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Flames on the Horizon

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#1Tomoe 

Flames on the Horizon Empty on Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:39 am

Tomoe

The silent footsteps of a laggard trudged across the rocky landscape. His motions were stiff, and his body seemed unnaturally tired. Indeed, it wasn't the same Tomoe that had walked with purpose before. The part of him that was cynical towards tragedy, towards death, was something that he thought remained firm. Yet, recent events had proven to the disgraced brigand that there was little left for him. The screams of torment from those he failed to save as a result of his own weakness had brought him grief with no end in sight.

His footsteps came to a halt near the edge of Astera's cliffs.

Not yet..., he thought.

Letting loose a deep sigh, Tomoe sat down near the edge, allowing the earth's rugged edges to relax him. He pressed his fingers against the cliff's surface, taking in for the first time the simple pleasures of merely interacting with the environment's imperfections. His loveless eyes gazed out aimlessly over the horizon, seeing the sun slowly peek out and shimmering off the ocean's azure bliss.

It was then that he heard another set of footsteps approach from behind. His gaze shifted to greet the familiar face of the man who had given him a mission earlier - Bifrons, Tomoe believed his name was.

"Something seems to have you up early... what's troubling you, boy?", Bifrons spoke in a warm tone, mismatched by the rogue's own dead features as he rose to stand and face Bifrons.

"Nothin' that concerns you. I just found my answer, is all. I'm not the kind of person that's fit to defend. Though, given how things turned out, guess I also wasn't the type strong enough to even deal with my own shortcomings."

Tomoe rubbed the back of his head, turning to face the sunrise that was finally showing itself. He gave a subdued smile, his eyes not echoing the same emotion of happiness. There was a deep knowing in his stare, as if he wasn't looking out towards the horizon but at something beyond it. With that, he heard a low chuckle emerge from Bifrons. After which, it emerged into a bellowing belly-laughter. The vampire turned his head back in confusion at what could be so funny, but before he could move another muscle, he found a blade at his throat - though the man wielding it was a solid ten paces away.

Tomoe found a magically-controlled levitating blade slowly cutting into his throat. His instincts kicked in at that precise moment, and in a flash unsheathed his katana and slashed the sword, putting forth enough force to knock it back towards its owner. Bifrons caught it with his hand, and took two steps forward.

"How careless of me. You may not be anyone worth mentioning, but at the very least you are somebody with the potential to kill at least some of my associates.", Bifrons spoke in a tone as cold as ice, his eyes turning red for a brief moment before returning to their subdued, grey colors.

Looking into Bifrons' eyes for that flash of a flash, Tomoe felt paralyzed. Not by fear, but by some supernatural means. With barely the physicality to maintain a grip on his sword, he put all of his vampiric strength into merely keeping it pointed towards the foe before him.

"What's the deal here... who are you? Who are you really?", Tomoe coughed out, feeling more blood dripping down from his throat; the sword had cut deeper than he first thought.

Bifrons kept moving, stopping five paces apart from the samurai, and smirked.

"Someone answering to an authority higher than the short-lived goals of vermin like you.", he rasped, materializing a small lantern in his left hand.

Tomoe took a number of steps back, until he was pushed against the cliff's edge. Bifrons advanced forward, and when catching up within slashing distance, opened the compartment of the lantern. All at once, a hellish flame emerged from the iron cage, and burned across Tomoe's entire body. Bloodcurdling screams of pain rang out from the Joyan, and by the time his singed body emerged from the heat he had shown himself barely able to stand.

"Is that right...? Vermin, huh...?"

Tomoe lunged forth, slashing at Bifrons. However, his blade only met another blade, clashing once more with the magically connected sword of his adversary. With his wounds, charred and still paralyzed nearly fully from the entity's earlier magic, he was pushed back with the wave of a hand from Bifrons.

Breathing fast, Tomoe's last effort was to serve as he always had: as an informant. As one of Fairy Tail's information lines and scouts, if he was going to die, he would do so cutting a path for others to follow. He remembered in that instant the communication device Aisha had reactivated. If there was any hope, some of his allies would hear his message. His guild tattoo lit up with magic light and he began to speak his final words.

"Sorry, guys. I really screwed up. I got in over my head thinking I was some kinda hero. My weakness killed so many people, and I'm not askin' anybody to forgive me for that."

Tomoe howled in pain as Bifrons closed the gap once more and ran him through with his sword, sending Tomoe to the ground.

"What a futile last attempt. I had hopes for you, but if I didn't follow you over here you were going to kill yourself anyway, weren't you? The grief of those you couldn't save? Give me a break. This is over. My brethren died against someone like you? Even a single one? Unacceptable.", Bifrons spat his words with intense hatred, retrieving his sword and leaving the crimson puddle to form underneath Tomoe on the ground. "They will require more power. To become even stronger, so that even my weakest soldier could easily best you."

Bifrons sheathed his blade and turned to walk away, confident that Tomoe would receive no aid or miracles to survive his wounds.

With his vision fading but his limbs still vaguely working, Tomoe slithered to his sword and used it as a cane to get on one knee, now the only one nearby. He pushed aside the insults and the grief to force his words to the surface.

"Sorry... about... that. The enemy really did get me. Bifrons. White suit, black glasses, grey eyes... claims to be with the Rune Knights but that's total bullshit. A demon? Or maybe something else...? Has a fancy sword. Don't look 'im in the eyes..."

The brigand rose to his feet, knowing he was about to die, and thought of the brief period he had come to live within the Fairy Tail guild. It wasn't much, but that brief block of time was the most human he had ever felt. The most alive he had ever felt. There were regrets in his mind, of not being more honest and open about his views and his emotions. That perhaps, even for somebody like him, there was worth in simply existing.

"Did you guys know? I'm a Vampire. Vali almost found out, but I stuck it to him right to the end. I won that one, buddy.", Tomoe let out a prideful smile.

"Aisha? I was really impressed with how you handled that demon. You'll do great, I know it. You'll go far. We never got that drink you offered, though. Maybe another time, yeah?", the Joyan spoke weaker, his smile fading from pain.

"Aegis? You're a good guy. Smart guy. You're clumsy as shit, but polish that up a bit and you'll do fine without me. I know I might've pissed you off at times, but I feel like we were at least on the same page most of the time. And get some more sleep, will ya?"

With that, feeling the urges of sleep tugging at him as well, Tomoe knew he wouldn't survive for even another minute.

"See you all later..."

Raising his blade skyward, Tomoe plunged his katana into a soft spot in the ground at the cliff's edge and allowed his body to fall backwards.

Fading in and out of consciousness as he plummeted off the cliff, he felt at peace. Before his body made contact with the jagged, piercing rocks at the bottom, the last thing he saw was the sunrise bringing light across the sea. And his last thoughts were of his own weakness and inability to grow. He could only hope that at the very least, his minuscule existence meant something to someone, for any length of time.

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