Gailsmith uses the last of his life force to lurch through a field of tall grass after a demanding duel with a cunning adversary. His body growing heavy, he falls to his knees. He catches himself by driving his rusty claymore into the ground as if its a pillar for his rotting soul. Gailsmiths eyes gaze into the crimson moon as the crimson moonlight falls onto everything below, casting a dreadful red tint onto a dreadful world. Blood drips through Gailsmiths armor, staining the ground more crimson than the crimson moon above. Gailsmith turns his arms with the last of his strength, his sword twisting into the ground like a key into a door of hope. A blue sigil on the claymore shines through the rust, contrasting with the hellish crimson moonlight. Blue astral energy flows out from the door of hopes orifice, the world itself shaking. A shake that would be felt across all the lands. And for those who know. The knowledgeable ones. They know that this was no earthquake.

”As I draw my final breath and cast a farewell to my comrades, the sovereign adopts his death sentence. ” Gailsmiths elderly voice says.

As the life leaves his body, his claymore as a pillar, a man walks up behind him. His golden armor radiates in the moonlight from above. He looks down on the man, a look of disgust on his face. His face holds perfection—the perfect face. Objectively, the most beautiful creature on earth. How could such a perfect face hold such contempt and negativity? He glares down at his ”adversary, ” and chuckles. The claymore feels weightless in his hand, him feeling no difference in weight between it and a feather. He drives the sword into the brittle and beaten corpse of his ”adversary. ” He lifts the sword out and repeatedly drives it back into the fresh corpse. Even after a dozen or so stabs, he is still dissatisfied with the act.

”Pitiful ant. ” He says.

Myleth mourns at his familys grave on a foggy night. Mother, Father, and brother. He stands there alone. He looks down at the makeshift gravemarkers for his family in disappointment, too poor to afford the luxury of tombstones. Even though he is a student, when he decides to show up, his pre-determined merchant job isn the most profitable. As in pre-determined, it refers to a job of the governments choosing. Myleth then looks to his left, studying a neighboring grave. He looks at the offerings left out, the usually hellish moonlight complementing the assortment of fruits. Myleth walks over to the fruit, picking up a strawberry. Even if for just that second, Myleth finds joy in taking something that isn his.

”Sharing is caring, ” Myleth says.

The thick blanket of fog grows thicker over the area, the makeshift tombstones becoming barely visible through the boundless sea of gray. He takes one last look at the graves before the fog grows too thick for one to see. His mood then drops back down, looking up into the sky. Myleths eyes gaze into the crimson moon as the crimson moonlight falls onto everything below, casting a dreadful red tint onto a dreadful world. He then thinks about the one who runs this government. The one who runs the machine. The man who manufactured this hell. His mind lingers on it with contempt, until it eventually begins to ache. He looks ahead once more, only one thing visible in the sea of gray. A golden glow radiating in the distance, illuminating through the fog. The glow slowly starts to draw near Myleth. As the glow grows closer, the headache glows stronger.

”A **ing…. No. What the hell are one of those doing here? What have I done to warrant punishment? ” Myleth thinks to himself as he stares at the glow. ”I haven done that much. There was the money I stole from the market on Tuesday. Also the gambling ring at school last week. Also the…yeah, I should get the hell out of here. ” Myleth thinks. Myleth turns around and starts walking away from the graveyard to avoid the confrontation. Myleth walks a few blocks away, the glow still following him through the fog. The streets are empty, even at night time. Hes alone with the sound of his feet as he trots along the stone-brick-laden road. As he trots, he bumps into a bulletin board. Just close enough to make out the contents of the papers on the board, he notices his face. ”Woah, I finally have a wanted poster! Thats kinda sick, Im gonna get all the chicks now… ” Myleth thinks to himself. Myleth further studies the contents of his poster, the contents being much more than gambling and petty theft.

The poster reads as follows:

Myleth West. Wanted for holding forbidden magic, stealing from the government, and suspected association with terrorist organizations.

”What the **! They definitely have the wrong guy! Ive done a lot, but terrorism? ” He thinks to himself. He begins to breathe heavily, almost losing his balance. As he tries to get a grasp of the situation, a hooded figure bolts to the street and grabs Myleth by the hand. Myleth doesn resist, anything being better than the glow in the fog. The glow that takes away those who
e disobedient. Those who rebel against the machine. The figure drags Myleth to a nearby abandoned apartment complex. A magic sigil on their black glove glows as the two phase through the front door of the complex like ghosts. They both stand in a compact lobby, looking to comfortably hold about six people. The walls are a weak-looking, broken-down wood. The floor isn much better off.

”What were you doing outside? Don you know they
e looking for you? ” a feminine voice asks. She takes off her hood. The hands owner is a dark-skinned woman in all black, looking to be nineteen with long curly hair as red as the crimson moon. A rose tattoo, the same color as her hair, stretches over her right eye. Below all of this lies a lip ring.

”I saw the glow before the wanted poster. They have the wrong guy. ” Myleth says. He begins to visually lose his cool. At the end of the day, he is just a kid. ”I mean, its all ludicrous. Im just seventeen. I don even know any terrori— ”

”Quiet down before someone hears us. Listen, Im sorry to tell you this, but the posters aren being falsely accused. Not entirely at least. You have been given forbidden magic. Whether you consider it a gift or curse, you need to use it to your advantage. Ive been in many situations like this. The worst thing you can do is panic. ” she says.

”Use it to our advantage? The hell is that supposed to mean? I don even know what magic you
e talking about. My sigil just lets me talk to animals, and last I checked that wasn entirely useful or forbidden. It was a hereditary sigil, and I haven killed anyone before. How would it be possible for me to obtain a sigil any other way? And aside from my sigil, the closest Ive ever met to a rebel were my parents and brother who were suspected of helping with supplies. ”

”Supplies? ”

”Laura and Janson West. They worked managing stock for the local warehouse. I don know if the allegations were true, but they were killed for it, along with my brother. ”

”Im sorry about that. They were helping us. They stayed loyal until the very end. ” she says.

”So you
e a terrorist? ” Myleth asks the woman.

”We prefer the term rebel, ” she says.

”So thats all they were. Brave rebels. Loyal soldiers, who died for a noble cause?! ”

”Your family weren the only ones who died that day! ” she shouts. ”Sorry. The rest of the rebellion is…the rest of the rebellion is gone. Im the sole survivor as far as I can tell. ”

Shock flashes across Myleths face. The womans eyes begin to water, but she quickly stops herself.

”Sorry. That was inconsiderate. I didn know. ”

”No, its fine. We don have the luxury of time to grieve over fallen comrades. That was a moment of weakness. Forgive me, leader. ”

”Leader? ” Myleth asks.

”Yes. Our leader, Gailsmith, had fallen in battle. I don know who killed him. Whether it was the sovereign or just a simple foot soldier who got lucky. The one who holds the sigil leads the rebellion. He once told me that he knew a spell that allowed him to pass on his sigil. He mustve spent his last moments doing it, because Ive tracked down the essence of his sigil to this location. To you. Im sure I wasn the only one who did. They
e coming to get you, Myleth. Not just the government. But all sorts of people who want to use the sigil for their own selfish devices. ” she says.

Myleth slowly backs away from the woman, taking a switchblade from his pocket.

”Its ok, Myleth. The thought has crossed my mind, but I would never kill an innocent child. ”

Myleth doesn know if its the genuineness in her voice, or the fact that someone is talking to him as if hes more than just your common thug, but he finds that he can trust her. He slowly lowers his guard, but still keeping the switchblade in hand.

”Why would he give me his abilities? There had to be someone more qualified than some high schooler. ” Myleth says.

”He told me he has no say. The inheritance is decided at random, so long as the person is morally similar to the original wielder. I knew Gailsmith well. You must be a great man. Im Crosith. I would be honored if you had me as your co-captain in the rebellion. ” She says.

Myleth begins to laugh, much to Crosiths offense.

”Is something wrong? ” she asks, her question drowned out by the laughter.

”You just lost all of your comrades and were lucky enough to walk away unscathed. In an all-out assault nonetheless. You think the second times a charm? ” he says, trying to suspend the laughter in his voice. A genuine smile stretches across his face. ”I mean. You can hurt him! Hes **ing — ”

Crosith launches her knee into his stomach. The impact is extremely painful. Its almost as if the leg isn made of flesh, but iron. Myleth falls to the ground, looking up at Crosith as he tries to catch his breath. Crosith then opens her cloak to Myleth. She slowly lifts the chainmail shirt that lies below the cloak, revealing a collection of scars across her torso.

”This tattoo on my eye. Its a magic tattoo. It alters my face to cover the scar. ” she says, a certain fragility and vulnerability in her voice. Myleth continues to look up to Crosith, simply at a loss of words. ”Myleth, you think you
e in this situation because you happened to get this sigil. Thats simply not true, Myleth. Ive lost many things in this vendetta. Much more than body parts. Some could say that I could quit this fight whenever and simply being alive today is a victory. But its not true. Ive lost too much to quit. Been put down for too long to just let him get away with it. You and I are the same, Myleth. Sigil or not, hes taken a lot from us. Hes beaten down on you for too long. Now, are you going to simply lie down and rot? Stay here until his machin

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