“Spirit Run” – part 8

Halfway home on this story. I did a little bit of editing on this section, but not too much. I figure that if I keep chopping up what I started with, I’ll wind up with something that wasn’t the original vision. Hey, it can happen. The story itself has remained unchanged, but there are definitely still areas for improvement.

Enjoy.

“Yes,” said Armin. “I can feel the ground pulling me downward. It’s faint but yes… I can feel it.”
“So what of our friend?” asked Harda. Balphin and Armin flapped their wings, looking down upon the devastation.
“I am uncertain on that question,” said Balphin. “Armin? What do you say?”
“He’s in there somewhere,” said Armin. “Don’t forget that.”
“It’s hard to believe so,” said Balphin. “When you look at what’s left.”
“Yes,” said Harda. “It’s difficult to imagine how hard he has strayed.”
The Trio floated above the chaos, flapping their wings to stay adrift. The cloud swirled slowly but did not move.
“It reminds me of the stars,” said Armin. “Strange as that may sound. Every last one of them in perfect order.”
“I agree,” said Balphin. “An astute observation.”
“And the wall…,” said Harda. “It’s gone forever, isn’t it?”
“Yes,” said Armin. Balphin and Harda could feel Armin’s heart break with every word. “It’s impossible to rebuild the wall from here on out. Even the Dark will have access now.”
Harda and Balphin nodded in agreement. It was true – the Shadows had nothing to stand in their way. There were no barriers to keep them at bay. No immense shield to cover them; only a swirling mass of darkness was left in the wake of Newborn’s acceptance of the Dark. The Trio was discouraged, but they did not leave. Instead, they waited. They waited for the ball of light, the golden orb, or the Newborn to return. Hopeful that it would reappear – regardless of the form it took – sooner than later.
“It’s so quiet now…,” said Harda. Ever the compassionate one, Harda’s emotions were amplified in this new space.
“It will remain so until he returns,” said Balphin, reassuring the group.
“Yes. I suppose you’re right.”
The Angels circled, maintaining a healthy distance from the apocalyptic scene below. The plane below the Newborn, once perceivable to them all, was concealed by the thick veil of smoke. The Trio surveyed all other vantages points. Clouds of thick smog covered the landscape. If life had been here, there were no signs of it anymore. But Harda, with eyes wide and scanning the ground, caught glimpse of something among the haze.
“Did you see that just now?!” he said. “Did you see it?”
“Where?” asked Armin.
A tiny flicker of light burst in the center of the darkness.
“Right there! You must have seen that!”
“I see nothing!” answered Balphin, straining his eyes to see.
“It was there, I tell you!” cried Harda.
Light glowed dimly, pulsating at the epicenter.
“Yes!” exclaimed Armin. “I see it now!”
“As do I!” shouted Balphin.
“Quick!” cried Armin. “Let’s get down there. Help it!”
The Trio traveled down into the Darkness. The swell of fog was enormous; larger and denser than what the Angels had anticipated. The distance between the Angels and the flicker of light felt miles away – increasing in depth as they dived down. Pillars of smoke rose up as they flew towards their target. Each Angel made certain to dodge and avoid every encounter as best he could.
“Careful, lads,” said Armin. “Don’t let anything get a good hold of you now.”
A sharp stack of smog jutted up from below, barely missing one of Balphin’s wings. The Angel dodged the attack and rolled to his side. Harda, who was close by, pulled from his quiver and shot at the dark cloud. His arrow of light ripped through the smog, a line of light left in its wake.
“Much thanks,” shouted Balphin. Harda nodded back.
“Don’t forget,” said Harda. “You have that sword for a reason.”
Balphin did not forget. He pulled the sword from its sheath and cut the next line of clouds that stood in his path.
“Obliged again, brother,” said Balphin. Apart from Harda and Balphin, Armin was avoiding every whip of the Darkness. His shield defended him while his spear cut through the smoke with ease.
“Almost there, I’d say!” shouted Armin. He was further ahead than the others, staring down the tiny twinkle of light off in the distance.
“Don’t get distracted,” said Balphin, cutting another hefty chunk of fog away. “Just get there.” The dark cloud tensed up as if it were alive. Then it made one final charge, a wave of gray mist rising up on the plane, 100 times higher than the Angels.
“Well then,” said Armin. His eyes followed the wave to the top of its crest. “We must be really close.”
The blanket of Darkness held for but a moment; then started to crash down towards Armin and the others. A face, appeared at the base of the wave – flashing in and out as it rolled towards the Trio. It had no eyes, only a gaping mouth and dark centers where its eyes should have been. A voice shook the horizon as Armin braced himself.
“Very well,” said Armin, sizing up his attacker. He tightened his grip on his spear and raised his shield. “You clearly have forgotten who you’re dealing with here.”
“Ready when you are, brother,” said Harda, eagerly charging with Balphin towards Armin.
“Always.”
The Trio then separated; Balphin flying towards the base of the wave, Harda aimed at the middle, and Armin soaring above. Harda unleased a flurry of arrows upon the center of the Darkness. Bright light ripped through, doing more than poking holes – the arrows punctured the wave with craters that were big enough for a hundred Angels to pass through. At the base, Balphin took his sword and sliced across the bottom. A golden tear burned through, severing the wave in half. And Armin, flying higher than the wave itself, stared down at the cloud, which had diminished in size. The black curtain withered like a dying flower, crying out as if it were in pain. The face inside had shrunk, falling in on itself.
“Enough, beast!” shouted Armin. “We’re taking him back!”
Armin raised his spear and dove head on towards the face of darkness. With one forceful strike, he tore through the center, burning the dark curtain in half. A vicious cry echoed across the plane. And the Shadow retreated into the black below. The Darkness subdued, the Trio could see their orb again; it was resting quietly in the distance, blinking softly as though beckoning the protectors back to itself.

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