Book 5, Epilogue – Spring Comes to the Wastes

It was a time of unprecedented celebration in Greenland.

Dozens of airships hung in the sky above while countless bird riders flew maneuvers. They dropped petals in their wake as they swooped low over the crowds. The entire city smelled and looked magical.

Thousands of soldiers stood in the city’s central square at attention. All of them had undergone a strict selection process that they were all roughly the same height and build. All wore the same uniform that had come to be associated with Greenland and more modified rifles. Even the swords on their bakes were all perfectly identical.

From their shoulders fell forest green cloaks, marking them as the first batch of Greenland Regulars. The color green represented will power, represented hope, and represented their home – Greenland.

Standing in front of this impressive array were several hundred wasteland warriors of a different sort. They came in all manner of shapes and sizes, most of them unsightly mutants. But these men and women were among the very best, sporting various unique and valuable abilities. They were clad in typical wasteland equipment but for the black cudgel hanging from their waists and the rings on their fingers. They stood straight as spears at the head of the troops with pride in their eyes. 

These were the famed Greenland Goshawks.

Although the Goshawks were a special and lauded group, they had no standard uniform of their own. Nothing except the heavy green cloaks, which in addition to the Regulars behind them lent to a magnificent and moving scene.

Green was a scarce color out in the wastelands. They wore it to dispel the barren and hopeless cloud that choked their home. A single spark could spark a prairie fire and the green was their wish – a wish that this color would be seen far more often out here. One day green would cover the entire world.

Children clambered over one another to catch a glimpse of these fine warriors and their green cloaks. Their eyes sparkled with envy and admiration, for these grand warriors were heroes to them.

“I want to wear a green cloak and be a strong warrior!” Variations of this desire were shared among all the children.

Azura stood at the front of the group with her hands folded. Her eyes were fixed on the central Greenland fort as a group of ten or so figures emerged. They were all weighty figures of the wastelands who approached, the most elite of their city. They, too, were all wearing green cloaks.

Hellflower was the city’s head scientist and lead engineer, an indispensable addition to their cause. She walked in the center of the group in a sign of high status. By her side was a smiling one-eyed man.

“Master Wolfblade, you certainly seem to be in a good mood!”

Very little of Hellflower’s personality had changed over the years. The only difference was the breadth of her knowledge and her enigmatic methods. She had truly earned the designation as the wastelands ultimate scientist.

Wolfblade was the respected founder of Dark Atom. Although the man now was very different from the one who started the organization, it did nothing to diminish his or the Dark Atom’s respect among the populace. He remained one of the wasteland’s champions, more than worthy of walking in the middle of this group.

“If you had spent a thousand years cultivating a seed, you would also be overjoyed to see it sprout.” Wolfblade cast a glance toward the alluring woman. “You are a scientist, you should understand this perfectly well.”

“I understand, but I’m not sure I agree.” She shrugged. “A thousand years? It sounds exhausting! Me, I think a couple hundred years is enough.”

“All worth it,” Wolfblade replied.

Hellflower had never been able to get a read on Wolfblade. Although he had revealed his true identity to Cloudhawk, there was still no end to the mysteries surrounding him. No one truly knew what this creature thought.

On the left flank of the group were a number of familiar faces. Claudia, Barb, Gabby and others walked proudly down the lane. Each of them were also important members of this young nation.

“For Greenland to get to this point... Excellency Cloudhawk really is something!” Barb walked with Gabriel and the two looked over the spectacular event. She sighed, in awe of what she saw and then shot a teasing glance toward Gabriel. “You’ve been training with Excellency for so long, why is it you don’t have a tenth of the strength he has?”

He blinked innocently at her. “You actually expect me to be a tenth of what he is?”

His response confused her. If he had a fraction of Cloudhawk’s power, wouldn’t that be a good thing? Barb did understand that with strength came responsibility, especially this day and age. Even one tenth of Cloudhawk’s strength was a lot and perhaps the trouble it would bring was too much. Maybe it really would be better to live a peaceful and quiet life.

“I understand if you don’t have the ability, you should just keep strolling through life!”

Gabriel scowled, but said nothing. Barb looked out over the crowd with a puzzled expression. “It looks like most everyone is here. Where are Dawn and Cloudhawk?”

As soon as she gave voice to her thoughts two figures emerged from the fort, one bigger and one shorter. The former was Dawn, who strode forth in her indomitable Dawnbreaker Armor. She was dragging Cloudhawk behind her, dressed in comparatively ordinary gear. Both wore green cloaks draped over their shoulders. They soon joined the others.

“Governor Dawn! Governor Dawn! Lord Cloudhawk! Lord Cloudhawk!”

The crowds cheered and clapped. 

After a year of guiding Greenland as its leader, Dawn had gained a lofty reputation. She had also led their forces against incursion from the Conclave of Judgment and succeeded, piling military exploits upon her civil ones. Cloudhawk needed no introduction. Every notable figure in the wastes knew that without Cloudhawk’s influence and legendary efforts, Greenland wouldn’t even exist.

All eyes followed Cloudhawk as their peerless leader strode onto a dais. He, in turn, looked out over the crowd.

“I see everyone’s arrived.

“Without question you all, like me, have experienced a bumpy road. Our lives have been rife with storms, pain… and growth. In the end it led to a reawakening, now here we stand. First and foremost we must thank the countless ancestors whose blood and sacrifice have opened this path for us. Because of them the wastelands have come to a crucial turning point, and we stand on the cusp of revolution!

“Our fight is now. The challenges we face are more difficult and terrible than we could have known. The darkest hours are yet to come. But we are not afraid, nor are we lost. When I look out at your faces I can see faith in our cause, in the great mission we together have undertaken.

“For too long the wastelands have slumbered, but we are here to help it stir. We will shake off the dust, take up our weapons and fight for our lives! We will fight for our destiny! We will fight for our survival!

“No matter what comes or where this path leads, I will forever be the same child that climbed out of southern wasteland ruins. One day I may fall, but there will be tens of thousands of me who will keep going. They will awaken and see the future we deserve. New soldiers will emerge to carry our banner when others give their lives until the day green covers all the land. Hope will tear away the darkness, my friends. A new dawn is coming.

“I come before you all today to make a formal announcement. The establishment of the Green Alliance. I, Cloudhawk, will serve as its first leader and commander.”

Cheers answered his decree, so loud the ground shook. All the citizens were filled with high spirits and resolve, dedicated to their cause. The Green Alliance would unite all great powers of the southern wastes. Its territory would include thirty-nine cities, in addition to the Blisterpeaks and Meadow. Nine million citizens joined under one banner.

Dawn would remain guardian and Governor of Greenland and the province it controlled. Sandbar Outpost would come under the auspices of Abaddon, aptly named Caliph of the Sands. Nox and its area would continue to be guided by the Khan of Evernight. Meadow would be administrated by its founder, the Shepherd God Autumn.

All together it was a union unlike any seen before. Compared to its predecessors it had stronger leaders, a more unified army and a more robust faith. From this moment forward the fate of the planet would be forever altered. A whole new world, never seen before, loomed on the horizon.

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