Chapter 29:

A Swift End: B-side Prologue, part 1

Setting Sun Story: Beta

Blood runs up the metal pillar in the center of the Deacons' High Tower, spread from the body of a Deacon planted at its base.Bookmark here

The lifeless corpse disappears as the pillar descends, the Head Deacon standing atop the symbol of the savior that elevated to the roof from the room's middle.Bookmark here

The torches along the walls have been snuffed out, leaving the Head Deacon's eyes glowing amidst the darkness. Rows and rows of slaughtered Deacons line the wooden desks at the back of the hall.Bookmark here

Stepping off of the blackened symbol of the Savior, the Head Deacon approaches a subordinate, clinging to his life against the stone wall.Bookmark here

Without sympathy, he eyes the pained man.Bookmark here

"Did he discover its location?" The Head Deacon asks.Bookmark here

Coughing through weak lungs, the dying Deacon shakes his head.Bookmark here

"No, it is safe."Bookmark here

"Not yet, I fear we'll need to unleash what we've built," the Head Deacon laments, turning his gaze back toward the elevator. "You'll need to go and activate it."Bookmark here

"That'll set us back years," the subordinate explains.Bookmark here

"Perhaps."Bookmark here

"W- what of Taron?! The blade should be enough!"Bookmark here

"Unprepared. Board the elevator, and see it done."Bookmark here

The subordinate nods as the Head Deacon walks slowly to the front doors.Bookmark here

Clutching his chest, the subordinate Deacon rises, limping to the elevator, and disappearing deep into the tower.Bookmark here

As the front doors open, the Head Deacon is met with a smoke clouded red night. Below, at the foot of the stairs, the Luminians armed with Light and the strength of Monstrosities, threaten the heart of the city.Bookmark here

Erin and Jun defend the front line beside an army of militarized Deacons, but hope seems lost.Bookmark here

Dragons swirl the tower, facing bolts of Lightning shot down from tower-top defenders.Bookmark here

Hellfire and Light pelting against the stairs, the Head Deacon walks silently down to the street.Bookmark here

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Jun interlaces a chakram with a warrior's blade.Bookmark here

Twisting her hold on the ring, she wrenches it from his hand, slashing across his neck and kicking him to the ground.Bookmark here

Where one falls, two more seem to take their place.Bookmark here

Erin, meanwhile, struggles to maneuver and fend off groups with a long blade in this confined space.Bookmark here

Through the line of attacking soldiers, another Monstrosity bubbles to life; a hulking body dropping shadows over the battlefield.Bookmark here

It bends down onto its front legs and picks up speed, heading straight for Jun.Bookmark here

With a sudden parry, Erin, pushes back three men at once, signing Fire in his left hand, dragging the symbol to the ground, and planting the tip of his sword in it. Risking hitting his allies, he slices up in a spiral, ripping explosive flame out at the enemy.Bookmark here

The Monstrosity ignores all obstacles, sending its own army into the air.Bookmark here

Erin bats away an axe, crossing his strike back across to cut the wielder down.Bookmark here

The Monstrosity draws closer still.Bookmark here

Jun is locked in, metal clashing and clanging against her enemies.Bookmark here

Erin has seconds to break free and run to her guard.Bookmark here

Shoulder-checking a Luminian to the ground, he steps over bodies and through fights to reach her.Bookmark here

The Monstrosity bows its head as it drives forward, ready to barrel through Jun...Bookmark here

... but before he makes it, before the winged behemoth can cause any more damage, life stops.Bookmark here

A ripple in the red light of the world, and the Deacons' High Tower, rumbling the earth at their feet.Bookmark here

The stones at its base fall away, the supports folding in half, and crumbling to the ground.Bookmark here

The Deacons' High Tower, the beacon of the city of Baustas, falls, like a needle threading the planet.Bookmark here

Every life watches as the pin drops, crashing into the street below it, slotting in.Bookmark here

Along with the rising stone, dust, and debris, the red world evaporates with a blast.Bookmark here

A thick, transparent, nebulous crimson atmosphere exploding from the tower's position cuts through the foreign forces.Bookmark here

The Baustians remain standing, but the Luminians crumple, their weapons losing the glow of Light, and the Monstrosities melting under the intense saturation of Chaos.Bookmark here

Something else appears.Bookmark here

The air of the burst clearing away the smoke, the city finds itself overcast with the black of the night sky.Bookmark here

All scales rebalanced, the Head Deacon looks to his men.Bookmark here

"Drive them back. Now."Bookmark here

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Victory was soon obtained. Unable to crush the Baustians with the weight of the Monstrosities, the Luminians fell to the seemingly divine power of the Deacons.Bookmark here

It was however, not without its cost.Bookmark here

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Sitting on the now mostly destroyed steps of the Deacons' High Tower, Taron watches as survivors clean out the Center Square.Bookmark here

Those who weren't killed in hiding throughout the West End and the Training Hall appeared from sanctuaries that were tucked away at the North wall.Bookmark here

Everyone does their part. Between mournful tears, they stack the bodies of friends and enemies alike, cart the fallen dragons to the city's exit, and shovel debris and horrifying unknown goop from the vital roads.Bookmark here

The civilians are confused, but reassured by the Deacons that explanations will be given as to the strange state of the world they know so well, as soon as reconstruction can begin.Bookmark here

Baustas has been irreparably cleaved.Bookmark here

The Head Deacon stands in front of Taron, his arms clasped loosely behind his back.Bookmark here

Taron is clearly distraught.Bookmark here

"What concerns you so, Chosen One?" The Head Deacon questions in a false voice of confidence and reassurance.Bookmark here

The blonde patriot's eyes meet the clear sky, pondering solemnly.Bookmark here

"As I fell from the heavens, I saw only the bitter past, reigniting in the fire of the city," Taron says, ending with a sigh.Bookmark here

"All of these years, vowing never to let such horrors erupt again... I couldn't possibly have been branded the Chosen One," he continues.Bookmark here

"Do you doubt the Savior?" The Head Deacon interjects. "Do you doubt his plan?"Bookmark here

"I lost the Forsaken Blade. And Zalach, I fear he is nowhere to be found," Taron explains, folding his fingers inward, grasping for the latent power he felt before.Bookmark here

"I failed him, just before he was able to find himself."
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"If he wished to abandon the faith, might the Savior have punished him?"Bookmark here

Taron reflects on those words. His doubt is truly and rightfully apparent, but as a boy he took an oath of loyalty. Pledging to live as a soldier, and only that.Bookmark here

He did this to himself, longing for a sense of purpose so many years prior.Bookmark here

The Head Deacon gives him no further room to breathe.Bookmark here

"Round up the remaining Liberators, we must secure the Forsaken Blade at once."Bookmark here

Just as he leaves to oversee Baustas, Taron calls out.Bookmark here

"What of the people? In their knowing the true world? What of the crystal?"Bookmark here

With a half-smile on his face, the Head Deacon turns.Bookmark here

"The world remains no different; the same truths remain of man's savagery, of their false embrace, and of the Savior's plan. Whether the leaves green or gold, their nature shall remain the same."Bookmark here

"But the lies sold to them!"Bookmark here

"Such is the plight of the dreamer, dear Chosen One... they'll always cave to desire, so desperate to bow to someone who can feed them what they wish.Bookmark here

"As for the state of the crystal, such a matter is none of your concern, everything is still according to plan," the Head Deacon finishes, leaving Taron to gather his pupils.Bookmark here

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