Authors Notes: Hello everyone, this is a new story that I've had in the back of my mind for some time now. However, I've made a few changes to either universe. Changes that you will come to learn of with time. I hope that everyone enjoys the read and I can't wait to hear back from all of you.
Just over eighty-five miles northwest, off the coast of Vale, Beacon Academy sat nestled within its surrounding mountains.
From within the school's clock tower sits a man with salt and pepper hair. A mug of tea rests against his lips for a sip—his finger brushes against a touch-pad atop his desk.
Rows of photos, names, and descriptions zoom past the screen quicker than most can catch.
"Ozpin, why can't you just for once take heed to my input? She's far too young for something such as this." A drawn-out sigh escapes the man at the woman's prodding. He momentarily readjusts his spectacles back up the bridge of his nose.
"And I have." The man states while his hands steeple themselves before him. She scoffs at the notion.
"Yet, she's still on the applicant roster." Oz's eyes land on the blond before him. A dark brow raises above the other.
"My apologies then. I wasn't aware that another's advice was a mandatory affair." She snarls at the remark. But, she ultimately composes herself. Before the woman could proceed on, Ozpin holds out a hand to stop her.
"Glynda, we both know that she's more than capable." She narrows her eyes at the remark.
"Physically, perhaps. Internally, she's nothing more than a child. Students here are expected to come with some semblance of maturity and experience. Both of which she lacks!" As the graying man begins to speak, a woman burst through his office double doors.
"Headmaster! Heh. The Rivulbourn settlement! They're reporting an explosion!" At her declaration, the pair's eyes widen.
"W-What?" Glynda stutters out after a gasp.
"Merl, what's the status of the village?" Ozpin presses the secretary as he makes to stand. His hand secures a cane beneath him. Drawing her pad up for another look, the clerk scrolls through the information.
"It's. Uh. It's too early to tell. Um. I'm getting reports of some injuries and minor structural damage. L-Luckily the blast wasn't within the village." He quickly approaches the young woman and holds up his own pad.
Merl swiftly flicks her finger across her screen. The report instantly duplicates and appears on Oz's and Glynda's tablets. As Ozpin begins to skim through the file, Glynda hesitates for a brief moment.
"Have they reported any casualties?" The woman shakes her head in the negative.
"No, but a terrible fire's developed. Not to mention, the whole situation's irritated the local Grimm. They're struggling to maintain themselves as is and are requesting an immediate Hunter response."
"And they'll get it," Ozpin declares with narrowed eyes. An image of a forest alight with fire just beyond the village walls. The heavens obscured by a wall of smoke and soot accompanies it. Just below the outlines of grim could be seen from within the flames.
"Merl, send an emergency broadcast to the scrolls of any available Huntsmen in Vale. Notify them to be prepped and at the ready, port-side, within a half-hour." With a dutiful nod, she begins to type away at her scroll.
"Yes, Sir." At that, the Headmaster makes his leave. Glynda steps after him and quickens her pace to lockstep with the man.
"Don't think this changes anything." A tired sigh leaves Ozpin as he turns a corner.
"There goes hoping." The slightest of twitches befalls Glynda's right eye. However, before she could comment on the matter, the pair exit out to the facility's private airfield. Ahead of them, a Bullhead starts its wing-tip engines.
Under the light of the shattered moon, a fleet of Bullheads zipped through the sky.
"Shit." The pilot of the lead craft curses to himself. From behind him, a figure bends down to peer over his shoulder. Ozpin's face is lit up from the moons ethereal light. He gazes out from the cockpit to find miles of burning woodlands.
"Hm. I see that it's gotten out of hand." Spotting the settlement actively combating the flames and the occasional Grimm, he pulls out his scroll.
After a few seconds of fiddling, he puts the hardware up to his ear. "Coal, Olive, and Aegean. Have your teams set out to the town proper. Sure up their defenses."
He watches with approval as three of their accompanying aircraft bank towards the settlement.
A woman soon joins him in the main cabin. She bears a somber frown across her lips.
"Oz, we can't contain this." He grimly nods as the remaining two bullheads circle around the inferno.
"I know. Hm. Right now, all we can do is mitigate the damage and find the culprit. For the rest, we'll have to let it run its course." Glynda's shoulders slump at the prospect.
Yet, her brow furrows in determination. A riding crop finds its way into her steady hand.
Ozpin leans forward and motions the pilot to land. " Bring us down and find us a spot to touchdown!" With a nod, the pilot steers the craft on a controlled descent.
Its sibling vessel obediently follows after it. The pair skim across the burning canopy in search of a clearing.
Hovering just above Rivulbourn square, the trio of Bullhead's touchdown onto its cobbled streets. As soon as the craft lands, teams of personnel spring out from the sliding Flank-Doors.
On the ground, another group advances to meet them. In the midst of exiting the vehicle, a hunter motions for the pilot to cut the Engines.
He then approaches the growing group of personnel and comes face to face with his fellow captains and a few newcomers. "Lord, Garn." The Huntsman acknowledges with a stiff nod.
"Ah, Coal. It's good to see ya again. But, I had hoped it wasn't under another incident." He waves the elder off and motions for them to head to the westernmost wall.
"Agreed. But, pleasantries aside, where do you need us." The older man runs a hand through his thinning hair.
"We've managed to stay off the worst of it. But we're teetering over the edge here. Fortunately, the Grimm have been few and far between."
Matching step with Coal, Olive inquires further. "Wait, I thought the Grimm were breaching the settlement?"
The man shook his head in the negative. "On the contrary. Most of them have meandered into the fires. Good riddance if ya tell me. Hm. Really, if y'all could clear out the stragglers and establish some control lines, I think we may just come out on top of this."
The group soon near the modest barrier. The two-story cement barricade being the final defense front.
In little time, the crowd finds themselves atop the wall. On the other side, they face down the roaring flames and the few patches of woodlands that have yet to be consumed.
Noting the immediate threats within their vicinity, he motions for the other captains. "Olive, Aegean, take your Teams and fortify either end. I'll take mine down the center. Remember, prioritize containment. We can't have the fire pop the concrete."
Olive momentarily motions for her team to stay. Her eyes meet with Coals. "And what of the Grimm?"
"They're secondary. Only target them if they approach the containment line. Understood?" Receiving a nod of confirmation from the young woman, he sends them on their way.
Coal then places a hand atop of Lord Garn's shoulder. "We'll handle things on the front lines; you have my word." With his piece said, he and his team leap off the wall.
The hunters soon join the men and women digging trenches and clearing combustible brush. A few occasionally will pull out a rifle to dispatch any advancing Grimm.
"Ozpin." Glynda presses as she slinks over to his crouched position.
"This. This isn't normal." She whispers from behind a sleeved arm covering her mouth. The Grimm actively roam about the charred landscape.
A pack of Beowulf's scamper about as their noses inclines up as if to sniff the smokey air. The alpha of the group swivels its snout over toward their position. Yet, it doesn't make a move. Instead, it barks and proceeds deeper into the hellscape—the rest of its pack trails right after it.
"Hm. So it seems." Rather than fall back, he motions for their group to head deeper as well. After a few minutes of travel, the Headmaster turns to his companion. "Do you feel that?"
A crease develops across the woman's brow. Her eye tracks the bleak horizon. "Uh, I think so. What is it?" A slight tingling pressure exudes itself across her skin.
He gestures to the air around them. "The air. It's Saturated with Aura." Glynda whips her head over to him. A sliver of concern overtakes her.
"What? That can't be right." The man merely shrugs in response.
"It would explain the activity. If I'm right, then it'll increase in potency the closer we are." Glynda tightens her grip around her riding crop in response.
After minutes of persistent travel, Ozpin brought them to a stop. With a raised fist, he narrows his eyes to the barren and cloudy landscape. The sounds of a scuffle resound through the air.
"You hear that?" Whispers Glynda beside him. At which Ozpin nods. Just as the Oz prepares to advance, a deafening rumble and then a chorus of roars tear open the ground beside them.
From within the depths of the seared earth, a group of Creeps leap out. They didn't hesitate in the slightest. The beasts charge toward the distant commotion.
"Where do you suppose they're going?" Ozpin rises from his crouch at Glynda's words.
"Precisely where we are." Then without another word, he sets off in a light jog. The rest of his huntsmen trail not that far behind him. With every step, the intensity of the noise increases in volume. The lingering aura gradually thickens to a suffocating haze.
That's when they skid to a brisk stop. Carved into the ground, lay a shallow elliptical crater. Its broadest width exceeded beyond fifteen thousand meters across.
The earth having been cracked and converted to glass. At the epicenter, a human-like figure stood hunched over. All around the steaming abyss lay Grimm carcasses.
Their remains dissolve away and intermix with the ash and smoke filling the air. Despite the carnage, the individual remained surrounded by even more of the animate creatures of the shadows. "Oz is. Is that a huntsman?"
Before he could answer, a large bipedal Grimm charges forth without a shred of hesitation. Just as the first few near their target, the Alpha Creep launches forward. Its bony maw reaches out to cleave its adversary in two.
Glynda prepares her riding crop, yet an arm holds her back. She whips her head about. Her enraged eyes lock onto Ozpin. Yet, the entirety of his focus zeroed in on the humanoid silhouette. "Oz!?"
"Look." He states with a nudge of his chin to the inevitable clash. When her eyes lock back onto still figure, he flickers but for a moment. The Grimm continues past and tumbles to the ground. Its limp body kicks up chunks of glass and dirt.
The moment at which it began to decompose, the rest of the creatures surge ahead. In a blur of movement, the fighter dashes to meet them.
The glint of blades appears from its arms. One Creep dives for the legs as a Beowulf vaults over the Grimm to slash at the individual's head.
With a quick sidestep and turn, the apparent Huntsman flips his left blade into a reverse grip. Said weapon skewers the Creep through the eye. Proceeding past the corpse, it swivels around and dodges the Beowulf's subsequent swipe.
The combatant's second blade beheads the vulpine with a flick of his arm. Then in a flex of his legs, it leaps a few stories into the air.
A Nevermore, already in position, soars in for the kill. Despite the Crow's efforts, it falls prey to a slit throat.
Bounding off of the free-falling Grimm, the silhouette of a human spreads its arms out as if to dive.
Unexpectedly, its twin blades vanish and are replaced with a myriad of knives. The daggers dart forth as the figure casts them down.
In every location a knife has struck, a Grimm would collapse to the dirt. The blades sink into the socket of their eyes—only the rings remaining visible to the world.
Off at the edge of the pit, the group could just make out the masculine form of the combatant—the fractured moon adding clarity to his profile.
In his descent, he draws his right arm back. Then with a burst of movement, the man throws out his limb—a kunai spears through a Beringel at the gathering's center.
The ape's howls and cries are abruptly snuffed out. Yet, the dagger didn't settle there, the double-bladed point slams into the glassed terrain.
Ozpin narrows his eyes at the space between the man and the projectile. The faintest of lines glint under the moonlight.
With a sharp tug, he launches himself to the still upright Beringel. Like a bullet, he rapidly flies toward and connects with the Ape feet first.
At the point of contact, the earth shatters and engulfs the area in dust. Ozpin squints at the obstruction. Despite the hazy barrier, it did little to hamper the developing conflict.
"Ozpin." A sigh escapes the man at Glynda's prodding. Rising from his crouch, he motions for the gathered of huntsmen to follow.
Together, they sprint down the fractured embankment. But, the moment they made it past fifteen meters, the hair on the back of Ozpin's neck stand on end.
With wide eyes, the Headmaster lurches ahead and slams his cane down on the ground.
"Everyone! Behind me now!" He shouts just as the tip pierces the glazed earth. A translucent and emerald barrier erupts from within him to enwrap his team.
Not even a second later, a roar erupts from within the writhing group of Grimm. A translucent ring of energy slices through the beasts and collides into Oz's shield. The bubble of energy buckled but didn't falter.
Ozpin tracks the sharp band while it plows into the steep bank on either side of them. A bead of sweat drips down Ozpin's brow. After a few moments of silence, the man drops the barrier.
With a quick glance at each other, Ozpin and Glynda slowly begins to tread to the towering cloud of shadows. The bodies of countless Grimm dissolves into a cloud of ash.
The dust billows up to overshadow the unknown figure from view. Gradually, the haze starts to dissipate into the night.
Together, the Hunters approach the man behind the curtain of smoke. Ozpin makes a gesture to the teams at his back. They hesitate for a moment but gradually lower their weapons.
"Hunter. You've fought valiantly. Are you a Rivulbourn?" Ozpin presses as he comes to a gradual stop a few meters away.
However, only raspy wheezes respond. The hunched-over silhouette's chest expands and contracts in tune with the breaths.
At the suffocating silence, Glynda flicks her riding crop. Instantly, the haze is blown away from an unseen force.
A gasp leaves her mouth. The woman's hand finds its way to her lips, all the while, her eyes widen.
Ozpin opens and closes his mouth. His voice persists in failing as his fist tightens around his shaking cane, for no hunter stands before them. In its place, a charred and gashed remnant of a man stood. His hair and clothes having been burned off some time ago.
"O-Oh my l-light," Glynda sputters out. Her nose crinkles at the scent of burnt flesh meets her.
The man shakily reaches out, but ultimately collapses to his knees. The fall opens up fresh wounds as to the dried and fresh blood coats his dirtied body.
Not willing to wait for a second longer, Glynda rushes past the dumbfounded Headmaster. She slides to a stop beside the unknown.
Off to the side, a Huntress loses her dinner to the glassed ground.
Glynda's hands wobble and pause before gently holding him steady. Yet, he crumples into her touch.
She freezes at the contact. A mixture of fresh and dried blood, smear onto her white blouse.
Shaking himself out of his trance, Oz pulls a device from his jacket pocket. Ozpin taps on the scroll before placing it against his ear.
"This. This is Ozpin. We're going to need a med-evac. Stat. Uh, yes. Head to our location. There's an um. There's a crater that'll suffice. You can't miss it."
Once he places his scroll away, he stoops down beside the man. A pair of hunters kneel on the opposite side. Their hands are quick at work to apply ointments and rolls of field dressing to the worst of the burns.
Ozpin looks into the man's scorched and dull cornea's. He reaches out but sequentially revokes the action.
"Hm. d-don't worry. We-We'll get you out of here. You have my word." At his remark, the fiery thrum of multiple engines pierces through the night sky.
Hundreds of feet above, a pair of Bullhead's burst through a pillar of smoke. The large vehicles bank around the crater's center. Their engines tilt vertically as they descend to the group.
At the edge of the company, a few gunshots ring out across the land.
"Oz! More Grimm incoming!" He swivels his head around to find a pack of bony wolves encroaching on their position.
"Keep them at bay and prep for evac!" He turns his attention back onto the stiff blonde. The airships touch down right behind them.
The man places a hand on her shoulder only for the witch to jolt in place. "O-Oz?"
"Glynda, we've got to go." She blinks and glances down to the man, propped against her. "Come on, help me." She gives a shaky nod to the command and gently secures her arms around his torso—her companion taking hold of his limp legs.
"You ready?" She dips her hand, and together they lift the man with a grunt. "Alright, let's go. Go!"
At his below, the pair run off to the plane's open side door. A hunter situated at the entrance helps them up and into the rear cabin.
Once they were situated, the hunter leans out of the plane and shouts. "Amber! Sable! Get your asses on the Bullhead! We're getting outa here!"
Not needing any other prodding, Amber fires off a few more rounds from her burst rifle. The young woman and her team quickly hops onto the rising aircraft.
She takes a moment to glimpse down at the man nestled against Glynda's chest. His blood staining her once pristine clothes and bandages a deep crimson.
With a shake of her head, Amber focuses on to Ozpin's pensive expression. She makes a move to say something but stops herself. With a sigh, she refocuses on the Grimm roaring beneath her.
As the gunshots petered out to nothing, only the roaring engines and deafening wind kept the group company. Yet, even they were muted by the closing of the entry.
Despite everyone taking a moment to ease themselves, Ozpin couldn't strip his narrowing eyes from the charred man.
After a few moments of silence, Glynda centers her attention on to the Headmaster. She creases her brow at his stare.
"Something the matter?" Stripping his eyes off of the still figure, he matches her gaze. He merely runs a hand through his graying her while a sigh emerges from him.
"This man. He, uh. He possesses magic." Her eyes widen to the admission and turn down to look at the charred man. However, only a raspy breath and vacant eyes met her searching gaze.
End Note: Hey, I hope you all enjoyed the first chapter of many more to come. If you would like to leave a comment, suggestion, or critique I am all ears. I will do my best to respond to all of you who choose to do so. Once again thanks, and I'll see you all in the next chapter.