Beast of Xeriel

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Chapter Eighteen

Gala sat with her eyes fixed on her monitor. No signs of the impeding invasion. Her legs crossed, resting on the seat next to her. A beautiful young woman and an expert shot with any blaster of choice.

She never cared for being the daughter of the most feared Councilman. She spent much of her time trying to be a normal girl. When time called for war, against her father’s wishes she fought in the vanguard. It was her zeal for battle and piloting that led her on a collision course with her now crew.

She loved being around them, it was the only place she felt needed and wanted. Magnus only cared to prop her in front of the public and show how great of a soldier she was. Even though her father much rather her use her tactical mind away from the frontlines.

Gala lived for the feeling of squeezing her trigger, until she met her new family. Now, she loved the missions where she could galivant amongst the stars, the cockpit to her liking, all the ladies and Jesh allowing her free will to pilot.

“They’re refusing to leave the city.” Da-Xia informed her. Her voice relaying the message through their group link. “Well, that’s unfortunate. What did Kyah say?” Gala asked, relaxing in her seat. “She challenged the entire Sentry to a fight for control.” Yaffa responded.

“Did she win?” Gala asked, wishing she were there to witness the bout. “We didn’t let her fight them. We need their help.” Da-Xia interjected, much to Gala’s disappointment. Kyah was never the first option for negotiations, unless with a blade. In combat, she was an unmatched orator.

“So, what’s the alternative?” Gala inquired. “Kyah is trying to reach Jesh, to have him rendezvous with us here. We managed to secure the citizens in the Protector, and 19 convinced the Sentry to aid us in protecting the city.” Da-Xia updated her.

Gala shook her head disapproving of the new plan. “You guys realize that city is made up primarily of stone, right?” She asked rhetorically. “I’ve ran a couple scans and what improvements Fei did make are generally to the Protector. Not the wall or homes.” Gala informed the group as she typed and swiped on her screen.

“Sooooo. That means, fighting a massive army on multiple fronts will leave us…” Zeeba began. “Exposed.” Da-Xia added finishing her sentence. “We also don’t have Jesh to help Kyah provide some sort of shield from air strikes.” Yaffa added.

“Gala, Kyah wants you to remain airborne to keep some of the fire off us. We just need enough time for Jesh to return, then we can escape.” Da-Xia informed her. Gala sighed. She loved to participate in the fight. But she understood her role was more important to remain aerial. “Ugh! I really despise being the best pilot sometimes. How long till Jesh gets here?” Gala asked.

“Not sure, Kyah is having trouble reaching Jesh. It’s like his link was severed for a moment.” Da-Xia said. The Verge alerted Gala of the new presences. The radar lighting up with a battalion of Pratham ships coming out of lightspeed travel. “We have bombers!” Gala warned identifying the bulky shape of the city clearing ships with her naked eye.

She sprang into an upright position, ready to fly. “I can handle these. The second wave will not be far behind. Take action.” Gala called out to her crewmates. She forced the boosters switch forward and headed right for the incoming bombers. Immediately blasting two ships just out of light speed travel.

Gala maneuvered easily through the group, erasing the bombers with great precision; smiling the entire time. “Yeah!!!!!!” She cheered. Bombers travel slow and monotonous, but they possessed enough power to level the entire city with one blast. This sacrificed their defensive capabilities. Against Gala, they were sitting ducks. She eliminated one after another before the second wave arrived. “Hunters! I’m going to let them through and focus on the bombers.” Gala informed the group.

“Leave the ozone to us.” Zeeba chimed in. Gala activated her yellow armor, her normal green visor extending to protect her face from the cold of space. She made her way to the center of the ship. “Autopilot! Target bomber fleet!” She ordered.

Gala extended both arms allowing two small blasters to appear in her hands. The ships ceiling retracted. A small portion of the floor propelled her above the opening before closing beneath her feet. Atop the ship, protected from the relentless cold of space, Gala took aim.

Her armor magnetically attracted to the top of the Verge, preventing her from losing her footing. Deadly accurate she shot. The red sliver of light seemingly passed through one of the bombers. As if the shot was transparent. After a second, the ship exploded, and Gala continued to waste the bombers on two fronts.

The Verge soaring through space still taking out the bombers and her using her arsenal. Gala was an expert marksman, even while on top of a speeding vessel, her accuracy was not forfeited. She noticed a hunter headed toward her. “Give me cover!” She demanded.

A protective L shaped block rose from the ships surface. She waved her two smaller blasters away, before bringing her arms together. As she separated them a large laser cannon occupied her hands. Resting its hefty front on the lower half of the block, she took aim.

“Ladies, I have a gift.” She said. Gala shot a blast resembling a black orb of energy surrounded by white electricity. It hit the incoming ship, halting it in its tracks. “Release.” She commanded to the Verge. Dropping the cannon, she hurdled the block and ran for the edge of the ship.

Her momentum carried her to the disabled hunter. She crashed into the windshield, rolling on top. She scraped and clawed for the ship, trying to slow herself down. Approaching the edge, she managed to grab hold of one of the rear latches.

The rear of the ship opened to reveal the ships pilot. Gala drop down inside. Blaster bolts followed immediately. Gala rolled and dodged covering the space between them. She reached striking distance and the two engaged in a tussle. Her opponent much larger and wider than Gala.

The pilot effortlessly picking her up and slamming her into the side of the ship. Gala frantically tried to break free of the pilot’s grip. Yet another forceful slam followed, this time onto the ships floor. The pilot cocking back their arm to strike.

Gala dodging their large fist, as it created a small dent in the ships base. Instinctively, she latched onto the arm, wrapped her legs around their head and began to squeeze. The pilot’s free hand landed a solid punch to the side of her helmet. The thump nearly stunning her.

The pilot used their free hand to yank her from the ground and into the air. While airborne, Gala anticipated their next move. She released her leg lock, splitting her legs mid-air, as her adversary attempted to slam her down yet again.

She pulled on the back of the head, smashing their face into the canvas between her legs. Her armor protecting her from the force on her rear end, yet still knocking the wind out of her. Gala rolled over sluggishly, trying to catch her breath.

She looked over at her unconscious enemy. She barreled over to the nearest wall, to help prop herself to her feet. Retrieving a blaster from her armor, she shot ten times. “We could have just talked about it.” She said panting, rolling her eyes and laughing to herself.

Gala stumbled into the cockpit of the commandeered hunter. She flipped switches, redirected power and ultimately could override the ships disability. She preceded to take out a couple more bombers nearing the planet before beginning her descent to the surface.

She shot a few flares into the air as she approached the city. “That’s me! The rear is open you two.” Gala said. The twins Yaffa and Zeeba were perched on the side of the Protector; each with one blade punctured into the exterior for leverage. Gala pulled around, allowing the two to board. “You have to take the next one.” Gala said jokingly.

The three, headed back up into space. Eliminating some of the hunters close to the planet’s surface for good measure. Gala flew in close to another hunter, Zeeba held her arm out, before launching a dagger into the parallel ship and swiftly tight roping across the line attached.

Using her dagger, she carved a small entrance for herself. Once inside, the pilot attacked. Zeeba dodged multiple strikes, while landing a few of her own, merely toying with her opponent.

After a couple more blocks and dodges, she plunged her two green daggers into her foes heart, violently ushering them into the side of the ship with a swift kick. After making quick work of her opponent, she took control of the hunter ship. “I’m in control.” Zeeba informed her crewmates.

Yaffa escorted Gala back to the Verge, before continuing to thin the herd in the newly acquired hunter ship. The bombers were nearly gone before a large Pratham ship appeared. A long tunnel shape, with ample space for transporting an immense number of troops. The war ships signaling the all-out assault.

“The landing party has arrived.” Gala informed the group. While, Gala, Yaffa and Zeeba brilliantly danced through space and the planet skies, Da-Xia prepared on the surface. Half the Sentry bordering the inside of the city walls with Kyah, while the other half awaited outside with Da-Xia.

The large cruiser glided past the dwindling bombers, heading straight for the surface. The couple of shots Gala managed to land via the Verge did nothing against the massive cruiser’s shields, it would land without hinderance.

Destroying the last bomber, Gala entered the atmosphere to help rid the hunters. Meanwhile, the cruiser landed just outside the city wall. The multitude of Pratham soldiers poured out onto the battlefield. The soldiers charged. Da-Xia activated her yellow armor and brandished her guan dao.

As the soldiers rushed, she focused. The ground shook. Before they could react, Da-Xia manipulated the ground to form a deep trench. Most of the front-line infantry fell into the deep crevice, while the Sentry members jumped down after them to serve the final blow.

Raising her hand, Da-Xia created a small cliff to rise. She ascended it and propelled herself into the crowd of unexpecting soldiers. Striking blow after blow she mowed down 10’s of soldiers with each swing.

The Sentry pulled themselves out of the fissure and rejoined the fight, remaining close together. Should one become overwhelmed, they could easily rally and regroup against the superior army. They were slightly outmatched by the veterans of many wars.

Still the Sentry persevered, dispatching their fair share of troops. From the Pratham cruiser, Tumakako observed. Under heavy guard helmed by the revered Colonel. A young man with a reputation of brutal violence through his use of poisonous blades. He stood just over six feet tall.

A slender frame, with his famous forest green greasy hair that lined his pale skin. His hair a byproduct of his power’s manifestation. Lethal poison with just a swipe of his skin. Tumakako waited for the ship to nearly empty, hundreds of soldiers funneled out to attack the city.

Colonel List Rainer looked into her eyes, accompanied by his personal bodyguards. The accolades the trio had accomplished on behalf of the A-Kialle were quite impressive comparatively to the crew. His bodyguards, Joel and Pike, or Echo and Beam respectively.

The former a short-balled man with rugged looks, long beard and a shout that could shatter a small moon. The latter a tall skinny woman with caramel skin, luminescent blond hair and island-like features. Her light projections could take physical form and brighten the deepest places.

Known amongst his peers as simply the Viper, Colonel Rainer motioned for his guardians to usher Tumakako forward. Colonel Rainer and his personal guard’s wore black armor, but sleeker and lighter than the traditional Pratham army set.

They always kept their faces exposed, as they enjoyed the attention they received during a fight. Most of their missions required stealth rather than an all-out battle. The defining trait that often-stirred fear from onlookers were their custom serpent emblem on his left chest.

“I’ve been given strict orders from the Councilman himself, not to allow you to rendezvous with your friends.” The Colonel said, his voice both soft and raspy. He spoke with a command of his words that few in the army outside of the Council possessed. Overseeing the battle, he smiled.

“But what fun would that be for us? The glory of defeating you would only serve our prodigious legacy.” He continued to have his back facing her. Tumakako, stood between the two guards, hands bound in shackles. Only her tattered mesh clothing covering her body.

“I say, let’s have some fun.” He exclaimed, while the two agreed. Colonel Rainer finally faced Tumakako. “I took the liberty of stealing your shards from the secured vault before our departure.” He nodded to Pike, to which she held out Tumakako’s shards. “Away to your people General.” He encouraged in a low tone.

Quickly Pike clenched her hand as Tumakako reached for her armor and weapons. The Colonel apprehended her shoulder and withdrew his silver long spear, the tip green as it is always lubricated with his venom. He forced his blade into her stomach, leaking the poison into her blood stream.

Tumakako met his eyes grimacing in pain. “Hurry General, my bite treks expeditiously.” He hissed in her ear. Colonel Rainer removed his blade from her body, stepping aside to allow her escape. Tumakako wrestled her shards out of Pike’s hand and ran onto the battlefield. “Is our escape pod ready?” Colonel Rainer asked.

“Yes sir. Just give the order.” Colonel Rainer nodded. He marveled for a moment at the crew’s prowess, spotting, Da-Xia and Kyah fighting off the horde of enemy soldiers. “At first sign of Jesh, we retreat. Until then.” He said twirling his spear. “How about a dose of poison?” The trio exited the carrier aiming for the crew.

The soldier’s overwhelming numbers began breaking through Da-Xia’s initial stand. “They’re going to make it to the wall!” Da-Xia alerted the crew. The Pratham warship fired at the wall. A gaudy boom blasted a gaping hole, providing passage to the interior of the city.

Kyah fully armored, shield at the ready, opened her hand to retrieve a mace. She threw it at the attackers, wiping out several. Kyah ran a couple feet before using her powers to propel herself into the air. As she reached and incredible height, she plummeted down into the sea of soldiers, her landing creating a concussive blast.

10’s of soldiers was sent flying. Kyah grabbed her mace from the chest of the last soldier it speared and began viciously dismantling the massive assembly in front of her. The Sentry, led by 19 and 3 stood guard at the door of the Protector, preventing any stragglers from getting passed them.

Tumakako’s body burned beneath her armor, as if acid were continuously being poured onto her bones. She drew her scimitar, cutting down countless unsuspecting soldiers on her way to the city wall. Before long the Pratham soldier took notice of her unique armor and began to surround her. One by one they fell to her blade.

A couple blaster shots managed to land, but it was minor compared to the burning she suffered from the inside. Tumakako desperately called out to Dara via their link but there was no answer. Her body even mortally wounded was more than enough to last a while longer. But the pain inside was breaching.

“Hey! I think that warrior 19 spoke about is here. She’s wearing some amazing armor.” Da-Xia confirmed. As the soldier’s circle drew closer, Da-Xia prepared for their confrontation. “They have her surrounded. Do I mount a rescue?” Da-Xia asked, hoping for a yes.

“You’re free to engage.” Kyah answered. Da-Xia smiled. Just as Tumakako decapitated another soldier, she was vaulted from out of the sea of enemies by a large chunk of land. Da-Xia propelled her right next to herself and Kyah. Caught by surprised some of the soldiers retreated toward their war ship.

“We’re the crew of the ship Verge.” Da-Xia relayed to Tumakako. “I’ve been poisoned by a man and his guards.” Tumakako managed to grunt out. Cheers and chants of the troops herald the calm approach of their rivals. Through a fashioned lane the deadly trio advanced.

“Magnus has sent the Viper and his goons to attack us. He must really want us dead.” Da-Xia informed the team. “What! I’m coming down.” Zeeba exclaimed. “No, we need you air borne. We’ll be overrun without your assistance above.” Kyah ordered.

Yaffa and Zeeba prevented any meaningful rounds toward the skirmish from the hunter ships. While Gala cleared many soldiers toward the rear formation. Suddenly, the ship alerted Gala.

“Six more cruisers just dropped out of lightspeed! We need Jesh! I’ll try and slow them down!” Gala shouted to the others making her way back into space. Da-Xia’s assault had slowed down tremendously as she tired. Only 19 and 3 remained from the Sentry, one by one the other Sentry members were killed by the incoming blaster fire or attacked from behind as their numbers dwindled.

Kyah, Da-Xia and Tumakako waited for the coming attack. The Viper quickly rushed after Tumakako, jump thrusting his spear directly at her face. Da-Xia’s quick thinking saving her life, as she boosted a large rock to be smashed instead of the target.

A white arrow whipped into Da-Xia’s shoulder, only slightly penetrating her armor before disappearing. Beam continued to shoot arrow after arrow of white light from her bejeweled bow. Da-Xia took evasive action, while deflecting attacks with her guan dao and powers.

Echo pushed forward after Kyah. Swinging his one-handed axe, he cleaved with every intent to end the fight early. Kyah blocked and parried with her shield and mace, although weary from fighting the Pratham soldiers.

The Viper pressed his attack, stabbing strikes with his long spear at Tumakako. Occasionally twirling his weapon to showboat. Tumakako, felt weaker with every second. Slowly succumbing to the Viper’s venom. Every motion felt like it was her last.

Still, she fought on, however pathetic, she persisted. Colonel Rainer chuckled sinisterly as he engaged his military predecessor. Da-Xia tried her best to reduce the separation between her and Pike, but these were no ordinary troops or soldiers.

Beam’s archery was even more precise than a shot from a blaster. Even Gala would’ve complimented her aim, had the group not been their rivals. This was their golden opportunity to finally show themselves superior to the Verge. Each arrow of light Beam shot was a reminder of that fact.

Da-Xia moved in close swinging at her target for the first time, only for a back handspring to allow Beam to escape. An arrow pierced Da-Xia’s side as Beam re-established distance.

Kyah was surprised how much Echo’s combat skills had improved since she had last witnessed him fight. Or maybe he had always possessed such valor in battle, her hubris not allowing her to see. She couldn’t tell by the way he swung his axe with such conviction.

Fortunately, he finally made a mistake. Parrying his axe wielding hand upward Kyah brought her mace inside his body for the counterattack. Echo opened his mouth, to release a deafening shout.

The sound powerful and forceful. Blocking the strike and throwing Kyah back several yards. Her ears rang, a piercing bell in her head. Echo was upon her again as she was coming to all fours. Feeling his approaching swing, Kyah thrusted a concussive blast into the ground, uncharacteristically pushing her into her opponent. The recoil knocked her into Echo, causing the two combatants to tumble over.

Echo got back to his feet quickly and let out a loud shout. Kyah created a concussive barrier around herself. The sound making visual waves against her defensive orb. The two hoping the other would break.

This more contained shout was too risky to abandon her block for even a moment. The sound would be capable to remove the flesh from her body or at least shatter her internal organs beneath her armor.

One of the hunters landed a hit on Yaffa’s ship. She course corrected and aimed for the cruiser on the surface, ejecting while the hunter crashed into it.

Seeing what had transpired, Zeeba blasted the culprit out of the sky and headed directly for Yaffa as she began to freefall post ejection. Leveling out, Yaffa latched onto her sister’s ship and Zeeba guided them to the surface. The twins wasted no time flanking the soldiers. Their daggers flying around at a blinding speed.

Tumakako twisted and turned fighting for her life. Multiple swipes on her armor sizzled from the venomous blade. She fought harder, as she drew near to blacking out. Colonel Rainer circled her, appearing as if he had not been trying.

Tumakako had no strength to mount an offensive, a reality her opponent knew. Finally, the Viper attacked again. His spear describing how he earned the name and title. Tumakako, felt the parry of the bunt of his spear expose her, the calm before certainty set in.

A blinding twirl brought Colonel Rainer inside her defense, him clutching the neck of his spear as his blade penetrated her chest. Tumakako froze, her arms in the air, the young man nose to nose with her. For a moment, there was no more pain.

The venom and wound began to fight for dominance in her body. Tumakako dropped her blade. Colonel Rainer kicked it away to prevent a surprise attack. He smiled, moving his hair out of his face, proud from his fatal move.

“You certainly didn’t disappoint general. It was an honor.” He said, twirling his spear. He lowered into a stance, his spear head resting on his forearm as he held the rear. The Viper prepared to land one final unnecessary blow. He paused, as the shout of Echo had ceased.

“Ah, that would be my cue to take my bow.” He said giving a graceful curtsy. He retrieved her scimitar for his trophy. “A pleasure general.” Colonel Rainer bellowed as he accompanied his guards in their retreat. Kyah kneeled panting, as Echo abandoned their duel, Da-Xia rushing over to her side as her combatant did the same.

The sky began to darken, clouds forming to blot out Tetcht’s sun. The battlefield covered in darkness. The Tetcht Traveler noisily soared toward them. A small figure blazing the trail. A bright orange fiery aura covering the small body.

Dara flew toward the battle. Gusting winds blew ferociously toward the Pratham soldiers, preventing them from having any line of sight. Funnel clouds formed above her. Da-Xia, Kyah and the twins retreated behind the wall, taking out confused stragglers as they ran.

A cruel tornado cleared the soldiers around Tumakako, lightening striking those attempting to run away, hail large enough to render one unconscious fell on soldiers trying to find cover from the open field.

The Colonel and his guards reached their escape pod and lifted off, slipping away amongst the chaos. Dara’s eyes flickering with electricity. She created a small orb of orange fire and cast it down on the remaining ground troops; wiping them out.

On the other side of the city, Jesh had landed the ship and extended the ladder for entry. He flew over the wall so 19 and 3 could see him. “Get your clan in the Traveler!” He ordered.

The escape pod was small and usually housed 1 individual, two at the max. Still, the three famed warriors crammed inside, as they plotted their course of retreat. “Contact Councilman Magnus.” Colonel Rainer ordered. A couple moments later, a small red image of Magnus appeared before the small group.

“The general is defeated. But the battle ultimately lost.” Colonel Rainer reported. Magnus scoffed at their results. “Perhaps you’re not as effective as I once believed.” Magnus insulted the team.

“If more conducive to you, I could acquiesce to your more primal plan.” Colonel Rainer retorted. “Careful Colonel. It would be only a bat of an eye for you to be removed. Permanently.” Magnus warned.

“My apologies Councilman.” The Colonel responded with a bowed head. “Rendezvous here. I have another mission more suitable for your lack of expertise.” Magnus ordered before the conversation was forcibly disconnected. Colonel Rainer sat back, annoyed with the insults he and his team endured.

“Plotting our return.” Beam said. “Wait.” Colonel Rainer grabbed her hand, before she could jump to lightspeed. “I’m tired of carrying out his orders.” He said looking back and forth between his two guards.

“We deserve better. We are better.” The three shared a look. Each knowing what the other was thinking. “Set a course for Gundarri. Sergeant Utte is there with his army and Councilman Zio. It’s time we make this war interesting.” He whispered to the other two. Pike entered the coordinates before the three entered hyperspace.

As the dust and debris settled, Da-Xia and Kyah could see Dara landing from out of the sky. Extinguishing her orange form, Dara ran over to her mentor. “Tuma! Tuma!” Dara screamed. She attempted to prop her up much to the agony of Tumakako.

The toxins altering her skin. Dara abandoned the plan. “What do I do? Tell me how to help.” Dara pleaded. Tears dripping from Tumakako’s face onto the blood-soaked battlefield. Dara fell to her knees and gently scooped Tumakako’s head, resting it there. Dara’s own tears saturating Tumakako’s white hair as she caressed her head.

“Tell me how to help. Please. I can do it. Just tell me what to do.” She cried. Tumakako grimaced as reality was slowly slipping away. “I know. I know. I know you’re my mother.” Dara proclaimed, hoping the revelation would provide some divine intervention. She looked up into Dara’s eyes, her words provided Tumakako her final peace. “Don’t run…. Don’t run anymore.” Tumakako managed to whisper to her daughter.

Her last breath barely escaping her mouth. “Tuma……. Tuma! Don’t go! Tuma please, I don’t want you to leave!” Dara screamed. Jesh descended next to her. “Dara take her to the ship.” He said firmly. “Tuma!” Dara repeated shaking her lifeless body.

“Dara, we don’t have time! Take her to the ship now!” He yelled. Dara hooked Tumakako’s arms from behind and lifted her into the air before flying toward the ship. “Da-Xia” Jesh said through their link. “I got you.” Da-Xia assured him.

Jesh closed his eyes momentarily. When they opened a green aura surrounded his body. The ground quaking as if all the planets plates were moving simultaneously, rubble falling from the city wall, bodies burning and armor melting around him. “The cruisers are too close; this is going to hurt.” Kyah said finally catching her breath from her duel.

The last of the citizens and crew entered the traveler, sealing the door behind them. Kyah stood next to Da-Xia on the outside of the city wall, Kyah created a small clear concussive barrier around them.

Jesh flew toward the six incoming cruisers. The effect his power had on the planet’s surface was monumental. He stopped only a few hundred feet from the massive ships. Blaster fire rained toward him. Most of it missing and hitting the ground below.

Jesh’s aura swarmed, his power swelled, the blaster bolts that would have landed true, denigrated right before touching him. Two of the cruisers attempted to turn around and flee, but it was too late. Jesh spread his arms.

“Arrrrrgh!” He bellowed as he pushed his hands forward, releasing his energy. The force disintegrated all six cruisers. The energy wave it created streaming toward Gala and the Verge. She took evasive action, but she wouldn’t be able to outrun the energy trail.

“Go to lightspeed!” Gala yelled. The energy nearly upon her, rattling the Verge. The green light becoming blinding as it drew near. Gala and the Verge zipped away just before it was consumed by the energy.

The recoil leveled Tetcht’s surface with great force. The traveler tumbled over. The barrier Kyah held immediately crushed and knocked her unconscious. Da-Xia narrowly avoiding the fate of Kyah, but still delirious.

Shaking off the confusion, she spotted Jesh’s body falling from the sky. Trying her best to focus she ran for him. Fearing she wasn’t going to catch him in time she controlled the ground. Da-Xia road the land into the sky, she pushed her powers to the limit.

Jumping for him, she caught Jesh. Forming a wall to stop their forward momentum and a crescent of land to roll them down to the level ground. The two rolled, with the motion separating them as they reached the surface. Jesh laid unconscious, Da-Xia slowly drifting after him.

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