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Writing Paladin: Origins Act I [PG - VL]


JCBaggee
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[size=1][color=darkred]Wow, haven't been on OB in ages. Crazy.

So, Paladin is a piece of work I'm creating. The [url=http://paladin-project.blogspot.com]Official Site[/url] features all the details and releases, but its a traditional super hero story at its core. It deals with drama and plot devices, but its the story of consequences. Connor's powers are from God, so what if he makes a mistake? Will his subsequent losses and failures be divine intervention? Can he even make a mistake?

The following is the complete first Act of "Paladin: Origins", simply titled "Origins". The complete series isn't actually out yet...in fact, I'm posting this here on OB before the actual release so I can get some feedback on the first part. Act II is complete. Act III is underway. Official release sometime later this month. Feel free to IM/PM/E-mail for details.

Oh, and sorry this is so long. Please enjoy, and please be gentle. I've never written before.

--Chris[/color]

[center]PALADIN : ORIGINS[/center]

[center]ACT 1 : ORIGINS[/center]

[center][i]STORY AND CHARACTERS BY J.C. BAGGETT[/center][/i]



[center]I[/center]

The wind blew softly through the autumn shades of a lonely tree on the street, as a young boy pressed himself hard up against it, leaving indentations of the bark on the palm of his hand. He is only 8 years old, and is standing as if he is trying to hide from God himself, moving only to brush the falling leaves off his striped polo shirt. He eerily inches toward the edge of the tree as only a child can, squinting his eyes as he leaned into the wind, when he heard her voice from a far.

?I found you Connor!!?

He had, yet again, misjudged where she would be coming from, as a beautiful young girl, not much shorter than him, bounded over the small hill beside the tree and raced down towards him. Connor gasped sharply and fled, running away from the tree that just a second ago had made him feel as if he was safe from the world, now only trying to avoid this child and her infectious smile.

Connor smirked and turned over his shoulder, yelling back at her, ?You?ll never catch me, Lea!?

Lea simply chuckled and ran as fast as she could after him, slowing down only to periodically pull her long blonde hair from over her eyes. After what seemed like an eternity chasing him, she finally got close enough to reach a hand out and playfully slap his shoulder.

?You?re it Connor!? Lea hurrahed, laughing through gasping breaths as she rolled around on the ground. Connor fell on the ground next to her, gasping just as hard as the leaves crunched beneath their bodies.

Connor gasped, ?Only because I let you win.?

Lea simply smirked and jumped up, brushing leaves and dust off her denim skirt. ?I won?t let you win though Connor!?

The two stood and were ready to pursue each other, when they noticed Lea?s mom and a police officer were talking to each other. Lea?s mom had her head bowed down, wiping tears from her eyes with the back of her hand. Connor and Lea both ran up to her, Lea tugging at her mother?s pants with a child?s frantic concern.

?Mama?? she said, ?Mama, what?s wrong??

The older woman tried to smile, but her mouth just couldn?t seem to cooperate, tears welling up and dripping down the crow?s feet that lined her face. ?Oh Connor?I?m so sorry?.?

As the wind rustles and times change, three days pass, and the boy is still just that: a boy, only now he is alone. No one can explain what happened, but his parents are dead. Now, the once bright boy in the striped polo shirt solemnly stands before twin caskets, his hands clenched tight, his youthful body disguised by a stark black suit that appears to be almost too big, trying so hard to be strong, trying so hard not to cry, but failing this every second. The crowd is packed full of friends and family, people Connor has known since he was a baby and people he has never seen before. A tall, strong man stands beside Connor, gently squeezing his shoulder. He looks down and forces a smile through his tears.

?Connor, are you ok?? the tall man asked. ?He was my brother, ya know? I know how you feel, its ok to be sad, if you want to. I promise, Janine and me, we?re gonna take good care of ya, ok??

Connor nodded, but even that was forced.



[center]II[/center]

Days turn to months. Months fly by, becoming years. Connor grows up, the pain of his parents death sticking with him. Though he stayed close to Lea, the two inevitably grew apart and started seeing less and less of each other, usually just passing each other on school grounds. While Lea grew up a pure-hearted, sweet young lady with a strong affinity for all things religious, Connor took a much darker turn. He became obsessed with the mystery of his parents death, studying psychology to understand what could make a man kill people so absolutely. Now, nearly 16 years later, Connor finds himself waking up to the usual mess his dorm room is, newspaper clippings and food wrappers strewn about. He shakes his head and looks over at his bed, wondering why he passed out in this old leather chair again, only to have a series of newspaper clippings and a pair of scissors drop off his chest and to the floor below.

He stood and walked to the bathroom, stopping to stare at himself in the mirror. The boyish good looks were now concealed by the years of barely sleeping, his hair unkempt and his face highlighted with week old stubble. He cursed himself under his breath and went about shaving before running the shower as hot as it would go, letting the water run down his face, down his body, feeling the heat sear against his flesh. Dripping wet, he grabs a bottle of hair gel and fixes his hair, standing it on end, stopping once more to stare at himself for a moment in the mirror.

Connor stooped over and grabbed a shirt from a pile of wadded laundry on the floor when he heard the inane prattling of the TV. He walked over and looked at the screen to see a young, well built man with long black hair right in front of the camera.

??I, Stefan Wonder will amaze you! I will be buried alive in a block of cement and??

Connor leaned over and turned the TV off, shaking his head at this idiot street magician as he walked out the door. He made his way across the campus, stopping by the commons long enough for a cup of coffee. He sat there and flipped through his psychology book, skimming through and looking at pages, his own notes scattered across the pages.

?Connor???

Connor looked up at the tall blonde, her lithe body tense as she looked down at him. She was gripping her own book tightly in her hands, a thick volume that appeared to be on some type of world history, tapping it against her hips nervously. Her hair was pulled back by a simple plastic hair band, which matched the rest of her outfit, a plain, powder blue t shirt and a long, denim skirt. She looked at Connor with her deep, ice blue eyes with a look that seemed to hint at longing but concern at the same time. For a heartbeat, even Connor couldn?t think of the book, but of the striking beauty standing across from him.

?Connor?? she asked once more, her voice cracking. ?Are you doing okay??

Connor sighed and looked back down at his book, flipping through the pages and trying not to let her see his own breathing was now more rapid, his hand twitching at the thought of what she was going to start talking about.

?Connor, I know what next week is??

Connor slammed the book shut and looked up at her, trying hard to fight his own voice from cracking. ?Lea, you know I don?t want to talk about this.?

Lea shook her head and sat down next to him. ?Connor, it?s been years! Yes, you?re not going to get over it, but what you?re doing is insane?you won?t be able to understand what happened.?

?I can do it. I can figure out the human psyche, I can figure out what was going on in his head, and then I?ll know why??

?Connor, ? Lea interrupted, ?What happened to your parents is tragic..,?

?No. What happened to my mother is tragic.?

Lea?s eyes grew wide and she reached across, landing a hard slap across Connor?s face. ?You?re an idiot.? She growled at him, ?He was your father.?

Connor grabbed his book and stood up to leave, turning towards the door. Lea leaped up and ran after him.

?And what are you going to do when you find out?? Lea shouted after him. ?You can?t bring her back, and you can?t make him pay.?

?But I can finally understand why he killed her, dammit!?

Lea watched as Connor fought back those all too familiar tears, blinking his eyes several times as he tried to be stronger than he really was when faced with this. She walked up and put her hand on Connor?s arm. ?Connor, can?t you just forgive him? I know it was terrible, but he?s gone now, and he?s paying for what happened??

?No! It?s not enough, its never going to be enough! She?s dead, Lea, DEAD! I was a kid, just a damn kid and she was taken from me, and not a single person in this world can tell me why!?

Connor turned to walk away when Lea grabbed him from behind, wrapping her arms around him, her palms touching his chest gently. ?It happened for a reason Connor, everything does. One day you?ll realize??

Connor looked behind himself towards her, her voice trailing off and getting lighter. He narrowed his eyes, straining to see from behind forming tears, when he felt something burning at his chest. He looked down at Lea?s hands and saw a light, crackling and burning white hot against his chest. The world slowed and seemed to stop, everything around him growing lighter and more distant, even to the point where Lea was gone. For a moment, the world was a white box, and Connor was truly alone.

Suddenly, the light at his chest burned, the shape of an intricately detailed cross erupting in a blaze of white fire, ripping at his body. He dropped to his knees and screamed, grabbing his chest as this energy coursed through him. The pain was intense, like nothing he?d never felt before, a million times worse than any pain he could have imagined, and just as suddenly as it came, it was gone. He looked up to see a man standing in the distance. The man wore a long, black cloak and had silvery white hair, long and flowing down his back. The man stopped and turned around, his eyes wide with surprise, as if Connor was not supposed to be there.

In an instant, the pain returned, and Connor let out a blood curdling scream. In the heartbeat before he passed out, the white faded, and all he could see was a terrified Lea?.



[center]III[/center]

Connor stood up nervously in the hospital gown, reaching behind himself to pull it closed and hoping no one could see him.

The girlish giggle behind him said otherwise.

He turned around to find Lea standing behind him in the doorway, one hand over her mouth. ?Sorry...? she said, trying to stifle the laughter.

?Cute.? Connor mused. ?Where are my clothes??

Lea bent down and picked up the plastic bag and tossed them at Connor, then turned around as he got dressed. Connor pulled off the hospital gown and began getting dressed, only to notice that there was something different: across his chest, a large scar had formed in the shape of the cross that was burning on him. He gently rubbed it and pulled his shirt on, heading out the door.

Connor sighed, ?So what exactly happened??

?I?m not really sure?? Lea said, scratching the back of her head. ?I was hugging you, and you just started screaming and passed out??

Connor reflected back on what had happened, on the world turning white, on the flames which burnt his chest, on the strange man in black he had seen, and wondered if Lea had seen anything like that. Had he imagined it? Had it been some kind of seizure? The doctors had told him that they had run tests and everything looked ok.

Connor smirked and looked at Lea. ?Well, at least I?ll get a cool scar out of it.?

Lea looked at him, puzzled. ?What do you mean? The doctors just figure you passed out because of the stress of the week. There is nothing that should have left a scar??

As Lea walked ahead of him, Connor stopped in the hallway and brushed his hand against his chest. Exactly what the hell had happened to him back there? What was going on here?

As he walked down the hall following Lea, something caught his eye in the window. When he turned, it was gone. Though he couldn?t be quite sure, it appeared to be the man in black from before?

***

That evening, Connor lay back in that same recliner chair, only now the books of psychology and human behavior studies lay untouched. Instead he is leaned back, his shirt unbuttoned, sipping at a glass of wine as he feels the hard, scabbing surface of this strange scar on his chest. Lea and the doctors could not see it, but he was certain it was real.

Suddenly, a flash of white light and a strong breeze rings through the room. Connor turns to find himself face to face with the man in black, standing in his window. He is a tall man, his hair even more spectacular, and his skin flawless. At his side, his hand rests upon the hilt of an elegant sword strapped to his side. There as an air of elegance about him, but at the same time, something seemed to be different about him.

The man stepped forward and looked down his nose at Connor, then swatted the glass of wine out of his hand. ?Get up.? He said, his voice sounding soft and smooth, but at the same time gruff and demanding.

Connor stood up and stared at his man, one hand balled into a fist. Connor was in good enough shape, but he was staring down a much, much larger man. The man walked up to him and looked him in the eyes.

?You are Connor Sharpe.? He said with that same gruff voice.

?Yes, I am.? Connor said cautiously.

Connor stared at this man quizzically, trying to figure out what was going on. The man turned around and wandered around the room, looking at the newspaper clippings.

?You?re mother.? The man said, stopping to look at one picture.

?What about my mother?!? Connor asked defensively, running up to grab the picture. The man set it down and turned to him.

?My name is Gabriel, and I am here to teach you.?

?To teach me what??

?How to use your powers, Connor Sharpe. To train you how to control your mother?s legacy.?

Connor dropped into the chair and stared up at Gabriel, at this strange man who seemed to know so much more than he let on.

?You, Connor Sharpe,? he finally said, ?are the last Earthborn Angel.?

***

It was half an hour later that Connor found himself at an old rock quarry with the angel, Gabriel. It was a dusty place, the ground uneven and unsteady, with large rocks precariously placed all around the area. Gabriel stopped and pointed out in the distance, his eyes shimmering in the moonlight.

?There.? He said with a slight smirk on his face.

Connor peered out in the distance, but could see nothing but boulders. ?There what?? he quipped; now starting to believe this man was simply insane.

?Watch.? Gabriel clasped his hands together and closed his eyes. Connor watched for a second, waiting to see what the joke was, when there came a bright light, shining brightly from around Gabriel. The light began to shimmer around him, Gabriel?s silvery white hair flowing in the ensuing wind, and as the energy formed up to single point. Gabriel held his hand out and snapped his fingers, a loud crack ringing through the area, accompanied by the sound of something whizzing through the air.

Far off in the distance, where Connor could barely see, there was a bright flash of light, and then?nothing. Connor chuckled and was about to chide this fool for bringing him out here in the middle of the night, when a loud crash rang through, and a boulder in the distance shattered into a thousand miniscule pieces. Connor stood there in awe, his jaw slacked, as Gabriel turned and faced him, speaking solemnly.

?You, Connor Sharpe, are an Earthborn Angel. Your mother was an Earthborn Angel. She was believed to be the last, until yesterday when your powers awoke. You have an aura, a spirit of Holy Energy which forever surrounds your body. All beings have such an aura, its nature dependant on their actions. You, however, are one of a rare few who are capable of accessing and manipulating this energy. You can form it any way you want; in an energy blast capable of shattering the densest materials, or into something as simple as a cloth to cover your body.

?You are destined to protect this world, and I am here to prepare you. Where we are now has been protected within a sphere of energy. For us, six months will pass; for the rest of the world, mere hours will fly by. When we are done, you will be a champion worthy of protecting this realm. You will be the new guardian of Earth, and will be charged with protecting it. Today, your life begins anew, Connor Sharpe.?

Connor stammered and dropped to his knees. His mother! His own mother, who?s life was taken away so soon. Connor looked up to Gabriel, stammering along ?My?my mother?.she was?how my father have?.she was an angel??

?Yes, Connor.? Gabriel stated. ?You?re mother was an Angel. Her death at your father?s hands is as much a mystery to us as it is to you, as it is to this world. We do not know the full details as to what happened to her. But that is not important. You have a mission to complete.?

Gabriel extended his hand to Connor, his eyes seeming to soften every so slightly. ?Are you ready to begin your training, Connor Sharpe??



[center]IV[/center]

It is morning, and all is not well in town.

Gunshots ring out, and group of men are running from the police. They are dressed in black, and are clearly terrified. A simple bank heist, that?s all it was. Get in, get out, get rich fast. But something went so terribly wrong, starting with the old lady having the heart attack. They?ve seen it happen before, the old lady dieing of the heart attack because of the bank heist. It?s not blamed on God, or the weather, or the fact that the poor old hag has drank a bottle of bourbon every week since she was 30.

No, it?s the bank robbers who get blamed. They get blamed for the undue stress that set off the heart condition caused by 30 years of heavy alcoholism, a lifetime of heavy smoking, and the world?s worst timing. Why? Because she?s just so damned old.

But there is no time to think about this. They haven?t even held onto the money at this point. No, now these poor men are perfectly happy being broke, they just want their freedom, and to get as far away from this place as they can.

As the group of men run, they split up. Four men, four directions. Maybe they?ll thin out the police forces? Maybe they?ll take the heat off of three of them? They don?t care. They don?t think. They just want to be free.

The first man is in an alley way when it hits him. A strong, sharp strike to his face, as if a bolt of lightning was aimed at his nose. He drops, and finds a steel bar wrapped around his wrists. He turns to find his assailant, only to see a white cape fluttering behind him.

Moments later, the second robber believes he has found a way out, as he scaled a ladder escape and leaps into a window. He runs into an abandoned hotel room, kicking down the door and charging through, knowing for certain the cops cannot be far behind.

A blast of wind shoots through the window. The man enters the hall, but bumps into a man?s chest, clothed in black spandex with some kind of white design running across his chest. If he?d had time to think, he would have noticed the black of this man?s uniform was cool to the touch, while this strange, white design was warm against his face.

It is the third and fourth men who stand the best chance. They find themselves reunited on a parking garage and steal the fastest car they can find. They are gone in a heartbeat on a blazing chase through the city, with no heed to the safety of the people surrounding them.

But they do not get as far as they hoped. He descends upon them, floating down gracefully from the sky above them, his cape fluttering behind him like a majestic symbol from the Heavens. His face is covered in the same strange material, white with a solid black stripe running through the middle. He drops down hard, crushing the hood of the car and launching it into the air.

As fast as he landed, he flies back up and grabs the car, his fists striking and tearing at the metal. By the time any other mortal would be capable of seeing the figure, the car is now a ball of worn metal, and the thieves are securely ensnared inside the balls warped interior. He drops them off and ascends once more, taking off far away, as the people below stare up in wonder.

This man lands on a building not far and walks to the center, where the angel Gabriel stands and watches. Connor pulls the mask off and smiles at Gabriel as he approaches him.

Gabriel simply shakes his head. ?Show off.?

The two walk away from the rooftop together, Connor?s costume dissipating in a shimmer of broken particles. The pair exits the building and blend in with the crowd below, passing the arresting officers of the very men he just helped to stop.

Thus began the origins of the Paladin?



[right]END[/right]



[right]COMING SOON:
ACT II ?TRIAL BY BRIMSTONE?[/right]

[color=darkred][i]Thank you so much for reading!!! --Chris[/i][/color][/size]
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