It was a question Gothic City, and perhaps the world, would wonder in the time to come. The denizens of the shanty town – those left alive – would wonder. Some as friends or family members vanished in right front of them, others who would wake up with nothing but a hole where loved ones used to be. The League of Shadows would wonder. What had their new master planned? Had she planned it all? All her heroism, her rules and reforms, an interdict against killing chief among them, only for her to vanish into the complex and then...this? What happened? Had she been the cause? And if so, why?
And Abigail Aensland would wonder. She would review the night, re-living every agonising moment of it over and over for the rest of her life. And she would wonder, why? But in her mind, she felt she knew exactly what happened.
I screwed up.
In one instant she felt in total control – like never before, sure she had a plan to drop Satar and leave him open for capture so she could force him to answer for his crimes. The next, control slipped away. Quickly it happened, but in slow motion she perceived it. The beating in her chest, heart pounding overtime to pump oxygenated blood to the necessary areas, straining ever-harder with the extensive use of her power and under duress of her body's own collective injuries. Every beat resonated through her body until she felt it in her head and her eyes and her fingertips. Blood poured from her head wound, burning her eye, and she became lightheaded, but still she strained. Herself as the only force containing the destructive waves of her arrow, in the split-second before the world came crumbling, she felt it all slipping away. And then—
It was dark. Everything hurt. She couldn't see anything, but knew already that she'd lost control over her mutation and failed to contain the damage as she wanted. It was bad. But how bad? Buried under the wreckage, the veteran hero pulled herself along the ground by her right arm, using solid debris as anchor-points. Searching for an opening where the weight might be light enough that she could push her way out. She saw no traces of light, not even faint. Yet somehow, each cold hard stone brought her comfort. It was best like that; she knew what else there was, but didn't want to think it. If she didn't feel it she could live in-between, in a state of being where it might not have happened that way. The rocks on her hands brought her comfort...
–until she grasped something soft, sticky, with a telling firmness underneath.
"Oh God, please no..."
Her voice cracked. She'd been in a warzone before. She knew the smell, and she knew what they felt like.
Grunting, she reached down, taking an arrow from her quiver. Driving it into the concrete heap over her, the imparted twenty-five tons of pure kinetic force pulverised everything in its path, shining a full spotlight on Abigail and her mistake.
Thin, almost skeletal features he had. A dirty face half-covered in blood, just like hers. Pale white skin and dark brown hair. Blue eyes wide open in shock, just like hers. Gaping-mouthed expression, all fear and pain and confusion, just like hers. But the spark of life was absent, unlike hers.
Underneath a blood mask her face ran pale. She strained for shallow breaths, unable to breath deep, gritted her teeth and fought to keep from crying aloud. She no longer vomited at the sight of them, but they—fresh bodies—still made her sick to her stomach.
Worse still was the fact that this time, it was her. She looked around, at so much destruction and death, knowing there was so much more she didn't see, and knew that she, Abigail Aensland, had been responsible. Every single person dead, and every one buried in the rubble. Abigail Aensland killed them all. All her life there had been a fine line separating her from those unscrupulous individuals – Charlemagne and Amaranth and Ivana, and all the others – who sacrificed others in pursuit of their aims, and she'd crossed it in an instant with a three-finger release.
"It was an accident...So sorry. So so sorry. I'm so...sor–..." She mouthed the words, but no sound would come out.
Abby sat on her knees, silent tears stinging both cheeks, completely unaware of the looming threat called "Sahi." But, thanks to her father's "final gift," she was not without defence. Her primary mutation granted her direct access to the abstract fields of probability and reality, allowing her influence over the immaterial as well the as physical plane; but she was also possessed of secondary mutation, that which surrounded her body with an aura-like bounded field. All her life, unbeknownst to the girl herself, Abby had been given a natural resistance to both natural and unnatural effects upon her body—including magic, other reality warpers, and esoteric infringements upon her life. If nothing else, the Time Siphon would find feeding on Atticus's daughter much more difficult than usual; at worst, her attempts at draining would backfire in a nasty way. In all, she would've been better off driving a knife into the stunned Shaytan's chest.
Nikademus, for his noble efforts, would find no aid from his sister, not then and there. Locked in a state of pure shock, arrhythmic heartbeats caused her body to quiver, but Abigail remained otherwise nonresponsive, muttering incoherent apologies to those who would never hear it anyway.