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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20. Mistake

 

    Hylla slunk through the darkness in the body of a wolf. She crouched low to the ground, creeping towards the human camp. For once, she didn’t attempt to kill the sentries- instead slipping by them like a black shadow. It was late at night, and the guard would be changing soon. All the sentries were sleepy and bored, already thinking of warm beds. It would be childishly easy to end their pathetic lives, but Hylla had more important matters to attend to. Something had happened recently in the camp- something important. She was going to figure out what had happened, and how she could keep the humans from obtaining another advantage.

    She ghosted through the camp, slipping past sleeping humans. She could smell cheap alcohol, and her lip curled in disgust. Drinking. Useless fools.

    She wondered if they kept the captured guardians somewhere in the army. If she could find them and free them, all the better. But first, the commotion.

    She’d caught the sentries talking about some important prisoner held at the center of camp. They had laughed about it, saying something about their general returning to interrogate them. So their general was gone. A shame. Hylla would have slashed him through the throat if she could. But there were other priorities.

    She dared hope that maybe the important prisoner would be Kylora. Hylla longed for her sister- longed for a stable, controlled mind to help her and tell her what to do. She even missed Miel. Sure, Miel may have been misguided about Kylora, and way too protective, but she was all Hylla had. Of course, she’d probably fled back to the other angels by now. She was smarter than Hylla. Of course, Hylla had nowhere to go.

    She crept closer to the center. There was a space cleared out. A single pole had been set up. The tents were packed more closely together, and Hylla padded along, barely breathing. If the humans saw her now, there would be no escape. One chance encounter, and the entire camp would know she was there. She would be captured, and then they would hurt her or kill her. She couldn’t let that happen. There had to still be at least one guardian who fought against the humans. The other guardians had run, but Hylla wouldn’t. Not until the humans learned that there were consequences for fighting against the guardians. Not until the humans learned who the true Alpha races were.

    There was a figure chained to the pole. They curled against it, asleep. Hylla’s heart leapt into her throat. Moonlight glinted off blond hair. Could it be?

    “Kylora?” she whispered, creeping closer.

    The figure stirred, and looked up. Then they locked eyes with Hylla.

    She stopped dead. The figure had beautiful hazel eyes. Kylora’s eyes were green as summer leaves. That meant…

    Miel?” she whispered. She approached the chained angel, eyes widening in shock. Miel looked around, and then pressed a finger to her lips. Hylla nodded, and sat beside Miel. She was happy to see the angel again, and concerned for her, but she also felt a guilty surge of disappointment. Kylora wasn’t here. She was gone- somewhere else. Hylla had to find her.

    “Hylla,” Miel murmured. “What are you doing here.”

    “I heard the humans had captured someone important. I… well… I thought…” Hylla looked away, ashamed. Tears prickled at the corners of her eyes. Why did Miel always make her emotional? Just being around another individual seemed to make her break down. She hated it.

    “You thought it was your sister,” Miel murmured. “Hylla… I need to tell you something. Something about Kylora. You’re not going to like this, but I need you to listen to me. Just… listen, okay?”

    Hylla hesitated, and Miel took her silence as a confirmation, and she took a deep breath.

    “One of the sentinels mentioned her. She’s a slave of the general right now. He said… he said their general broke her.”

    Hylla’s mind surged with shock. She pulled away, hackles raising. “That can’t be right. Kylora would never surrender. She would fight the humans until her death. That’s what she said. She wouldn’t just give up. She’s too brave for that. She would have kept fighting. Besides, your information came from a human. Humans are awful, horrible, lying monsters. They would say anything to hurt you. You can’t seriously believe that!”

    “Hylla,” Miel whispered. “Wouldn’t you rather have her alive and a slave than dead?”

    “Yes! No! I don’t know!” Hylla groaned. Miel studied her with concerned eyes, and Hylla drew back, refusing to let herself be comforted. Her mind was a whirlwind of conflicted emotions and thoughts. She wanted Kylora to be alive. But the thought of her sister as a broken, empty slave terrified her. She wanted a brave untouchable hero of a sister, not a coward and a slave.

    “Maybe… maybe she’s faking them out?” Hylla said desperately. “She’ll rebel and kill them once they let their guard down. She wouldn’t just surrender. Not Kylora.”

    “I think…” Miel hesitated. “She had a reason to live, Hylla. She had you. Kylora knew you were in danger. She wouldn’t just let herself die while she still felt she needed to protect you.”

    “No,” Hylla muttered. The thought of her sister becoming a slave for her was the worst. “No no no no. That can’t be right. It can’t be my fault.”

    “I’m not saying it’s your fault-”

    “That’s what you just said!”

    “No,” Miel replied calmly. “I said that she loved you. It’s because of you that she’s still alive. You should be grateful for that. If she’s alive, that means she can be saved.”

    “I shouldn’t have to save her!” Hylla protested. “She should be able to save herself!”

    “Hylla-” Miel began. But she was cut off as the light of a torch blinded both of them. Hylla growled, looking away. Her mind was reeling. What had just happened?

    “Guardian!” a voice screamed. “Guardian in the camp!”

    That got Hylla’s attention quickly enough. Her little argument with Miel hadn’t gone unheard. The humans had spotted her. And if they found her, they would capture her, and beat her, and possibly kill her.

    “Miel-” she began.

    Go!” the angel hissed.

    Hylla’s ears flattened back against her hair, and she bolted. She heard a sword swish through the air behind her. Tents were bursting open, and humans were yelling. Weapons were grabbed, and torches lit as humans started to give chase.

    Hylla’s heart raced as she ran. She was an idiot for running straight into the center of the human camp. She should have been quiet. She should have been more careful. And now she was being chased by the entire human army.

    A human burst out of a tent in front of her, blocking her way. He swung his sword at her, and she leapt onto him, knocking him down. She locked her teeth into his throat, ripping back and forth until she snapped his neck. She started to run, but a surge of pain slowed her. The human had done his work. He’d cut her shoulder with his sword. She winced, letting out a quiet whimper. She closed her eyes for a moment, allowing herself to feel the pain. Then she shook it off and started to run again. This wasn’t the time for weakness. If the humans caught her, she would be dead. And no one would be able to help Kylora. Her sister would be a slave forever, and Miel would be killed too.

    Why does everything have to depend on me?!

    She sped up as the humans ran after her. The sounds of yelling were all around her. Her heart raced as she kept running. She couldn’t let the humans catch her. And she couldn’t fight an entire army. She lowered her head, and kept running.

    “Guardian!” one of the humans yelled behind her. “Stop!”

    Like I’m going to!

    “Stop now, or I’ll cut your friend’s throat!”

    Hylla made the mistake of looking back. A human was holding Miel, with a sword blade against her throat. Hylla stopped so quickly she nearly tripped over her own paws. Miel made a choking noise that might have been a warning, but Hylla didn’t care. She’d lost Kylora. She couldn’t lose Miel too.

    “Now you’re going to shrink back to your humanoid form. You’re going to surrender, or I’ll kill the angel.”

    Miel’s wide eyes were trying to convey a warning. Hylla began to back away, snarling.

    They’ll kill her anyways.

    “Go to hell, human,” she snarled. She backed further up, and then turned to run.

    She didn’t even make it a single step. She heard Miel scream. She turned, in time to see a red splash of blood against the angel’s caramel skin. The human had slashed his sword across her throat.

    NO!” Hylla screamed. She lunged forwards, all thoughts of escaping gone from her mind. She ran towards the human- towards Miel. What she was hoping to accomplish, she didn’t know. She just knew she had to do something.

    She never made it the human. Another human tripped her with a spear, and she tumbled to the ground. Instantly the humans were around her, stabbing at her with swords and spears. Hylla didn’t care. She didn’t feel any pain. All she could see was Miel. The human was dragging her away. Hylla screamed with rage, and bit down on a human’s spear. She wrenched it from his hand, and transformed. Her bones shrunk, her face compacted, and her claws morphed back into hands. She spun her spear with ferocious anger. She was fighting a losing battle against the humans, but she didn’t care. She didn’t care about anything.

    First my sister, and now my angel! You can’t take anything else away from me, humans!

    She screamed a challenge, and lashed out, but there were too many of them. One knocked the spear from her hands, and they drove her to her knees. And still, she screamed at the human who had hurt Miel- the human who had spilled the beautiful angel’s blood. She called him a coward, a shirking fool. She dared him to fight her- dared him to feel the wrath of a true guardian. But all humans were spineless cowards. She hated them. She hated them all!

    The humans surrounded her, and she felt one of them chain her hands behind her back. The humans laughed, slapping each other on the back, like this was some kind of party. Hylla snarled at them, and they just laughed.

    “The little wildcat still has her claws,” one of them commented. “The ones with fire are always the most fun to break.”

    “The only thing that will be breaking is your bones, human!” Hylla growled viciously. The human just laughed, and turned away. Two more hauled Hylla to her feet, dragging her through the camp. She fought like an animal, kicking and snarling the whole way, but her humanoid form was too small and too weak. She cursed the humans, but they just laughed at her defiance. They took her to a cave that had been repurposed as a dungeon. A barricade had been made, and the humans threw her inside. Several other guardians were chained there, and they watched her with hollow, frightened eyes. She ignored them, launching herself at the barricade with ferocious screams. The humans outside ignored her, and the guardians watched her with sympathetic eyes.

    Hylla was trapped.

 
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