This chapter does not correspond with any from WTWFTD.
Characters appearing in this chapter:
Nadiko (elf) & Sai (wolf Guardian) ~ Wolfheart
Kanyk Scarletblade (angel) & Ethan/Darkscar (dragon Guardian) ~ Katherine_Scarletblade
Kari (humanoid phoenix Guardian) ~ QuEeN GlACieR IcE PAn
Kanyk found Nadiko sleeping by the wolf Guardian's side, and was about to leave her when the gentle voice murmured, "Do you think I should wake her?"
She blinked in surprise as the Guardian sat slowly, his pale green eyes fixed on her. "You're awake, then?" she mused.
He nodded. "Your answer?"
Kanyk struggled to remember the question through the surprise, and when she did, her lips twitched in the beginnings of a smile. "Of course," she said. "She's been waiting up and making sure you've been okay."
His cheeks reddened a little. Trying to disguise the blush, he turned his head to study Nadiko, nudging her gently. He had one more second to breathe before Nadiko had thrown herself from sleep and there was a blade to his throat.
In that moment, nothing moved.
And then Nadiko's eyes widened as she realised whose neck she was holding the knife to. She withdrew it slowly.
"I thought... I thought you'd never wake up!" Her features broke out into a radiant grin. "How are you?"
"I'm fine," the Guardian replied. "I... Thank you."
Nadiko shook her head. "We helped each other, right?"
He opened his lips as though to continue, but Nadiko cut him off before he could. "What's your name, by the way? I'm Nadiko. This is Kanyk."
The Guardian glanced around, as though pondering over whether or not to trust them. Finally, he made the leap. "Sai," he said. "My name is Sai."
"Hey, Kanyk!" Ethan's voice interrupted them, and they turned to look at him as he pushed through and into the tent. "We found another place where they've got a Guardian, and-" Oblivious as ever, he had failed - until now - to notice that Sai had finally broken free of his slumber. For a moment, the two simply studied one another, before Ethan's trademark grin lit up his face, and he extended a hand in greeting. "Took you long enough to wake up," he remarked. "You feeling good enough to go break in to a prison?"
It seemed like it was all Kari knew - just pain, pain, pain, pain. An ocean of darkness that had swallowed her with every waking hour the mages tampered with her, with every wave of agony as they forced her body to accept magic that she could never handle.
Darkness. Pain. Oblivion. It was all she knew.
They told her she'd be powerful - so, so powerful, but she didn't want power, she didn't want it, she just wanted to know that she was safe. But she couldn't be - not with the mages, not with the darkness and the pain and the oblivion.
It was impossible.
She had accepted it, that she was doomed, and yet something within her kept fighting, something within her kept fighting for the light that she knew would never some.
Except - it did.
She had been screaming. She screamed a lot, because there was just so much pain, so today wasn't really any different, but then the screaming subsided and she realised why: the mages were no longer torturing her. They were on the floor, their crimson blood leaking from beneath them.
Behind their corpses were four figures: an angel, an elf, and then a wolf and a dragon. She wondered if she was dreaming. She must be. The darkness would never surrender to light - because there would always be people after her, and even if the corpses were real and the blood was real and the sudden saviours were real, it wouldn't last for long. Her rescuers would take her somewhere else and torture her even more.
And then the darkness would be back and darker than ever.
"We're here to help," the dragon's voice was brimming with confidence. She wanted to listen to it, the first kind voice she'd heard in weeks - or maybe months or maybe even years. And as he stepped forwards and sliced through the chains with claws of liberty, she was not afraid.
They guided her down the corridor and past her cell. Something inside her leapt as they passed it, as they escaped what used to be the place of her tears. She stumbled, and the angel caught her arm. They kept going - up a staircase, where she leant heavily on the wolf in order to ascend; they walked through a hall - filled with even more bodies, even more bodies that could not be real; they pushed open the doors, and outside was forest, forest of green and beauty and glory.
Kari broke from the darkness, and stumbled wearily into the light.