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Fanfic Info
Title Deliverance
Genres Action
Author TwiceBorn
Timeline Approx. 1.5 years before main thread start
Canonicity Status Non-Canon
Completion Status One-Shot


I was dead, my body just didn't know it yet.

All I could feel was fear. Bowel-clenching, absolute fear that rooted me in place, kept me from moving or begging for mercy or even running away. My frozen mind couldn't comprehend anything else: not the sting of the dozen wounds I wore like a dress; not the trickle of warm piss running down my legs; not the sight of the rest of my squad scattered about like chaff, moaning in pain or bleeding out into the ground.

My killer was a Witch, some poor sparkle who had one too many bad days and decided to take it out on the rest of the world. Maybe she was a cute little blonde with pigtails, maybe she was a tall beauty with long, straight black hair like those princesses from old times; whatever she used be, the creature before me seemed to be made of blurred and faded blocks of color, watery chunks of red and blue and purple piled into a loose humanoid form. Teeth the shape of paint brushes, claws in the image of pencils. There was something to be said for being killed by a bad post-modern painting, but I wasn't sure what it was.

The Witch roared. A symphony of sounds that never should have been heard together, with a pinch of hatred and grief to taste. Its body, already looking like madness made manifest, twisted into some new perverse shape that was the bane of sanity. I tried to muster every last drop of my remaining strength to do something, anything, even if it was raising my weapon or grabbing the nearest squaddie and getting the hell out, but the best I could do was numbly take a step back. Too afraid to fight, too afraid to even cower. As it reached down to tear me apart, all I could think of was my poor squadmates, and how badly I'd failed them as their leader. I should have been smarter, I should have been more decisive, I should have sent them back and tried to hold the Witch off by myself. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Then, salvation came soaring in on black-pinioned wings.

Her raven hair was cut short, almost brutally short, coming down only to her chin. Her eyes were a dark violet, behind red-rimmed glasses that did nothing to disguise the grim focus that burned within. Her trim, lithe figure was adorned by a laced skirt uniform, rendered a splotchy black by weeks-old blood and grime that she never bothered to clean. She held a M95 anti-materiel rifle in one hand and a grenade launcher in the other, with a small, scarred shield clasped to her right wrist.

She was Girl A. The Warmaster's favored pet. An addict, a bum, a drunkard, the target of gossip that I admit I didn't abstain from. She was one of the top Vindicares, a vicious killer through and through, and the mask she wore was the visage of murder.

She opened up with a volley of explosives. Brilliant bursts of orange flame, blooming from the Witch's form like flowers. The sight of it made my body ache—an ache, I realized, that came from being sliced up by shrapnel let loose by the detonating grenades. The pain triggered my training and I sprinted to my squadmates, dragging them into cover and away from the crossfire.

Did she come here to save us, or to just kill the Witch? I wasn't sure then, and I'm still not sure now. If she did, it certainly was a classic Murderface rescue: liberal amounts of weapons-fire, collateral damage unheeded, for only the destruction of the target mattered. It might have been just dumb luck that I didn't get hit by a stray bullet or got vaped by a misplaced bomb. But at the time, I didn't care. My life span had been expanded by another handful of seconds, and when I felt my cheeks covered by an unfamiliar wetness, I realized they were the tears of relief.

Once my squadmates were safe, I risked a glance over my shoulder. She was still at it, blasting the Witch with enough firepower to cripple a battalion, flitting from position to position like a bird. A near-miss shredded a piece of her uniform, leaving a piece of it fluttering behind her like a small cape, like the black-feathered wings of a raven. The Witch's barrier rendered the battlefield into a twisting visual nightmare of light-swallowing blackness and insane color, and between that and her time-twisting powers she seemed to jump in and out, in and out of the shadows.

For every swipe of the Witch's claw, she answered with another volley of gunfire. For every swarm of familiars sent forth, she rendered the battlefield unto ash with bombs. At one point, she dashed up the Witch's goddamn arm and pumped three-hundred rounds from an ancient MG42 in its face, then stuck a handful of grenades in its wounds as it reeled from the assault. Orange fire-blossoms bloomed again as she lept off and emptied a handcannon in mid-air. Round after round, shot after shot, munition after munition...the finest modern tools of death hurled at something that shouldn't exist. Each blow pulverizing the blocky form of the Witch. Each blossom of fire eliciting a symphonic roar of pain.


It wasn't long until her work was done. She wasn't even breathing hard, and she seemed more focused on fishing around for her pack of cigarettes as the world bled back into reality. In a couple of moments the rest of the reinforcements arrived—Sayaka Miki, Kyouko Sakura, others. Miki seemed to be yelling something unkind, while Sakura started slapping backs and letting out her signature guffaw. Murderface, for her part, ignored it all. The only thing she seemed to care about was her smoke.

Soon enough, the medics arrived and started tending to our injuries.

I ignored them, though. I ignored them for my black-pinioned deliverer. As the medic tried to pull me back, tried to make me sit down so she could properly treat my wounds, I called out to her.

I gave her my thanks. Not my most elegant moment—dripping with blood, barely able to stand, calling out a clumsy 'thank you' with a throat hoarse from terror and exhaustion. But I felt like I had to, perhaps out of simple gratitude. Or perhaps out of guilt for all the times I'd scorned her behind her back. To this day, I'm not sure if she actually heard me. If she did, she certainly didn't respond.

I glanced back behind me—for a moment, just a moment—demanding the medic to let me go. When I looked back, though, she was gone, like she was never there.

I never really got to see her again. Nothing too melodramatic: we're both fine, as far as I can tell, it's just that the 9th is a big Officio and we're always busy, and the timing never quite felt right. I got a peek at her when she got officially crowned Warmaster, but I didn't really get the chance to go up to her at the time. Too many other girls crowding around her, you know? And I'm not the best with crowds.

But one day I'll find her again. I'll find her and tell her what she deserved to be told, that day when she delivered me from death.


“There was once a girl in the forest who lived alone—no parents, no husband, no children. She worked hard every day, tilling the little field she'd cleared among the trees, keeping her chickens and her one aging cow. But every afternoon came a raven, with dark, unfriendly eyes and black-pinioned wings that made it blend with the shadows. Every afternoon would come by and peck at her field and bother her chickens and cow, and sit atop a branch and caw and caw as if to mock the girl. So she cursed the raven and threw rocks at it, and wished fervently it would go away.

Then one day a wolf stalked the woods, and found the girl alone in her home. The girl screamed and wept for someone to save her, and begged the Shieldmaiden for aid. And behold! Down from the branches swept the raven, and pecked and scratched at the wolf until it fled, blinded and stung by a dozen wounds. For the raven, in pecking at the girl's fields and bothering the girl's animals, had made itself an unruly but loyal neighbor, and considered the girl as its own.

So do not be so ready to sneer and scorn your fellows, my sisters, even the lowest of the low. For the Blessed Lady placed her love and faith in all of us, from the greatest Warmaster to the greenest initiate, and to think yourself above a fellow sister is to think yourself above Her.

May the Shieldmaiden guard the faithful, and watch over the righteous.”

-Michiko “Chaplain” Hanayome, excerpted from her work 'The Righteous Path'