There were only three times in his life that he had ever cried.
The first was on the first time he had ever touched the sky. His father had kept an old TBF Avenger from the glory days that had been rebuilt from a rusted hulk in honor of his father before him. When it was ready, he sat in the rear gunner’s seat and could barely contain the butterflies long enough to strap himself in. The old piston workhorse had roared for them as it lifted them skywayrd and had taken his heart with it, the joy streaming from his eyes and rising in his throat. As soon as his feet could reach the rudder and his eyes could peer through the propwash, he had worked and earned every moment in the air behind the stick of the old war machine. He had found his home.
The second time had been in conflict. Not in sorrow, but in sadness and respect, as he fought the man he once called a brother over the skies of Avalon Dam. This man had betrayed him, shot him in the back, and then run away under the cover of chaos. Still, they had been brothers for so long that he could not simply bring himself to hate him. Even now, as they clashed in dazzling displays of dogfighting, dogma and death, he did not hate the man who had once been his squadmate. He pitied him, because he understood him. Men in their line of work who fought for something greater than money were one in a thousand, and to fight beside him had been a privilege. But purpose was something that could so easily be tainted or taken away from them, that when conviction set in, there was no turning back. So when he had fired that final missile from his F-15C/Eagle in a screaming head-on pass and ended the legend that was ‘Solo Wing’ Pixy, he had wept for the loss of a comrade in arms.
Today, however, there was no joy, and there was no pity. Only heartbreak.
The sky was a darkened grey and cold when the heavy transport plane came into Valais Air Base. He was already outside, waiting for the wail of burdened engines and screeching tires. He had to see it for himself, he had to see her. He had to know, because his heart and his mind were never going to be satisfied with just rumor and fragments of conversation he probably wasn’t meant to catch. Whispers of an ambush in the mountain range that formed the ‘Round Table’, a natural arena of death where he had been first crowned the ‘Demon Lord’. Quickly silenced conversations of new war drums beating to the north of where he stood, making all of the struggles and death this place had faced only a year ago seem irrelevant in the face of human nature.
In an instant, however, all of that thought, all of that weight was taken from his shoulders and driven into his stomach. Emerging from the maw of the larger transport came that ivory white skin that wrapped the once so beautiful in the curves of her Su-34/FULLBACK. Only now, it wasn’t so much that it had been struck down by a lucky blow, it was like she had been eaten alive. Metallic bones tore through skin at jagged angles and angelic wings had been ripped into by some great hellbeast. But it was the burnt out hole in the side of her cheek that was most damning of all, as if she had been lanced out of the very sky.
Try as he might, he could only stand by the scene for a moment before his feet propelled him back into the hanger where his own F-15C/Eagle stood, parts and pieces removed for sorely-needed maintenance. Still, the aircraft seemed to beckon Cipher into her shadow, as if she knew he couldn’t stand on his own anymore. There, in the darkness of what earned him his title, the Demon lord screamed in pain.
So, this is a in part a sequel piece to my last post, but it is also something more, at least I’m standing up the foundations to make it more. This is a story I hope to see unfold more in the future, (in part, because I still haven’t worked out all the character names yet) because this world means a lot to me. I’ve spent a lot of time here, and have taken you all through only a small piece of it. So I hope, that by having this here now, I can look back on it and create the journey as to how we got here, and what happens next.
I hope you all enjoy.