The reinforcements had finally arrived, sooner than they might have, had Sephira and Kura not sent for them. But as often is the case, they came too late to be much of us. An entire block of buildings at the docks were gone. The air was so silent, eerie, as the cloud of dust began to settle. And out from it, came the first of the survivors, a man many knew by name, carrying a crippled, redheaded firebrand. Arlo and Vega were met with a group of Elements, predominately Land Troops, with Rand Broson at the helm, the stern look on his face an ever present landmark. The Militant didn't have to give any orders, immediately the troops rushed forward into the dust, past Arlo and Vega.
The men offered assistance to those that seemed to need it, helping the various injured women out of the ruins, a close call of it for the lot it seemed. Rand sent runners to the Order, to construction workers, dock workers, to any able bodies to help deal with this catastrophe. His orders were clear, succinct, and unwavering. And it wasn't long until the entire area was bustling. Broson was among his troops, giving clothing to the survivors, carrying debris, as they started a rescue on the collapsed apartments.
But when he was told that Councilor Kura was among the survivors, as was one of his Flames, he broke off from his work. Marching up to the women, his stare particularly harsh upon Sephira, one that made it clear that she was not to speak in this moment. "Councilor. What has happened here? You sent word for me to close the docks, which I have, only to find a quarter of them leveled. Many of the Land Troops meant to be on duty right now are missing, and I'm now hearing that posts all over the city are vacant as well. Tell me, now."
He could see she was injured, but none of them appeared to be imminently fatal, so they could wait. Knowing her, she'd likely have waited to allow the healers from the Order to triage the more severe cases. And so he waited, patiently, ready to listen, for there was no way that Kura was involved and didn't possess more than enough knowledge of the situation. She was a shrewd politician, and observant beyond her means.
Among the rubble of the apartments, a woman a few might recognized rushed forward with a pained wail. "My baby! My baby's in there!" Leshli, the receptionist from the Council Hall, was being held back by a Land Troop, him trying to tell her that the building was too dangerous to approach, that the rescues were underway. And she wasn't the only one. Many families were fractured when the apartments came down. Leshli had been at the Hall, getting paperwork ready for an upcoming meeting, and finishing other chores her position required.
Many children had been in these apartments, for they were the more affordable, family housing, being closer to the docks, so less desirable than those who wanted to live in a nicer neighborhood. Dock workers, shipwrights, sailors, teamsters, many of the working class lived there. Husbands looked on emptily, their worlds shattered. Mothers screamed. Sisters cried. Brothers fought. So many families, irreparably damaged. And still, those affected by this tragedy, those that still lived, worked hard to begin digging out the loved ones crushed. As an old friend of Rand's had once said, "Look for the helpers, you will always find people who are helping," and tonight was no different.
When Kura was finished speaking, regardless of what she said, for Rand was more than able to take in the most appalling of information with his stoicism. He then turned to Sephira, his eyes hard, harsh, unyielding, "What were you doing there? Report in. Leave nothing out."
Many of the survivors were left to the healers, some treated upon the spot, others carried on litters back to the Order. It was a beehive of activity, and many seemed to have been slipped through the cracks. No one else was stopped as Kura and Sephira had been. Warm clothing was provided, food, drink, medical attention to those who needed it. But many were forgotten as more important matters were attended to. After all, the lot of them, Max and Merces, Lavana and the twins, Arlo and Vega, Tio and the dozens of women who'd been captured, survived. And survivors were often forgotten in ways that the dead and dying are not. There was no parade, no celebration, no gratitude or appreciation given. There were no heroes among these survivors, not to the public that was looking on in panic and fear. Only victims.
And so, work continued.
But soon, attitudes began to change, for some of the survivors had started to spread the word, that this entire nightmare was caused at the hands of the males among the Elements. And only Elements. Soon, arguments and scuffles broke out, as grief stricken relatives and friends lashed out against the troops that were there to help. Rand barked out an order for his troops to back down, to not draw their weapons. The troops withdrew from the rubble of the apartments and the warehouses, and soon, many eyes were cast suspiciously upon the soldiers. Trust in the military was now heavily fractured. Rand knew there was only one option in this moment. He turned to a runner, "Bring me Thorst Fall."
Meanwhile, out of sight of the immediate area, out of mind, a captain with dark eyes and a white, tri-cornered hat looked upon her ship with a vicious, satisfied smile upon her face. From the yards of her ships' masts, several Earth Elements hung idly from rope, their stomachs slashed open, their entrails hanging out and dripping upon the deck. "Let that be a lesson to the rest of them." Her entire crew, save one Lotharro man, looked on proudly. Their mission had been mostly a success. But it was time to begin hunting down the rest of the scum, for surely the entire lot of them did not die this night. And she would be willing to bet her hat that now that the cult had been exposed, she'd gained many allies. All they had to do was come to her.