Exodus – Episode 16

(Trigger Warning – This episode contains depiction of violence, blood and bodily injury that may be too intense for some.  Reader discretion advised.)

As she wrapped her healing arms around me I feel complete again.  One thing I remember in my life more than anything was loneliness.  Being different always found me in isolated, on the outside looking in.  Anytime love touched my life it was impossible to not feel an unbearable loneliness aching in my chest.  It felt like she was killing that loneliness in me.  The strangest thing I thought about while she held me was how often my loneliness was self-imposed by my own fears, disappointment or pain after having become so familiar with betrayal and loss.  I wanted nothing more at any given time than for that pain to end.  I feel like in some way Fallon reached into my soul and pulled out things I’d rather hide from the world.  I wanted to tell her everything I thought, felt or had cross my mind.  I was laid bare before her touch, weak… insignificant.  Pleasure and pain entangled in a the bittersweet scent of her touch, and the soft, wetness of her kiss.  My body, the world all seemed so far away.  I was intoxicated with her.  I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed by emotions from her.  My life had seldom carried warmth like she had.  It’s why I always embraced the cold, and loved the winters.  There was always something sweet and tender about being warmed by the touch or embrace of something when your body was cold.  It made me feel at peace.  A small pain in my chest being blow away by her light made me wish that I could cease functioning in this moment, so that I’d never know suffering again.  But her embrace tugged at the back of my mind making me wish to live, wish to be with her for all of eternity.  To not just grow old and die with her, but to become immortal witnesses to the cosmos, together.

I’d become addicted to the presence of this gentle, loving, if not also somewhat mysterious being.  She had such terrifying power over me.  I’d never loved anyone so much, I thought.  My memories of Yuzuho were so distant that I could barely remember her anymore it seemed, and so many millions of miles of pain laid out between me and that distant past that it was hard to remember the simplest things about her I loved.  It was always so hard to tell how Fallon felt.  Sometimes when I was with her I came to sense that she had a heart that was bound so tight that little inside it could escape.  I longed so much to call out to her and convince her to open that heart and let those feelings out.  But, on this night, she’d come to me.  Tonight, it was as if something was stirring inside her.  Her skin felt almost hot to the touch, as if the emotions inside her were a fire.  This was only the second time I’d seen her so flustered, or show much emotion at all.  I don’t know what had happened to her in the past in full detail, but I felt it must have been painful for her to bind her emotions so deeply.

We both seemed quite fatigued.  Even though I didn’t have tempest sickness from the events of that day, I didn’t feel all there either.  I was exhausted.  I felt so old right now, not just because of the things I’d been through, but because I was chronologically 160, neurologically I’d experienced near 42 years of life, and because the last 10 years of my life were a living hell.  I mean, it wasn’t all bad.  If anything I’d had peace sometimes, but it did little to give me solace or piece of mind from the horrors I saw.

With a final passionate kiss we curled up together tightly to stave off the coldness of my room as the chilled evening air seeped through the crack in my window.  And as she held my head up to her chest I could hear and feel her heart beating.  It assured me that she was there, and as I felt that security in her arms I began to pass into sleep.

…Where am I… I call out in the darkness.  “Hello!”, but no one replies.  Then this warm light fades into existence and I am standing on a cloud.  The sun is low in the sky and the clouds have a fluffy white-orange hue.  It’s peaceful, when suddenly the once solid cloud under my feet begins to soften cause me to fall through and beneath it.  I am falling slowly.  Beneath the clouds the sun is now setting and shining its light on their underbelly.  I see sparkles and flashes on the ground beneath me, over what appears to be a battle field.  Streams of tracers fly through the air towards objects appearing to be flying over the battlefield.  The flashes of light appear to be those of tempest user’s powers, and occasionally I can see streaks of red from speed users running heating up the air as they go.  There is occasionally mortar and bomb explosions and smoke flowing away from fires and charred objects on the landscape streaming along the ground in the wind.  The longer I am falling the faster I fall.  I am now falling towards this battle field at breakneck speeds.  Fear, and terror overtakes me in this free-fall as the ground rushes up to meet me.  I scream…  I feel shaking…

I awake to Fallon shaking me to bring me out of this dream state.  It’s frigid in my room, but I am sweating profusely.  Fallon is straddling me, “Thank goodness.  You were screaming in your sleep.  I hope you didn’t wake anyone.”   She rolls off me and onto the blankets.  I hear a tapping at my door.  We both freeze and hold our breaths.  She pushes her self between the mattress and wall, and pulls the blankets across her body to hide.  I get up off the bed and head to the door.  I unlock and open the door, but only a crack.  It’s Rush.  I am panicked a bit by this, and I hope I can convince him to leave ASAP.  “Roe, you okay in here”, he says tiredly while wiping sleep from his eyes.  “It’s okay.  I just had a bad dream.  I’m fine…  (pause) Thank you, sorry to disturb you”, I say to him while yawning midway through.  “Well, try to keep it down a bit.  It’s a weekend, so you are permitted to sleep in today.  See you at 0900, Cadet”, he says and begins to turn to walk away.

Then there is a sound from the stairwell of the night patrol coming in, Rush turns to look.  I can tell from the sound of their boots and familiar sounds of their body armor.  “Cadet Captain Rush, good early morning.  We’re here looking for a missing cadet.  Angel Wing is missing one person after an ad hoc midnight roll-call so we are performing a search to look for the individual in question.  We have reason to believe they may have come here”, says one of the men.  My blood goes cold and I feel the cold burn in my chest so intense it’s almost painful.  The men approach Rush and he says, “Oh, that sounds like trouble.  I don’t believe I have seen anyone from angel wing here, except one of our newest transfers in here this week.  I don’t know if I can help you.”  I am too terrified to move from the door, as the anxiety has a firm grip on me.  “Cadet Ensign Alira Roe, according to our records.  May we search her room?”, says the apparent leader of the men.  “Go for it, men.  I don’t believe you’ll find anything, but…”, Rush says as the man slides his sidearm into its holster.  I start trying to slowly and gently close the door, when someone knocks on it.  I stop trying to close the door, and a the man clad in armor who was talking says, “I need to search your room.  I insist.”  So I open the door.  He enters the room, and turns on the light by waving his hand over the door sensor.  The too other men stand guard outside.  He walks in a looks around the room suspiciously.  He pulls up an assault rifle and flips on the flashlight on it, and opens the bathroom door.  He exits and looks towards the window, hops to look at the top bunk, and then looks under the bed.  I am standing by the nightstand.  The man doesn’t see anything.  He walks to the closet by the bedside of the door.  He opens it, shoves the clothes out of the way making their metal hangars moan against the metal pole they are hung from.  He closes the door again, and stands in the middle of the room making one final once over and then starts slowly walking towards the door.  He seems to be doing a checklist in his head while murmuring a little.  As my head follows him I can see the bunk bed sliding out slowly.  I look and can see the blankets sliding back with it ever so slightly.  The bunk stops sliding and you can hear Fallon’s body make a thud as she hits the ground behind my bed.

I begin to feel panicked.  The man pulls up his gun and turns back to the bed to see the bunk bed disheveled from its previous position.  he crouches again and I close my eyes, unable to breathe.  “Come out of there.  Get out now”, The man commands loudly.  I stand by the bed trembling.  Fallon’s arm comes up and pulls her body back up onto the bed and the man flips on his flashlight and points the gun at her.  I am still unable to breathe as I watch.  It feels unreal.  He drops the gun to his side with a loud clunk and grabs Fallon by the wrist and aggressively pulls her out of the bunk.  She is dangling from his grip resisting from the pain.  I have this overwhelming urge to say something, but I can’t speak or move.  She struggles as he drags her out of the room because of the way he is grabbing her and the pain it causes, and probably out of fear.  I feel compelled to move but feel held even more firmly in place.  As he gets her out the door I overwhelm the pressure holding me in place and begin to exit the room.  The two men by the door grab me by the arms as I shout, “Let her go… Please.  This isn’t her fault.  Don’t punish her because of me.  She was just helping me because… Because my power taxes my body so, so much.  Please”, I pleaded with them.

I struggle with the men as one of them says to me from my right side, “If you were sick you should have gone to the medical wing, not had another cadet from another wing come to you dorm after hours.  The regulations are very specific about this.  Sorry, there is nothing you can do.”  “Please”, I say, now crying.  She is crying from the pain, and ignites her arm to cease it.  It scares the man and he releases her arm causing her to fall against the wall.  He raises his weapon and hits her in the head with the butt of it, causing her to fall to the ground limply.

This wave of sudden cold anger overtakes me, “No”, I murmur under my breath.  “What in the world”, the man holding my left arm says as I begin to repel their grip with the white aura beginning to form around me.  No longer able to hold me the men fall to the ground against the wall.  The man who hit Fallon turns to me as if in slow motion.  I raise my hand now, still crying and shaking of anger and hit him with a white bolt of lightning.  His gun is cut in half sending flecks of hot metal outwards.  His right arm at the shoulder, and left leg at the knee detach from his body causing him to fall to the ground.  That angry calm is consuming me again as I turn to the two other men.  The one to my right is already on his feet and lunging at my head with the butt of his weapon.  With a flick of my wrist I send him flying against the wall and then rolling down the hall quite a ways.  Rush is at the end of the hallway backed against the window looking on, stunned.  The man who was to my left stands up and sprays me in the face with something that smells strange and medicine-like.  I can’t see from the burning of the spray in my eyes.  After a moment they clear but my vision starts to blur.  I try to throw my power at the other man, but I stagger backwards instead.  My consciousness is fading.  I lean against the wall, roll over towards my side and look towards Fallon.  The man who hit her is writhing on the floor, and as I stare towards Fallon looking for any movement everything goes black.  The blackness of this haze is only comparable to the first time I was drugged in this world, the time that left me with that pain in the back of my neck and a scar.

…I think I had dreams… I can’t remember.   I don’t know how long I was asleep, but now  I could see light.  Slowly, I could see I was in a room, and there were two dark, blurry silhouettes in the room with me.  As I started to move ever so slightly I could tell I was thoroughly restrained, as well as being sedated heavily.  More clear now I open my eyes fully.  I am strapped to a hospital bed in the brig side of the medical wing.  I feel groggy and I have a headache.  The guards look at each other and nod, and one leaves the room through the sliding glass door.  He is gone for what feels like a few minutes as I awkwardly stare at the other one.  He doesn’t budge.  I see dark silhouettes outside the privacy glass talking now.  They enter the room and it’s McPherson, The Head Master, and the Paladin who pinned my shoulder boards.  I am only wearing a hospital gown, and I am most certainly their captive audience.  I have nowhere to go, and not enough strength to do much of anything.  “So”, says McPherson as he is interrupted by a nurse coming in to the room.  “So, you really caused a ruckus, didn’t you.  We haven’t had someone cause such a disturbance in quite a while.  We are representatives of God here, and anything you wish to say we’ll listen.  Perhaps we’ll show you mercy.  The nurse reaches up overhead and sets a timer on the side of the medical system over me, and says “Five Minutes, gentlemen.  That’s what I was instructed.  She isn’t permitted to be allowed to be unsedated for more than 5 to 10 minutes, or she’ll start to regain her tempest.  We can’t have her fully waking up until she is moved.”

“That’ll be more than enough time”, says McPherson who nods at the nurse and continues after a minute, “Cadet Roe.  You have violated our rules, but we are not merciless barbarians here.  We’re giving you a choice.  You can either face time in prison for a year, after which you will be judged, and likely found guilty.  The penalty for harming a member of the church how you did is subject to capital punishment.  Rebellion against the church will not be tolerated, and it mustn’t.  If we let you go then we’ll only be encouraging more violence.  Or, the alternative.  You can fight with the head master in a duel, and leave your fate to God to decide if you are worthy of forgiveness.  If you win, you can set Cadet Ensign Rutger free, and return to your normal school life.  We’ll even forgo branding her, but only if you win, and you promise celibacy to the church and pledge your allegiance to God, and serve in the military upon graduation.  Fallon could also face death if she is branded.  Also, you are forbidden from ever having contact with Fallon again.  If you care about your special friend, you’ll do what is right for her, now won’t you?”

My heart sunk…  It ached so that there was no other pain that could supersede it, not even if my limbs were slowly ripped from my body.  The idea of losing Fallon made me want to cry but I was too medicated to do so.  I couldn’t stand the idea of her facing the same fate I did, and trying to survive, but I hated the idea that I’d never be allowed to see her ever again as well.  It was a lose/lose situation.  Either way, she’d be ripped from my life, and I from hers.  Furthermore, if I dueled with the head master I’d surely die.  Death seemed more favorable given the circumstances, just death.   No option A, no option B, just option C.  After a few moments, I knew that I couldn’t even allow the potential that something could befall Fallon that would hurt her, or potentially end her life.  “I’ll do what you ask”, I say in sombre reluctance, “I’ll duel with the head master”.  “Great.  I look forward to this most prestigious occasion that I can serve God’s justice in The Arena.  May Gods be merciful to you, exile”, says the Head Master with a cold and calculating face.  “Well then, it is done”, McPherson says as he pulls out a PDA and confirms the duel orders.  He gets the thumb prints of the Head Master, the nurse, and the two guards as witnesses.  “Thank you Iudicant McPherson.  I shall be going now.  See you in the arena Cadet Roe”, says the Head Master who promptly exits the room.  The Iudicant comes and sits by my bedside, “You did the right thing.  Cadet, I can tell that you care about Rutger.  It can’t be helped.  This is how the system works.  But… But, there is something different about you.  In all my time here at the citadel I’ve never once seen someone get their limbs removed by a tempest with such ease”, he says doing a calming motion with his hand as he sees me reeling up in surprise.  “You really are a healer at heart.  I don’t know why but I feel like you didn’t mean what happened, some how.  Your aim cut holes everywhere, like a shot-gun.  But for some reason you didn’t have any trouble aiming during your tests.  If we had someone like you at the front-lines…  Well.”

“I…  I don’t know…”, I say to him.  I wondered if Fallon knew already, and if she was feeling how I was feeling.  “But, the powers that be don’t want to risk it.  You’re an unknown element.  I’ve never seen them unrested so much by a little girl, an exile…  a transse…  Well… It bemuses me a bit to see them getting their knickers in a bunch over it.  What exactly are you?”, he says.  I just stare at my toes from under the blankets.  “According to your records you’ve saved thousands of people, even tried to help people who tried to hurt you.  Why is it when I look at you I see a noble spirit, not a demon, a sinner, nor an enemy?  Why?!”, he says in a raised voice then calms himself, “Well, it doesn’t matter.  Your fate will come to pass by this time tomorrow, and there is nothing I can do about that.  The duel is set for Monday, which is tomorrow evening.  You’re different.  I don’t know if you can… Never-mind.  God speed.  Such a waste though.  If only you could prove me wrong.”  He stands back to his feet and I can hear the beep over my head of the sedatives starting again.  He walks out of the room.

I feel a little more alert, but frantic now.  I concentrate to try to see if I can muster up an escape.  I am trying to rouse my power, but all I can do is ignite one had in flames.  Then the familiar cool tingle hits my veins and I know that my struggle has ended.  There is no way I’ll be able to resist sleeping with my consciousness still compromised by the previous battery of sedatives.  I manage to ignite my arm, but as the drugs circulate the flames slowly fade, and go out.  I hope for anything to help me pull out of this downward spiral into sleep, but eventually I succumb.  For what seemed like forever I fade in and out of this controlled unconsciousness.  Sometimes seeing light being shined in my eyes, and then later being moved on a gurney.  At some point I feel semi-conscious and realize I am wearing my uniform only to pass back out.  I don’t have any dreams, but suddenly I feel two cold rings around my wrist and I can feel a cold wind blowing.  As I come to I can hear murmuring of a mass of people.  My eyelids are bathed in blue light, and someone appears to be messing with my arm.  I feel a sudden sharp stick and feel a strong burning sensation in the vein in my right arm.  The burning moves up, and into my chest, and then fades a little.  As the burning goes up towards my head, my alertness returns.  My head is pounding from the failing effect of the sedatives in my system, against this stimulant.  I am restrained to a blue box seat in the Arena.  The lights are almost do much for the pain in my head, and the light hurts my eyes.  But after a moment it dulls.  The nurse leaves the box, locks it, and then releases the cuffs on the seat.  My eyes  are now better adjusted to the light so that I can see Fallon in the custody of some guards in the Headmaster Section of the Viewing Box.  She is being held by a small portable forcefeild, sitting in a chair separated from the others, with guards on both sides of her.  I can only barely tell its her, and not much else, like her state of well-being.

Iudicant McPherson comes forward to the podium and the roar of the crowd dulls to a low roar.

“Tonight, we are gathered here to preside over a Iustitia Deus duel between Cadet Ensign Alira Roe, and Head Master Aleroy Faulkner, also known as the Citadel Arena Champion.  Cadet Roe seriously injured a 2 Soldiers of God after sheltering a missing student in her room.  Rather than face imprisonment and trial, she has agreed to partake in a duel and let God decide her fate in this evening’s match.  Tonight’s duel is between a diamond ranked Paladin, and a diamond ranked Striker.  This would be the first time in a long while that we’ve had 2 such powerful tempests duel in our arena”, the Iudicant says.  For safety they set the containment barrier to maximum, and as soon as the match begins they will lower the stadium lights ever so slightly and use the interior field lights for more illumination.  They say it’s for “God and all these witnesses that so that justice will be preserved”, but it is just a display of the churches power, a spectacle of violence porn for the indoctrinated masses.  The Iudicant continues, “Will all present now take a moment of silence to join me in prayer”, the Iudicant says and now the whole stadium goes totally silent.  I can hear the low white noise of whispering for almost a minute.  “Let us now attend to the matters at hand.  If Cadet Roe wins the duel on this day both her transgressions and those of another cadet will be forgiven, as God resided with this individuals demonstrated through his will imbued in them.  God’s judgement is sufficient for this body.  This duel stands as the enforcement of our rules, and to set the example for all others to follow.  We must enforce the Will of God in all things, or there will be disorder.  The Lord will give us up to our enemies and those who seek to destroy us if we don’t obey.  This duel is part of a long tradition of honoring our maker by throwing sinners to the fate of his judgement via his chosen disciples.  We have no skill but those wrought by God upon us.  And with that, we shall commence this event.”

The stimulant has completely overwhelmed the effect of the drugs in my system it seems, and are actually making me anxious now.  The electric buzzing of the lock startles me as it releases the gate to allow me to walk onto the field.  I feel like I am hallucinating a bit, as for a moment I can swear I see a puddle of my own blood on the ground.  I don’t think the sedative was meant to be counteracted by stimulants like this.  I just feel dread, and severe cottonmouth.  Apprehension fills my chest as I watch the Head Master walk down to his place.  The man is massive, and quite scary.  In his combat uniform he looks a little like a Pro Wrestler in costume before a match, which makes him even more foreboding.  The intercom comes on again, “Tonight our combatants will be permitted regulation sabers and arm guards.  This shall be a fair fight, and no outside interference is allowed.  Furthermore, any violations shall be dealt with swiftly, and aggressively.”  The weapons cages on the side of the field open and me and my opponent both approach them.  Much like the spear I was stabbed with before, these weapons were made from the metal from the meteorites that impacted the Earth 120 years ago.  They had replaceable blades that slid out, and they were also designed to break off inside their victim when fighting.  A vicious, razor-sharp weapon designed to maim.  Their blades were designed to be chip resistant as well, so that you could parry with them, but generally that is what the arm guards were for.  It haunted me to think about the people who died wearing this arm guard I am sliding on, and I felt strangely ambivalent about what that meant.  Lately life had been rough on me, and while I didn’t want to die like this, I wasn’t sure I had the will to keep on going.  I just wanted to rest.  I just wanted to curl up in a hole somewhere and disappear for a while, maybe forever.  A nice little safe cubbyhole would be nice about now.

Having donned my gear it was almost time to begin. “Cadet Ensign Roe will now face Head Master Faulkner in a duel.  Now we are set, and the duel shall begin.  May God guide their fates, and may his eternal light shine on you”, says the woman’s voice from the intercom, and my anxious recollections of that statement paralyze me.

Faulkner arrogantly stands on the field assured of his victory.  In a split second he disappears, only leaving a vague red hue in his wake.  With a zip and a pop, he is standing in front of me swinging his blade at me.  I parry quickly, but his strength is enough to make me buckle to my knees.  With his left leg he kicks at me with his famous power attack called “Heaven’s Wrath”.  While still guarding his blade I erect a partial shield with my right shin, but it is only enough to keep it from connecting while still sending me flying back.  After 20′ of sliding on my knees and elbows, I spring to my feet with a back-flip.  My blue aura is starting to show, and my resistance to his attacks are causing flames to intermittently come out of random places on my body.  As soon as I look up to see where my opponent is he has already disappeared, and reappeared on my right side with an already charged power punch on its way.  I side step to avoid, and he follows the punch with a slash from his saber and I am not quick enough to position my arm guard and it connects with the upper part of my arm, and I fall and slide a few feet.  The amount of force in his swing is terrifying, and even though it was a glancing blow it cut through my shoulder armor, and left a 2 inch gash in my arm.  While trying to collect myself reeling from the pain he snaps his finger sending a massive shockwave of his power at me.  I can’t see, my body hurts immediately, and the sleeve of my uniform is ripped off by the power of his blast, and there are tiny electrical burn marks all over my chest.  None of the electricity pieced the armor.  The gash on my arm is bleeding even more now, which seems to have been the purpose of his attack.  “Forfeit.  Forfeit because there is no rescue for you here.  At least in your trial, facing duel will spare you death.  However, your little friend will pay for it.  Show me the spineless, sinner, coward you are, stain!”, shouts Faulkner.

The thought of letting harm befall Fallon, and the taunting of my opponent connected to that harm compels me to my feet.

“Humph, do you really think you can take me.  I’ve never lost a duel, stain!”, he shouts again, with a strong demeaning tone in his voice.

I straighten myself out, stand boldly and extent my lacerated arm.  I ignite my entire arm, and yet again my flames are different.  They are rich blue with white flickering in them, and the wound is instantly healed much to the Head Master’s dismay.  I’m angry that they keep pushing me.  “Why won’t you people leave me alone”, I respond with a calm rage, “Why is it that you hate me, that you torment me?  What is it you want from me?  I’m just tired of it.  Just leave me be.”

“Well, if your tired, then just lay down and die will you?  We’ll all be better off without your kind polluting the world with sin”, he says in a maniacal false kindness.  He then speed charges right in front of me, and energizes his blade with his power.  He swings with a force I’d never seen and I parry but I am knocked into the air with such force that it breaks off the out most razor of my blade.   My entire left arm is numb of the impact, and the ground hitting me knocks the wind out of me and my saber from my hand.  As I roll over to see if my arm is still attached I see that it is but it is completely stunned by the attack.  I’ll be unable to block with it like this, and it may even be broken.  My ears ring a bit, but I am able to lift myself up with the other arm.  He disappears yet again and appears in the air above me.  I frantically move to roll out of the way, and he misses only narrowly driving his blade into the ground.  I scramble for my saber and stand up, promptly smacking the blade on my knee to move the replacement blades forward restoring its previous functionality.  He is unable to pull his blade out of the ground, so he snaps the blade off and hits it with his hand to replace the missing blade.  Charging at me again, he gets 5 feet from me and disappears.  A stinging sensation like heat streaks across my back, my left thigh, and my right arm and I can see Faulkner reappear 20′ to the left of me.  I turn to face him, but I collapse as I rotate.  I can feel a pulsating burn and there is warm blood pouring out of my skin on my back, right arm, and left thigh.  The bleeding brings on a lot of pain, and I start to feel sick.  I look down at my leg and there is a deep laceration on it and my white socks are quickly wicking up blood and turning red.  Blood is dripping from my leg staining the artificial grass with a puddle of blood.  I’m bleeding heavily and already starting to feel light-headed.  As quickly as humanly possible I ignite my body in flames and attempt to seal the wounds.  I wasn’t quick enough, and the blood loss has deprived me of much more than the ability to reduce the bleeding, and partially close the wounds.  The headmaster vanishes again.

With a wisp of wind and a sonic boom I am sent flying forward with incredible force, enough to see stars, and there is blue light and electricity all around me.  I hit the ground with such force that I can feel the wound on my leg reopen, and it hurts 100X more than the initial injury.  My body feels beaten, and things feel broken, as if I fell off the roof of a house.  My vision is fuzzy, and I see little lights that look like atoms floating through my field of vision.  The blood is pouring out of my leg worse than ever, and the top section of my left boot has been blown off, to reveal a medium-sized laceration on my calf.  “I don’t remember him cutting me there”, I murmur to myself.  This brute disappears, yet again, and when he reappears he has stabbed me in the right thigh and shoulder, where the blade still rests.  It smarts and throbs as he removes the blade from the wound, and the dull ache in my thigh turns to a roaring, sharp ache as my blood begins to pour out of the wound.  My saber is across the field, and I am completely disabled.  “So, this is how it all ends.  This is how I die”, I mumble to myself.  I am starting to feel really sleepy, and I even nod off for a moment.  The blood is started to slow a bit now.  From the corner of my eye I can see Fallon pounding on the forcefield containing her.

My heart aches again, wishing to be touched by her, and I muster what strength I have to look up to her and say, “Forgive me!”

“You’ve lost.  But thanks for giving them a good show”, says the Head Master arrogantly bragging of his victory.

The urge hits me to vomit, but all that comes up is blood.  I am shivering now.  My body is going numb at the very extremities, and I feel so cold.  The pain is starting to subside, and I am having trouble keeping my upper body and head upright.  “No”, I squeak as I don’t have the strength to speak.

I feel a small light inside me… calling to me… urging me to live.  I call forth what sporadic flame of energy I have left and try to heave myself up.  Standing now, on one leg, completely unarmed I look towards the Head Master.  There is cold sweat on my brow, and I feel as though I want to fall over from dizziness.  He angrily runs up to me, grabs me around the throat and lifts me into the air.  I can’t move my arms to defend myself, and I can’t breathe. I kick him but my right leg barely has any strength left in it and my left leg is unable to do more than wriggle.

Out of my partially cracked eye I can see a yellow light.

It grows brighter and brighter, and suddenly there is this boom, and my body falls limply to the ground.  Laying on my side there is some holding the Head Master back bathed in golden-yellow light.  Like an angel.  I must be near death to be seeing such strange things.  There is even wispy energy coming out of their back shaped vaguely like wings.  This light reaches out to me and becomes greener the closer it comes to me.  I can’t see now, it’s just blurry, and I am consumed in green.

The last thing I think… “This is the end.”

Fallon…

Where are you…

… So cold…

Ah…

I feel a strange warmth flowing into me.  The warmth of love… I don’t know from where.  But the life is returning to my body…  I awaken again, and open my eyes.  I look up but my vision is blurry and dark still.  I feel a warm drop of water hit my face and flow down over my lips, and onto the tip of my tongue.  It tastes like a tears do.  My vision clears…  I am being held in someone’s arms and they have a golden aura.  My eyes focus, and I see Fallon hunched over me crying onto me.  “Fallon”, I whisper.

“Thank goodness.  I thought I’d lost you there for a moment”, she says still crying with a pained smile on her face.  I look down at her hand pressed against my chest and her golden aura is turning into green flames on her left hand and flowing into me.  “It was your love I felt.  You really do love me don’t you”, I say to her softly.  She giggles and nods her head while sniffling a little.  More and more the life comes back to my body, but I am very weak.  Her face turns to anger and she turns her head up to look at my assailant.  She is staring down the Faulkner like a protective mother would when someone harmed her child.  Fallon stands up while cradling me in her arms.  I can see someone behind Fallon, and she turns to them.  Through the stadium lights I can’t tell who it is.  Fallon passes me to this person and I can feel their hard muscles against my pain racked, broken body.  As this person blocks out the light, I can see Emilia’s face.  From behind her I hear a gruff voice say, “We gotta go, Sis.  Get a move on.”  Emilia shakes her head looking down at me, “You are a handful, chica.  Did you really think we’d be able to stand by a watch?  We cut the shield’s power to let your woman in here.  She is different too.”  Bueller shouts from behind her, “Get that ass moving!  Go.”  Emilia runs off the field and Fuel erects a shield around us by the exit to the stadium.  “What about Fallon?”, I ask Emilia.  “Just watch.  Watch your guardian angel defend your honor, and avenge your pain”, she responds with a smirk.  She turns me so that I can see the field.  Fallon disappears but I can see her aura circling the Head Master and incredible speed.  He tries to phase to get away from her but she slices his arm stopping him mid-stream.  She begins to barrage him with attacks, every attack causing a strobe of her likeness in golden light.  The head master collapses to his knees and she returns to normal speed, and is standing close to us.  Faulkner has dozens of cuts on his body, his uniform is shredded and blood is only just now starting to flow rapidly from the wounds.  He tried to pick up his saber, but all he can do is tremble his arm.  I look at the saber in Fallon’s hand.  All the blades have been used all the way down to the plastic blade retainer.  That’s 9 blades, minus the one I lost fighting.  The head master’s blood has streaks glowing blue in it.  He falls down onto his hind legs… He’s dead, eyes still open and sitting on the ground.  Fallon looks taxed but fights to not show it..  The crowd is frozen in horror of what they just saw, and from the distant side of the field armed soldiers charge the battleground…

To be continued…