Episode 73: Condemed
Time slowed down for Owl, in fact, time literally crawled to a halt. It would be a hundredth of a millisecond to the second. Owl just stared. The shining DragonSoul arrow glided in slow motion towards her. She tried desperately to move but she was literally paralyzed.
The evil glare in the Ranger’s face was so menacing it scared her. She pressed her eyes shut and waited for the end, and then it all happened too fast.
A fist of wind slammed into the DragonSoul arrow with such fury the powerful missile died and the arrows shattered to dust. Next the air fist hit the Ranger before he could even turn his head. His arms, ribs, side of his head all shattered on impact; the echo of shattering bones screamed through Owl’s ears. Next, the air fist turned into a fierce tornado that became full of wind sculpted blades. The blades, which looked like steely knives, began to glow until they were as bright as the Sun itself. The blades danced in the tornado as they swarmed around the stricken Ranger until they banked and sliced the man. The blades pierced the body with so much force and speed (about 15,000 times a second),
The ranger was sliced into a lump of shredded human mush right where he stood. Bones, flesh, everything was reduced to microscopic bits in two seconds. Next came the final blow- another air fist hit the dead man and he literally exploded!
Time sped up as Owl realized she wasn’t dead yet. She was still lying heaped up against the wall, her body seizing as the raging magic and hackium energy inside her threatened to consume her. She still had her eyes squinted shut. Tears streamed down from her eyes. She was completely terrified right now, scared like a little child. The sheer powerlessness the she felt after being sapped by some force scared the hell out of her and stripped her of her confidence.
She sat there shaking until she felt a warm hand press on her chest.
A gentle, but warm powerful surge of magic energy spread throughout Owl’s body and the pain and fear subsided. She opened her eyes and looked right into the face of a woman she instantly knew.
She had light purple hair, and the face of a middle aged princess, but she was dressed in mage gear.
“You poor thing, always getting into trouble,” the woman said. “Eule told me you were here,”
Owl remembered what that Eule person said outside.
Suddenly, Owl’s mind was completely flooded in emotions and memories that weren’t even her own- they belonged to this woman- but through this mage’s memories, she saw a little purple haired baby girl that she was holding. She saw herself.
[“Ma’am, congratulations, the baby is perfectly healthy and no defects have been detected.”]
[“What are you going to name her?”]
[“She was born yesterday, the day of the owl. I am going to name her Owl Spirit,”]
[“Wait…what’s going on?”]
[“The hackers are here! They’re going to destroy us all!”]
[“This is about the child’s future! The hackers or their enemies will destroy her if we don’t send her to Victoria!”]
“M-Mama?” Owl said in a weak voice as she stopped shaking.
“That’s right, Owl, I’m right here,” she said with a smile.
Owl tried to get up but her legs burned in pain and she remembered they were stuck with a whole bunch of arrows.
“You stay put!” Mama said, pressing firmly on Owl’s shoulders. She barked an order in Saskwa and a cleric appeared.
“Mama~!” Owl said, her voice braking up.
“Shh!” It’s okay. We’re going to get these arrows out, and get you back on your feet and kill these ranger bastards!”
Owl’s mom held her with one arm as she used the other to whip up a string of winds with a hand on the end. The wind arm grabbed the arrows and pulled them out one by one and the cleric quickly healed the wounds as the arrows were taken out.
“Get it together, Owl! We’ll have plenty of time for a family reunion, but right now we got work to do!”
Owl’s mother said as she took out a magic crystal, and pressed it on Owl’s neck.
“What are you doing?”
The crystal actually absorbed into her neck.
“You’ll need all the magic and healing power you can get. This will protect you from the Sun.”
Owl’s feeling of weirdness in her neck quickly dissipated as more bowmen appeared. She felt the surge of power explode inside her and she quickly formed her phantom arm and air sculpted guns.
The three of them quickly rejoined the rest of the squad as they opened fire on the JA men and shoot it out with them.
Owl Spirit jumped over the crates Matrix style. She did a split second cartwheel in the air, squeezing the triggers on her guns, capping all of the rangers! Owl stopped.
“What the hell?! I never-“
“One of the many skills I have given you!”
Before Owl could respond, she saw a Ranger out of the corner of her eye shoot an arrow at her. She instantly jumped into the air, missing the arrow, aimed her gun and opened fire. The bowman convulsed as he was pierced with wind bullets and hit the ground.
What the hell? Its her! the JA men shouted. Kill her now!
Who? one of the low level rangers asked.
Mistawasis! Damn traitors been getting them all on us!
Gwyn Mistawasis, level 188 arch mage and warrior trained solely in the arts of the winds, had heard all that. An audio mage came up to her and pointed where the remaining bowmen were hiding- behind the old delivery truck. They had hold themselves up behind stacks of crates and boxes of dead magicians during the fight. One of them summoned the silver hawk. The bird screeched as it flew up in the air, just missing the overhead lights.
Mistawasis, or Mista for short, wasted no time. She produced a jet of wind and flew up towards the hawk. She quickly formed the black jagged ribgol sword, and swung it down at the enraged hawk. The wind-sculpted sword sliced the screaming bird in two, and the bird quickly vanished leaving only a few feathers.
Shoot! the level 90 sniper and his buddies all opened fire with strafe.
Mista threw up a shield and deflected the storm of arrows! She let the sword disappear and formed her Wind Fist attack, and fired the fist of wind at the rangers.
It slammed into them like a giants angry hand and crushed everything around the doomed rangers. The crates all exploded and the front of the delivery truck was crushed. The guy inside was no more than hamburger.
Mista landed next to one guy who only had everything from the gut down crushed. He wheezed as he looked up at her, and horror spread across his face. Please .have mercy..I beg you !
The arch mage had not a single ounce of sympathy for this asshole. Had you any mercy for all of these magicians you tortured and killed?! She snapped.
I didnt do..nothing..I swear they..are..heathens
Owl climbed over the crates. Mista looked at her then at her cleric friend. Owl just shredded some hiding rangers and gunmen. Blood was dripping from her arms. The blood became caked and dried on her hackium phantom arm. Owl suddenly realized her mother knew she was a hacker and she was looking at her arm. She tried to find words to explain-
The bowman coughed up blood. He was getting worse as the blood drained away from him and formed the big pool of blood on the cement floor. The
Mista formed a huge bow and an arrow purely from air, cocked it and aimed it at the downed mans face.
Youll find out soon enough, because you are about to meet him! and she fired.
The wind arrow hit the mans head with such force the skull collapsed, and his brains burst out.
I didnt choose to become a hacker, Mama Owl said, worried.
Mista whipped up some winds and cleaned off the blood from both her and Owl. Owl couldnt help but giggle as the winds tickled her. The hack energy and magic tingled as the winds pierced her phantom arm, removing all the bowmens blood.
Owl, there is nothing wrong with being a hacker. The only thing you need to do is know how to take care of yourself and not let your hack powers get the better of you. And what in Zakums name happened to your arm?!
Owl looked at the stump past her elbow as the phantom arm disappeared.
A hermit attacked me. The stars destroyed my arm.
Maam, the cleric said, holding his messenger, This place is cleared out. Captain Flowne requests that we leave quickly, he said in saskwa.
Mista nodded. Everybody out! Lets move!
What about the magicians? Arent we going to save them? Owl asked camly.
The objective to rescue the thousands of magicians still alive was abandoned a long time ago by Captain Oska Flowne, a level 201 universal mage and Maple Hero. She was tall and had long yellow hair and a round face. The neon-yellow irises of her eyes were said to pierce peoples minds. Being the highest ranking army officer at Border town, everything was her call. Just after they eliminated the JA enemies inside the huge warehouse, she sent in the clerics, priests and bishops, even civilian paramedics from town to inspect the magicians. Most of them called her on their messengers, saying the magicians were in too ill and weak to recover. Flowne stood outside the warehouse watching her troops walking out. Two JA bow masters were taken prisoner and were tied up and bound to a pole by the street. A tear came out of her eye as she made the heavy decision to destroy all of the magicians inside. The organic mages also went in and inspected the magicians closely.
Captain, most of them are ir-recoverable, they have all passed the point of recovering. They will all die soon. Most of them are badly burned from the Suns rays, and they all have caught diseases. Trying to save them will only prolong their suffering and they will still die ..
Flowne knew her healers and organic mages very well and trusted their instincts. Her field was not healing, so she had to put her trust into her loyal troops and friends. As she held back tears, she put her Maple messenger to her mouth and said, Very well. SolenFlare, NightRay, use a solar bomb. Eliminate everything. Make it quick. I want enough radiation to ignite everything to a pure carbon crisp. The rest of you, destroy the entire premises on my mark!
What?! Theyre going to kill them? Owl cried.
Mista nodded sadly.
How can they do that?! We just-we just took out all the bowmen so we could rescue these kids! We can save them!
Owl, they are all beyond the point they can be saved! Look at them! They are starved to the point they cannot eat! They are completely sapped and cannot produce enough magic to live! Our captain has ordered they be euthanized to end their suffering.
F*** that! Owl shot back. These are not just magicians! They are people! They have families back home in Victoria who were worried sick about them!
Owl wasnt listening. She ran over to one of the cages and formed a dagger to break off the lock.
The magicians inside piled up on eachother were all breathing weakly, then one of them looked up and said,
O-Owl? Is that you?
Owl froze and looked at the girls face. Tanya Tulip, a young magician raised by the Permanoob family that Owl lived with during her Adlib assignment at Panquilia.
Her mind was flooded with memories. Owl knew this kid very well. Tanya used to have bright babyblue hair and had big ambitions. She was gonna go to Ellinia and become a mage, and take up school at the Institute or academy. Tanya wanted not only to be a mage, but eventually be a flourist at the flower farm in Ludi. Owls heart broke when she saw her now. Her bright hair had turned to gray and her face had withered away to boney and gross. The magicians skin had gone really pale.
O.m.g! How long have you been here? Owl cried, clutching the bars of the cage. The space between them was not big enough for her to reach through. She wanted to hold Tanyas hand and pump her full of nutrient saturated magic.
I dont remember Tanya said weakly. She smiled. Owl was here and she was gonna save them.
Im getting you outta here! Owl said, jumping on top of the cage, and took her dagger to the lock-
Her hands hurt, and she screamed, losing the wind dagger.
She looked up and saw the Solar mage watching her. What the crap was that for?! Owl said, clutching her sunburnt hands.
Get out. The mage said in an icy tone. Ive got some suffering lives to put an end to.
Before Owl could respond, the solar mage said in Saskwa, Yellin, take her out of here!
An ice/lightning mage jumped out of nowhere, grabbed Owl and wrapped her in ice, and then he used Teleport.
Everything around Owl disappeared into a bright blue haze, and she tried to scream, but couldnt.
Next, she was outside.
Get ahold of yourself! Eule shouted, and slapped her in the face. Owl fell and hit the ground. The ice around her broke off and disappeared.
Enough! Mista shouted. Clear the area, lets go!
The Solar mage and Cosmic mage stood at three points inside the warehouse. Using their awesome powers, they created the spheres again and turned them into blinding balls of light. The Cosmic mage did the same. The Solar mages used their power and created a path to teleport raw Sunlight from a point high above the atmosphere. The cosmic mage created paths to his ball from the cosmos to bring in radiation from other stars. At once they cast themselves in shadow cloaks and set off the solar bomb.
From the outside the Quonset warehouse actually glowed bright as beams of lethal light shot out of windows and doors. Inside, all of the magicians screamed as they were burned to a crisp by the lethal mixture of radiation. The bodies were burned to carbon, and everything flammable lit up. Next, metal started to melt.
After about five minutes, the solar light died down and the mages walked out without a word of reflection or regret.
The others went in to demolish the place.
Owl, get a hold of yourself!
Owl Spirit literally went insane with grief as she watched it all happen.
You people are just as cold and heartless as the JA! Those people could have been saved!
A Psi mage had enough and walked up to Owl and clamped his hand on her forehead.
Pain, suffering, hunger, and cold. Injuries and burning. Screams, wails, and cries. The horrible sights, sounds and smells of the sick markets flooded Owls mind and system like some horrible dream. She suddenly found herself walking, starving, and shivering inside a giant cage that was lined up next to others. It was snowing out, and she was wearing thin clothes covered by a shredded cloak. She was walking barefoot, totally exposed to the freezing winds. Other magicians around her sat depressed, or were lying dead in the cage. She saw a steel bowl, but it was filled with guts and crap. The smell was revolting and she wanted to vomit. Owl did vomit, and it splattered everywhere. The bile was red in color, indicating she was bleeding from the inside. Painful electric tingling filled her body and she looked up- an EMP device was hanging from a pole above casting magnetic pulses that disrupted the magic energy in her body.
She felt extremely weak and her muscles kept cramping up. The cage was in a market area, and there were stalls where people were getting money from the horde of customers who came to this Northern Market that only sold magicians as slaves, or worse-food.
The metal door screeched as it was opened by a big man. Another guy had a vicious pitbull dog on a leash. The dog growled and barked loudly, bearing its teeth. The first man had a taser with him and hit magicians with it to get them out of the way. One girl fell against Owl, and they both hit the floor. The dead one was dragged out by the hair and taken away. A man in a suit walked by and looked at them. He pointed a finger at Owl and nodded. The man tazered her repeatedly in the neck and she screamed as she was pulled out by her hair.
Some guy tied a rope around her neck and she was dragged and jerked into the chop shop.
It was a torture house. She watched in horror as magicians were thrown from a deck into giant pots of boiling water. Their screams echoed off the walls before the workers shut the lids again.
Owl was thrown onto a blood coated steel table and the man tazered her and she went numb. He pressed her head against the metal as the worker talked to the man in the suit. They argued a bit more, but Owl heard these words, I boil her alive. More pain make more flavour juices come out. You wan magic stock?
Ya ya the man said.
The guy punched her hard in the face, crushing her jaw. She was thrown into the pot and she screamed, and everything went blank. Next she found herself in a hospital, but the pain was way more excruciating. She moaned and cried, and the doctor was standing with the same Psi mage and said she had to be put down.
There was a flash of light and Owl was back at Border Town. She fell to her knees, and puked, and cried.
Everyone else had left; it was just her and the Psi mage. He put his hand over hers.
That was an illusion. The last memories of that girl. What you felt was her fate. She was kidnapped and died in the magic market. She was my daughter; the light of my life. When we raided the market, I found her and pulled her out of the kettles, and took her to hospital. She was too damaged to recover and would have died a painful death. The doctor ordered that I destroy her and set her spirit free. It was the only humane thing I could do.
But the others- Owl cried.
It is my role as a psychic mage to connect the minds of the healers and fighters to those of the weak. To help them know if they must heal or destroy the victims. I have done this for 25 years working for the rescue squad, and I dont decide, I only connect minds. The other magicians in the building had suffered from Suns rays and diseases, and were too weak to live. In these sad times, euthanasia is more humane than failed heal attempts. You of Ellinia may not embrace this policy, but the arch mages and other warriors have seen too much death to let others live when they are completely destroyed. Do you understand?
Owl nodded as tears came out. This
is all news to me
They may show they are cold and heartless, but deep down, those mages did what they had to do, even if their task will haunt them for all time.
Eule came up. The Psi mage had made her sister understand. Mista hugged Owl and held her tightly and touched hands with the Psi mage who also gave her Owls memories.
Understanding everything, Mista hugged her daughter tighter.
But Owl did not feel comfort. All she felt was rage. Buring rage and hate, directed at the Justice Arrow,
an enemy of mankind. She wanted to kill them. Lots of them. If she ever gets a chance, she will destroy them all!