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RPG The Shadow Of Man: Part One


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The human soldier, tossing his gun aside, unsheathed his sword and lunged forward. Though Saeri had previously tried to avoid a direct confrontation, she was now left with no choice but to fight. She hopped back, causing the first attack to fall just short of contact. Saeri swung with her staff in an attempt to take advantage of the gap in the human's defence, but the soldier had already compensated for his mistake and raised his sword to parry the blow. The human swept Saeri off her feet, and leapt into the air to attack. Saeri, using the situation to her advantage, expanded a weak energy shield - by the time the shield collapsed she had set herself up to counter attack. The human, falling from above, was unable to block the heavy blow to his side, and fell to the floor. Regaining his balance, he lunged forward again, striking Saeri in the leg but in turn impaling himself on her blade. Both collapsed, but this time only Saeri got back up.


Lucid, seeing her collapse, came running over after dispatching his opponent with a brutal strike. Being her squad commander, and a close friend, he had always looked out for her in battle. A look of concern came over his face. "You're hurt.."

"I'll be fine. Don't worry about it." Saeri did not want to appear weak. However painful it may have been, she managed to stand upright. "Just a scratch."

"Okay. I'm taking my group onwards to the oxygen plant, I want you to keep a look out for re-enforcements. Remember, don't leave any alive."

"No problem." A subtle movement behind Lucid caught her gaze for a moment.

"You sure you're okay, Saeri?"

"Hmm? Oh, yeah. Fine."

Lucid headed off to gather the troops in his group, and waved briefly to Saeri. Saeri, however, was too busy focusing on her young human opponent to notice. This one was still breathing. How she hated orders......
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[COLOR=DarkRed]The wind blew dead air, dry with dust and grit. It was empty of scent, and empty of life. The feathers woven into Elazar's cloak ruffled, the birds he had taken them from long dead from the meager leftovers of the world. He stayed still on the rise of the hill, looking down into the deserted valley. There was no plant life left - only the stones spoke of a life that might have been, but had been wiped out before it had a chance. He gazed over to his right, watching as the Esrian woman started to make her careful way down the rubble of the hill.

She turned to look at him, "Elazar?"

He looked down briefly, and then nodded, "Yeah, coming." He followed her steps, and they made their way down to the crumbling brown ruins that lay atop the stones.

"What do you think?"

Elazar shrugged in answer, scanning the rubble. Crouching down, he crumbled the barren dirt through his fingers. [I]Dirt just like this...but it was alive.[/I] His eyes slowly went blank.

Ezra interrupted him, "Elazar, don't." Just that. She remembered as well.

He nodded, and stood slowly, letting the memories fall away from him just as he let the dirt slide through his fingers. It was almost a year now, that they had run. They had been unable to bury the bodies. [I]Maybe that's why these memories don't want to stay under.[/I] They surfaced, now and then, but Ezra was always there to help clear them away, and she always knew when. They were connected that way, perhaps another result of the blood-sharing.

The sky was growing dark. "How much longer?" he asked.

"We'll have to go under again in a couple of days, for more water. The nearest colony is about nine kilometers over, and the next Esrian village is at least five days walking."

"Ok," he nodded, and then walked around the rubble a bit more. "Then I guess this is good for tonight..?"

"Yes. I doubt there's anywhere worse, and we're not going to find any better."

Another nod from Elazar. Looking up, he couldn't believe it had been almost a year. "At least the soil under them won't be dead," he muttered inaudibly.[/COLOR]
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The sun sank low into the horizon casting beautiful rays of light on the desolate landscape. Dust and debris floating in the atmosphere created a brilliant display of pink, orange, and yellow. The majestic sunset greatly contrasted the chaos of the jagged earth. The earth was void of all life, except for two lonely travelers. The human and the Esrian made an odd pair, but to them nothing seemed more natural.

"I had almost forgotten the gorgeous sunsets of the surface. It must be the only lovely thing left on this forsaken planet," Ezra whispered, breaking the sacred silence between herself and Elazar. The human only starred at the sky. She could sense his pain, and felt it within her own heart. She approached him, and could feel the pain resonating from his body. "You should eat something," Ezra said as she held an open package of gruel towards the boy. He took it, glancing to the human text written accost the top. The two travelers had been stealing and bartering for food and water from various human and Esrian colonies for the past year, and they both yearned for some real food.

"I always used to love hearing my mother talk about the ancient humans. She had such respect for your culture. I loved her tales of human innovation. How humans were able to build towers as tall as mountains. I never understood why they would want to build something so huge, but they still amazed me. Your use of human magic--Technology--is amazing," Ezra marveled to Elazar. He nodded, but was not in the mood for Ezra's ramblings.

"We should get some sleep. We have a long journey ahead of us," Elazar spoke with a genuinely concerned tone.

"Alright," said Ezra as she took some gruel and ate all she could of the discussing human cuisine.

OOC: I will be gone from the June 20th until July 2nd, so Cyriel will continue Ezra's story without me until I return.
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A dead wind blew from the plant. It was not the fresh air that usually blew out of the plant, but the leftovers. It hit Shade like a brick. Backing up, he grimaced at the journey ahead. Walking over, he unsheathed his blade. Raising it up, he turned a corner, face to face with an engineer.
"Where is it?"
"Over by the generator."
Shade walked over, finally catching a glimpse of his target. An incredibily large rat. Shade swung his blade, missing the rat by a millimeter. The engineer ran over.
"You missed?! How could you miss?!"
Shade hid the smile. Turning slowly, he feigned dissapointment.
"Its the damn smell. Is it always this stale in here?"
"Always. Its all the leftover oxygen not fit for the colony. Its pumped through here so it doesnt all go to waste."
Shade nodded, sheathing the blade. Glancing back at the hole, he saw the rats snout poking out. The assassin smiled. The rat was one of the smartest he had ever met, and though it seems odd, one of the most honorable. Shade laughed at this, it never ceased to amuse him that even the lowest of creatures sometimes had honor. Shade has never physically tried to kill it. He abhored death to innocent creatures simply trying to survive. The only ones he excluded from this ethic were the Esrians. He had lost his wife to a raid around three years ago. He almost went insane. He kept his sanity for his daughter's sake. They now lived together on Colony 21. He worked as an assassin and part time exterminator. Looking back towards the colony, he sighed.
"The peak of human ingenuity..."
The assassin made his way through the drab slums and generators of his colony.
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  • 2 weeks later...
Saeri kneeled in front of the injured human, watching as his bloody chest rose and fell with each choking breath. On one hand Saeri had her morals; that she would only kill when necessary and never slaughter a weaponless enemy, nevermind an unconscious one. On the other hand, she had her orders. If she disobeyed any direct order she would be at risk of losing her position in Sietis Division. Disobeying a direct order involving the extermination of humans would result in a death sentence. In this case death would not be a risk, but a certainty. She had stared at the body for well over half an hour, and still the question plagued her mind.
[I]It's inevitable that at least one of us is going to die. If I let you live, we'll both die. Then......... why... can't I kill you....?[/I]

Over time she had also become increasingly aware of the restless soldiers on the other side of the compound. If even one of them came over to request orders, she would have no way out of the situation.

Saeri finally made her decision. Gritting her teeth, she rolled the wounded human over on to his side, to hide the movements of his chest from sight. If he was lucky, he might just be able to survive long enough for other humans to find him. If not, he would die, or get killed by some other Esrian, and her orders would officially be a success. She hated to think in such a way, but she had no real choice over the matter.

Walking over to her designated group, Saeri issued the orders given to her by Lucid over half an hour ago. [I]Don't leave any alive.[/I] She just hoped their over-enthusiasm would keep them from noticing the subtle breathing of the one exception. As the soldiers went around stabbing and slashing nearly every corpse in sight, Saeri corrected herself quietly.
"He's got to be extremely lucky if he survives this.."
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[COLOR=DarkRed]They walked in the silent morning, their steps echoing the ghostly memory of past life.

In his dreams, Elazar still heard the quiet breathing of his mother in sleep, his father turning under the covers, his siblings' eyes flickering open. Every morning, the dim sound of the oxygen generators would whir to life, along with the roar of the water purifiers. They had replaced the distant tales of birdsong, sunlight, a cool breeze.

"Elazar," Ezra's voice interrupted his clouded thoughts.

He turned to her, halting their progress across the barren landscape, "Yes?"

She pointed a slim finger, and he followed the direction. Mid-sized clusters of buildings rose up in the distance, obviously an Esrian compound. It didn't hide the evidence of a human colony nearby.

"Which one?" he asked bluntly, the smell of machinery already reaching his nose. Despite the distance, the stale scent was still discernible in the empty air. Something else was there as well. Still metallic in texture, but entirely different. Elazar found himself much more sensitive to it, ever since...

"Colony 34," Ezra answered, putting away a small book which contained maps. "The Esrians seem to be living right on top of them. Unexpected... I can't imagine that it does any good. Do you smell it?"

He nodded. She didn't need to ask him that - she [I]knew[/I] he could smell it, since she could as well.

"Blood," he whispered. "I wonder how long they've been killing each other off."

"Elazar." Her tone was slightly reprimanding, and entirely justified.

He nodded, "Yeah, sorry. Let's go." They continued to walk, preparing to enter the communities that were set in their sights. Hopefully, no trouble would be encountered. Elazar almost laughed - it seemed an ironic reminder, the humans and Esrians so near to each other on this dim landscape. [/COLOR]
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Cerra concentrated on the steady pounding of her feet instead of the strain in her chest as she began to circle Mayern for the third time. She still couldn't believe she had to call this place her hometown -- it was hardly even a town if you could run its perimeter in less than half an hour. No wonder she hadn't been home in over five years ... How many had it been? Seven, perhaps, and the town had certainly grown. But not anywhere near the size of an Esrian city, an urban life she had come to know and fit much more comfortably into than the life her parents had tried to give her.

Their intentions were good, she knew, as she slowed her pace slightly to make sure she could go the distance. They merely wanted a peaceful existence for their family, as peaceful as this day and age could offer. But that wasn't what Cerra had wanted. That was why they'd had to let her go.

Looking up from the path in front of her, Cerra recognized the silhouette of her brother ahead and slowed further to a walk. "Always working, huh, Cerra," he said as she neared him.

"Have to stay in shape, don't I?" she smiled back at him, as he fell into step beside her.

She glanced over at Beren, wondering just who he was. Her brother, certainly, but she had left when he was just beginning to learn how to walk and talk and ... do things. He was only a few inches shorter than her now, and she could tell already he was going to be good-looking, have the pick of any of the girls in town, as if his status as the mayor's son hadn't already assured that. Tomorrow was his thirteenth birthday, the reason Cerra had finally come home.

"Do you enjoy life in the army?" Beren asked her.

"Absolutely," Cerra replied automatically. "It's the only way the Esrians will ever be able to restore the Earth to the state it should be. Look around us ... We can change all this."

"I didn't ask if it was a good cause or not," her brother said quietly. "I asked if you enjoy it there."

Cerra thought about her answer for only a moment longer than the previous one. "Yes," she said softly. "I couldn't imagine it any other way."

She paused. In taking her chance to escape this town when Beren was born, perhaps she had taken a chance away from him. "Do you ..."

"I couldn't imagine it any other way either," Beren answered her question before it was asked. "I don't think I could ever kill another living thing."

Cerra breathed a small sigh of relief. "That's not your part to play," she said. "You take care of the regrowth of our people. I'll take care of the killing."
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