MV12 comp

The Church

On the Firebird’s back, you crest the sacred hill. Above the steeple of a historic church, the Firebird spirals in a tightening gyre; you sway with the rhythm of each mighty beating wing.

“All is ready.” Alice calls to you over her shoulder. “My love awaits! If our union is consecrated, together we will beat the evil forces and heal this rift in Time.”

Fear flutters in your chest. “What evil forces?”

But Alice does not hear you over the roaring of flight’s winds.

The church roof opens beneath you to reveal a divine scene within: a congregation dressed in clothes from across the globe, and throughout time.

A priest in jacaranda robes floats at the altar. Before him stands a noble figure bearing a crown beset with opals, and dressed in a glorious suit woven from silk and paperbark embroidered with glittering fleece. Priest and Noble both lift their faces towards the Firebird.

The Noble calls out, her eyes glowing righteous. “Alice, my Alice! Time will rip asunder if we are kept apart any longer!”

The priest’s face warps with rage into a beastly countenance: his teeth stretch into glistening fangs, blistering holes form where his eyes once were. From each gaping socket bursts sparks, each ember taking on the deathly form of a demon ascending over the church.

Below, the congregation writhes in confusion.

“The sacrifice of an Innocent will open the door for us.” Alice’s face pleads with you. “It’s the only way to heal the rift in Time. Closed minds have caused the fabric of the universe to fracture and split.”

The weight of responsibility sits heavily on you, as you struggle to understand. “Minds closed to what?”

“To Magic.” Alice’s tears vaporize, the demon’s heat blistering the skies. “To Love.”

You reach to comfort her. At that moment, the Firebird turns and plunges its beak into your flesh. There’s no pain, but you watch in shock as blood flows across the Firebird’s opal feathers, raining on the demons below. A screeching fills your ears, and you are buffeted left and right as they rise up and wail.

Tensing beneath you, the Firebird unspools an eerie cry borne of all history and all futures, causing an image to form in your mind. You understand what you must do: you, and this mighty winged beast.

The Firebird glides into the church. Alice slips from its back to stand beside the fine Noblewoman before the altar. You watch as the face of the priest returns to human form, serene and wise.

The Firebird swiftly climbs back into the storming skies. Demons stream after you; cloying fingers clutch at your clothes, winding around your limbs. The mighty bird curls its wings around you, hugging you tight against the opalescent feathers of its breast. Together, you dive down towards the pristine spire.

The demons trail the Firebird’s lustrous tailfeathers, bound to your Fate. Plunging into the shimmering depths hidden below the church, the last earthly sound you hear is the ecstatic cheer of a united congregation. Alice and the Noblewoman weave their hands together and hold them high, united in victory. You raise your hand in return, and wave your last goodbye.