Rorik groaned as he slowly pushed himself up off the damp floor. He appeared to be in some sort of holding cell. How did I get here? he thought. And where is Mikhail?
He was alone in his dank cell. Bits of moisture dripped from the cracks in the ceiling. It was probably raining outside.
Meanwhile, on the ground floor
Kyra sat down in her new office. It was a beautifully decorated room with a luxurious bathroom and sleeping quarters attached, there was a nice painting on the wall that depicted a raging battle on the open sea. Her new quarters were quite comfortable all things considered.
She hated it.
Kyra received a suspiciously sudden promotion almost as soon as she had inquired about corruption higher up in the ranks. Rorik had told her that the now-deceased Admiral Quigley was a corrupt weakling that had risen up the ranks through bribes.
After doing some deep digging, she had found his assumptions to be correct. When she confronted her superiors about it, they had brushed it off as ‘just coincidence’ and gave her the promotion. A promotion that meant she would be stuck in the complex all day doing paperwork. The perfect way to keep her from getting into trouble.
A wave of disgust shot through Kyra. She wasn’t going to be the pawn of the corrupt government any longer. But in order to escape from it’s clutches, she was going to need some help.
Fortunately for her, she knew that there were two people in this very complex that could help her do just that. Unfortunately, someone had just arrived in the complex that might complicate things.
Lieutenant O’Leary, a powerful wind-magic user and well respected fighter. She also just so happened to be Rorik’s mother.
Interrogation room 6B, four hours later.
Mikhail watched as the captain slipped a gold coin into the hands of the soldier tasked with guarding the room. Apparently the captain wasn’t as honourable as she once seemed.
After the guard left the room, the captain seemed to reach out with her magic to make sure he was gone. A moment later she quickly unlocked Mikhail’s chains.
“We need to grab Rorik and get out of here.” She said. “I know that you probably don’t trust me, but right now, you guys are my best shot of leaving the AG for good.”
“Why the change of heart?” Mikhail asked, curious.
“Lets just say that I did some digging and found out some stuff about the AG that I probably shouldn’t have. Now lets go. We don’t have a lot of time.” She warned
“Okay, short version: Rorik’s parents are high-ranking AG members. His mother is here right now and we can’t risk facing her.” Kyra quickly explained.
“Shit. Lets go!”
The door to Rorik’s cell suddenly opened. The captain stepped into his cell and deposited his coat and hat.
“Get equipped, we need to go, NOW!” She said urgently. “Your pistols are still in your concealed holsters, we need to help Mikhail.”
Not one to question miracles, Rorik quickly obliged and followed the captain. Before long, alarms started blaring.
“I let loose every prisoner in the compound. That should give us enough cover to escape. Mikhail is waiting for us at the docks. The names Kyra, by the way.” she said
Rorik shook her hand “Well met, I’ll ask about your story when we aren’t escaping a prison complex.”
Kyra nodded as she lead him to a window. It was dark outside, and rain was pouring on the docks that the window overlooked. They were at least six stories high
“We need to jump” Kyra informed him
“ARE YOU CRAZY?!”
“Yes.” She said as she grabbed Rorik’s arm and pulled him out with her.
Surprisingly enough, falling from 6 stories high wasn’t that painful. It still hurt, but Rorik could still walk after the impact. Kyra seemed almost unaffected by the fall.
“I have a caravel anchored in dock 3.” Kyra said as they ran towards the ship “Mikhail is waiting for us there. Thankfully nobody saw-”
Rorik sensed the blast coming almost as soon as the spell was cast, he pushed Kyra aside and blocked the blast of wind with a magic barrier.
“Dammit, get Mikhail to lower the sails and raise the anchor. I’ll hold them off. GO!” Rorik shouted as he faced the figure approaching them.
Kyra jumped onto the boat and ordered Mikhail to set the sails. While he was fiddling with the many ropes that controlled the sails, Kyra began turning the crank that raised the anchor. It was a heavy mechanism, but she could manage.
Rorik drew his pistols. The figure emanated extraordinary magical power, he almost crumpled from the pressure that the figure’s aura exuded. He dodged a wind blast and countered with two shots. The figure drew a katana and sliced both bullets in two before vanishing.
Rorik blinked as the figure reappeared directly in front of him. His breath was knocked out of him as his opponent punched him in the gut. He only just got his cutlass up in time to block a slash. The reverberations from the parry shook his entire body. Rorik looked his attacker in the eye, hoping to shoot them in the leg whist they were distracted. But what he saw made him freeze.
“Wait you’re-” Rorik began
“Hello sweetie” His mother greeted, before kicking him in the chest hard enough to break most of his ribs.
“GAKH!” Rorik coughed as blood spewed from his mouth.
“Why did you betray the AG!? Do you have any idea how much we were worried about you!? Our own superiors wanted you dead because you killed the person that you were tasked with escorting! We had to convince them to not send a full on assault to Savaria! And you didn’t exactly help smooth things over by blowing up the tower in the second sea!” O’Leary berated. “So I’m going to ask you again: WHY!?”
Rorik coughed, his every breath was a struggle as his shattered ribs dug into his lungs. “AG… Corruption… Doom village. Ask Roran.” He said, trying to power through the pain.
Kyra finished raising the anchor. She looked up to see that Mikhail had the sails more or less set, but Rorik wasn’t onboard. Kyra looked on the dock to see him on his back and unable to get up.
“Mikhail! Cover me!” She shouted as she jumped onto the docks
O’Leary was forced to hide behind a wind barrier to escape Mikhail’s fierce onslaught of light blasts. Kyra picked up Rorik’s body and jumped back onto the ship.
After the onslaught ended. O’Leary’s wind barrier fizzled out as she reached out with her right hand and summoned an enormous wind magic circle with multiple other circles condensed onto it.
Seeing his mother about to cripple the ship with her ultimate art, Rorik drew a pistol. Time seemed to slow down to a crawl. The howling wind and pouring rain ceased to make any noise. Distractions faded from view. Rorik looked his mother in the eye, mouthed ‘I’m sorry.’, and pulled the trigger. The bullet tore straight through the entirety of O’Leary’s arm, cancelling the spell. Rorik closed his eyes as a single tear ran down his face amongst the rain.
Ship’s hold, five hours later
Rorik awoke with a start. He was lying down in a finely woven hammock. He could hear the creaking of the ship, the howling wind, and the rain pounding against the hull.
“Oh thank the gods. You’ve woken up!” Mikhail said, sitting on a chair against the wall.
Rorik winced as his chest throbbed with pain. “Where are we?” he asked
“You’re on my ship, The Shining Star.” Kyra said as she descended the stairs leading up above deck. “I found us a good place to dock for the night. This storm has been going on for 3 days straight… Fortunately it should help us hide from the AG for awhile.”
“What happened?” Rorik asked
“Your broken ribs had punctured your lungs. I had to give you emergency surgery… using a spear. We used about half a dozen deluxe healing potions to keep you alive” she said, gesturing to the empty bottles lining one wall.
“Thank you” Rorik said
“No problem, I had no intention of letting you die. Now… Since we’re currently high-up on the AG’s wanted list… Do you know anywhere that is relatively safe from their influence?” Kyra asked
“Aleala is probably a good candidate… Or Cerulea I guess, but they probably won’t like us there. The thing is… I don’t want to run. I want to fight the AG. I want the corruption and tyranny of the world to be purged from existence, and I’m willing to be the one to make it happen.” Rorik said
“We can’t fight the entirety of the AG by ourselves you fool!” Kyra said. “That’s liable to get us killed!”
Rorik pondered this for a moment. “But what if we didn’t have to do it by ourselves?” He asked “What if we started a new organization? One that was carefully regulated by it’s leaders? Free of tyranny and corruption. Ushering in a new golden age of prosperity for all who live in the seven seas!”
Mikhail piped up “But how? How are we supposed to get enough following to match the AG?”
Rorik grinned “Simple! Mainland! Hundreds of thousands of people live on mainland. Some groups have similar views that we do. It’s just a matter of convincing them to join, and once they do, we train them and ourselves up to our fullest capabilities! The AG won’t stand a chance!”
“…That could work, but what do we call this organization?” Kyra asked
Rorik thought about that for a few more moments… “The Crimson Circle” he finally said “A circle of wizards, fighters, and workers that wish for the peace and prosperity for all the seven seas.”
“…I like it” Mikhail said
“So it’s settled, today marks the birth of The Crimson Circle!” Rorik announced