Kono was furious. Not mad, or angry, or even upset. But Furious. The kind of unchecked rage that gave his type of fae their name. Raiju were scary in a storm, but they were downright terrifying when they were the storm.
It took a lot of power to summon up clouds like the one the tiger fae was riding on and if Riza hadn’t seen Dagon help Kono summon them herself she wouldn’t have believed this much electricity could be pulled together.
Those were thoughts long gone however. Now the raven was operating on pure instinct and fear. Just as Kono was relying on his nature to chase her she was using hers to run. Tricksters are an annoying bunch but when you catch them at what they’re doing they spook pretty easily. Riza had lived her life being scared from one horrible situation to the next and tonight’s fights was really no different. Except the stakes were too damn high.
What was once the vast expanse of the Endless sea had given way to blue Pacific Ocean and the docks and ports of human cities. The two of them were still above the water and it would be another few minutes before she could shelter on land. Getting cover was her only hope, out here in the middle of the sky she was as good as gone.
A roar that would make a volcano jealous split the sky. Riza turned around to see a Raiju sized ball of lighting hurtling towards her at unimaginable speed. There was only a second to react and Riza made her choice without hesitation, she dove. Kono ripped past her and as he did she could feel the air above her burst with explosive energy. The force that carried the Raiju couldn’t be stopped easily and Kono went for at least another mile before he was able to hault and scream in frustration.
An acute but familiar pain went through the Trickster as light fell over her form. Her attacker was too far away for him to be the source and as Riza flew up and out of the way she saw a huge metal structure flying underneath her. It was the size of any reasonable Dragon but didn’t seem to pay her any attention or notice. She spent what little time she could assessing the thing before diving down and taking cover from Kono behind it.
Near the front of the giant metal machine Riza found the reason for its lifelessness. A human was sitting inside and driving it like one of the dwarven war tanks she’d seen back in the siege of Falias. The man seemed to be in some sort of panic and was having a heated conversation with a small black box in his hand.
The sky erupted once more in a blaze of thunder. Bolts of lightning tore through the sky straight at Riza’s cover. By the time she saw the attack coming through the pilots window it was too late. Pure electric force seared through the metal of the things huge left wing as the man inside tried his best to get out of the way of the storm. Metal met feathers in an alarming amount of force that sent the raven off her flight path and falling down.
There was another roar masked as a crack of thunder and with it came the Raiju. Without a word Kono shot another bolt of lightning straight at Riza just as darkness was beginning cover her. The raven dodge the shot again by diving. But there was no escaping the explosion.
Riza looked up just in time to see the metal dragon combust in an enormous ball of fire that knocked her even farther away and threw Kono off balance as well. Huge scraps began to fall from the larger shell of the machine. Looking down the Trickster saw she only had about ten seconds before they hit the water. Luckily she knew how to fall and the Raiju didn’t.
In one last ditch effort to safe herself Riza spent her last bit of aether to let herself breath water and dove straight down into the icy Puget Sound.
Nothing is quite so earth shattering as the sound of one’s mother screaming in terror. The screech came seemingly out of nowhere and cut through Aiden’s sound canceling headphones like an especially sharp knife. It lasted for only a few seconds but it was enough for ‘AFK’ to be quickly typed into the raid chat before the woman sitting at the computer desk jumped out of her chair and went running for the living room.
The scene was much less concerning than she first thought but distressing upon first sight none the less. A older woman dressed in a neat gray pants suit was slumped down onto her knees weeping into her hands in front of the television that was playing the local evening news. A glass vase had been broken on the floor next to her and lines of blood ran down one hand, mixing with her tears as she cried.
Confused as to the cause of her mother’s grief Aiden turned her head to the T.V. and listened to the report. The news caster was a short stocky man with dark brown skin and he began speaking as soon as the camera focused on him,
“For those of you who have just joined us we’re reporting on a freak plane crash over the water just north of Edmonds. Sea-Tac officials have confirmed that it is not a passenger plane, saying it was a plane on a final test flight headed back to the Bowing air fields. Our contact at Bowing has informed us that the plan was being piloted by veteran pilot Jonathan Roy and they expect that outside interferences are what caused him to crash. "
Aiden’s heart wrenched as her father’s name left the lips of the newscaster and she found herself silently leaning against the wall in shock as she watched the him go on about the crash. The scene changed to a man in a raincoat that looked to be fighting to stay upright in a wind storm, he had to yell into his microphone to get the other newscaster to hear him.
“It’s really bizarre,” The man in the storm began " All of our eye witness reports say they saw anywhere between five and ten bursts of lighting accompanied by what many of them describe as an animalistic roar. Two of them claim to have seen figures fighting in the clouds and one couple said they watched a large black shape collide with the plane just as it began to go down. "
Each new word hurt to process and eventually it became too much. Aiden put the news on mute and went over to her mother, bending down to hold her. They sat there like that for what seemed like ages.
“He’s gone.” The older woman whispered
“You don’t know that mom.” Aiden replied through some of her own tears “The reporters say they haven’t found him.”
“I saw the explosion live.” Merissa Roy said in a tone void of any life "Before they could edit it out. The news started reporting as the plane was going down. It looked like he was going to be able to land it but about half way down another bolt of lightning hit the fuel tank. "
Mrs. Roy looked up at her daughter with bloodshot eyes “No one could have survived that.”
The Funeral for Jonathan Nester Roy was held only a month after his death. Being that he died on the job, and that Jonathan and his wife had worked for the air company for thirty years, Bowing paid for most of the expenses. It was the only silver lining Ace could find in the whole thing. Her father had been about to retire in a few months and the money it would have cost her mother to have him buried in the same fashion would be a huge kick in the gut.
A lot had happened in the month since the crash. The company let her mother retire early and, unable to continue living in their current home, had moved in with her sister. Taking the same cue Aiden had left to go and finish her internship at a bird sanctuary just outside the city. She’d come back fatebound.
So it was with a lot of concealing clothing and more make-up than she had ever worn in her life that Ace gazed down at the empty hole her father would spend the rest of eternity in.
Besides all of the normal feelings of sorrow and pain that accompanied any funeral Ace felt that there was something else wrong. Something at the edge of her mind that she couldn’t quite remember. It had been a problem she’d been facing ever since fatebinding but others she’d talked to had assured her it was normal to forget some things after gaining the memories of a whole other individual.
“Hopefully it’s just that” She thought as the priest began to speak.
“Dearly beloved,” The old man began, his deep voice cutting through the sound of rain falling on a crowd of umbrellas. "We are gathered here today to remember and lay to rest Jonathan Nester Roy. A man who served his country here at home and abroad as one of the best pilots this world has ever known. "
The priest and her relatives went on for over an hour to honor the life of her father. It was too long and too short all together and as everyone continued to speak the nagging feeling that something was wrong continued to grow inside of Ace’s gut.
Friends and family alike lined up to put a final flower on the chest of Jonathon Roy and by some sick twist of fate Ace found herself propelled by the others to the front of the line. It was his face that brought the memories back.
A horrible headache like nothing either Riza or Aiden had ever experienced overcame her. There was a flash of memories that had somehow been suppressed and it only took about five seconds of staring in the coffin to realize why she’d felt so wrong this whole time. The rose fell from her fingers and Ace broke off into a run so fast no one could even think to stop her.
I did this. I used his plane as cover.
No, she did this. The fae, not you.
But that IS me. That is my past now too, those were my choices.
The realization hit Ace like a truck and she only made it to her car in the parking lot before collapsing in the driver’s seat. It was a long time before the Trickster moved again and when she did it was only to fish under her seat for something she’d hidden there a long time ago.
The familiar sound of the zippo signaled the lighting of a habit she’d quit nearly six years ago. But if there was ever a time for a cigarette, it was now.
( Guess why Ace hates lighting )