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.
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.
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.
Stepping off of the blackened symbol of the Savior, the Head Deacon approaches a subordinate, clinging to his life against the stone wall.
Without sympathy, he eyes the pained man.
"Did he discover its location?" The Head Deacon asks.
Coughing through weak lungs, the dying Deacon shakes his head.
"No, it is safe."
"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."
"That'll set us back years," the subordinate explains.
"W- what of Taron?! The blade should be enough!"
"Unprepared. Board the elevator, and see it done."
The subordinate nods as the Head Deacon walks slowly to the front doors.
Clutching his chest, the subordinate Deacon rises, limping to the elevator, and disappearing deep into the tower.
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.
Erin and Jun defend the front line beside an army of militarized Deacons, but hope seems lost.
Dragons swirl the tower, facing bolts of Lightning shot down from tower-top defenders.
Hellfire and Light pelting against the stairs, the Head Deacon walks silently down to the street.
Jun interlaces a chakram with a warrior's blade.
Twisting her hold on the ring, she wrenches it from his hand, slashing across his neck and kicking him to the ground.
Where one falls, two more seem to take their place.
Erin, meanwhile, struggles to maneuver and fend off groups with a long blade in this confined space.
Through the line of attacking soldiers, another Monstrosity bubbles to life; a hulking body dropping shadows over the battlefield.
It bends down onto its front legs and picks up speed, heading straight for Jun.
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.
The Monstrosity ignores all obstacles, sending its own army into the air.
Erin bats away an axe, crossing his strike back across to cut the wielder down.
The Monstrosity draws closer still.
Jun is locked in, metal clashing and clanging against her enemies.
Erin has seconds to break free and run to her guard.
Shoulder-checking a Luminian to the ground, he steps over bodies and through fights to reach her.
The Monstrosity bows its head as it drives forward, ready to barrel through Jun...
... but before he makes it, before the winged behemoth can cause any more damage, life stops.
A ripple in the red light of the world, and the Deacons' High Tower, rumbling the earth at their feet.
The stones at its base fall away, the supports folding in half, and crumbling to the ground.
The Deacons' High Tower, the beacon of the city of Baustas, falls, like a needle threading the planet.
Every life watches as the pin drops, crashing into the street below it, slotting in.
Along with the rising stone, dust, and debris, the red world evaporates with a blast.
A thick, transparent, nebulous crimson atmosphere exploding from the tower's position cuts through the foreign forces.
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.
Something else appears.
The air of the burst clearing away the smoke, the city finds itself overcast with the black of the night sky.
All scales rebalanced, the Head Deacon looks to his men.
"Drive them back. Now."
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.
It was however, not without its cost.
Sitting on the now mostly destroyed steps of the Deacons' High Tower, Taron watches as survivors clean out the Center Square.
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.
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.
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.
Baustas has been irreparably cleaved.
The Head Deacon stands in front of Taron, his arms clasped loosely behind his back.
Taron is clearly distraught.
"What concerns you so, Chosen One?" The Head Deacon questions in a false voice of confidence and reassurance.
The blonde patriot's eyes meet the clear sky, pondering solemnly.
"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.
"All of these years, vowing never to let such horrors erupt again... I couldn't possibly have been branded the Chosen One," he continues.
"Do you doubt the Savior?" The Head Deacon interjects. "Do you doubt his plan?"
"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.
"I failed him, just before he was able to find himself."
"If he wished to abandon the faith, might the Savior have punished him?"
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.
He did this to himself, longing for a sense of purpose so many years prior.
The Head Deacon gives him no further room to breathe.
"Round up the remaining Liberators, we must secure the Forsaken Blade at once."
Just as he leaves to oversee Baustas, Taron calls out.
"What of the people? In their knowing the true world? What of the crystal?"
With a half-smile on his face, the Head Deacon turns.
"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."
"But the lies sold to them!"
"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.
"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.