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A large rectangular clearing, with walls of iron bars on each side, which were botlet into the stone roof that made up the ceiling of the labour camp in Yukikaze.

"So you came," Enshi said, but with not a hint of surprise in his voice, as if they'd done as he'd predicted. "Welcome to Yukikaze," he added unenthusiastically. He began to walk straight ahead, past all the clamour of Kasai slaves working around him, toward a pair of iron corrugated doors, which he opened with relative ease.

All around the hunters was smoke, iron and flame, pots of lava and water into which lowly workers were dipping newly-forged weapons, the sound of churning lava, hammering iron and hissing water filling their ears.

"This must be you guys' only comfort in this place," Roux said, her voice filled with sombre memorial. "Kasai was the focal point of the forging industry. It was what made us so rich. "The Iron Fortress", everybody used to call it."

"Yes," Enshi said. "...And look at us now."

They carried on walking down the narrow forging passage until they reached another set of doors. Enshi opened these and within was a round room, with an iron table thaat was equally round, spanning the room, a pool of smelting lava in the middle. Around the tabe sat a multitude of slave workers, about fifty or so, although sixteenen seats were empty- two fo tehm would remain unfilled thanks to Helyna's and Tamari's deaths. Every person in the room bowed their heads and fell silent when they saw Gale.
Brand X Music - Halfway Home (Josh Lynch & Tom Gire - Modern Epic Hybrid Rock)01:46

Brand X Music - Halfway Home (Josh Lynch & Tom Gire - Modern Epic Hybrid Rock)

The Rebels' theme

"They recognize you, Windweaver. Please, sit," Enshi said, directing them to the empty chairs. Gale, Mizu, Shinji, Jinsoku, Arashi, Rakurai, Tsuaki, Skylar, Makoto, Roux, Nina, Altair and Gigas each sat down in a chair, from left to right (in that order), leaving a space for Enshi-who was clearly in charge here- in the middle. When Enshi sat down, he began to speak.

"Now, as you all know, we now have the hunters and Descendants with us, along with the Windweaver herself."

"Wait a second," said Gale. "You sound like you've met us before."

"I haven't, not directly. You haven't ever noticed, but I've been teleporting around from here, follwoing your every step. I know your entire journey from Kasai all the way to here in Yukikaze. I had to keep tabs on you. You are all quintessential to our Great Revolt," Enshi divulged. "Anyway, as I was saying, we can now put our plans for the Great Revolt into action."

A cheer reverbarated around the large room, more and more slaves walking in through the various entraces dotted around the edges of the room, until the floor was a sea of hopeful heads.

"But before I give everybody a briefing, we must divulge to the Descendants the details of what the Dark One and the Frozen Dictator plan to do with this world," Enshi added, then cleared his throat as if preparing for a sermon. "As you well know...three years ago...the Frozen Dictator tried to wipe out humanity with the Divine Maelstrom. The winds would arrive regardless of his actions and wipe out everyone, regardless of race, but he gathered enough souls to survive the onslaught. Anyway, he was struck down, the prophecy was broken and the crisis was averted. But that was not the end. The White Star had a backup plan. He took advantage of time's eternal state of flux, so that his plans no longer adhere to any kind of destiny. Before he was ressurrected by Kazir, he found Shinkaiyami in the Hidden Realm, and they formulated a plan together. Now that the Dark One is in our world, and has his Heart, we are at a severe disadvantage. When Shinkaiyami's Heart is finished gathering dark energies, he will go beyond his former power, becoming almost omnipotent. He will be able move through history at will. He will go back into the past...and he will bring the Divine Maelstrom back with him."

Murmurs of concern spread like wildfire around the makeshift court- despite already knowing this, hearing it from Enshi only made them fear it more.

"There was the problem that the Wyrms would tap the power of the Lake of Eternity to bring about and endless supply of ice Descendent facsimiles, but our newfound friends here stopped the attack on Kyuuryuu. And you, Altair," Enshi mused, pointing briefly at Altair, who appeared rather confused at his being pinpointed, "Unleashed Kage No Nami...Wave of Shadows...a very dangerous manouvre to emply, indeed...but how you attained a sliver of Shinkaiyami's abyss would be a mystery. Would. You do not posses the Dark One's essence, as you had assumed. You are not his Descendant- a Descendant would not be able to survive past the foetal stage having the powers of two Wyrms passed onto them. You, sirrah, channel your dark abilities directly from the Abyss.

Another round of shocked gasps (which Nina partook in).

"I'm sorry, the "Abyss"?" Altair said, perplexed, squinting in his befuddlement. His comrades were as mystified as he was. Enshi blinked slowly.

"I...am the original fire Descendants. I have been alive for longer than one could dare to imagine. I saw the rise and fall of the Wyrms, form begining to fateful end. Shinkaiyami had the Abyss built as part of his war effort. The Abyss is an bottomless pit, a well, if you will, of immeasurable power. The pit itself was infused with dark magicks, so that nobody but Shinkaiyami could use it...and nobody, not even he himself, could ever destroy it. It is this very bottomless well that fuels the imperial armies as we speak. It has detrimental effects on flora and fauna alike. Currently, it's effects haven't really taken effect, but when Shinkaiyami's Heart is filled with raw power from the Abyss, he can finally regain his true power, and more. And then...anyway, I digress. The point is that you and you alone posses the ability to do that which nobody- besides Shinkaiyami- in the history of mankind has ever been able to do- draw power from the Abyss. Over the years, we have discovered one single thing- just one- that could bring this entire empire crashing down: only shadow kills shadow. Therefore, we have deduced -as an assumption, mind- that...that you can destroy the Abyss."

More excited chattering.

"I have been in and out of this prison subcity, and I have contacted all the cities and villages- Sukai, Chikyuu, Kyuuryuu. Sure, the forces of a tiny village like Sukai will not win us any battle, but there are strength in numbers. Chikyuu is our lands second largest city, and it's forces are many-theu may be subjugated, but they haven't lost the touch. Kyuuryuu is colossal, almost enough to rival the imperial army by itself. That colossal legion together with the entirety of Kasai, and a whole buch of Descendants..we will have a decent chance of victory at the very least," Enshi finished, then stood up from his seat proudly.

"TODAY, IS THE DAY OF OUR LIBERATION!" he boomed, and the colossal crowds gathered in the huge court echoeed with hope and courage.

"Is that so?" a shrill voice asked.

Suddenly, everything went deadly silent as Kazir and a whole heap of Ukanlos and Abyssal Sanctum soldiers burst into the room from every entrace, blocking the slaves in like rats. Suddenly, Kazir waved his hand at Gale, Rakurai and Arashi, and they were wrapped in ice, frozen in place. They sturggled to break the vine-like wrappings, but it was too cold to shatter.

"Take these three to the gallows. Bring all the slaves and their new buddies here with them. As soldiers wrechnec Gale and her sons free of the ice and dragged them away, Enshi whispered something in Gale's ear quickly, bere everybody was hearded to the central quare of Yukikaze to face judgement.





To Be Continued in: Fate and Freedom XXV: Execution

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