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Like a cloth wiping away the dirt and the tarnish, the magic lifted from his body. He stumbled forward, as if he’d been shackled for eons, and Rosa cried out, and he caught himself on his knees.

It was his idea, after all. A man does not get appointed Lord Commander of the Baronian Red Wings without becoming well versed in military strategy. Working with mages had brought so many new theories and ideas to the table. The Berserk spell meant he hit fast, he hit hard, and he wouldn’t stop until the enemy was defeated... or dead. With that, came the anger -- an anger that did not belong to him, but an anger that exhausted him all the same.

Kain and Edge were at his sides in no time, their whispers harsh as their concerns and commands at each other filled Cecil’s ears. Muffled, as if the world around him was under Silence. He heard Rydia, and then Kain again, and felt his two comrades begin to move. Each had taken him by the arm, and Cecil had enough sense to walk with them into the safe area his team found.

Once he had been let down, his eyes shut on their own. He heard nothing, and saw nothing.

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This dark reflection of Bahamut -- who would have known how brutal, how wily it was, bouncing its fire precisely off its own reflective barrier to pierce theirs. Rosa had no idea how many Raises she had cast now, even with the help of a staff blessed for that very purpose. Each time she brought someone back onto their feet, they would get blasted again, and again, and again… Rosa felt a nasty headache coming on, and she didn’t know whether that was the mana fatigue or if an injury on her head was finally hurting.

Even Cecil, whose training as a Dark Knight and subsequent practice as a Paladin strengthened his pain tolerance, he was on his hands and knees, struggling to focus. He hadn’t even the strength left to direct his party -- not that they were all conscious to begin with. Kain was still in the air, but the window between his landing and his next jump would be enough for the dragon to catch him. Rydia and Edge were not as lucky. .

Wiping sweat from her brow, Rosa began murmuring the prayer for curing, hoping she could finish after Kain landed and before the dreaded wyrm’s flare launched at them once more.