This time the old woman was ready. As my arm came up, she dove backward and my shots passed harmlessly through the air she had occupied a second before. The goblins returned fire and one of the ogres stepped between me and the bullets. A second later she screamed as twenty rifle rounds tore into her skin. She fell, bleeding from wounds no regular rifle could cause. Realizing the bullets were silver, the second ogre turned and ran, only to have twenty more bullets smash into her back and send her sprawling. I was running for a nearby building and shot its window out, fully intending to dive through it into cover. I could hear the labored breathing of Margaret as she followed as quickly as an ogre could.
Then, hundreds of huge feathers came flying through the opening of the Army tent and every supernatural in the Market stopped. They all stared at the feathers as a single feather flew to each of the dead bodies. As the feather settled it seemed to push the body down into the ground until a second later the ground closed back over each body. The remaining feathers floated above everyone in the Market except me.
The supernaturals remained still. Fear was evident in their faces. Even Taug looked like a couple shades lighter until one of the trolls leaned over and whispered to him.
Smoke rolled from his nostrils as he snapped back at the troll. “I know damn well that the feathers mean a Ma’at is coming. Keep your shit together. He can’t judge anyone who’s still alive.”
The dragon turned to face the tent and the trolls turned with him. When the goblins started to turn as well, Taug barked at them to keep facing us and to "shoot the ogre first if that monkey does anything!"
Then Captain Long and the entire CIS team walked out of the tent in the same square formation it entered in - including me in the center. I blinked and looked again. Yeah, that was me standing in the middle of the formation holding my shield above my head. What the hell?
Taug let loose a roar and fire streamed from his mouth and nose. It shot toward the officers, but Sergeant Sanchez stepped forward and put out her right hand. The fire twisted toward her and she caught it. Then she held the hand palm up, with a two foot roiling ball of flame on top of it.
"Interesting. Attacking me with fire isn't usually the first choice."
With that, she closed her fist and the flame was gone.
"You're . . . You're a . . . You're not a Ma'at!" Taug stammered.
"No." Sanchez nodded agreeably and pointed at the Captain. "He's the Ma'at. And I'm pretty sure he has something he wants to say to you morons."
The Captain stepped forward, giving Sanchez a strange look as he stepped past her. He held an ankh in his left hand and some sort of staff in the right. He stopped about three feet past Sanchez.
“You have two options. Surrender and go to the Michaels or be judged.”
I saw the troll who had spoken to Taug wince and heard Margaret gasp behind me “Oh God, he’s going to judge them.”
All the supernaturals were facing the Captain now. The goblins pivoted to face him the moment he said the word “judged.” The fear on their faces was that of sheer terror. I think the only reason they weren’t running was the basic instinct not to attract the attention of a predator.
Taug took a step forward. “You can’t judge us yet. We ain’t even dead. You can’t judge those of us still living.”
Captain Long looked at him levelly. “I can render you judgeable. It’s what we do. It’s what I prefer.”
With that every single member of Taug’s crew broke. The troll who had spoken with Taug was the first to run and it snapped the others out of their stasis. They scattered, although the majority were running roughly in my direction - away from the Captain. The only exception was Taug, who screamed a high pitched wail as he charged, stretching his neck forward as his jaws sought the Captain’s head.
The next thing I knew, a troll was ten feet from me and about to run right through me. I raised my pistol, but a giant moss green form stepped past me and slapped it in the head.
The world froze. I don’t mean that the people in it stopped moving. I mean everything in it froze in place. The slap in front of me stopped with the troll’s head whipped to the right and its feet just an inch or two off the ground.
I looked around, unsure how I was still able to move. The entire area was a diorama with the exception of four forms. I was moving. Sergeant Sanchez was moving. The other me was moving.
And Svarog was standing on the steps of the courthouse.