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The Hawks Flight from Carteneau Flats [Story]

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"Meteors, what in the Hells is with meteors?" The exhausted, and begrimed face of the Lalafell looked up into the heavens. His shining eyes, the zodiac stone set on his forehead, even his white hair reflected the absurd flashes of light that tore the night sky.


Nearby an Elezen paladin, fingered the leather wrappings of a cobalt winglet looked at him with a distracted half-smile. "Just like the visions," he responded softly, looking up at the flickers of light. The bemused look died, and sorrow creased his brow.


"What did you say, Roland?" the Lalafell mage's eyes locked on the Elezen with deep scrutiny.


"Nothing, old friend." Lightly kicking his chocobo he took a few steps forward around the absurd crystal jutting from the ground. "We leave to revisit old business in the north, to help our old friends there, and it seems that all of Eorzea has fallen into a nightmare." The Lalafell, with narrowed eyes continued to examine his friend.


"Yes, yes, that's why we can't have nice things," chattered the Lalafell, his eyes darting from sky to friend, "but what did you say about a vision?"


"Yet here we are, back in the south, at the center of the world, they say." Spoke a young monk, doing stretches against a low shelf of stone. "The spirit energy here is crazy," his voice filled with awe. He stretched forward and laid both palms on the stone, "the Land cries out, I can almost hear the voice." His own voice dropped, "It sounds like before." Maugris' eyes darted toward the young man.


"Seiryu, whatever do you mean, by," the Lalafell's eyes widened, and he gasped, "by the Twelve! I hear a voice as well, like song." He pulled back the hood of his white mage robes, tilting his head this way and that. He closed his eyes and paled. "Thaliak preserve me, enlighten my mind, teach me your truths, and instruct my weakness," he intoned. Roland, used to a more lighthearted and blasphemous tone quirked an eyebrow at the pious prayer. For several moments the three men stood and listen to the phantom song, amid the chill inducing rumble of distant explosions.


"Husband, I hate to disrupt this scene for you boys, but there may be vanguards and a patrol coming our way," the lithe form of an Elezen woman darted over a wall of fallen stones and dropped near the side of the mounted paladin.


Dismounting he ran his hand over the soft, short feathers of the chocobo's neck, letting the sensation of the quills move through his callouses. "Run, Hesperos, I fear you'd be better far from my side in what is to come." He turned the chocobo's reins, pointing the bird southward, and patted it’s haunch. With a loud, "Kweh," the creature disappeared over the ridge line. Turning to the Elezen woman, he took her hand, "What is your report, Evelyn?"


"About a malm from our position, due north," she panted, she had been running, "there is a group of vanguards, and the have a small contingent of Imperials with them, Hoplomachus, Signifiers, Secutors, and more still. I lost count after a dozen or so, as the vanguards crept too near, and I daren't give our position away."


"Just as well, Beloved," said the bearded paladin as he kissed his wife's forehead. She hugged him tightly, then threw off the tattered cloak she had used for camouflage. Beneath she wore the vibrant apparel of a Bard, from her belt she pulled her folded chapeau and put it on. She smiled up into her husband's eyes, and winked at Maugris.


"You of all people, I would expect a bit more levity from, even if it is the end of all of Hydaelen," she quipped, flashing a smile at Maugris that barely hid her sorrow. Nearby a large crash shook the ground as a meteor contacted a hill just over the ridge. They all took one final look into the heavens at the horror of Dalamud that filled the sky, nearly consuming the whole of it. The bizarre and alien surface seemed to make the very atmosphere shake.


Maugris heard some clicks from his linkpearl and looked down tapping on it. Seiryu held his right against his earlobe. Closing one eye in concentration, he spoke, "Gods have mercy, it sounded like Tak. I don't understand what he said, I understand the words, but they make no sense." He looked to Roland shaking his head, "It sounded like he said, 'You are right Rol, Seven was clearly the most overrated, far too many of them haven't even played the ones before it.' But what could that mean?"


"A code or communique of some sort? Mayhaps he means the VIIth Legion," offered Eve, tapping her chin with an index finger.


"Played the ones before it?" Roland said, musingly.


"After all those Atmos entities appeared from the void," Maugris began, looking distantly at the glowing spire that seemed to be bulging from Dalamud's surface. "It would appear that they served as little voidgates, there may be distortions from other realms interfering with the aether and the magicks used to make linkpearls work. Ququruka spoke of such things." He paused staring as the bulge of the satellite seemed to produce cracks shimmering with aether.


"I hate that we've lost contact with the Hawks," sighed Seiryu, "I've missed the Drazins, Tak, Kam all of them."


"Hells, the out of control aether from Dalamud, and the void and, Gods," the Lalafell trailed off as they heard the roars of the main contingent of the Alliance meet with the VIIth Legion.


"Quickly," said Roland, pulling Thormoen's shield from his back, "we must join the main force!"


The small group darted down the way, drawing weapons, and preparing as they ran at the Imperial line. They began to shout, carried away by the roar of their countrymen. Seiryu was the first to close ranks, sliding forward with a shoulder tackle into an Imperial that aimed a gun at some long distant adventurer. Roland plowed forward knocking a Sagittarius off his feet with a shield bash, then dropped into a low stance, with Eve at his shoulder picking off their lines.


Maugris ran forward, holding his cane before him he prepare to cast, and darting a last look up before he gasped, "Thaliak!" Forgetting his spell casting he closed ranks with his friends. "Roland, Eve, Sei!" his voice strained in the cacophony of war. "Gods, run!" He frantically pointed at the sky.


A terrible crash in the heavens, and an astonishing rushing sound made most of the eyes in the valley turn heavenward in time to see a tower of obscene size drop from the bulging surface of Dalamud. Before anyone could think to run, or even scream, sound itself was swallowed in a roar, and sight disappeared in a cloud of darkness.


When the dust settled every eye looked again at Dalamud as its surface errupted.


Maugris quickly healed his friends scrapes and wounds and tugged on them to turn and run. "This Aether, its…." he stopped, the words dying on his lips. Wings, greater than anything he could imagine burst from the sides of the globe as it continued to disolve in a blast of light. A scream as if a mountain found a voice of rage filled the valley, and with one final pulse, everything disappeared in light.


Roland held his shield up, fruitlessly he realized that an fragment of that explosion would obliterated his shield and yalms beyond. Still he stood, shielding his companions.


"Allag's sin," came the sigh of voice from Maugris behind him, "of course."


Madness shook everything as meteors filled the sky, the color of red seemed determined to eradicate all others from the spectrum. To the south the companions all jerked their eyes as the blue of aether glittered contrarily and determinedly.


"The eld archon," gasped Seiryu, "does he summon the Twelve?"


"Our prayers," Said Eve in awe. From all corners of the horizon jets of aether shot into the now empty, moody red sky. Above them, shadowing them, massive and horrid was a dragon or wyrm that made Midgardsormr look like a wyvern.


"The Twelve will battle the Wyrmking? We are in a bard's tale," said Maugris hysterically, laughing as tears cut paths down his filthy cheeks.


Blue, the soft holy blue of aether washed over everything. In the dazzling aetherial wash the companions glowed with azure light as they watched the signs of the Twelve fill all the heavens. Beneath them the Land herself sang a Ballad, the phantomsong washing over the weary ones who watched swept away in awe. Then, the Wyrmking called his defiance, a blast shattering the glorious light. Again the world was awash with Red. With his face lifted, recalcitrant of the heavens the creature began to prepare destruction.


"Althyk, preserve us!" whispered Roland fiercely, and He did. Around the companions, all around the field of battle the shining hope of aether whispered across all of Carteneau Flats, daring the dread Wyrmking's worst. Roland dropped his winglet, reaching for his wife, and she was no more. Before shock could register he too disappeared. Seiryu began to turn and burst away in a wave of aether. The light arched up from the ground around him, leaving the Lalafell but a moment to look up into the night's sky, teary eyed and smiling to consider one last time.


"By the Gods, they do exist."



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