“An earthquake!” Screamed Jeod in fear, realizing what was happening before everyone else. “The crazy shamans managed to create a god damned earthquake! Everyone get off of the walls!” He screamed in a frenzy as the world shook under them and he took off for the nearest staircase.
The tall stone walls were already beginning to crumble in sections and it was only getting worse as the incessant drumbeat continued. The defenders panicked and began flooding the steps, many in lighter armor choosing to drop their weapons and jump from the battlements to the ground below and risking injury to get away from the wall faster.
Alex was in a stupor, having never experienced an earthquake in his life. As he looked down the wall and watched people run in fear he watched as a large section of the wall a good distance away from him fell apart entirely, dropping the remaining soldiers into a pile of rubble and bodies as it spread out like a small avalanche. Many people died from being crushed in the flow of rocks and debris and many more were wounded. As the rubble settled the drum beats finished and the ground stopped its nauseating shaking.
It could be argued who was luckier though, between the wounded and the dead, as the army of goblins and hobgoblins suddenly concentrated its efforts at that area and quickly broke through the stunned and demoralized defenders. Some would say a quick death to the rubble might be preferable over being stabbed to death by a dozen goblins, but yet others would argue that dead is dead.
While he still stood there like a deer caught in the headlights something important stood out to him from within the still settling dust of the crumbled wall: the unmistakable mess of tangled auburn hair, sitting atop a young girl around his age. Of average height, maybe 5 foot 4, and with a very athletic build while still managing to remain what most would call beautiful. Rose.
“Reinforcements won’t make it in time…” Alex mumbled under his breath in shock. “No no no… Not Rose.” He said, getting louder at the end.
‘Alex…’ Whispered Alice within his mind, sympathy clear in her voice. She knew that he had no reasonable hope of saving her.
Alex began a dead sprint down the half-crumbled wall watching as the enemies advanced and Rose, having been one of the people lucky enough to only suffer minor injuries in the collapse, had readier her weapon and took her stance with the small number of other survivors nearby. Even in the face of death, she would attempt to help hold off the goblins from flooding into the city until reinforcements arrived to push them back.
While he sprinted down the wall Alex began desperately casting fireball after fireball. He didn’t even know he could cast them while moving but his mind was working in overdrive at the moment and Alice was helping to offload a bit of the burden as she had done when transforming Jeod.
Goblin after goblin after hobgoblin fell to his magic, but he realized he was still not going to make it before the main force hit. Already a few of the closer or faster enemies had run into the pitiful line of wounded defenders. ‘Even if I could make it, what could I possibly do?’ He thought desperately. ‘I’m so close, but what to do what to do what to do.’ He kept repeating to himself in his head.
“I’ve got it!” He suddenly shouted out loud as he thought of how he could try to save her. ‘This might do me a lot of damage, but I need to try Alice. Please assist me as much as you can.’
‘…. If you insist. I do not believe her life is worth more than yours, but I can feel how much you care for her, and by extension, it is beginning to cloud my own judgments to an extent as well. I will do what I can to assist you in this.’ Alice concluded, sounding both perplexed and exasperated at the same time.
Alex stopped where he was so that he could concentrate as much as possible and instead of drawing on a few drops of mana, or a trickle, or stream or even a river as he had done previously - he drew upon the ocean. Immediately the air around him grew heavy as if gravity had increased and he began bleeding profusely out of his eyes, ears, and nose. ‘It’s now or never!’ He screamed in his mind as he took this veritable ocean’s worth of mana and simply pushed in the direction of the approaching goblins and hobgoblins.
He briefly witnessed a wave of raw power rush out from him and destroy all in its path before he promptly fell over and passed out in a pool of his own blood.
The rest of the wall between him and the enemies was blown apart with ease sending large chunks of rocks into the armies below, injuring human and monster alike indiscriminately. The ground before the goblins lifted as if ripped from the Earth like a sheet from a bed and all at once the main chunk of their forces was hit with the power to shred rock and they were thrown back with enormous force. Most of the enemies were simply turned into a fine paste due to the pressure, gore coating the ground like a winter blizzard, with those further away injured horribly and tossed around like dolls.
The destruction was truly horrifying and all across the battlefield people stopped and stood in silence, marveling at the pure destructive force of whatever it was that had just happened. A small few suspected that the mage they had seen throwing fireballs from the walls had done this, but many more had no idea what could cause such unimaginable devastation and did not even consider it being capable of originating from a person.
Several people of importance had noticed Alex running along the wall however and one of them was now frantically sprinting to him as fast as her legs could carry her. Around the battlefield, the goblins and hobgoblins began retreating with most of their forces defeated and the survivors scared to death of whatever had just killed everything in its path. The humans who were not dead or dying quickly began tending to their fallen comrades with whatever emergency field care they could provide before a proper healer could assist.
As Jaclyn arrived at the wall she pushed all of her Ki into her legs and feet and pushed off of the ground with all her strength. Thankfully the section of wall she was climbing was one that had partially collapsed in the earthquake and was no longer as tall as the wall normally was or she would not have been able to get up something so high. She continued like this, jumping from outcropping to outcropping twice more until she arrived on the top and began heading for her collapsed son.
‘What did you do, Alex!?’ She screamed in her mind. She knew that the blast of force had come from him but she just couldn’t believe that her son was capable of such destruction. Not the moral aspect of the deaths, mind you, that part she was quite proud of, but she was unable to fathom that much power residing in a freshly awakened child.
“Alex!” She yelled aloud as she finally came upon his body. He was lying face down in a growing puddle of his own blood. “Alex, hang in there! Your mother is here, just hold on!” She screamed as tears flowed down her cheeks at the sight of her baby boy in such a condition. ‘You always were one to put forth your best…’ She thought as she opened the small steel box hidden in a pouch on her waist. Jaclyn took the key from within the locket on her neck and opened the box, withdrawing the rarest thing she had ever found during her lifetime, back when she regularly went out adventuring.
Derek, Claire and her had found been exploring an old-world city, an extremely dumb and dangerous thing to do, but they were all young and starved for adventure and treasures. By some stroke of luck, they happened to visit the city while the dragon that guarded it was busy fending off a pack of wyverns attempting to encroach on its territory. Dragons were very territorial after all and would not allow any living being to exist within its domain save kin.
They made the rash decision to find and raid its nest while it was preoccupied and the heavens smiled upon them that day for the nest they did find. Within was where Derek had gotten his prized shield, Claire her best bow, and Jaclyn the item she had saved all her life until a moment like this presented itself.
In her shaking hands, she held a small thick vial containing an incredibly small amount of clear liquid. Phoenix’s tears. She was not sure if that’s what it truly contained as she was not dumb enough to take it to an appraiser given that she had never even heard rumors of this item, but after testing its effects during an accident in the past that is what her, Derek and Claire had named it, after the ability of the Phoenix to revive after death. She had saved Derek’s life with it and had enough left for one more dose judging by what she had needed in Derek’s case.
Jaclyn quickly unstoppered the bottle and carefully dumped the miraculous liquid into Alex’s mouth, making sure she aimed for it to go down his throat as quickly as possible, and then she waited and prayed.