The ground and building shook with the rumbling and crashing of the two massive dragons clashing outside. As everyone stilled their movements and held their breaths in the tense moments in the entry of the “church,” Charity squinted through the curtain and could just make out the silhouette of Mortivox in the next room.
This was it, wasn’t it? This was really it…
She softly lifted off the ground with her wind abilities that had become second nature to her as a sylph, suspending her just a few inches in the air. This let her escape feeling the rumbling of the ground with her feet. She forced herself to take in a deep breath through her nose, exhaling slowly through her mouth. By controlling her speed of breathing, she could will her heart to slow, so she could hope to calm herself.
She knew they didn’t have long. Mortivox probably already knew they were there. If she could see the silhouette of Mortivox, she had no doubt the dragon, for now in her mortal form, could see them. She could lash out at any moment. One of the dragons outside could crash into the church and… that would be it. Charity and her friends could be dead — flat-out dead — in a matter of moments.
And that would be one of the better possible outcomes.
She was glad she had taken the time to say goodbye to her parents, just in case. She had left a will in her bedroom at home as well, of course in hopes that it would not be needed. And there was a Taldan special forces team on hand as well. That gave her a little comfort, that at least she wasn’t the only Taldor native here. Perhaps they would be able to retrieve her body if…
No, she couldn’t think like that. She forced the thought from her mind. She had left the will on her bed, and she intended to sleep in that bed again. Truth be told, right now that was all she wanted. She realized now that she wasn’t as brave as she had wanted to be, or even wanted to imagine herself to be. She was nowhere near as courageous as Chiro or Agatha… Chiro seemed indomitable, and Agatha practically (and sometimes literally) laughed in the face of danger. Maybe Lini was more on Charity’s level. She seemed to just want to get out of this alive, though the appearance of Tyranus had rattled her as much as anyone, maybe even more given her history.
Charity’s eyes briefly fixed on Grandmaster Shao, who as ever seemed the picture of serene focus. She wondered if Shao was afraid, and reasoned she must have been, on some level…but also determined. What else but determination could bring Shao back to face Mortivox again after what she had done to her before?
I’m not as brave as any of them, Charity thought sullenly. I’m… I’m so scared. If I ever make it back home, I swear I’m never leaving that bed ever again.
But then another thought crossed her mind. A memory of… something… someone had said. Who was it who had said it? The brigadier general, maybe? Or maybe another Taldan soldier? Maybe it didn’t matter.
Courage doesn’t mean not being afraid. It means being scared to death, and doing the right thing anyway.
She straightened up, determined she would see home again, and silently drew her blades.