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“Put down your weapons!” one of the soldiers ordered. Gaian and Bevern put down their swords, and Tyght put down his staff. One of the other soldiers gathered them up.

The first soldier then said, “Tie their hands up behind their backs, starting with her,” he was pointing at Sianna, “She’s a witch – make sure you gag her as well, we don’t want her casting any spells.”

The soldiers quickly got to work, and soon they were marching the party off towards the airship. When they reached it there could see that there was some light emanating from it, but they couldn’t see where it was coming from. There was a large ramp leading up inside the airship, and they were lined up horizontally in front of it.

They could hear some heavy footsteps from inside the airship, and then they saw General Catrix come into view. “Well, well, well. You lot have given us the run around. I suppose I must give you some credit. Who’d have thought you’d be able to restore two of the Crystals, and then evade us for so long? Still, it was inevitable that we’d capture you eventually.”

Bevern then shouted, “Shut it, you Imperial scum!”

“Oh, lively aren’t we? And it doesn’t matter if I ‘shut it’ or not – the Emperor’s plans can now continue without hindrance. We’ll extract the power that the Fire and Water Crystals have bestowed on your weapons, and we’ll interrogate you to extract everything that you know. I suggest that you co-operate with us. If you do not, you will die, and I will ensure that it is not a quick and painless death. Take them to the holding cells!”

They each had a bag placed over their heads which completely cut out the light. They were then poked in the back with swords and made to march up the ramp into the airship.

They were quickly, but awkwardly, marched through the airship, where they were constantly bumping into things. Whenever they needed to turn a corner they we turned around roughly by the soldiers. As they walked they could hear a strange humming sound coming from all around them.

Eventually they reached their destination. They were literally thrown into the cells, and they could each tell that they were being separated and locked up in their own individual cells. Once the final lock had been turned one of the soldiers shouted, “You will all remain here until the General is ready to question you. However, he has authorised us to punish you should you start to cause any trouble, so I suggest you all behave yourselves. There is no escape for any of you, and so you need to accept that you have lost. All hail the Emperor!” And with that they could hear him and the other soldiers marching out, and closing and locking another door behind them.

After a few moments Bevern said, “Gaian, are you alright?”

“Yes, I’m fine. Tyght?”

“I’m fine.”

“Sianna, are you able to indicate if you’re OK?” They heard a single clang from one of the bars of one of the cells, presumably Sianna’s. “That’s good then. Now, we need to try and find a way out of this mess.”

“Er, Gaian,” said Bevern, “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re all locked up in prison cells here. I don’t think there’s anything that we can do to get out of this one.”

“I know, I know. But we are the ‘Warriors of Light’, maybe something will happen that will allow us to escape.”

“I admire your optimism, I just wish I could share it.” There was a pause and then he said, “Hey, do... do you think they’ll... torture us?”

It was Tyght who answered, “Undoubtedly.”

“I never did like torture... In fact, it’s always been my number one fear...”

“Well, there is one way that you can avoid it.”

“And what’s that?”

“Squeal like a pig the moment they sit you down in that chair!”

Gaian then said, “But you’re not going to do that, are you Bevern?” There was no response. “Lisa has put her trust in us for this mission. We can’t let her down. No matter what, we can’t tell them what it is they want to know.” There was still no response. “No matter what, Bevern!

“Yes, yes, you’re right... Hey, Tyght, you couldn’t do that red mist thing again, could you?”

“I’m sorry?”

“You know, when your eyes go all red and you become super strong and everything?”

“No, that is not something that I am able to control.”

There was another brief pause, and then Bevern said, “OK, so we just sit here until they come to torture us. Nice.”

Gaian then said, “I’m sure there’s something that we can do...” He thought for a moment, and then said, “Hey, Sianna, I don’t suppose you could try and free yourself from that gag? One clang for yes, two for no.” There was a single clang.

Bevern audibly perked up, “Hooray! We’ll get our witch back! We’ll be out of here in no time!”

However, several hours passed, and Sianna was having little success with freeing herself from her gag simply from moving her head. She had made a little progress, but not enough to allow her voice out, and so able to cast a spell.

The main door to the prison was unlocked and they heard some soldiers walk in. They unlocked Gaian’s cell and dragged him to his feet. “You’re first!” said one of the soldiers, before shoving the bag back over his head and forcing him roughly out of the prison.

He was once again forced through the corridors of the airship. He was eventually deposited in a room and forced into a chair. The bag was removed from his head as two soldiers began tying up his arms and legs. Above him there was a light shining into his eyes, and to his right stood General Catrix.

Once Gaian was fully secured the General said, “Leave us!” and the other soldiers left the room.

The General paced around the room for a couple of minutes before saying, “I hope that you understand that there is no use in opposing the Emperor.” Gaian just looked at him, his eyes full of venom. “You see, as you may have noticed, he has managed to obtain a power that has enabled him to change the world. He has even found a power that will make this airship fly. You’ll feel it soon, we’re about to take off for the Empire.

“Now, this is what’s going to happen. Before we get to the Empire you are going to tell me how to get back to the Fire Crystal, and how to reach the Water Crystal. Are you willing to do that?” Gaian spat at his feet. The General responded by slapping Gaian’s face with his doublet clad fist, causing some blood to spurt out.

“I suggest you start talking,” said the General, his voice unfaltering. “This ship won’t take long to reach the Empire. And if you haven’t told me what I need to know by the time that we arrive, you’ll be given to our chief interrogator. And we’ll tell him that there will be no limits as to what he can do to you. You will be taken to the very limits of pain and remain there for days! And if, after that, you still refuse to talk, you will suffer a long, lingering, death.”

“Better that then help you destroy the world!”

“Your mind is too small to understand! The Emperor is wiping the slate clean. Once he has the power of all four Crystals he will rebuild the world anew. And that will be a world of peace under his banner. A world of eternal peace.”

“And how many people have to die before you get your peace?”

“As many as is necessary! This world has become decrepit. Everyone living in fear of each other. Yes, this change is going to be a painful business, but it is necessary for the greater good! Only those who are disloyal to our Emperor will die!”

“How can you say that when your own cities have been destroyed?”

The General eyed him suspiciously for a moment before saying, “Don’t talk such nonsense!”

“I’m not. I saw it when I restored the Fire Crystal. The devastation that has been wrought on the Republic has also befallen the Empire itself!”

The General slapped him once more. “I’m not interested in your pathetic lies! The Emperor would never attack his own people! He is only getting rid of those who seek to cause an imbalance in the world. He will unite all under the Imperial banner in a new world order!”

“He has lied to you. I don’t know what his real plans are, but they don’t involve making your Empire great. Look out there, he has completely destroyed our world! All of it, both the Republic and the Empire. If you don’t believe me, you’ll see when we arrive there. Then what is he going to rule over? All he has brought you is destruction and you’re just going along with it. What has happened to make you so blind?”

“ENOUGH!” snapped the General, “I’ve had enough of you pathetic whining! Now are you going to tell me where the Crystals are?!”


The General slapped him. “TELL ME WHERE THEY ARE!”


The General slapped him once more, “TELL ME, DAMN YOU!”


The General then clenched his fist and punched Gaian in the head, knocking him out cold.

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