Anthem for the Drowning Season 2 Episode 4

"We have told you about ourselves, where we come from, what we stand for, what we've been through as a community. Now, it is time for you to return the favor friend. Tell me please, who are you?"

Jason and I sat alone together, away from the rest of the camp. Night had fallen once more and we had chosen a spot overlooking the ebb and flow of the tides against the beach, reflecting the orb of the moon as it had on the night they'd first arrived. I had known that this moment would come. From the moment that they had first set foot off of their vessel, I knew I would have to explain myself, about Ironheade, the second Black Tear rebellion, the death of Ophelia, my plot for revenge, everything. But I couldn't, not everything. Just enough to get them to help me, but not enough that they could sell me out to Ironheade if they decided not to be of assistance to my cause…

"My name is Ryan" I began, simple enough, "I've been on this island for about five or six months." of course leaving out my little side trip back to the modern world.

"What did you mean when you said you were a tear drinker, back when you healed Michael?" I hesitated, how much to say…

"On this Island there is a sea, and when one drinks from it, it endows the drinker with certain powers, at the price of their will to live. I once looked like you, but I embraced the black tears, and now I am like this. There were many of us once" I began, seeing my chance, "but we were exterminated, destroyed by the tyrants who control this place." The look on Jason's face was one of both shock and empathy.

"We seem to be in a similar boat my friend, we too have had everything taken from us, but our cause is beyond hope, yours we may still fight for!" he replied.

"You would do that, help a complete stranger in a battle that is not your own?"

"It is our battle, because injustice anywhere threatens the justice of all living things, including us. We will help you to take back what you have lost!"

"You cannot bring back the dead" I said quietly. We both paused and then Jason's hand was on my shoulder,

"Then we shall avenge your fallen comrades. I will inform the others, we will prepare to follow you in whatever course of action you choose."

"Thank you" I said, clasping his shoulder with my hand. We stood there for a moment, before nodding and parting ways. That was much easier than expected I thought to myself. Now to begin planning the next phase, how to attack Ironheade's stronghold at Bladehenge.

The rain started around late afternoon, giving me plenty of cover as I flew high above the Ironheade base at Bladehenge. From what I could see, there was no easy point of entry where we would not be detected. It wasn't a big place, and it would be very well-defended. That is, of course, unless I were able to get them all out of Bladehenge, into the open, and fight them away from their defenses, unprepared. Almost immediately I noted an open field, far from the camp, with fan geysers glowing silently upon it. That could work, if we could get Ironheade's entire army out in the open at one time, we could have a better chance of winning.

But what if we lost? I'd still be hedging our bets on one all out stage battle, and just hope that we come out on top. And I wasn't willing to risk that, especially since the lives I would be betting were not my own, they were Jason's men, and I wanted to have as close to zero casualties as possible. This was my battle, and I didn't want my allies to be hurt in the process of my vengeful quest. So I began to think of ways that we could win. Thus far, all battles had been fought in the form of attrition, no real sabotage, just the outright stage battles between two opposing forces. Again, not something I was willing to risk with Jason's army.

I tried envisioning exactly what the field would look like with the two stages on it, and how the battle would turn out. It was then that the hills and rocks ringing the area caught my attention, those spots would be perfect to lay down heavy covering fire, Ironheade would have a hard time getting out into the open that way. The open battlefield would turn into one big kill box, and Eddie Riggs would never see it coming. Especially if we caught them by surprise, send a small party in the middle of the night to attack Bladehenge, and then retreat rapidly, drawing the enemy forces into our trap. Every box needs a lid I thought to myself. We would have another group of soldiers hide, wait for Ironheade to leave Bladehenge, and then go in from behind, trapping them and forcing their surrender. It would humiliate them, and we would be assured victory.

With my plan in mind, I set about making a list of preparations that would be required for this plan that I could take back to the Black Phantoms. First, we'd need heavy weaponry, rapid fire of some sort to keep Ironheade at bay in the kill box. Second, we would need some sort of lightning storm, to keep Riggs from taking to the skies during our battle. I could handle that probably with a quick riff our two. Third, we'd need some explosives, for the enemy stage, should they have time to erect one… God they were fast with those things. And maybe we could even do some redecorating in Bladehenge as well…

With this in mind I stopped circling the fields and returned to the beachfront, seeking out Jason to begin preparing. I wanted to attack as soon as possible, revenge was so close now, and it pounded through every cell in my blood, and every fiber in my being.