The Lost - (R) Book II of the Dark Falcons - COMPLETE

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The Lost - (R) Book II of the Dark Falcons - COMPLETE

Post by Rayo Azul » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:43 am

After their attack on the FedCom jumpship and the unplanned second jump, Jax and his men find themselves in unknown space. Their first priority is to repair their ship and return home to Winfield.

Whilst searching for a safe haven, they stumble upon an inhabitable planet whose people are suffering from the machinations of a self-styled Emperor. This planet has apparently regressed in level of technology with their isolation from mankind. They must take sides if they are to harness the world's resources, but the choice of might over right is never easy.

Their decision will not only affect their immediate future, but that of the Dark Falcons themselves.
Last edited by Rayo Azul on Tue Nov 24, 2009 4:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Rayo Azul » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:44 am

Prologue


The young girl walked quietly down the main street, avoiding the puddles formed by yesterday’s rain and the piles of excrement from today’s animals. She was late for school and knew she would be punished for that. Her older brother Arn waved at her as she passed by the guard house where he was standing in his bright new uniform. Even he looked handsome in it.

Arn saw his little sister skip away, her trilling laughter lightening somewhat his dreary day. Turning eighteen was special for a number of reasons, but to him the greatest part was the fact it meant that he was called for military service. Everyone did the basic training early and with the almost perpetual state of war, no-one missed out.

Soon they would be marched to the front, where he too could die in the name of the Emperor. That was, he had been told, the greatest blessing a man could receive.

A growing noise impinged on his consciousness. It was unusual in that it was a strange roaring, as though some wild animal had been chained against its will. At first he though it came from behind him, but then was unsure. He squinted, his hand shading his eyes from the sun, as movement drew his attention. Black shapes, high in the sky. They too were growing. Birds never got that big, did they?

Soon he realised that these were no birds. Their wings were straight, almost stubby and their heads sparkled as the sun reflected off them. They were metal! He raised his rifle, fumbling with the paper cartridge. Biting off the end, Arn poured the powder and ball into the muzzle and tamped it down. Taking careful aim, he saw others rushing out beside him, mirroring his actions. The bawl of his sergeant as he dressed the men into line, made him smile. Arn fired.

In slow motion the things turned, diving down towards him. Musket fire crackled now, yet seemed to have no effect, the things turning again and rising, flame spouting from their rears. On their sides was painted a strange emblem. Nothing known to him. Then they were gone.

Sergeant Price patted him on the back and praised his vigilance. He also bulled up their success in chasing the devils away, yet Arn knew that they had not caused even the slightest of damage. It was as he was hanging his head that he noticed the puddle of water near him. Ripples shivered outwards from its centre, as though something heavy had been dropped nearby. Then he felt it.

A metronomic beat, as though giant feet marked time on the ground. He heard the scream of his sister and rushed forward, standing in shock and horror by her side. Enormous. Gigantic. A demon stood before them. No rifles were raised in response, people fleeing in panic. Arn took his sister’s hand in his, and waited to die.

*

Arn and his sister had been passed by, the huge monster striding over them with oblivious ease. He had hurried her away in the direction of their home, intending to leave her there and find his unit. His rifle he carried with him, the Sergeant’s constant reminder of death following its loss having been ingrained in his mind throughout his basic training. When he reached their humble dwelling, he found his parents hurrying to load their belongings on a small cart.

“Where are you going?” he asked, as he handed his sister into the care of his mother.

“Away from here,” mumbled his father, “your aunt and uncle have a nice house in the city. They’ve been on at us to join them for a long time. This seems to be the right moment.”

“We have to fight,” said Arn incredulously, “the Emperor…”

“Is not here!” snapped his father, “now are you coming, or not?”

“Not!” said Arn stubbornly, “I will stay and protect our things from the demons, as should a soldier of the Emperor.”

“Fool,” sneered his father, and then more gently, “you know where to find us. It will take us a day or so to reach the city. We will look for you there.”

A hug from his mother, a handshake from his father and a tearful kiss from his little sister were his last remembrance of them. He watched as the handcart was dragged protestingly away, then he squared his shoulders, checked his ammunition and ran towards the sound of musket fire, which crackled lamely in the distance.
Last edited by Rayo Azul on Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Rayo Azul » Wed Jul 22, 2009 6:47 am

Chapter One

A wind blew across the field of grain, stirring the over-ripe husks and making them rub together in an unpleasant discord. It was cold, bitingly so and brought with it a presage of death. These fields had been left untended, abandoned by their owners as the two opposing sides wearily trudged to their meeting. To the left stood rank upon rank of blue-coated soldiery in an unbroken and disciplined line. Artillery pieces were arrayed behind them on slightly higher ground and they waited mostly in silence. Now and again, a dry cough broke the quiet, or the jingle of harness where an officer rode his mount along their front.

From the cover of sparse woodland to the right could be heard the tramping of feet, jocular laughter and occasional song. First one, then another appeared. They sported the remnants of a grey-brown uniform. Battered hats topped their unsightly appearance and each soldier seemed to have felt the hand of a crazed or drug-ridden tailor. In effect, they wore the cast-offs of the battlefield, boots stolen from one corpse, coat from another, yet they carried their long-barrelled rifles with a nonchalant ease.

Murmuring among the Emperor’s troops was quickly quelled by the bark of sergeants and other non-commissioned officers, horses were reined in and swords drawn. The newcomers laughed and jeered as more of their companions joined them. They stopped just on the verge of the clearing and waited. In the shadows behind them was a mass of movement. Indistinct. Threatening.

An order was shouted and the Emperor’s soldiers began to march forward to the slow tattoo of drums. Still their foe waited. As though some magic point had been reached, the dishevelled warriors dropped to the earth and cannon roared. A deadly hail of canister was thrown forward, exploding above the marching troops. It scythed threw the unprotesting crop, reaping a bloody harvest of humanity. Again and again the bestial bellows sounded whilst the disciplined ranks came on. Then, they ceased.

Sound there was now in plenty. The cries of wounded men, pleading for succour and praying for the Emperor’s mercy rang out. Of that, there would be little this day. A howling mob poured from the protection of the trees as the answering roar came from the enemy artillery. Shells exploded amongst them, spinning bodies and spraying blood and gore. This did not stop the keening cries, which rose in an unholy chorus from the throats of the advancing mob.

Men stooped to one knee and fired, their musket balls smashing through blue uniformed figures and punching them to the earth. Quickly they covered the intervening distance and bayonets were fixed and wicked-looking knives drawn. The massacre then began in earnest.

Later, the Emperor would chastise his officers with hangings and summary execution, but really the fault was his. He had underestimated this ill-supplied and rag-tag army, his arrogance and belief in his own near godhood fed by his fawning minions. This would not be the last of his surprises or mistakes.

*

High above the battlefield, two figures stared into their holo-display, eagerly following the outcome of the battle. This had not been the first world that they had visited, but it did seem the most promising.

A signal chimed and the shorter of the two turned and listened to an incoming message.

“Our fact-finding mission appears to have been a success,” he said to the woman beside him, “they’re bringing the prisoners back with them, now.”

“Did they have any problems?” she asked, still staring avidly at the carnage below.

“No,” he laughed, “it seems that gods from the sky have fallen to earth. The majority of them ran away and those that fired on us did so with musket balls. I think that we’re going to like it here.”

“Speak for yourself,” she grumbled, “these surats will provide little sport.”

“I’m not looking for sport,” the man growled, “rather a way home. When we do return, I would like to do so, well-prepared for any eventuality.”

“What good will these freebirth be?” she questioned angrily.

“Don’t forget that I am freebirth, too,” he admonished her, and then laughed, “and Elana, look what you made of me.”

*

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Post by Rayo Azul » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:55 am

Emperor Gaius Augustus the Third sat on his ornately carved throne, heavily jowled chin resting on one hand. Before him were arrayed his frightened counsellors. They had just witnessed the summary execution of two of their fellows, one general and a pastry cook. Now they trembled with fear as a lowly sergeant related the visit of the mechanical demons.

None knew whether it was better to laugh or cry. So, they did nothing.

“Tell me, Sergeant...?”

“Price, your illustriousness...”

“Yes, quite. These demon machines, I wonder that our enemies were able to trick you so,” and then his face flushed with anger, “well I, your Beloved Emperor, will not be so fooled. Take him away!”

The poor Sergeant was led away by two burly guards, all the while protesting his innocence. He was ignored. No-one was going to admit that they in any way believed him.

“Call General Aquilla,” snapped the petulant Emperor, “he will get to the bottom of this!”

As the echoed order was passed outside, Gaius Augustus reached for a honeyed snack and sighed. The world was full of idiots, he knew, buy why oh why was he cursed with the majority of them?

*

General Julius Aquilla was famous, and he knew it. His exploits and conquests under the indulgence of his Emperor were legend. He was a cruel man and his role allowed him to press even his own boundaries and insatiable appetites. Word had come to him first of this alleged visitation by demons; machines which flew and enormous metal men, ridiculous. However, by quashing the rumour and liberally applying a little brutality, he would be quickly able to return to the capitol a hero.

This Emperor was weak and easily swayed. Soon, he Julius Aquilla would be able to take his rightful place and lead his people. The disastrous defeat heaped upon his main rival had done him no harm either. So, it was with a calm and measured step he entered the Imperial chamber. Many noted his proud and muscular figure as he approached his Emperor and secretly compared them.

*

It was later that same day that a troop of cavalry in burnished armour was led from the city. At their head sat the General conscious of his finery and the admiring gaze of the rude populace. Each of his men was hand-chosen, experts with rifle, pistol and sword. He had seen no need to take a larger contingent with him, as he was convinced that it was nothing more than sheer peasant superstition.

Also, the less witnesses remaining after his re-education of the locals would be important and he could trust his followers to carry out his orders with gusto. Already in his mind, he was savouring the visceral pleasure of the slaughter he anticipated and his rapid return to be heaped with more honour.

Others also watched his passage. Two men hidden on a nearby hillside followed his triumphant exit and waited until he had disappeared from sight. They then found and mounted their own horses; shaggy mountain ponies, rough of coat but well-suited to their environment. Their path took them on a roughly parallel course, yet they quickly outdistanced the slow-moving column.
Last edited by Rayo Azul on Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:00 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by MechRat » Wed Jul 22, 2009 8:32 am

All right! Book Two begins! :mrgreen:

I thought you would take a little more time off to get this started, but then again I'm certainly not complaining!

Thanks Rayo! This gets my day off to a great start.
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Post by Rayo Azul » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:23 am

MechRat wrote:All right! Book Two begins! :mrgreen:

I thought you would take a little more time off to get this started, but then again I'm certainly not complaining!

Thanks Rayo! This gets my day off to a great start.
No worries. I had the ideas spinning round in my head and just had to get them down :wink:

Hope you enjoy this one too.

Cheers

Rayo

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Post by AVA MANGO TWO » Wed Jul 22, 2009 11:52 am

Indeed so soon but what a great start... 8)
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Post by Grunt213 » Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:33 pm

I love the Napoleonic atmosphere, very different and refreshing. I can really get into this story.

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Post by AVA MANGO TWO » Wed Jul 22, 2009 5:45 pm

Napoleonic i was thinking more like American civil war, either way a damn fine original start... 8) zac
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Post by thatjimboguy » Thu Jul 23, 2009 12:33 am

Damn fine start Rayo. Being a history major though, I'm going with more of a feeling of Ancient Rome as far as society crossed with Civil War era tech. That's just a guess though.
"Win if you can. Lose if you must, but always cheat" - Jesse "The Body" Ventura

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Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:45 am

Hmm, I guess everyone is right. Is that possible?

As you see it will unfold, but a teaser is that it is a cross between a Roman style society on one hand and the Napoelonic/Civil War era. Let's not forget that the British and the French couldn't decide whether to support the South or not. (Some of you guys will know that better than me :oops: ).

I like the fact that even when in decline the roman soldiery was magnificent. In fact they invented much that we still use today (I'm no History Major, so correct me please if I get any of this wrong.) Also, I wanted a basic familiarity with "advanced" Tech, or at least the priniciples of it. You´ll see why later :twisted: :wink:

I hope the logic of it will become apparent as will the conundrum facing the DF.

More to come later today. :wink:

Cheers

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Post by AVA MANGO TWO » Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:53 am

Doh i should have seen the ancient Roman link a mile off what with titles and names like Aquilla and Emperor... :oops:
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Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:15 am

I've added a little bit onto the Prologue.

It needs it, so that the next part makes more sense.

Cheers

Rayo

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Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Jul 23, 2009 9:41 am

Last part of Chapter One, before the fun really starts... :wink:


It was terrifying. Nothing could have prepared him for the experience. After leaving his family, Arn had found a small group of soldiers huddled behind an overturned cart. He had joined his musket fire to their’s and suffered the same fate. Their Sergeant was nowhere to be seen, but the small squad had valiantly kept up their fire until a smaller demon had found them. Musket balls ricocheted harmlessly from its metal skin, as it slowly approached.

In a demonstration of the futility of their resistance, it had raised its arm and sent a beam of bright light against the metal spokes of their shelter. Slowly tracing the pulsating weapon towards them, it melted the hard structure easily. Globules of shining metal had pooled onto the ground before them, stunning them into mute terror.

Then its arm was pointed menacingly towards them and one by one they dropped their muskets to the floor. Imperiously the demon motioned them away from their now useless barricade and towards the centre of the village, where they huddled together in fear. One or two more men were herded there and then the creature spoke. No mouth moved, yet its voice seemed to resonate from the very air around them. The words were hard to distinguish, yet still recognisable, almost as though one of Emperor’s historians was recounting an obscure tale.

More gestures sent them scurrying out of the village towards a strange flying cart, which descended from the sky. They were roughly pushed inside, strapped to their seats by strangely garbed servants of the demons, and then began their terrifying ride.

For himself, Arn struggled between wonder and fear of the unknown. Bright lights flashed and he felt a powerful vibration. His hands gripped the arms of the chair into which he had been placed and he mumbled a prayer to the Emperor for deliverance.

When the sickening motion stopped, he and his fellow captives were guided out of the chariot into a huge open space. It was a gigantic room, in which he saw a number of the gigantic demons sleeping. The most terrifying moment came, when one of the smaller beings removed its head, to display a human face inside. It was at that moment he came close to fainting.

Soldiers with strange rifles escorted them down shining corridors to a smaller room, which looked more familiar as it contained a table on a raised platform and a number of chairs arranged in ranks before it. They were left for a while; two silent guards their only company, until a bell chimed and a door slid back. In marched a black-uniformed figure and the most enormous woman that Arn had ever seen. The guards saluted the man and left.

One of his companions rose as if to speak, but the woman smiled and shook her head and he slumped back down again.

“Wise decision, surat,” she said flexing her muscles, “it is time for you all to learn your fate. You will speak only when you are asked a direct question. Failure to obey will be dealt with swiftly.”

She nodded at her companion, who even though she towered over, was treated with great respect. He, thought Arn, must have some terrible power, it this giantess deferred so easily to him.

The man perched on the edge of the table and smiled warmly.

“Welcome...” he said slowly and clearly, “...to the Dark Falcons.”

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Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:04 am

Chapter Two

A slow steady stream of refugees continued down the main road into the valley below. They were a mix of men and women on foot, belongings bundled together and carried on heads, in hands or in satchels. Weaving in between were those lucky enough to own a horse or mule which could do their owners work. At the rear handcarts piled high with the accumulation of a poor lifetime trundled wearily.

It was within this final group that Arn’s family plodded slowly along. His sister gambolled happily beside her parents, blissfully ignorant of their predicament. No-one was away of the eyes which watched greedily from a nearby hillside until it was far too late, lost as they were in their own misery.

The drumming of hoofbeats on the packed earth broke into their reverie and soon cries of fear could be heard. People cast away their personal items, trampled over each other or even just huddled together in desperation. Demons were one thing, but the Emperor’s cavalry was a more well known evil.

*

Julius Aquilla had waited eagerly for the majority of his prey to enter the killing ground. He had studied them carefully through his spyglass, ensuring that there were few weapons and even fewer fighting men before he gave the order to charge. In one long line, his men had begun to walk their horses, sabres drawn and resting against their shoulders. Pistols would be a waste on these vermin and the hot red bodily fluid a prize to be won.

A sharp command brought them to a canter, then a trot as they neared the bottom slopes of the hill. Once on level ground the charge was ordered in earnest. Knee to knee they thundered down on their helpless victims. Soon their chilling battle-cry could be heard and the slaughter began.

As one they slammed into the column, the weight of their charge bowling their victims over, where they were trampled under foot. Bright slivers of metal flashed in the sun as they rose and fell in methodical butchery. Blood rained down from high, as the upsweep of their blades sprayed a rich red harvest. Those who escaped the first carnage ran blindly away and were subjected to the whooping howl of the hunt.

At a full run, the horsemen bore down on them. Sabres sliced, imparting awful wounds in back and face, as the men rose in their saddles to deliver their cuts. Time and again they wheeled back, driving their prey before them and allowing all to enjoy their sport.

Arn’s father had fallen early, his staff raised in a vain attempt to protect his family. Aquilla’s blade had shorn through the ineffective wood and cleaved open the man’s skull. His mother lasted a little longer, holding her little girl in her arms as she ran, but to no avail. The General wanted no survivors, no witnesses to bleat of the injustice delivered to them. He laughed as he killed and his men joined in.

Once the main chase was done, they dismounted to deliver the coup de grace with knife or pistol, leaving none alive. Finally, General Julius Aquilla gave the order to mount, leading his men slowly away laughing and joking as they went.

*

There were no survivors, yet there were two distinct sets of witnesses. A small band of men had stayed hidden under cover and watched the massacre. They had not tried to help, their orders had been clear on that fact. Teeth were ground in frustration and terrible oaths sworn, yet none disobeyed their orders. As the General led his men away, they waited a small time and then sought out their own horses.

The second witness was a remote spycam, many miles high, which diligently recorded the events. It was mindless, so did not know the importance to one, even now held within the bowels of the ship which spawned it. Instead it continued on its way, transmitting data which would later be studied on board the distant warship.

*

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Post by MechRat » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:16 am

Rayo,

Did Elana get a prosthetic replacement for her left arm? I would think that Arn would not only have noticed her great size, but also that she was missing her left arm.

Just curious. :)

Oh, and thanks for the update!
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Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:37 am

MechRat wrote:Rayo,

Did Elana get a prosthetic replacement for her left arm? I would think that Arn would not only have noticed her great size, but also that she was missing her left arm.

Just curious. :)

Oh, and thanks for the update!
Caught me out :oops:

To be honest, that was going through my mind as I was writing and I forgot about it. I would think that she would have...in fact she did! :lol:

Decision made and thanks for the catch.

Cheers

Rayo

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Post by MechRat » Thu Jul 23, 2009 11:54 am

Nice use of handwavium... ;) Author's prerogative, of course. :)

It certainly would make it easier for her to use her Elemental suit.
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Post by Grunt213 » Thu Jul 23, 2009 2:43 pm

Hopefully I don't sound like a prick, or stick my foot in my mouth but:

I went with Napoleonic area because Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor, and the style of combat during that period was referred to as Napoleonic.

Though after reading the updates, it does have a nice twist of Imperial Rome in there..... Very, very refreshing, I might add.

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Post by Rayo Azul » Thu Jul 23, 2009 3:40 pm

Grunt213 wrote:Hopefully I don't sound like a prick, or stick my foot in my mouth but:

I went with Napoleonic area because Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor, and the style of combat during that period was referred to as Napoleonic.

Though after reading the updates, it does have a nice twist of Imperial Rome in there..... Very, very refreshing, I might add.
Not to me :wink:

The model I was using in my head was somewhere between Napoleonic and Civil War for the technology and with a late Roman flavour. Hopefully that will be seen as we go along.

Thanks for your comments and support, as usual. It's appreciated.

Cheers

Rayo

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Post by Rayo Azul » Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:07 am

Next part up...

The strange cord sat uncomfortably on Arn’s wrist. He stared at the three distinct turns and toyed with them idly. Elana, the Elemental as she called herself was speaking, her leader Lieutenant Jax had left them with her a while ago, and attempted to explain the honour they had been done. It seemed as though their futile stand had impressed these Dark Falcons and had helped them, and others, become slaves. She had sneered at Arn’s denouncement of his staus and continued to indicate that they were now recognised as part of the Dark Falcon Clan. No matter how hard he tried, Arn could not recognise that he had been done any favour.

A sharp tug on his new tunic dragged him back to the present. The enormous woman had twisted her hand into the cloth and now lifted him easily to his feet.

“You will listen,” she snarled, “there is no room for melancholy. I expect you to continue to show the courage and dedication already demonstrated. Failure will not be tolerated.”

Arn beat futilely against her arm, bruising his fist against the hardened exterior. Terror struck him, as he realised that beneath his knuckles was no flesh. She tossed him aside and peeled back the sleeve of her jacket.

“Yes, my frightened child. Some of us have already given of ourselves to our Clan. Willingly we will give more.”

There was a proud fanaticism in her words and as he struggled to his feet, Arn wondered again at where these people had come from. The Emperor would deal with them eventually, he thought, and then remembered the ineffectual sound of his musket balls against their armoured figures. Doubt crept in, but he had been well-schooled, and fought his worry with defiance.

“You will be sorry when the Emperor finds out what you have done. Even now, I am sure that his strongest troops will be rushing to our aid. They will rescue us and defeat you.”

Elana laughed, “Unless your vaunted Emperor can fly, there is little possibility of reaching us.”

“You’ll see,” shouted Arn, “our army will respond and crush you.”

“I think that your re-education needs to begin immediately. Follow me, all of you.”

The ten men obeyed, some more sullenly than others. Two guards followed behind him, their rifles held easily in their hands. It was a strange sight, the crisp new coveralls they had been given hung off them as they shuffled along. They wore no chains, but behaved almost as though they were shackled together. Their journey ended after they had entered a small room, which contained a number of lighted buttons on one side. Packed together they were hurled upwards and groans escaped from them. This was a new and terrifying experience.

Abruptly they stopped and doors slid open. Stumbling forwards, they found themselves in a large open space, on whose walls were banked metal objects. Sat in front of them were men and women, whose hands flew across a flat object and who seemed to be talking to themselves. Elana made straight towards one who was seated on a slightly raised dais.

“Elias,” she said peremptorily, “I need to see the information received yesterday.”

“Which information would that be?” asked the man, laughingly, “Could you be a little more specific? It would help you know.”

There was a sharp intake of breath from amongst Arn’s group, but Elana just smiled.

“You have been spending far too much time with the Lieutenant,” she growled, “I refer to the incident in the valley.”

The man’s face darkened and he looked more closely at the group before him, before speaking.

“Is that wise?” he asked cautiously.

“Imperative,” she answered.

“Very well,” Elias said, “I will put in on the central holo-screen.”

Elana nodded in thanks and in an almost gentle manner, shooed her charges towards a flat glass-topped table.

“Recording running...” a voice intoned, and Arn began to witness not just the death of his family, his village, but of all of his close cherished beliefs.

*

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Post by Rayo Azul » Fri Jul 24, 2009 7:47 am

And the next part...

*

Jax entered the room and watched the ashen faces of the young men. Their bond cords stood out starkly against their weathered skin and the dark cloth of their new coveralls. Some started to weep, yet on the face of one he saw a cold and terrible anger. He had learnt some of their names and this young man, Arn, had been the most vociferous in his belief in the godliness of his Emperor. Now though, he looked ready to kill.

“Listen to me,” Jax said softly, “what you have seen here is a shock and no doubt, has shaken the very foundations of your beliefs. I will make you a promise, here and now. Join with us wholeheartedly and I will give you the means to exact retribution. We, in the Dark Falcons, will be your family. Your enemy will become our enemy. No slight, however small, against you will be forgiven or forgotten. This man, no this thing hidden beneath flesh and blood, will be wiped from the face of this planet. You have my word.”

“I will join you!” snarled Arn, leaping to his feet.

“Wait,” Jax said quietly, “until you have heard everything. We have our own battle to fight, others of our family in great need. When we leave this world, to journey back to our own, you will come with us. Understand what it means to be a Dark Falcon, the Clan comes before all else. No-one will be left behind.”

“What do I do?” asked Arn, “I am ready to swear my allegiance.”

The others rose, one by one, murmuring their agreement, as Jax reached for his belt knife.

“It will not be easy,” he said motioning Arn forward, “you will be given into the care of Elana here. She will bring you up to speed and will spare no-one’s blushes. If you are found worthy, you will be welcomed into our warrior caste.”

“And if not?” one of Arn’s companions asked, a frightened tone in his voice.

“You will be found a place amongst us, do not fear,” Jax continued, placing his blade under the first twist of the bond cord on Arn’s wrist. With a quick motion he cut through it and turned to the next.

“Welcome,” he said to each of them in turn, “listen to what Elana has to say and show you and you will succeed.” Then he grinned evilly, “Ignore her and not even I can save you!”

*

General Aquilla’s boots clacked on the marble flooring as he strode towards the Emperor’s chambers. He was still flushed with the excitement of his work. To him, there was nothing wrong with his actions and he had no doubt that his Emperor would agree with him.

Two guards moved away from the ornate double doors which led into the chamber and announced him, before quickly standing aside. A courtier sprayed him with scented water, as the stench of horse, sweat and blood crossed the fop’s nostrils. Aquilla glared at him and the man scurried away. When I hold the reins of power, he thought, that one will be one of the first to feel my ire.

He grinned at the thought and moved on, towards the ornate throne and the distasteful fawning he would need to do. Not for much longer, though. No, not for much longer at all.

*

Ioin Kearney sat around the campfire. He had returned with the small patrol and recounted all of the terrible massacre they had witnessed. His leader’s response had been non-committal, as though none of the villagers’ lives had been worth a damn. Ioin knew that they were followers of the cursed Emperor, but still, women and children. It was not right.

As a man, how could he accept to stand idly by? He knew that others felt the same way, yet none spoke out. The sharp reprimand he had received had only served to fuel his determination. Prisoners taken in the mountains had spoken of the demons and their horrible powers. To seek them out and kill them, now that was a task for a man.

Kearney spat into the fire, his decision made. Tomorrow, he would ask permission. His mind made up, he rolled himself in his blanket and laid down to sleep.

Above on the hillside, a dark figure watched. His infra-red sensors showed him the men below, as though it was full daylight. Lieutenant Jax had ordered Hans to find these rebels and test their metal. He had not been impressed with their refusal to try and save even one of the villagers. Hans had pointed out the men who had argued, who had tried to rise, but had been pulled back to the earth. It was for this intervention, he had been tasked with this visit.

“Find yourself and the Dark Falcons some men,” Jax had said and Hans had accepted the challenge gladly. He spoke quietly into his headset and stood. His men appeared on his sensors as small blips as they descended towards the campsite. Hans grinned to himself as he thought of the surprise they were about to spring. Checking through his weapons, he received confirmation that his squad was in place and gave the order to fire.

AVA MANGO TWO
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Post by AVA MANGO TWO » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:54 am

Gripping stuff.... 8)
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MechRat
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Post by MechRat » Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:07 am

Yes! More fun is at hand... :twisted:
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"Beware the quiet ones, for you know not what they think." - me

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Rayo Azul
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Post by Rayo Azul » Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:28 am

MechRat wrote:Yes! More fun is at hand... :twisted:
Don't you just know it...? :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Cheers

Rayo