The members of the R.U.N.N. base rise this morning with a deep nervousness which bears a yolk of excitement. There are no longer any delays to halt the march of history, today survivors become the soldiers who will clear the path to a new era. For the first time since its formation, the Echor base will be left totally unprotected. A territory that will soon return to being an abandoned wreck, never to be hazarded by another person.
The voice of the leader rallies, “Today is the day we earn our name as rebels. Though we are few, each one of us has suffered a thousand times more than any of the upper-class. We are the discarded, consigned to a hopeless death in the wilderness, yet that only forged our resolve. We’ve been refined into warriors who the upper-class could never hope to contend with. In a battle of wills, any one of us could draw victory from this uprising. In a battle of strength, we might be individually overwhelmed but together we are a fortress. One which even the wilderness could not breach, so what chance do the upper-class have? They, who have never had to fight for their lives. They, who take their very lives for granted. That entitlement is the fuel we will use to burn their legacy, to take the upper-class down and turn Echor into the settlement it was meant to be. One of eight monuments of humanity’s resolve to overcome and conquer even a place so unforgiving as Fabula. A celebration of humanity’s greatness rather than the demonstration of our worst it currently is. Today, we will make the original settlers proud! Today, we rise from the city’s shadow and breach the walls of an inhumane hierarchy! This is our uprising and we will be silent no longer!”
A cheer of solidarity rings within the base’s walls. Any personal quarrels or differences between each individual member don’t exist in this moment. Anna’s voice, aged and worn though it might be, has connected the alignments of all the base’s twenty-nine members. A leader, a runner, a tactician, an alchemist, a tome-tutor and his seven apprentices, twelve lookouts, three medics, a chef and a mythical being. Even despite her emotional training, this is not an atmosphere that Adrium can bring herself to resist. She cheers alongside her mother and the rest of the R.U.N.N. members as the fire of uprising churns within her. Rebellious spirit bolsters her want to craft her own future and she’s more motivated than ever to see this uprising through.
“Not one of us will be left behind. No matter how old or how young we fight and we fight together. This is all or nothing, we go until the bitter end. For the sake of all who we lost up until this point, who shared our dream and yet never got the opportunity to see this day. We’ve all lost so much but today is the end of that. No more looking back, no regrets, today there be only victory!”
Anna stands tall as she delivers her statements. A woman now well into her 80s whose voice refuses to give in until it’s said all it has to. She is the base’s leader for a reason, the absolute definition of a survivor. She intends to remain that figure until her life is forcibly ripped from her, refusing to display any time-dictated frailty. To this day, perhaps even for the sake of this day, she commands an authority that eradicates all perceptions of pity.
Respect. It’s the very same feeling Adrium got from those burrow hounds and from every other monster since. Within the mutually shared resolve of the R.U.N.N. members is respect and this time Adrium mirrors it. Anna is someone who deserves it and, in that moment, Adrium realizes something. Beyond her naturally reflected feelings is inspiration, a true want to be like the woman currently before her. Commanding unanimous esteem with an aura that dispels any assumptions and unclear feelings about her. With these thoughts in her mind Adrium makes a silent vow to become like Anna once the uprising is over, or perhaps even as a result of it.
Shiva steps forward and takes on the unreasonable task of following up after Anna’s rallying. Thankfully, the two have worked together long enough for the tactician to get used to such a scenario. “We’ll march upon the city as a single unit. If anyone splits off from that main body then they either get back themselves or we consider them dead. Our shortcoming isn’t in our firepower, we have no shortage of tomes and over two-thirds of our number are proficient with them. Adrium and Cyrilla’s offensive capabilities are also more than likely enough to breach any defences they attempt to put up. What we have to remain mindful of is the fact that we only have three medics, who are our only chance at recovery if we take any big hits. We can’t have them running off and exposing themselves to save someone who goes ahead and tries to play hero. If splitting becomes an absolute necessity, we divide into three groups at maximum, that way each can have a medic among them. More than anyone else we have to prioritize keeping these three alive, they’re the ones who’re gonna keep us alive to the end of this.
“When the head family shows up, Cyrilla, Adrium and Lissa will take the front line as our countermeasure. Apart from that, all we have to do is kill or pacify as many of the upper-class as we possibly can. Keep in mind that they’re entirely reliant on their tomes, so you can consider any upperclassman without one to be a nonfactor. Remember, this is an uprising, not a massacre. We should aim to avoid killing when we can, once we secure their territory and tomes the upper-class won’t be able to fight back. Don’t let any personal feelings get the better of you, they have to live to see what their hubris amounted to. Now, I hope all that quivering I see is anticipation and not fear. Like Anna said, this isn’t happening in another year’s time, this isn’t happening tomorrow, this happens today. When we leave this base, the uprising will finally begin. I hope all of you are ready to finally graduate from being no-names.”
Another resounding cheer sounds, this one carrying a message of affirmation to Shiva’s ears. Adrium recalls the time she’s spent with aunt Shiva and thinks on the way she has with words. On the surface, she’s able to express herself as confidently as Anna but Adrium always felt something underneath. Anna’s belief in the success of the uprising is absolute while Shiva is constantly pushing back against a suppressed ‘if’. It’s in her nature to determine the weaknesses of things, how people can fail and how plans can go wrong. The loss of her arm only pushed this mentality further as she permanently paid the price of a shortcoming. One might think it logical to consider such things but when it comes to a fight or a war it is undoubtedly a weakness. One who goes to such lengths to determine what could go wrong does so because they fear that possibility. Fear which has no place in a battle, it’s simply impossible to give your all while constantly wrestling against ‘if’. For all her talk of shortcomings, Adrium has always wondered if Shiva is aware that ‘if’ is her own.
Anna claims the group’s focus once more. “Then let’s not hesitate any longer! We’ll never be readier than we are now, by the end of the day Echor will be ours!”