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How long will I fly out until I listen {M,V}


J a c k .

Two brothers stare in horror at the tide of monsters descending upon an unprepared Shaman.

They come from the heavens on dark wings, and from the depths of the sea on webbed feet. The ground shutters as the deafening shriek of glass cracking and breaking makes the population cover their ears. The few fairies in the vicinity with super hearing fall to their knees in agony.

“What the actual fuck….” Kane breathes, watching the slivers of dome glass plummet to the ground and with them, hundreds of twisted Frankenstein creations. They come like a single moving organism, brutish and howling, a shadow to block the sun. They come bent solely on destruction, eyes crazed with bloodlust and carnage. They come and they come and they come. They just keep coming.

From the elevation of where the barracks sit nestled in the hill, the brothers have a crystal clear view of the slaughter.

“Aura’s sake, you were supposed to be on that beach today,” Kane says, voice strained as he watches the surge of unspeakable beasts collide into the shining line of Shaman’s army. The monsters that break through severely outnumber the warriors that rise to their feet. Blood spurts and glitters in the sunlight, metallic and visible even from this distance. The cries of the fallen start to mingle with the hysteria of castle residents till all that remains is a steady drone of anguish and terror.

“I know.” Jack’s face is set and cold as he can do no more then pay witness to his brothers in arms dying without mercy. He should have been with them on regiment patrol today. He had gotten Commander Mace’s permission to convince Fergus to trade him a watch shift here at the barracks in exchange for a fine bottle whiskey. He had given it gleefully - his baby brother was finally coming to visit and it was worth any asking price for the day off.

An odd mixture of shame and relief flits over Kane’s face as he clearly is remembering the reason Jack is here beside him.

“We’ve got to get everybody out,” Jack says at last, glancing at the line of dorms. Kane nods tightly. There are soldier’s families here. Newly widowed women and children that will be trapped in the coming onslaught if not evacuated. “Take the mess hall and west barracks. I’ll get the armory and the east houses. Get them up and over the hill towards the river, as many as you can move in a quarter hour. Then meet me back here.”

Jack draws his sword and tosses his brother one from where it lounges abandoned against a wall. Kane hesitates as the screams draw closer, his breath visibly catching as his eyes grow impossibly wider. He is unsure in his own swordsmanship skills and of this Jack is aware.

He claps an encouraging hand on the younger man’s broader shoulder. “You can do this. I know because I trained you. It’s just aggressive sparing. Just think of them as really really ugly me’s.”

His brother’s laughter breaks the tension and momentarily strips the fear from his face. “I don’t have to imagine that hard,” Kane snorts. But the joking does the job of rallying his confidence and he touches his sword to Jack’s in salute before taking off at a run towards the westernmost houses.

They get to work. Most of the wives and children have started to migrate out of their own volition, but a few are leary of venturing out into the open and a few are hesitant to leave the only home they’ve known without knowing the condition of their husbands. They know Jack though, and trust in his handsome familiar smile and promises to see them safely away. By the time his fifteen minutes have passed, he’s got his side of the barracks emptied.

But Kane is not there to meet him at the front gate.

Jack spins, frantic in his need to find the sight of his brother’s taller form. The reason he cannot immediately spot him makes him run cold.

Kane is laid out on the gravel, a hand pressed to his abdomen (his other is still wrapped around his sword, Jack is proud to see.) There is a giant black panther-like monster slain a few yards away. He jogs over, skidding to a halt beside his felled sibling to assess the damage. ”What’d you do, you stupid mome rath?” he asks, keeping his tone light as he pries the trembling red hand from his brother’s stomach. The amount of blood seeping from the trio of lacerations criss-crossing his pelvis is alarming and unrelenting. Claw marks from the look of them. They are deep and there appears to be no magical influence attempting to stop the severed vessels from draining themselves all over Kane’s tan skin. Jack rips the hem of the ruined button down shirt off him and ties it the tightest he’s able around Kane’s waist.

His brother knows him too well to be fooled by his calm demeanor. There’s fear in the green depths of his eyes as he meets Jack’s eye. ”My magic...I can’t heal it. I don’t know why. How bad is it?”

(The spark of a memory - a teenage Kane lies with a leg at a not-right angle beneath the huge oak tree he’d been repeatedly told was too tall to climb, glancing fearfully up at the brother kneeled over him. “Is it bad, Jack? Will it heal, ya think?”)

(Shhhh, it’s fine, I’m right here with you. You’ll be fine.)

”It’s fine,” he lies smoothly, tying off the strip of plaid in a double knot.”But you’ve got to your feet or it won’t be.”

He drapes the arm on Kane’s good side around his neck and throws his weight back, struggling to raise them off the ground. He stumbles every step, but Jack’s arm is firm around his back and he tugs him back up each time. His brother swears provocatively in a grimace as he’s jostled into a limping run. ”Fucking Mallos, you might as well just let them eat me. It’d be less painful then your awful bedside manner!”

Jack shakes his head and shoots him a side grin. ”You always did have a mouth that would make the pirates blush. And like I’m going to poison the local wildlife that way. That’s animal cruelty.”

”My big damn hero,” Kane grumbles.

(The youngest brother has learned a dirty limerick and sings it proudly for his sibling but is caught and sentenced to a block of soap in the mouth for his creativity. Jack volunteers to take the punishment instead, unable to stomach his little brother’s tears. Kane is still upset later, and he doesn’t know why.)

(You don’t always have to save me, Jack.)

”Yeah, and don’t you forget it,” he grunts, carrying his brother as far as his strength will allow. It’s not a safe enough distance away and it’s not nearly fast enough.


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