Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Site Write 2013, Entry 30: Even the Losers

He sat, head resting against his hands, watching the street in front of her little nook that one might identify as a home. If one didn't notice the door, they probably would have missed the house, but were they to be looking presently the door would have been the last thing they had looked at. Instead they would be focusing on the man sitting outside, in what they could only guess were his best clothes for such an occasion, and keep walking.


            There were some who slowed as they passed, turning their heads and watching him while they went by, muttering something he couldn't hear among their companions. Nathan Malcolm would offer them a nod and a smile. Some would return it, others gave a sad expression and kept walking. He was hardly surprised.


            As he dwelled on his public shunning of sorts, he found himself understanding it more and more. Even though he had claimed to be guilty of what he had done, he had still done it. And with the way people worked, it had likely gotten blown out of proportion. Not only that, but he had been spared a rather harsh sentence, which a few wanted for him, because of the fact that he was a Loyalist. At least that's how he saw it. With the rebels having some support throughout the city, that made him something of a pariah. But even with that, there was some woman in the city crazy enough to want to be around him. She was sitting inside, getting ready.


            Down the road he could barely hear the sound of music coming from the nearby square, and he could feel his stomach clinch. What sort of thing was he going to be dragging her into for her to be seen with him? Yet he didn't want to even think about what it would be like if she wasn't there. For some reason, that thought was banned from his mind, because he could only imagine it being unbearable. Having to move back out to the countryside with his parents likely would have been an easy way to avoid people, but that wasn't how he wanted to live.


            Behind him he heard the door click open. Standing quickly, he brushed off his pants and turned to look at her, a nervous smile playing on his lips. Staring down at her feet, she smiled nervously herself, “Well?”


            He gulped, tugging at his collar. She was dressed in a deep red dress, the back of which he was fairly certain was nonexistent, her brown hair falling over her left shoulder. Nicole Brenner wasn't wearing any make-up, but to Nathan she didn't need any. Gulping again, he tried to keep his smile on his face, “You look beautiful.”


            Offering a hand, he led her down the step, letting her tuck her arm through his, and off down the road they went. As they drew closer to the square the music grew louder and was joined by the sound of people laughing and talking. They occasionally shot each other glances, followed by their gaze shooting back forward when they each noticed the other doing so. This was followed up by a small smirk.


            When they reached the square itself, they looked around, choosing a spot that wasn't filled around the area where people were dancing. Around them people clapped along with the music, encouraging their friends along as they all danced in the center, while others stood talking amongst others laughing and exchanging quips.


            Nathan let his arm drop to his side, looking around. He rubbed the back of his neck, looking over towards her, “Want somethin' to drink or anythin'?”


            She shook her head, looking out to the dance floor before looking back to him, expectantly. A small smirk dwelled for a moment on her lips. “I'm good,” she said, looking back towards the center, “Do you dance?”


            Nate shrugged, hand continuously rubbing the back of his neck, “Kinda? I've learned a few. Mostly slow stuff, though. I ain' got up to stuff like this.” He motioned towards the center, watching the people moving and twirling.


            Nicole nodded, smirking, “Well. At some point we'll have to change that. But I guess I can't drag you out tonight, can I?”


            He bit his lip, shrugging, “I ain't sayin' that, but for right now it might be a good idea. Maybe when it's died down an' there's less folks watchin' and stuff.”


            Around them the music paused for a moment, and the people in the center stopped, some falling around, and the majority of them laughing. The lull in music lasted for only a moment, before it started back up, this time slower, and calmer. Nicole turned to Nathan, grinning horribly. She slowly wrapped her fingers into his hand, pulling him out towards the other dancers.


            “Let’s see how good your word is there, farm boy,” she said playfully.


            Once they had reached the center, she released him. Stepping in front of him, she offered her hand, which he took. He rested a hand on her hip, and her a hand on his shoulder, and they stepped closer to each other. “Okay,” she said, offering a warm smile, “You have the start down.”


            He smirked, “Keep up, and just watch for when I squeeze your hand, eh?” She raised an eyebrow, but nodded without another word.


            From there they followed along with the people around them, steps forward, back, forward, and back. On certain cues in the music, he would twirl her under his arm, and at others a quick lift through the air before placing her back onto the ground. As the song neared its end, he squeezed her hand, and she leaned backwards, allowing him to hold her in the air.


            Their eyes met for a short moment, and he smiled down at her, “Not bad for a farm boy?”


            She shook her head, smiling still. That might as well have made the evening worth it. Without warning, she leaned up, her hand meeting the back of his hands to pull their lips together. He blinked, looking around for a moment. There were a number of people who he could pick out from the crowd watching them, some with impressed looks, others with looks of shock. Nate smiled on the inside, focusing back on his date, pressing into the kiss of his own accord by this point.


            He brought her back to a standing position, stepping back and bowing as he should at the end of the dance, and she curtsied in return, shaking her head, “Not bad for a farm boy at all.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


The Worgen stood, arms crossed as he watched the ground below. To those used to his usual attire, he appeared far more armored, having arrived wearing both a helmet and pauldrons, a heavy mace resting on his back. Behind him a few others were going about making their final preparations, having been rushed to pack their needed items. Luckily for them, they were among the damned, meaning that they were free to neglect bringing many things other were not.

                His gaze was rested firmly on the large Orc-ish construct, the portal that usually swirled within it having once been green now having been replaced with one that was a shade of red. He frowned. Despite having heard it multiple times, it didn’t change the fact the fact that there was no way of knowing what was now on the other side of it. The Worgen did his best to not even begin to think of what had become of those who had made use of the Dark Portal before its change and could now be stranded Light knows where.

                A human man stood off to his left and a few steps behind, mouth slightly open as he watched the portal. The Worgen looked toward him, snorting, “Gonna have somethin’ fly in there and nest if you ain’t careful mate.”

                The man blinked, breaking his concentration on the hallway in front of him. Looking to the Worgen he closed his mouth, mumbling “Force of habit,” before resuming seeking out the door. If his attention waivered for too long, it was far too likely that Samuel Dorsey would simply walk on by it while his mind ran onto other things.

                “Right,” the Worgen said, smirking slightly. “Remind me where we’re goin’ again.”

                Dorsey let out a sigh of relief, coming to a stop in front of a thick metal door, happy that he could converse without missing his mark. He raised a fist to pound against the door, someone inside pulling at some bolt, a muffled “It’s unlocked,” being barely heard from behind the door.
                As they entered, the Worgen noted the numerous marks of multiple explosions around the room, which was filled with a number of workbenches and cabinets, their doors flung open to reveal multiple reagents for any number of explosive devices.
                Behind one of the workbenches, purposefully lower than what one might expect, stood a Dwarven woman, her black hair tied back, goggles pulled over her eyes. She didn’t even bother looking up at them as she spoke, hands constantly working at putting more powder into a small shell casing, “Who’s the stiff?”

                The Worgen’s brow slowly inched up, “She talkin’ about you or me?”
                “You,” the Dwarf replied, putting a wick gently in her creation, before placing a cap over it, “Dorsey’s been a good old delivery boy ‘round here a number o’ times. You ain’t, Stiff.”
                Dorsey coughed into his hand, nodding, “Yes. Well. I have nothing to deliver today, Natalia.”
                “Figured as much. Supplies’re gonna be dwindling for as long as this whole thing decides to go on. Got about a hundred requisition orders to fill out and I’m gonna have about ‘alf o’ the materials I do now, and it is gonna be a grand ol’ time, I tell ya.”
                The man shook his head, “I believe you will have to put those requisitions aside, Natalia.” He slowly backed towards the door.
                The Dwarf finally looked up, pulling her goggles off and setting them onto the table. She slowly worked her way towards the human, staring him down, “You implyin’ I’m bein’ cut off, Sammy? That what you’re tellin’ me?”
                He shook his head more and more, “No, no, that is not what I meant, I simply meant that you will not be working here, and thus will not be able to complete the requisitions.”
                “So I’m bein’ sent outta here! One o’ the better folks who don’ mind stayin’ down here, an’ you’re gonna cut me off o’ what I’m supposed to be doin’! Well screw you an’ your damn paperwork, Sammy, I ain’t havin’ it. You can march righ’ back to the folks who gave those orders to you with yer tail between your legs, ‘cause I sure as hell ain’t havin’ it.”
                The Worgen coughed, prompting the Dwarf to turn her attention to him, “An’ who the hell’re you?”
                “Redamous,” the Worgen muttered, “Also the guy you’re bein’ assigned to.”
                She looked back to Dorsey, “’Scuse me?”
                He nodded warily, “You have been assigned to one of the Ebon Blade’s first responders to join those embarking upon the new Dark Portal, as the small squad’s explosives expert.”
                The Dwarf squinted slightly, “So what you’re tellin’ me is you wan’ me goin’ with tha’ fella, through the Dark Portal to nobody-knows-where, an’ help blow stuff up.” Dorsey nodded slowly. She chuckled, turning to look at the Worgen, “Well hell, shoulda started there if tha’ was where it was headed all along.”

                “I’ve been tellin’ ‘im tha’ for ages now,” came a voice from behind him. They both looked towards the female Dwarf, tinkering with a box of explosives who didn’t even bother to raise her gaze to them as she spoke, “But it’s always jus’ a ‘force o’ habit’. Ain’t never been different, doubt it’ll ever be different, ‘til some Nerubian nests in there an’ i’s youngin’s take off ‘is entire lower jaw.”

                Dorsey frowned, rubbing the lower half of his face at the very thought, looking forward once again, this time at the field below, a number of soldiers moving this way and that as they took their positions, waiting for their chance to charge.

                The Worgen followed his gaze, shaking his head, “Feel special?”

                “I suppose,” Dorsey muttered, “But it’s not like we aren’t going to be among numerous others once we’ve a foothold to insert from.”

                “Still gonna get in there an’ get to murder some stuff pretty good ‘fore that, though. Suppose tha’s a nice little start to things,” Redamous mused.

                “I would certainly hope things are to be murdered, else I will feel that my time is being wasted otherwise,” a voice came from between and below them.

                “We’re goin’ to get a what?” Redamous asked, keeping pace behind the human.

                “Weapons master,” was the only reply he got.

                They emerged into an area filled with the sound of numerous hammers hitting anvils, and filled with the smell of multiple kinds of ores filling the air as they slowly worked their way towards becoming useful. Elsewhere runes were being inscribed into weapons and armor, before they were sent off to whoever they were intended for.

                Dorsey’s target was in the back corner of the room. A small workspace had been set up, with a smelter placed directly behind an anvil, which was only a few yards at most away from a Runeforge. It was squared off with various weapons and armor racks, the majority of them empty aside from a few freshly made pieces that were still awaiting their turn. The Worgen immediately noted a stepping stool, it sticking out against the rather large anvil.

                A Gnome slowly made his way up the stepping stool, appearing from behind the anvil, dropping a number of tools for his next piece in front of him. Red was almost certain that he could have fit a number of them into his hand at the same time.

                The Gnome looked up at them after his items had been dropped into their places, his bald head being somewhat illuminated by the glowing embers in the smelter behind him. He pointed towards his left, where they both spied a pile of papers that were likely larger than the person they were addressed to, voice raised, “If you’ve an order form, please deposit it over there in a timely fashion. It will likely be filled within the next,” he stared up, calculating the numbers, “Fifty-two days, seven hours, and thirty five minutes.” After a short pause, he pointed towards another pile of papers, this one working its way up to the height of the human, “If you are filing complaints, please place them over there and allow one to two years for response.”

                The Worgen slowly turned his head to stare down at the human, eyebrow raised yet again, “Really?”

                The Gnome spoke before Dorsey had the chance, “Really what?”

                Red looked back towards the Gnome, “’Pparently you’re the blacksmith for a little excursion.”

                Dorsey coughed into his hand, nodding, “Blacksmith and architect, actually.”

                The Gnome’s eyes slowly went wide as he hopped up on the anvil, striding over it and hopping off it to stand in front of the two, “Well I must say that this is a rather timely change of events then. I do assure you that you would be hard-pressed to find someone better suited for such a job. I am an expert in the realm of metalwork, and have built entire towns on my own.”

                “Those model towns don’t count, Phineas,” Dorsey muttered.

                “I have built entire sections of buildings all on my own, and they scarcely fell down,” the Gnome said, not giving the man time to continue on. Holding up a hand above his head, yet still a ways below the Worgen, the Gnome grinned as best he could, visibly shaking with excitement, “Phineas Stormcrank, at your service.”

                “We can assure you that your time is not going to be wasted, Phineas,” came another voice to their right.  “There will be plenty of uses for your particular skillset, that I am more than certain will only grow in number as our forces settle in.”

                The Gnome looked towards the arriving elf, nodding, “That is for the best, I am certain. We’ve no need of sending me back to the smithery. No need at all.” He began muttering something to himself about geists and their ‘sportery’ as he wandered back behind them.

                Dorsey looked towards the elf, as did the Worgen, raising a hand to greet them, “How nice of you to join us, finally.”

                She took her position to the Worgen’s right, and a few paces behind, hands folding behind her back, “I’ve had a few matters to wrap up before we departed. I am sure you can sympathize.”

                The man nodded, “I suppose I can.”
                The elf brought her arm across her chest, saluting the Worgen, “Sir.”

                The Worgen returned the gesture, though with far less of an official feeling. The elf’s motion was obviously well practiced. Whether due to a life of service, or simply being trained for it in death, he couldn’t say. Her back was as stiff and straight as could be managed, her purple hair cut short, and her armor almost spotless.

                “Lastly, our translator as well as second-in-command, Gwendolyn Mourningstar,” Dorsey said, half-heartedly.

                Something appeared to amuse her, though she was tightlipped on just what it was.

                “Redamous,” the Worgen muttered, stepping to the side slightly to observe the two.

                The elf turned towards him, “I am well aware, sir. I always make sure to do my reading for assignments. I do hope that we are not taking too much of your time from the 1113th. It would be horrible for us to do so.”

                “Suppose that depends on how long this is gonna take.”

                She nodded, “Then I suppose we will have to find out, and do our best to reduce the amount of time the operation requires of you then.” She turned back towards the other man, feigning concern, “Are you feeling well, Samuel?”

                He nodded in return, arms crossing. For the first time, the Worgen thought he actually looked displeased. “Perfectly fine, miss Mourningstar.”

                The elf shook her head, “Something is obviously disturbing you. Please, we shall not judge you for anything regarding such.”

                “Then you’ll forgive me for wondering why there needs to be a second for a group of four people,” he said flatly.

                “There must always be a chain of command to follow, and considering the place we are going to, and our lack of knowledge regarding it, we very well may need it,” she said, no show of concern over the fact that the person should would have been replacing in such a situation was standing all of a few feet away from her. “Besides. It is a five-person expedition.”

                He frowned, almost looking panicked at that. There was no fifth person mentioned in the paperwork. Someone had been missed, and there was a chance his hide would be had for it. His look of worry only amused her more. She took a few moments to let it sink in, before saying, “You are to accompany us. I was sent the information regarding such this morning. I’m sure your schedule will easily free up for such, considering.”

                “Orders?” Dorsey asked, finally looking away from the commotion below them.

                The Worgen took in a breath, pulling out a small pocket watch to glance at, “Looks like we got some time ‘fore things get set in motion. So I guess we best get to waitin’.”

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Late Night

The key was somewhere. It wasn’t in his pocket, though. Last he could recall it had been in his pocket. But was it the left or the right pocket? He couldn’t rightly recall. Maybe it was his coat pocket. Except his coat didn’t seem to be present. Where had that gotten left? On a bar stool, maybe. Had that been where his key was? No, surely not. The key always ended up in his right pocket. Either that pocket, or his left one. If not the left one, then it was in the coat pocket, which was uncheckable due to the coat’s lack of a presence.

            He sat himself down on the porch, backing against the door as best he could, as to let the slight overhang of the roof shield him from the rain. Of course it had to be raining. If it wasn’t raining the moon would have been out, and he would have been able to see. Somewhat, at least. As best as one could see under the light of the moon.


            There was a rock somewhere. A rock that had a key left under it for the few times that someone neglected to have their own. Of course it was hidden among a number of other rocks that looked extremely similar. Those rocks happened to be rather hard to see, due in no small part to the lack of a visible moon.


            “Alright pal,” he muttered to himself. “We can do this. We can find it.”


            Leaning forward, he squinted, peering off to his left. That was the side of the porch with the rocks. Unless they had all managed to move, that was the side of the porch that had all the little rocks. One of those rocks had the key under it. He turned, sloppily flopping onto his knees, hands slowly feeling about for each and every rock. Each stone was carefully turned, or at least they were as carefully turned as he could manage, and the ground under it patted until he was certain that the item he sought wasn’t located under it.


            There. His hand rubbed against cold metal along with a large chunk of dirt. Grabbing the key, he pushed himself to his feet, stumbling forward against the wall with a slight ‘thud’ as he did so. Slowly guiding himself over to the door, he aligned the key with the lock. All he had to do was just push his hand a bit forward, and the key would be in the lock. Such was easier thought than done. It took multiple tries before he managed to hit his mark, key finally turning in the lock. He tossed it back among the rocks he had found it in, turning the knob and entering.


            He squinted in the darkness, slowly lumbering in the general direction of the stairs, having to go off of memory, what with the entire house being dark. Behind him came a small scratching sound, followed by a light. Someone had lit a match. But the light was brighter than just a match, so someone must have used the match to light a candle.


            He turned to find her, settled down at the dinner table, arms resting against the table, chin resting against her joined hands. The candle was set just a bit to her left, flickering and casting its red glow about the room, but especially on her face, leaving her with the appearance of some demonic apparition.


            She sat up slightly, hands departing each other’s company, one of them motioning to the chair on the other side of the table. Her face was stone as she spoke, her voice reminding him of some commanding officer he had had at some point. Calm, yet firm.


            “Take a seat, Nathan.”

Saturday, November 1, 2014


Acherus was, for lack of a better word, alive. With activity, at least, since its population’s living status continued on in the ‘un’ category. People rushed to and fro with packages and messages to be delivered, the runeforges were kept constantly busy with people intricately drawing their designs on the weapons that were to be sent out of the citadel, and the entire second floor was filled with the constant groans and complaints courtesy of its Master Siegesmith. The minions of Acherus’s denizens were even busy, carrying crates through gates, and orders to quarters, and even a number of items that one wrong slip would have ended with a small crater.

                Samuel Dorsey pushed through the crowded halls, muttering his orders to himself as he went. They had been due days ago, but there had been multiple other messages to be delivered, as well as other orders to be given, as well as document, filed, and sent away to be approved. With how deep into Acherus his administrators were, some might not have worried too much about the consequence of a delayed response to an order, but that was only because those people did not know just how far their hands could reach.

                The signal had come, and now he was due to follow his orders and deliver the orders to the person he had been directed to. Worgen. 1113th. Those were the specifics. He slowly counted off the doors. The 400th, the 567th, the 890th. There. One clean tag next to a large wooden door marked with ‘1113th’, alongside multiple others that had long since been covered in dust.

Dorsey contemplated knocking, bringing his hand up multiple times, before simply walking in. The Worgen in question was kneeled down in the corner of a room, digging through a wooden trunk. His nose lifted up slightly, ear twitching as the human man entered.

“Bit busy,” the Worgen said, not looking up from the trunk.

Dorsey held up a small envelope, even though the Worgen had his back to him, “New orders in, sir.”

The Worgen snorted, motioning back towards his desk, which Dorsey noted to be piled high with papers, "Toss “em on there. Already have a dozen other things to fill out on the ‘Iron Horde’ and all that. Not that that’s gonna be happenin’ for a while.”

“And why is that, sir?” the man frowned, continuing to hold the envelope out as it was going to be taken by some unseen third person.

Finally standing, the Worgen hefted a large blue mace from the trunk, turning to look the man over. Holding the item up, the creature smirked, showing off a number of sharp teeth, “Plan on bein’ a bit too concerned with fightin’ ‘em over writin’ for the privelage to do so.” Placing the mace on the floor and allowing its hilt to rest against the desk, the Worgen began scooping up a few scattered pieces of armor from the floor.

Dorsey coughed into his free hand, holding the envelope back out, “You are going to take this, sir, as they are your current orders regarding the Blasted Lands and the Dark Portal. You are due on one of the lower floors in approximately two hours, after which your schedule shall be your own, as long as it fits within the orders enclosed.” He let out a small sigh of relief that he hadn’t forgotten the entire speech.

The Worgen finally looked back to the interloper in his office, walking over to snatch the envelope from his hands. Running a claw along it, he tore the paper open, pulling out the note from inside. After his eyes had made their way down the page, he looked up to the man, “And who the hell’s givin’ me these orders.” It was a question, though the way he said it almost made Dorsey believe it to be a rhetorical one.

The human gulped, pointing to the floor, “People far above our pay grades.”

The General snorted, “I’ve never been one for lettin’ those types worry me too much. Issue I inherited from my predecessors.”

“I advise you do not neglect these ones, General. Their will lines up with your own, so it would be out of spite more than anything, I’m sure,” Dorsey said, failing to include the part where if the Worgen chose to do so he would more than likely have found out just how cold the ones assigning the orders could and would be.

Redamous grunted, looking the sheet over again. Motioning towards the door, he growled, “Show me where I’m headed, then.”

Monday, October 13, 2014


                "We will assume you have already read through the reports,” the one on the right said, his focus firmly on the elf.

                The voice was cold. Not just in the sense that the person, if they could even be called such now, was so definite in their delivery, but because the very act of their speaking would have caused metal to frost over. Regardless of what the two behind the desk had been prior to their present assignment, now all she could ever compare them to is some sort of ice that had gained sentience.

                She stood straight, her back stiff as the metal walls that made up the room. Her attention was focused on neither of the two figures that sat behind the desk in front of her, but rather the space between them. It was pointless to try to give one of them more attention than the other, especially once they began to converse rapidly. One who thought they were some unified being separated into two icy shells would not have been alone in the thought.

                Offering her superior a nod, a noticeable action with her lack of motion, she spoke firmly, but nowhere near as glacier-sounding as the two, “Yes, sir, I have read the reports.”

                The other one spoke now, her words being likely just what his would have been had it been his turn, “Then we do not need to explain the expected situation. However the Orc decides to lead whatever forces he may acquire, we will respond.”

                He took his turn, picking up on the end of her words, “And thus we will need some form of forces settling into whatever area he decides to make his incursion in, wherever it may be. Azeroth or Outland. Multiple bases of operation could be required, depending on the scope of the attack.”

                The elf nodded, “And I shall oversee one of them, I would expect.”

                With many of the other superiors of Acherus, one’s failure at grasping at the direction their orders would go was a wonderful source of amusement. Such was not the case when it came to the two here.

                The one of the left responded, no malice or amusement in her voice, simply certainty, “Incorrect. You will be assigned to an expedition alongside others, under the command of a current officer among the Blade.”

                The elf’s stance nearly faltered, but she caught herself before such was allowed. “I see,” she said, “And who shall that be then, sir, ma’am?”

                He slowly slid a thick file across the desk, his boney, gloved hand somehow having the strength to do so. The elf almost assumed the two were frail as could be, but they never gave her reason to believe their appearance matched their capabilities.

                She allowed her hands to leave their position from behind her back, taking the file, and flipping through it. She produced a photo, eyeing the subject of the file over, before tucking it under her arm, “What is my position among this expedition?”

                “We require vision. Both in reports on the progress of this potential unit, as well as confirming that it fits our vision. As such, you shall be considered a second of sorts,” she began.

                “A translator. Someone who should be at his side at all times, especially during potentially major decisions. It is not unlikely that some interaction with those among the Horde, and even those among the Alliance who use such foreign tongues, will be required. As such, your position will be of import,” he continued.

                “Would you offer any other parting words on my future ‘commander’ then, sir and ma’am,” she said, prepared to depart.

                The two glanced at each other, before he spoke. Despite his words, his tone carried a sense of fact, over any form of malice or ill-thoughts, “He is a righteous, ‘honorable’ fool. Such means that his methods and actions may not match our intent.”

                “Which means that he will potentially become an issue to furthering the Blade’s objectives, and as such, means that possible removal of the error and the error maker may be in order. Should such occur, you shall be the likely candidate to take his position.”

                The elf nodded, saluted, and left.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Beneath, Part 1

Destiny is a first-person "shared world" video game, created by Bungie, best known for their work on the Halo series up until Halo: Reach. All of these names, lore and other related things to it, is theirs. This section was written as a quick(at least that was the original intention) rundown on Destiny's world and backstory. It got a hell of a lot longer than intended.
A Brief Overview of Destiny

                Destiny takes place in a futuristic version of our own timeline, hundreds of years after an era known as the “Golden Age”. The Golden Age began after mankind discovered an entity was terraforming Mars, and had already completed doing so to most of the other planets in the Solar System. Upon investigation, we found what would come to be called the Traveler, a giant white orb. The Traveler would assist in helping Earth’s citizens expand to other planets and beyond, with the human race experiencing a long period of peace, and advances in technology.

                While the things we didn’t know about the Traveler were likely numerous, the largest detail that was omitted to us was that the Traveler was being pursued by an entity referred to as the Darkness. Upon its arrival, the Golden Age ended, and we moved into a time known as the Collapse. The details of the Collapse were lost due to the nature of it, as our far out colonies began to slowly cease to respond, and we were continuously pushed back by unknown forces. As far as we were aware, the only thing that saved us from it was the Traveler. What remained of humans was scattered across Earth, eventually coming together to form the City, also known as the Last City.

                The Last City would be just that, the last known city, and the last known sanctuary of the Traveler and the races that stood under it, which included humans, Awoken, and the Exo. Humans are descendants of those that once ruled Earth.

Awoken are a race that surfaced out of the Reef, an asteroid belt littered with the parts of ships that had attempted to escape Earth. Little is known of the Awoken that live in the Reef itself, aside from that they are ruled by a queen who is referred to as only such. Those that reside away from the Reef are met with suspicion equal to the other races of the system.

Exo are humanoid robots, built at an unspecified time to combat an unknown threat, whose inner workings have been lost to the ages. Sentient, Exos can be considered just as ‘human’ as anything else.

                The City is also home to the Tower, base of operations of the Guardians of the City, and their various suppliers. The Traveler’s last act prior to falling dor
mant was to create Ghosts, small floating devices, imbued with the energy it itself seemed to function off of, known as the Light. These Ghosts sought out deceased heroes, and returned them to life (though they are not undead), with the ability to channel the Light in various ways, and bringing them
in among the ranks of the Guardians.

                Most Guardians fall into one of three categories, each with their own ‘Vanguard’ to command and guide that section of the Guardians. Titans are known for their heavier armor, and for being at the front and center of any fight. Hunters on the other hand are known for their preference for distance, accuracy, and at times stealth. Warlocks are the scholars among the Guardians ranks, known for their research into ways of channeling the Light, whether through pure methods or through ‘the Void’.

                These Guardians are the first line of defense against species of aliens which appear to fight for the Darkness, but are also known to fight against each other for territory.

The Fallen are scavengers, who appeared after humanity’s collapse. Insignias and colors imply that they once far more powerful than they once were, though their individual, warring ‘houses’ still remain. Their lowliest members include dregs, two armed creatures hoping to one day earn their way up to having four, which would make them Vandals, who eventually hope to earn enough of a following to become Captains. Each house is united under either a Kell, a large, powerful Fallen, or a Servitor, a large, floating purple eye-like creature, that are usually objects of worship.

                The Hive are an ancient, undead-like race, whose battle with humans can be traced back to the end of their Golden Age. Ranging in size from the humanoid Acolyte to the hulking Ogre, the Hive’s spread is extremely hard to tell, as they work mostly underground, surfacing to strike from caves.

                The Vex are a robotic race, capable of manipulating space to teleport, as well as having an unknown grasp on the ability to bend and manipulate time itself. Connected through a vast Collective, the Vex are known for their entrance through dark clouds, and their constant advancing.

             The Cabal are a species of large creatures, known best for their large environment suits fitted to allow them to survive on planets with gravity far less than their own. Equipped with the ability to boost from position to position, the Cabal supplement their slower movement with large siege weaponry, ranging from tanks to weapons far beyond belief, to the point where they have earned the reputation of destroying planets “just for getting in their way”.

                Guided by their Vanguards and the Speaker, an ancient scholar of unknown origins who speaks for the Traveler until it finds “its voice”, Guardians are expected to combat these various threats, all the while seeking out new ways to help restore their place in the universe, and heal the Traveler.

Guarding the Guard

                “I’ve been told that exact same thing a log, Captain, and it’s never once been true. Not even close.”

                “I’d prefer it if you’d skip any stories and go right to their morals, Guardian.”

                The Guardian turned his head slightly to look at the other man, his expression of annoyance at the Guard Captain hidden by his helmet.

                “The moral, Captain, is that I don’t believe in an ‘easy’ patrol, regardless of how it is described by the person assigning it.”

                The Captain took his turn to look annoyed, “I’m assuming you also think you should be accompanying other Guardians.”

                His counterpart nodded, “It tends to risk city guards less, yeah.”

                They paused as the ground in front of them reached a steep drop, the men trailing behind them halting as well. Below them the sand and earth of the desert had been moved, a quarry having been left in their place. A number of metal buildings were scattered across the floor of the quarry, amidst mining equipment, all covered by years’ worth of sand that had been blown back into the giant bowl.

                “Looks empty,” the Guard Captain said, pulling a small spyglass from his belt to observe the ground below.

                “Doesn’t mean anything,” the Guardian replied, requiring no tool to get a better view of the ground below, his helmet magnifying it for him. He pointed towards the far side of the quarry, where a number of black spots stood out against the stone walls, “Caves.”

                The Captain nodded, “All the monsters are probably holed up in there. Means we’ve got to go to them.”

                His counterpart nodded, pointing to the east where the land rose above the old mining operation until it reached a small metallic outpost, muttering “Gonna move up there.” As the Captain nodded, turning to head down towards the quarry, the Guardian caught him by the shoulder, voice firm, “Stay out of the caves.”

                The Captain only nodded in return, ruining his expectations of a smart remark, or some form of resistance.

                Slowly making his way up to his post, the Guardian couldn’t help but notice the vast expanse of desert that stretched out not just beyond the quarry, but in every direction. It reminded him more of his brief stint on Mars than it did anywhere else he had seen on Earth. If not for the few buildings below and the one that would soon be his snipers nest, it would have been nearly impossible to know if humans had ever even seen the inside of the desert.

                “This isn’t a good idea,” the familiar voice of his Ghost stated, popping into existence behind him.

                “Not in the slightest,” he responded, not bothering to turn towards the voice. “But it’s better than them going up here alone.”

                “How long do you give them?”

                He rolled his eyes, even if the motion was hidden, “Always the positive one.”

                “It is called being a realist, apparently,” the floating piece of metal responded.

                “Been digging in the Cryptarch’s dictionaries again, I see.” The Ghost’s lack of response made him grin ever so slightly.

                The area overlooking the quarry was simpler than he had expected it to be. A long metal platform extended slightly past the steep stone wall of the quarry, offering whoever dared to stand on the aging piece of rusted metal a good view of most of the operation below. At one point a small metal chair must have sat at the edge of it, the small mark of where the legs had been still remaining.

                At the end of the platform that still made contact with the ground stood a degrading shack, which was made of two rooms at the most. One of the windows had long ago been left open, and sand poured out from inside.

                He stepped with caution onto the metal platform, wincing at the loud groan that the action produced. Repeating the process, slowly stepping forward and taking the time to grimace at the groans of the metal, he eventually reached the edge of the platform.

                Kneeling down, he drew the rifle that had been slung on his back, pressing the visor of his helmet against it, hand working to slowly adjust the scope until his view of the party below was clear.

                “What’s your guess on the wind speed?” he asked to the empty air.

                The floating device materialized again, its pieces shifting slightly, eye looking about as it calculated, “Minimal.”

                He gave the slightest of nods, “Minimal wind speed, and moderate distance.” Raising his voice slightly, he spoke to the party below, knowing full well the Ghost would transmit the message, “Start moving up, Captain.”

                Below, the set of soldiers began a slow advance into the quarry, looking more like ants moving across the ground than people. The platform creaked again, causing him to tense, waiting for it to give way, yet it remained where it had for years.

                The Captain’s voice filtered into his helmet, “Looks deserted down here.”

                “Har,” he responded, trying not to groan at the horrible pun.

                He turned his body slightly to be able to look towards the caves, waiting. It was only a matter of time. Pulling the bolt of the rifle back, his breathing slowed. The platform creaked yet again.

                The Guardian froze, a feeling of pressure appearing on the back of his neck. Small and narrow. Like the barrel of a gun.

                “Hold fire.”

                The voice came from behind him and to the right. Whoever it was had to be of the more civilized races in the system, at least that was his guess considering their choice of language, female, based on the pitch of the voice, and potentially left handed, considering they holding the gun more to the right of his neck. That was only if they were facing the quarry, though.

                He tried to look over his shoulder, but didn’t risk overdoing the motion, and instead only caught a glimpse of his own cloak.

                “Something’s coming,” the voice of the Guard Captain trickled through again.

                His gaze returned to the rifle’s scope, which was still focused on the cave entrances. The Captain wasn’t wrong, though ‘something’ was very much an understatement.

                At least twenty creatures emerged from the caves, twisted and grey, sprinting towards the Captain’s group, shrieking, claws and teeth at the ready. Thrall. His finger tightened over the trigger, as his captor’s weapon pressed more against his neck, her voice calm, “Hold fire.”

                “They’ll die,” he said, attempting to not sound hostile, and failing completely.


                The city guards didn’t wait long, opening fire on their attackers almost immediately. As their weapons ran dry and their would be ends drew closer, some of them resorted to swinging their guns as though they were cudgels, finishing off the remaining feral monstrosities. He let out a sigh of relief, focus turning to the caves as the guard reloaded.

                “They can survive a group of Thrall. That bodes well for them.” His head turned in her direction again, a frown forming on his face.

                The Guardian’s attention returned to the battlefield below as shots began to ring out once again. More figures were emerging from the cave, some of similar height to their human opponents, others towering over them all, ally and opposition alike. Their flesh was nearly as black as the caves they were exiting.

                The city guard let off a few shots, before retreating to the hollow buildings they had passed by earlier, the Acolytes and Knights of the Hive firing on them. At least three of the squad of fifteen falling. Tempting as it was to begin covering their retreat, he was still well aware of the weapon pressed against his neck. There had to be a way of removing it.

                “Few losses against Hive infantry.”

                He jerked his elbow back, making contact with her leg, pressure leaving his neck as she staggered backward. Turning quickly to follow up the blow, a strike from her right fist met him, sending him to the ground, flat on his back.

                She slowly approached him, adorned in a purple overcoat, the rest of her attire matching. The purple helmet that hid her face was turned down towards him, the darkened visor hiding its owner’s expression just as his own did. She held a revolver in her left hand, pointed directly at his chest.

                “It’s rude to interrupt someone while they are in the middle of something,” she said.

                He snorted, “Said the pot to the kettle.”

                Her head tilted to the side slightly, as if to ponder his words for a moment, before her attention returned to the battle below. “They’re doing far better than you expected them to.” She spoke as though she was observing an ant farm.

                His right hand inched slowly towards the holster hanging on his belt, focus remaining on his captor, “They could be doing better.”

                “You would like to think that, I’m sure.”

                Despite her words, going off of the noises coming from below, his conclusion was far grimmer than hers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014


             The room was sizeable, which was an oddity in and of itself. Space would always be limited, unless one wanted to bring mages and their various tinkerings with temporal order into the conversation, and no exception to that rule was given to Acherus. But for a room to be of decent size in the necropolis, and an office of all rooms was practically unheard. Unless of course one happened to be standing within some of the deepest offices delegated to the highest, or lowest depending on how you looked at it, of the Acherus Central hierarchy.

                To most of the world, namely the living, the room was essentially a large freezer, minus the meats that might usually be contained in one. The room’s metallic walls, which had been selected in place of the structure’s usual stone, only added to the effect.

In the center of the room sat a broad desk, with low-lit lamps resting on top of it, the fire inside of them burning a lich blue. The blue hues they cast matched the glow produced by the eyes of the figures who sat behind the desk, their features hidden in the recesses of their seemingly endless hoods.

As far as he was concerned, this was the closest he could ever be brought to some circle of some Hell he had read about during his days of studying religion abroad. The circle dedicated to those who had refused to send in their taxes with everything signed in triplicate, who at the same time had committed the act of stealing firewood in the winter. Not that he had done either of those things. Or at least, not that he would admit to have doing either of those things.

Samuel Dorsey brought the folder that had been requested by the two and placed it in front of them. He had never been informed of their names, and as far as he was aware they no longer had any. They were simply wraiths of puppeteers, left to haunt Acherus and continue to pull at an endless amount of unseen strings, left to the orders of the Highlord far above.

One of them extended their hand, which even within its glove appeared boney, and pulled the folder back, slowly working through the various papers within. The only reason he could tell they were actually looking at them was because the orbs housed deep within their cowls. Finally the orbs once again seemed to focus on him, a voice emanating from the figure’s general direction.

“How accurate do you believe these reports to be?” the one on the left said, the voice decidedly male. It was hard to even describe the noise as a voice, as it sounded closer to a deep, icy wind.

“Our sources have given us truthful information thus far, sir,” Dorsey answered, noticeably more ‘normal’ sounding in comparison. “The information we have received thus far has been mostly factual, save for an estimated eleven percent of the reports. That is a high statistic in comparison to a number of our other informants.”

“But there is no estimated time of an event.” That voice came from the figure on the right, and while just as icy, was more feminine.

“No, ma’am,” Dorsey responded, shifting his attention to the right now. “We have only word that the trial in Pandaria did not go as planned, and that it could be expected that something sizeable will be occurring at some point in the future.”

“Then we will need to respond,” the one on the left said, taking a pause as if to consider his words, “To whatever situation will present itself.”

“If it is comparable to the last number of incidents, it is possible that there will be an incursion on another section of the world,” she responded, the two beginning to talk amongst themselves.

“Should that be the case then we shall need increase representation in the conflict, from either side. Simply placing allowing Knights to fight on either side has not allowed our image to remain in high spirits, I am certain.”

“Thus a firm encampment or garrison is advised. Assign a small team of specialists for decreased losses but more likely chances of versatility in the field.”

“The leader of the party would not necessarily need to be of import, though some standing with rank could give the appearance of such.”

“Someone expendable.”

They both focused their gaze on Dorsey again, a note one of them had been writing as they spoke being tucked into an envelope which they slid towards him. On the envelope was written a brief set of instructions:

“Upon receiving the proper signals, this letter is to be delivered to its intended recipient.”