When her sentence was announced, the Dark Ace tore through chains and guards alike. He who was sombre throughout the proceedings had become a human tempest, running on nothing but fumes and blind instinct until his world went red.

Kohl-dark eyes watched, too weak to protest as he was brought down; she who had grown too old for her years had long accepted the inevitable – such was the mantle of Cyclonis. Of all her followers, only he still smouldered, and she wondered faintly if it was his old Storm Hawk stubbornness that kept him burning.

Bracing himself before his master and the Council, her final servant would not be moved. "I'll die a thousand times if that's what you need – but if you filthy squalls even think about hurting her, I won't rest until your bones join mine in the Inferno." Even unarmed and bloodied, every spectator present felt anxiety wash over them.

Foremost in the audience, Aerrow watched his old adversary dismissed, apprehended, and led away for contempt of the court. His gaze was mixed; it was a bitter reward indeed, and while he couldn't say it was entirely uncalled for, it pained him to see the scourge of Atmos fall so low. Cyclonis – or was it Lark? – called after him with a name only the Dark Ace seemed to recognize, but what surprised him the most was when Piper stepped before the Council once the clamour faded.

Judgement came down upon him – and for the Dark Ace, to live with defeat was infinitely more painful than an execution. After a week under maximum security, solitary confinement, the deepest cell with the thickest walls in Atmos, a familiar voice echoed outside his door.

"Piper pleaded on her behalf – said she was still a child, that she was manipulated into the role of Cyclonis. The Sky Knight Council decided to appeal." In the darkness, his breathing abated.

"They used a Lethe Crystal. She has a new life, under a new name and face. She's using her gift for good, now." There was a heavy pause."She'll never remember you. But she's alive."

Not expecting a response, the Sky Knight blinked when a hushed voice from the other side of the wall spoke, audible to no one else. It was never recorded or repeated, and "Goodbye" was the last word Aerrow ever shared with him.

In flight, he spent the time contemplating the man who had thrown away everything – including his father's life – for the petite girl in the Condor's sleeping quarters, room number seven.

Alouette approaches him and asks where he went. He knows that she knows he's holding back when he tells her it was nothing important, but she smiles anyways and Aerrow tries to forget.


Haven't fic'd in years, so this collection of sentences suddenly nagging at my head was a surprise, to say the least. I suppose posting it here is an obligation I feel, of sorts. Now that I have that off my chest I can go back to doodling Dark Ace.