The Azaroth District was one of six cities within the stronghold, Sentinel. It was filled with merchants trying to make a living and thieves trying to make a profit. Despite the danger that seemed to be lurking in this city, information was the number one attractor to people who needed to know what was going on.
A girl with a hood entered the food market area and went in front of a stand selling vegetables. She wasn’t interested in any of the produce the merchant was selling, but instead, she was more attuned to the conversation she overheard between three guys. One guy wore a green shirt and had goggles on his head. He seemed to be a mechanic judging by the oil marks on his hands. The other two seemed a bit cleaner with one wearing a yellow t-shirt and the other wearing an orange with glasses on.
“Did you hear the news?” The guy with the goggles said.
“The news about what?” Replied the guy with glasses.
“About Strike Team Joker getting annihilated. I heard their bodies were found in some lake near Polyfair District.”
“Really? I heard that they were chopped up and only their heads were discovered,” stated the last guy.
“That sounds a bit over the top, don’t you think?”
“Yes, but it’s what I heard.”
The guy with the glasses wrapped his hands around himself and shivered, “Man that’s brutal. To think that a strike team like Joker would get defeated.”
The guy with goggles shook his head, “Those cultists don’t play around.”
The girl with the hood on, which covered her face and body continued to walk on. Her hands were balled into a fist after hearing what she heard about Team Joker. She couldn’t grasp the thought of cultist, worshippers of the Divine whom humanity has been at war against for 75 years, savagely killing a strike team. Members of strike teams were stronger than average humans. These beings were nicknamed Soul Witches after being granted the gift to slay the minions of the Divine. As she continued her stride past the shopping area and into a park, she slowly lost her grip when she found the person she was looking for.
A man with a black trench coat stood tall waiting for her arrival. He leaned over a railing that prevented his fall into a stream. The girl stood beside him and he turned to her. “You’re late.”
“Something caught my attention.”
He scratched his head, “Yeah well I got no information on Rye’s whereabouts, but I did manage to get something worth your time.”
She was a bit annoyed, but caved, “And that is?”
“There’s been some word about a God causing mayhem around the Valkyrie area. It may or may not be your God, but I think it’s worth looking into.”
“Without knowing if it’s Rye or not, I have no interest to act...but thank you for the information nonetheless.”
The girl turned and began to take her leave. The guy quickly turned to her and grabbed her hand. She stopped and waited for him to speak.
“Aleyah...I sure hope you know what you’re doing. Don’t get yourself killed over revenge. It’s a dark and lonely path.”
He slowly released her hand expecting a response, but that is not what she gave him. Instead, she continued to walk on. The man gave out a sigh and continued to look at the stream he was gazing upon.
Sentinel Meet Room
A man walked down a hallway and made his way towards a meeting room where a couple of people awaited his arrival. The man had a brown cape with fur around the collar. He seemed to be in his mid-40s and had a goatee. He stopped by a door locked by a console. He entered the code to get in and the door opened. Entered Theon, the overseer of all Strike Teams. The door closed behind him as he made his way towards the table where both Vahlia and Cyn were waiting. They were meeting here to watch two matches between teams that applied to join Sentinel’s Strike Force. On the screen in front of them said the names…
Paladin v. Octane
Trinity v. Delta
“Sorry I’m late; I was caught up with the recent event regarding Team Joker.”
“So the rumors were true?” Cyn asked.
“Depends on what rumors you’ve heard Cyn.”
Vahlia lifted her hand and they both turned her way, “No need to say anymore, Theon. We were just about to start so you’re fine.”
He nodded, “Will Eiano not participate in this?”
“He’s occupied at the moment,” Cyn replied.
Theon chuckled and shook his head, “Not surprised. Alright then, let’s get started. Who’s up first?”
Cyn clicked a button and the screen changed to show an arena where the team would be fighting in, “Teams Paladin and Octane.”
Trinity Locker Room
Meanwhile, two members of Team Trinity are waiting for their third teammate to arrive. Yuto, a boy with black hair and brown eyes wearing a gray and blue uniform, paces back and forth. While he is doing this, Aleyos, the other boy with brown hair and blue eyes wearing a similar uniform but with green instead of blue, watches him. Slowly, Aleyos began to grow annoyed and took a hold of Yuto’s shoulder. “Pacing back and forth won’t bring her here any sooner Yuto.”
Yuto took Aleyos’ hand off his shoulder and took a seat. “I know, I just can’t help it. She better not cost us the match.”
Yuto looked up at Aleyos, “And how do you know? Twin intuition?”
“Something like that,” he laughed. “Besides, we both know this is just as important to her as it is to us. Without her, we both probably wouldn’t be here today.”
Yuto gave out a sigh and looked down at his feet. “I hope you’re right.”
The screen in their locker room turned on and Aleyos turned to it. He saw both Team Paladin and Team Octane enter the arena.
“Hey look, the other bracket match is about to start.”
Yuto stood and watched the match next to Aleyos.
Soul Witch Arena
The arena was symmetrical to benefit each team during the match. It also provided the audience to observe how well each member in a team fights alongside one another. In front of them was a barrier to protect them from an enemy’s initial first attack. There were four rectangular blocks, two on the left and two on the right on each side that could easily be climbed for an upper advantage. Against the wall and pass the blocks were ramps connected by a bridge for an even higher view and above them were lamps that brightened up the room.
The members of Team Octane wore a uniform that was tan and each individual person had red, blue, or green with it. These three colors were used as an outline to distinguish between whose roles was what in each strike team. Team Paladin’s uniform was orange with the three distinct colors for each person as well. They waited to hear the buzzer before beginning the match. Both teams were anxious to get this started. This match decided which team was best qualified to be a part of Sentinel’s force of Soul Strike Teams.
Out of nowhere, the buzzer rang and each member from both teams shouted out their witch cry. The two with red in their uniform shouted, “Nova gate open” while the two with blue in their uniform cried, “Mythic gate open.” The last two with green followed and yelled out, “Eclipse gate open.” These shouts were the activation keys for their souls. Within each soul of these beings, a hidden power slept within them just waiting to be released. This hidden power was known as aura.
The Paladin leader, being the nova user, continued her shout and added the words Ember Soul. Her eclipse partner followed and shouted Armored Soul while the mythic partner said Cosmos Soul. Their uniforms changed and their clothing turned into something more suitable for the weapon they were now carrying. The outline of their bodies glowed the second color of their uniform indicating each person’s aura class.
Team Octane’s leader was an eclipse user with the Roaring Soul. The other two were the nova user with Berserk Soul and the mythic user with the Lunar Soul. They too wore different clothing and armor that suited well with their soul weapon.
After each team transformed fully, they finally started their match. After eight minutes, the match resulted in Team Paladin’s victory. Both teams met in the middle of the arena and shook hands as a sign of respect and good attitude.
Trinity Locker Room
Both teams walked away and Yuto turned away from the screen. He buried his face in his hands with frustration. “Oh great, this is bad.” Aleyos crossed his arms and nodded his head. “I don’t know, I thought their match was pretty good.”
In annoyance, he quickly turned to Aleyos and took him by the shoulder. He turned him around and Aleyos knew this wasn’t a joking matter. “No, not that. Aleyah still isn’t here. Where could she be?!”
A sound went off and both Yuto and Aleyos looked up. They were being summoned to their prep room along with the team they would have to fight against. Aleyos walked over to the door and opened it. He turned back to Yuto who still seemed annoyed that Aleyah, their partner and team leader still wasn’t there. “She’ll make it Yuto.” He carried on and although he was having trouble believing in that, Yuto followed.
Sentinel Meeting Room
As Vahlia, Cyn, and Theon gave their judgments on the match between Octane and Paladin, the door suddenly opened and walked in a soldier wearing a crest on the left shoulder. It was of a knight in shining armor kneeling with a sword in front of the figure. A similar crest was on the shoulders of Vahlia, Cyn, and Theon as well. This was the crest of Sentinel that every member of its battalion had to wear for it represented honor, courage, and the strength of humanity.
The soldier walked in and went straight toward Cyn. He whispered something in his ears which caught Theon’s attention. Cyn’s face was struck with worry. The soldier backed away and stood still awaiting his orders from Cyn.
“Well...that’s a problem. You may go now.”
The soldier bowed all while placing his right hand on his left arm where his crest was and putting his left arm behind his back. This was a respectful goodbye gesture for all common soldiers, not just in Sentinel, but in the other 3 strongholds as well. As the soldier took his leave, Theon questioned Cyn and asked him what was wrong.
“Apparently Team Trinity’s is missing their nova user,” Cyn replied.
“Cyn, pull up Trinity’s file,” Vahlia ordered.
Cyn walked over to a computer and accessed the file he had on Team Trinity. On the screen, Yuto, Aleyah, and Aleyos popped up in that order with their height, age, aura class, and other data that was necessary for them to join Sentinel. Vahlia focused on their nova user which was Aleyah, the girl who was running late.
Vahlia folded her hands together, “Aleyah Angelourus.”
“What should we do?”
Cyn waited for a reply as did Theon. He was anxious to figure out Vahlia’s decision, but also wondered what could be going through this person’s head. Who would throw away their chance to be an official Soul Strike Team when they’ve made it this far? Was this Aleyah person worth counting on, not just as a strike leader, but also as a person to fight alongside with when it truly mattered?
She looked at Cyn, “Give her time. I believe she’ll make it.”
He nodded his head and switched the screen back to the arena. He went over to his spot at the table and waited with them for Aleyah’s return so the match could start.