her for the decision, and also signed off from the channel after Lily had. Raine clutched her fist in anger, not knowing if what she was doing was right or not. She would comply with Reinhart for now, but the first chance she got she was going after Julia. The Centran Ruins.... she had never been there, and wondered what lay in those ancient remains.
"Raine!" Zion accused with venom in his words. He hissed at her in anger. "What the hell are you doing?! Are you just going to leave Julia in the hands of Virados?! Only Hyne knows what that barbarian is going to do to her! If he touches one hair on her head then I'll kill him.... and then I'm going after you for leaving her for dead!"
"I know the dangers damn it!" She shot back. "But we can't do anything now! I don't trust Reinhart, he'd never send a party out after a single soldier. Once we get the chance, I'll lead you all to the Valhalla again and go after her in the Centran Ruins. I want to go after her too, but we just can't right now. I promise you that once the battle is over and we have a chance to get out of here we'll go, okay?"
Zion remained silent but nodded in response. The other Wolves had been listening in, and they agreed with no enthusiasm to split back up and take out the remaining enemies, that were still fighting with the Galbadian troops fiercely on the rest of the battle grounds. Raine knew that she had left Julia to incredible danger, but she just hoped that the grenadier would be able to take care of herself long enough for the Pack to find her and bail her out of the danger that she was in.
Julia knew that she was unconscious, but yet she felt as if she was in a real world somehow. Then it hit her, she was having another vision exactly like the one she had in Esthar a few days ago, though it seemed like much longer to her. As of now, she wasn't in a dark forest like last time, but was instead submerged in darkness. She could hear voices, however, though they were very faint. For a moment, she figured that she was finally going insane and hearing voices, but then it dawned on her that they were coming from somewhere else since she was hearing a kind of echo as they spoke. Though she could tell people were talking, she couldn't make out exactly what they were saying, it came out in mumbles.
Then she was suddenly not in the darkness anymore. Instead, she stood in the middle of a grand hall, which she figured was a cathedral at first. She noticed that many people were walking within the hall, each one tinted different colors due to the light passing through the massive stained glass windows against the back wall. Drapes and other tapestries decorated the area, and several flags sporting some emblem that was unknown to her hung from the walls. Though the hall appeared ancient in nature, the way the people were dressed supported otherwise. Their dress was futuristic, even for some Estharians. This just confused the mage even further.
There was no temple or cathedral like this in Galbadia or any other Terran country, since most had been replaced by local chapels to worship Hyne. Most of them had been destroyed when the Lunar Cry destroyed the Mysidian continent five thousand years ago. But the clothing on the figures proved that this could not be ancient Mysidian or Centra. She must have been invisible, since none of the people who walked through the hall gave her so much as a passing glance. To solidify the theory, one person walked straight through her and continued on their way.
She caught sight of two women walking through the hall that appeared more important than the others. The first looked similar to Julia in appearance, but with slightly different characteristics. She was dressed in a white flowing dress or robe, and a tiara and other jewelry adorned her forehead and body. The other woman was a soldier, possibly a bodyguard of some kind. With long brown hair and light white body armor, Julia couldn't help but think that she had seen her, and even the other woman before. As she looked closer, the armored woman looked exactly like the red robed woman that stood alongside Virados in her last vision. Both were in their mid-twenties or so, Julia assumed. She watched the two as they moved through the hall.
The bodyguard seemed distressed over something. She spoke to the more regal woman as if she had known her a long time. "All right, Trinitaria, I know that you don't believe me, but you have to! This guy is dangerous I swear. Look, even if you don't believe me you should be a little concern. Right, your highness?" She spoke the last word with slight sarcasm.
Julia then made the assumption that the first woman was a queen or princess of some sort. A monarchy had not existed on Terra since the Centran Wars, which made things even more mysterious. Trinitaria responded like she was a queen, with a regal but kind voice. "Please Ultimecia, I've heard this all before from Dante as well. If I thought he was dangerous, I wouldn't have married him seven years ago! In that time he's done nothing wrong. Sure... he has a temper sometimes, but he's never hit Mira or myself in that time."
Ultimecia placed her hands on her hips. She was silent for a moment, debating on if Trinitaria was lying or not. "Maybe so, but I still don't like him very much! He has this dark aura about him... something not Mysidian. I've felt it. Dante just felt it long before I did, because I was in denial. I wanted you to be happy, but I really don't approve anymore. I've seen Devin fight, and he scares even me. Even if he's never harmed Mira, I don't know how long that will last. He's been becoming more violent lately."
"No he hasn't! And may I remind you this is your King that you're talking about. Your words could be taken as treason, you know!" Trinitaria replied. "Ultimecia... I know you're worried, but he's done nothing to me. Now don't you and Dante have a date or something? I have a meeting to go to."
The scene suddenly disintegrated into nothingness. Then Julia found herself standing in the same place as before, but the atmosphere was now one of panic. People were running all over the place with horror plastered on their faces, and this time soldiers were scattered throughout the hall trying to keep order. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw a rogue group of soldiers attack the other soldiers and even some of the civilians. Many people were dieing around her, and she soon feared being attacked even though she was invisible.
She saw Ultimecia and Trinitaria again, this time with a tall, muscular man (whom Julia figured was the Dante they were talking about earlier) and a young girl only about six or seven that looked oddly familiar. It was obvious that the girl and Trinitaria were mother and daughter. All four of them were running through the halls at top speed, the girl (whom now Julia realized was probably Mira) in Trinitaria's arms as they did so. Julia felt no other choice but to follow them in their run.
Ultimecia and Dante shot Trinitaria a glance. The warrior woman spoke up, "See! What did we tell you?! Now Devin has conspired with Senator Aureus and is trying to take over the empire! Devin's sent out forces to find us and kill us while capturing Mira!"
Trinitaria hugged Mira tighter, since the young girl was quietly whimpering because of all the havoc. "I never dreamed that this would happen! I'll never let him have her though! He'll have to go through my dead body to do so!"
Ultimecia huffed as she replied, "Believe me, I think that's his intention."
Looking closer at the girl, Julia noticed the same mark on her shoulder as Raine had on hers, and it was the same mark that had appeared on Julia's shoulder during the last vision as well. In the flash of an eye, though, the mark was gone as if it had never existed. The girl's face was so eerily familiar that it made the grenadier nearly tremble. Dark long hair and coffee brown eyes with a look of fear in them were so familiar, yet she was having a hard time figuring out who it was. She looked like Edea, though Julia knew it couldn't have been her since the face was slightly different.
Dante then spoke for the first time in a commanding and brave voice. "We can escape out into the forests. Once there, we'll let the coup get over with then help the resistance later when things have cooled down. Besides, we can't fight well with Mira here!"
"You can fight with me!" The girl cried, "Just stop all of this! It's scary!"
"Aw," Ultimecia cooed, even if it was a war zone, "You're a brave little shit, you know that?" This made Trinitaria shoot her a glance for the use of the word 'shit', but Mira smiled in response. "But seriously, you can't fight with us, and we're too nervous that something might happen to you!"
"Come on, the gate isn't much farther! If we can get through that, then we should be able to get out of here!" Trinitaria cried, and sped her pace up to escape quicker.
Julia bolted upright as she finished the vision. She looked quickly around, but only found herself chained to a steel wall with strong metal cuffs. The room was empty, but it was fairly large. She played the vision back in her mind and shook her head in confusion. What the hell was that about? And where am I? Ugh.. too many strange things are going on! Now where'd the hell Virados go? I owe him an Ultima in the ass or two.
Raine where are you? I hope she and Zion heard me. I'd hate to be stuck here my whole life. Hmm... if worse comes to worse I'll just escape from here on my own. I guess I can do that with my magic... but my staff and grenade launcher are gone. Julia thought to herself as she kept looking around the dark cell for any sign of life. She was in a place she had never seen before... and she had been imprisoned many times in her life. The walls were decorated in ancient runes that she had never seen before, though she guessed that if Celeste or Edea were here they could tell her all about it.
She flexed her muscles, and that was quite a feat since she was chained up tightly against the wall. While she was stretching her neck out, she noticed something odd on her shoulder. The same mark that Raine and the girl owned, now appeared on her left shoulder, the sword with the angel wing hilt. Hers was now tinted a shade of crimson red, however. Heh... if Raine has this symbol and she's the Shaduna... would that make me the Tyraduna? Oh boy... all sorts of stuff is happening today. I should have just stayed home sick today.
Though Julia in her mind was mocking her situation with sarcasm, she was actually quite scared. It was true that she was a formidable soldier alone, but she dreaded one-on-one or one-on-many combat. When she was with the Pack she felt more safe, since every soldier looked out for one another. Here, she only had to worry about herself, but at the same time she had no one to look out for her in case of a back attack.
She took a closer look at her jail cell. She was confined against the wall, her legs not even touching the ground below and her arms stretched out as if she were clamped down on a cross for crucifixion. In front of her was a large single door that was apparently made of stone that had been dyed a dark gray. The entire room itself was of stone, though it appeared very old. There was a window to her left, though she couldn't see out of it well. The rays of dawn were lighting the room, and if she tilted her head far enough (which was a hard task in itself), she could just make out a mountain range in the distance. The terrain looked like desert, and felt like it too, considering how hot the room was. She was nearly sweating, and it wasn't from the vision.
She hung her head back and sighed. She knew that she would be in the room for a long while until something happened to her, so she figured that she had best try to figure out what that vision meant. Trinitaria, Dante, Mira and Ultimecia... those names weren't Centran in nature but they felt so familiar to her. The people themselves gave Julia a feeling of deja-vu, yet she couldn't pin down what it was that gave her that feeling. But the word Mira... that made her think of another word that she had never heard used before. Not knowing where it came from, she uttered the single word, "...Darknight."