Patina – Chapter 137

For a time, it even seemed they could win. 

The muzzles lit up the night and the echoes of blasting bullets tore apart the silence – together with the screams, the yowls of pain from the Eerie and the creaking growl from the breach as the increasing pressure finally got the best of the haphazard repairs and it crashed it apart, cleaning the path to the deluge of claws, tendrils and cursed flesh that flooded through with one shrill cry of joy and hunger. 

The Hunter did not waste time with half-measures. Not now. 

He cut his skin in three places, linking together the patterns he had been etching on his skin for years. His flesh began to glow a faint red as he jumped into the fray, knife at the ready, turning and twirling as he became the center of a cutting whirlwind, slashing away at any Eerie unlucky enough to consider him a snack, while staying back from the main line of fire, that now focused on the breach. 

Behind Sadja, the cannon battery and flamethrower line blasted its response as the Eerie cut their way through the opening, bathing them in orange light and explosions of charred flesh. 

The town was throwing everything it had at them and hoping, hoping beyond any reason, that it would somehow be enough. 

Sadja cocked another arrow – she had to make then as thin as possible, given how much blood she had already spent on the barricades. She and Hunter had managed to recover a little, but with every arrow she felt that light-headedness that came from blood loss echo through her skull. 

She had to be conservative. 

Aiming her bow at the edges of the entrance, she let go three arrows – they impacted not against any Eerie, but spattered the bent metal and wood and as soon as the first creature stepped over them, it caught fire in a huge explosion of white fire. Consumed by the flames, they fell back, smearing their molten flesh all over the breach and getting more caught in the inferno. With every shriek and yowl of pain, Sadja knew she had managed at least a tiny victory in the face of the night. 

The holy water cannon seemed to take her example: it roared from the back lines, as it was their most powerful and precious weapon, spraying a jet of pressurized water against the advancing wall of flesh had a line of crimson fire split the night in two. 

The jet withdrew, leaving the holy water doing its job. 

Sadja panted and cocked another arrow. It seemed that, between the Hunter making sure nothing would get past the frontline, cannons and guns taking care of the rest and her own contribution, they could hold on at least for a little while.

But each time she looked at the breach, past the shadows and dancing flames she saw only more creatures seeping in. 

Like the endless tide.


Elissa groaned, trying to stand up from the line of water. What did wake her up? She was so groggy and tired… each of her limb feeling like lead. She gripped the pool’s edge and managed to pull herself up on the cold marble tiles. 

Spirits, was it cold. She had to warm up the fire herself, and that had greatly impeded her production of holy water. 

How was the night? Were they still holding the front?

Was Sadja safe?

She pulled off her blindfold, throwing it onto the pool and kneading the scarred skin of her orbits. What a year. 

Her skin trembled with the need to send out whatever threads she could and see if Sadja was still safe – how she’d fare. If she died tonight, she’d never…

But now, she had to have faith in her. Even this far, even if she was still so weak she could barely make up enough water to last the night…

She had to have faith in her.

And in her engineer friends.

At least this much you managed to do, she thought. It was important to her they were men of science and tech – industrious minds, like Verna’s had been. Her old teacher would have made them dance on strings, act like puppet without a will, all because she had this grand plan she had to absolutely realize.

She wasn’t like her. 

She’d just wish they could do something more to help restart the Generator.

Maybe she could give them a hand?

She stood up, trembling and stumbling on the cold floor and went to her apartment to put on better, thicker clothes. Tonight the winter seemed to bother her even more. It seeped right into her bones and made it difficult to even think, each breath like a knife deep down her throat. 

There. Now completely dressed, Elissa walked out of the Temple. She had demanded nobody would stay behind with her – she could take care of herself, but in that moment the lack of people did hit her. They were in the lower part of the town.
As she came out of the Temple the noises and the foul wind hit her. The breach had been opened once again and endless waves of Eerie spilled through – water and fire, iron and will still held them back, but she knew there was no end to the Tide. And such an amount of Eerie would attract a Fae or two, sooner or later. 

Then what was bad would turn to worse. 

She had to help. 

And to keep faith in Sadja. 

She would survive this night. She was an amazing young woman and she did not really need… her… help anymore.

Which made her happy.

Elissa tried to pull the corners of her mouth in a smile but all she managed was to purse her lips in a grimace. 

No matter.

She was happy for Sadja.

She took a step towards the entrance to the Generator’s chambers.

What did I tell you about lying to yourself?

She stopped just for a moment. There She went. Of course she couldn’t expect to spend this night in peace. 

Leave me alone, she waved the Queen away. I do not want to play your games.

Elissa had expected a reply, but none came.
For some reason, that made her feel even worse.

Pulling up the hem of her coat, she shivered.

Pic by Artork312


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