Origins, Episode 10: The Final Countdown

Narrator:                                 Everyone except Dean was suited up in the agency office, and we were going over strategies. It had been 2 hours since the evac order to head to neighboring towns for the next 12 hours were issued. Buses and the commuter trains were taking people to the nearby locations of Framingham and Salem. The entire subway system was closed. There was not just one train car loaded with bombs on a timer beneath the city. There were 12, placed at even intervals along the line. And upon further analysis, if detonated, it would be enough to level the entire town, not just one part of the city. Structurally speaking, a network of subways underground is very likely to collapse in on itself if there is a big enough explosion. One on its own might now, but all 12 would kill anybody left in the city. At this current moment, almost all of the city was evacuated, but as with any evacuation, there are some holdouts, as well as people who didn’t get the memo or didn’t trust the authorities, etc. We’d have to deal with that and keep them safe as well.

Keiran:                                    Remind me again why we can’t just shut them off?

Johanna:                                 I can’t do that. They are on a timer, but they have a failsafe. If I digitally tamper with them in any way from afar, they will blow hours earlier than they are scheduled.

Jeremy:                                   So we need to get them to move from where they currently are to a centralized location before being neutralized?

Jordan:                                    Yes, If the bomb squad could get to them all at once, that would help.

Johanna:                                 Move them... Oh, WAIT, ah, that’s something I can do. I think If I move them all to the end of the line, there will be enough docking ports. These are 2 segmented heavy rail trains, which means we will need 2 open lanes. I’ll have to move them slowly to prevent them from jostling in any way. So it will probably take about an hour for them to get up there once I give the command.

Narrator                                  Jo’s eyes glowed white, as she communicated with the train systems.

Jordan:                                    Perfect. Keiran, I want you, Marilyn and Dean to work on doing a sweep of the city. Use the heat vision feature, and just go up and down the main stretches. Report back to us if you see anyone.

Narrator                                  Keiran slid his helmet on, and dashed outside followed by Marilyn, texting Dean the plan. We’d all taken the motorcycles favored by my parents generation of heroes, and they were waiting in the back alleyway. Dean had told me the national guard was nearby, but that he’d notified them to be on the lookout for the Guardians, who were on their side. The mayor undoubtedly by now had to know that we were onto him. I stopped Marilyn before she left.

Jordan:                                    Marilyn, how is it going with tracking the Mayor?

Marilyn                                   His last call was made in Rev Heights about 45 minutes ago to an unknown line. He’s had a lot of communication with that line recently.

Jordan:                                    I’ll bet you anything that’s Cassandra Payne.

Narrator                                  I looked to Scarlett, who looked as though she was trying to hide very raw nerves. She was attaching various pouches to the inside of her suit. She was loading them with strange items, like folded yellow paper birds and red stars, confetti, and small pieces of paper with various runic symbols and Chinese characters on them. I asked her,

Jordan:                                    Do you think you can take her if we run into her? She is the most powerful enchantress in the country according to my dad.

Scarlett:                                  Well, he hadn’t exactly met me, had he?

Narrator                                  She tried to half smile, but it barely registered.

Scarlett:                                  I will do what I can, I’m prepared, I think... just... Keep an eye on me if it comes to that, because things might get weird.

Narrator                                  I raised an eyebrow, but I nodded with her request.

Johanna:                                 Jordan?

Jordan:                                    Yeah?

Narrator                                  I put my arm on her shoulder.

Johanna:                                 The train finishes about in the front yard of the RW Estate.

Jordan:                                    What.. How is that even possible?

Narrator                                  Jo projected the Map on the screen next to her. I could see little red lights sliding along the train path slowly. I saw that the trains really were going to wind up near the Estate. There must have been a train station there all those years ago, which would make sense, given my family’s social programs during the Great depression when these tunnels has been constructed. I really, REALLY hoped we could stop them from detonation, but if we couldn’t these might come in handy. As I was thinking that, the office phone rang. I raised an eyebrow at the phone, but I picked it up.

Edward:                                  Young Mister Wade, I presume.

Narrator                                  My blood ran cold. It was exactly the man I knew would be calling right about now. Ugh.

Jordan:                                    [grrrr] Mister Fields, how nice of you to call.

Edward:                                  Indeed indeed. What a nice day we are having aren’t we.

Jordan:                                    The weather was good, but the city is kind of quiet right now, or haven’t you noticed?

Edward:                                  Ah, but not all quiet, is it? Still some stragglers here and there. Stragglers who will wish they hadn’t stayed behind. The City is about to get VERY loud.

Jordan:                                    [groan]Okay, this banter has been fun, but cut the crap. What do you want?

Edward:                                  I suspect you already know the answer to that.

Jordan:                                    What I know is that we’re about to ruin your entire plan, and you’re going to be real pissed by the end of the night. So how about you refresh my memory on what YOU think is going to happen?

Edward:                                  Well, I want you to meet with me, of course. [chuckles] I need you to come to me for this next part.

Jordan:                                    ...Go on.

Edward:                                  I’m waiting for you in a place that is significant to both of us. By now, you’ve solved my riddle and you know who I truly am. And you know who my sons are, don’t you?

Jordan:                                    I sure do. I also know I kicked one of your ‘son’s’ asses the other day and that the other one wants you dead almost as much as I do. But you should get to the part where you tell me why it matters?

Edward:                                  It matters because by the end of the night, they will be the ones running this city truly. And you will give this power to them willingly, or you will watch everything you love go up in flames and die.

Jordan:                                    That’s a lot of big talk from an old man. What if I don’t come?

Edward:                                  You will come, because I have 3 creatures here before me who will suffer if you don’t. For every minute past the 8pm that you aren’t here, one of them will lose a finger. And after all the digits are gone, the city will be leveled.

Narrator                                  I was struggling to think of who he could have. All my friends and family were in this room with me, indeed everyone I cared about was either here or on their way to salvation.

Jordan:                                    [growl] Who do you have?

Narrator                                  There was a pause and then I heard a voice. My heart stopped pumping.

Tim:                                         J-jordan… Jordan, help… he’s got Casey and Ren too. We’re here.

Narrator                                  It was Tim. Bloody fucking christ, it was Tim. And little Casey and Ren. Fuck, I couldn’t speak. My mouth felt dry. I heard the little boy crying and Ren’s deep breathing in the background, and Tim trying to reassure them, but hearing his voice shake. I could picture them, huddled up while this creature from the depths of Hell terrorized them. I wanted to vomit. I was sweating.

Edward:                                  You have 30 minutes, Jordan. 30 minutes before I start dropping fingers and then bodies. You know where to find me. Let’s end this.

Narrator                                  The line went dead. I dropped the phone, very aware of how much I was shaking. Jo was looking at me.

Johanna:                                 Jordan…. Who does he have?

Narrator                                  I took a deep rattling breath before replying.

Jordan:                                    He’s… He’s got 3 people I tried to save today. 3 people who I’ve put in danger… Johanna, I…

Narrator                                  I felt the tear roll down my face. I shook my head, trying to shake the tears from my face. He’d done it, he’d rattled me… goddammnit. I took one more deep breath, and looked to Jeremy, who had his eyebrow raised.

Jordan:                                    Jer, there is something I have to tell you. I’ve… Just this past day in finding you exist and getting to know you, you’ve changed my life. I am proud to call you my brother. I’m saying this… because there is a chance that you will hate me by the end of the night, or that I will be dead. Or that we may both be dead.

Jeremy:                                   No… frere, come on, we will pull through this  and you will always be my brother.

Jordan:                                    I need you to know this now also, because there is a really big chance, if the Mayor doesn’t surrender, that I am going to kill him.

Narrator                                  Jer looked up at me sharply.

Jeremy:                                   Be my guest. [chuckle] Also, look at you, coming around to the idea that some people are better off dead.

Jordan:                                    If I could do this without killing him, I would, because I would rather him brought to justice. But it’s either him or the city, and I will never let this city die.

Narrator                                  Jer nodded and grabbed a special black kunai with blue wrapping he’d found in the armory of the Bunker that expanded into a full tang serrated-edged sword when you pressed a feather shape symbol on the knife button. I’d found one in red and had named it Red Feather, and had that sitting next to Talon on my belt.

Jordan:                                    Let’s go bag us a big one, brother.

Johanna:                                 Yes. [real angry] Lets.

Narrator                                  I noticed her fingers were sparking a little bit, and I stored that in my memory. We walked out to the back alley, with Jer climbing onto a black motorcycle with blue detailing. I chose the black one with red details. Johanna climbed onto the back of mine, and Scarlett got on with Jeremy.

Scarlett:                                  Where is this bastard?

Jordan:                                    He’s at the Estate.

Narrator                                  I revved the engine.

Jordan:                                    Alright, Guardians. Let’s ride.

Narrator                                  The bikes roared to life as we tore out of the alley. We were only about 15 minutes away from the Estate, and I’d assumed we’d get there early at the speed we were going. There was something pretty damn magical and eerie driving through an abandoned city. A city that only a few hours before had been so bustling with life that it was impossible to hear yourself think. There was a silence rarely heard in New Ark City, and there was something pleasant yet horrifying about it. I shook that thought from my head and focused at the task at hand.

Narrator                                  About 3 blocks from the Estate however, we ran into… a snag. And by snag, I mean we ran into an army. These soldiers were not human. They appeared to be made of broken brick and cement, given animation with some enchanted slip of paper on their heads. We screeched to a stop and looked at the army. There were 60 of them. A tall one of them moved forward and spoke, but it’s voice was that of a woman.

Cassandra:                              Did you really think we’d let you just drive up? You’re dumber than you looked, Jordan.

RedWing:                                Enchantress Cassandra Payne.

Narrator                                  I felt Jo cringe, and I could practically feel the heat coming off of her. Via the special lenses Jo had added to my mask, Jo showed me that only one train had yet to reach the station, and she showed me a timer for how long we had to get there. We had 10 minutes to get past this roadblock and arrived.

RedWing:                                [whisper] Jo, hang back and keep an eye on the trains. Tell the bomb squad to get down there. And tell Dean to prepare for plan B.

Johanna:                                 Already onto plan B?

RedWing:                                Not quite, but we’ve already hit a snag.

Narrator                                  I got off my bike, and pulled Talon and Red Feather off my belt.

RedWing:                                Let us pass, Witch bitch.

Narrator                                  I heard malicious laughter from above, and saw her hovering above us. Around her hands and feet were swirling dark shadows. She was lowering herself down slowly.

Cassandra:                              My word… you know, you look so much like your father. What a pity, I never liked him. I guess you’ll receive the wrath I never could unleash on him.

RedWing:                                Wow… You are so extra. What a pity for you, we don’t have time for this. Why are you even here?

Cassandra:                              Oh, the partnership Edward and I have, of course. Well, he has power, and power is so much prettier than weakness.

Narrator                                  She turned her back, still about 6 feet off the ground.

Cassandra:                              My urban golems, kill them.

Narrator                                  The beastly stone monsters began to advance on us. I put a forcefield around Cassandra and threw the field and her against the side of a brick building. She hit, a few bricks shattering on impact. Cassandra let out a grunt and hit the ground. She propped herself up on her elbows, glared at me and began to stand up.

RedWing:                                Cardinal, WhiteHawk, take this witch down. Blackbird and I take on these Golems.

Scarlett:                                  As you wish. But, if you don’t mind, I’d like to take that big one there.

Narrator                                  Scarlett opened a bag and pulled out two of the tiny red stars. She took a deep breath and blew on the stars, and the wind picked them up and threw it toward the biggest golem. One landed in between the cracks of brick and concrete the golem’s chest was made from, and the other attached itself to the strip of paper on the golem face. She pointed a finger at that golem, and uttered the spell word

Scarlett:                                  Pléasctha.

Narrator                                  In an instant, the tall golem exploded.

RedWing:                                WOAH. That’s pretty fire.

Narrator                                  Pun intented. The rest of the army was advancing still. Scarlett spoke to the team in our minds.

Scarlett:                                  You guys, aim for the talismans on their heads. They will fall back into the clay they came without them. I’ll take care of this enchantress.

Narrator                                  Scarlett pulled out three yellow paper birds.

Scarlett:                                  Eitil

Narrator                                  She blew on the birds. The birds stood up on their own, and took flight. One of them landed on the ground near a group of golems, and as it touched down, a lightning strike struck that exact spot. There was a shower of debris and several golems were taken out. Goddamn, that lady is amazing. The other birds got very close to Cassandra, who had stood up. She held her hand out, and the paper disintegrated into ash before reaching her, falling smoldering to the ground.

Cassandra:                              Really? You thought it would be that easy, little witch?

Narrator                                  Cassandra began to approach Scarlett.

Cassandra:                              This is how a real witch calls down lightning. Zoscara!

Narrator                                  Lightning shot from her fingertips straight for Scarlett, but Jer shielded her just quickly enough. That gave Scarlet time to whisper to the some more red stars as she threw them at Cassandra, but Cassandra blew and the stars froze. The stars popped but no damage was done.
While Cardinal and the Witch fought, I was using Talon like a whip to strike each talisman off their faces. There were about 60 of them and I’d taken down 4 or 5 of them with this method before I realized this would take far too long if that's what had to happen. I thought for a second, thinking of a plan. I came up with one I’d never tried before. I held my hands out, took a deep breath, and conjured miniature fields around the charms. I moved the fields holding the papers away from them by an inch, and half of the golems fell to pieces. I touched under my nose and realized there was blood. Shit, that was too much energy, no way could I do it a second time. So I went back to striking at the golems with Talon. Jeremy as BlackBird was targeting the charms, but he was a little more up close and personal. He ran up to a few of the golems, and sliced the charm in half with the new blade he’d got. He was faster than they were, as you’d expect since they were made of stone. After a few sword hacks and some interesting strikes, the urban golems were down.
Cassandra had reached Scarlett and had tried to slap her. Scarlett caught her hand, and delivered a quick rabbit punch to her nose. Cassandra gasped, but grabbed Scarlett’s hand. Cassandra’s hand began to glow red, and Scarlett groaned and let go. The two women began to fist fight, trading punches. I tell you, it is a sight to see a 30 year old woman fight a woman in her mid 50’s. Scarlett was doing fine, she was holding her own against this woman in her 50’s. She punched Cassandra hard on the cheek, and then was backhanded hard in response. I heard Jo gasp, and I realized that Cassandra was about to have a whole lot more to deal with. Sparks arched from Jo’s fingers.
Scarlett was shielding her face from Cassandra, who was straddling her stomach and punching her in the head.

Johanna:                                 Hey.

Narrator                                  Cassandra whipped around, just in time for Jo’s sparking fist to connect with the center of her face, temporarily stunning her and electrocuting her.

Johanna:                                 [panting] Don’t touch my fucking girlfriend.

Narrator                                  In that brief moment, Scarlett remove the bracelet she always wore. Her eyes turned black, and her face contorted into a crazy smile. She pushed Cassandra off her, and Cassandra fell to the ground. Scarlett’s hand shot up and grabbed Cassandra by the throat. She lifted the old woman with one hand as they both began to hover. Cassandra, whose nose was very quickly losing blood, looked terrified and choking slightly. At that moment, all the street lights suddenly all went out, and all we could hear was a rush of sounds, and a thud against a wall with metallic bending sounds. Scarlett reached down, and put the bracelet back on, and the streetlamps returned to life. Cassandra was crumpled against the brick wall, bound in place by metal poles wrapped around her wrists and ankles. She wasn’t dead, simply unconscious, and that’s all we needed. But I reminded myself to make it a point to ask Scarlett what the black eye thing was about. Scarlett was breathing heavily, and looked really shaken.

RedWing:                                Are you alright, Scarlett?

Scarlett:                                  I’m… I’m… I’ll be fine. We need to go. Let’s just go.

RedWing:                                For what it’s worth, you did great.

Scarlett:                                  Thank you.

Narrator                                  We hoped back on the bikes. 4 minutes left. We reached the gate with a minute to spare. Marilyn and Keiran had joined us. I saw there was a police barricade around the gate. I saw Dean and Jared, and as soon as Dean saw me, he nodded at me and took off towards the tunnel with Jo. That meant the bomb squad was there, doing their best to neutralize the explosives underneath.
Jared touched my shoulder, nodding as I passed.

Jared:                                      We are here when you need us.

Narrator                                  I nodded.

RedWing:                                Thank you, Chief, we’ll take it from here.

Narrator                                  The officers cleared a path for us to enter onto the lawn of the estate. There was a swirling black cloud over the estate that made it look like a tornado would strike. The cloud would occasionally spark with lightning, and I could see the spiral swirl pattern that indicates a tornado would eventually touchdown. There, standing in front of the marble steps before the manor, stood Major Edward Fields. He was wearing a white 3 piece suit and a white bowler hat. Standing next to him, wearing a black pleather tank top, dark camouflage pants held up by a belt with bullets wrapping around it and a knife attachment, and a gold crown on his head, was Alejandro The Prince Parcelli. Of course it was, honestly, it’s exactly what I was expecting. Bound and gagged at their feet, were Tim, Ren, and Casey. My heart lurched. They in general looked fine, just scared. And I couldn’t blame them. I drew Red Feather from my belt. I spun my wrist while walking forward, flicking Red Feather to its full length.

RedWing:                                Funny, I didn’t think the Devil could wear white.

Edward:                                  I think you’ll find that a God-King wears what he wants.

Narrator                                  He smiled, like the cheshire cat. And I cringed a bit.

RedWing:                                I’m going to give you a chance to leave these hostages with me. You can take your little protoge there, and leave this city in peace. I’m giving you this moment to surrender.

Edward:                                  Why would I do that if I’m about to gain all the powers of a god?

RedWing:                                This doesn’t make any sense. Why would you have to level an empty city to gain powers, when you already have them?

Edward:                                  Remember when I said that I wanted people to stand up for themselves? I’m leading by example and I’m taking what I want, nay, what I deserve.

RedWing:                                Why don’t you drop the disguise? I know who you are. I only regret that it took me so long to see it.

Narrator                                  BlackBird looked over at me narrowing my eyes. Edward Fields, shook his head slowly.

Edward:                                  I won’t be doing that. I’m the mayor. This face is too important.

RedWing:                                Well, that’s too bad. I wanted to give you the option to do it first. Nacht, Scaoil!

Narrator                                  The night before, when the realization had dawned on me exactly who he was, seeing his plan laid out, I asked Scarlett for a few spells to assist me. She gave me one that would reverse any glamour or disguise spells. I had a few more tricks up my sleeves, but I wouldn’t play those hands quite so soon.
A line of light, like a spark, hopped out from behind Mayor Fields stood, and hit him in the back of the head, causing him to kneel forward and grip his head. A few blue light sparks formed around his face, a few cracks appeared on his face and skin, all around his head. Al looked on at his mentor/keeper in horror, coming to the conclusion that he had been deceived. The pale peach skin on the arm shattered like glass, revealing skin about as dark as mine. He let go of his head and straightened up, revealing his true identity.
Before us stood Isaac Redfield-Wade, my uncle, my brother’s father, and the man responsible for so much unfortunate death and destruction. Jeremy gasped and dropped Blue Feather. It clattered to the ground in what felt like a deafening silence. He fell to his knees, which was exactly what I’d known he would do.
Isaac tipped his head, raising an eyebrow and fixing his hat.

Isaac:                                       I wasn’t expecting that, but I am not surprised. You are your mother’s son, after all.

RedWing:                                Don’t you dare mention my mother.

BlackBird:                                You spineless bastard.

Narrator                                  I turned to look at Jer, who was clutching his fist so hard that his knuckles were white. Even with his mask on, the rage was coming through, radioactive and ready to go nuclear.

BlackBird:                                You stole me from this life, from my own brother, you neglected me, and then you just gave me up. You let me think you were dead.

Isaac:                                       [spittting out quickly in rage] Well, of course I did.You were a goddamn disappointment then, and you still are, aligning yourself with weak, trash like these jokers here.

Narrator                                  Jer looked as though he’d been smacked. His face darkened and he narrowed his eyes.

BlackBird:                                I guess that means your blood is weaker than Terrance’s. I’m not surprised.

Isaac:                                       Silence, Jeremy.

Narrator                                  Jeremy stopped speaking and couldn’t say anything more no matter how he tried. I couldn’t figure out why he had that Silvertongue power that Don Antonio had possessed and that Alejandro still had.

Isaac:                                       Tell me, Jordan, how did you find out it was me?

Narrator                                  He went back to smirking. I saw Tim’s eyes dart over to me, finally realizing who I was under the mask. I couldn’t read his expression, but powered on to answer.

Jordan:                                    It was something you said when we last met. The only person I’d heard mention it before like that was Dad. When I found Jeremy’s last name was Fields, it was merely a matter of figuring out the anagram of Edward Fields. ‘Redfield Wades’. And that’s not all I determined either.

Isaac:                                       Oh, what else did you find, boy?

RedWing:                                You are the reason my mother and father are dead. Alejandro, are you aware that this man killed your mother?

Narrator                                  Alejandro looked from Isaac to me and then glared back at me. I was shocked to hear his voice come out sounding as smooth as it did before the acid 2 days ago.

Alejandro:                               That is not possible.

Narrator                                  I couldn’t stop. Everything had fallen into place.

RedWing:                                A week before my parents met their end at the barrel of your father’s gun, a man named E. I. Fields came from Bayou City to New Ark City, accompanied by a woman named Sandra Fields. He knew your family and decided he wanted to raise you up to be the criminal you are now. Figured you would be an excellent tool, with your dad’s ability running through your veins. He figured out how to get you and get my parents out of the way so he could run undetected for office. So, he killed your mother in a dark alley, wearing his old suit from his glory days. Witnesses told your father that is was Isaac here’s generation of vigilantes, and that it was a man and a woman. Your father thought it was my father and my mother who were there, and retaliated by killing them. Your father slowly went mad, blaming my entire family for the demise of his. So when you came out to him, you told him that it was me you had feelings for. That is why he disowned you, and that is exactly what Isaac here had planned for. Isn’t that when the Mayor took you in? Showed you how to use your powers and how to get your way?

Narrator                                  I paused, looking at Alejandro realizing he’d been a pawn the entire time. I turned to Isaac again. His smirk was gone, replaced with a tight-lipped narrow-eyed glare.

RedWing:                                The only thing I don’t understand though, is how you won that election to the senate so quickly? You won everything in a landslide, with little to no history as a politician.

Narrator                                  His smile returned, but his eyes remained narrowed.

Isaac:                                       I’m glad you asked, because it’s exactly what’s going to happen now. In fact, I will show you how.

Narrator                                  He pulled a vial from his coat pocket. A black swirling liquid swirled inside. He turned to Al.

Isaac:                                       Some things he is saying are true, Alejandro, my son, I did kill your mother, but I did so because I saw potential in you, things no one else saw. I knew you could to ascend to godhood with me, as you will shortly. I saw potential in you, but your mother? She was weak and trying to hide you from her power. She was unworthy of her power, so I simply took it from her.

Narrator                                  He held up the vial, uncorking it.

Isaac:                                       This, here, is what the essence of power looks like. This power is one I’ve been waiting to give you until today, the day of ascension. Drink this, and you shall become the God-Prince of Shadows.

Narrator                                  Alejandro skeptically grabbed it, and swallowed obediently. Isaac put a hand in the center of Alejandro’s chest, and spoke a word.

Isaac:                                       Arducomas.

Narrator                                  Al dropped to his knees clutching his heart and screaming. The veins under his skin near his chest became black. The veins near his eyes blackened, and when he opened his eyes, they were completely black. His screaming slowly morphed into laughter. It took a moment for me to realize he was levitating.

BlackBird:                                Holy shit.

Narrator                                  Jeremy took the words right out of my mouth. Scarlett looked on in horror, and Marilyn gripped her blades tighter.

Scarlett:                                  My god, I know that spell. But that kind of magic is forbidden

Alejandro:                               I can feel it… the darkness… it’s running through my blood, and god DAMN, does it feel good!

Narrator                                  He laughed again, and held his hand up at his side. His hand seemed to catch on fire with a purple black flame, except no light came from it. It was indeed the opposite of light. It was shadows. He pointed that hand at one of the police cars making up that barricade. A ray of purple black shadows shot out towards the car, which promptly exploded. None of the cops were hurt, they had dodged just in time.

RedWing:                                Oh… fuck.

Narrator                                  It clicked for me why Isaac had the same power as Alejandro. When I looked over the edge when Don Antonio fell off the ledge, the body of Don Antonio wasn’t there when I looked over. Or perhaps he was, but under some form of cloaking. Either way, Isaac had taken that power from him before he completely died, and taken it into himself.

Isaac:                                       Yes, you can in fact take someone’s powers with a spell. And that is precisely what you will do, Jordan. As for you, Jeremy, you won’t have a choice in the matter. You will stand by my side, and you will never harm me.

Narrator                                  Jordan watched as Jeremy’s eye glazed over and he went to stand next to Isaac.

Isaac:                                       Now, Jordan, you will give me your powers, and in exchange for that, you will let you live and I will let these… creatures go.

Narrator                                  He gestured to Tim, Ren and Casey, who were all whimpering. Poor Tim, this is not how I wanted him to find out.

RedWing:                                And if i refuse?

Narrator                                  Isaac held his hand as though he were strangling someone, and Tim began choking, unable to breathe.

Isaac:                                       Simple, really. I will kill him, and then the children, and then all of your friends, and then you.

RedWing:                                FINE. Stop, just leave them alone. Let the others go first, and then I’ll give it to you.

Narrator                                  I begged, hating the way my voice sounded. Isaac nodded, releasing Tim from his force choke.

RedWing:                                Marilyn, Scarlett, please take them to safety please.

Marilyn                                   But Jordan…

RedWing:                                Take them to safety. Please.

Narrator                                  I was dejected, but earnest and insistent. Option A was a total bust, and I was probably going to die, even if Plan B works. Marilyn and Scarlett unbounded Tim and the girls, bringing them off the property.

Isaac:                                       Once you give me your power, I’ll complete the ritual, the sacrifices will be made. I will become the master of the gate and the world will bow before me. I will be all powerful.

RedWing:                                What? What ritual?

Isaac:                                       Do you really not understand where we are, Jordan? We are standing on top of the most powerful magical hotspot in the world. Raw power exists beneath the ground. The way you make yourself master of that power is to prove that you have a claim to the gate, offer a sacrifice, and absorb it into yourself. And that is what I will be doing. Very simple really. You see… I own this city. As it’s mayor it is under my command. When I take your powers, I will own the gate and the Estate, which is the entrance. And for a sacrifice… I will sacrifice part of this city, so I can rule the entire world.

Narrator                                  My eyes went wide. My god, that was his full plan. There was more at stake than I thought possible.
At that moment, the most blessed thing happened though. Johanna spoke to me on the speaker, with the most beautiful 2 sentences I’d ever heard.

Johanna:                                 RedWing and BlackBird, the bombs have been taken apart, Dean is in position, and Plan B is a go. Be careful and don’t die.

Narrator                                  I’ll try, homegirl, I’ll try. I looked up at Jer. He winked at me. He’d got the message as well. And that’s when Uncle Isaac realized hadn’t been specific enough. He said that Jeremy couldn’t hurt his father, but he didn’t say anything about dear old Al.
Like lightning, Jeremy grabbed Alejandro’s leg as he was floating, and brought him straight into the ground. He rabbit punched Al in the nose to stun him and then cuffed him. He looked up at me and shouted,

BlackBird:                                NOW.

Narrator                                  I nodded and said the second spell trap I’d laid.

RedWing:                                Arsuil Al Keercal.

Narrator                                  There was a pop and Jer and Alejandro were gone. I felt a lot of the energy drain from me. I’d set up the spell near where Jer had been standing, and set up the other end of the spell in a jail cell, which was setup with more acid to use on Alejandro. Scarlett would later go and remove his powers.
Isaac didn’t even have time to react before Dean was behind him cuffing his hands behind his back, and cuffing his leg to one of the bombs from the subway that Dean had placed near his feet. Dean punched Isaac in the back of the leg, and he buckled. This was not part of the plan. Dean began to punch Isaac even more, and I saw his eyes glowing green again. I ran over to him and shook him.

RedWing:                                DEAN. STOP. You have to go.

Narrator                                  The rage filled green-eyed Dean stared at me, blankly. I knew what I had to do. I grabbed Dean’s face and I kissed him. I thought about all the times we’d held each other, all the happy moments we ever had, pouring them into the kiss. Dean at first didn’t kiss back, and then he did. As soon as he did, I stopped. His eyes were normal.

RedWing:                                Now go, Dean. Help the others. I’ll be fine.

Narrator                                  I was lying. Dean could see that I was lying. He hesitated, and then kissed me one more time.

Dean:                                      I will always love you, Jordan.

RedWing:                                I will love you always, Dean Morrighan.

Narrator                                  He gave me one more broken look before turning away and running to the barricade. I looked down at Isaac, the last of the old guard. The man who put me through so much hell. The man who I was about to destroy, along with myself.

RedWing:                                So, you want power, eh? D’you know how much force is in this bomb, that you rigged to go off in the next 3 minutes?

Isaac:                                       You think killing me will stop anything?

Narrator                                  Isaac laughed, ignoring the pain from the leg Dean had broken.

Isaac:                                       You will stop nothing. This is not over. That blast the other day? Someone has already started another war. There will be more people coming into the power of the gods, more people than you could dream of. Your team will lose. You stopped me, fine, you’ve killed the old guard, while killing yourself in the process. But this will never stop, and you will always know in your heart of hearts that the people you serve and try to protect do not deserve you. What you have running through your veins is the powerful blood of a new race. A new race of gods and kings, with the power to create and destroy. And some day, you will give into that darkness.

Narrator                                  I stood up to turn and walk away a few feet. I turned back around and threw up a forcefield around Isaac, bracing myself. I tried to send the charging roots through my feet into the ground below to absorb whatever energy I could in 15 seconds. Johanna counted down in my ear.

RedWing:                                Goodbye, Uncle Isaac... enjoy your stay in hell.

Johanna:                                 5...4...3...2...1.

Narrator                                  For a minute everything felt eerily silent. And then it happened. The bomb exploded, instantly vaporizing Isaac. I held the blast in. I felt the most intense pain I’d ever felt in my life. It felt as though my body was burning itself from the inside out. I coughed, tried to scream, but all I felt was flame tearing through my body. I looked at my arm and saw lacerations appearing as if someone was slashing at me with knives. The explosion was still rippling, and pushing against the field. I pushed back harder, feeling the fire reaching up to my brain. The darkness at the edges of my vision quickly came inward, before I had to let go, and let the rest of the force out. It struck me like that truck almost had when I was 13. I flew through the air before slamming into against the bronze gate lining the property and losing consciousness.

Narrator:                                 When I came to, there was an IV in my arms, and the steady beeping of a heart monitor. Hospital, I was in a hospital. My god… I survived that? I tried to open my eyes, but things felt too bright, so I shut them again, suddenly unsure if it was worth to survive if even light was hurting me. I winced, and realized both my hands were being held. I squinted, and looked at my hands. Dean was holding my right hand, resting his head on my lap. I opened my eyes a little further, and saw Jo resting her head on Jared’s chest. In a chair by the door. There were flowers on the bedside table, and jello. A tarot card was in the flowers, so they must have been from Scarlett. Marilyn and Jeremy were sitting next to Jared and Jo. That is when I realized I wasn’t in the hospital. I was in my childhood bedroom, in the Estate. Keiran had just come in, and was checking the IVs. He must have brought those in from somewhere. Scarlett entered the room closely behind, carrying some snacks for people.
Keiran noticed I was awake somewhat, and he gave me a smile.

Keiran:                                    Hey, bud, how you feeling?

Jordan:                                    Like I was thrown into a brick wall or something.

Keiran:                                    More like an iron gate, but point taken.

Jordan:                                    Oh… right.

Keiran:                                    By the way, Tim left this for you.

Narrator:                                 Keiran handed me a folded letter. I held it with one hand, and read the letter to myself.

Tim:                                         Dear Jordan, I’m sorry to do this over a note. Once I heard you would be okay, I left.  The other day you showed me something new about myself. A skill I’ve never noticed in myself. And I intend to follow that advice. I cannot let myself come between you, Jordan, and Dean, the man who was ready to burn with you. Don’t worry, your secret identity is safe with me. I’m going on a holiday right now, and I don’t know if I will ever be back. After a year abroad, I will come back and try my hand at education. I want to work with kids, and I think this is my way of doing it. Thank you for showing me the path, but now I must go it alone. I wish you and Dean all the best. XOXO Timothy.

Narrator:                                 I smiled as I finished the letter. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. I went back to the exercise that Jo and I had figured out all those years ago. I imagined tree roots sprouting from my back, stretching a long way down until they reached the energy. They began to absorb the energy into me and the pain gradually got less intense. Once I soaked up as much as I could bear to do in that moment, I smiled and sat up a slight bit. I still felt sore, but that actually made sense to feel given the circumstances. Dean woke up.

Dean:                                      [relieved] Jordan!

Narrator                                  Dean squeezed my hand lightly. I giggled a little bit. I may have survived the mad attacks of a crazed lunatic, but this made me feel good.

Jordan:                                    How long was I out?

Dean:                                      Three full days…

Jordan:                                    Oh… wow. Okay. Yikes. S-so, I’m guessing you guys talked?

Narrator                                  Dean kissed my hand, a half smile playing on his face.

Dean:                                      When were you going to tell me about that first date?

Jordan:                                    After saving the world, obviously. Oh, and uh, Dean, when exactly were you going to tell me about Tim?

Dean:                                      I figured we should wait til you were awake. In fairness to me, we were broken up when I met him, and you weren’t speaking to me. Our… situation was casual before. I should’ve been more honest with both of you, and now, I will be.

Narrator                                  Dean looked into my eyes, imploring me to forgive him, not just for not telling me, but for ever making me doubt him.

Jordan:                                    [sigh] Dean, I forgive you. We need to get the rage under control though. You could’ve died… If you’d stayed any longer, I wouldn’t have been able to save you.

Dean:                                      I… I know. The truth is, Jordan… I thought you were going to die…  and if you were going to die, I wasn’t going to let you die alone. You… You are everything to me. That will always be true. [pause] [clears throat] And well, I aim to show you that every day.

Narrator:                                 Dean placed something in the palm of my hand.

Dean:                                      That is, if you will have me.

Narrator:                                 I opened my hand. It was my mother’s engagement ring. It was a gold Claddagh ring, with the lower shank styled into a celtic knot. The center stone was a ruby held in place by 2 wings. I looked up at Dean, a smile growing on my face.

Jordan:                                    Only if you will have me too.

Narrator:                                 Dean stood up and pulled out a matching ring. He placed the ring he was holding on my left hand, heart facing out. I placed the ring he had handed me on his left hand, heart facing out.  My heart skipped a beat. Dean leaned down and kissed me. I reveled in how soft my fiancé’s lips were. Everyone in the room applauded. When it was over, Dean sat back down.

Dean:                                      I love you, Jordan Redfield-Wade.

Jordan:                                    I love you, Dean Morrighan.

Narrator                                  I smiled, my heart felt all aflutter. We sat like that for a moment. Then I remembered that New Ark City currently didn’t have a mayor.

Jordan:                                    How is the city holding?

Narrator:                                 Dean paused, looking toward Kieran to figure out how to word. He took a deep sigh and started speaking

Dean:                                      Fayth Flaherty is the interim mayor. Cassandra got out, and she took Alejandro before we were able to take his new shadow power, so they are both are in the wind.

Narrator                                  I felt like I was going to vomit. That was all bad news.

Dean:                                      The mayor is not currently listed as deceased. We don’t have a body to bury for him, even though we know exactly what happened to him. Though, he also technically never existed, since it was a made-up identity with no ties to anything real. There will be an election soon. Currently Fayth is doing everything she can so smear RedWing and the Guardians in the press. The blogs and some of the networks are blaming RedWing for the recent dangers and the damage done to the areas around the city. She’s giving a speech in a few hours.

Jordan:                                    Well… if that’s the game she wants to play….

Narrator                                  Jeremy and Marilyn woke up, as did Jo and Jared. Jared didn’t say anything, just smiled and nodded with pride. Jo gave me a big hug, until I reminded her I was feeling quite breakable. Scarlett planted a kiss on my forehead and gave me a wink. My brother gave me a hug, as did my cousin.

Jordan:                                    How  are you doing, Jer?

Jeremy:                                   I’m fine. Honestly. I’m good. I feel… free. Better than I have in a long time.

Jordan:                                    We really did it, didn’t we?

Jeremy:                                   That’s what us Redfield-Wade’s do, isn’t it? I’m changing my name back to what it should’ve been all along.

Narrator                                  He smiled, but his look went somber.

Jeremy:                                   Jordan…

Jordan:                                    Yeah, Jer?

Jeremy:                                   I can’t stay up here. Not yet. I’ll be back, but I have to get back to my job in Bayou City. Something has happened down there, and they need us down there.

Narrator                                  Jeremy looked at Marilyn, who nodded.

Marilyn                                   We will be back, don’t worry. It may be a little while though.

Jordan:                                    I understand. Do what you have to do. Just don’t forget to come back. Okay? And if your team ever needs to borrow my team, don’t hesitate to ask.

Jeremy:                                   You can’t get rid of me that easy, mon frere

Jordan:                                    Wouldn’t even try, bro. Wouldn’t even try.

Narrator                                  I looked around at the faces of everyone in the room. These people, this… This family. I may not have my mother or father anymore, but this family that I had here, they were perfect. I turned back to Jer and Marilyn.

Jordan:                                    Listen, before you both go, I need a bit of a favor.

Jeremy:                                   You got it, buddy, what did you have in mind?

Narrator                                  Fayth Flaherty finished applying her bubblegum pink lipstick, and straightened her pink skirt. She had a canary yellow blouse on and a pink blazer with rhinestone buttons. Her hair was pulled back into a tight bun, but rethinking that decision, she let her hair down, to serve some Elle Woods - Legally Blonde realness.

Fayth:                                      Time to speak to my people. Meyeow. Knock em dead, Gorgeous.

Narrator                                  She spoke to her reflection. She smiled broadly, winked at herself and turned away from the mirror, looking not unlike a fluffy pink cloud.
She waved her hand high at the onlookers as she walked down the steps to the podium. Standing next to the podium was Chief Lovelace, arms crossed and expressionless face. Interim Mayor was positioned tacked onto the front of the podium. The cameras flashed, as every news center and TV station began to broadcast, and viewers at home were tuned in to hear an official statement about why they were evacuated and where Mayor Fields had vanished too. The police officers who were there were under very strict orders from the chief, as a matter of national security, to not discuss what they witnessed. Fayth did not acknowledge the chief as she approached the podium and microphone. Chief Lovelace rolled his eyes and whispered any time now under his breath, as she began speaking.

Fayth:                                      Ladies, and gentleman, people of New Ark City, I am your interim mayor, Fayth Flaherty, Founding Family Council chair. I am sure that you have questions and concerns about the evacuation, property damage and Mayor Fields disappearance. I believe that the lone vigilante, known as RedWing to most, is responsible for all those things, and he needs to be held accountable for his actions. Our police force is working around the clock to see him brought to just-.

Narrator                                  She never got a chance to finish that sentence. Poor Fayth. At that moment, the speakers played the sound of a person politely clearing their throat. The billboard opposite from City Hall changed images suddenly. On the screen, a masked face appeared in closeup, before backing up a smidge to get his full torso in the frame.

RedWing:                                Ahem, is this thing on? Oh, right okay, cool. Ahem. Hello Citizens of New Ark City. I hope you are all well and rested after a few days of non-paid leave, via evacuation. I am, of course, very sorry for the inconvenience that caused people, but you see, we needed you to be out of the city in the event that something went wrong. We always have your safety on our mind, that is our main purpose.
I am here to tell you the truth about what was going on in our fair city. A few days ago, police discovered bombs in the subway, and they sought the help of a private detective, who reached out to us. The man who had planted them was Mayor Fields, who had plans to level Revenant Heights, College Center and part of Falcon Village. We could never understand his reasons, but we have discovered a deeply mentally disturbed man who had stolen the identity of another person. We foiled the plan, and he will no longer threaten our great city.
Now I know a lot of you out there think that I am a criminal or otherwise a ne’er-do-well. I am not. I work directly with the NACPD, and I remain compliant with their laws at all times. It is an honor to protect and serve you as they do. This city is my home, just as it is yours, and 3 days ago, someone threatened our city. In the brief period of time it took everyone to working together to evacuate. I witnessed people offering to help their older neighbors. I witnessed people guarding each other from hurt, lending an arm when a neighbor was unable to stand. I was overcome with that level of love in our City. New Ark City is a beautiful place because of the people in it. I wanted to introduce myself to you, but it’s not just me anymore. Cameraman, can you scootch back?

Narrator:                                  The cameraman, Kit Mojito Carbone, obliged, revealing RedWing, WhiteHawk, BlackBird, Cardinal, Sparrow, Rook and Warbird in full costume.

RedWing: My name is RedWing, and I swear to protect this city until my dying day. If you are in danger, know that my team will be there and we will save you. This is my family, and we are all here to help. We promise to shield those who cannot shield for themselves. We are family, we are protectors, we are defenders… We are the Guardians Of New Ark City, the city of Champions.