OoC: My character has no link, as it is spontaneous and random. He is a traveler who is getting in Blitz's way. He has nothing but pants, cloth shoes, and a wooden sword. He has no shirt, because it's wrapped around his head to shade his face from the hot desert sun.
This will be written from the perspective of a person who doesn't know the name of either of the two until it is said. The person will refer to Blitz by appearance and to the traveler by appearance.
This battle is to last no longer than fifteen posts.
Assume the desert is endless. Also assume that there is no water nearby.
IC: The man was stripped of his shirt; from his chest he had placed onto his head for protection from the sun. The desert path he so slowly trudged down left him without regret of his journey far from home. If anything, it was far greater than the oppression he faced. Back there, he thought, there was nothing to hope for. At least now I have to hope that I live.
His clothing was drenched in sweat, and he had found no water to drink. He felt happy that this was only the beginning of his journey, though strangely nervous because he was still close to home. What he feared most was an attack, but he came prepared. He had his most trusted wooden sword. It wouldnt prove to be much if a real soldier came for him, but he would make due with what he had, or die trying. The wooden sword protruded from his ugly sash like a stake to his heart, and kept his legs moving through the desert. He had abandoned his family for this new life, a life he had heard in lore of his people the land across the sandy sea.
If anyone had ever made it, he wouldnt have heard about it.
He hadnt the chance to properly prepare himself with food and water, due to the guards around the city. Food and water were forbidden to leave their area, only come in. People who were wasteful were whipped, and people who refused to eat the gruel were murdered ruthlessly. The goal was to create a civilization of workers who would be able to thrive in limited conditions. His land had been overtaken by a corporate bigot seven years previous. The bigot had brought with him several workers who had already been trained months for the occasion. The workers received their whips and their frequent coffee breaks, while The Don would monitor all activity around the campus.
The town was isolated by a steel wall and barbed wire. It was half of a factory from the ground up. Nobody in the village knew what their oppressor was using the half-built factory for, but nobody really wanted to know. Yakov, whose name literally meant one who clings to the heels of others, had been doing just that until he took it upon himself to be a liberator, and in a futile attempt escaped from the village during daytime, no less. The guards were held, because the man was scrawny and weak, and the loss would not be much.
There was rumor that they had later sent a soldier to find him, but Yakov scanned the desert and saw no signs of the rumored fighter. All that lay before him was a perilous journey across a sea of sand, and a dream he could not fit in his pockets to carry. So he would hold this dream tightly in his arms, and grow weaker as the dream hindered his flight to the sky.
OoC: By the way, GC, I'd like to point something out to you... It was a mistake challenging me in the middle of a desert. *Cough* Unlimited reserves of fire element! *Cough*
Blissful peace blanketed the land in silence; night had fallen, gracing the earth with moon and starlight. A serene calm rested over the hushed sands as a gentle, unheard wind drifted lazily across the landscape. Cacti dotted the dry, cool earth, breaking the endlessness in a comfortable sort of way and giving perch to drowsy creatures of the sky. Somewhere underneath the glistening, golden ground, reptiles hissed their last breaths of the day before falling into a deep sleep. Rainclouds rolled through the vast emptiness above, taking their time and making their way to the east where they would grant the parched soil relief for the following day; with them they carried, oddly enough, the soothing scent of wildflowers. All throughout the sandy lands there was peace
Except for one. Somewhere on this earth, this dry and waterless soil, a soul was restlessly resting. Lying upon his strikingly red mantle, tossing and turning, muttering quietly to himself; this man was a soldier and a swordsman of remarkable skill. A rarity in these times of war, he was one of the elusive Keir heritage. The blade sheathed at his waist rattled slightly as he rolled onto his side, weakly reaching out to something unseen.
Within his mind, something unimaginably horrid was taking place. Darkness enveloped a figure, which floated just off the earth, and trapped in that smoky shadows grasp was yet another figure, this one much clearer. A feminine, female form dangled in that shadow, her features petite, perfect. Yet, something was wrong upon her perfect face, her lips were parted in an expression of pain, grief unlike that of any other. In those perfect eyes, a longing and agony that tore her soul asunder. That eternal darkness ensnared her, opening wounds and causing beautiful crimson to run down her slender frame.
No Helplessness. I cant help her There was nothing to do. A darkness equally as horrid embedded within prevented him from rising, from going to her and tearing the darkness apart. No!
A weak and broken hand reached outward, trembling, fingers grasping for his own across the short distance that felt so unfathomable. The gap between their outstretched arms was unbearable. There was nothing he could do, even hold her. If only he could touch her
And then the darkness grew, startlingly so, and enveloped all. Nothing escaped its grasp; even the feminine figure of such perfection vanished into its unending depths, her soul shattered and broken, until one final gasp escaped her lips. No No, no, no And now darkness surrounded him. Wickedness grasped at his arms, his legs, his mind, threatening to destroy him as well. He willingly accepted it; if descending into the bottomless reaches of eternal damnation was what it took to bring her back, then that was what he would do.
But the darkness did not destroy him. It grasped his heart and soul, burning and tearing, but would not send him to her. Damnation would never greet him; he would never see her sweet face again, never touch her face and feel tears of joy stream down her cheeks. Never again would his heart leap for joy at hearing her laugh, nor would her words of comfort ever reach his ears No No.
No! The desert. Soft sand had spilled onto his mantle, disrupting his sleep with its coarse yet cool embrace. A gentle wind blew over him, gracing his outstretched arm. Freezing sweat trickled down his forehead, and his entire body was trembling in agony. It was Just a dream. It was always a dream. Only once had he ever been forced to see this for himself, and yet it haunted his memories constantly. And when he slept, it rose up to fill him with unimaginable hurt. That dream again As reality slowly returned to the soldier, he called back his hand, fingers aching for her touch, and stared at them in vain while his face contorted at the memory of her passing. Tears flickered just beyond the surface of his eyes, but the tears would not come.
Sleep was impossible now, this was certain. And so the lonesome swordsman known only as Blitz rose from his mantle and clasped the trailing length of cloth to its rightful place on his shoulder. I will never forget, he whispered to himself, closing his eyes. An image of her face, laughing softly, flashed across the darkness of his eyelids; unable to bear the sight of her, he quickly opened them. I can never forget.
Now fully awake, Blitz set his eyes out on the horizon. During the early evening, before he had lain down to rest, a dark shadow had loomed in the distance; a town or facility of some sort. At this point, as he stood facing the full moon, he could make out a dark contour outlined by starlight far across the shifting sands to his left. The last thing he wanted now was to be in the company of strangers. And so, rejecting the possibility of bunking there for the night, the soldier turned to the right and started off in the opposite direction.
He knew not where to go; only that he had to keep moving. Telltale signs had come to his attention for the last weekan assassin was trailing him. As things stood, the assailant was most likely a Dark Horizon agent, or some lackey hired to take the Keir down. Wishing to avoid conflict, Blitz had spent the past week traveling the twisted land, but even now he knew that evading his tracker would take time. How close this assassin was, Blitz could not tell; but something on the outskirts of his consciousness warned the swordsman that now was not the time to stop.
Bearing this in mind, Blitz Keir tirelessly trekked across the sandy wastelands, observing the occasional cactus to keep his mind from wandering. After quite some time of walking, the freezing sensation dissipated and left behind a voracious thirst. His cold sweat had left him nearly dehydrated. Fortunately for the swordsman, Viscen, his commanding officer back at the Alliance, had once educated him on just such circumstances. Recalling the wise superiors words, Blitz stopped at the nearest cactus in his path, staring at it intently. Well its better than dying of thirst. Unsheathing his blade, which gleamed impressively in the light of the moon, he delivered one swift slice at one of the cactus arms. The spindly, green appendage snapped free and fell into the swordsmans waiting hand, dripping a rather unattractive fluid from its innards. Blitz stomach rolled over at the thought of drinking the foul substance. Ugh I dont think Im going to like this. But the alternative was much less desirable. So, steeling his nerves and throwing back his head, he took a deep swig of the cactuss blood. To his surprise, the taste was not entirely unlike that of water, though a bit sticky in texture. Bringing the bowl-shaped end of cactus arm away from his already rejuvenating lips, he gave it a thoughtful scowl. Hmm. This isnt so bad. Feeling more confident, he quickly drained the oversized shrub of its lifeblood.
Just as he was preparing to remove the tip of another of the cactuss appendages, something caught the soldiers eye. A figure not far off was crouching, watching from behind another of the cacti less than twenty meters away. Its him ! Alarm rang in his mind, and the Keirs initial impulse was to dart forward and slay the intruder. But that was foolish; for all he knew, the assassin was an archer with unsurpassed skill. If that were the case, flying blindly into the fray would be the worst possible scenario. Instead, he continued his course of action and slew the cactus for its blood. After hurriedly draining the plant of its lifesaving fluid, Blitz turned and stalked calmly off in the opposite direction.
He could see from the corner of his eye; the assassin did not even budge. An overgrown shrub now passed between the two quietly nervous figures, and Blitz immediately stopped upon passing before it. Pressing his body against the thick trunk, he turned his head to watch for the figure to creep around the cactus in the hopes of a surprise attack. Come on, demon Your destructive nature will be the end of you.
OoC: Yakov's name is pronounced as yah-cove dah-veed.
"Starkfield", to cite, is a fictional town in Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome.
Oh, and I appologize in advance for lackluster writing. I wanted to get it done, but wasn't quite in the mood; I got it done anyway simply for progress.
IC: Closer drew the assassin to Blitzs presence, and as the distance shortened his patience thinned. Blitz was eagerly awaiting the assassin to reveal himself once and for all. The bush cleared and made way for the trespasser, whose appearance spun rapidly intertwining strands of memories
The light was piercing. Yakov sat up to a bleak stone home and a loving family; his wife and daughter. Some of their roof of concrete was missing, leaving the sun fit to adorn the room with its blooming rays. Out of the petals came his wife and daughter, who had been sleeping some ten feet away from him on their own lumpy mattresses. Conditions were harsh, but the common folk were in Austere County were used to the whole. Nothing surprised them, and nothing scared them. Monochrome was Yakovs word of choice to describe the village; it was something he wanted to get away from.
The village of Austere, named for its location in Austere County, was a quiet desert village with lodging of stone and inhabitants of lead. The shops were mediocre, and the surrounding wall was crumbling, yet daily life went on. The village was poor, but the David family was not letting anything get in the way of theirs, one of the few families in the village who did not have regular arguments with each other. Yakov David woke up every morning to greet his wife and daughter, and would shove off to parts unknown. He had made himself a local legend, not only standing for peace and strength, but a work ethic that nobody else seemed to have.
Some say he would walk forty miles through the desert in order to serve his job as The Oasis. The Oasis was a fairy tale passed down through Austere village in every childs youth, retold in school (there was but one), and emphasized in the home. The Oasis would carry water to their town, day in and day out, to save the people. It was the children who had given the nickname to Yakov after seeing him leave the village every morning on their way to school. His silhouette would vanish after a while, only to meet a reluctant desert floor. If this was to be his future, then he surely had none.
Others suspected he was a glass smith, traveling between towns in Austere County to collect exotics sands to make beautiful vases with. It was said that he only gave the vases to his wife, but no one had ever seen them.
One day during his walk he came by a traveler who collapsed in the desert heat. The man was a foreigner and new to the conditions of Austere. He was dressed formal for the occasion, as if to be on a business meeting. The navy blue formalwear gave his act away, and Yakov suspected immediately that he was a lost salesman. The man dropped a volume of Traditional Building out of his pocket as Yakov picked him up. When he had gotten the man to his feet, he knelt to pick up the magazine, looking through it. The man thanked him and asked for his magazine back.
Yakov gave it back to him.
You like this kind of stuff? the man asked with a queried eye.
I used to, said Yakov, who glanced at the magazine again. His fist clenched and he wiped the sand off of his garments, attempting to look more formal in front of the business man.
Well, you can take it then, he handed the volume to Yakov. By the way, my names Don. Im actually wandering this area looking for a spot to build, and Im no local. I was lead here by a friend, who had mentioned some interesting things about a place called Austere. So I looked it up, and here I am! He snapped his fingers and shouted, Oh! How rude of me, Ive forgotten to ask for your name.
Yakov, he said, monotonous. His eyes had drops of jealousy for a successful man such as Don, and pity for himself and the failure that he was. Yakov was not going anywhere. He was not a mysterious glass blower, nor was he The Oasis. He was a simple coward, who would survey the area all day in order to free the public of worry. He had always felt that while he was away, the town was also away on their own journey. By instilling the ideas of legendry into the veins of the people, he gave them hope for a better day, a new day in which their buildings would sparkle in the flowers of the sun. A new day where everyone would be able to feed their children and everyone would have a special job of their own.
Dreams were not reality for Yakov, so the best he could do was to keep the village of Austere in eternal sleep. A sleep so pure that no one wanted to wake up. A sleep so divine in its presence that it alone was The Oasis for the people. This was his job he was the sandman. The job gave him no pay, and no benefits. And yet, he loved it.
He and Don parted ways, Yakov marching further away from Austere and moving closer to Starkfield, the next town over. In between the towns there was no water, no trail, and no shelter. How one survived the walk was only to be fully prepared and to know the enemy. Seldom would another traveler pass by one on their lonely walk from Starkfield to Austere.
However, Don had made great progress. In the distance he spotted a small desert village surrounded by a crumbling wall of yellow stone to match the sands. Interesting, he thought, and took out his cell phone to call his cohorts.
OoC: Gah! Finally! :mad: My mom's been trying to sever my access to the computer recently; apologies for the delay. I'm not going to let her restrict my freedom so easily, though. I do have a responsibility to the BA, whether she understands that or not, and I don't intend to let myself be torn from here. In any case, enjoy. AIM me for the details about our plans.
In under an hour, Don was standing before the gates of the desert town he had glimpsed from a distance. His strikingly inappropriate attire made him an easily recognizable dot against the heated, wavering sands. Eyes focused on the settlement and arms crossed against his chest, he was the very image of professional. Not five meters behind were four heavyset men wearing white vests, their skin glistening with sweat, and bald pates shining brightly against the sweltering sun. The five individuals had traveled far, and the cohorts in particular had trekked at an impressive rate from their encampment several miles to the north. Far in the distance, many indefinable images shimmered on the horizon, moving ever closer to the quaint village.
Before the broad shouldered businessman and his cohorts lay what was once an impressive dwelling place, thriving with life and energy. Now, however, the walls surrounding Austere were ancient and appeared dangerously brittle. Immediately beyond the towns border was a dusty, dirt road; across the way were a number of shacks in desperate need of repair. In fact, all along the unpaved street were dwellings that looked as though they would crumble if so much as a stray breeze happened by. Above these crumbling foundations, much loftier constructions loomed on the far side of the village; administration or government establishments, perhaps?
Don smiled contentedly and released a sigh as he looked upon the motley of constructions. Looks like weve got our work cut out for us, eh? he said to the men behind him. They knew that their superior often spoke rhetorically, and so did not reply. Despite his obvious elation, his inward thoughts were somewhat distant from the village of Austere. Good Lord, this suit itches Ah, what I would give for a bath.
Forcing himself to consider the task at hand, he turned to face his cohorts and gave them a commanding scowl. Alright, boys, well set up within the city walls. Make camp near the center of town, then begin laying the foundation for our administrative offices when the rest of our crew arrives. A brief squint into the horizon told Don that his construction crew was now clearly visible on the horizon, having moved beyond the hazy layer of heat. You all have six hours to complete this project. Now get to work! he demanded, purposefully thrusting a finger toward the quaint village.
Without a moments hesitation, the four sturdy men hasted into the streets and vanished beyond the nearest faltering construction. Don knew well that they would have little trouble completing the task he had assigned; his crew was composed only of the most skilled builders in the country. No one could best Don at his craft.
Deciding to savor the moment, the corporate head remained just outside town and observed as people strode through the streets just beyond its walls. Drawing in the golden scent of the sands and then releasing another sigh, he etched the vision on the backs of his eyelids. Yes, this will end in great success Not only would reforming this ramshackle town bring yet greater prestige to his name, but it would also allow him to establish a base of operations in this area. His previous establishment had been far from the Austere region, quite a ways to the north, but he and his men grew tired of civilization. In the wilds of nature, construction work would be so much more fulfillingand challenging.
Don harkened back to the days of his adolescence, recalling the first inklings of interest that sparked his obsession with construction. He had graduated from a prestigious European university; he then sped through a college course on architecture, receiving his degree half-a-year earlier than anticipated. The youthful architects first excursion was not as an entrepreneur, however. He had been employed as a field officer, became directly involved with the work. Sweat and blood had been his companions for two years until he concluded that his calling laid with neither hammer nor nail. Done with field work, Don resolved to direct a construction site within two months; he succeeded in landing a job near his hometown. His family observed with pride as Don transformed a destitute village into a thriving town center. Securing a career and earning his current position had been a downhill battle from there on out.
And this victory shall be just as easily claimed, he said aloud to himself, grinning with delight. Yes, indeed By the time Im done with you, O little town of Austere, you will have become something truly great.
OoC: This took a while, and though it's short, it'll get us moving again. I'll try to do it frequently and of good length from now on. I stopped short mainly because I wanted this passge to end right before he sets off for the town, because if I'm right about what your passage will be, then timing will be right when I write my next post and he approaches the village. I'll discuss it with you over IM.
IC: The desert that afternoon was quite refreshing for Yakov, who up until recently hadn’t been enjoying his voyages. During this time he was able to collect certain rocks and analyze them for whatever purpose he had intended, but what came across as most important was what was probably the most useless, and that was a shard of glass. It had gone right into his foot. “What,” he wondered, “could this glass be doing out here? Surely no one is around to drop it,” and his face put on a puzzled look. The glass was pristine and pure, and looked to me made from fresh sand that would have otherwise drifted around the desert. It had a molten shape, a chilled lava look that made it look like the sand had melted, ran down a hill for a few centimeters, and then stopped because it was frozen solid.
Yakov bent to pick it up, pulling his hand back at first, but eventually grabbing it and lifting it up. It was incredibly light, and at his touch it turned a deep almost opaque green. He tried to break the glass, but it refused to shatter. Throwing it down on the sand was no use, as sad is hardly hard enough to break a piece of glass. Finally, he took out some of the rocks he had collected from his pocket, found the largest stone of the bunch, and kindly rammed it against the surface of the glass. The glass promptly broke into five pieces, but it put itself back together as if by magic. Or, as Yakov said at the time, “as if some force wanted it held together.” The cracks in the glass remained, forming a star-symbol inside, as if someone expected it to be made that way.
Starkfield rested in the distance, its cool grey silhouette shaking and stammering in the desert heat. Starkfield was catching its breath and balance, and some of its houses tried to form an umbrella that might have helped the small town balance on its tightrope until nightfall. And it did – and nightfall came, and the town stood, and Yakov stood also watching it as if it were an interesting television program. TV’s were scarce to find in the poor Austere village, and TV service was even more of a task, if not a pilgrimage in itself. Entertainment wasn’t by labor, however. Most of the time, the children went to a run-down school, or told stories with their parents, or watched the clouds in the sky while thinking of rain falling upon the walls of their city.
So, around midnight, Yakov left for home to get a night’s sleep before heading off again the next day. Unfortunately, he fell asleep on a nearby boulder, and the night merged with the twilight and the even darker silhouette of Starkfield.