A blanket of ash surrounded Zammela, though it brought no warmth. That which did not settle fluttered about like snow. Together they served as evidence of the sun's wrath. The once great city of Agellas existed now as a lifeless crater, the centerpiece to the end of the world of Pange.
Zammela sat at the outskirts of destruction with the Derrek's remains clutched to her breast. He stood beside her, defied everything for her, and now he lie cold and lifeless. He paid for his failures with not only his life but the lives of all those that inhabited the city.
Soon, death would claim far more than that.
Magic crackled in the air around her, the remnants of the elemental shield that spared her from harm. She questioned why she had saved herself from the Sun's purging flame while the rest burned in a relentless tide. Had she the power to spare them all, it would only damn them to a much slower and more painful death.
Zammela brushed away ash from his hair and his armor, midnight black iron-silk that did nothing to protect his heart beneath. At the least it protected Zammela from seeing the gore beneath.
She peeled away the cowl from his face to reveal his calm and serene expression. Amongst all this destruction he died with a content smile on his lips. Seeing that freed Zammela of rage and sadness alike.
The remains of those too stubborn to run surrounded her. Perhaps they thought the Goddess' Luck would spare them. This 'luck' had only provided them a swift death. Bodies were left in ruins, some sets smoldering bones and some even less. The dire scene drained her of empathy. Her tears had dried up alongside the final trickles of the City of Water's fountains.
Magic swelled within her, fueled by the bubble of comfort from Derrek's body. This aura felt private to Zammela, something only she could see or only detect. Even in death, energy gushed from him, hungry to fulfill some unseen purpose. This same energy that moments before fueled the destruction rather than prevent it.
A distant groan pierced the silence of the surrounding. Life among death. Zammela turned, hopeful, setting aside Derrek's body forcing herself to a stand. The world spun, walking proved difficult. She gathered the shreds of her wits and pushed towards the small noise.
Zammela came to a small gathering of stone. She wrapped shaking fingers around heavy stone blocks and pushed stone aside. There she recognized the fallen form of Naida. Zammela identified Naida by her tall and broad form despite being marred with severe burns from flame and broken bones from falling debris. There would be no mistaking the swords crossed at her back, which remained eerily pristine and unmarred.
Zammela felt small next to Naida, even now. Zammela reached out and Naida's head flinched in reaction. The ruin of her lips moved as if to protest, but no sound came out. Naida winced in pain, the tiny motion drained her, and left her to sag her head in exhaustion.
Likely Naida hadn't and couldn't recognize her, her eyes blind from the Sun's kiss. Zammela settled on touching her cheek with gentle assurance.
Naida's armor served now as a second skin, melted against her and held her together as much as any bone or ligament. The muscles in her body had been left in a state of ruin, her strength dwindled as each moment passed. Each breath a labored pull, a struggle to keep living, each more desperate than the last.
Zammela hurried over to Derrek's fallen body and dragged along a trail of ash. Naida waited wordlessly resting with no motion beyond the gentle rise and fall of her ruined chest. Zammela propped Derrek next to Naida and joined their hands -- the least she could do. Naida's hand twitched and tightened, she recognized him in that at least.
Zammela turned away, she felt a stranger to the moment now more than ever. Her wandering gaze caught a glimpse of a silver warped by heat and sprawled along the ground. She followed the trail and pushed aside more rubble to find the buried and ruined remains of Tartagin Tolten sitting upright amongst the fallen stone. Unlike Naida, the stone had done little to protect his remains.
Nothing could be done for Tartagin. His remains had been devastated by the blast so thoroughly, any attempt to move him would render him dust. His wire frame glasses dangled off his skeletal face perilously close to falling.
Zammela crouched near the priest’s remains. Carefully, she reached out and placed her index finger on the bridge of the glasses. Gently, she pushed until the glasses sat flush against the cauterized scraps of skin amongst the ruin of his face. Zammela smiled humorlessly at the small victory and stood. It had been the longest she had seen the frames stay in place.
Naida drew her last breath. Zammelas chest tightened as the last traces of strength fled from Naida's body. Her hand fell limp and still in Derrek's.
Naida's death sealed Zammela's true isolation. She lingered as the last ray of light and life in Agellas, the City of Water. The city now laid silent and lifeless, a crater surrounded by scraps of rubble. No aqueducts would flow, no stages would hold performances and no towers would loom above the people below.
Agellas had once been Geldbane's greatest natural wonder. The very source of life of Pange had extinguished it.
Zammela shielded her eyes from a fire-flash in the distant horizon. Brilliant flames lit the sunless skies to the south. She recognized the distant explosion as the second blast in a chain of events that would be repeated all across Pange. Worse, fault rested cleanly in her lap.
Without the warmth of the Sun her magic could sustain her, for a time. But the better question lingered: Why should she bother surviving?
Everyone was dead -- save for one of the two destroyers. As one died in their failure, the other left to lament their part in the destruction of Pange.