Written by: Epicstu Wyvernwriter
Edward stood where the snow had once covered everything, his gaze fixated on Cathedral City’s main gate. It had not snowed for twenty years and what had once been a pathway of ice and wonder was now a valley of dirt and dismay. The ground was hard and dry and even the evergreens had withered into husks.
“Edward?” Deceit asked. “Are you alright?”
Edward did not answer. He still saw the snow covering his beautiful home. His city, the one his mother had helped to build well over two hundred twenty years ago. Then tears fell from his eyes as reality took his vision away and he saw what his home had become. Edward dried his eyes and asked Deceit, “Do you trust me?”
“I do now,” Deceit replied confidently.
Edward Unsheathed Deceit and stabbed her blade first into the ground before him, forcing her deep into the hard dry earth. A bolt of Heavenlightning struck Deceit from the sky. It surged through her blade and through Edward’s mark. “Then let us begin.” He began to walk towards the City of his birth as he grabbed deceit by her hilt and began to drag her behind him, her blade still a good six inches deep in the ground. The lightning increased with every step.
Ashely Frynor stood atop the main gate with the best marksmen Carvor could provide her atop the cliffs overlooking the valley. Their guns aimed at the edge of the forest. “Commander Frynor, the Fox has been spotted,” said one of the marksmen, his scope focused on the approaching figure.
Ashely pulled out her binoculars. “There you are, murderer. Fire a warning shot!” She ordered. “I want to talk to it.”
The small metal projectile, a bullet, impacted the ground at Edward’s feet. Edward kept walking towards the gate, still dragging Deceit behind him. He seemed unfazed.
“Cripple him!” Ashely ordered.
The next bullet impacted Edwards knee through an opening in his armor. Edward kept walking towards the gate. He still seemed unfazed. “That was a direct hit, Ma’am!” Shouted the Marksman in bewilderment.
“Then why the Hell is he still moving? Fire again!” Ashely ordered. Another gunshot sounded. This time she watched as the bullet impacted Edward’s right shoulder, between his pauldron and his scarf, only to bounce off of him in a flurry of sparks and embers. She saw fire come from beneath him as he seemed to draw it from the very ground itself. “FIRE ALL!” She shouted. Then she watched as every bullet bounced off of Edward’s body and his armor. The mark over his right eye burned brighter with each impact of metal upon fur. A purple lightning storm seemed to follow him, striking the sword he dragged behind him. The trail he left in his wake from dragging his sword was filled with fire and wreathed in the storm’s lightning. Ashely could feel the heat from the fire. She put down her binoculars. “Bring out three HP Troopers!” She ordered. “What is this Fox?”
Having taken advantage of Edwards distraction, the resistance fighters had already made it into the city. They had split up into three groups. Each group took a different passageway in the hopes that one of them might still be a secret to Carvor and his men. The first group consisted of Jack Harris and Mordecai. The second group consisted of Exodus and Jessy. Collin and Ember made up the third group. Their goals were simple, find Miina and eliminate Sedric Carvor.
Surrounded and outgunned, Jack Harris and Mordecai stood back to back. Around them stood fifteen human soldiers. Each soldier had the same gun that all human soldiers used and three drums of ammunition. The drums were fed, parallel, into the bottom of each rifle. Each drum had twelve rotations and each rotation had four shots, making for forty eight shots a drum. Jack Harris and Mordecai knew this. They had been counting every shot fired since they ran into the soldiers. There had been thirty of them to start with. They knew who fired each shot and how many shots each remaining soldier had left. “This is my favorite part,” said Jack with a grin on his face.” Mordecai nodded in agreement. “Geometry,” they said in unison.
“Take them down!” Ordered the leader of the fireteam. Before the bullets left their guns, one trigger pull at a time, Jack leapt into the air, ear to ear, above Mordecai. Then he threw a knife for each shot fired, perfectly angling them to return the bullets back to their senders, five bullets in all. Five more shots fired out as Mordecai, Jack still mid jump above him, ricocheted each of their bullets off of his own and back to them, taking them down. The five remaining soldiers began to back off, shaking as they aimed their guns at Jack and Mordecai.
“What the hell?! cried out one of the remaining human soldiers.
Jack pointed a knife at him. “You have two drums of ammunition left, one of which has all forty eight shots in it. The other, still loaded in your rifle, has only seventeen shots left.”
“You.” Mordecai pointed his revolver at another of the soldiers. “ You have one drum left and it still has thirty seven shots in it.”
“But that will not help you,” Jack Harris finished Mordecai’s sentence for him. “Your rifles cannot be fired fast enough to hit either of us. Please try anyway.” Jack readied his knives as Mordecai reloaded his twelve shot revolver with blinding speed. The soldiers did not know what they should do.
An explosion of green smoke filled the corridor. Using this green smoke as cover, Jessy threw out six red vials around her in a circle. She snapped her fingers as her vials got close to six of the thirty soldiers they had just run into. In response the vials exploded, engulfing the soldiers in flames.
“Look out!” Shouted Exodus as he leaped out at three human soldiers, who were sneaking up behind Jessy, and pummeled them to the ground. “How many are left?” He asked Jessy.
“Twenty one,” Jessy replied with a smile on her face. “Time for a game of blackjack.” She pulled a deck of cards out, seemingly from nowhere, and began manipulating and shuffling them all around her using her magic.
The remaining twenty one soldiers fired their bullets at Jessy and Exodus, but every shot bounced off the barrier of fifty two playing cards flying around them. “Cease fire!” Ordered the fireteam’s leader.
“That’s right boys,” Jessy flirted. “My playing cards are indestructible.” She giggled, teasing the men. “Time to play my favorite card game. Twenty one!” She shouted as she sent her cards out at the men.
Three HP Troopers came out from the city as the thick stone gate closed again behind them. Edward Dimir was already just over a hundred feet from the gate, the Hellfire still following him. Heavenlightning continued to strike Deceit as Edward dragged her behind him. “Deceit, my Wyvern Blade,” Edward addressed Deceit as he closed in on the troopers. “I, Edward Michael Dimir, as a Knight of the Iron Ram Order hereby begin your trial.”
Heavy Payload Troopers were equipped with armored mech suits, each with a small arsenal as well as a large hammer. Their armor was seven inches of reinforced steel alloy and every round of ammunition on them was explosive.
“Let us begin with your oath, repeat after me,” Edward began. “I, Deceit.” Deceit repeated Edward’s words as he pulled her from the ground and swung her, over hand, into the shoulder of one of the HP Troopers. Deceit’s blade had cleaved through the armored mech suit, stopping halfway through the chest of the soldier inside. “From hence forth I shall hold true to this belief,” Edward continued as he kicked the trooper off of Deceit’s blade. Deceit continued to repeat every word that Edward spoke. “I am a Ram.” One of the remaining two troopers swung his hammer hard against Edward from the side. The Hammer shattered against Edwards stance. All the pain from the shower of bullets, still impacting him from all sides had built up within him, transforming into strength. “Pain is pleasure.” He slammed Deceit’s pummel into the trooper’s side, forcing him down on one knee, and then headbutted him. “Pleasure is strength.” The trooper fell limp at Edwards feet. He then turned his attention to the last HP Trooper in his way. “This is the way of the Iron Ram.” Edward walked towards the trooper as he showered Edward in explosive ammunition. Each shot building upon Edward’s growing energy. Edward got in close and cut the trooper clean in half with Deceit’s blade, which was surging with power from Edwards brutal trial. Deceit repeated the final words of her oath back to Edward. “Do you remember yet?” Edward asked Deceit.
Deceit found herself in her angelic form looking down at a young Fennec Fox of the Northlands wearing a chainmail scarf. He was head-butting the same rock over and over again, shouting “Iron! Ram!” each time.
“Edward.” She knew it was him.
A Northlandish Fennec clad in armor with a cape bearing the insignia of the Iron Ram Knights watched Edward fail again and again at his trial. “Give it up boy,” the Knight ordered. “I’m sorry, but you just don’t have the skull for this order. I’m sure there’s another one out there you’d be more suited for. Now come on.” The Knight gestured for Edward to follow.
Edward hung his head in defeat. He had dreamed of joining the Iron Rams ever since he was a pup. “No.” He brought his head back up and went back to the rock. “Iron!”
“No, boy! You’ll shatter your skull! Don’t do it!” The Knight shouted at Edward.
Deceit drew a bolt of heavenlightning with her bow. “Do it.”
“Ram!” Edward shouted as he brought his head down. Deceit loosed the bolt of heavenlightning, striking Edwards skull as it impacted the rock. The rock shattered and as the smoke cleared, Edward Dimir stood proudly.
“Welcome to the order,” the old Knight said to Edward. “Someone up there must really like you.” He shook Edwards hand like a warrior, strong and inviting. “Come with me now, Knight of the Iron Ram.”
“Good choice, Zesrial,” Said the Wyvernwriter to Deceit.
Zesrial found herself again, as a blade, in the hands of Edward Dimir. The dust and debris was still too thick to see through. Edward had already broken through the stone gate using Zesrial’s pummel like an Iron Ram head-butt. “Deceit?” Edward asked.
“Zesrial,” the Wyvern Blade replied. “My name is Zesrial and I am the Wyvern Blade of Deceit.”
Edward smiled. “I knew that was you. From the moment I saw your lightning, I knew.” Edward stabbed Zesrial, blade first, into the ground in front of him and grasped her hilt in both paws. Then he gently rested his forehead atop her pummel. “Welcome to the family, Iron Ram.”
“Just the two of us,” Zesrial smiled in response. They had made it through the front gate and now it seemed nothing could stop them, or so they thought.