On Rose Wings
In the chaos that was already unfolding, today’s story begins right before the first moment of chaos was about to erupt inside the city. The Fiorean detachment sent to patrol the city consisted of every single one of the legal guilds, and some of the independent guilds; Luminous Rose had certainly pledged some of their best to the cause, as their missive dictated that they assist the common folk and provide them with sufficient succor to ensure that the civilians of this city were able to pass through whatever trouble would fall before them. Needless to say, the rose guild had taken on their duties seriously; while other guilds had elected to perform primarily preventative combat patrols, certain members from each guild had banded together to provide medical assistance should anything happen. And, as somewhere else may have previously intimated, the Fiorean detachment had their own system for managing the communication and logistical needs of the guild forces. Communications relays had been set up, manned by technically adept guild mages, and protected by sufficient combat forces. At this point in time, Lyra Karant was now of the understanding that maintenance of the logistic and communicative systems was the highest-priority secondary objective, falling beneath the mandate to protect the Joyan citizenry from harm. This, therefore, was to be the way things were to be set up. She understood that there were some amongst the Fiorean ranks with some form of military expertise and Lyra had no desire to go against their wishes; this was at one point their skilled trade and the rose mage would gladly follow orders if it meant the success of their overarching mission. It was a bit strange, honestly. The Magic Council had brought this together, yet something still felt slightly odd about the entire situation. Why was Fiore deploying a high-strength effectively ragtag military operation to the defence of Joya? Was that much trouble actually expected out of the peace talks?
Oh Lyra. If only you knew.
To that end, Lyra was now a part of the contingent that was preparing medical supplies in a triage tent near one of the primary thoroughfares of the city. On the outside, to the citizenry, there was some sense in providing first aid in what was considered a large public gathering. It was not uncommon to see first aid tents set up at things like conventions and music festivals, so to have doctors and first aid staff on hand when there were literally thousands of people from all over the world gathered to celebrate the ongoing peace of multiple nations was likely smart. Those who had made the journey to ring in the end of what was almost a disastrous war that would have swept the world away in its tumultuous currents were rather glad to see such measures being put in place. This tent, like a few others that had been set up around major points in the city, had sufficient medical supplies, trained magical healers and actual physical first aid trained staff to welcome a rather sudden influx of people. Ostensibly this was so to handle dozens of people who were perhaps fainting from the heat or from partying too hard. However, those who anticipated trouble knew that wounds from things like improvised explosive devices attached under a car or in a trash receptacle were more likely to be commonplace in such things. A disruptive element here could do incredibly serious damage to the civilian population and the mission planning had taken that exact contingency into consideration when this operation had been put together.
All around her, in the large white tent that had been established with a few stretcher cots and a series of white tables that needed to be unfolded, Lyra observed for just a moment the way people moved. The contingent here represented a number of different guilds from across Fiore; there were a few Rune Knights, some people from Sabertooth, and even some from Meliora Vitae and Silver Wolf that had come to represent the interests of the guilds and to help others. It was an altogether uncommon sight, where the guilds came together for mutual benefit, but the rose mage would enter into no complaint here. It was a heart-warming sight to see people working together for the betterment of the common people and she alone was glad for the company as she dedicated her skills and talents in order to help heal others in their inevitable time of need. She, too, was working, doing her part; Lyra had spent her opening moments here carrying tables and crates and supplies from the vehicles that had borne them to their location and chatting cordially with the people that she was expected to be working with in the short term. Collectively, it took the group of approximately fifteen people one hour to properly set the tent up and ensure that it was ready to take on patients. Fresh water was now able to be supplied to those experiencing dehydration, and plenty of first aid kits were on hand should people need proper physical medical care. Overall, this had become a good place to perform the tasks of healers.
Suddenly, three men entered the tent; two of them were wearing Rune Knight military garb and a third seemed to be clad in light padded battle armour with a long rifle strapped to his back. They were chatting casually between them while one of the Rune Knights began removing a rather heavy backpack and placed it on one of the empty tables. Lyra cast them a glance and a nod, while the second Rune Knight mimed an action of raising a cup to his lips.
“Hey - any chance we can grab a drink real quick?” he asked, letting out a breath. “It’s absolutely killer out there.”
Lyra could relate, and he was right; it was a rather humid day, meaning that carrying a heavy backpack filled with comms gear would have been an incredibly strenuous task. This, however, spoke to how important the protection of the communications teams were; two heavily armed people travelled with the operators at all times.
”Yeah, of course, not a problem! One second.”
Lyra went to the back of the tent where a slab of bottles of cold water had been placed inside a portable fridge, extracted three of them, and placed it on the table before each of them. She offered each of them a kind smile. ”Thanks for your work today. It must be really tough out there.”
The communications operator cracked a smile. “You know what, it’s not too bad. I’ve seen ops where we’d go even harder on protection detail. I’m glad that, so far, we’ve done pretty well on that particular front. Just feels like a good day out on exercise or patrol.”
Lyra, unfortunately, only really got half of that. She knew the Rune Knights were incredibly well-trained; their guildmaster, Serilda, had a reputation for not only being a hard taskmaster, but also for keeping her troops at the top of their game at all times. She expected them to routinely be training if they weren’t actively on missions. This meant that, for the rank and file Rune Knights like these men, they were probably always doing missions like this no matter what the occasion.
”I can’t relate, but it sounds tough. I guess you guys do this all the time.”
“Yeah, I guess,” responded the communications man again, sharing a glance with his fellow Knight. “What about you, huh? Where you from? I’m gonna take a stab and say Rose, judging by your hair.”
The three men chuckled. Lyra just smiled. ”Would you believe me if I said that this was my natural hair, before I even joined the guild?”
“I’d wear it,” said the third man, raising his bottle of water to his lips. He spoke with a bit of a Stellan accent, but it was certainly tinged with the Fiorean local dialect. “You know, there’s plenty of weirder stuff out there to see. One time I-”
Suddenly, a voice broke through on the communications line, loud enough for everyone present to hear. It was a rather clipped and precise accent, tinged with the tell-tale signs of adrenaline pushing through as ragged breath came through the line. The voice itself crackled slightly, as if there was interference
”Victor two-two - three hostiles spotted with explosive device in sector two-two alleyway. Engaging.”
The room, suddenly, went dead silent, like someone had just had their head cut off and nobody knew how to respond to it. Glances were shared between the comms teams and the people of the medical unit, where Lyra just kept her gaze transfixed on the communications operator.
“Well, shit, we’re game on,” he said, pulling the backpack back on in a hurry. His fellow Rune Knight was already lifting the pack to assist him back into it, and the third man was drawing his weapon as an emergency precaution. This was now officially a combat zone if explosive devices were being carried around by suspicious individuals. Lyra knew now that she was going to be in over her head, for this was more than she’d originally anticipated. Well, that wasn’t true. She knew, somewhere, subconsciously, that she’d be expected to look after people when things began to go south. This wasn’t going to be a regular old guild job, after all. This was bigger than her. Bigger than Luminous Rose. Bigger than the Magic Council, or even Fiore.
However, as if to punctuate that thought’s importance, there was a sudden detonation somewhere nearby, as an explosive device pierced the air with a loud and deliberate crack. Tangled in with that horrific noise was the sound of metal rending apart and the sound of debris hitting masonry, as stonework began to crumble under the kinetic force of the detonation. Moments later, that sound repeated itself a number of times - and with it, screams began to rise through the air. The cacophonic noise that followed belied the status of a city that was now rapidly devolving into chaos, where a terror attack was now unfolding before their very eyes. The smoke that began to rise could be smelled even from here, where the assault on the senses was an unmistakable reality: this was a planned and systematic attack on Felidae City that had been orchestrated long in advance, designed to disrupt this event, destabilize the population of the city, incite mass panic and force the defensive elements of the city to focus on this and not those who were more important and more powerful.
The nightmare had begun.
“Oh, damn,” came a hushed whisper from somewhere across the room.
Moments later, the communications lines began to erupt with innumerable reports, all overlapping one another; a dozen voices reported further explosions as the Fiorean defenders began to find their response to this atrocity. One by one, different sectors were reporting the damage that had been sustained; there were now pockets of resistance all over the city as the insurgents that had made this attack possible were now providing resistance to the defenders and trying to resist arrest, or even attempting to kill the people that they fought against. This situation went from totally peaceful to completely out of control within thirty seconds.
The communications team looked at the assembling medical crew, including Lyra, who were already making efforts to come together and prepare themselves to receive incoming injured civilians. At that moment, another blast pierced the sky somewhere nearby, a clarion call that this attack– whatever it was– was incredibly real.
The man operating the device looked up, suddenly overcome with a sadness that Lyra knew all too well. “We’re getting another report in. Give me a second.”
The pink-haired mage knew that this was not a good thing to be hearing. It was a dread, an existential one that took hold of your heart and squeezed until fear itself oozed from every crevice, still beating relentlessly until there was naught but terror.
“We’re getting significant casualties reported in sector three-five, one over from here,” the comms tech stated with a tinge of sadness in his voice. “And some people are still trapped out there.”
A moment of silence washed over the group, before the emerald-eyed mage stared up at the people around her. They were healers, sure, but their job was to stay here. Lyra, on the other hand, was at wit’s end. This was not what she had signed up for. She wasn’t about to let all those people potentially die to another explosive if something went horrendously wrong. This was not what she had sworn to set out to do.
”Nope. I can’t do this. Stay here. I’m going to go get those civilians out.”
The rose mage sprouted her glowing pink wings and channeled her inner magics; there was going to be nothing left of those people if she did not act decisively and Lyra refused to have their blood on her hands.
“Wait, Lyra! You can’t-” began the first protest, but in a rush of rose petals the wings of the healer beat proudly before she was off, already airborne by the time that she cleared the exit of the tent. Sector three-five was in fact one of the neighbouring sectors of the city, and was the one to the south, if the map read correctly. She soared higher, hoping to get a half-decent view of the city and of the attack sites by getting over the line of the buildings and having no hindrances to that which she needed to know in order to rescue those that needed her succor. And… there.
A car had been turned over and melted out into an explosive device, the shrapnel from its loose panels being sent all across the street. In the shadow of its burned-out hulk, still smoldering, huddled maybe eight people; some of them were tending to wounds and currently trapped between a pair of Fiorean mages and nine fighting insurgents, armed with all manner of weapons with which they were holding off the attacks. As the fight itself was using the street as little more than a shooting gallery, sparks of energy and bullets being traded back and forth like a swordsmans’ duel fighting at insane pace, these people could not afford to move position and risk the insurgents coming after them. Despicable. These people deserved the succor of healing and life, something that Lyra Karant, self-styled angel, would bring them. No. She was going to end this, here and now.
Dashing down on rose wings, Lyra charged straight towards the cowering civilians as a trail of rose petals formed behind her. As she arrived at high speed, she looked to the people. Yes, some of their wounds were bad, and Lyra was about to start working towards healing their wounds as quickly as humanly possible. She knew that time was not to be her ally, for the second that the group of insurgents noticed her using any signs of her magic - or, you know, being on really bright pink wings - Lyra was now going to become a target for the enemies before her. First, the formation of a soothing flame mote around her head was required, to make sure that her healing magic was as primed as it possibly could be. Secondly, it was time to do the work. Conjuring the powers of flame, designed of the sun’s warmth, the woman reached out to all of the injured before her and brushed them all with the soothing energies of her mystical wave. This was designed to use inner flame, using heat to salve, soothe and cauterize, staunching bleeding and knotting flesh back together to ensure that the body’s regenerative processes were kickstarted by the fact that she could reach out and help. All of them began to look up at her, knowing that their salvation had come; Lyra’s eyes, half-lidded as she maintained her concentration to maximise her magical potential, shone of hope.
”There’s a first aid tent to the north. That alleyway behind us will take you to the road that it’s on. I just need you all to get there first. Take a moment to recover, catch your breath - as soon as you can, run. I’m going to distract them and get you all out of here.”
As the last notes of the song of aether faded into the wind, the rose mage exhaled. Now was the time to strike. Lyra took a step around the burned out car and towards the nine Joyan insurgents, forming around herself the strong defensive bubble that was the perfect fusion of her two greatest defensive abilities; the grand shield of flame and sacred fire that she used to heal over time and regenerate her mana in doing whilst cladding herself in the finest defensive magic that she could possibly conjure came together to form her perfect alliance: sanctification; the single strongest ability in her toolbox that demanded her total focus and knowledge to ensure that its unity was unmatched. As the fire shield formed around her body, Lyra stepped out, ready to engage her opponents as quickly as she could.
The Joyans spied her, all eyes now locked on her as the two Fiorean mages in the distance paused their aggressive bombardment to see what was unfolding before them - but they knew that help had in fact arrived. Lyra wasted no time, shifting herself forward in the air to be directly in front of her new opponents and unleashing the razor tornado that raged within her soul; debris from the ground began to kick up as wind that spun so rapidly it could cut flesh began to prick their bodies. So too did it throw them away from Lyra’s form as she raised her hands, no time wasted before she began attacking. While, yes, she had eschewed combat, the pink-haired girl now knew that there was in fact a time and a place for such things.
What she did not expect was one more enemy to join the fray.
From out of nowhere, a red-cloaked figure with feline features dashed her way through the air on her own monstrous wings of a bat, before she collided headfirst with Lyra; it was enough to send her tumbling out of the air. It was a strange sight, to see a woman so transformed; Lyra knew this to likely be a type of take over magic, where she could change her limbs. Her teachers were definitely making her work hard on learning the different types of magic to be able to identify and counter a foe that approached her. Lyra rounded, her body reeling from hitting the ground suddenly, before she locked eyes with this woman.
”Let these people go,” Lyra said, brushing herself off and standing tall to face down this interloper.
”You mean the people that are fleeing now?” the woman said, raising a clawed finger; true to her word, Lyra watched the last of them run into the alleyway that she had indicated that they should enter earlier. ”Fine. These are my countrymen. I have no qualm with them. My problem lies with you, little girl. Not only are you hurting my subordinates, but you come from a country that treats us little better than second-rate simply because we are not yours! This injustice can not and will not stand. Every single one of you Fioreans are going to be cast from our city by force - starting with you!”
In the next instant, the grand inquisitor was forming her right arm into a tiger’s claw, with razor-sharp claws that were strong enough to pierce through anything - perhaps even plate steel. However, what the inquisitor was not prepared for was the pure ferocity of the shield that surrounded Lyra Karant and the time and dedication that she gave to defensive techniques; she was shielded so well that it would have taken a truly powerful mage that outclassed her by leagues to get through that shield. She was confident in her greatest defense, and it showed. Lyra stood, unwilling to cow or break as she stood steadfast against its power. The inquisitor roared, and Lyra, in response, drew the weapon she had gained from her lovely friend Tanith - the crystalline rapier. Pink bladed and sharpened, Lyra had been training with the rapier for some time now, and that was about to show.
As the inquisitor slashed her claws against the shield once more, Lyra drew the point of her blade back for a rapid thrust, stabbing the heavy tip of her weapon towards the tiger-touched shoulder of her enemy as soon as the last moment of momentum came upon the lash of the claws. The blade found flesh and the Joyan roared in pain. It was certainly not enough to stop the onslaught, but Lyra had found a single weakness in the offense already. This would not be enough to stop her.
It would not be enough to make Lyra cease her offense, either.
The rapier slashed out, its sharpened edges seeking purchase in the skin of her enemy, though the inquisitor was wise enough to grant herself the serpentine head of a taipan, where she could wrap her scaled around the blade and tug away the sword as quickly as she could; Lyra found herself in the next second disarmed as her crystal rapier began to fade into nothingness, dismissed by the magics that summoned it. In response, Lyra blinked her eyes, conjuring the tempest within - as they opened again, those eyes were now glowing a bright gold. She had dug deep to find the slayer force within, and to ensure that she had the strength to cast down the woman that would seek her to leave this stage. Her arm flung out, an air slash following, one that would rock her away and push the inquisitor to the ground from the air. To follow it in the next moment, Lyra summoned a pair of fire bolts that chased down the inquisitor as she began to avoid the strikes - both of them tore at the fur on her body, the acrid stench of burning tinging the air even further than it already was.
Lyra held her place in the air, folding her arms. ”I can do this all day,” Lyra said. And, for the most part, that was absolutely true. It didn’t take Lyra long to recover her energies with the shield that was up, and she had means of recovering more of her energy. There were naturally-occurring fires here, and in a desperate scenario, a light breeze would give her something to consume to charge her energies.
Those gold eyes stared down the Inquisitor. ”You can’t hurt me. You won’t hurt me. I’m just here to rescue these citizens, anyway.”
In response, the red-robed inquisitor spat on the floor. ”Guild mages. All the damn same. Self-righteous prattle. It’s pathetic.”
However, the statement of strength seemed to have worked, as the inquisitor took to the skies with her bat wings, then flew towards the east; with that, she was gone. It seemed that she’d considered Lyra’s sudden boost of strength and the offensive capability that she was already showing, coupled with her statement. And, it was true.
With a nod to the two mages in the distance who were stunned by that display, Lyra took to the sky once more and returned to the medical tent to tend to the people that she’d directed. There were already more casualties pouring in, brought in under the watchful eyes of the support teams; people were limping in with crush and burn injuries, and many of them were already being tended to. The worst were given field surgery on the stretcher beds.
Her wings faded into nothingness as she strode into the tent, looking around.
”Right. Next for triage?” the healer said over the cacophonous din, pulling on a pair of surgical gloves. Back to the healing world. Back to what she did best. These people needed her.
TAG: --- WORDS: 4027 TOTAL: 4027/4000JOB: Link