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Crusade of Justice[]

Varon ran towards the fight. He was anticipating some satisfaction in the near future. The definition of satisfaction he was currently using was "Death of all Brotherhood of Makuta associates."

Varon neared the edge of the conflict. He was approaching from the north, approaching the army of the Makuta from its right side as it poured into Altronia Fortress. Varon wanted to help. He had done some research on the Order of Altronia and saw that they stood for justice, and thus, he was on their side. Varon had decided, upon stumbling on the fight during his wanderings, to do all he could to aid in the conflict against the mercenary army. In truth, Varon saw little he could do to sway the flow of the battle. The Order was losing. Still, if Varon had nothing to die for, he had nothing to live for.

So that was why the Pureblood Nurtox charged headlong into the mercenaries, firing spinners from his Kahgarak Shield. The shield was made out of the armor of a Kahgarak spider Varon has killed once. Through careful engineering, Varon had ensured that the shield still retained the spider's power to open portals to the Zone of Darkness. The spinners fired from it each struck their targets, swallowing up the startled mercs.

Their partners turned to attack Varon. They rushed him, weapons swinging chaotically, trying to take him out as fast as possible. However, their target disappeared in a blur of darkness. One of the mercenaries screamed and hit the ground. Another had part of his side armor slashed by Varon's crimson sword. A third tried to stab Varon with his halberd, but the weapon plunged through a small shadow portal, which was hanging is space just in front of Varon's chest. "Wow," Varon chuckled. "Missed me by a whole dimension. That's truly sad." The merc was about to reply, but Varon shut the portal before his enemy could pull his spear out of it, severing the weapon. A fourth mercenary tried a sneak attack, but wasn't very sneaky. Varon not only heard him coming, but had time to do something about it. The mercenary reared back, then swung his massive club. Varon and the third merc disappeared in shadowy flashes, the reappeared, having switched positions. This put the mercenary in the path of his comrade's club, and Varon in a front row seat to watch.

Varon then activated his Kanohi Alchemus, or Mask of Alchemy. "Thanks for giving me a lot of matter to play with," he said to the fourth mercenary. Varon was referring to the merc's club, which the alchemical power of his mask transformed into a chain wrapped around his two enemies. With that done, Varon then turned his attention to the mercenaries who were still in formation, still assaulting the fortress. With another wave of alchemical power, Varon transmuted the air around about three dozen of the soldiers into toxic gas, which the mercenaries unfortunately inhaled.

As his enemies fell to their knees, gasping for real air, Varon smiled and charged in. This was going to be fun.

Vaturi swung her left wing blade, deflecting a blow from a mercenary's staff. With a twist of her waist, a flash of her right blade, and a grunt from the mercenary, the battle was quickly over.

Vaturi surveyed the battlefield. Yes, all her teammates were still okay, but fighting like mad. Seeing as she had done all she could in this section of the Altronia Fortress yard, she rushed over toward where several of her teammates, specifically Ferrak, Vohk, Levuku, Lohrua, and Zallirix, were fighting a surge of enemy troops. As she approached, Vohk rushed past one merc, distracting him. Levuku fired a burst of acid at the enemy's helmet, which temporarily blinded him. That was all the opportunity Ferrak needed to land a blow to the merc's gut that sent him careening into another, flattening both in one strike. Lohrua pointed his Staff of Telekinesis at the pair of fallen mercenaries, then swung his arm, the gesture causing the two soldiers to take flight and sail over the fortress wall in the distance. Vaturi saw that one mercenary was trying to get behind Lohrua and land a sneak attack. She aimed her cable-like tail at him, firing a small pulse blast from it. That made the mercenary turn around and face her, halting his advance on Lohrua. He turned around just in time to see Vaturi rush at him with her blades crossed. As she struck, she scissored her blades outward and apart from each other, taking out the mercenary instantly.

Lohrua heard the body hit the ground behind him and whirled around, startled.

"Missed one," Vaturi smiled.

Levuku suddenly materialized beside Vaturi, performing an aerial rear kick on a merc Vaturi hadn't seen following her.

"Or two," Lohrua added, gesturing to the mercenary who was now being pummeled by blows from Levuku's staff. After several strikes, the merc got wise and put up his shield. Levuku simply teleported, reappearing behind his enemy. A blow from his staff to the back of the merc's head knocked him out. Levuku then picked up the merc's weapon, which was a spear, and teleported again. Lohrua and Vaturi saw him reappear back where he had been fighting before, just about six feet off the ground, rear back as he began to fall, and hit a mercenary soldier as he landed.

Lohrua saw that a few more mercenaries were charging him, so he turned, leveled his staff at them, and unleashed a telekinetic force blast that knocked the wind out of all of them.

Lohrua turned to see how Vaturi was doing, but saw immediately that the answer was "not very well." The mutant Crynok female was on the ground, curled into a fetal position, moaning in pain.

"Vaturi!" Lohrua shouted. "What's wrong!?" He took a second to fire a Zamor sphere at one more merc, which disassembled the soldier's mechanical parts and caused him to explode, before turning back to his teammate.

"Ow," Vaturi muttered. "Ow, ow, ow."

Lohrua activated his mask, letting its Scanning power tell him the cause of his teammate's pain. What he learned was not good. While Levuku has been fighting, Vaturi had been hit by a wildly fired Zamor sphere. The projectile had been filled with poison, and was obviously designed to deposit the toxin inside the body of a target. That wasn't what was causing Vaturi so much pain, though. In fact, the poison wasn't killing her. Instead, the dangerous chemicals were reacting with Vaturi's unstable physiology, which had been caused by her being dumped in a Rahi creation vat by Burtok some time ago, and was causing her to progressive mutation to accelerate.

Lohrua stood back up, now deciding to, instead of hunting down enemies to fight, stay by Vaturi's side and fend off any that chose to attack her.

That turned out to be pretty tough, since Vaturi's condition was now being noticed by about a dozen mercenaries, all looking for easy prey. They charged Lohrua, and as others saw them leave, they followed, deciding that their comrades had found something on interest. In the end, Lohrua stood alone against about three dozen mercenary soldiers. Despite his skill and his staff's helpful power, he was soon overwhelmed. The enemies just kept coming. Ferrak saw Lohrua's predicament and rushed in to help, but though he would be in time to save Lohrua, he didn't know about Vaturi's own situation. The mercenary soldiers swarmed over Vaturi, only held off by Lohrua's power and determination.

A short distance away, Ferrak managed to uppercut a mercenary out of consciousness and pull Lohrua out of the midst of the enemy soldiers. "Gotcha!"

"Ferrak!" Lohrua shouted with surprise and relief. "Vaturi's in there! She's in pain and can't fight! You have to get her out of there!"

The Hordika Nurtox went to work, his powerful muscles allowing him to tear through the ranks of mercenaries, trying to get to Vaturi's location in time.

He would never make it. Even as Ferrak waded through enemies like shoulder-high mud, Vaturi lay on the ground, curled up in pain and unaware of the score of killers who now surrounded her. Waves of pain traveled along her form. Muscles twisted, wings vanished, tail disappeared, fingers appeared, as well as other changes. And all the while she could do nothing to defend herself. A mercenary raised his lance to make a killing blow.

Ferrak , for the first time, was surrounded and was taking dozens of blows from about ten mercenaries, overwhelming even his physical strength. Lohrua took flight using telekinesis, trying to find Vaturi amidst the mercenaries, to no avail. By the time he saw the one mercenary with the raised lance, it was too late to prevent the inevitable.

Time seemed to slow down. Lohrua cried out in despair. The lance fell toward Vaturi. Then, finally, Vaturi's eyes snapped open, right as the spear landed.

Lohrua closed his eyes to he didn't have to see the moment when it came. He heard the lance stick into the ground with a metallic noise. He heard the subtle noise of the mercenaries reacting to the result of that action. Then he heard only background ambiance.

Opening his eyes, Lohrua floated back to the ground, just in time to see Ferrak's foot shoot up out of a small mob of soldiers, sending three of them flying. Lohrua joined in the effort of freeing Ferrak, using telekinesis to toss enemies aside.

"Thanks," Ferrak said, dusting himself off. "C'mon lets go get--" He stopped upon noticing the look in Lohrua's eyes. "Did they get to her?" he asked.

Lohrua nodded and looked over to the mob of mercenaries. Oddly, they were still all clustered around Vaturi's final resting place. Why? What could keep them interested enough to stay in a mob like that? There was nothing to see there but a body.

Or, at least, that's what Lohrua thought. That is, he thought that until he heard Vaturi shout.

"Wait!" Lohura said to Ferrak. "I think she's--"

There was a flash of light reflecting off metal and a gurgle from a mercenary. One more soldier fell backward from a blow to the head, a second feel to his face after his feet were knocked out from under him, and a third hit with an unfamiliar blade.

Another shout rang out. It was Vaturi, full of life and quite angry. One more mercenary fell to the ground, allowing Lohrua and Ferrak to get a glimpse of their teammate. She was different-looking, but still recognizable, retaining the same appearance to her mask and having armor that was little altered by her change.

Then the mercs crowded her again and obscured her new form from view. Lohrua and Ferrak rushed in to help, but it turned out she didn't need it. Four curved blades whirled through the air, taking out Vaturi's opponents before her teammates arrived.

Ferrak turned to Lohrua. "Well. For a moment there you had me fooled into thinking she needed our help."

Lohrua was too stunned to reply. Instead he ran up to Vaturi, eyes wide with relief. "Vaturi, are you okay?" he asked breathlessly.

"Sure," she shrugged, revealing the fact that she now had four arms, each carrying a curved blade. "It's not like we're in the middle of a war or anything. No danger here at all."

"Yeah, she's okay," Lohrua commented to Ferrak.

"Good, because this party's only starting," Ferrak said, pointing to the left, where more of Cekadax's troops charged across the sandy ground, heading right for the trio.

"Here we go again," Lohrua grinned.

"Wait," Vaturi said. "Let me handle the first wave." Lohrua shurgged and preformed a gesture that said "Go right ahead and do that." With that, Vaturi charged at the first wave of troops, her blades whirling and blocking oncoming projectiles. When she reached the wave of troops, she immediately put all four of her blades to work, her speed surprising the mercs long enough for her to land a few blows on each.

But Vaturi wasn't done. She still had something new to try. Concentrating, she activated a power that she had not had before, and was not even sure how she knew she had it now. This new power was a limited shapeshifting ability, restricted to shifting Vaturi from one mode to another. Still, it was a pretty awesome ability to have, seeing what it could do for Vaturi's combat potential.

What this new ability actually did was allow Vaturi's new pair of arms to melt away and her blades to fuse, going from four blades to two double-sided ones. Yeah, she thought. This I could get to like.

To the dismay of the already startled mercs, Vaturi leaped at them again, this time whirling in midair and thoroughly reveling in her new abilities.

By this time the next few waves of troops had caught up with their comrades, so Lohrua, Ferrak, Levuku, and Vohk rushed in to help. Lohrua kept making the mercenaries' tools fall apart when he could, Ferrak socked some into oblivion, Levuku teleported around to confuse them, and Vohk kept peppering his foes with lightning-fast punches, kicks, and tail-whips.

That is, he did until he slowed down at one point. A mercenary with a Mask of Concealment managed to get behind Vohk and land a surprise blow, knocking Vohk, who was physically much smaller than the merc, to the ground. The Merc faded into view and readied a stab from his spear, intended to slay Vohk quickly, but a green, armored elbow appeared in his face and slammed into it, knocking him back.

Levuku raised his staff into a defensive position. The Merc predictably vanished via his mask power, and at once began maneuvering around Levuku to get a better position. The problem is that, being invisible and all, no one at all could see the merc, which meant that when Ferrak grabbed once merc's spear, snapped it over his knee, grabbed the merc himself, and hurled him across the battlefield, Ferrak had no way of knowing that the unfortunate would clip the invisible merc on his way to the Land of the Unconscious. This caused the invisible mercenary to cry out in surprise, which caused Levuku to swivel on the balls of his feet and attack the source of the cry. Distracted by the previously mentioned impact, the merc had no time to dodge. Levuku's staff struck the merc in the side, which made him lose focus and return to visibility. As he did so, however, he swung his spear, planning to flatten Levuku with its shaft. The nimble Crynok ducked, barely evading the wild swing. The merc attacked again, bringing the spear over and downward, forcing Levuku to roll sideways. This time, Levuku was ready for whatever may come. The merc's weapon was brought down again, this time at an angle. Levuku twisted to the side to let it go by, then plunged his staff onto the shaft of the enemy's weapon. The tines of his staff pinned the merc's weapon down, allowing Levuku to move in closer.

He rushed the merc, running headlong at the physically-larger-than-he enemy. The merc lashed his foot out to try to nail Levuku min the gut, but the Crynok teleported away in time. He reappeared behind the mercenary and performed a whirling kick to the enemy's back. When the merc turned around, Levuku teleported behind him again and landed a punch. This time, when the merc turned to face Levuku, it was a setup. The merc did turn around, but he turned around a complete 360 degrees, so that Levuku reappeared right in front of him. A blow from the merc knocked Levuku to the ground. This was a major misstep, as it put him in the perfect position for Levuku to kick both legs out, knocking the merc a few feet away and onto his back. The merc muttered something to Levuku, but the youth couldn't hear it over the sounds of nearby skirmishes. He looked around at the terrible scene, at all the life-or-death battles going on. He was interrupted when a blade buried itself in the ground right next to his head. It hadn’t even been aimed at him, but it almost killed him, and barely anyone would have noticed if it had! The close encounter was enough to snap Levuku back to his own fight, and allowed him to notice that the merc was back on his feet.

This is nuts, Levuku said to himself, scrambling to his feet also. Gotta get my staff back, or I'll have no chance against this guy. Looking around Levuku saw that, despite Vaturi's upgraded abilities, and all the power that was wielded by the Order of Altronia, the good guys were losing. The Order had lost too many, and had been too well surrounded and outnumbered. Unless the heroes come up with a brilliant battle strategy, it was apparent they wouldn't be walking away from these fortress grounds.

Impossible odds or not, I have to go down fighting, Levuku thought. He teleported over to where his skirmish had started and scooped up his staff. That's the way heroes roll.

Levuku leveled his staff at the merc and fired acid venom out of its tips, which the merc had to dodge under pain of torturous, searing death being the alternative. Levuku fired more acid blasts, but this time the merc pulled a tool from his back and put it in the way of one of the blasts. The acid blast struck the tool and reflected, flying back and hitting Levuku. To the merc's surprise, this did nothing except tick Levuku off.

"Nice try," he taunted, "but my own slime doesn't do a thing to me." He was about to say something else, but a pair of energy beams hitting him from behind knocked the wind out of him.

"Ricochet beams apparently do, though," Zortak said, advancing on the fallen youth. Levuku tried to rise, but Zortak stepped on the wrist of his that was connected to the hand that was holding his staff. Levuku looked up at the Skakdi's silver-blue, grinning face. Zortak met his gaze and raised his electrified sword. "So long, kid," he said as he increased the voltage to his sword. Zortak prepared to bring the blade down, and as he did so, Levuku saw a blurred object bouncing toward Zortak. It grew closer, and as it did, it turned out to be Zallirix.

Taking the Skakdi completely by surprise, Zallirix slammed into him and sent him flying away from Levuku.

"Wow," Levuku said as he rose to his feet. "You are exactly the last person I would expect to come to my rescue."

Zallirix grinned slyly. "Don't get used to it. It's just that I don't want anyone else to get to kill you.”

Zortak got to his feet by performing a strange twist and charged at Zallirix, firing his machine gun. Zallirix wasn't fast enough to dodge bullets, but was fast enough to make himself an extremely difficult target, which he accomplished by performing several acrobatic tricks in a row.

"Nice footwork, smiley," Zortak mockingly praised him. "Try that when you can't see anything." With that, he loaded and fired an explosive charge at the dirt in front of Zallirix. Just before it hit, Zallirix reared and tossed his spear at the Skakdi gunman.

Both weapons connected with their intended targets. The explosive shot up a big plume of sand in Zallirix's face, and Zallirix's spear whirled through the air and pummeled Zortak in the gut.

Zallirix leaped through the sand and landed on all fours like a lizard, scurrying after his prey. Zortak had been surprised by the strength of Zallirix's blow, and thus decided to retreat. Before Zallirix got there, Zortak had waded into the crowd of Cekadax-affiliated mercs and disappeared.

Zallirix shrugged and turned to see if Levuku was still alive. Levuku was alive. And he was also very, very far away. He had apparently used Zallirix's attack on Zortak as an opportunity to teleport across the battlefield. "Scaredy-cat," Zallirix muttered. "Leaves so I can't make him face the music."

In reality, Levuku had gone where he had in part to get away from the other merc, but also to join up with Ferrak, who was a bit surrounded. Once he arrived to back up his friend, Levuku made sure his enemy was otherwise occupied. He was.

Zallirix had also engaged in combat with Levuku's original mercenary opponent. Levuku glanced over where Zallirix was frequently to see how the battle went. It quickly became apparent that Zallirix had the upper hand. The merc's spear was grasped and splintered by Zallirix's powerful hands, his shield kicked out of his hand. Levuku also got to see how the battle ended; that is, with an easy victory for Zallirix. Unfortunately, Levuku also got to see Zallirix's victory dance. Honestly, Levuku thought. Can he not be a sadistic nut for just a moment? Levuku tried to ingnore the fact that Zallirix seemed to be saying "Your face" during his dance.

Ferrak had appreciated the help from Levuku. Now the pair were engaged in combat with a trio of mercs, Levuku taking one, Ferrak taking the other two. The actual individuals that the pair were fighting changed often, since Levuku kept setting up his opponent to lunge past him and into Ferrak's next attack, which was always a devastating one, given Ferrak's strength. The fifth time this happened, the merc didn't fall for it, so Levuku teleported to a different location. The merc fired a Rhotuka spinner at Levuku once he materialized, which Levuku barely had time to react to.he didn't quite get his staff up to block it in time, but he did get the spinner caught in the tines of his staff, part by reflex, part by dumb luck.

Still, one mark of a true warrior is the ability to improvise. The spinner was of course still live, and could also be charged up by anyone who chose to. Levuku decided to do just that, then fling it back at its owner. Levuku never got the chance, though, since a Rotation spinner fired by Ferrak struck the merc first, causing him to whirl uncontrollably until he passed out.

"Levuku!" Ferrak shouted. "So glad you managed to catch that! Fling it at stocky here!" Ferrak gestured to a shorter, but very muscular mercenary to his left, who seemed to be giving the Hordika Nurtox some trouble. Levuku complied, tossing the energy projectile at the stocky merc.

Much to Levuku's surprise and Ferrak's relief, energy tendrils erupted from the spinner, binding the merc in their coils. Ferrak didn't waste any time. The merc to his right was carging up his handheld Xian particle cannon. Ferrak grabbed the bound-up merc and put him in the was of the particle blast right before it struck him, protecting himself, knocking the merc out, and causing himself to skid backward a few feet. With an oddly un-Ferrak cry of effort, the Hordika tossed the unconscious mercenary at his well-armed partner, pinning the second merc beneath the other's weight.

Ferrak grinned and immediately made for the particle cannon. Hefting it with one hand, he prepared to unleash havoc. Ferrak pulled the trigger, only to hear a buzz. He did it again, with the same result. The third time, he saw a waring light that said "unauthorized" go on. Apparently the cannon could not be used by anyone but its owner.

Ferrak was a but disappointed, but not too much. With a shrug, he set his sights on a flying mercenary with a more desirable weapon, specifically, a buzzsaw, and tossed the cannon at him. As the merc fell to the ground, Ferrak grabbed Levuku and said, "Come on. Let's go have some fun." With that, Ferrak crouched and leaped, his powerful legs propelling he and Levuku forty feet across the battlefield and over to the fallen warrior.

Levuku gently pushed himself out of Ferrak's grip. "I'll handle this guy," he said. "You get the weapon."

Ferrak nodded and set out to do just that. In four strides he had snatched it up and affixed it to his forearm. Unfortunately a mercenary soldier, apparently uncaring for the welfare of his ally, had intended to make that weapon his as well, and now intended to express his displeasure at Ferrak's actions. The merc aimed his weapon and fired several razordisks from it, which sliced through the air toward Ferrak, who heard the whizzing sounds in time to react.

Still his reaction was not fast enough to spare him from all the pain. He managed to chop a few disks with his new saw, but a couple sliced the armor on his left shoulder, the action of which also sent a few sparks into Ferrak's left eye.

Ferrak cried out in pain and wiped the metallic cinders out of his face. "You can hit me anywhere else, but not in the eyes. Never the eyes! You just made my list!"

"Convenient," The mercenary replied. "Since you stole my loot, you're on mine, too."

Ferrak snarled and looked at his opponent. He was a bit surprised by the mercenary's size at first, and realized he must be a member of Varoak's species. The giant wielded a mace and a launcher but wore no mask, which Ferrak was somewhat pleased about. Another thing Ferrak noticed was that the giant was adorned with various bits of fancy-looking armor and even scarred masks, which could only be battle trophies. Apparently he was a collector, too, since none of them were the same.

And now the merc planned to collect some armor off Ferrak, too, it seemed, since the giant roared and swung his mace down with pulverizing force. Ferrak didn't dodge, instead putting his saw in the way of the mace and allowing the rotating blade deflect the offending weapon off course. The momentum had to go somewhere, and in this case, it buried the mace in the sand. Ferrak immediately went to work with his saw, trying to cut the mace's shaft while its owner pulled it out of the ground. This ended up backfiring on Ferrak, since when the merc succeeded in yanking his weapon out of the ground, the mace hit Ferrak in the chest on its way up and out, sending Ferrak sailing through the air.

Ferrak spread his shoulders back to open up his chest cavity some, then choked some to clear his airway. "Well, that was pretty dumb of me," he muttered to himself. "Should have seen that coming." He had taken quite a blow, but not a crippling one. Still, he intended to make the giant pay in kind. Ferrak got to his feet and stepped into a defensive stance, preparing for the giant's next move.

The big lug was a bit slow-witted, so he didn't attack for a moment, as if he had a hard time deciding what to try next. He eventually went with a horizontal swing of his mace, which Ferrak ducked under. A second attack swung sharply at a downward slant, forcing Ferrak to step aside. A few razordisks sliced through the air around Ferrak, forcing him to step back the other way, which turned out to be a setup, since the giant's mace came swinging back from the other side. Ferrak had no room to dodge, but could still react. Instead of dodging, he twisted his torso around and put his left hand on the shaft of the mace, which was swinging from the right. Ferrak's strength managed to halt the attack, but only with a bit of pain on his part.

Snarling, the giant tried to retract his tool, which Ferrak was now gripping, but the Nurtox would not let go. With a satisfied smile, Ferrak then tried once more to slice the maceball off the shaft with his saw, and this time succeeded.

The giant was shocked by Ferrak's achievement, but not enough to give up on trying to retrieve the shaft. Even if it was just a stick now, his tool would still hurt Ferrak if it connected hard enough. Ferrak was still gripping the shaft, though, and now lifted his end over his head and held it above his spinner launcher.

"Catch," Ferrak said to the giant as he fired his launcher. The spinner caused the stick to whirl around rapidly, flying out of the giant's hand and dancing across the battlefield. The merc, being slow-witted as aforementioned, tried to catch his escaping tool, eventually giving up once he realized that he had left himself vulnerable. He turned around to rectify that situation as best he could.

He was too late. The last thing he saw before he blacked out was Ferrak leaping toward him, maceball in hand, rearing back to smash it into its owner's face.

Levuku approached Ferrak in a moment, panting. "Okay, he's out," Levuku reported on his own fight. "Have any trouble?"

Ferrak shook his head. "Nope. One, two, three."

Jardel was perfectly aware that he was doomed. He was also planning on going out fighting. The agile alien was acting as a chaos-inducer, removing masks and disarming mercenaries, then leaving them to their unarmed fates.

At the moment, he was backflipping across a mob of advancing mercenaries, gripping masks with his hands while flipping his feet over his head, gripping the mask of another merc with his feet, then pulling his hands up and over his head, mask with them, but letting go of the mask in time to grip another with his hands, and repeating the process. He was doing it at a rate of about a mask every three-fourths of a second, sending headgear flying every which way.

Jardel couldn't continue after eight consecutive de-maskings, but instead leaped off his last victim and performed what would be known to a reader with a knowledge of bicycle tricks as a “flair.” He landed the trick in the middle of four Altronians, who lunged at Jardel. Jardel did a handstand, whipping his clawed feet out to strike on pair of Altronians, the prepared a trick to take out the other two. Jardel had to do it fast, though, otherwise the Altronians would get to in mid-flip. First Jardel flipped his body over, landing on his feet, then he crouched and leaped straight up with his fists stuck out to either side of his torso, uppercutting both Altronians at a time.

Other Altronians rushed in to take their brothers' places, but Jardel was too winded to try anything flashy at the moment, to he just dove between their legs, somersaulted, and ran off to a more open area to catch his breath. Glancing around, Jardel took in the scene around him. It was very grim. Those Jardel had been fooled by the Makuta into once calling his allies had begun to swarm into the main grounds of the fortress and invade the network of hallways inside it. On this beautiful winter night, with overcast skies and fresh snow on the ground being joined by more falling gently from the clouds, many brave and valiant warriors of justice had met their ends. The Order of Altronia would soon come to an end, surely, and this night would go down in history as one of the darkness’s greatest triumphs.

Jardel sighed. He was as good as dead. Sooner or later, the Cekadax’s mercenaries would overcome him and he would be killed for turning back to the side of justice. He was at peace with his destiny, however. Even if he could not go down in history as a major figure in the fight against darkness, he could at least go down as someone who didn’t waste his life.

Jardel, his exhaustion gone, turned to continue fighting, but something stopped him. There was a shaft of moonlight breaking through the cloud cover and softly illuminating the snowy ground, as well as the delicate crystals floating to the ground. This was odd. No moonlight should have been able to directly penetrate the clouds above. This was something Jardel had to at least glance in the sky to try to figure out, and when he did, just like the landscape, his future suddenly looked a lot brighter.

Up in the sky, breaking through the shadows of the clouds around them, bringing with them the light of a clear night sky, came airships, dozens of them, all emblazoned with a symbol that any frequent traveler, like Jardel, could recognize.

This break in the clouds was noticed by all in the battlefield, and, at least for a split second, all fighting was momentarily ceased. Suntrah and Lihee had wound up fighting side by side, which was rather symbolic, seeing as they were the respective leaders of two small groups of justice-dedicated beings. When the moonlight broke throught the dense shadows, they looked as one to the sky, and first gasped in surprise, but then sighed in relief. Suntrah poked Lihee in the side with his elbow.

“Looks like Choro came through for us.”

Lihee shook his head. “He had the easy job. All he had to do was tell one of the most virtuous of peoples, his own, that there were good people being oppressed. The Yelnir people took care of the rest.”

The rising volume of the angry grunts and mumblings of the surrounding mercenaries snapped the two of them back to the task at hand.

“Well, let’s make sure they didn’t make their trip for no reason,” Suntrah said as he began fighting again.

Lihee smiled triumphantly. “By all means. Let’s show these brutes how quickly tides can turn in battle.”