Chapter 1:

The Bridge

Roeyan Saga

<In the abyssal stillness of space a portal opened and out of it erupted darkness. An ever-expanding, devouring vortex. Its hunger emerged like a new paradigm of the universe, unstoppable. Its soundless bellow made it even more unnerving as if already etched into our core. >

Ereya I

A metallic blur flashed across the busy street leaving a strong wind behind. Disoriented pedestrians cleared the way for the fast-approaching mechanically clad officer. The armored suit changed its direction towards the highway and glided past the traffic. This was a chase. This was a hunt.

"I located the target. I'm currently in pursuit" said a soft voice inside the mechanized armored soldier.

"Good job finding the terrorist, Ereya. Now turn on the Shared Vision Program so we can get a visual on him. We sent an alert to the ground police to evacuate your area so you'll be freer to execute your mission without being worried about the citizens".

"Thank you, commander Rayleigh. That makes things easier." Ereya noticed the terrorist speeding up on his plasma-fueled motorcycle and she decided to accelerate as well by turning on the propellers on her back.

"As expected from someone sent by the leaders themselves, this guy is not to be underestimated." 

Ereya had to admit to herself. Seeing that, the terrorist changed course towards the narrow streets, zig-zagging across them. They were neck-in-neck, leaving flashes of light from the sheer speed. The terrorist started shooting her with an electrolaser but she could read its trajectory using the neurolink with the mech suit and skillfully dodged each shot. They were approaching the limits of the city and after that was...the Aredaos Strait Bridge. The connection between the Alcedina Bay estuary and the Tirrus Sea.

"He's getting desperate... Which means he must have a strict time limit. He's approaching the Aredaos Bridge, I have a bad feeling about it, I have to stop him here !" Ereya thought to herself getting worried by the second.

"Commander Rayleigh, I request permission to engage in battle!"

"Permission granted."

The female soldier took out a sword from the back of the robot suit and swung it at the motorcyclist. The plasma from the sword attack melted the road and the driver flew out of his motorcycle, breaking its windshield. The terrorist started coughing up blood but when she was about to pick him up, he threw a blinding grenade at her. The burst of light disoriented her for a few seconds but she quickly regained composure. 

A few seconds was all the terrorist needed. He removed his helmet revealing a tiger face with a chewed-up left ear and a cut across his mouth. He then took off his mechanical gloves exposing paws with large claws.

"You're too late now officer, I'm within range of the Aredaos Bridge. This is the beginning of the Chimera Revolution, you disgusting Roeyan oppressors that like to pretend you're gods!" the chimera terrorist shouted while scanning his palm and activating the bomb. 

Ereya took out her gun and shot his hand, pulverizing it but it was too late.In the distance, a huge explosion erupted near the bridge and a massive pressure was felt from the blast, it was so powerful that it pushed waves onto the shore. 

Ereya looked at the devastation in pure shock and dread. This was worse than death. It was a failure. Worse than any torture. Worse than when she was kidnapped as a child and had to learn to survive. Worse than the beatings from grandfather.

"No, I won't let them die!" Her pride wouldn't let her accept defeat. 

In that moment, she made an oath to herself that no matter what, she'll rescue everyone. She'll not be seen as a failure, even if that meant sacrificing her life. She propelled herself like a bullet. The velocity was so fast she was flying onto the water, leaving behind huge water trails. She arrived at the bridge in mere seconds.

* * *

It was the sound, it traveled through her skin and burned itself into the myelin of her nerves. Then it was the smell, melted metal and intoxicating fumes, and blood... She could feel the metallic taste of blood inundating her body. Ereya took hold of the main cable that snapped, preventing the suspension bridge to sink. 

At this rate, the mechanical suit would break in half from the pressure. Reinforcements would come soon, she just had to stand her ground and not let go, people’s lives depended on it. She was gritting her teeth from the excruciating pain, digging deep, summoning up all her strength. She gasped for air, sensing she was soon going to lose consciousness.

 “It doesn’t matter, the pain doesn’t matter, my body and my pain must be separate. Remember the training, you’re water and can pass through anything, this trembling and agony is not yours,” she told herself, trying to calm down, repeating the mantra she was taught at the academy. 

Her suit started to crack, causing metal fragments to fly off. The joints were the most affected with the bolts and screws coming loose from the pressure, revealing muscle-like artificial fibers underneath, tearing them slowly. Air pressure blew out of her suit and sparks ignited from the shortcircuited joints. 

She could feel every strain put on her suit since she was wearing the small ground unit made for patrolling. Her arms felt like they were tearing off and she started biting her lips making them bleed. 

With great effort, Ereya slowly put her arms to her chest to keep better control of the cable but they quickly got opened up again from the accelerating force. 

"At this rate, the armour is soon going to run out of backup energy. That means I can only use my own..." The soldier inhaled deeply, focusing on awakening the ambers buried deep inside. 

She could feel at a molecular level her powers surging. Streaks of blue light appeared on her skin. It followed the course of her veins, spreading throughout her body rapidly. Her eyes glowed blue, energy started surging from within and transferred to her mechanical suit, quickly replenishing its energy source. 

 Ereya only used her powers when she was still training in the temple. After she left and attended the military academy instead, she was strictly forbidden to use them. But she didn't care for that now, people were going to die.

 Ereya was hearing the sounds of people in agony, hurt and panicked, not knowing where to go, holding on to what they could so they wouldn’t fall. The whole structure was swaying back and forth. At first with a tranquil cradle movement but gradually it became like a raging, uncontrollable wave. 

Those that didn't have something to hold on to were swung like rag dolls. There was a moment of silence as if time itself stopped, like the calm before the storm. All screams disappeared and in their place, a terrifying void that seeped into their bones appeared. It was death itself. 

Finally, the inevitable happened: The bridge deck started to cave in, breaking and crumbling like bread crumbs. From above, the crowd looked like broken toys. Toys made of flesh and blood and bone. 

Then she saw it. In the corner of her eye, just barely out of sight: a small boy was hit by a loose suspender cable and was about to fall to his death. 

Ereya didn't have time to think, she had to act. She ejected out of her mechanical suit and put it on standby to hold the parabola. The young soldier leaped to grab the child's hand and quickly scooped him up, carefully cradling him into her arms. The child was hurt, he was bleeding from his forehead and blood was gushing out, obscuring his vision. 

He could only see golden strands of hair flying in the wind and blurry fragments of bruises. He tried to conjure up words to thank her but his chest felt heavy and painful. His throat was sore and he felt a metallic taste in his mouth. 

But he had to ask, at least once before he dies. "Who are you? Are you an angel of death that came to take me?" 

"I'm officer Ereya, princess of House Dorrean and I'm not going to let you die. Just focus on me and don't let go. What is your name?" 

"Atthis..." he said as he dozed off seeing a colony of seagulls flying alongside him as if he was carried by angels themselves. Below them, the patrol vehicles flashed lights and let out loud siren noises. 

"Maybe I'm really in heaven after all..." 

After that everything became dark.

Harmonica Writes
Taylor Victoria
F.C Fondness
Dalion Alteri
Rhiannon Altea