November 5, 430AR 6:00am
The Misty Maid Inn, Springshroud, Corseria
Aid sat near the desk, loading .45 Long Cole brass onto the gaps in the steel disc plates.
'So it was all true. Mirana IS this Scarlet Child they were talking about,' he thinks to himself as he crimps the sides, securing the bullets.
'The CLF wanting to get her didn't make sense at first, and that red-headed extremist with us wasn't any help either,' he sets the loaded moon clip down on the desk, alongside other speedloaders loaded with various specialty rounds, ranging from pepper capsule rounds to slim, small bore shotgun shells.
He looked outside the window. Covered in condensation from the fog, just like yesterday . "But that makes it all clear, now, doesn't it?" he mutters to himself. 'With yesterday's book reading, as well as The Akashic Order being involved, it all sums up to them intending to use Mirana for whatever their convoluted plans. Another mystic power they wish to place in their own hands."
He stares at his own hand and takes off the gauze wrappings, revealing a deep gash on his palm.. 'I don't… get it all, really. Why go so far as to play with a higher power? Are they so willing to go so far for what they believe? No bounds, bringing children into this mess?' 'Is that all she is to them, the daughter of legend; with powers to call the gods, for them to use?'
He clenched his hand into a fist. 'She doesn't deserve this. She didn't ask to be the Scarlet Child. Like I didn't ask to be this…"
He cast his eyes down. "…heretic abomination…" he mutters under his breath
"Mom..? Dad…?" A black haired child cried out as he stood in the midst of a red inferno.
"What's happening.. to me?"
He looks at a stagecoach, reduced to a bonfire after being struck by the torrent of flaming red bleeding out of his arm. Six figures clad in clerical robes lay in front of him; all unconscious, singed from the mysterious flames, save for one.
"Sir, please, take me back!" Aid pleaded, taking steps towards his surviving abductor.
The man stared at him with horror, crawling backwards. "Stay away from me, heretic!!!"
"Please… help me get back!"the boy asked again. "I don't want Mom and Dad getting worried!" he struggled to take another step, dragging the blood weapon behind.
The zealot continued to inch away,chanting prayers of an unknown language as he went, as if asking for Vattos himself to intervene. A piece of metal clicked as his hand landed. Noticing the gun at a touch, he grabbed it by the grip and pointed it at the child.
"Stay away, you monster!!" he yelled, trigger on the finger.
The boy took a step back, tears continued to stream down his cheeks. "I didn't mean to hurt anyone, please..!" "Murderer! Monster! Stay away!!" The man slowly pulled on the trigger.
"I'm not a monster! Please!" the red flames blazed, pulling his hand back from instinct.
"I don't want to hurt-"
"AWAY WITH YOU-!!!"
"-ANYONE!!!" the child cried as he made a powerful downward swing with the spiral blaze.
BANG! The roar of a gun ripped through the air.
"That's enough, son," a firm hand stopped Aiden by the wrist from striking down to take another life. The bloody spiral fizzled out in a puff of flames. The child collapsed from his weight, pale and weak from the loss of blood. Familiar arms catch him as he fell.
"Aiden, dear!" another sweet, familiar voice called out to him. He turned his head to find his mother running towards them, tossing the Artes rifle she cradled in her arms aside to lock the two in her embrace. His parents frantically check up on him.
"Am I…" the child croaked weakly. "…a monster..?"
Garreth and Weiss shook their heads.
"You're our son, Aiden," Weiss taps her 10 year old's forehead with a forefinger and hugs him tight as she can.
"A little difference doesn't make you one, son. Never let anyone tell you any different," Garreth replied with a bittersweet smile.
He then stands, turning his attention to the zealot; still reeling in pain from a rifle round that grazed his hand. "Weiss… Take Aiden and head back to town."
Garreth's voice gains a more serious tone. He kicks up the pistol on the floor and catches it.
"I'll go handle this one," he racks up the slide, discarding the first round and chambering another.
"Garreth! Don't be stupid! Now's not the time!" she scolded her husband as she carried Aiden in her arms.
"Oh no, this is DEFINITELY the PERFECT time," he scoffed, shooting himself in the left arm with the gun. He tossed the pistol back towards the culprit.
His right hand hovered over the self-inflicted wound.
"You. Sick. Bastard. Taking my innocent son while I was away on a mission, aren't we? . And for what? Surely that wound in his hand wasn't for nothing, yeah?" He advanced slowly, producing a handle of blood streaming out of his wound.
"You want our blood? Shame you'll get mine." He brandishes a seven branched greatsword from his blood; the bullet embedded on the tip, then melting it in an instant.
Weiss groaned in disagreement.
"I'm not gonna kill him, Weiss. But I'll make sure he wish I did," he assured his wife.
"You're taking it too far-"
"I'll make sure ALL of them do," his eyes dart above the trees.
Weiss followed his gaze above the branches. She only now noticed figures barely noticeable in the faint moonlight, hidden behind the foliage.
"Urgh… I hate it when you're right," she sighed in defeat, taking Aiden up the horse and picking up the Artes rifle before saddling up herself.
"Don't take too long, Dear. You hear? HYAH!" she reminds him before she commanded the horse to gallop.
Garreth nods with a smile before turning back to the treeline.
"And as for YOU lot hiding in the shadows," his eyes glow a more intense red. "…does your Order want to see what happens when you piss off a Dragon?!" the flames of the greatsword in his hand blaze more furiously.
At least twenty faces hidden were lit up by the red-tinted light; all of which retreated with a rustle of leaves.
'I can't… let her go through that,' Aid's hand tightened into a fist.
'I'm sure whatever bloody reason they have for hunting Mirana down are in those archives. Perhaps the very reason why they tried to get me in the past, as well,' he starts wrapping a fresh set of bandages around his arm.
'But whatever those reasons are, I don't care. If those acolytes of the Order think they can get her the same way they got to me, they have another thing coming. I know Clarisse will hate me for this, but I won't hesitate anymore like the first few times. If all hell breaks lose, I'll protect her, no matter what.' he tightens the gauze, securing it with his Perillous wristband.
"…even if I have to spill every last drop of my blood."