Rorik’s shop, 3 months after chapter 12
Rorik slammed his hammer against the iron as he formed a mental image of the weapon he wanted to make. He was forging a broadsword for himself, as his previous sword shattered a long time ago. The blade was coming along well, it was a double-edged straight blade that didn’t seem to have any warping.
“Coming!” Rorik shouted as he walked towards the door that lead to the the main area of the shop, “Moro, can you engrave the blade for me? Thanks.”
The small white flame shot out of Rorik’s chest and began branding the sword with the shop’s logo, as well as carving decorative runes across the flat of the blade…
“How can I help you?” Rorik asked as he walked out of the forging area and into the main shop.
A young looking AG recruit stood there, “Uh… I’d like a sword…”, he stammered.
“A sword? No problem, we have a bunch on display there. Pick any one you like.” Rorik smiled as the young lad looked at the various blades on display, “Were you looking for a light blade? Or something a bit heavier?”
“Um… Something light.” The boy decided.
“Do you prefer stabbing or slashing?” Rorik inquired while looking through the various swords.
“Slashing”, the recruit answered almost immediately.
“Okay… How about this scimitar? Only 5,000 lamina.” Rorik offered.
“I’ll take it!” The lad said with a smile as he gave Rorik a pouch full of silver coins.
“Thank you, come again sometime!” Rorik said as they left the shop.
Rorik let out a breath that he’d been holding. Things had been pretty quiet for these past few months, but he wouldn’t put it past the AG to show up at the worst possible time. The gang had abandoned their old safe house and bought three new ones. Rorik’s forge, Mikhail and Sasha’s little tailor/alchemy shop, and Kyra and Ivy’s tannery (Steven also stayed there).
Rorik hadn’t heard much from the others in the past month or so, but they were probably just busy. Wasn’t much to talk about anyways. They also stopped recruiting since that would only get them more unwanted attention.
Still… They had been lying low for a long time now. Maybe it was time they resurfaced…
Knock knock knock
Rorik awoke to someone slamming their fist against the door.
“God, what fucken time is it?” Rorik wondered aloud as he rolled out of bed, maybe he should’ve gotten that clock at the market after all…
Knock knock knock
“Alright!” Rorik shouted as he walked downstairs and opened the front door, “We’re closed on Saturdays you little shi- Oh god! What the hell happened to you?!”
Kyra stood there, bleeding from multiple deep wounds, “Ugh… I’ll explain… later. Help.”
“Shit, hold on. I have some potions.” Rorik said, “Come in, sit down on one of the chairs while I grab some supplies. Do not die.”
“I’m trying, believe me.” Kyra said through gritted teeth.
Rorik came back with an armload of potions. Kyra was -thankfully- still conscious, but only barely.
“What the hell happened?”, Rorik asked as he doused a cloth in healing solution and held it over the worst of the wounds.
“The AG found us. They sent your parents, both of them. I managed to hold them off while Ivy and Steven fled to Mikhail’s place.” Kyra explained, “I barely survived. Your parents are deadly when they work together.”
“Yeah, don’t I know it.” Rorik muttered, “I’ll treat your injuries and give you a place to rest. After that, I’m gonna go make sure that everyone made it to Mikhail’s place safely.”
“But they’re still out there! You can’t be seen wandering the streets!” Kyra said.
“Better me than you.” Rorik countered, “And I don’t want to find out that our friends were detained when it’s too late to save them. I’ll go there, and come back. Quick and easy, I promise.”
Rorik walked through the town in the early morning mist. The air was cold and tasted like the sea. He walked towards Mikhail’s safehouse. The safehouse was near the docks, meaning that the streets were fairly clear since nobody wanted to work at the docks in the early morning.
He passed a few boats along the way, one of which was his mother’s ship. The sight of it brought a pang of nostalgia from when he was but a boy. He would always look forward to when his mom came home from missions. He would wait with his father at the docks and look through a spyglass to see if they could spot her ship on the horizon…
But now wasn’t the time to get nostalgic. Rorik adjusted his mask, he took the guise of the scarlet oni once again in order to preserve his identity while he checked on his allies. As he got to the shop, however, he saw something that made his heart drop.
A team of AG marksmen had flintlocks pointed at the front door. Footsoldiers were lined up with their swords at the ready. These soldiers were being lead by Rorik’s parents, who were standing in front of the store.
“Come out with your hands up!” His mother shouted, “We don’t have to fight. You’ll get a reduced sentence if you surrender and answer our questions, we promise.”
“In order for us to help you, you need to help us!” his father pleaded, “Please, we can talk about this!”
Rorik sighed as he stepped forwards, “Enough!” he shouted.
One of the marksmen was startled and fired at Rorik, who drew his newly forged sword and cut the bullet in two.
“Getting jumpy, rookie?” Rorik chuckled, “Good, you’ll last longer.”
“I’m going to have to ask you to give up.” His father said, “We don’t want to fight. Please.”
“Funny, I was about to tell you the same thing… Tell me, why are you after us?”
“Well for one, you harmed our hiring agent unprovoked.” His mother said.
“Unprovoked, huh?” Rorik laughed out loud, “Goes to show how much your superiors tell you.”
“What do you mean?” Bryce asked.
“Unless you’re willing to hear my story and let us go, we’re going to have to fight.” Rorik pointed out, “It is inevitable, and there’s no point in delaying it. So either back off or fight.”
Lt. O’Leary stepped forward, “We cannot do that.”
“What a shame. Moro, just like we practiced.” Rorik said as the small white flame shot out of his chest and into the empty slot in the sword’s cross guard.
The runes engraved in the sword flared a bright white as Moro embedded itself and powered the sword. Rorik took a deep breath as he prepared himself.
Bryce dashed forwards and met him head-on. Rorik parried the slash and countered before swinging around and slashed at his mother, just as she was about to attack. He leaped back.
While this was going on, Mikhail began firing blasts of magic at the soldiers stationed out front. A few of them were knocked out by his onslaught, but the rest managed to duck behind cover.
“How far you must have fallen, to believe the lies of those about you.” Rorik spat as he parried another blow, “I used to be in the AG, you know, and what I saw in service made me loathe it.”
“Care to tell the story?”, Bryce said sarcastically as he failed to land another hit.
Rorik laughed as he blasted his parents back with a fiery explosion, “Believe it or not, you already have!”
Mikhail continued his firefight with the soldiers, “Sasha, grab the others and run to Rorik’s safehouse. Leave through the back door.”
“But, what about you?” She asked.
“I’ll follow as soon as I’m able.” Mikhail said as he ducked behind cover as a bullet hit the side of the store, “I love you.” he added with a whisper.
“What was that?”
“Run!” Mikhail shouted.
Bryce screamed in pain as he was hit by a bolt of lightning. He flew back as the lieutenant dashed forwards with her katanas. Rorik blocked one of the attacks, but one of the swords managed to cut him along the torso.
Rorik grunted in pain as he took the hit. He then kicked his mother before slicing her right back. He swung around and punched his father in the face as they tried to sneak up on him. The battle was a brutal one. Both sides could barely hurt the other.
“You people have evaded us for too long!” O’Leary shouted as she launched a flurry of blows at Rorik, “First you take our best captain, then you take our son, but no more! This is where you fall!”
Rorik caught the attacks on his barrier of light, “Your son came with us willingly, he hated the AG because he saw it for what it was. I’m sure he would love it if you would join us.”
“Never!” Bryce yelled as he scored a brutal slash against Rorik’s face.
The blade cut through the mask easily. It cut flesh even easier, the slash left a long line of blood and viscera.
“GAHHHHHHH!” Rorik screamed as he stumbled back, clutching the left side of his face. The mask lay of the ground, broken.
The duo caught their breath while their opponent reeled in pain, but when they saw who they faced. They recoiled in shock.
Rorik slowly removed his bloodied hand from his face. Blood streamed out of the open wound, Bryce’s sword cut deep. Leaving a long cut that ran the entire length of Rorik’s visage. Trailing all the way up…
Rorik’s left eye was gone.
“Y-you!” Bryce stammered
Rorik felt a deep sense of calm. He felt more in touch with his surroundings than he ever had before. More in touch with the world itself. More in touch with his magic.
“Is this… What it’s like to die?” He asked himself with a chuckle, “Or maybe… This is something else…?”
“Rorik, we can fix this. Please, just come with us!” His mother pleaded desperately.
“I can’t do that.” Rorik said, “And more importantly…”
Rorik’s energy suddenly spiked. His very being was suffused with power. He felt new meridian channels being carved into his system as he finally ascended to true power. His body burst into flames, his eyes glowed with magical light, and lightning arced all around his body like an aura. Moro started flaring blindingly bright as it reflected Rorik’s surge in power.
“I CANNOT DIE HERE!” He shouted as he summoned a new magic circle. The circle depicted clouds with thunder and rain streaming out of them. This wasn’t lightning magic.
This, was storm.
Electricity arced out from Rorik’s outstretched hands, He finally let go. All of the frustration, all of the hatred, all of the rage. The storm struck his parents and all of their soldiers. The power was overwhelming, euphoric, even. He got a rush of adrenaline as he poured his power into the attack. He felt like he could take on anyone in the whole world!
Then, it stopped.
Rorik stood there, panting. His parents lay there on the ground, unmoving but alive. Rorik could sense the damage he dealt to their meridians… They’ll still live, but they’ll never fight again. Their troops were in better condition.
Rorik stumbled against a wall. Blood painted the ground a deep crimson, the electricity had burned the colour into the pavement. It was strangely beautiful…
Rorik slowly began to lose consciousness, just as Mikhail started to rush towards him.
“Sorry, Kyra.” He muttered as he blacked out.