The worlds of the Bionis and Mechonis could be many things: beautiful and quiet, serene and majestic, or brutal and cacophonous, dark and savage. For the Homs army making their last stand on the sword stretching between the titans, they certainly leaned towards the latter.
Soldiers and their daemons alike screamed and roared, battling back the Mechon as best they could. But no matter how many they felled, the deadly machines kept advancing, their numbers seemingly endless. Before long, calls to retreat dominated the battlefield, and a tide of soldiers and daemons pulled back from the constant waves of Mechon flooding out from deeper in the valley.
Despite the hopelessness of the army at large, one Homs-daemon pair ran towards the approaching Mechon, heedless of the danger. Dunban swung the Monado with wild abandon, cutting through Mechon left and right, while his bobcat daemon Samrilli tore through their armor almost as easily thanks to the Enchantment empowering her claws.
“They’re advancing down our weak right flank. For a bunch of soulless machines, they seem to know a thing or two,” Dunban observed.
“We’ll see about that,” Samrilli responded, snarling at the advancing Mechon as she caught up to her partner. “Ready for more?”
Dunban activated the Monado once more, a smile finding its way onto his face. “Let’s go!” The duo rushed into the fray once more.
Meanwhile, two other Homs ran across the battlefield with their daemons. Once they saw the Monado’s light, Dickson and Mumkhar joined Dunban behind the meager cover of a twisted piece of debris.
“Dunban! We’ve been given the order to retreat,” Dickson snapped. “We’re pulling back to Colony 6. That’s where we’ll set up the last line of defense.” Dickson’s lizard daemon said nothing, content to look out over the battlefield from the safety of its reinforced capsule.
“That’s a good idea. Any more time spent hanging around here and we’re done for,” said Dunban, a thoughtful expression on his face.
“Count me in! We’ve gotta get out of here,” chimed a voice from the other side, Mumkhar nodding in agreement with his wolverine daemon.
“Or, we could stay and fight?” suggested Samrilli, an eager look on her face.
“We may die if we take a stand here, but staying gives us the chance to change our destinies,” continued Dunban. “We have the Monado. With this, the future is ours for the taking!” Samrilli was already on top of the debris stack by the time Dunban was finished talking, but when Dunban went to follow her, Dickson pulled him back down by the shoulder.
“Stupid beast! Your body can’t take any more of the Monado.” Dickson glared at the swordsman. “I can tell by just looking at you!”
Dunban shook his head with a wry smile. “Don’t worry old man, I’m still in control.”
“We’re fine, Dickson!” Samrilli shouted down from her perch. “But we won’t be for long if we don’t get moving!”
Dickson looked at the Monado for a moment before shaking his head. “Should’ve known I couldn’t talk sense into a beast. Let’s do this. I’m going with you,” he continued, checking the sights on his Sabre. “You’ll need someone to drag your corpse home!”
“As long as you’ve still got the strength in you, old man,” Dunban retorted, Samrilli stretching and getting ready for another mad dash across the battlefield.
“Oi, you two! We’ve been ordered to pull back. I’m leaving!” Mumkhar wasn’t any more willing to throw himself back into danger than he had been a few moments ago, and his daemon emphatically agreed.
“Besides, have you seen what’s coming our way? We don’t stand a chance, not even with the Monado!” Chernamen was gesticulating wildly with her paws, trying to illustrate the size of the Mechon force ahead of them. “It’s the best weapon we have, sure, but what can three Homs and two daemons do against an entire army of Mechon?! We need to get out of here if we want to survive!”
Samrilli chuckled. “Have you forgotten exactly who those Homs and daemons are, Cherna? We’re Dunban and Samrilli, heroes of the Homs! Dickson the traveller, the one who found the Monado and gave us this chance against the Mechon! And no one would ever dare to forget Mumkhar and Chernamen, the clawed terrors!”
Chernamen grumbled. “Flattery is a dirty trick, Samrilli.” She stretched out her paws, sharing a look with Mumkhar. Staying a little longer couldn’t hurt , she insisted over the bond.
Mumkhar groaned, knowing full well that his daemon was stubborn enough to stand her ground and force him to stay here whether he liked it or not. Fine! But if things go south, we’re leaving. I don’t plan on dying in this godforsaken field.
One of the last remaining Homs soldiers nearby yelled, “The enemy’s second wave is approaching!”
“It’s now or never, Dunban,” Dickson said. “Let’s show them what we’ve got. We’ll give them a warm Homs welcome!” With that, the trio and their daemons left behind their cover and dove back into the fray.
After a few moments of preparation, a quick swing of the Monado granted Enchantment to Dickson, Mumkhar, and the daemons, allowing them all to join Dunban in tearing apart the waves of machinery. But no matter how many Mechon the team scrapped, more would come to take their place. It was only a matter of time before something went wrong.
Samrilli yowled as Dunban raced forward, the Monado flashing between the armored plates of the Mechon. “Dunban, wait!” she yelled as she ducked and dodged between the brutal machines, desperate to keep up with her partner. “You’re going too fast--I can’t keep up! Dunban! ”
But Dunban didn’t seem to even notice his daemon’s cries. He just kept charging forward, heedless of anything but the enemies in front of him and the sword glowing and sparking in his hand. Samrilli yowled in pain, the reflection of electric shocks traveling down their bond making her steps unsteady. Eventually, his stamina seemed to run out, and he sank to his knees on top of a pile of Mechon scrap.
Samrilli panted as she finally drew near to her Homs, still trembling slightly from the strain placed on their bond by the distance created in Dunban’s mad dash. “What were you thinking ? I almost--” She cut herself off abruptly as she drew nearer, her pawsteps becoming uncertain as she got closer to Dunban. “Dunban? Are you…?”
The sudden steps of an approaching Mechon interrupted her words. Though she bared her fangs and readied herself to pounce, her motions all felt slower than usual, and she knew in her heart that the Mechon would attack before she could, and that would be the end…
Except Dickson flung himself between her and Dunban and the Mechon, getting stabbed in the back in the process. Despite his injury, he still managed to get an ether shot off into the machine’s face, and both he and the machine tumbled down the side of the scrap pile.
Samrilli leapt up from Dunban’s side to peer down where Dickson and the Mechon were still entangled. “Dickson! Are you okay?” she shouted, shock evident in her voice.
“I ain’t going down that easily!” came the reply from below. “Is Dunban alright?”
The bobcat daemon looked over her shoulder to where Dunban had managed to pull himself to his feet, using the Monado as a support. He panted in exertion, but Dunban and Samrilli both could feel the determination flowing through them.
“We’re good to go!” Despite his words, Dunban stumbled on his way down from the scrap pile, and Dickson quickly moved to his side to support him. Samrilli stayed near Dunban, eyes darting around the battlefield and landing on Mumkhar, who was running towards…
“Mumkhar, what are you doing?! That way is--”
Dunban’s warning was cut off by Mumkhar’s shout from across the battlefield. “Sorry, brothers, but it’s the Monado they’re after, so have fun keeping them occupied for me! I’m getting the hell out of here!” Chernamen by his side was oddly silent, unwilling to meet Samrilli’s eyes across the distance between them.
“Mumkhar, you dirty--” Dickson looked ready to tear into Mumkhar even in an active warzone, but he wasn’t given the chance.
“Oh, don’t worry. I’ll organize your funerals!” Mumkhar ran away, chuckling to himself as Dickson and Dunban looked on in disbelief.
Samrilli ran forward a few steps before being stopped by the bond. She reached out one paw, looking towards her longtime friends as they ran from the battlefield. Chernamen briefly turned around, and said something inaudible over the sounds of the battle around them. To Samrilli’s eyes, it looked like I’m sorry, Sam.
Dickson turned around just in time to notice a massive ether blast rocketing straight towards them. The three leaped away just in time, blown back further by the impact of the shot on the scrap pile next to them.
Dickson looked up at the approaching fortress unit and muttered, “If this is a joke, it ain’t funny.” He looked to the sky with annoyance, tossing a hand into the air beside him. “At least we know our luck can’t get any worse from here.”
Beside him, Dunban and Samrilli locked eyes. It took only a moment for the two to agree on a course of action, and they stood in unison. “Dickson, take care of the survivors.” Dickson stared up at him in disbelief, but both man and daemon ignored him.
Dunban glared ahead at the approaching Mechon, the light on the Monado reflecting in his eyes. “Vile Mechon,” he began. “If you think the Homs, the people of Bionis, are just waiting here for you to pick us off...you are sorely mistaken!” Dunban and Samrilli yelled in unison as they sprinted towards the attacking Mechon, knowing only one side of the battle would survive the night, and accepting whatever fate the Bionis had in store for them.