[The camera shows a carriage being dragged by three horses from Ateria to Teviv. Outside, Kathryn Wesley rides on a horse in front of the carriage as Nathan Loretta rides behind the carriage, as the two protect the carriage from anything that may try to attack it. Inside the carriage, Lawrence Carter sits in a separated section, guiding the horses along the path. The rest of his new team sit in the back of the carriage, anxiously waiting for their arrival in Teviv. The team remains quiet as Lawrence pokes his head through a canvas sheet separating the two sections.]
[Lawrence, jokingly]: Hey, you guys still alive back there?
[No one responds at first. After a moment, Michael speaks up.]
[Michael]: Yeah, we're good.
[The carriage continues to move along the path, as the team remains silent. The camera shows Lawrence in the front of the carriage.]
[Lawrence, softly, to himself]: Why'd they agree to form a team if someone them can't stand each other?
[Everything remains silent for a moment as the carriage stops. Lawrence looks in front and sees that Kathryn has stopped in front of the carriage.]
[Lawrence]: Is something wrong?
[Kathryn]: No, we're just stopping to rest.
[The camera transitions to the members of the team standing in the shade of a large tree along the path. A few other trees can be seen on along the path in both directions. Lawrence, Nathan, and Kathryn stand by the carriage, observing the team's interactions.]
[Nathan]: Don't worry, they're just in awe over leaving the city... The tension won't last...
[Lawrence]: Some of them don't get along; I hope they can learn to work together, but in all honestly I'm not sure.
[Lawrence watches his daughter talking with Lily and Noelle. Meanwhile, Sven, Arik, Michael, and Teru are standing in their own circle, not interacting with the girls. Lawrence looks carefully at Hadria's and then widens his eyes.]
[Lawrence]: I thought Connor said she was scratched in the arm?
[Nathan looks at Hadria's arms and notices no scratch; he then turns to Lawrence and pauses for a moment before responding.]
[Nathan]: I guess it must have healed quickly.
[Lawrence]: Yeah, sounds about right...
[Kathryn]: If we want to make it halfway to our destination by nighttime and still have time for another break, we should probably get going...
[Lawrence nods his head as he walks over to the tree to inform the team. Nathan and Kathryn stand back.]
[Nathan]: ...That's activity, by the way.
[Kathryn]: Self aware?
[Nathan]: Doesn't look like it.
[The camera transitions to the travelers moving down the path. The sun beats down overhead, starting its descent across the sky. As the carriage heads along the track, guided by the two members of Squad 12, Lawrence again pops his head back into the section where the children are sitting.]
[Lawrence]: Why don't you guys try talking to each other. It doesn't bother me if you do...
[Hadria]: Don't force things upon us, dad.
[Lawrence turns forward to guide the carriage as he continues the conversation.]
[Lawrence]: I'm sensing hostile tension between some of you guys. It's not cool; you're on the same team.
[Sven]: It's not tension... It's fear. We're all too afraid of being outside to talk.
[Teru]: Says the guy who yesterday was so eager to leave the city.
[Sven]: I dreamt of leaving the city when I was older, not at this young of an age.
[Lawrence]: If you're going to let your age bother you, then we're not going to get along.
[Everyone is silent for a moment until Lawrence continues.]
[Lawrence]: We don't have time for you to make childish statements or take childish actions. You need to be mature so that you can handle whatever problems face you.
[As Lawrence finishes, the team remains silent, ending their conversation. For several moments, the team remains silent, but then Noelle speaks up.]
[Noelle]: I agree. If we act childishly, it's only going to result in failure.
[Michael]: We also must worry about becoming overconfident. That, too, can be a death wish.
[Lawrence]: Wise words, you two. I suggest all of you remember them.
[The camera again transitions, this time to the team's next break. The sun can be seen low in the sky, but still high enough for it to be fully light outside. There are no trees around, so the team is standing around the carriage. The girls stand on one side as the boys stand on the other side. The adults are standing at the top of the hill a ways down the path, overlooking where they will be going next.]
[Lily]: Do you really mean what you said, Noelle?
[Noelle]: I do; we can't be immature if we want to succeed.
[Lily]: I realize that... I guess what I meant was: do you really think that our team can work together and be mature?
[Noelle]: Of course.
[Hadria]: You're wasting your time believing that. I give this team three days before it falls apart.
[Noelle]: You of all people, already having experience with the Skywings, should have confidence in the team, so why don't you?
[Hadria]: Why should I? No one else on this team has any experience; if something happens, there are only four people here who would be able to protect our six inexperienced teammates.
[Noelle]: But even you had to learn how to use the Skywings! Doesn't your ability to use them now give you confidence in our teammates' ability to learn how to use them?
[Hadria]: A lesson my father always emphasized what the difference between faith and confidence. Faith is the ability to believe in the likely outcomes of future events; confidence is the ability to put yourself in advantageous situations. I have faith that our team will learn how to use the Skywings, but until then, I have absolutely no confidence in them.
[Noelle prepares to respond but Hadria walks away and gets back in the carriage, where she finds Sven. They look at each other for a moment before Hadria sits down across from him.]
[Hadria]: And what are you doing here?
[Sven doesn't respond at first.]
[Sven]: I agree with you.
[Hadria]: About what?
[Sven]: Faith and confidence; they are two completely different things.
[Hadria]: You were eavesdropping?
[Sven]: You weren't exactly whispering.
[Hadria pauses before responding.]
[Hadria]: You're one to talk about having faith. You can't even use the Skywings.
[Sven]: I never said I had faith. All I said is that I agreed with you?
[Hadria, angry]: Oh, so you don't have faith?
[Sven]: ...Never said that either.
[Hadria]: I'm beginning to not like you.
[Sven]: Well, at least you're honest about it.
[The camera shows Ateria; it is late in the afternoon, and the sun is starting to set. The southern portion of the wall is shown; Connor Yan stands on top of the wall; Samuel Wright, Wayne Holcomb, and several other Aterian police officers stand behind Connor, surveying the area with him. Below them, many To'kustars, including the 110-foot one that broke through Wall Via, approach the city, preparing to break inside.]
[Connor]: Well... The outlook isn't good... We've got six To'kustars over 80 feet tall, including the 110-foot. There are 13 others between 50 and 80 feet, and another 21 less than 50 feet. 40 To'kustars, and six men: not a very even fight.
[He turns back and looks at the five officers behind him.]
[Connor]: Stay here, watch, and learn.
[He runs off the wall, activates his Skywings, and flies forward to fight the To'kustars. The camera cuts to the travelers, camped for the night at the bottom of the hill that Lawrence, Nathan, and Kathryn were looking over earlier. The sun barely sticks out over the horizon, lighting up the sky in an unusual reddish orange. The horses and the carriage are off to one side of the path; on the other side, a pile of wood burns, sending a trail of smoke into the sky. Around the fire, the children sit on more wood; they are separated into their usual groups. Lawrence, Nathan, and Kathryn are working at the carriage. Nathan feeds the horses as Lawrence and Kathryn retrieve human food from the back of the carriage.]
[Kathryn]: So what are you going to do if this doesn't work out?
[Lawrence]: I don't know... We're already so far away from home, it's not like we can just head back if we give up.
[Kathryn]: I'd suggest having a Plan B; it never hurts.
[Lawrence grabs a box, presumably full of food, and takes it out of the carriage. He turns around as Kathryn steps forward to grab another box. Lawrence looks to his right as the sun dips below the horizon, causing the colorful sky to dim. He then looks up the hill, back towards Ateria and looks carefully out into the distance.]
[Lawrence]: How do we know that we weren't followed?
[Kathryn]: We don't; we could be attacked by To'kustars or by the Knights at any moment, that's why one of us is going to be keeping guard through the night.
[Lawrence]: And what if it's too much? What if we don't even make it to Teviv? What's your backup plan then?
[He turns to his right and begins to walk towards the fire before Kathryn can respond. She takes out another box and begins to follow Lawrence.]
[Kathryn]: If it's the Knights, I don't think we need to worry too badly. If it's the To'kustars, then I'm certain we can outrun them. In all honesty, though, I don't think we were followed.
[Lawrence]: I hope you're right...
[The camera transitions a couple hours later. The fire has been put out and the team is sleeping around on the makeshift, wooden beds. The only one awake is Nathan, who standing towards the southern end of the team's camp, watching the top of the hill carefully. He looks to both sides every so often, pacing back and forth nervously. He turns around to look at the team, and sees that they are all still asleep.]
[Nathan]: Even if there is trouble, they're all in deep sleep.
[The sound cackling fire can be heard. Nathan looks at the fire and sees that it has long since been put out, and thus definitely not capable of re-igniting itself. He turns around and searches for the source of the noise but cannot find it. The noise grows louder as eventually two horses emerge from the top of the hill. A man riding one of the horses carries a wooden torch in one hand and a gun in the other. As the two horses approach, the man can be seen to be Vance Grace; the rider of the other horse can eventually be seen to be Tuesday Smith.]
[Nathan, under his breath]: Of course...
[Nathan thinks to himself for a moment. He turns behind him to look at the team, still all sound asleep. He looks back to the two approaching members of the Forever Knights. Nathan looks at Vance and widens his eyes. Moments later, there is the sound of a gunshot as Nathan falls to the floor without saying a word. There does not appear to be blood, as Nathan lays on the ground, eyes open, body appearing stone cold. Vance suddenly comes to a complete stop on his horse. Tuesday goes forward a bit, but then stops and turns back to Vance.]
[Tuesday]: You hit him?
[Vance]: What does it look like I did?
[Tuesday]: Right... So why'd we stop so far away?
[Vance]: If we ride any closer on horseback then the others might wake up. We don't want a struggle, remember?
[He gets off his horse and slowly walks over towards Hadria. He walks right by Nathan, who remains motionless. Tuesday follows him and stops right by Nathan. She kneels down and looks into his eyes as they stare back at her, not reacting. Vance checks his pocket and finds a needle; he sticks it into Hadria's neck, injecting a bit of a liquid that will guarantee that doesn't wake up for a while.]
[Vance]: I hope that's what I think it is...
[He picks up Hadria and carries her on his back as he turns around and starts to walk back towards the horses. He stops for a moment and turns to Tuesday, still looking at Nathan.]
[Vance]: Come on, let's go.
[Tuesday]: What kind of gun did you shoot him with anyway?
[Vance]: What do you mean? It's just a gun...
[Tuesday]: I can't find where you hit him, and he doesn't look like he's in pain or anything... He's just... cold.
[She stands up and looks at Vance.]
[Tuesday]: Aren't you going to burn their stuff?
[Vance]: Why bother? We've got what we came for...
[Tuesday]: They'll follow us... If we burn their stuff, it'll be harder for them...
[She walks up to him and grabs the torch out of his hand. He turns as she walks over to the carriage and lights it ablaze. She turns around and gets back on her horse, keeping the torch in her hand. Vance gets onto his horse, Hadria still on his back, as the two ride away, back up the hill, towards Ateria. The camera pans back down the hill, showing Nathan still laying motionless, staring out into the distance.]
[The camera transitions to a brief time later. Kathryn wakes up and looks around her. She immediately sees the burning carriage; sees that Hadria is missing and looks towards the hill and sees Nathan lying on the ground. She runs over to Nathan and kneels down in front of him. She looks into his eyes, sees his motionless stare, and then stands up and turns to the camp. She runs over towards where she was sleeping, grabs a blanket, and runs over to the carriage to try and put out the fire. After several moments, she is able to control the fire, but not before it has done its damage, completely burning most of the contents of the carriage and leaving it unfit for riding in. She looks around and sees the five horses scattered around the field.]
[Lawrence, confused]: What happened!? Where's Hadria?
[Kathryn turns to Lawrence, who has woken up and is sitting on a piece of wood on the ground.]
[Kathryn]: I... don't know...
[The camera shows Lawrence and Kathryn standing across from the remaining children. They stand looking at the carriage, as the five horses wander around the field near the camp. Nathan is still unmoved, his eyes still open.]
[Michael, outraged]: How could you let this happen? You're were supposed to protect us!?
[Lawrence]: Nathan was the one keeping guard when it happened... Because of that...
[He turns to look at Nathan's motionless body.]
[Lawrence]: Well, who knows what happened to him... We don't even know who was here; all we know is that they have Hadria...
[Teru, half-worried, half-angry]: We don't even know that she's alive...
[Lawrence, worried]: Don't say that...
[He snaps towards Teru, who stands across from him, worried.]
[Lawrence]: I know, it's true... She might be dead...
[The children ponder the possibility that Hadria is dead as Sven steps forward.]
[Sven]: If she's not dead, though, then we have to save her!
[Teru, pessimistically]: How are we supposed to do that? We don't even know where she is!
[Sven]: But they couldn't have gotten far... We'll find her...
[Noelle, skeptical]: Really? Well, where do you think she is?
[Sven]: Most likely, whoever took her is on their way to Ateria... They wouldn't go to Teviv if they know that where we were headed...
[Kathryn]: That sounds like it would be true, but we can't underestimate our enemy and assume they wouldn't realize that... They very well could be hiding in plain sight...
[Lawrence]: And even if we wanted to go after her, we would have to do so on foot...
[Sven]: What about the horses?
[Everyone turns towards the five horses, obviously not enough for the 8 conscious team members plus Nathan.]
[Lawrence]: If we do this, we'll have to double up... Kathryn, you continue to Teviv and get backup... The rest of us will head back to Ateria...
[Lily]: Don't you think at least one of us should go with Kathryn?
[Kathryn]: Don't worry about me... All of you should head to Ateria... It's best for you to be close to home if someone else happens...
[Lily seems to accept this, as she doesn't respond. She turns to the horses; the rest of the children follow.]
[Sven]: So we're leaving immediately?
[Teru]: Wait, what about Nathan?
[Lawrence]: I'll carry him on my back. We can't just leave him here, so that's the best place for him...
[Teru nods his head. He turns around and approaches a horse. The rest of the team gets on the horses as they split up into their groups. Kathryn gets on her horse and stays away from the rest of the team. Lawrence picks up Nathan and gets on a horse, as Sven and Arik, Michael and Teru, and Noelle and Lily get on the last three horses. The latter four horses group together across from Kathryn, who faces the team.]
[Kathryn]: I'll see you all soon...
[Lawrence nods his head as Kathryn turns around a rides off, going much faster than the team had been going in the carriage. The team turns around and faces southwards, up the hill, towards Ateria.]
[Lawrence, sternly]: Be prepared for anything...
[He rides off, up the hill. Moments later, the other three horses with the six children follow him.]
[The camera shows the two horses with Tuesday and Vance on them riding. Vance is still carrying Hadria on his back. After a few moments, Vance slows down to look into the distance. Tuesday stops next to him.]
[Tuesday]: Why are we stopping, my lord?
[Vance]: If we continue at this pace, we'll arrive back at Ateria in less than an hour, which gives us plenty of time to spare before the sun rises...
[Tuesday]: I realize that, my lord. I asked why we were stopping?
[Vance]: Oh. Just to catch my breath...
[Tuesday looks into the distance. The wall surrounding Ateria can barely be seen at the horizon. Many trees line the path between the Knights and Ateria. Before the two Knights can start riding again, Tuesday steps off the horse and walks forward a little bit.]
[Vance]: Is something wrong?
[Tuesday]: There's a To'kustar coming...
[A 60 foot To'kustar can be seen approaching the Knights from the side of the path. Vance steps off his horse, still carrying Hadria on his back. He turns around and looks at the path behind him, then at the To'kustar.]
[Vance]: You take Hadria; I'll fight the To'kustar...
[Tuesday]: Are you sure, my lord?
[Vance]: I'm sure...
[Tuesday takes Hadria off of Vance's back. He activates a pair of Skywings and then takes a couple steps towards the To'kustar and jumps towards it. The Skywings carry him upwards, allowing him to fly. He zooms at the To'kustar, which is about 100 feet in front of him.]
[The camera shows four horses racing down the path. Lawrence, with Nathan still on his back, leads the way down another hill as the children follow right behind him.]
[Sven, shouting so he can be heard]: Why couldn't we go this fast before?
[Lawrence, shouting back]: The carriage weighs a lot more than you think.
[Michael, jokingly]: Well, it doesn't any more.
[Teru, not amused]: Oh, what a joke!
[Noelle]: How much longer do you think it will be?
[Lawrence]: We're probably about one hour away from Ateria... Yeah, it was supposed to take us two days to get to Teviv, but that's because of the carriage... Connor said that his squad could go from Ateria to Teviv in just over four hours. Most other cities are a lot closer...
[Teru]: How do you know?
[Lawrence]: Oh, Connor told me...
[He looks at Teru, sitting behind Michael on one of the horses.]
[Lawrence]: What? You thought I had left Ateria and traveled the world?
[Michael]: Well, we didn't know...
[Lawrence]: This is just as new for me as it is for you...
[He thinks for a moment as the group continues on its way.]
[Lawrence]: Actually, I did leave the walls once... A merchant cart on its way from the north broke down about half an hour away, and I had to help escort them to the city... It was about three years ago...
[Sven]: So what do you think of the outside?
[Lawrence pauses before answering that question.]
[Lawrence]: I don't know yet... I guess I can't really say I'm enjoying it until we find Hadria...
[The camera goes back to Vance fighting the To'kustar. He slashes it in the leg and then lands on the ground and comes to a halt to catch his breath. He appears to have been fighting the To'kustar for a while.]
[Tuesday, shouting from far away]: Are you okay?
[Vance]: I'm fine, it's just tiring...
[He turns around to attack the To'kustar again.]
[Vance]: Little does she know that I'm just stalling for the rest of Hadria's team to arrive so I can test her
[He jumps up at the To'kustar and cuts it in the leg. He flies upwards and avoids a smack from the To'kustar's hand. Vance backs away as the sound of running horses can be heard. He raises up, out of reach of the To'kustar, and turns to look down the path. He sees sees Lawrence, the motionless Nathan, and the children riding on the horses, approaching Tuesday and the Knights' horses on the path.]
[Vance]: Perfect timing...
[Tuesday]: What should we do, my lord?
[Vance]: You fight them... I'll continue fighting this To'kustar.
[Tuesday]: Understood, my lord...
[Tuesday places Hadria down on the ground as she draws two swords from her Skywings. She turns to face the team as the four horses stop about 20 feet away from her. Lawrence sees the unconscious Hadria as he steps off his horse and places the motionless Nathan on the ground. His eyes are still open as they stare into the distance.]
[Lawrence]: Give me back my daughter...
[Tuesday]: Don't worry, chief, I won't kill her... I've been specifically instructed not to do so...
[Lawrence]: By whom?
[Tuesday]: I'm afraid I can't say... In fact, I've probably already said too much.
[She holds up a sword, pointing it at Lawrence.]
[Lawrence]: Killing you, on the other hand, is fair game.
[In the skies above, Vance watches the encounter as he remains a safe distance away from the To'kustar below him. He looks at the motionless Nathan.]
[Vance]: All according to plan...
[To Be Continued]