Note: This page or section is currently under construction. The author(s) are very sorry.
Continuing from Episode 002 of the Wings of Red arc, Making an Entrance switches the focus from Wings of Archadia and brings us back to Mina Blutbayne and Nestor Stocks as they travel with their new acquaintance, Diandra Oskar, to Magnolia Town in hopes of catching up with the band. Little do they know the airship that they band flew in was forced to make an emergency landing due to a powerful lightning storm created by a mysterious mage. Who is this mage? And more importantly, who is the Lord Black that he was referring to?
Meet the Ladies: Mina and Diandra
The captain had just finished informing his passengers that a severe thunderstorm had forced the airship to change course slightly and swing around it. He apologized for any inconvenience this may have caused as their detour would increase their travel time by a few hours. Unbeknownst to this group, the Ray of Pohjola had already docked below them and this airship was steadily drifting ahead. Aside from slight turbulence, the Swan of Tuonela was traveling rather peacefully. Its passengers were enjoying tea or coffee, sipping them from porcelain cups at their tables.
This is where we find Mina Blutbayne. The manager of Wings of Archadia wore a black skirt with a white button downed shirt tied by a red scarf around her neck. The sleeves of her shirt puffed out slightly near the wrists as she sat cross legged with her book in her hands on top of her knee, her black boots stopping just short of under it. She seemed completely oblivious to her surroundings as she read the red hard cover book with its titled "Loveless" etched in gold ink on the front. She casually flipped to the next page and reached over to take another sip of her mint flavored tea. Each movement and pose was that of an educated and well mannered woman who exuded both confidence and grace.
"What book is that?" Diandra said, breaking Mina's sense of peace as if she had forgotten the young girl was sitting at her table. Diandra was munching on a buttered biscuit as she continued to look at Mina. While Mina was dressed in elegance, Diandra stuck with a more casual attire. She wore a blue and white striped halter top under a green and yellow varsity jacket, buttons promoting Wings of Archadia clearly visible over her left breast. She wore gray short shorts that exposed much of her light colored legs and ended with yellow socks and white sneakers with green laces. Diandra sat with one foot on her chair, her knee pressed against her chest as she chomped down on her buscuit, crumbs falling freely from the sides of her mouth.
Sighing at the thought of having to conversate with the young girl, Mina flatly responded, "Loveless by Genesis". Unfortunately for her, Nestor made the mistake of mentioning who they were when they first met and their relationship to Wings of Archadia. What Nestor didn't know was Diandra's love of the band's music and her status as the band's Number One Fan. Since then, Diandra has been attached to their hips hoping for a chance to meet Wings of Archadia. Nestor didn't mind, though, since Mina wasn't exactly the best of company at times.
"Oh, I've never heard of it. Is it any good?" Diandra said in the stereotypical teenage girl voice, all bubbly and slightly high pitched.
"Wouldn't be reading it if I didn't think it was." Mina snapped back, the words carrying a sense of exhausting as if this conversation was using up every inch of Mina's energy.
"I love reading books, too." Diandra's face lit up with her eyes opening wide, "I read every day, though they're mainly about Magic. Do you practice magic? I'm currently still in school, though I'm on break now, but my backpack is loaded with all sorts of books." Diandra continued biting down on her food while slurping down her juice. Mina remained silent, trying to focus on her book, but it was proving difficult right now.
Just then, the older Nestor made his way to the table. This early in the morning, he gave up wearing his suit and instead wore a pair of black shoes and brown slacks with a beige long sleeved shirt tucked in. The sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, exposing his lean but strong arms with little tuffs of brown orange hair. "Morning, ladies." He said in that scraggly voice while pulling up a chair and taking a seat at the table. He poured himself a cup of coffee and dropped one cube of sugar. A man of his age needs to watch how much sweets he eats. Before taking a sip, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a green wrinkled pack of cigarettes with a picture of a red apple on it. He pulled one loose cigarette and pressed it against his lips and flicked his silver lighter open, rolling the flint back and casting a small flame. He puffed on his cigarette before reaching down to his coffee and drinking back its bitterness. "How is everyone?"
Diandra burst out with another long series of words and sentences that left little room for Nestor to respond to. She went on about a theory of Magic she had come up with, while Nestor did his best to imitate interest in the subject. Mina sighed once more and closed her eyes. She clapped the book shut and got up from her seat, fixing her black skirt before heading off to another part of the ship. "Did I say something wrong?" Diandra asked concerned with Mina's action.
"It's alright, child. Ms. Blutbayne is mostly business. She doesn't speak casually with people." He tried to reassure Diandra that it wasn't anything she said.
"How does someone like her become a band manager? Does WoA even like her?" Diandra took another sip of her juice and bite of her buscuit.
"She's a very intelligent woman who's really good at her job. She's helped propel the band to the fame it has today. If it wasn't for her, they might still be playing only at the Pub." He took another puff of his cigarette and leaned back on his chair with his arms folded in front of his chest. "As for like her? Sure, the band knows she does her best and keeps their best interests at heart. And she can become quite ruthless when people cross them or her. No one messes with her bread and butter." He flicked his cigarette to cast off the ash at the tip and it fell into an empty cup since there was no ashtray in sight.
"So you know the band pretty well? How are they like?" Diandra said with much interest, leaning forward to hear what Nestor had to say about her favorite band.
"They're pain in the asses." He said in a crabby voice. "But they're good kids. I would consider each of them like my own children. Though they don't listen to me all the time... Little shits." He said taking another puff. He refrained from bringing up Johan Hellstrom or the band's reason for going to Magnolia Town. Instead, he stared at his half empty coffee cup. "Did you know that if it wasn't for Royce and Jakko, I would have lost my pub?"
"Yup. I wasn't doing so well and my life was going downhill. Business was drying up within the District. I was just about to close the doors for good. And then here comes these two kids. Young men with some crazy dream of owning a bar and becoming some big rock band. At first, I thought they were just being naive. Dreaming big. But, hey, they wanted to buy my bar and still have me run it. I couldn't say no. So we agreed and the bar stayed open. They started promoting some music and started small. The guys played every other night and slowly more and more workers would come in during their off hours and business starting picking up. Then Ms. Blutbayne comes out of nowhere and the next thing ya know, this band is playing at the Star Atlas and we're making money. I guess I was being some old curmudgeon for not believing in them." Another puff of his cigarette and another flick of ash. "They practically saved my life."
Diandra was overjoyed to know that not only was her favorite band good musicians, but they were nice, too. "That's so sweet." She managed to squeel out. "What about you Mr. Stocks? Do you have any kids or family?"
Suddenly the mood seemed to change instantly. Nestor became quiet and distant. His eyes grew blank and stared emptyly towards his coffee and lost himself in thought. "Your breakfast is getting cold." He said in an unusually apathetic voice.
At an undisclosed location, life continues on as it normally does within this small village. Farmers regularly work the fields while others gather the crops and bring them to their respective establishments. Its people walked and talked with enthusiasm and sincerity, free from the troubles plaguing other towns and cities. The birds were chirping and the dogs were barking as children threw sticks for the animals to retrieve. Sounds of happiness filled the air as the blue sky allowed the sun to shine its brightest.
And in an instant, the entire village exploded in bright red flames, incinerating everything and reducing it to ash. The ground shook as debris fell from the sky and pillars of thick black smoke rose to the heavens. Its citizens were gone. The fields were gone. And the sounds of happiness were forever silenced.
Observing from a nearby hilltop, a man in a yellow suit stood with a silver briefcase to his side. He casually fixed his glasses with his black gloved hand before reaching inside his jacket pocket and pulling out a small crystal ball. To knowledgeable mages and students, one could tell this was Lacrima, a Magic crystalline substance that can serve several purposes dependent on the spells infused within it. This particular Lacrima served for communicating with others over a large distance and to activate it, a Mage simply wills it to life. As he held the communicating Lacrima in his hand, a simple exertion of his will caused a mist to form inside it and swirl. There was no image within it, but the man knew someone was listening intently on the other side. "The experiment was a success. The Fury Bombs worked exactly to your specifications." The man paused for a reply. There were no words coming from the orb but a silent message was being transmitted and the man knew what it was asking. "No, Lord Black. There were no survivors." He said this as he gazed down at the bright red flames consuming the remains of this once beautiful village.
Reduced to Ashes
Magnolia Town, the prosperous merchant town with a population of 60,000 inhabitants. Home to one the strongest guilds within the Kingdom of Fiore: Fairy Tail. Currently, the town is observing the X793 Grand Magic Games through massive floating screens projecting real time images of its combatants as they fight one another to determine who is the strongest guild throughout the kingdom.
With the majority of the population staring at the magically powered screens, no one noticed the man walking quietly through the crowd. He kept his head low, covered by the hood of his blue jacket, strands of red hair hanging out from under it. He walked slowly with his hands tucked into his pockets. Unassuming and dressed rather plain in blue jeans, he made his way towards the alley almost invisibly past the patrolling guards, whose own curiousity made them stare at the screens with the rest of the citizens. He was leaving the crowd behind him as flashes of lights erupted on the screens, causing his shadow to stretch and move in front of him. No doubt, some sort of brilliant display of magic. The roar of the crowd behind him began to soften the farther he walked. More than on occassion, he sidestepped to avoid being knocked back by rushing citizens who were late to the tournament viewing.
After navigating himself through the town, he finally reached his destination: Harvell's House of Magical Antiques. With everyone busy with the tournament, this part of town was relatively quiet. When he stepped through the door, he half thought that it would be empty, as well. But there stood Harvell cleaning his circular glasses with a white handkerchief. A portly and short old man with a white bushy mustache and bald head, he put on his glasses and gave his eyes a moment to adjust. "Oh, hello there." He said in an elderly voice and walked around from behind the counter to greet the man. Harvell wore a plaid sweater vest with red and green squares over a white shirt with gold kufflinks, black slacks and white polished shoes. Harvell walked up to the customer with an arm extended out towards him, "Harvell Hammond." And shook the man's hand.
"Crow." The man responded as he pulled back his hood revealing his spikey red hair. "So, you're not at the viewing?" He asked with a smile while examining the contents of Harvell's shop.
"Oh, me? No." Harvell responded in kind. "I have this shop to run. Besides, this place is a treasure trove of magical events in history. I merely just need to pick one of them up and it all flows in my head." Harvell said this while tapping the side of his temple with his finger.
"Hmm, interesting." Crow said casually with his hands in his pockets as he walked from one end of the shop to the other, looking at the different artifacts neatly placed on pedastals or arranged on shelves. "I heard that you recently came back from the Tuska Region up north."
Harvell walked towards Crow resting a hand against a pedastal with an ornate sword with a golden handle that had 3 blue jewels slotted within the blade. "My business allows me to travel to all areas of the kingdom in search of magical artifacts."
"So you've been to Tuska then?" Crow stopped with his back towards Harvell, staring at a collection of books in front of him.
"Well, I haven't been there in some time." Harvell replied, but there was something ingenuine in his voice. As if he were hiding something.
"I'm referring to somewhere near a small cave system near the city of Illmarinen." Crow never looked back towards Harvell, so he couldn't see the elderly man casting his gaze towards the sword next to him and then back at Crow. "There was a small wooden chest there. Had a keyhole that looked like three lines connecting at one point. Do you know what I'm talking about?" Crow slid his finger across the different books, making a small thud on each spine.
"I... I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about." Harvell was starting to stutter, a single bead of sweat now rolling down the side of his head as he nervously cleared his throat. His hand was inching closer to the sword's handle now.
"Come now, Mr. Hammond. Let's not make things difficult. I just want the chest and I'll be out of here with no trouble." Crow seemed so focused on the books in front of him. "There's no reason for this to get ugly."
Harvell quietly gripped the handle and lifted the sword off its supports and slowly walked towards Crow, trying not to make any noise. With each step, he raised the blade higher until he was within reach of Crow and the blade over his head.
Without looking back once, Crow merely smirked, "I guess difficult it is then." Harvell immediately slashed downward but before the blade could make contact against Crow, a thick aura of red flames blocked the attack as if it collided against a solid surface. Harvell froze with complete shock and before he could react, the aura molded itself into an exact likeness of Crow, with the sword resting on its forearm. With no effort, it pushed back the blade and sent Harvell flying across the room, crashing on top of a painted vase. It shattered under the old man's body and the pedastal tipped over with him hitting the floor. The red flames faded as Crow peered back over his shoulder to finally look at Harvell. "We could've avoided this." He turned and said with one hand out of his pocket. "So let's end this now and just tell me where the chest is."
Harvell struggled to bring himself up, but only had the strength to prop himself up on his arms. He remained silent, only letting out small grunts as he dragged himself across the floor away from Crow. Crow walked slowly behind Harvell, watching the feeble old man try and get away. But before Harvell could get any further, Crow's hand gripped the back of his neck and lifted him off the floor with his feet dangling in the air. Harvell tried to pry the fingers firmly clamped on him but to no avail. He struggled with his words, "I.... don't know... what you're... talking about." He said between attempts to pry himself free.
Crow suddenly released Harvell, letting the old man fall to the floor once more while gasping for air. "I'm pressed for time, Mr. Hammond. Make things easier for yourself and tell me what I want to know." Crow continued with that grin, speaking calmly and cooly towards Harvell.
Harvell rolled to his back, holding himself up by his elbows. Clearly the old man was no match for this mysterious Crow. Harvell was visibly shaking, terrified at what Crow might do to him if he didn't answer his demands. He knew he had to protect the treasure he found in near Illmarinen and, unfortunately, subconciously turned his eyes towards the door near the counter. Crow noticed the small gesture and his grin grew wider. Within a few seconds, Harvell was thrown through the wooden door, it splintering into pieces, and he rolled down the stairs and hit the cobblestone floor of the basement with a loud thud. Blood was trickling down from the side of his mouth and nose, and a large gash on his forehead poured additional blood and blinded his right eye. Harvell's body ached and no doubt suffered from tremendous damage. But his attention immediately shifted towards the sounds of footsteps slowly walking down the stairs behind him. The basement was filled with additional artifacts tucked away in storage boxes or covered by large tarps to protect them from dust. It was as large as the display room above but offered no way for Harvell to escape.
"Is this really what you want? Wouldn't be easier to just give me the chest and I can be on my way?" Crow seemed sympathetic to the old man.
"You'll just kill me after you get it." Harvell said as he groaned from the pain shooting up throughout his body.
"Well my orders are to kill whoever has the chest, but killing old defenseless men isn't my thing. I would much rather give you the chance to disappear after all this is done." Crow's words seemed sincere.
"Doubt whoever gave you those orders would very much appreciate that." Harvell was able to get to his feet but staggered against the various crates around him. He slowly shifted forward, seemingly putting distance between Crow and himself, but Crow knew that there was no escape from him.
"Yeah, its against my code of ethics. And he knows this." Crow watched Harvell carefully as he hobbled across the room.
Harvell leaned against a bulky object covered by a tan tarp covered in dust, trying to keep himself from falling over. "I can't let you take it." Harvell said with defiance in his voice. Something that surprised Crow.
"I admire your resolve, but like I said before. You're defenseless." Crow admired the old man's resolve.
"Who said I was defenseless?" Hammond immediately pulled off the tarp and threw it towards Crow, obscuring his field of vision. Crow instantly set the tarp ablaze, reducing it to ashes under his red flames. Crow merely chuckled at the old man's feeble attempt to distract him but once the tarp had vanished he was stunned at what Harvell was truly trying to do. Now Crow was facing a small cannon supported on two large wooden wheels with Harvell standing behind it firmly holding the rope that when pulled would drop the firing pin and send the cannonball flying out with deadly force. And before Crow could say another word, Harvell pulled it cord and the cannonball rocketed out of the large barrel in a deafening explosion. The projectile struck against Crow directly in the chest and knocked him off his feet and into the wall behind him. Harvell's basement ran alongside the sewer system of Magnolia Town and as such the wall crumbled and exploded backwards as Crow disappeared into the blackness. Harvell was slightly disoriented by the noise and concussive force the cannon produced, holding his hands to his ears as he looked through his one eye at the large hole produced from Crow's exit. He breathed a sigh of relief seeing no trace of the young man that was trying to kill him. Harvell fell on top of the still warm cannon, his body radiating with pain."My, my. That was quite the surprise. Didn't figure an old man like you would resort to such tactics." A voice echoed from the blackness. Harvell slowly lifted himself off the cannon completely bewildered on how Crow could have possibly survived. Just then, two eyes flashed red from the darkness like glowing orbs. "Now, I have to deal with you." Crow's voice was still calm and cool like before, unfazed by what had happened. "Goodbye, Mr. Hammond."
The slow build up of air being sucked out preceded a wave of intense red fire as it surged through the opening and completely engulfed the basement, destroying everything in its path. Harvell, too, was consumed in the flames along with the cannon he had used on Crow. The fire raced up the stairs and spilled out into the shop, igniting everything in crimson flames and causing the windows and main doorway to explode in brilliant fire. The building itself began to quickly burn to the ground, sending pillars of smoke into the air. No doubt a crowd would quickly form to deal with the blaze, leaving little time for Crow find the chest. He walked through the opening, his red fire at his feet. He stepped through it unharmed and carefully scanned the room, his hands liesurely in his pockets again. Directly behind where Harvell once stood was half of a scorched portrait who's upper half was completely destroyed, and behind that was a hidden steel safe.
"There it is." Crow said in a satisfied tone and walked up casually to the exposed safe. He tore down the rest of the painting to expose a large black safe with a black dial outlined in bronze in its center and a black handle to its right. Crow grinned once more and held his hand up, concentrating his red fire into its palm. The flames grew hotter and hotter, causing his entire hand to burn red hot and placed it sofly on the plate. It sizzled from the heat and the metal began to melt like hot butter until, finally, Crow's hand had burned a hole large enough within the thick plate door to expose its contents. There it was, the small wooden chest he was tasked with retrieving. Such a simple looking item. But Crow was not about to stand around and wait for the Royal Knights to show, though he knew it would take them awhile. Instead, he wanted to avoid the simple pedestrians and firefighters who were going to be frantically trying to put out the fire realizing too late that Crow's brand of fire could not be extinguished so easily. He grabbed the chest and tucked it under one arm, preparing for his departure. He would use the sewer entrance that was created and leave through the tunnels, avoiding the crowd above.
As he turned to begin walking, the voice of an old man, severely injured and burned coughed out from next to him. Harvell lay there with most of his body covered in deep burns reaching up to him with one arm. "You can't..." was all he could say before losing consciousness.
Crow stared at Harvell for a few moments, watching him as his breathing seemed labor due to the amount of smoke filling the room. Crow could also hear the fire roaring above him as the shop was completely immersed in flames. He knew that if he left him there, Harvell would never awaken. After a pause of contemplation, Crow reached down and grabbed Harvell's leg and began dragging him towards the opening in the wall. He threw Harvell's body out into the sewers, landing on the platform running along the river of sewage. "Today's your lucky day." Crow's small sense of sympathy ended there and he simply turned away from the old man and began walking slowly through the dark sewers with his prize under his arm.
Darkness seemed to swallow much of the land nearby. A thick fog and gray clouds denied the sun any chance of illuminating the estate. Instead, it just sat there in the blackness, the landscape as cold as the wintery snow falling from the sky. It would be impossible to see if it weren't for the torches of blue fire spread through the property. Faint blue flames skipping through the air as the wind carried them until they faded. If a person were to see this place, and no one would dare travel through such a dangerous area, one would imagine the sounds of organs playing a tune of horror. Glowing red eyes of feral beasts cast their bloody gazes down at the property, but they would not cross the black stone fence dividing the estate from the monsters that lurked in the night. As if something more fearsome lay inside. This is the feeling that Black Manor produced to any onlookers.
At the heart of the estate lay a large cathedral, tall and black, with a central bell tower that peaked nearly the height of the structure itself. Overlooking through a large circular stainglass window was the lord who owned the manor. He stood with his powerful figure wrapped in a towel that exposed everything from the waist up, his his frosty light blue hair swept back and icy blue eyes looking past the manner towards the darkness. He grinned with confidence and power, and his muscular body matched that. One arm was raised and pressed against the glass and he stared out into the darkness. Even from this distance he could see the faint red glow of eyes at the edge of his estate. He was the one these beasts feared and wouldn't dare cross into his domain.
His bedroom was expansive with tall ceilings and stone pillars supporting the roof of the cathedral. It was filled expensive looking fabrics made from a blood red material, statues of bronze and silver with jewels etched into them, and furniture made of dark oak and marble. The walls had paintings of unfamiliar faces, possibly of previous lords, framed in bronze. In its center lay his bed with covers of similar blood red with four posts raising high within the room. There lay a beautiful young woman with long black hair shining like silk. Her skin was smooth and light, covered with only her right leg, shoulders and head exposed. She held the covers over well endowed chest with one hand while staring at an orb with swirling mist inside it.
"I shall notify Lord Black right away." She said in a soft, almost child-like voice, into the orb and it flickered with light before the mist and stopped suspended within it. She slid her legs off the bed, letting the covers fall off her gorgeous body. She seemed to glide across the floor when approaching Lord Black. "My Lord, Crow has recovered the chest and is on his way."
Lord Black continued with his grin and gazing out the window, as if already expecting that answer. "Good." He said with a soft yet powerful voice that seemed to shake the room as it echoed across it. The woman wrapped her arms around his stomach and rested her cheek and against his solid back. "Won't be long now, my dear, before we reclaim this world as ours."
> Continued in Breaking up the Band
Fights & Events
- Crow Freyr vs Harvell Hammond (Crow leaves Harvell alive)
- Introduction to Lancaster Black and The Dreadnaughts
Magic, Spells & Abilities Used
- Red Flare (レッドフレア, Reddo Furea)