"The Price is Paid."Between the lines of men bloodied already stands a black iron door, a Door, for those who know what terrible thing it is, and when it opens out staggers a miracle. Or abomination. The sword could fall either way.
Military cut brown hair, pale white skin, but almond shaped eyes in a face not so different from the one Roy sees in his shaving mirror. Naked, scarred, it could just be another young soldier drafted into the war, another idiot alchemist meddling in things he didn't understand until too late except... Except the Ishbaraites were laying down their arms and falling into prayer. Men and women fell to their knees, brows into the dust, a cry of adulation rising up.
The figure turned to see why, and Roy's breath caught in his throat. Red wings shadowed a black flame, surrounded by the scriptural writing of Ishara. The ink could have been fresh from the artists needle but combined with the Door....
"What the hell is going on! Are they surrendering?!"
"They believe he's a Holy emissary. An Angel." Roy replied. An angel stepping out of a Door.... an alchemist who had performed Human Alchemy....
"What the fuck is he saying?" Hughes asked in a whisper from the side of his mouth. Roy tuned in and blinked. It was... Ishbarite? He had his arms up and seemed to be saying something in a liquid, vowel heavy language....
Two old men stood up and came forward slowly, their crimson gazes locked on the figure, and the answering rapid fire speech was the harsh staticy tones Roy was more familiar with. He couldn't translate, not properly... One of the men pointed at the surrounding Amestras troops and the strange alchemist turned again. Roy automatically categorized the scars. Fire, gun shot, knife stab, whip...
The alchemist brought his hands together and Roy found himself pulling his fingers into a snap without thought.
A smile, innocent and hopeful, and then a bow.
The snap of his fire rebounded off the array, white and gold and green that sprang beneath bare toes along the sand. He didn't even know what made him try the second spark, the array was expanding too fast, too strongly, it spread under the Ishbarites, engulfed the city and while the Amestas troops opened fire in panic they also scrambled to retreat as the desert exploded in a wave of power and Alchemy so great it blinded everything.
When Roy dazedly came back to himself, he found himself under the sheltering and sweat stinking body of Meas Hughes who was roundly cursing a litany in his ear. The sky was blue and endless.
"If this is heaven I don't want to be here with you like this." Roy managed to wheeze out. They untangled themselves and looked around. Soldiers were starting to come around. people were staring and screaming and pointing and *searching* for the weapons they'd been holding not moments before... Roy absently felt for the pistol at his belt and was unsurprised to find it missing, probably, his brain supplied helpfully through the clamor, it had become a part of one of the shoulder struts.
The last stand of the Ishbarite Rebellion, the ruined city of Ishara lay under the baking noon day sun in total shadow. Above it, gleaming silver, stood a... an *angel*. Roy could find no other word for it. It was a fortress, a castle, a winged metal giant.
"Alexander." A voice said. Roy found his gaze jerked back to the crazed alchemist with the beatific smile. "Alexander."
Alexander. The guardian of Ishara. A legend. A religious myth.
"Hey. General. Uh, are we still at war if *both* sides surrender, because if we're just chucking rocks at each other I think they've got more of 'em!" Hughes shouted with an edge of hysteria.