Struggle of a Fiery Heart
Chapter 17 Gallia's Fall
Note: This chapter contains an extreme amount of violence and gore. Refrain from reading if that isn't your thing.
"What are your names, curs? If you can speak, that is," Ganturn asked the newly changed feral ones whom was standing in front of him.
"Scractra is my name," one feral one replied hoarsely.
"I am named Raget, sir," the other feral one said, scuffing his foot nervously. Ganturn grinned with a mean smirk and came over closer to them with a flourish of his human arms.
"You are now under my rule and you will obey me just like all the others have before and will after you," Gantun stated and the two feral ones nodded. "The both of you haven't soiled yourselves as the others have in my sight…yet. I like you both…thus I will promote you both. Raget, you will be my third-in-command, and Scractra, you will be my second-in-command."
Both promoted feral ones nodded, unsure of why Ganturn had done this for them.
"Now for the both of you, your first task is to head down to the catacombs and bring me the next laguz prisoners to become one of us. Go!" Ganturn commanded and Raget and Scractra raced off to where they had been brought up from.
"Imbeciles…I wouldn't be surprised if they had somehow gotten lost on the way there…" Ganturn trailed of as he saw Trisik enter his chambers.
"Ganturn my liege! I have a report!" the feral one exclaimed and Ganturn crossed his arms.
"Well…what is it. Out with it!"
"I just took in a check of the space we have in this tower…. There is no more room left for us to keep bringing in more feral ones. We have to find someplace new to live and co-exist in."
"What do you have in mind then Trisik, since you took this all onto yourself to do. Have 'you' found a place we can stay?" Ganturn asked, contempt dripping in his voice.
"I…I haven't gotten on to it…I will go now and send a few feral hawk guards to seek one out." Trisik sounded almost ashamed as he turned and briskly fled Ganturn's chambers.
"Idiot…" the feral dragon shook his head and turned to his plans, seeing the map of Gallia before him. With a sadistic smile he began to write on the map, the smile only growing wider as the time went on.
'Once I am able to raise the huge army that Izuka ridiculed to me about two years ago then I shall initiate the attack that my soul has lusted for since the very beginning,' Ganturn thought as he finished writing the last strategy out, putting the quill down.
'Damn human eyes…can't see without light. Have I always been that weak?'
"Ganturn, here are the prisoners, sir," came Raget's voice as he and Scractra entered the chambers again, holding two laguz prisoners who looked defeated and gazed up at Ganturn with frightened glassy eyes.
"What took you both so long!?" Ganturn roared and Raget began to quiver slightly.
"We…had gotten caught up by Trisik telling us where our rooms were and everything," Scractra replied and Ganturn snorted, gritting his teeth. 'Of course Trisik always has to get in the way…'
"Now leave me. I'll handle these 'new recruits' myself,' Ganturn commanded and both feral ones nodded before dropping the laguz to the ground and fleeing the chambers. Ganturn stepped over to both dehydrated and malnourished laguz, looking into their eyes with his red ones.
"You aren't going to try and run away? Good, that will make this all the more easy," Ganturn growled and one of the laguz tried to whimper pathetically but nothing came out, his eyes looking bright with tears.
Ganturn rolled his eyes before heading over to the table where he had two cups of the Feral Drug inside them. He picked them up and made his way over to the laguz; they haven't moved when he turned his back to them.
"Now I bet you guys are thirsty, right? Here, have some water and make sure you drink all of it," Ganturn warned and the laguz reached for the glasses before smelling the 'water' inside.
"Drink it now!" he roared and shoved the contents of each cup into each of the laguz's mouths, keeping their mouths closed so they were forced to swallow once all the contents were inside their mouths. Ganturn's mouth grinned as each laguz screamed before crumpling to the floor, the transformation beginning.
"Ganturn! I have returned with news!" Trisik called out as he burst into Ganturn's chambers. Ganturn sighed and turned to face his second-in-command.
"The feral hawks have found a place deep inside the Hatari desert where we could live," Trisik answered and Ganturn felt curious.
"Hatari? Why there?"
"I do not know, however the guards have told me there is a crumbling abandoned stronghold there that may be of good use to us if we build it back up," Trisik answered.
"Hm…interesting. I will trust the guards judgment then," Ganturn paused, seeing that the laguz have grown quiet. "Then that is where we will go once we are ready."
Ganturn was pleased; he and his feral ones have been making good progress to the cursed country of the laguz. It has already been a day and he felt the smirk on his mouth widen with each piece of good news he discovered or learned. The Gallia border was so close Ganturn could smell the reek of the felines.
"Today my feral ones we shall destroy Gallia and take it under our power and control! This is the day you have been waiting for!" Ganturn roared and all his feral ones roared back their approval. He didn't care if the laguz could hear him...he just couldn't wait for the true fight to begin.
"The border is just up ahead. No doubt they have heard us by now but do not hold back. Feral hawks and ravens! Take to the sky!"
At his command the avian feral ones grasped the nearest flightless tiger and cat feral ones as they had been taught, hoisting them up into the air soundlessly with their talons. Ganturn bared his teeth again in a pleased smile as he too took to the air after transforming into his dragon form.
Gallia was soon down below in minutes and Ganturn cocked his head, hearing the laguz down below, ambling about, looking confused and wary.
"Drop and initiate attack!" Ganturn roared and soon countless tiger and cat feral ones were dropped to land down below to wreck havoc. Shocked shouts and cries sounded as the feral ones landed in Zarzi and began to attack the nearest laguz they saw.
Ganturn was glad he had manipulated his feral ones into thinking that the laguz were their enemies. He remembered the talk he had with them the night before about how the laguz were truly the evil ones and how they mocked feral ones. He remembered the anger on their faces, the way their claws unsheathed and their eyes gleamed with hatred as the need to spill blood entered their minds.
Screams, shouts, and the sound of torn flesh was being heard and Ganturn roared again, deciding to make himself known. He spiraled down, tucking his wings in to land to the ground.
A laguz was only able to look up before Ganturn's scaly body slammed into it, making the two slid across the ground with the impact. Chunks of soil, mud, and greenry flew up in the air and scattered about.
"Welcome to death," Ganturn sneered before clawing the stunned and paralyzed laguz's face off and breaking its body into two effortlessly. Blood already covered his claws and he barely exerted any of his energy.
"Do not hold back, my feral ones! Fight with everything in your power!" Ganturn roared before kicking the broken corpse away from him and coming over to the battlefield.
Already dozens of laguz had transformed and were wrangling with the feral ones, blood splattering about and pained screams ripping into the air. Some laguz who were fighting took one look at Ganturn and fainted from fright.
"Cowards…" Ganturn growled, then he looked behind him to see five laguz tigers racing to him. He reared his head back and unleashed his breath with a stream of ice and flame, killing the laguz right then and there. A shocked hiss was all he heard in the flames before their ashes fell to the ground.
He could see the laguz were trembling at the sight of him and snorted. His feral ones fought with vigor, bloodlust, and anger as they ripped through laguz fur and penetrated the skin below. Ganturn saw the way blood gushed into the air to fall to the ground and he could also feel the fright that was passing through the laguz like wildfire.
"Do you scum for laguz think you can face my feral ones!?" Ganturn roared the question. He was unanswered unfortunately and blinked as he felt a harmless scratch bounce off his thigh. He looked to see a yellow-orange cat hiss as it tried to inflict a wound on him.
Ganturn grinned as he realized it was a female, however he knew that laguz were all the same regardless of gender. He whipped his tail around, catching the cat off guard, knocking her to the ground. He then pressed a foot on the laguz's stomach, pinning her to the ground, feeling a maniacal glee surge in him to see fear in her blue-violet eyes.
"Rot in hell!" Ganturn roared before stepping down hard on the laguz and grabbing her upper body in his claws, ripping the laguz into two bloody halves. The blood splattered his chest, claws, and a few drops landed on his snout which he licked off, grinning at the taste.
"NOO!" a female voice screamed out and Ganturn looked to see a female laguz struggling futilely against a male laguz, whom was intent on keeping her out of the battle.
"Lethe! I won't let you get hurt! Stay back!" the male cat hissed as she kicked him hard in the shin.
"That is my sister that that monster had just murdered!" Lethe hissed back to the laguz, who only began to drag her away from the scene. "Let me go!"
Ganturn shook his head before deciding with sick pleasure to leave carcass there where it lay, seeping blood. He walked over to a group of laguz who were giving his feral ones trouble. He lashed out with his claws and breath, bodies dropping with bloody squishes and thumps.
He reveled in the screaming sounds, feeling the evil wings of shadow overtake his heart and make it feel sated. This is what I had wanted since the very beginning. Now…my wish has been granted, Ganturn thought as he slayed laguz after laguz, leaving a bloody trail in his wake.
The battlefield was littered with bloody bodies, corpses, blood, and guts. Ganturn enjoyed it all as his rational mind left him alone for once and let him enjoy the destruction he had sown.
The laguz whom had the nerve to try and face him were either ripped to literal pieces or incinerated, depending on Ganturn's decision. Now laguz were running away instead of fighting, knowing that the dark-gray feral dragon would most likely kill them if he faced them. Ganturn roared a triumphant roar and joined beside his feral ones as more and more pathetic laguz either tried to stand up and fight, or run away like cowards. The fight went on for longer than Ganturn expected, but he enjoyed every minute of it, engraving what he had done today deep in his satisfied heart and mind.
Soon the last few laguz that were still around managed to escape and Ganturn roared again, his feral ones joining in along with him. There were many fallen from Ganturn's side but the casualties weren't comparable to what the laguz's side was. The capital looked as though there was a sea of bodies and blood in it; there wasn't an area where a laguz corpse hadn't fallen.
"We have won, feral ones!" the feral dragon roared and his army only chorused his victory roar louder.
Gallia is finally mine! Ganturn thought with insane glee as he saw Trisik come over to him.
"Has the battle been won?" he hissed the question and the feral ones' leader nodded.
"Of course, Gallia is mine!"
"Excellent my liege! What is to be done now?"
"I want you to find any laguz who have run away and bring them to me," Ganturn commanded and Trisik bowed.
"Yes, my liege," the twisted feral one replied before racing off. Ganturn looked about him, seeing that a fire had been started and its flames licked the air as it devoured everything in its path.
"If Trisik comes back tell him I have entered the castle. I will be going to find prison chambers," Ganturn told a nearby feral one who nodded and sat up, looking about it with glaring red eyes.
Soon I shall wash Tellius in a stream of blood!
Ganturn walked about Zarzi castle an hour later, feeling so maniacally pleased at all that has been done. He knew that the feral part in his mind was growing quicker than ever now but he didn't care. Gallia…is finally mine! I can want no other thing!
"Ganturn, tonight is the full moon. The sacrifice shall begin after you have feasted," Trisik announced and Ganturn nodded, flexing and unflexing his claws.
"Good, make haste in the preparations!"
"Yes, my liege."
"Wait," Ganturn growled and something in his voice made Trisik pause and look at him, cocking his ugly head. "Tell me, how many prisoners clog up the chambers down below?"
"About twenty-eight the last time I looked, Ganturn."
"Good. We have more than enough to supply us for a month or so."
"Why? The sacrifices only are planned once a month," Trisik hissed, confusion in his voice.
"I shall be ordering the feast to be cooked laguz every single night."
"Wait…are you saying…" "Yes, I shall like to taste their meat going down my gullet," Ganturn interrupted his second-in-command and Trisik's eyes bugged out.
"You…plan to eat…the laguz? Every night?"
"Leave me, I have nothing more to say to you," Ganturn growled and Trisik looked at the feral gray dragon before pelting away.
"Scum…every last one of them. However I am quite surprised to find that Gallia's king decided to run like a craven wench from the castle. I would have liked to see the blood running from his guts at the touch of my claws," Ganturn muttered as he looked about.
Deep under Ganturn's feet was the prison chambers where the captured laguz were chained to the wall in a line, no food or water had been given to them since before the battle with the feral ones. Mist too was chained up and she felt silent tears running down her face at how quickly everything had happened.
I can't believe this! Have I really witnessed such horror? Mist shook her head, closing her eyes from it all. Those laguz that had been killed…their bodies destroyed…their lives…all for nothing. I hope that many of them got away safely….
"There is no hope for us! The feral ones have destroyed our city!" a laguz called out and this made the prisoners shout out, desperation and fright taking over.
"We will all have our bodies picked apart so the feral ones can feast on us!" a female laguz screeched and this set the prisoners off even louder.
Mist couldn't take it anymore…she didn't want Gallia to be under feral one power. She didn't want this to be the end of the country of the feline laguz. She had to have hope, yes that was it, hope that the mercenaries, or any kind of help, would come to their aid.
"Stop that now!" Mist cried out, hearing that her voice was strong but tears still flowed down her cheeks. "Why must you all live in fear? This isn't the end!"
"But it is, beorc…we will be destroyed…" the first laguz who had spoken replied.
"What? You will be destroyed if you give up now! We have to have hope that the laguz who have escaped will be able to find allies and throw the feral ones down!" Mist exclaimed and soon the laguz went quiet.
"You have admirable belief, beorc. However there is likely to be no way that any of the laguz escaped this hellhole with their lives intact," one laguz spoke up after a moment.
"You forget Brange, we have the tunnels. Most likely some laguz were able to escape down into them," another laguz replied.
"What are the tunnels?" Mist asked, wanting desperately to keep the laguz from bursting into hysteria again.
"Lass, the tunnels are a series of special hidden passageway into the Gallia castle from anywhere in Gallia. There are a few tunnel entrances in the Gebal Fortress grounds, around Zarzi, and even some entrances and exits are by the dreaded Kauku caves," Brange replied. "There is a huge meeting space that was dug under Zarzi's marketplace in the event of an emergency, so any royals had a last resort to stick around in."
"Then we have to have hope that there are escapees down there. They must be planning right now on how to liberate us and all of Gallia," Mist asked and soon everyone began to mumble agreement.
"Possibly King Skrimir and the other royals escaped down there successfully without being seen. Unless they fought…" one laguz trailed off as they heard hard footsteps. Some began to whimper and try to escape from the chains, as if they knew who was coming.
Then the door on the far side of the room opened and a feral one guard came into the chamber. A dark repulsive air filled the room and Mist could feel cold fingers creeping up her back. The darkness came closer and to Mist it seemed as though the figure was not human-like at all but a ghastly shape that was meant to wander about and wreck plight on others.
"You, are to be Ganturn's treat!" the figure spoke manically and all Mist could see of the person was just absolute darkness. The laguz the black darkness had spoken to began to squirm to try and get out of his chains.
"There is no use trying to get free. Witness this all you other scum! Witness what your fate shall be!" the figure continued and then came over closer. With a clank, the chains were opened as another feral one came down to help assist the struggling laguz.
"No! Don't take me!" the chosen laguz cried out but the darkness and the other feral one dragged him away. Mist could still hear his piteous cries as the door slammed shut, the sound resonating through the room.
"What are they going to do to him!?" one of the laguz asked frantically and everyone's eyes were wide as they heard the footsteps escalate upward before fading out. Mist had the sudden realization that the chosen laguz was going to be killed. However she didn't speak it aloud, not wanting to frighten the laguz, and stayed silent as the others pondered who would help them, their voices sounding hushed and full of horror.
"If King Skrimir and Caineghis have escaped then they have to bring help or reinforcements soon," one laguz said after a long moment, making the others emit sounds of agreement.
"We have to trust that the Goddess will protect us. We must," Mist stated, trying to bring the laguz's hopes back up again.
"The Goddess has abandoned us. She would never let the feral ones do as they please if she was watching over us," a female laguz hoarsely replied.
"We just have to keep our hopes up…plus I know that the Greil Mercenaries will be coming to help us as well," Mist replied and soon the laguz began to mutter and mumble in shock.
"The Greil Mercenaries? Hadn't they disbanded when Ike left Tellius a month ago?" Brange asked.
"I heard they aren't a group anymore and they just wander as emissaries of Crimea's royalty," another laguz said.
"No, I heard that the Greil Mercenaries only do mercenary work for Melior," A female laguz imputed.
"Well you are all wrong. The mercenaries are under the command of Titania and they are most likely going to be coming here to save me and everyone here, for I am one of them," Mist replied. "I have faith that they will come. You must all do the same."
"The lass is right, we can't just live in fear. We have to keep our sights ahead an' be optimistic about this," Brange said. "The feral ones want us to be scared. We have to show them that we aren't."
"Well…either way it all ends in death for us if we aren't saved soon," the first laguz whom had spoken replied and soon a somber silence fell on them all. Mist knew that it would be hard to keep their strength and will up in these troubling circumstances. She knew much sorrow would come to pass in the days to come. However she had an overwhelming desire to help these laguz face the fear and become stronger.
Titania and her mercenaries will come! I have the conviction that they will liberate us soon!
"Is this the one you desire?" Drage asked as he dragged the still squirming laguz over to Ganturn.
"Yes, he looks strong. Good work. You may take him to the kitchen and begin preparations for my meal tonight!" he replied, and the figure in the surrounding darkness gave a maniacal laugh before dragging the laguz away, whom had gone limp with fear at the sight of Ganturn.
Ganturn still wondered how a creature like Drage was able to decide to leave the room he had been in and go to Gallia. He also began to wonder how Drage was able to find him so quickly and not have a word of annoyance for leaving him behind in Hatari.
Perhaps the surrounding darkness gives him powers of teleportation…I don't know. And I also don't care. Once my meal is placed in front of my slathering jaws I shall be in a glorious mood.
Ganturn decided to go on a quick flight around Zarzi and see if he spotted any laguz cowards hiding in the trees. He walked over to a nearby window and squeezed out of it, flapping his wings to propel him and start his momentum.
The sky was still overcast and it still rained, albeit much it was lighter than when it had been before. The fire that had been raging was long put out by the rain, making Ganturn grin to see the destruction down below.
He flew closer to the trees and scanned past them and around them, trying to see if he could spot any laguz hiding amongst the undergrowth.
To his disappointment he didn't find any and then a sudden tense feeling came over him and chilled his blood slightly. Ganturn looked down to see that he recognized where he was flying over; it was the place where he and his father had stayed at when they lived in Gallia. It had been three years since Ganturn had seen his father and however there was no curiosity or sympathy in him to wonder where his father was.
He failed to understand how the laguz shunned us, more me than my father…. He was both a coward and a fool. I hope if he was still living here that he was killed in the battle. I hope his guts are making a good fertilizer for the ground below my feet.
Ganturn landed and folded his wings in, looking at the area with disgust as memories came over him.
"Hey Branded one! Why don't you go back to the place you belong, in the dirt!"
"Branded scum…they should never have been born."
"What's the matter? Scared because you want to be like us so badly? You will never be like us; just give up!"
"The Goldoans must have kicked him out if he is desperate enough to be living here. I would do the same if he was a true Gallian."
"Stay away from us or you'll face the consequences, cursed one!"
"Oh Goddess Ashera! Please compel this abomination out of my sight!"
"You don't even deserve to live, let alone be here. The only reason you are safe is because your father is our ally. Well just you wait…one night when your father is gone we will come and kill you!"
The welling of feeling burst in Ganturn at this point and he roared in rage before unleashing his breath to the heavens above.
Those laguz have paid the price for messing with me when I was younger. Let's see how they like it now that their country is awash in terror and blood!
The wind began to whip, and the sky seemed to get darker and darker as Ganturn let loose the feelings that the feral drug was able to contain for this whole time. He roared once again, hearing a guttural raucous laugh mix in his voice. A spring of power in him suddenly broke and to his vision he saw the dark curlings of evil swirling around his claws and body.
Let the fun begin! Ganturn's mind roared in glee as he felt something overtake him and make him feel more insane.
This is the true power of the feral ones! The power that puny people like Izuka only wish to contain deep inside them!