(Please note, not edited/checked/PR-ed. You may run into a questionable grammar or two. If you manage to spot them, please let me know in the comments below. Thank you!!)
“What is the current situation?”
There was a deep frown on Dukakis’s face as he spoke to the small, flickering image of the city’s guard captain. The image was being transmitted from a portable communication crystal, the one held by the man. To say the man’s face was solemn – now that was an understatement of the year.
Currently, Dukakis was in his office, surrounded by his advisers and Damien. And none of them had happy faces, which was perfectly understandable considering the situation. The atmosphere within was also quite intolerable.
“My lord. The situation is volatile as we speak. Scores of Barbarian combatants have barricaded themselves inside the City Hall, holding the City Magistrate, City Officials as well as numerous civilians hostage. I have cordoned off the immediate area and placed archers on the rooftops just in case.”
Dukakis held his head, his face now a pit of anger and confused agony. The frown on his head now was as deep as a canyon. Groaning like a wounded bear, he asked the image of the captain.
“What are their reasons for taking hostages? And how did they get inside the city, my city, without being detected?! Bloody hell. What else is there? Are they making threats? Demands? Anything?”
“No, my lord. They have only sealed themselves inside, and warned us that if we approach, they will execute all the hostages.”
“How can they seal themselves inside?! The City Hall isn’t a bloody fort, for heaven’s sake!! Can you not storm your way in and subdue the bastards, Captain?”
Dukakis exploded in anger, his eyes bloodshot. He angrily slammed his fist down on the desk, rocking the contents on top. The flickering image then shook like the flame of a dying candle before restoring itself again. The face of the Captain showed a slight shock but he did well not to show it off too long. Seeing that, Dukakis managed to calm down just a tad.
“No, disregard that, Captain,” Dukakis shook his head and massaged his temples weakly. “You said that City Magistrate is one of the hostages. Has his safety been confirmed?”
“Yes, my lord. One of the Barbarians displayed the Magistrate near the window of his office. That was only a few moments ago….. My lord!! Someone’s come out of the building!! Please hold on for a while as I ascertain the current situation!!”
Everyone in the room tensed up at this unexpected development. A thick, uncomfortable silence continued for a what seemed like forever while they waited for the captain to return.
Finally, the static image of the captain reappeared, his face sweaty and his breath heavy.
“What say you? What news do you bring us?”
Dukakis impatiently asked.
“That is…. the person was one of the hostages, a maidservant. She brought the demands made by the Barbarians. The invaders want all their brethren we have apprehended released, as well as the return of the Mystic Totem of Lepudia Tribe. They want this done before the day’s nightfall, or one hostage will be killed every half hour.”
“That again?! Are these Barbarians deaf? Or are they just too slow to understand? We repeatedly let it known that we do not have the bloody Totem!! Oh, dear goddess. This is just….”
One of the military advisers angrily spat out, throwing his hands in the air in an exasperated manner. Other advisers too, went on various abusive tirades of their own.
Of course, all these yappings did nothing to lift the taut and tense air of the office not one bit. If anything, they made it worse.
Taking a short glance at the unhelpful folks, Damien wanted to shake his head but didn’t. He knew from experience that people like these did not take too kindly even the slightest of slights or disrespect towards them. Stuff about having pride and some such useless egotistical nonsense. In all honesty, Damien couldn’t care about stroking their ego any less even if he tried, but for the sake of harmony – what’s left of it – he decided to not to show his emotion.
Instead, he thought it would be better to be helpful.
“Dukakis, setting aside the issue with the Totem, what can you tell me about the Barbarian prisoners? How many are in custody right now?”
Dukakis’s face darkened even further before answering the question.
“We had 23, if I recall correctly. However, more than half that number have already been executed for the crimes of murder and destruction of the Empire’s property. The fates of the rest are pending in the military tribunal.”
Damien was shocked to hear his brother’s reply, and could not hide his emotion this time around. “….Well, that was unexpectedly expedient, wasn’t it? Were they even given a proper legal counsel? Did the due process even adhere to?”
The tone of his voice didn’t go unnoticed by the military advisers. And sure enough, the man who did the exaggerated hand gestures chimed in with his displeasure.
“Of course, the constitutions of our Great Empire was adhered to!! We provided them with more than adequate defense, yet their guilt was never in doubt!! The speedy nature of their trials was only due to the overwhelming amount of evidence all pointing to the one inevitable conclusion, the verdict of guilty as charged. So, why waste time and resources on these murdering bastards?!”
Damien briefly pursed his lips in annoyance before ignoring the man completely. What had happened, happened. Nothing could be done about it, now. The ones left behind had to do as the bargaining chip. Although, since their comrades were already mostly dead, it was unknown how the Barbarians would react to the news.
Damien was pretty sure it wouldn’t nice, though.
Turning his attention back to his brother, he asked. “What will you do, Dukakis? Do you have anyone with hostage negotiation skills?”
Dukakis shook his head. “None. But do we need one? They are just a bunch of uneducated Barbarians. Surely, we could make them acquiesce either with threats or incentives.”
“No, that won’t work,” replied Damien. “I’m not an expert, but have seen a few doing their jobs before, and let me tell you this – uneducated ones are the worst to deal with in this types of situations. They won’t listen to reason and will try to stick to the script. Their script. Whatever incentive we come up with, they won’t bite. Worse, these guys are not soft. They took over the Hall – they are intending on throwing away their lives if it comes down to that.”
“Then what do you suggest we do? We can’t even meet their demands half of the way. All I can think about is to gather up the troops and storm the building. Otherwise, will there be any other resolution for us? Any other options?”
Dukakis seemed to age another decade as he exchanged words with Damien. He looked wane, weaker, pale – as if he hadn’t seen the sun for a good few months.
After thinking for a bit, Damien sighed out loud. He too, couldn’t see a good way to handle this without taking casualties. The one Dukakis worried the most was the City’s Magistrate; he was the top government official of the city. Dispatched by the Capital to oversee the complicated matters of carrying out the mandate of the Empire’s legal system, a Magistrate was in essence a Mayor and a General Secretary rolled into one.
Needless to say, the man had quite a bit of political clout in the city and beyond. To have him fall at the hands of the Barbarians would be very bad for Dukakis and the Lomax household in general.
Until now, the chaos that wrecked the city didn’t spread too far and wide, all because of the concerted efforts of the merchant company, West & Brooks. And later on, even Dukakis himself playing an active role in convincing the Magistrate to under-report the significance of the outbreak of violence in the city.
That act of convincing took some doing on Dukakis’s part. He worked pretty hard to get the Magistrate on his side. Palms were greased a lot.
Yet, now there was a chance that all his hard work was about to be unraveled here, all because of the thick headed morons from the land beyond the borders. It was so very aggravating to the extreme.
When the news of the Barbarians invading the City Hall reached his ears, Dukakis tried to get in touch with the Magistrate via the communication crystal but to no avail. And now, his worst fears were confirmed. After this debacle, whether the man survived or not, the repercussions would be severe. For himself, and for his family.
Taking a deep breath, Dukakis looked around his office, making sure he had a firm eye contact with everyone present. Only then did he spoke, firmly and slowly.
“Gentlemen. We proceed with force. We can’t bargain with these bastards. They have already taken too much from us, from this glorious city. I shall not allow it any longer. Get the men ready for an incursion!!”
When Damien followed the flustered soldier to his brother’s office, he didn’t know what to think at first. But then, somehow, this whole incident had morphed into a god-send opportunity.
How so? Pretty simple, really.
Currently, Damien was looking at the City Hall as he crouched on the rooftop of a nearby building. He had volunteered his services for this operation, all in the hopes of getting inside the City Hall’s archives. And to take a gander at the records for all those who had entered the city via Sky Arks.
Risky, for sure, but also potentially solving all his headaches in one go.
The plan was two-fold. Literally.
Two armed squads of men would enter the Hall, one team via the roof while the others via underground sewerage. For that purpose, Damien was assigned to the roof team. The building they were on happened to be taller than the Hall itself, allowing him and his group to attach a line of rope and zip-line down.
The other team had a lot less glamorous and no doubt smelly proposition, as they would utilize the underground network of sewers that were built ages ago when the city’s foundation was being laid down. One of these sewer lines went under the Hall, a necessity in design since the government building, formerly of the Count’s residence before converting into what it was now, possessed several bathrooms.
Each team faced their own challenges but their objectives were crystal clear – to assess the enemy’s strength. To assess where they were located. To assess the level of threat they actually possessed.
And then proceed to kill or apprehend all the Barbarians in the building. Try to minimize the civilian casualties but the priority should be placed on completely neutralizing the threat posed by the foreign enemies.
Truly, easier said than done.
When Damien looked over the edge of the rooftop and at the City Hall itself, he saw one or two Barbarian warriors gazing out of the upper story windows. The Hall building was three stories high, with each floor considerably taller than what’s considered the normal height. Still, Damien’s roof was higher.
All in all, the angle of the infiltration was as ideal as it could get. He could see the Barbarian sentry just fine, but they could not see him. After observing for a while, Damien gave a nod to the team leader, a signal to fire a great arrow tied to a thick rope.
The City Hall’s roof allowed people to climb on top of it in order to perform maintenance. Thus, there were a plenty of areas where a rope could be secured.
The first to go was Damien. Using his prosthetic arm’s available strength he made to the other side in a jiffy. Then he proceeded to take down the sentry who happened to wander into the rooftop. Silently, of course.
Next, he secured the rope to make sure the rest of the team could use it as well.
The team consisted of twelve men so it took a bit of time for them to cross the gap between the buildings. It was one hell of a nerve wrecking thing to watch and wait for Damien, hoping that the Lady Luck was on their side today. And since they all carried weapons and wore armors, their speed was on the wrong side of slow.
Still, no mishap occurred. All twelve crossed safely.
Next up – to wait for the signal from the sewer team, that they have made it inside. For that purpose, a tiny, one-time use communication crystal that combusted right after its usage.
Damien didn’t have to wait long before the crystal went up in smoke, the sign they were patiently waiting for. He sent one of his own to let the other team know the operation was a go.
The rooftop team entered the building through the access panel. Every time the soldiers who were not trained for these types of warfare, made a blunder by making too much noise, Damien couldn’t help but swear in his heart.
Nothing he could do now – even if he wanted to get angry, just one look at the scared faces of the soldiers accompanying him cooled all his anger right away. They were not Adventurers trained to become the jack of all trades but to guard the city from the ruffians and criminal elements. Sneaking around trying to silently take down numerous targets were not on their training schedule.
Before commencing with the mission, Damien and the soldiers had taken a look at the layout of the City Hall and its various floors so he knew roughly where to go. The Magistrate’s scared face was displayed on the top floor, the one Damien was on. Also, coincidentally, the floor where the Magistrate’s office was located, too. Maybe, that wasn’t a coincidence, but whatever.
If the Barbarians were wise, then the hostages would have been brought into a single room for a better crowd control. If they were playing it even smarter, then they would seperate one or two high value hostages in another room, not too far but not too close either.
The archers stationed across the rooftops of opposing building had estimated that the most of the hostages were indeed on the top floor, something the freed hostage, the maidservant, corroborated earlier on.
As for the Barbarians, they split up, with scores of them guarding the most obvious entry point, the front entrance while the rest guarded the hostages or went around searching for others they might have missed within the building.
The ones manning the front were the sewer team’s responsibility. As for the confusion created by them, the rooftop team was going to utilize that and storm the office and rescue the Magistrate and the hostages. At least, as long as there were no unforeseen events.
Once inside, Damien was not too surprised to find the hallways dead quiet. It was probably too much to imagine the top floor bustling with activities normally since the floor was off limits to civilians anyways, but still, it was rather eerily silent.
After telling the soldiers to stay put, Damien went around stealthily and checked out each of the rooms and offices to see what’s what. Most of them were empty, save for the Magistrate’s and his secretary’s. There were signs of people in there.
He decided to take a closer look if possible and was about to approach the Magistrate’s office when the corner of his eye caught a flickering light. When he examined it closely, there was an unfamiliar object placed on one of the walls, with a small red dot that continued to blink rhythmically.
He slowly prodded it with his fingers – and it kinda felt like clay. Even the colors were similar, except for the thing with a red blinking light on it. That one was black, and it was firmer to touch.
Now that he glanced around the rooms, he spotted more of these weird contraptions. Damien was pretty sure these didn’t belong with the original décor.
What reinforced that notion was some kind of unknown letters written on each of the objects’ surface.
If Kain was here, he’d most likely recognize what those letters were, though. After all, they were ‘C’ and ‘4.’
Whatever they were, Damien felt a bit ominous vibe coming off them. So he wanted to check out the lower floors to make sure they were empty of people as well as these strange things, but something else ended up distracting him.
The thing was, the hostages were divided into two groups in gender. Males were in the Magistrate’s office and the women were corralled in the other. What stopped Damien from moving on was that the women folk had terrible things being done to them. This made him forget all about the strange blinking red lights for now.
He had half a mind to rush in and bash in the skulls of the Barbarians, but he held back his fury. Gritting his teeth, he returned to where the soldiers were crouching, while cutting down the Barbarian sentries as quietly as possible. He knew very well that the time was not right yet.
Mercifully, that time arrived sooner rather than later.
A cacophony of noise exploded from downstairs. A signal that the sewer team has engaged the enemy.
Damien narrowed his eyes, the controlled anger being unleashed. Soldiers didn’t need his prompt in order to spring into action – they were already moving, killing intents blazing in their eyes like the desert sun.
The Barbarians who were busy forcing themselves on the female hostages looked around in confusion and disarray by the time Damien and the soldiers rushed in. As quickly as possible, the heads rolled off the necks, arrows from the crossbows stuck in various body parts, and before the dust settled, the women were freed.
Ignoring their plight for now as their lives were no longer in danger, Damien and the soldiers rushed into the next door.
The fighting here was fiercer. Might as well, since there wasn’t much to distract the Barbarians from their duties, unlike the situation in the next room.
And inevitably, casualties rose. The Barbarians took human shields, trying to buy time – something Damien couldn’t afford to waste. So, he exploded with action, not caring about the consequences.
In the end, though, Magistrate was freed, largely unhurt but visibly shaken by the ordeal. A couple of hostages had died but all in all, better than expected result for the soldiers.
However, his rescue was not what Damien came here for, so he left the clean up to the soldiers and swiftly made his way down the stairs, to the ground floor where the records were being kept.
And that’s where the true trouble began for him.
As soon as he arrived, something felt off about this particular floor. Sure, there was a fierce fighting happening towards where the soldiers and the Barbarians were. But that wasn’t it.
He sensed other people, and at the same time, he didn’t. It was as if there were extra presences here that didn’t want to be detected.
Feeling rather apprehensive because of this, Damien hid behind the corner and took a peek around the edge instead of walking down the corridor. He saw that the way up ahead was clear, and moved on, as quietly as possible, towards the archives where the records were kept.
The doors, which should have been locked, were broken into. And this was where all that presences Damien felt earlier on were. He stiffened momentarily but after recovering his composure, carefully entered past the broken door.
Sure enough, Damien witnessed a group of four men busy installing those clay-like things on the walls, while whispering in a foreign language to each other. Quickly hiding in the shadows, he studied what they were doing, or for that matter, who they were.
After all, why would the Barbarians enter the records for? What were they looking for in here?
From Damien’s observation, these people were in a hurry, as if something unexpected had occurred, or at least, things did not go according to the plan.
Whatever the case may be, Damien was now pretty much sure of one thing – these people were not Barbarians. Their physique was too different. For one, those Northern tribesmen were known for their huge bodies, rippling muscles and long, unkempt blond hairs. Many of them sported tribal markings on their faces, denoting which tribe they belonged to. Oh, and the most sure-fire way to tell a Barbarian apart from the citizens of Empire was the earlobes – for some reason, theirs were always longer.
And not to mention, more often than not, beards. Dirty and unshaven, shaggy beards.
But these guys? For one, their hair was trimmed very short. Their skin was well tanned. And although fit and muscular, they were not as big as the archetypal Barbarians at all, even if they were dressed to blend in. But they did have beards, so Damien was slightly stumped on that one.
There was one more thing that convinced Damien that these men were not Barbarians – almost all of them held a black cylindrical thing on their persons.
Now, he wasn’t sure what those items were but, he had an inkling. A good one, in fact. If his assertions were correct, then those were the very same weapons described in Jonas’s journal. Used by the Visitors.
What the hell are the Visitors doing in here, in this City Hall?!
Damien frowned, not sure of what to do. Should he wait until they were done with whatever their mission objective was? Or should he try to stop them? From what he read in that journal, it was rather plain that these people were not friends. If anything, they would try to kill him the moment he revealed himself.
The unknown factor was those weapons. Damien just couldn’t tell what they could do. Were they an Invocation Tool? Were they some type of crossbows that fired darts? Or did Jonas grossly exaggerate their capabilities? He had no way to tell unless he started engaging them head on. Not ideal.
And what were those clay things for? Why were they setting them up in here too?
The longer he watched, the more ominous he felt about this whole thing. Suddenly, he wondered whether this hostage taking business was the work of these Visitors, and not the Barbarians, all just to enter the City Hall and do…. something inside.
The Visitors finally finished with their job, and began to pile out of the exit. Damien remained hidden until they were gone for good before emerging from the spot. Taking another deep breath, he decided not to worry about what they were doing for now and concentrate on his own reason for coming here.
He hurriedly searched until he found the cabinet storing the Sky Ark transit records. As expected, it had an Invocation lock placed on it. But that didn’t matter – he had his prosthetic arm.
Flexing his metallic muscles, Damien gripped the cabinet’s drawer and forcibly yanked at it. And voila: the spell could not endure the enormous strength exerted by the arm and snapped loose, spilling its contents like vomit.
The numerous scrolls and parchments fell out in ugly, disorganized fashion, making Damien curse out inadvertently. Now he had to sift through all this mess just to find one or two scraps of paper.
He knelt down and began to sort, grumbling inwardly. He didn’t forget to keep an eye out the door just in case as well.
He remembered the dates from the journal so Damien concentrated on looking for anything around those. However, it turned out that the records kept here did not extend that far back, only going as far as two years prior.
Realizing this, he grimaced deeply but didn’t give up. The last time that unidentified noble came here was less than a year ago, so something should still remain here.
He finally found a bundle of parchments from the week of the date in question. Since it was unknown how long it would take for a group of snooty noblemen to make the journey past the borders, Damien thought it prudent to start looking about three to four days prior to the noble’s arrival at the construction site up North.
Unfortunately, he didn’t get the chance to do just that.
Damien discovered that man’s presence entering the archives a little too late. And by the time he sensed it, the two of them were facing each other.
The man raised that black cylindrical thing and pointed it at Damien. The finger hooked around the top of the “handle bar” flinched. And instinctively, Damien flinched as well, raising his prosthetic arm to protect his chest.
There was a trio of sharp but not so loud popping sounds, and he felt an incredible amount of force slam into his metal arm. He was knocked off the feet and sent crashing down on the messy pile of papers below.
He felt dizzy but sober enough to pull his butt up and take a dive behind the rows of cabinets. Just as well – as soon as he did that, more of those popping noises echoed out and the cabinets shattered into fine splinters.
Damien cursed inwardly as the numbness spread all over his right shoulder, the one connected to the arm. He quickly inspected the damage and felt a chill run down his back, seeing three clear dents that had formed on the bicep and the forearm areas.
Well, Jonas didn’t exaggerate, after all!!
Damien grimaced deeply, knowing how difficult it was to damage his arm like this. Coming from the first-hand experience, obviously. Relieved to find the bundle of records still clutched in his grasp, he hastily stuffed it inside his chest armor and crouched low.
He heard the footsteps from the Visitor, so he moved from his spot, trying to flank the man with the black cylindrical weapon. Damien then heard him whisper, but to whom, he couldn’t tell, never mind the contents of the whisper itself.
More importantly, though, he felt the breathing was getting tougher. When he was hit, the arm was pushed against his chest. Damien knew something had to be broken or at least really bruised in his ribcage. This situation was not getting any better at all.
Gripping his saber Frostbane tightly, Damien took a deep breath and unsheathed it with his left hand. A cold gleam shone off the blade like the pale Winter moonlight.
Hardening his expression, Damien moved and went around the cabinet quickly, leaping over the top to surprise the Visitor. The pointy end of the black weapon was then sliced apart by the ultra-sharp edge of Frostbane while he kicked the man in the chest, forcing him to take a tumble backward.
Grunting in surprise, the Visitor continued the tumble and utilized the momentum from that roll to stand right back up. He discarded the cylindrical weapon and it slung around to his back with a strap.
Then, he pulled out a black dagger with serrated edges on both sides. Rather than calling it a dagger, though, it was more akin to a short sword. That’s how big it was.
Damien took his own stance and watched the Visitor look at him with feverish eyes. They were kind of eyes that a frenzied predator might have.
Silently, the two sized each other up before the Visitor made his move first by lunging forward with that dagger.
Damien blocked it with his metal arm and brought Frostbane forward in a sharp swing. The Visitor barely dodged it, the corners of his fur coat getting caught in the arc and got sliced apart.
Surprisingly, this did not deter the man and instead, he closed in fast. Damien had little time to react to that.
Again using the metal arm, he slammed against the Visitor but he was grabbed instead and had a well-practiced knee drive into his sternum.
The stinging, numbing pain shot out of his chest, but Damien forcibly suppressed it and used his strong prosthetic arm to shove the Visitor off. The shock in the man’s face was writ large at this display of pure, explosive power.
Taking this chance, Damien swung Frostbane down and slashed at the hand of the Visitor holding that dagger. Blood arced gracefully in the air as the black weapon and a severed hand flew, quickly followed by the pained cry coming out of the Visitor’s mouth.
Determined to finish this fight once and for all, Damien raised the sword over his head to slash down when he belatedly sensed another presence hurriedly entering the archives.
It was too late for him to dodge cleanly – the popping sounds rang out once more, this time from the second Visitor. Something pierced past Damien’s shoulder armor and gouged his flesh, breaking the bone within.
Ignoring the pain, Damien ducked out of the way again, behind the cabinets all the while being showered by the explosions of splinters everywhere. He rolled on the ground, trying desperately to shield his face and other vital areas from this unprecedented assault.
He shouted out in frustration as he crawled away towards the window.
Even though the archives were ostensibly situated on the ground floor, it didn’t mean it was level with the outside ground. If anything, it was more like the second floor in height alone.
But Damien had no choice in the matter. The moment the second Visitor came around the corner and began firing again, he jumped out of the window, breaking apart the expensive glass.
He landed awkwardly and rolled on his back several times before coming to a stop. His entire body ached like hell. Blood was pouring out of his shoulder. His left leg was not responding to his commands. He couldn’t even feel it at all.
But he still knew the danger wasn’t over yet. He stumbled forward like a madman, trying desperately to reach the safety. Far up ahead, soldiers that were manning the perimeters, saw him and came rushing in, looking surprised but still ready to fulfill their duties regardless.
Damien quickly identified himself and raised his arms, only to feel the back-breaking pain from his hurt shoulder again. His blood still flowed out too, so even to a most idiotic layman, he was clearly wounded and needed help.
Thankfully, the Visitors did not follow him out and attack indiscriminately. Otherwise, the civilian casualties would have been terrible. In hindsight, Damien knew he made a mistake, one made instinctively in order to save his own hide. Naught he could do now other than to reflect on it.
As he was taken away for treatment, Damien watched the City Hall building, hoping that nothing bad would happen to it and the people inside.
He was taken to a tent set up as a temporary medical center and was asked to lie down on a gurney.
The Invoker in charge of healing carefully removed his blood-soaked armor; then his torn tunic. As a healing Invocation was being performed on him, Damien took a long, relieved breath. For now, his objective was achieved, more or less. Once alone, he’d take a good long look at the records and try to match the description of the noble with the transit papers.
With this wound, it was obvious he was not going anywhere anytime soon. Whether that was a blessing in disguise or not, he didn’t know yet.
“What kind of wound is this? Did you get hit by an arrow? Did you pull it out?”
The Invoker in charge of healing asked Damien, his face showing a bit of confusion.
“Err, not sure,” Damien replied quickly. He didn’t want to say it was a strange Invocation Tool used by a Visitor from another Realm. If he did, then most likely, rather than healing his shoulder, the Invoker might try to examine the state of his mind instead. “I think it was an Invocation of some kind. It was too fast to see.”
“Oh, is that so?”
The Invoker squinted his eyes, not looking all that convinced. Then his eyes flickered. “Don’t move, sir. It might hurt a bit but try not to move too much.”
As he said, it hurt a lot. Damien nearly fainted from all that pain.
The Invoker, however, was too busy pulling out a shrapnel from Damien’s wound to notice the plight of his patient.
“Huh, would you look at that?”
The Invoker showed the blood-soaked piece of tiny metal to Damien. This time, it was Damien’s turn to feel shocked.
He was no idiot – he could figure out pretty quickly that the black cylindrical thing was firing the metal bits like this one at him. It was exactly like miniature cannons employed by the Imperial Army, in that it fired a metallic projectile at a blinding speed. And both the cannon and the weapon of the Visitor were cylindrical and black in color.
Couldn’t be a coincidence.
As Damien grasped the metal, suddenly a huge, powerful explosion rocked everything.
Stumbling out of the chair he was sitting on, Damien rushed out to catch the moment the City Hall building crumbled into nothingness in a huge fireball.
Synopsis: Somewhere in the universe, there was an altar. On it, laid a bloody eye as big as the sun itself. It burst with light and bathed the entire star system in red.
"The aura of an ancestral artifact!" Someone's voice rose in surprise.
The Great Galactic Era had begun.