The building was brightly lit; the walls covered in framed images and displays of a variety of bones and fossils. It was silent, and there was no one in the halls. The three uniformed figures starkly contrasted their sterile surroundings; they jogged down the halls, eyes roving; searching for any sign of movement. “How are we supposed to know where Wren is?” Asked Keila, unconsciously lowering her voice.
“It’ll probably be the room with the most reinforcement and guards,” Rune answered. “Where everyone else is, I don’t know.”
The building was full of twists and confusing halls, most rooms full of scientific apparatus. Then, they found it. Their hearts jumped as they rounded a corner and, standing on either side of a door, two heavily armed, enormous men. Huge compared to Clint and Keila; to Rune, they were only slightly larger than his companions. The sarsh strode forward. “Gentlemen-” He called to them.
“Hey!” One interrupted. “You’re not allowed here! State your business!”
The soldier blinked, crossing his arms. “I was about to, but you rudely interrupted me.” His eyes, hidden by his mask, flicked to his two companions; they stood straight, pose relaxed and non-threatening, but not careless. Good. Rune thought.
“I was saying,” The sarsh continued. “My friends and I are here to fetch a young man named Wren, do you know him?”
One guards whispered to the other; ‘Do you know a Wren?’
‘No, call Liam. Tell him this guy’s not normal, could be a variety of giant, I mean look at the size of that guy!’
‘Yeah, yeah. Okay.’
Rune waited patiently, watching as one man called for ‘Liam’ and the other watched them warily. These men are rookies, The sarsh thought, but at least it’s better than them shooting at us.
“Okay,” The sarsh said, stepping forward. “I’ll give you a hint, the guy I’m looking for is behind that door, he’s almost twenty feet tall and has really pale blond hair. Now do you know who I’m talking about?”
The guard who wasn’t preoccupied swallowed. “I’m afraid I do, but you can’t take him anywhere because he is in our custody. J-just stay where you are and our boss will have a few words with you.”
“I don’t have time for that; if you won’t move, I’ll let myself in.”
“Y-you can’t, it’s locked.”
“That won’t be a problem.” The Beacon turned around, addressing his friends. “Okay, they locked the door and we don’t have a key, but I can get inside and open it from there, try to move the guard away from the door so I don’t stab him.”
“Why don’t we just cut the locks from the outside?” Clint inquired.
“Because they’re going to get in the way and cause problems.”
“What do we do if he won’t move?”
“Keila can push him with her force fields. Okay, ready?”
Two affirmations met the sarsh’s ears, and he nodded to his companions. He straightened and moved toward the guard; the man raised his gun, looking fearfully into the soldier’s visor, the guard’s own distorted face stared back at him. The second guard rushed over, placing himself in front of Rune and summoned all his courage to look tough. “I ain’t budging!” The second guard exclaimed. Rune snorted.
“I don’t need you to.” He phased through them and walked straight through the door; their reactions were priceless, and so loud, Rune could hear them through the thick door.
Once on the other side of the door, Rune saw the giant and he couldn’t keep his eyes from stretching wide. Wren looked to be barely seventeen, yet laying stretched across several beds in a row, he was unbelievably massive for even sarsh. Shaking off his shock, the Beacon paced over to the frost giant and grabbed his arm intending to shake him awake. There was no need. The moment the sarsh’s icy metal hand touched Wren’s pale skin, the giant’s fist was airborne, headed straight for Rune’s head.
The sarsh reacted just in time, catching Wren’s wrist, his fingers wrapping only halfway around. “Wren!” Rune called, trying to penetrate the fog of paranoid sleep. “I’m here to help you!” At the sound of an unfamiliar voice, Wren’s eyes cracked open and blinked blearily as he processed the figure standing over him.
“Who are you?” Wren croaked.
“Call me Chimera, for now. We’re here to get you out of here.”
“We’re?” Wren wondered, sitting up slowly. His eyes widened as he considered Rune’s height and build. “Whoa! You’re big for a... uhh... You’re not human, are you?”
“We’ll talk about this later,” The sarsh answered irritably. “Wake yourself up while I open the door for my friends.”
“You can’t, it’s locked.”
“That won’t be a problem.”
Wren intently watched the sarsh as he bounded over to the door, his gleaming black arm transformed into a blade and, with minimal difficulty, he slid it into the crack between the door and doorjamb; using his flesh forearm, he pushed it down, slicing through all the locks.
“How did you-” Wren began.
“Not important right now,” Rune interrupted, grunting as he pried the door open; he beckoned his friends in and slammed it shut after them. Wren watched them in bleary confusion, noticing their matching dark uniforms.
“Who are you all?” He asked.
Rune rolled his eyes, growling deep in his chest. “You’re just full of questions, aren’t you?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” Wren replied indignantly. “I just got woken by some armed and masked soldier, if that is even a mask. How am I to know?”
“Believe me,” Rune rolled his eyes. “This is not my face. We are the Embers, harbingers of peace. We’re here to rescue you.”
“... Because we were told to.”
“We’ll talk about this later,” Rune growled, losing his patience quickly. “Can you fit through this door?” He pointed to the only door in the room. Wren shook his head.
“They had to take down this wall to get me in,” He replied, knocking on the wall against his bed. Rune stepped up to the wall and his body assumed a slightly transparent, wispy quality.
Wren’s eyes grew so wide they were literally the size of dinner plates; he opened his mouth.
“Not right now.” Rune said without even turning his head. “They built this wall quickly and poorly. We can bring it down.”
Recovering his senses, Wren snorted dubiously. “I don’t think so, I can’t even break it.”
“You’d be surprised what Ru-Chimera can do,” Keila interjected.
“You’re also injured, Wren.” The sarsh called as he studied the wall.
“How did you know that?” The frost giant demanded.
“Same way I knew your name,” Was the response. “Guys, come here.”
“Sure, boss.” The young man joked, jogging over with Keila at his side. “What are you thinking?”
“Use your parablade to cut a hole, it can be small.”
Clint took a few minutes, and soon a jagged hole decorated the wall. “Okay,” Rune gestured to Keila to avoid using her name. “I want you to make an energy ball in here and expand it to break the wall, understand?”
The young girl nodded. Inside the hole, a tiny ball of wavering energy appeared and slowly grew. Then Rune addressed Wren. “Move away from the wall.” The giant nodded, rising tentatively to his feet and limping heavily to the far side of the room.
Keila built up pressure and her own focus, and with a sudden outward movement of her hands, the ball burst, exploding the wall in shards of wood and metal reinforcement. Wren flinched and covered his face with his massive, scarred arm. The sarsh glanced up at him. “Are you alright?”
Wren shook his head, face pained. “My calf really hurts.”
The soldier nodded sympathetically. “How is your back?”
“Still hurts a lot, it’s only been, what? A week?”
“Can you still walk?”
“Depends on where we’re going.”
“Our transport is less than half a mile away.”
“Yeah, that’ll be fine.”
“Good, now let’s go before this Liam character gets here.”
Wren nodded, and if possible, his face grew paler than it already was; he bent double and shuffled out into the open. He turned his pale face to the sun and his eyes gleamed with tears, a small smile touched his dry lips. Then it disappeared. He turned to the Embers. “Are you taking me home?” He asked softly. Rune swallowed a growl of frustration. He’d hoped the young giant wouldn’t bring that up. Not yet, anyway.
The giant moved towards the uniformed Embers, his fists clenched. “You’re not, are you?”
Rune reluctantly shook his head, cursing Tyrene for making him steal people from their homes against their will. “I’m sorry, Wren. We can’t take you home.”
Wren crouched, glaring fiercely into the sarsh’s face. “And just where do you think you’re taking me?”
“Off this planet.”
The giant was aghast. His mouth hung open and he fell onto his rear. “What? Why? How?” He whispered, his voice unstable; when the Embers hesitated, he closed his mouth with a clop and shook his head. “Why should I go with some strangers to.. Wherever, when my home is right there?” He pointed to a large white mountain in the distance.
Rune ticked off the reasons. “One: You’re injured, so you would get caught before you made it there. Two: We’ll introduce ourselves properly if you come with us. Three: how would you like to be part of something potentially capable of changing the world?”
Wren tore his hand through his hair, groaning. “No, no, no.” He whispered. Rune sighed, feeling anger toward Tyrene boil in his chest and sympathy diffuse it because he knew how Wren felt. A brisk wind blew through the treetops and crickets chirped, then Rune’s ears pricked as frantic voices and footsteps interrupted the silence.
“We have to go now,” Rune announced. “Are you coming or not, Wren?”
The young frost giant was torn; his grey-blue eyes flicked between the retreating Embers and the door, which shook on its hinges as the soldiers arrived and battered the door down; Rune had locked it. Deciding, the giant painfully straightened and limped after the retreating backs.