Damian Gerard|Solving the Disappearances
Damian let Penny and Mayt leave, keeping anything else he had to say to himself. Penny’s reaction to what he said...it wasn’t his intention to upset her, but he also couldn’t abide by the notion that fear was ever a valid reason for anything. He stepped out shortly after they did and headed out to see the guilds off, the light of the sun shining over the group as they headed out of Magnolia. Godspeed to all of you and the best of luck.
Once the last of the group had vanished from sight, Damian headed to his house, collecting Andor from the guild hall before doing so, and gathering some provisions for the trip. Oshibana Town’s mayor had contacted the guild shortly before, looking for one of it’s S-Class.
With a slight grimace, Damian had taken the call and apologized, promising to be there as soon as possible. As he stepped onto the train to Oshibana nearly an hour after he’d started getting ready, he pulled out the cell phone he’d bought and dialed the number he’d been given. It was picked up before the second ring had even finished. “Hello? Is this Phoenix Wing’s Damian Gerard?” Of course he’d know to ask that right away.”That it is, Mister Mayor. I’ve just boarded the train and will be there by late afternoon. How many more since we last spoke?”
That had, of course, been a couple of hours ago, but apparently the perpetrator had grown bolder.
“That’s the thing, Mister Gerard. Many of the girls and women have returned. The mages here say they’re almost completely drained of whatever natural magic they’ve stored, but they’re fine otherwise. We have them resting right now. Still, many did not yet return with the group…” Damian clicked his tongue in thoughtfulness. So then these women weren’t being held for ransom or some other reason similar to it, which only added a layer of confusion as to what he was doing to these women he was taking.”I’ll speak with those who returned when I arrive, Mister Mayor. In the meantime, let them rest and get their magic returning.”
There were a few more pleasantries exchanged before the Blade of Phoenix Wing hung the fancy, lacrima powered contraption up and relaxed. He really hoped that this wasn’t going to be as complicated a job as he thought it was, but the low magic with each girl…Something about this is...wrong. I’m not sure what it is, but…
As the train left the station, it’s loud call echoing through the open air, Damian sat back and waited. He could theorize and guess all he wanted, but without getting to see what precisely it was that was happening, it would do him no amount of good.
Damian, as the night fell over Oshibana, was no closer to understanding what in the hell was going on than he had been before he’d arrived. His conversations with the girls who had been taken and had recently returned had been incredibly unhelpful so far, with all of them describing a similar sensation of becoming suddenly weightless. However, there had been one story that had stood out to the S-Class mage, one that was...well, it was different enough for him to consider following up on it. However, he had already passed along to group up all the women and girls in the town in the one building he was positive would work for his plan. As he walked, he reviewed the story in his mind.
“It was...well, it’s hard to explain. We were all huddled in the living room, my husband armed with a pair of kitchen knives and our son with his guardsman’s spear.” The woman laughed as she shook her head. “We used to think some ruffian would be the worst thing he’d face after he joined up with the Guard force. Anyways, I know what I’m about to say is crazy, but I’ve had a long time to think on what I heard. So, like I said, we were in the living room and I remember hearing, which still doesn’t make sense to me, the sound of the wind rushing up behind me. The thing is though, and this is why I thought for a long time I was crazy, it never passed
me. It stopped, then a split second later, I felt like I was weightless and it became hard to breathe. I’m sorry if that didn’t help.”
Damian had consoled the woman, telling her that it was as helpful as it could possibly be and then bade her rest. The story made it sound like wind mage, but it couldn’t be so simple. Every wind mage he’d ever met, which was admittedly only two or three, said that the Wind Body spell couldn’t affect other people, only the caster. Not to mention that I’ve never heard of any mage phasing through a wall or teleporting into an area without some kind of sound…
There had been that one guy that James had told the Blade about, who’d been imprisoned beneath the Council building, whose Shadow Magic had been unlike any other that the paladin had seen, but Damian wasn’t convinced that this was a similar situation...yet.
As he rounded a corner, the house he’d picked out to have all the remaining women and girls protected in came into view, fifth one from the left, brick, with windows that were probably the most secure in the city. Of course, since it was the house of the Captain of the City Guard, he most certainly hoped it would be that way. In fact, he’d tested the door himself, and short of Titan Magic or some other strength boosting magic, that door wasn’t going to budge either. If this mage could find a way in around all that, then Damian would be convinced it was time to look at other examples besides conventional Wind Magic. One of the guards spotted him as he approached and rushed up to him.
“Damian Gerard? All the women not in recovery have taken up in the Captain’s house. We have them all in the living room for the night. Any additional ideas?” Damian shook his head as he walked, the guard falling into step beside him.”No, not that would work. The mayor insinuated that you’ve already tried every advanced entrance prevention technique you can think of, conventional and otherwise. This? As much as I hate to do it, this is a test to se-”
His sentence went unfinished as the light of the setting sun vanished and suddenly all the lights for six blocks went out. ”Shit!”
He burst into a sprint, slamming open the unlocked door of the house. Damian should have known that any relation to wind magic would allow the man to hear their plan. The living room was just around the corner from the entry hall and the Blade rounded it, Hermes Blades in hand, to find a man made of wind reaching for a girl in the back. Spotting the Blade’s glowing magic blades, he grinned.”Too slow, ‘Blade.’ Maybe next time.”
Grabbing the girl as she turned with a scream, the pair became nothing more than a stiff breeze that flew right out the air vent, his laughter echoing throughout the house. Damian, meanwhile, stared in disbelief. Not only was the man seemingly made of the air that made up the wind, he had transformed that young girl into wind the moment he touched her.
The guard caught up just as the man vanished and turned to look at the dumbstruck Blade of Phoenix Wing. “So, uh...what...what now?” Damian turned after a moment, shaking himself awake from his disbelieving stupor and hardening his resolve to end the threat this lunatic presented.”Now? Now we know what he can do and how he does it. Now we plan and prepare. We will catch the bastard, somehow.”
Two days after finally seeing the culprit for himself, Damian was sitting at a cafe, eating a slice of pie while trying to figure out the best way to catch the dirty rat. They’d tried a dozen different tricks, ranging from magic nullifying lacrima to simply attempting to get him inside something airtight. But no matter what, it hadn’t worked, almost as if he’d been made of actual…Ah hell…
An image of the shadow mage Shutler flashed through the Blade’s mind and he shook his head. No, the man had been more than sure he was the only thing like that here on Earthland and now Damian wasn’t even sure that he was still on Earthland after the events that lead to several members of their guild going to Edolas.
Still...he sat lost in thought for several minutes, mulling over the best way to attempt to deal with the problem at hand, before the sounds of approaching boots brought him out of it, his pie having been eaten as he thought. Turning to face the source, he found himself facing one of the Wind Mages in the ranks of this contingent of Rune Knights. They’d been keeping an eye on the kidnapper’s movements when he’d come into town and now had a pretty feel for when he manipulated the air and moved into town. She seemed to have run the whole way to find Damian, so he figured it was important.
“He’s moved into town, south side, doing everything he could to call attention to himself.” Damian frowned as they walked, heading to the south side of town alongside the Guardswoman.“He make any demands? Women be brought to him or he starts destroying things type demands?”
The guard shook her head.
“No, not when I had been sent to inform you of the situation. Who knows what he’s done since then.”
Damian nodded and slowed as the south side of town came into view, along with a giant pillar of wind that resembled a tornado. Whistling, Damian looks towards the top, squinting to try and spot the mage responsible. ”Well, he certainly knows how to be theatrical about it.”
The guardswoman doesn’t reply, instead opting to draw her bow and remain alert as she looks around, eyes sharp for danger.
The pair moved forwards, Damian continuing to try and spot any one atop the tornado, as would be befitting of a villian, and the guard watching for the usual rabble, who had grown bolder in the face of the kidnappings. It was several minutes, the rest of the guardsmen in view, when Damian spun, his Hermes Blades manifesting, and shoved the guardswoman aside to parry a blade of wind, wielded by none other than the wind mage himself. ”Impressive reflexes, ‘Blade’. I thought for sure I’d have her.”
Damian pushed the mage back and spun the pair of weapons in his hand, a hard glint lighting up his eyes as his magic flairs to life around him in the form of his magic circle, the normal orange blinking to green.”And I thought you had some form of honor since you hadn’t harmed the women you’d taken.”
Faster than a normal person, let alone most mages, could follow, Damian closed with the wind mage his right hand blade lancing out in an overhead strike that the man barely managed to deflect. ”My mistake.”
Lunging in again, Damian unleashed a whirlwind strike, spinning forwards towards the Wind Mage, the edges of his twin swords singing through the air as the bladed tornado clashes numerous times against his opponent’s wind-formed blade. As he stops, he right hand flips the Hermes Blade into a reverse grip, bringing the dagger blade on the bottom of the hilt to the forefront before he makes a wide slash at the mage with it, forcing him back.. ”Dear god, did a cheap shot at the lady mage really-”
His question is cut short as Damian locks their blades between them and then pushes them apart with a kick that separates the two.
Jumping towards one of the walls of a nearby house, the Blade of Phoenix Wing uses it to push off and come at the wind mage from a different angle, forcing him to use his own magic to form a barrier there. ”Oh no! We’re doing this on my terms!”
As Damian goes to deliver a gravity assisted helm cleaver strike from above, the wind mage flows around the strike, quite literally, before grasping the swordsman’s wrist. ”Let’s visit my place, shall we?”
Before the Blade of Phoenix Wing has a chance to really register what was happening, the only sound he can register is that of rushing wind and a feeling of weightlessness and inability to fill his lungs with air. The sensation of being unable to breathe and feeling weightless lasts only moments, but feels like eons and he gasps for air when gravity once more takes hold. Dirty fucking trick…
Finally managing to regain his feet, the Phoenix Wing mage looks around, summoning his Ares Blades. Where as before they were standing in the middle of a street, now they were in a large stone cavern, with little more for light than a few torches lining the walls. The whole area screamed evil lair, but not the entire lair.”Welcome to my home, Mister Gerard. Normally I reserve this only for lady friends, but today is a special occasion.”
The mage reformed in front of Damian, a wicked looking scythe forged from the very wind itself in his hand. ”Today, I’m going to remove one of the largest threats to my studies in all of Earthland.”
And then he attacked, the scythe slicing through the air towards Damian’s head, who barely managed to block the attack and push his opponent back before counter attacking, the Ares Blades spinning through the air in a horizontal series of spinning slashes. No sparks flew from the blocked attacks, as the scythe wasn’t made of even magically created metal, but the magic pressure that blasted outwards from the impact site was immense. The pair broke off from each other, sliding backwards across the cave floor as Damian switched to his Hermes Blades. The Wind mage had the advantage in his magic, but his skill with real weaponry was clearly less than Damian’s, which he could use to his advantage. Moving quickly back into melee range, the Blade of Phoenix Wing unleashes a series of slashes from different angles, testing the Wind Mage’s defenses. The results were as he expected; with such fine control of his magic, the Wind Mage could deflect the individual blows no matter how fast Damian struck, but there was one possibility.
Ducking underneath the mage’s flowing and windy counter attack, Damian backflipped a couple of feet back before slashing the air, a trio of blades splitting and coming at him from different directions as Damian moved in from the front, twin Hercules Blades in hand and moving in an overhead arc to deliver a helmcleaver blow. The three ethereal blades were blocked, just as Damian suspected they might be, but his helm cleaver should have hit home. Except it didn’t, as the wind mage blocked it as well, the blades grinding and sparking against the invisible force briefly before slicing through as the Wind Mage went to gloat. His eyes widened before he tried to backpedal, and while he avoided the worst of the blow, he still gained two shallow cuts across his chest.
His response, unfortunately for the Blade of Phoenix Wing, was a blast of razor sharp air that sent him sailing through the air and slamming into the cave wall, knocking free some stalactites and seeming to bury him. ”Guess you weren’t so tough after all, Blade of Phoenix Wing. Pity, really.”
The Wing Mage starts to turn away before stopping, glancing over his shoulder. ”Oh, suppose a name wouldn’t hurt, since you’re likely dead or dying. I am Haruto Nagamaki, and I’m the Wind Meta.”
With that said, the Meta turned away again, but before he could finish his step, the sound of the rocks shifting caused him to pause and turn back in surprise, his wind scythe leaping into shape in his hands as an Ethereal blade, a chain seemingly linked to it, bounced off the shaft.
As Haruto looked towards where Damian had impacted, his magic circle surrounded him, the green flashing to black. ”Haruto, right? Nice parlor trick, but now the boxing gloves are off.”
Faster than the Wind Meta could follow, Damian had closed the gap, his twin Hermes Blades in hand, except they had changed in appearance
. Lashing out with his wind-forged scythe, Damian, eyes glowing with the black light of his magic power at full, dodged the blow far faster than he should have with a slide underneath before coming up to deliver a powerful kick to Haruto’s jaw.
The Meta stumbled back, but found little reprieve before the Blade of Phoenix Wing was upon him again, the twin daggers lashing out at speeds higher than before, leaving precious little space for the wind defense he’d used in the opening moments of their duel. In fact, as he was forced back, cuts began to appear across his body. How is this possible? How did he get so much faster than before? And h-ow! That hurts!
Enraged at the thought that a mere mage of Earthland could hurt him, Haruto unleashed a radial blast of wind, knocking Damian away, who landed on his feet and slid backwards several feet. ”I will not be bested by YOU, Earthlander! I am wind magic incarnate! I am your end!”
Forming the wind to a razor sharp edge, he sends it flying at the Blade of Phoenix Wing, all with intent to kill.
For Damian, as the attack closed on him, time seemed to slow and a voice echoed in his head.
A soldier’s oath ye did take, to protect the weak
A soldier’s oath ye shall keep, and make the wicked ones to weep.
Awaken now, ye mighty sword, awaken now, Hercules Blade!
Without thinking, the twin daggers in his hand became first, his Hercules Blades
and glowed brightly as he swung them up at an angle from left to right, before changing for into that of a singular sword spear
, which cleaves through and shatters the Meta’s deadly attack and sends a wind imbued slash back at Nagamaki. His only response is widened eyes and his mouth opening in surprise before it impacts.
And then Damian was back, his eyes no longer alight with his black magic energy. At first, Haruto seemed fine. He took a step forward. And another, with a snarl of rage on his face.
Which morphed into an expression of puzzlement as he coughed. Dark red blood and spittle splashed out, coating his chin and the ground before him. Then, suddenly, a wave of more blood, exploded in a ring, neatly bisecting his body, from his left hip to his right shoulder. A second later, the top half of his body slid off, carried by its own momentum, hitting the ground with a loud, wet splop, spilling out his organs and filling the air with the smell coming from his ruptured bowels, adding an acidic overtone to the sickly sweet smell of blood. His legs topped to the side, adding their contents to the ground below. Sticky blood was quickly spreading in a crimson tide, already the puddle larger then a grown man was tall.
Damian stared in disbelief as the Meta coughed again. ”Damn it all! I was so close too, to finding a way to open the anima fr-”
A cough wracks his body, or what’s left of his torso at least, and he looks at Damian, who’s got his Hercules Blade held at the side while he watches. ”Guess I should tell you what will happen now that I’m gone. I set wards of sorts, to return the women and girls safely. You see, I only needed their magic, not that the reason matters. I don’t have the time to tell you anyways, but I do have the time to do...this!”
A wave of the one hand he could still use had Haruto send a blast of wind into the Blade of Phoenix Wing, sending him away as a gust of wind. As he bled out, he grinned to himself. ”I hope the eat you aliiiiiiivvvvveeeee…..”
And with that, Haruto Nagamaki passed on to the void.