Tweet of the Day: 7 Wonders of the Natural World-Part II
Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, November 27, 6:38 a.m.
“I am Special Agent Kowal, Federal Bureau of Investigations and I am here to serve warrants for the arrests of–”
John Carlos Mendoza breath bloomed in long streams of steam, “I know who you are and as I told you before our lawyers are right now seeking injunctions against those warrants in Federal court. Until then I’m afraid I can’t let your men pass or for that matter the Army.”
The nose of the man standing next to Agent Kowal flared. Eagles on his BDU lapel marked him as a Colonel, “I don’t care about any injunctions. I have orders to search the area–”
John Carlos stared into the taller man’s eye, his long black hair a sharp counterpart to the others sandy blond crew cut, “I’m sure that the Colonel knows his military history.”
The Colonel’s eyes twitched, “And what is that suppose to mean?”
Agent Kowal jumped in, “It means that we have duly notified Mr. Mendoza of our reasons for being here and that we will keep the lines of communication open. Have a nice day.” Both groups turned back to their respective camps. Thousands of tents, RVs and campers lined the north side of Big Foot Trail. On the other side laid a smaller contingent of Army tents, surrounded by Stryker combat vehicles. Surveillance drones circled above in the clear cold November sky.
We followed the group that represented the the First Nations back to the community center. Armed men patrolled the streets of the town, but Sam shielded us from their suspicious glares. It helped that they were more worried about the Army and the FBI than a handful of civilians among the thousands congregated in and around the town. The community center was packed. Two men strode forward to greet Juan Carlos.
My father and Jeffrey.
“Don’t worry John, they can’t stop us,” said Dad.
“Maybe not, but I can and will,” I said. Two gunshots rang out. My right leg buckled. I folded, pain lanced through my thigh. Behind me Ricardo lay in a pool of blood.
“They were right, boss, they were right all along. Good thing I believed them….” his pupils dilated.
Jeffrey stood over me, “You got away once, but not this time. You can’t stop us.”
“Jeffrey what are you doing?” asked my father.
“Doing my job, Sir,” The gun exploded. Marcus and Eli flung fire at him. He blocked their attacks. Others joined the fray. The world went mad around me. Screams and wails, gunfire and bloodshed. I had one chance to end this. Arcanist work with the very fabric of reality, we make the impossible real. But for that we need a solid foundation, metal and stone. Skin withers and ages yet you can write on it. As I had done, once. Invisible runes came to life. Light flared across my body. The pain vanished under a flood of power. I leaped to my feet and charged Jeff. He never saw me coming. I slammed the palm of my hand into his face. It collapsed in a spray of blood. He was dead before he hit the floor.
Sam stood over Ricardo’s body, a pair of Jeffrey’s goons dead at her feet, their blood dripping from her knives.
“ENOUGH!” My voiced went off like a bomb, stunning all within earshot. Every aspect of my body was amplified beyond the limits of human endurance. I was burning away my life force at a prodigious rate. “THIS ENDS NOW!” A familiar presence filled the void within, bracing my soul and keeping me from slipping away. “I don’t know what these men promised you, but whatever it was, it was a lie. They are murderers who don’t give a damn about you or this place. You are merely a means to an end. Look around you, look at the dead. Is this what you want? Is this the canvas in which you will write the final chapter of your history, as pawns to terrorists?”
People rose from cover. Mothers held their children. Fathers held their weapons. Heads shook all around me.
“Arthur, they will not stop hunting us,” said my father. “Don’t you remember what they did to your brother?”
“I remember,” said Marcus, “but I learned that I don’t want to turn into one of them and I don’t have to. No thanks to you.”
“I did it for us, for all of us,” he said.
“Did you? Did you include the folks in this place or didn’t you tell them what would happen after the Ghost Dance ended and your necromancers tore the veil between worlds? You know what is happening in England, well the same thing would happen here, perhaps on a bigger scale.”
“Then what do you suggest?” asked John Carlos.
“Finish the Ghost Dance, but don’t use it as a weapon, but as it was meant to be, a celebration of life. Call forth the ancestors of this land, all of them, and let them speak their stories. Perhaps that will…” I fell to one knee. Sam and Marcus slipped under my arms. “I am not one of you, and it would be extremely arrogant of me to claim kinship. But,” I cast a glance at Ricardo’s body, “but I done my fair share of killing. Time to turn the page.”
And so they did. With the Guardians help the Ghost Dance continued. For three days the spirits of the land came forth and walked among the living, each a brief recreation of the lives that had come before. Battles fought, lives ended, words whispered in multiple languages. Scenes both hopeful and grotesque. As the ghosts departed on the third day, so did the Army. They and the world had witnessed living history. For some it changed their lives forever, for others it merely hardened their hearts. But no one could argue that things had change.
I just hoped we could make the best of it.
End of Season 1 of Wizards’ World War