FHD Remix Chapter 5

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Chapter 5: Glie's Only Defender

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Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 4: The Final War Begins

[Indestructible, title and Track 1 of Disturbed's 2008 album published by Reprise, Inc./WMG]

Official Disturbed video for Indestructible

Tatakai, The Master Of War video

She wanders into the forest in the dark in her white robe and sandals, no lantern, no map, only the voice of her Saviour to guide her steps. She is tracking her direction by the stars; constellations she doesn't recognize, and had begun to mark down. She was also memorizing the appearances of distinctive trees, even turning around so that she would recognize them easily on the way back. The wall loomed ever higher and higher, and Tatakai was amazed at how tall it was, over a hundred metres.

<Five months?> she ponders, < I'm called to a Day of Flight after only five months as a haibane?> It is her first summer in Glie. She's had three jobs, apparently unable to find anything that both fits her talents and that she is allowed to do as a haibane.

Emerging from the West Wood, she can finally see the wall. She feels a rumble every minute or two. At one of the rumbles, she sees a piece of the wall fall away from the badly spalled stone face, which bulges towards her.

"My God!" she whispers, "I'm not even allowed to touch this. Even if I could, nothing in my power could do anything."

<You are Tatakai,> her Saviour says

God calls to her mind a song she heard as a child in her previous life, even before her flying wings had grown. Over a hundred years before she was born, it was written by a drum-chant band named Disturbed, but she doesn't remember that part.

First the sounds of an ancient battle fill her ears, ancient even by the standards she was used to as a featherwing, although today she can't help but imagine the characteristic final cry of the creature she forgets is called a "Guardian" or the discharge buzz of her super-cannon. The sounds of her kind flapping through the air, and the ancient cry of an airstrike warning siren.

She begins to sing, hoping the point will soon make itself apparent:

"Another mission: the powers have called me away
Another time to carry the colors again
My motivation: An oath I've sworn to defend
To win the honor of coming back home again
"No explanation will matter after we begin
Unlock the dark destroyer that's buried within
My true vocation, and now my unfortunate friend"

She defiantly points her finger at the wall, remembering, even as those ancient forces of darkness obviously won her war. No power can stand up to The Saviour.

"You will discover a war you're unable to win
"I'll have you know
That I've become

Her wings begin to glow, starting to outshine her halo ... maybe she hasn't noticed.

"Determination that is incorruptible
From the other side, a terror to behold
Annihilation will be unavoidable
Every broken enemy will know
That their opponent had to be invincible
Take a last look around
While you're alive
I'm an indestructible
Master of War"

A straight bolt of light flies straight up out of her body into the sky for a few seconds. She starts pacing back and forth in front of the wall, either ignoring or encouraged by this light. It fades as she continues to sing.

"Another reason, another cause for me to fight
Another fuse uncovered for now for me to light
My dedication to all that I've sworn to protect
I carry on my orders with not a regret "

She reaches over and strokes her own wings while she continues to sing:

"A declaration embedded deep under my skin
A permanent reminder of how we began
No hesitation when I am commanding the strike
You need to know that you're in for the fight of your life"

The glow starts again.

"You will be shown
How I've become..."

Flashes in several directions accompany the song's title word


She starts pointing her arms and gesturing, to see how much command she has over this new light.

"Determination that is incorruptible
From the other side, a terror to behold
Annihilation will be unavoidable
Every broken enemy will know
That their opponent had to be invincible
Take a last look around
While you're alive
I'm an indestructible
Master of War"

For thirty six seconds she is silent, listening to the song in her head. She realizes that the light she now wields is combatting the darkness of the night, and the evil just on the other side of the badly deteriorated wall. She figure that it's probably been neglected because of the delta radiation seeping through it. Suddenly sensing that the evil she chants against is trying to regroup, she holds out her arms and continues to sing:

"I am Indestructible
Determination that is incorruptible
From the other side, a terror to behold
Annihilation will be unavoidable
Every broken enemy will know
That their opponent had to be invincible
Take a last look around
While you're alive
I am indestructible, indestructible"'

Quickly, she climbs the pile of broken pieces, reaches out and plants both hands flat on the face of the wall, singing ever more loudly, commanding her light through the wall to the other side. She has no idea what she's battling. The light swirls off her fingers, along and through the wall.

Determination that is incorruptible
From the other side, a terror to behold
Annihilation will be unavoidable
Every broken enemy will know
That their opponent had to be invincible"

The light is somehow repairing the wall in front of her. It retreats from her touch as its bulge is reversed, and the debris pile under her feet shrinks as its particles return to their original place inside the wall. When it stops, she spreads her arms wide in front of the wall, commanding this fascinating new light to repair the entire height in front of her.

"Take a last look around
While you're alive
I am Tatakai
The Master of War!!"

On the other side of the wall is a frustrated and mortally injured Hogosho, a modern evolution of the ancient Guardian that Tatakai could so easily defeat on the wing with BFGs and rocket launchers. This Hogosho had built in eyes, and was by her own reckoning, entirely invulnerable to any weapon she had previously encountered. But she hadn't previously encountered this. She had been ramming herself against this part of the wall since the earthquake that winter, learning from the Toga that it was not inhabited on the other side. She thought the Haibane were harmless, especially these little girls, scared not just of the wall itself, but of the woods between it and their home. The Hogosho had been looking forward to a feathery snack, curious as to how similar they might be to the extinct Featherwing creatures that almost wiped them out at Armageddon.

She collapses, dying in front of the intact, almost polished, wall, twitching and groaning. The only damage that remains is the dusty trough in the ground between her current position and the wall proper. She realizes as she slips out of consciousness, that there was only one power left that could have defeated her at all, let alone so easily: that of The Savior.

[Video coverage ends]

Menmo catches up to the ancient warrior first, rather surprised to see Tatakai standing there in front of the wall. Kurai is next.

"You're still here!" she cries.

Tatakai scoffs, "What? Where else would I be?"

Menmo explains, "The light we saw looked just like a Day of Flight. We thought you had left us forever. I was a little skittish because you've only been with us for five months."

Shimoni catches up, then gasps, "Oh my! They fixed it! I've never seen it this nice!"

Tatakai turns and asks in an almost disgusted tone, "Who's they?"

Shimoni says, "The Toga, I think."

Tatakai turns back to the wall and says, "I fixed it ... with help from the Saviour, of course. The enemy was damaging it on the other side, so I sent some light through the wall. Something was trying to get through. Perhaps I'll never know what."

She looks at her right hand, feels it with her left, and huffs. In a squeak, she asks Kurai, "Do you know your way around that herb garden? ... I have a nasty case of delta radiation poisoning. I wasn't planning to touch the wall when I came out here, so it's a good thing you followed me," Tatakai says.

Menmo's eyes go wide, and she screams, "You touched the wall? How many times have you been told!?"

Tatakai realizes that she screwed up. The light at her command could have repaired the wall just as easily without her actually touching it.

Shimoni intervenes, "I'm glad we found enough string to make it all the way. We don't have the same ability to navigate like you, Tatakai. I'm also glad I brought the scooter."

Menmo seems merely frustrated at Tatakai's seemingly cavalier attitude towards one of Glie's oldest and most respected rules.

They mount the scooter and Shimoni starts driving. Shimoni says, "No one has ever touched the wall before. I don't know what to do."

Tatakai responds, "I seriously doubt you're correct. I remember my own kind had trouble remembering their history very far back. It seems like the Haibane Renmei have the same problem. If no one had ever touched the wall before, it doesn't seem likely that the Temple Garden would have everything we need to treat delta radiation poisoning. I'll write up a list when we get back. Who knows the garden best?"

"Kurai," says Shimoni.

"Just as I thought," says Tatakai, "Gun it, please." Tatakai rests her head on Shimoni's back as the 'new' word attaches itself to some of her dreams.

Back at the guest room, Tatakai sits in a chair at the table. Shimoni tapes a pencil to her right index finger. "You are freezing cold," she gasps, "How can you stand it."

"Easily," sighs Tatakai, "the radiation has screwed up my nerves so much that I barely feel anything. It also feels like I've lost a couple of stones of weight ... like I'm being vaporized from the inside out. I remember how it messed up the extra senses I had in my previous life ... it was quite unnerving to not hear the ground any more."

Tatakai continues to write her list of herbal ingredients. Kurai and Menmo, arriving on their slower bicycles, arrive just in time for Tatakai to finish. "Pick them in this order," she instructs, "The ones that need to be fresh are at the end. If you pick them first, they will lose medicinal value before you get back. I don't remember how this remedy works, although I'm sure I once knew. All I know is that this is it. Hurry, I might be the only person in the city who can defend it."

Shimoni drives with Kurai to the temple. Shimoni is the only person who can take a scooter around the catwalk, although this will the first time she's ever done it with a passenger.

"Menmo," Tatakai sighs, "help me to the bed." At this point Tatakai can't walk on her own. Unable to even stand, Menmo picks her off her feet and carries her to the bed.

"Tatakai," Menmo remarks gravely, "If this keeps up, you're going to start growing frost."

"It won't," Tatakai says, "In about an hour, my temperature will skyrocket so much you'll think I'll burn the place down." Uselessly feeling her own forehead, she adds, "Perhaps it will help if you get a bath started, one that is slightly cool to the touch," she gasps. "I'm scared, this is I think about four or five times the dose I got in my previous life."

The two haibane on the scooter drive it around the catwalk at high speed. Shimoni screams over her shoulder, "We can't slow down, or the lift of our wings will not hold us to the wall." Both are bent forward on the almost sideways moped.

Kurai responds, "You know how easily we could die right now?"

"Yeah," Shimoni squeals, "Our odds are still better than Tatakai's."

They halt at the temple, jumping off the scooter before it is even stopped. Kurai has her list out as Shimoni rams through the door uninvited. Without waiting for permission to speak, she says to the Communicator, "Tatakai has repaired the wall in the West Wood ... that light show you couldn't have missed if you were anywhere near a west facing window. She used the light of The Saviour against an enemy that was attacking it from outside."

"She flew?" the old man in the mask asks.

Shimoni responds immediately, "No, athough I'm sure Tatakai could take her Day of Flight whenever she dang well wants."

The Communicator gasps as Kurai starts going about, following her list. "This one," she points out a tree to Shimoni, "then that one ... second and third on the list ... I'll get the first, fourth and fifth ones over there."

The haibane race from tree to tree picking seeds and clipping leaves. Kurai gives very specific answers whenever Shimoni turns to her for instructions.

The Communicator recognizes the pattern and asks, "How do you know which herbs and what order?"

Kurai answers, "Tatakai made this list. She remembers the recipe from her previous life. She's got it bad."

Shimoni emerges from deeper in the garden with her bag.

"We have everything," Kurai says, "Let's go."

The Communicator rushes out after them, noticing the scooter. He gasps in disbelief, "How did you get that here?"

"Very carefully," Shimoni points out as she takes off at high speed. The sun is just starting to rise.

They arrive at Old Home to an alarming scene. Tatakai (in her robe) is in a steaming bath with a towel over her head.

Kurai gasps, "Menmo, what the heck? A hot bath is the last thing she needs!"

Kurai says this just in time to see Menmo set an old freezer's frosty evaporator coil in Tatakai's lap under the water. "This heat is coming from her," Menmo says as she aims a housefan at the humming compressor and condenser, "I ran out of ice almost an hour ago." To Tatakai, she asks, "Is that helping?"

Tatakai nods. As Menmo pours some water over her head to cool the towel, she turns to Shimoni, who's more familiar with the old freezer guts, and gets another nod. Kurai and Shimoni rush to the kitchen to prepare the medicine.

"Kusee!" Shimoni mutters as she grinds up the herbs in a mortar, "This stuff reeks!!"

Menmo comes in as the brew steeps, "What a stench!" she cries. She carries it into the washroom, where they hold it to Tatakai's lips. She can't lift her arms out of the water, but slinks lower into the tub to increase the angle, aggressively consuming the brew.

Once swallowed, Tatakai throws up half of it into the bath. "Ew ... the flavour's about right, I hope I got enough of it down."

Kurai then asks, "When will we know?"

Rasping, Tatakai answers, "About an hour ... either way."

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