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Out of Time: Act 1

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{First order of business,} Kazai Suizahn said as he spread out the map on the table in their hotel room. {Find out where we are, and where our fellow Angels might have arrived. We can regroup from there and find out what's going on.}

Zahariah Sanjulo frowned thoughtfully as he looked towards Kieri, who was staring out the window at the crowded city street below. {It's late winter,} he said, turning back to Kazai. {We'll need supplies to get anywhere. We also don't know the local language, save for your sister. She'll be our main hope for getting any news.}

Kieri wasn't listening as the two made their plans, though she did explain their location when they asked for her help, and she was able to help them understand the map itself. Other than that, her eyes were out on the darkening sky. Something seemed off – that black vortex that swallowed them was terrifying, but to dump them on Medius? Way too strange.

Something in her stirred. The 15-year-old Angel girl was certain that there was something truly wrong here. She was just damned, as Medians might say, if she knew what it was.

Finally, the two boys turned in for the night, and Kieri joined them, but she couldn't shake the feeling that everything was about to go topsy-turvy.

 

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It had been a single long, cold week since Kieri, Kazai, and Zahariah had been yanked from Heaven and thrust into Medius without much warning. The three had been mostly lost, often utterly confused, and more than a bit worried, though Kieri was able to at least translate for them and get them shelter. The town of Farun had been incredibly respectful, and had done everything they could to make the Angels feel comfortable. In time, Kieri began to listen to rumor mills about town, trying to get a handle on what was happening for them.

This had only lasted until her unfortunate encounter with Toski. Kieri had tried to stop the Guardian committing a robbery, unaware of her foe's true identity, and Toski had cursed her for her impudence. Kieri quickly learned a bit of control over the spell that had afflicted her, but she still felt ashamed of herself for allowing it to happen.

She even began going outside less, until her brother practically dragged her out one day.

As they walked along Farun's streets that day, Kieri mostly kept her head down, only speaking when either her brother or Zaha spoke to her. As they walked, a scream of shock ripped through the air. They all turned to see a red-scaled Fire Demon stumble out of an alley. Being the noble warriors they were, the three quickly gave chase after it as it ran. Kieri found herself beginning to lag behind, and in a moment, she was ambushed by two more Demons – to the additional screams of the locals. She barely drew her blade in time to deflect the blow of the Water Demon and lunged to her left. The Earth Demon slammed his axe into the ground right where she had been a moment before. Cutting defensively, she managed to parry a large swipe, and got clawed in the face for her trouble.

As she backed away, the Water Demon attacked again, not letting up and viciously slicing her open while the Earth Demon circled. She was already in it deep.

'Mother was right,' she thought bitterly as her foes cornered her. 'I really am just a failure of a warrior.' Her teeth grit in rage at herself.

 

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As Kazai and Zahariah ran after the scaly Fire Demon, their quarry sent a bolt of flame backwards at them. Kazai barely deflected the attack, at which point the Demon slipped down an alley. They arrived to find it had vanished from sight. {Curses,} Kazai growled. {Split up and find it!}

{Do not worry about him. There is no time.} Both boys turned, surprised at the formal-sounding Angelic, only to see another Fire Demon, this one purple of fur and red of eye, dressed in red pants and what looked like a tattered black bathrobe. Kazai readied his axe, but the new Demon shook his head. {You have no time for this,} he stated plainly, {you two need to come with me. Kieri is in trouble, and more than you know falls on her shoulders.}

Zahariah blinked. {How – what?} he asked, confused. {What're you talking about?}

{Just follow me,} the strange Demon sighed, seemingly weary and frustrated. He stalked down the street at a decent clip, ignoring the murmurs of confusion and fear from the Medians. Kazai and Zahariah glanced at each other, the former grimacing and nodding, and they followed him, Kazai gripping his axe just in case.

It didn't take long for them to come across Kieri, busy with two Demons – Earth and Water – and with many scratches on her. She looked about ready to fall. {Kieri!} Kazai roared, charging into the fray. The Water Demon growled and unleashed a blast of ice, quickly catching the young man in a snare. {Damn beast, let me – }

"Burn Ray." A lance of blue light, fading to black around its edges, lanced from the Fire Demon's hand and into the Water Demon. She yelped in sudden pain and was sent skidding from the Angel she was trying to target. The Earth Demon, stunned, bore his axe and swung, only for the Fire Demon to bring up a staff – seemingly from nowhere – and bring it up to block the attack. The staff shattered under the force of the hit, but after chopping past the Fire Demon's arm, it turned blue hot and melted into slag. The smaller Demon, hissing in pain, snarled, {I am Buwaro Elexion, and I am a Time Mage. I wield the cosmic forces, I tug the threads of space and time, and I pry fire and stones from the night sky. I will not be denied!}

{You're a crazy idiot, is what you are,} the Earth Demon snarled, preparing to lunge at the injured mage before him. Zahariah leapt up in front of the bull-like Demon and slammed his two fist-daggers into the beast's chest, eliciting a scream of pain.

{Zaha, move!} the Fire Demon shouted, and Zahariah was airborne again. "Burn Ray!" he intoned again, the blazing lance ripping into their foe's chest and out his back. The Earth Demon fell, the sheer damage slaying him instantly.

Kazai, finally breaking free of his imprisonment with his axe, landed amidst a crash of ice, the shards scattering everywhere. {Who...are you?} he asked the Fire Demon.

{I told you,} he replied, stumbling towards the injured Kieri, {I am Buwaro Elexion. I am a Time Mage.}

{There's no such thing as 'time' magic, is there?} Zahariah frowned as Buwaro pulled out bandages from his robes. {And where did you get those?}

{I am a Time Mage,} he stated crossly, before kneeling to work on wrapping up Kieri's injuries. As he finished and helped her stand, she nodded gratefully, though she was still afraid of him. {Are you going to live?} he asked.

{I think so, but...why are you helping us?} she asked.

{Many reasons,} Buwaro stated. {We should retire to your inn room for now, I can explain once we are safe and resting.}

{Alright,} Kazai scowled, {but you'd better have good answers.}

Buwaro snorted. {I am out of mana and I have lost my staff,} he stated frankly. {I am less threat to you than Talus and Lazuli were to me.}

{Who?} the Suizahn boy asked, blinking.

{The two Demons. Talus, the male, Earth. Lazuli, female, Water. The Fire Demon you were chasing was Dakos.}

{...hm,} Zahariah mumbled as they made their way back to the inn. They did need to recuperate, after all...but this Demon's knowledge and apparent frustration were quite confusing to him. Why would he know so much about these other two, if he wasn't on their side?

 

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Three Angels and one Demon sat down in the inn room. {Alright,} Kazai scowled, {start talking.}

{I was going to,} Buwaro stated calmly, though his eyes were hard as he stared at the boy. {You never were too fond of me.}

Kazai blinked. {Ex...cuse me?} he asked.

{Right,} Buwaro groaned. {Okay, I will start from the beginning.} He took a breath. {So, the best way to explain this is without all the excess baggage. To make a very, very long story short enough, I have developed a way to use Time Magic. It's basically the manipulation of places, space, time, and cosmic energy. Speeding up people or slowing them down, calling on the fire of a star, plucking meteorite shards out of space, teleporting, storing items in little pocket dimensions. The last part is how I stored and drew the bandages and my staff.}

Kieri's jaw dropped. {That...can't be possible,} she managed.

{It is,} he stated, eyes rolling in exasperation. {I know you guys never believe me but that's just how it works. I've had plenty of years to figure it out. I am even capable of traveling between Medius, Heaven, and Hell with time and ritual effort. But that is not important.

{The important bit,} he explained, {is that Hell's army is piercing the barrier Death put up with a ritual that is not Time Magic based. Instead, they are using outright blasphemy, committing ritual sacrifice of Angels and using their life energy to break the barrier. The process also calls down Angels to Medius equal to the number of Demons called up, and with their slowly growing numbers, they intend to take over Medius entirely, at any cost, and win the Great War.} He glowered at the floor. {Worse, they have co-opted a Guardian, and with his help, they are slaying any Guardian that would oppose their plans, which is going to kill the planet in about five years. I do not want that to happen,} he growled.

Kieri blinked repeatedly. {That is...a terrifying prospect,} Kieri mumbled. It seemed impossible, but he was either crazy, or right – he was too convinced of his own story to be lying.

{To say the least,} Buwaro muttered, clearly frustrated, as he stared at the floor.

{Why do you care, though?} Kazai frowned. {Why aren't you joining them in the death and chaos? What possible – } Buwaro's eyes rose, and somehow, the young Angel felt the weight of this strange Demon's sheer weariness fall upon him. {Wh...what...are you – }

{Do not ask questions for which you cannot comprehend the answer,} Buwaro stated with a quiet, saddened demeanor. {...I should get a nap,} he mumbled, rolling onto his side and facing the window from his bed.

The three Angels glanced at each other as he rather rapidly fell asleep. The three of them, still worn out and mildly injured, decided to do the same.