In the former state of Ohio many factions fight to claim the land as their own. For one rebellious Wyld, she too battles internally in order to maintain some semblance of her previous life while struggling to adapt to what she had become. Can a negotiator from the Northwest do the impossible and peacefully resolve the conflicts on the battlefield and within this young Wyld's heart?
The Heart of it All
A Wyld Universe Story
The next few days were spent cleaning up the mess we’ve made. What resistance we encountered seemed to have either been restrained or had escaped to friendlier territories. All that was left was the debris that littered the streets.
The biggest eyesore was the old Confederate command center, which was pummeled into the ground. Luckily, from ones trash becomes another ones treasure. Silverwisp had just the idea for it, and with the help of a few Plant type Wyld, she created from a tiny seed a gigantic tree that covered the wreckage, further helped along by Silverwisp’s light manipulation to provide it the extra photosynthesis it needed. From there came addition growth; giant mushrooms, glowing flowers, and vegetation as far as the eye could see. She always said she wanted a grove, and now she created one. It was a genuine fairy’s paradise.
Likewise the Muslim community finally celebrated as they all were up early, creating a makeshift bazaar and pedaling their wares. It was quite the moment when from a distance you could hear the bell ring in a call to prayer. You could almost see the tears in their eyes, finally being able to be who they were, without repercussions.
Marcus too, decided to restart his church. Many of the previous followers who attended back when it was under Confederate hands were in for quite the surprise as the new preacher taught them a whole new meaning to the words of the Bible. Perhaps it would take time for them to understand the Wyld, and live as equals, but at least now Marcus had a platform in which he could persuade with.
Eel seemed to stick around too, resigning from military life and restarting the fisheries by the lake. Prawn fishing seemed to be in high demand, particularly from some Cat Wyld who’d pay top dollar just to bite into the tasty morsels. Now that the port was no longer blockaded it would be easier to export them to other seafood loving nations.
Meanwhile we all decided to find a place to call our own. Most of us found a relatively peaceful place, each claiming a house of our own. Scott however decided to keep to herself as she holed herself up in an abandon apartment complex in the middle of town. Maybe she kind of appreciated the isolation; someone like her would have a lot on her mind. She’s been through a lot these past few days, after all.
Still sometimes I felt as if she needed a little company. I dropped by one evening, hoping she’d appreciate the company. When I came I saw her door was creeked slightly open, and heard a couple girls talking. Curious I took a slight peak inside and saw Scott, sitting in a chair, soaking her feet in a hot tub of water, with Fatima nearby. I noticed something in her hand- was that nail polish? Since when does Scott have her toenails done?
Unfortunately it seemed like I got Scott’s attention, and in a streak of embarrassment and anger she marched up from her seat and yelled at me profusely, “What the hell are you doing? You aren’t supposed to be here! God damnit! This never happened!” She immediately slammed the door on my face.
With the power restored, things quickly returned to normal. Sure it may take awhile to see the streets cleaned and the rubble removed, but there was a passion within these people that resonated throughout the city. This place was theirs now, and that fact could only instill pride among the populace. They wanted to rebuild this city as a reflection of their new found freedom.
With everything moving along swimmingly we had only one thing left to do. We made our way to City Hall, the new residence of the new Commander in Chief: Me. At this point in didn’t matter who I was, or whether Cascadia knew it. Whether I was Ian Kennedy or this idealistic version of Scott Ryan, I made my bed here, and now I will lie in it. I was their leader now, and it was my duty to lead them into a better tomorrow.
With the cameras rolling, and Trish’s assurances it would get out to everyone throughout the globe, I made the following statement:
With that the Wyldland was born, barely a little speck on anyone’s radar. Even so, it was a major moment in Wyld history. It was the first area reclaimed by Wyld since the states separated. The accomplishment was praised in many circles, and many pro-Wyld countries had contacted us for the chance to assist us. Many of those answers were accepted immediately, particularly with Cascadia, whom after my press conference was immediately on the dial.
My Prime Minister directly phoned me, and we had an interesting conversation.
“So, you’re Scott Ryan now huh?” He asked.
“Well, it seemed like the position was available.” I joked.
“I was surprised when I heard of your survival Kennedy,” he admitted. “To go from negotiator to war hero to president, that must’ve been a hell of a ride.”
“You plan on calling me out on this?” I wondered.
“Nah,” he replied, much to my relief. “This might prove beneficial to all of us here. After all, trading with the Confederacy is as big a pain in the ass as anything. We need more friends in the region, and you’re definitely a good one.”
“Thank you sir,” I told him.
“Sir?” he complained. “Shit, we’re practically equals now son! Just call me Ted.”
“Okay uh, Ted,” I corrected.
“I was also wondering,” he digressed. “I’m sure you know that we have a huge immigration problem on our hands, and I know there’s probably a lot of displacement going on in your neck of the woods, so I was wondering…perhaps you could make room for couple of folks there? Might help Toledo get back on its feet.”
I didn’t hesitate to answer yes. The Prime Minister, Ted, was right, being the president here was beneficial. Many displaced Wyld, who had nowhere to go, could find refuge here. Hopefully in the next few months this place would be back and kicking.
So everything ended on a bright note, and the folks here lived happily ever after…
…I bet that’s what you like to think.
It didn’t take more but a couple of weeks until we had received a call from the Palace in Chicago. The Doge was set to visit Toledo, and wanted us to prepare for his arrival.
And we did prepare, and we weren't about to throw a parade.
And in his lavish plane he arrived, practically spoiled from the attention his Missa Solemni gave him. He was being carried around in a palanquin litter down the center town like a Raj, being fed grapes and the night arrived in the city. There wasn’t any spectacle about it; he was just a spoiled pompous ass.
They arrived in front of the footsteps of City Hall, where Scott, her rebellion, Faried and his Muslim compatriots, and Silverwisp, Eel and her Lake State legion waited.
They sat down his palanquin and he emerged from his lavish satin box, already looking like he was full of himself.
“Hmmm, I see,” he began. “It is quite amazing what you’ve accomplished in just a few weeks.”
“Thanks…I guess,” I replied, not too sure where he’s going with this.
“There definitely is potential here,” he continued. “A potential to be great, like a Calcutta to Detroit’s Mumbai.”
Man, all he does is keep droning on and on…
“Of course only a man with true vision, true innovation, true power, could ever hope to accomplish such a grandiose dream. And I’m sorry, but a dog such as yourself couldn’t even tap into such potential.”
“Have you come here just to insult me?” I asked, getting perturbed.
“If I needed to do that, fool, I wouldn’t have gone to such lengths,” he replied callously. “No, I just wanted to take look at my new town. Yes, it’ll make another fine gem to my crown.”
He gave me a cold, conniving laugh, and continued. “I’m so sorry for having to deceive you so, but those who are lucky to receive my power have a price to pay, and now it’s time to collect.” He snapped his fingers at Silverwisp. “You, dispose of them.”
I looked at little Silverwisp. She was more than just some working aquinatance; she became our friend. Being with us, although briefly, was the best time in her life. I already know what her answer was.
“No,” She defiantly answered.
“What?” the Doge cried in dismay. “After all I’ve given you? I made you into a Captain! I’ve given your Wyld rights beyond what most countries would even consider! And you defy me?”
“You used me,” She stated. “Yes, I thought it was an honor becoming the first Wyld to make Captain. But I’ve been at this for 20 years! I fought hard for the rights of my people. I’ve traveled to many lands, fought many battles. I’ve defended your territory and not once did I get anything for it!”
Her eyes were starting to water as she continued. “What about my life? Look what these guys gave me! I now have a grove to call home! And more than that, I have people who really care about me! I’d give my life for Scott Ryan in an instant! Why would I trade that away for you?”
Doge Giovanni was obviously fuming. He didn’t like being told no. That was the whole plan anyway. I would actually be nice to Silverwisp. I would let her live her dreams. Unlike him, my biggest weapon was kindness, and it worked.
He turned to one of her fellow soldiers and demanded, “You! Get rid of them!” Yet that soldier just stood there, along with every other soldier who he asked. They were loyal to Silverwisp, not him, and that fact sent him ballistic.
“You lost Doge,” I remarked. “Leave this place.”
Of course, what did I know? His stunned silence only turned into a spine chilling laugh. I didn’t get what was funny. But he had something up his sleeve, and I couldn’t just ignore it.
“Oh, you are so funny,” he began. “Thinking you’ve won. That you’ve manipulated my army against me and I can do nothing? Hilarious!”
It was getting kind of disturbing watching him gloat like that. His four Solemni moved in front of him standing aggressively, preparing for attack, just waiting on his signal.
“How do you think I’ve gotten so far? Before me my nation was in chaos! Fighting and scrapping, hoping to gain control of the area and to claim it their own. Tell me, how did I get on top?”
We were getting a little anxious. We weren't prepared for what came after as we were hit with a surprise. All of a sudden a flash of light appeared and a legion of 25 Solemni appeared from nowhere.
“…You’re Wyld!” I exclaimed.
He looked at his soldiers. “They are the perfect soldiers, aren’t they not? They don’t talk back, they just do as they ask. No fear, just dedication.”
Everything started to make sense. The Solemni wasn’t human at all, they were just puppets, and the Doge was the master.
With a cold grin he gleefully commanded them, “Kill them.”
And so they obeyed as they rush up the stairs, ready to take our lives. In sheer numbers we had the advantage, but these were Solemni. The things that many would second guess didn’t matter to them. They were lifeless, just as Giovanni claimed, and they didn’t have to account for such things.
They unseathed their dirks and began to make mincemeat of our troops. We were totally unprepared for this. In complete panic many soldiers tried to fire on them before they closed in on them, but the swiftness of the Solemni, along with their serpentine movement made that a difficult proposition. And of course headshots were worthless, only a good shot in the legs and hands could subdue them.
Grond had his own problems. He was in a tight spot, surrounded by friendlies. His immense strength could easily disposed of them. However if there was one major flaw in his design it was the fact he was extremely uncoordinated. The Solemni were running around him in circles, and although he didn’t know better, he swung around wildly, sometimes taking our some of our own men.
Scott and I were standing back to back, wondering what to do. “Could there actually be a Wyld this powerful?” I shouted.
“For what I know no,” Scott replied, reloading her gun. “Even with this kind of ability having such control would only tire him eventually. That’s the same with most Wyld.”
“Funny,” I continued, “With all that bellowing he’s doing he doesn’t seem all that tired to me.”
“Maybe we’re focusing on the wrong thing,” she suggested. Within the spur of the moment she turned to me and said, “Cover me!” as she ran towards the Doge.
This would be suicidal to most people. His Solemni would easily protect their master, making even shooting him impossible. It was the first thing we thought of doing: kill the head, the snake will die. But whenever we had a clean shot at him he would in react almost instantly, summoning a Solemnus out of thin air to act at his meat shield and take the bullet for him. Scott was planning to get up close and personal with him. This would put the Solemni’s focus directly onto her. We needed to provide as much assistance as possible.
“Fire at the Solemni!” I yelled. “Keep them away from her!”
The puppets aggressively changed at Scott. We did our best to pick them off before they could do harm to her. She could handle a lot of injury due to her power, but she needed to be awake and alert. Much like any other Wyld, if she uses her regeneration too much, she’ll be out like a lamp.
She finally managed to reach the palanquin where the Doge was standing. She sustained injuries but they weren’t totally wearing her out.
“Such magnificent power!” The Doge complimented. “You have such potential! You could make a wonderful wife!”
Yeah, you shouldn't talk about that in front of Scott. It pretty much gave her a second wind, and the adrenaline pumping through her veins would fuel her oncoming berserker rage.
With a quick unassuming fist she began to repeatedly strike his nose, over and over, each providing the rhythm to her angry rant:
Her rage was doing the trick as the Solemni started to respond lethargically to his commands. They were breaking down, unable to maintain stability as the Doge slowly but surely began to lose consciousness.
Now on his knees, and his face bloody red like a tomato, it was all over but the singing. Of course that couldn’t stop us from getting Scott off of him even after he was out. I guess I’ll make a note to never joking about her getting married…
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