Adrium gazes across the horizon, attempting to determine which direction Echor is. She sees the turquoise forest in the distance, she knew all about that from Cyrilla, though she doesn’t know where that geographically relates to home. Geography isn’t Adrium’s strong point, she’s never really had to be good at it before.
“Well,” she decides, “I suppose I’ll get nowhere without just looking.”
Back in Echor, the battle yet rages. After exiting Cyrilla’s artificial arena, the Hakon representatives hooked around the area to flank the main R.U.N.N. unit. The entitled power of the Hakon was too much for the rebels to ward off and they were forced to split up into the ruined alleyways which surrounded them. One group to the left, another to the right, and one standing stalwart against the head family. This third unit, comprised of Anna, Garv, three of his apprentices, Nova, Clover and one of the three medics, intended to act as gatekeepers while Shiva and Alan took control of the surrounding streets with their groups.
“What did you do to the three who were over there?!” Anna called out in an attempt to stall. The unit was still taking fire from the surrounding upper-class, though Garv was capable of maintaining a defence against them by himself. The issue was entirely contained in the two before them, the ones who held all that Echor had to offer. It was at this point that the dragon behind the troop took off with Adrium in tow, yet there was no moment to spare a glance in that direction.
“How saintly of you to concern yourself with them,” the elder Hakon sarcastically spat. “Could it be that you are aware of the miserable value your lives amount to? Especially you… Garv, was it? You were a respected man, a friend of my father, yet you decided to roll in mud and ally with the worms!”
“He was no friend of mine!” Garv bellowed through struggling breaths. “He was as wasteful as the rest of you! What good is a society like yours, which makes no attempt to evolve or improve?!”
The elder Hakon sighed. “My patience for arguing philosophy with you dregs has already worn out,” he stated as he flicked through the pages of his tome, as if deciding what tool would be best to crush the bugs before him. “We are already all-powerful, there is no need for our society to change. Now, I would ask that you make yourselves useful to us and take those foolish ideas with you once you perish.”
The flicking of pages stopped and the elder Hakon raised his hand, a burning glow emanating from the tome to the top of his fingers. The rebels braced themselves for some type of fire spell but were caught off-guard when the fragmented ground below them began to twist and sink. Heels burned as wood and brick alike then began to melt into a molten crater. No barrier could protect from a spell like this, the rebel unit realized in unison that they had to make a decision. Any cloth on them set alight nigh-instantly and, instinctively, Nova and Clover were the first to react. Their medic was their priority, so Clover quickly rushed and swept him from his feet as Nova prepared to douse the three once they left the area of effect.
That was when it dawned on them that they couldn’t leave Garv’s barrier. They turn and see the old tome tutor sinking into a slow death, left with the decision to either expose his allies to the assault of the upper-class or die anyways in the flames. He was old, he couldn’t make split-second decisions like that as the lookouts could. Dropping the barrier was the obvious answer but he was slow to assess the situation. He attempted to cancel the spell but as he did the barrier did not disperse. That was when he caught sight of the younger Hakon outside, having approached during the confusion, forcibly supporting and maintaining the barrier.
“Garv! We need to-”
“Get on my back!” Garv interrupted Nova’s call as he grabbed Anna and lifted her onto his large form. “I’ll be your platform, you have to break this barrier!”
The two lookouts were confused until they caught sight of the younger Hakon themselves. Garv was big but he could only support two people at most, especially while burning away in molten earth. Clover perched the medic on his free shoulder as Nova barked the order “Keep us alive as long as possible!”
Clover reached for the tome that should have been at his side, only to realize that it had been set aflame as well. The heat had grown too intense, he had no time, he panicked to try and find any page he could draw magic from. Nova had already cast an ice spell on her tome to delay such a thing, giving her an extremely limited time frame to act as that ice rapidly turned to steam.
There was only one person in that barrier who had the ability to cast magic without tomes. That person was Anna Reiverk.
“Stay alive just a few moments longer, Garv. It’s about time I used what you gifted to me,” Anna croaked through a dry, burning throat.
The tattoos on her arms began to glow with a light-blue essence. This wouldn’t be a spell to save the allies around her or to finish this war with one convenient move. This was a last resort, one final shot, a light to lead the rest to victory. The essence of magic which flowed in her limbs for decades, waiting for this single moment, coalesced into an incandescent spear which was aimed towards the elder Hakon. Anna’s vision was hazy and she could no longer physically direct her spell, hitting a moving target or a creature of the wilderness like this would have been impossible. Hitting an upperclassman who had already convinced himself of his victory, on the other hand, would not be.
With one final hope, Anna released the spell. The spear easily shattered the barrier as it passed, though power was not what made this spell special. This was light magic, faster than any lightning spell ever put in a tome. From the perspective of the elder Hakon there was a flash of light and a hole through the right side of his torso before the sound of the barrier shattering finally caught up. His focus on his molten spell broke but it would still take time for the earth to cool. Too long to save those whose bodies had already been burned black. The only ones left alive were the medic on Garv’s still-standing corpse and Clover, who Nova managed to save at the moment of the barrier shattering with a plume of water magic.
The smoke of burnt flesh billowed over the younger Hakon with a hideous stench. He hadn’t realized what happened to his father, too shocked from the breaking of the barrier and the fact that he was alright to immediately notice. He was more concerned with thinking if any of the rebels survived, though he was hardly going to step closer to check. He backed up to assess the situation and, as he exited the smoke, he was accosted by a woman with black hair and blue eyes. His reactions are nowhere close to good enough to stop her from grabbing the tome from his hands and burning her teleport spell to steal it without giving him a chance to resist. The younger Hakon, dazzled, looked around for the support of the other upperclassmen to see that they had already been knocked out.
“Lissa! Clover’s still alive over here!” Cyrilla shouted, her voice echoing across the shaken battlefield. What was an ensemble of spells being cast had fallen to a near-calm with only the ongoing battles of the other two R.U.N.N. units rumbling a few streets away. It was a somber moment, like a strange and sudden sense of finality had settled. Yet, one last time, Cyrilla had to bare her face of resolve until she was sure everything was over.
“Carlo…” Clover groaned, spurring Cyrilla to look for the medic who bears that name. Sure enough there he was, still barely breathing atop a monument-like Garv. With a leap, Cyrilla took Carlo in her arms, attempting not to focus on the remains of everyone else. She pat out the residual flames while simultaneously keeping an eye on her surroundings, making certain that no more upperclassmen gather and target Lissa.
That was when her body suddenly started to feel heavy. She assumed it was just her emotions affecting her until she realized that she physically couldn’t move. The world itself was dragging her in, gravity had intensified. She forced herself to turn around and, before being pulled down flat, saw the livid face of the elder Hakon, tome in one hand with the other covering a wound which had failed to deal lethal damage.