With a defiant smirk, Bryen Sedreth lifted his voice. It echoed across the Crater’s depths to be heard by all.
“Ellis and John Roberts! We demand an audience with you. Show yourselves!”
Those who wandered the Crater floor looked up at the sound of his voice. His foreign accent rang coarsely in their ears. They cried and scrambled about in fear at the sight of him and the fifteen Artemisian Warriors that surrounded the Crater.
The people rushed to retrieve what weapons they had amassed between themselves. Meanwhile, the door of the little gray home at the north end of the basin gave a squeal as it opened.
Don and Christy Miller sheltered Ellis, John, and Amy. They, with the others who had aided the elderly woman across the Texas Border, stepped out onto the gravel road. Their fellow citizens began to assemble around them. With weapons at the ready, some hastened up the winding road to meet the brazen Warriors atop the ridgeline.
Scowling with outrage, John bellowed back.
“You have no business here! Your leader is dead, and you’ve been uprooted. Go back to your Island and stay there!”
There was a reckless cheer of agreement from the mob in the valley. But Bryen only smiled back with contempt and arrogance.
“This is not the end of us, John Roberts. We will be an eternal thorn in your side. We bring you now a solemn reminder of that promise.”
Ellis wrapped her arm about Amy’s in concern at the sound of his threat. With urgency, she said, “John, we must evacuate…!”
Before her son had a chance to question her, Bryen gave the order to his Warriors positioned at the Crater’s edge. They revealed their weapons from the electro-laser and plasmatically based arrays.
At the sight of it, the people of Delphey gave a harrowing cry. They rushed to abandon their posts and stampede up the gravel road leading out of the basin. Raw panic ascended from the depths below. Upon Bryen’s next word, the Warriors armed their powerful weapons.
Hardened against the people’s cries, they released a crackling torrent of electricity. Like surges of lightning, these burst into the teeming foliage below. In mere moments, the verdant valley caught with flames. The fire spread rapidly on the abundant fuel draping the crater’s floor. It consumed crops and vineyards and lit the quaint structures with brilliant heat and fervor.
The Warriors refused to relent and streamed their electro-plasma charges in a cascade upon the populace. Confined within the bowl of the crater, the people recognized escape of their lives alone as their only recourse.
Billowing black smoke and desperate wails rose thickly from the Delphey Crater. The inhabitants scrambled up the narrow pathway in a maddening rush to flee the raging inferno. It all sent a dreadful shudder across the barren landscape.
Satisfied, Bryen finally turned away. He led the Warrior Remnant to the aircraft again, which wasted no time in taking flight to the safety of their own country.
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