Before the Fall

Fanfiction of When the World Falls to Darkness by DragonSoulJess.

The fall has begun. alliances are being formed, and guardians are being rounded up. In a small outpost called Ryoko, a small number of guardians still fight for their freedom.

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6. Loss

 

There are too many of them, Kylora thought, watching the army below her. The two hundred they had fought and defeated must have been an advance scout party, because this army was huge, and obviously knew they were here. They weren’t as nervous as the smaller group had been. They marched right in, weapons out and ready, prepared to attack anything that moved. Kylora cringed away from them, eyes wide with terror. Her mind scrambled for some method of escape. If she was quick, maybe she could get away before they noticed her. There was no way she could creep through that army, even in her human form. They would take anyone in this valley as a prisoner. It was hopeless. She should have run, and taken Hylla with her. Then maybe both of them would survive. But now, she had chosen to stay, and fight like an idiot. What had provoked her to be so reckless? So selfless? What was she even hoping to accomplish, besides dying alongside the other guardians that had chosen to stay?

    She crouched behind the rocks, and considered hiding, waiting for the army to pass through. But that wouldn’t work either. They would find her, and they would take her. There was no escaping her fate. She just had to accept it, and move forwards.

    She let out a soft whimper. Next to her, Hylla looked over, concerned.

    “Ky? Are you okay?”

    Am I okay. As if any of us are okay. As if we aren’t about to die, Kylora thought. How could her sister be so optimistic, so loving, so gentle, even when she had agreed to fight this suicide battle at Kylora’s side?

    “I’m… all right,” Kylora managed. “Just… waiting for the storm to come.”

    Hylla nodded. “Kylora… You…” she paused uncertainly. “You don’t have to do this. We might be able to get away if we stayed in our other forms, and slipped off into the mountains… a lot of us have already run. Why aren’t you joining them?”

    “You and Miel wouldn’t join them,” Kylora pointed out, but Hylla refused to be cowed. She crossed her arms stubbornly.

    “That’s because we’re staying with you. You’re the one who chooses for all of us.”

    Kylora wanted to protest that wasn’t fair. Why did she have to choose? But before she could, Miel, who was hidden on her other side, tapped her shoulder. When Kylora turned, the angel’s normally cheerful face was grim. Even Miel knew how crazy this was.

    “It’s time,” Miel said sadly. “Now or never, Ky.”

    Kylora nodded, and forced herself to calm. Then she began to transform.

    The strength her dragon form lended her made her more confident. She lunged up onto the rock and roared, like she had in the first battle. The few guardians that were left joined her, and they attacked the humans.

    This fight was nothing like the last one. Now the guardians were the ones who were outnumbered, surrounded, and overpowered. At first, they caught the humans off guard by the sheer desperation of their attack. The humans had probably expected them to run, yet here they were, fighting frantically for their very lives. For about two minutes, it seemed like sheer shock might win them the day.

    Then things started going wrong. The humans got over their shock. A series of horn blasts between the army of humans and the army of dwarves led them to surround the few guardians. Nets were thrown, and guardians were brought down. Some curled in on themselves, all thoughts of fighting to the death forgotten in a desperate attempt at self preservation. Others kept fighting, and were cut down.

    In the middle of all this, Kylora pressed forwards with grim determination. Hylla fought at her side as a silver blur. Miel soared overhead, jabbing at humans with a long spear, then swooping away before they could harm her. Kylora waded through the army, fighting like a demon. When she could, she tried to release trapped guardians, but there were too many humans, and she was only one guardian. Gradually, fatigue began to overwhelm her. She looked to the side at Hylla, and saw the resignation in her sister’s eyes. They were both going to die here.

    So much effort gone to waste, Kylora thought miserably. All those years. And I had to throw it away.

    A shadow fell over her, and she saw a net spiraling towards her. Panic surged through her heart. Her panic wasn’t for herself- it was for Hylla. She couldn’t turn fast enough, so she did the only thing she could. She slammed her sister in the chest with her tail, flinging her backwards.

    In retrospect, that act probably saved Hylla’s life. Arrows arced down where her sister had been. Several pierced Kylora’s wings, and she screamed in pain. Then the net fell across her. She struggled, thrashing violently. Through the net, she could see Miel lifting her sister into the air. Hylla had shrunk back to her smaller form, and was fighting wildly, but Miel had her in a tight grip.

    Kylora felt a strange surge of peace. If she died, at least her sister would live. At least Miel would get her out of danger. She looked up at them, watching them retreat into the sky. There was pain in Miel’s eyes. She reached out once to Kylora, then turned away, pulling Hylla further away. Further away from the danger, and further away from the fate that awaited Kylora.

    A blade pierced her skin. She let out a helpless wail, and thrashed in the net, but she had nowhere to escape too. They had designed these metal nets to hold guardians, after all. She was trapped, and there was no way she was going to escape. Her only hope was to go down fighting.

    I never did truly say goodbye to Hylla she thought. I never got to apologize to her. I never got to tell her what a horrible sister I was. She looked up at the sky. I’m leaving her alone. Again. But permanently this time.

    She shot fire at the humans around her, but they were ready for that trick. They braced behind shields, stabbing at her with long pikes, shooting her with arrows. The battle was ending. The other guardians had been killed or subdued. They lost.

    Kylora roared through the pain. She wouldn’t let them take her again. Not now. Not ever. She had sworn that she’d never go back.

    The pain began to make her head swim. She still thrashed, but her movements were becoming sluggish. Finally, she lost focus. Her instincts took over, and she shrunk.

    No! No! She panicked, but her mind was working too slowly. Can’t… let them… win…

    But they already have won. They were always going to win. We just delayed it.

    She slumped to the ground as the humans around her crowed with victory.

    Have to get up… have to… keep fighting… but her vision was spiraling into darkness, taking her thoughts with it. She didn’t even feel herself hit the ground as she blacked out.

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