An inferno was raging in the town of Flaris. Men and women ran back and forth, in an attempt to put out the disastrous blaze. Three year old Arianna Babineaux didn't know what was happening. Why was her brother crying? Why were they outside in the cold? Where was her bed? Arianna wanted to sleep, her brother was hugging her, his long brown hair shadowed his eyes, he tried to blink back the tears, but they streamed from his eyes. They were wrapped in an old blanket, soaked in water and slightly singed. In front of them were a pile of charred wood and broken stones. Their neighbors were helping to put out the fire, their parents were presumed dead. Arianna tugged at her brother's arm,
"Kyle," she said, "Can we go back to sleep yet?"
Her brother looked down at her, and at the sight of his sister's innocent and pleading face, he broke down sobbing, pulling his little sister close to him, hugging her and sobbing, wanting her to understand what was taking place. Arianna sensed her brother's sadness and emphasized with him, she too put her small arms around him, as far as she could reach, and hugged her brother tightly. They remained so for hours, until Arianna fell asleep and were led to a safety tent.
While the house of the Babineaux burned to the ground a woman dressed in a red nightgown was chasing after a large man across the outskirts of town. Her feet were stumbling in fluffy slippers and her light brown hair was frayed and messy. She was wielding a wand, with a fan shaped end and a ruby inset. Silver and gold lettering was scrawled across the polished wand and the tip glowed a fiery red. Finally, the man stopped and supported himself against a tree, panting and wheezing for breath. The lady approached with her wand outstretched.
"Who are you?" She demanded, "Who sent you?"
The man looked up and smiled at her, causing her to recoil. His face was scarred and one of his eyes was blinded. If not for that smile, he would have been unrecognizable.
"J-Jeremy?" She asked hesitantly.
The man kept smiling and stood up,
"It's me all right," he grinned, "I thought I could burn down the house tonight, but no luck, I guess."
A bolt of iridescent light erupted from the wand, catching him in the stomach and forcing him backwards several yards.
"That hurts, Neru," he complained, "I'm still sore from all those traps you set."
"Shut up!" Neru exclaimed, "You're going to try to kill me and my family in the middle of the night and act like a smart-ass with me? Who sent you? Answer me!"
Jeremy sat down, he was wearing civilian clothes which were torn and singed in many places. His jerkin was almost burned to nonexistence and his jacket was almost completely ashen.
"They still want you back, y'know." He said, "You were the best of the best of us, you know. Pandora isn't going to stop trying to threaten you, Neru, that's not how the magic box works."
He began giggling at his own joke, but was abruptly changed to a howl of pain when Neru pointed her wand at him.
"Shove those stupid jokes and tell me what's really going on."
Neru's eyes began to glow, and the gold and silver lettering around her wand came alive and swirled around her wand. A myriad of symbols blossomed into Jeremy's head, and opened up his entire mind to her. Flipping through his most recent memories, she came across an armored man issuing orders to him,
"Savos," Neru hissed, "So he's in command now."
A section of Jeremy's mind opened up, resisting Neru's mental magics, a figure of him walked forward and Jeremy's consciousness began to speak to her,
"Nah, old man Kaion's still holding the reins nice and tight. Which, by the way, is why he's out of town for today, don't want anything to do with that fire, no sirree!"
"Be quiet!" Neru screamed, and Jeremy's consciousness was swirled away. After sifting through a few additional memories, Neru exited Jeremy's mind, washing away his thoughts and memories clean by cleansing her own mind, holding only onto the shadowy image of the armored man. She then raised her wand and pointed it at the quivering body on the ground. With a short burst of light, Jeremy's brain no longer sent any signals to his heart telling him that his body still needed blood. Neru looked coldly at the dead body and began to walk back to Flaris.
Then Flaris exploded.
Neru stared, thunderstruck by what was occurring before her. A Clockworks,one of the most feared metal behemoths of the world was laying waste to the town of Flaris. The four-legged mechanical demon reared its front two legs and slammed them into the central blacksmith building. Its right arm fired multiple blasts of energy that ripped apart the ground and roads. The massive blade on its left arm swept away many people and buildings.
Local guilds were trying to defeat the behemoth, scores and scores of warriors began to approach the Clockworks. Neru shielded her eyes against what would inevitably happen to those who had never faced a Clockworks before. The massive monstrosity reared its head, letting energy gather into the sun-shaped tattoo between its glowing red eyes. It then lowered its head quickly and unleashed a massive energy beam, cutting the small army in half. Neru heard the individual cries and screams of the dying warriors, of the pathetic scratches and dull sounds of arrows and blades cutting the monster's legs. It was no use, no untrained mercenary could hope to fight against a Clockworks alone.
Neru watched as the cinders of her burnt home were stomped on by the metallic giant, she turned her head and tried to cover the tears dripping from her eyes. The town was lost, and once again the past had caught up with her. Her family was dead, and everything she owned was destroyed.
She tilted back her head and began to cry in earnest, wailing for her dead children and husband. After a long fifteen minutes, she stood up and turned her back to the burning city. The Clockworks rampaged on, with the local warriors completely helpless to stop it.
As Neru walked farther and farther away from the town, a deeper and more intense hatred began to grow inside of her. She began to despise her past, her family, friends, sister, former lovers, and most of all, she despised herself. She hated herself for choosing what she chose in the past and it began to manifest as a burning sensation inside of her body. Neru swore to herself that she would avenge everyone who had died needlessly today. No doubt, Pandora had sprang the Clockworks in an attempt to blanket massacre the town and that she would die in the process.
Neru had stopped crying. The tears were dried, instead replaced with an unmatchable anger and fury. She removed a small Blinkwing she kept with her at all times. Crushing it in her hand, she felt the teleportation magic pour over her in a haze of blinking red lights. Then, she fell unconscious.