188 Days Until Despair And the Uncertain End
With the car, their job was to find anything as it came up in their path. Heia didn’t want to be there. She didn’t want to be with Evester, Zeydar, and Shawn looking for nothing, but problems. At that moment, Heia wanted nothing less than to be on their way in the direction they were supposed to be headed. Being in the car was suffocating with Shawn, Evester, and Zeydar all different types of people trying to get along, miserably. It also didn’t help that Zeydar looked horrible, as if he were sick at each moment.
“You think that they will be along the coast line?” Zeydar asked as he looked out the window.
“Perhaps.” Evester answered as he drove. “You have to remember that a lot of this is guess work.”
“Guess work.” Zeydar sighed rolling down the window.
“How are you feeling?” Shawn asked for the tenth time that hour, looking to Heia and Zeydar who sat in the back seat.
“Like I will explode at any moment.” Zeydar answered with a cut of hostility. There was a moment of silence in the car before Evester laughed. Zeydar’s humor struck Heia in a way that Evester’s did. It was morbid and filled with a lack of concern that Zeydar’s abilities could kill them. “I’m fine.”
“Fine, or momentally not in anguish.” Shawn corrected.
“My entire body feels like it is shattering, but I’m fine.” Zeydar looked to Shawn fully, leaning back in the seat, his hair pushed back from the wind. Heia could see the beads of sweat on Zeydar’s brow.
“Are you sure?” She asked not wanting to be too concerned. She didn’t want him snapping at her either.
“No. But I’ve done this before. I can do it…” His voice went silent and Evester slammed on the breaks. Zeydar rolled up the window and slammed forward with the momentum, placing his hands on the seats and hissing outlaid. Shawn spun around and braced for impact as Heia pressed her hands against Evester’s seat. The can spun as Evester tried to stop it as fast as he could. There was a loud screaching of the tires, the smell of burned rubber. Smoke rose and settled before Heia could respond.
Heia went to yell at Evester for being careless, gathering her wits about her, when she stopped. The dust had settled to reveal what had made Evester stop. A graveyard. Bodies lay about the ground in heaps and all angles. They were not soldiers, but those who were trying to flee some sort of tragedy. Tens of them, maybe hundreds. So many dead and piled together.
Sharp breaths resonated in the car. Then it was followed by the sound of car doors locking, the engine going low, and Shawn readying his weapon.
“I have us covered.” Zeydar spoke first.
“What is this?” Heia leaned over the seat trying to see better, to see how long they had been dead for.
“War zone.” Evester answered.
“The question is, was it Aralax or otherwise?” Shawn asked Evester.
It couldn’t be Unwanted Guests, Heia knew. While Aralax did kill people quickly, the wounds that she could see did not look to be a decimation of bodies in that way. Heia tried to think of what sort of natural disaster could happen with deaths that looked like what were before them. They all looked like they had died of natural causes, bodies intact.
“Evester turn off the engine.” Zeydar was out of the car shutting the door behind him. Evester hurried to turn off the car giving Shawn a look before he headed out.
“Are you staying here Heia?” Shawn asked as he unlocked his door.
“No.” Heia opened the door and was hit by the stench of decay, that she could remember as clearly as when they returned to the City after the Catastrophe. They approached the long dead bodies that were scattered about in clumps or on their own. Like someone was trying to move them out of the way. Resisting the urge to gag, Heia covered her mouth with her mask that Uly had made sure they brought, to see Zeydar moving the bodies without so much as touching them with his hands.
“Those are wounds alright.” Evester knelt down a bit lower. “They were killed.”
“And moved.” Shawn pointed to tracks of the bodies being moved.
“Not Aralax.” Evester gave a look to Shawn and Heia. People. People had done this. Mages or X’s? Who? Who had killed them? Evester then looked back to Zeydar who was starring off into the distance. “What do you feel?”
“There is high concentrations of magic in this area.” Zeydar answered. Heia felt anger inside of her chest. Mages. Mages had done this to her people. They cared little for them and this proved it.
“Could these bodies have been killed by magic and the wounds been given after?” If Shawn was angry, he did not show it.
“Or the magic was used to look like weapons.” Zeydar answered. “Regardless there is magic. What exactly is the relationship between the Military Mages and the X Army?”
“Horrendous.” Shawn answered. “Do you think…” Was he certain it was Mages?
“Based on the concentration of magic? Yes.” Zeydar looked to them. “It was Mages.”
“And they are all Xs.” Evester stood back up looking to the horizon, and taking out a map.
Heia looked over the bodies of children and elderly. “What were they running from?”
“UnderCity attack.” Evester answered. “These people may have been coming from CresentLost.” Evester pointed out as if he were certain where they were from.
“Wasn’t there supposed to have been an attack on them weeks ago? Almost two months now right?” Shawn asked as he went back to the car to look at the maps.
“We lost contact with them.” Zeydar answered stunning them all. “I read over the information before I was so ruthlessly kidnapped by you. CresentLost was truly lost. The UnderCity was compromised, and no one knew if there were survivors.”
“Well, there were.” Shawn was furious.
“Why would the Military Mages have killed them?” Evester asked.
“To make it look like it was the Aralax.” Heia answered feeling the tears that would never fall and her soul growing colder. “To give the people doubt. Doubt in the X Armies that are supposed to protect them. Doubt in us when saying that they can be saved. The dates are known, they can’t be avoided. But to say that the tragedy can’t be avoided, is to say that our plight is fundamentally flawed.” The Superiors were trying to cripple the fight to survive.
But these people had gotten out. Thousands had gotten out and survived. Only to be killed by those who were supposed to help them.
“Why would the Superiors authorize this?” Heia turned back to Zeydar.
“Why else?” Zeydar turned back to the car. “The magic is returning in power we need to leave.”
Evester back tracked fast, erasing his tracks. Shawn pulled at Heia to go to the car. She looked back once more and hurried to follow. Wind covered their tracks as Evester raced the car back, reporting to Uly that the path was blocked and that they needed to take another path deeper into Aralax territory. Heia met Zeydar’s eyes. He told her he was sorry, and all she could feel was fury for him and his people. His people who destroyed Towers and UnderCities, for the Xs were beneath them. Anger for the fact that they had the power to do so and were aiming only to save themselves in the world.
Once more Heia was certain she wanted nothing more than to be far from the car and their mission.