Chapter 1: Let Me Tell You a Story
Dawn broke on another brisk autumn day, a stiff western wind whipped playfully through the ranks of the merchant caravan. This small caravan was bound from the city of Sampras for the shining city of Alcadon, named after the volcano to the north, to sell their various wares. It had been a long journey fraught with perils, but now they drew near to their destination. From the western bank of Lake Halgue they could see the massive Schultz building stretching into the sky, a mile tall pillar of glass, steel, and concrete that punctuated the jagged skyline.
The merchants had heard troubling stories from Alcadon, but, desperate for wealth the merchants disregarded such rumors. Money was money, and these men would risk much to get it. Breaking camp the merchants began northward over the top of the massive Lake Halgue, following the well trodden road to their final destination.
That evening, just as they crossed the northernmost point of the Lake the caravan came to a sudden stop. Barring the road was a group of scruffy men and women bearing a variety of weapons, clubs, pitchforks, and an odd firearm could be seen. The merchants prepared for a fight, they’d driven off bandits on their journey but not this many at once. They unsheathed their swords and waited for their foes to advance.
It was a stalemate, neither side advanced, the sun slowly set behind the horizon. Soon it would be dark and it would be impossible for the merchants to defend their precious cargo. As the last glimmers of sunlight faded the bandit group spurred into action, silently sprinting, weapons raised, to attack the caravan.
A cry could be heard from the back of the group, then another, and another. Something was attacking them from behind! The bandits were taken completely off guard, was this a trick from the merchants? More bandits fell to this unseen foe until not one remained standing, all slain before they even reached the merchants.
The merchants didn’t let their guard down; it was just as likely that their savior was after their goods as well. Those with the keenest hearing could hear soft footfalls, barely perceptible, padding towards them, but it was pitch black now apart from the faint glimmer of Alcadon in the distance.
“Who are you? Are you friend or foe!?” The lead merchant called to the watching darkness.
“Worry not, I am a friend.” The voice came from directly behind him, a soft female voice.
“Aye? Then you’ll not mind if I reach for my lantern to give us all some light?”
“I welcome it,” responded the voice, this time from above.
The merchant rifled through his pack and pulled out a small electric lantern, flipping the switch he illuminated the grisly scene before him. Every bandit was dead, backs broken. He and his travelers recoiled in shock at the sight of the bodies.
“What kind of creature are you that can so effortlessly break a man’s back as if it were a dry branch. Are you an Indra? One of the guardians of the land of Alcadon? Or are you a spirit sent to protect us?”
The woman chuckled, “oh nothing so grand, I’m just a traveler, much like yourselves. I go wherever the wind takes me and never hesitate to help those in need of my… services.”
“I’ll believe your words when I see you for myself,” the merchant called to his unseen savior.
“Then see me.” The traveler dropped from where she was reclining on top of one of the wagons. She was tall and wrapped in a heavy cloak, tightly wrapped across her mouth and left eye across were strips of cloth.
“I see you’re wrapped up well, any reason for such a getup?”
“I wear my cloak to protect me from the elements; I wear this mask to protect those I meet from my face. If you’ll forgive me for intruding I need to make camp for the night.”
“Please, share our fire with us tonight, it is rare for us to meet travelers such as you, we can swap stories.” The merchant leader indicated a small rudimentary fire pit being dug by one of his fellows. “Judging from your direction is it safe to assume you’re recently from Alcadon?”
“Why yes, quite astute of you. I’ll gladly share your fire tonight.”
There was soon a healthy fire going and the group gratefully sat around it, warming their freezing bodies.
“So tell us,” one of the merchants asked to the stranger, “what news from Alcadon?”
“That is a long and twisted tale, friend. Both in Alcadon, and far to the north, important events have taken place that might change the face of this earth as we know it. Would you like to hear my tale friends?” The group nodded eagerly. “Very well, let’s set the scene.”
Chapter 2: An Important Meeting
Laverne T. Schultz was a man who defied age, his stature was thin and wiry but his face was jovial and creased with laugh lines, though now that laughing brow was creased with worry. Etched in his face was the wisdom of a lifetime yet he looked no older than 35. Dressed in a dapper blue suit he looked every bit as authoritative as the greatest of kings and yet still exuded an unexplainable air of approachability, you could easily tell this man your deepest secrets.
Laverne T. Schultz was in a bad mood. Everything was perfect, though his interviewer was a little overenthusiastic and their tie looked ghastly, and there had been several more raids in the outskirt slums, but otherwise everything was perfect, apart from the small piece of paper on the desk behind him. He reclined in his high backed leather chair and gazed out of the window, three hundred and seventy seven stories up Laverne was the tallest man in the world, no one was above him, not even the gods of man. Through the window he saw the spires of the tallest buildings peeking up through the thick layer of brown smog, the smog of industry, contrasting heavily with the crisp blue sky, like the fingers of the damned reaching for salvation.
The population report had just come in, everything was up 45% over the past sixteen months, Alcadon was growing, and it was growing too fast, there were just too many mouths to feed. Alcadon, the last vestige of civilization on this barren planet, and it was going down in flames. He swiveled back in his office chair struck with an idea, facing his desk and the massive carved mahogany door. He pressed a small button on his desk and said as if to no one.
“Shelly, could you come up here for a moment?”
A small voice issued from his desk, “right away Mr. Schultz!” A small scuffle of papers could be heard and the sound cut out.
Laverne turned back around to view his paradise; he knew what he had to do, in order to keep the city running sustainably, certain… sacrifices had to be made. Several stories beneath him a young woman frantically put papers back onto her desk. After stuffing a large amount of papers back into the file she dropped she hurriedly made her way to the polished silver elevator doors.
What could Uncle Schultz want with me now? She mused while admiring herself in the door’s reflection; she really did look good in a suit. The doors opened and she quickly made her way to the ornate double doors at the end of the too long hallway. As she approached she gave a small bow to the Indra bodyguards War and Pestilence who were standing guard as vigilantly as ever. She opened the door and stepped inside.
“You asked for me Mr. Schultz?”
He quickly turned around in his chair and sprang to his feet enthusiastically. “Shelly! My favorite niece! It’s so good to see you! Say, how long have you been my secretary?”
“About six months Mr. Schultz”
“Six months?” He put on a perplexed look. “Has it really been that long? You’ve lasted far longer than any other secretary I’ve had yet, and are by far the best.”
“Really? You really mean that Mr. Schultz?”
“Yes I do sweetie, and call me Uncle, please, there’s no formality between family.” He gave her a small tap on the nose, Shelly blushed slightly.
“Thank you Mr. Sch- I mean, thank you Uncle.”
Gently he corralled her over towards his giant panoramic window, the smog was light today, one could almost make out the dim shapes of the smaller buildings below.
“This is a view that no one but myself and a small few others have ever seen my dear, what do you think?”
“Oh it’s beautiful Uncle!” Her eyes were wide, drinking up every detail her eyes afforded to her. She’d heard stories of the size of Alcadon but she’d always thought them exaggerated, but now she realized that the stories came nowhere near the absolute scale of it all, the sprawling city seemed to go on forever.
“When Alcadon was founded all those years ago, there was nothing, and now look, look at my creation. The last bastion of mankind rests here, protected by our wonderful military. Your brother Ellis joined our military service, right?”
“Has he been enjoying his time with our illustrious army?”
“Oh yes Uncle, he says it’s very hard work, but it’s worth it to serve and protect your beautiful city.”
“Really? I’ll have to have a chat with the Brigade Leader and see about getting him promoted, he sounds like one smart cookie.”
Shelly looked thoughtful for a moment. “Uncle, what’s a cookie?”
Laverne T. Schultz cracked a small smile. “Nothing to worry about my dear.” Sharply he turned around and started rummaging through his desk, pulling out a small sheet of paper and a pen. “Here, my dear, I have something special I need you to deliver, a letter.”
“Of course Uncle, where do you want me to deliver it to?” She didn’t want to leave this brand new world she’d been shown, but work was work and this was her uncle after all.
He finished writing the letter and signed it with a flourish. “Take this to Dr Fitsch on engineering level 7-G; they’ll know where to send this off to.” He quickly stuffed the paper into an envelope and handed it to her. “Remember give this to Dr. Fitsch and nobody else, this is very important to me.”
“Right away Uncle!” She turned to leave.
“Oh, um, sweetie, here take my private elevator.” He walked to one of the ornately carved sculptures set into the wall, a bust of his own head, and gave the nose a little flick. A small doorway opened noiselessly revealing a small industrial looking elevator. “Just tell it to take you to Engineering Level Seven and you’ll be there in no time at all.”
“Alright!” She eagerly stepped into the tiny elevator. “Engineering Level Seven,” she said firmly. The elevator door hissed closed and she was whisked away.
Laverne T. Schultz sauntered back to his chair and reclined in a comfortable fashion, everything was perfect. It was a long shot, but if things panned out properly then everything would turn for the better. He was a planner, and his plans never failed.
Somewhere deep below Laverne’s tower the elevator’s door opened to a wall of murky darkness, an indescribable stench wafted into the elevator. Shelly cautiously stepped out of the tiny capsule pinching her nose to block the stench. “Hello! Is anybody there? I have a letter from my uncle I—“She tripped and fell on something, she couldn’t quite make out what it was, it felt soft. Warm moisture began to soak into her pants where she fell; she went back to the dim light of the elevator, in the dull blue light she could see that her pants and hands were covered in blood.
“Take me back to my Uncle! Take me back!” Shelly screamed at the elevator. “PLEASE!” The elevator stayed still, door open. A shuffling could be heard deep in the gloom, heavy mechanical breathing permeated the air, she was not alone. “Please take me back, please,” Shelly was sobbing and hyperventilating uncontrollably, the smell began to make her woozy, “please, plea…”
A giant hand emerged from the darkness enveloping her face and gripping it like a vice, ripping her out of the elevator and into the oily blackness. A reedy, whistling laugh cut through the air like a knife, a second hand gripped the back of Shelly’s head, and it twisted sharply. A loud snap could be heard and a heavy thud as Shelly’s lifeless body hit the cold metal floor her neck snapped like a dry twig. Two meaty hands gripped her ankles and pulled her away through the darkness, toward unspeakable evil, still in her hand was the letter.
Chapter 3: LE
Deep beneath the city of Alcadon, through winding long forgotten passageways past ancient doors long rusted shut a small light could be seen. The dim light emanated from beneath one of these long forgotten rusty doors. Inside the small cramped room, filled floor to ceiling with books and destroyed machinery, a wizened man sat at a small desk with a tiny lamp pointed to the object of his obsession. A microchip no bigger than a postage stamp carefully soldered into a tiny controller board all nestled into a mess of wiring spilling over the sides of the desk and onto the floor. Peering through his bifocals and through the glass magnifier he added the final microscopic blob of solder, he may have been old but his hands were as steady as the table they rested on. A gentle knock could be heard, somebody was at the door.
The old man, Dr. Banthu, let out a small huff and slowly raised himself from his uncomfortable chair his ancient joints popping and snapping. “Come in!” he called to his visitor.
The door opened slowly, a rotund man in a sharp military outfit squeezed through the narrow doorway. “Ah, doctor, I’ve come to check up on your progress, how are things moving along?”
“You actually arrived at the perfect moment General Sullivan; I have just finished the installation and was about to start the preparations for initial powering and testing.” The old doctor smiled showing his toothless gums.
“Will it take you long? I don’t have much time before my next batch of meetings; I’m only here because Schultz cancelled on me again.”
“Oh, it won’t be long, just a few minutes.” Banthu turned about and gave a sharp kick to a large grey box which sputtered and coughed to life, a small generator. “I just need to attach the leads and we can see if she will power on. If this works I’ll have to see about a more permanent power source. I assume you will be able to… acquire one for me General?”
“Of course, if ‘she’ works that is.” General Sullivan stood back against the door not wanting to get caught in what might happen.
“There and there, alright, she’s powered, now to turn her on.” Banthu pressed a tiny screwdriver into a nearly invisible button on the controller board.
Immediately the bundles of wiring began to move and shift in a decidedly lifelike manner. It was alive! Banthu quickly moved a strip of wires to an object hidden beneath a cloth; they wrapped around the object and stayed there. The wires spasmed for a few seconds and returned to normal. A thin tendril of wiring raised and gently lifted the bifocals off the doctor’s face; it then placed them back on but upside down.
“Hey! Don’t be sassy you little miscreant,” the doctor said gruffly a little smile playing on his aged features; he turned about while correcting his bifocals and gestured for the General to come forward. “Well General, I think you’ll have to get me a new power source.”
“Yes I think I will, I’ll have it to you by the end of the week, until then keep this quiet, there are spies everywhere.”
“Oh General, you know me, the janitor is always the last to be questioned and besides what would a ‘mute’ say anyway?”
“Right you are Doctor, right you are.” General Sullivan gave the creation one last look before turning and walking out of the tiny room.
“Now then my dear, my little LE, now we’re finally alone…” He made his way to a series of small metal cages. “I think it’s time we make you a body.”
Laverne T. Schultz was worried, very worried. It had been almost a week since he’d announced his niece as missing and still nobody had found her. How could they have not found her yet? Half the city was on the hunt and none of the idiots had found anything, and nearly everywhere from the highest of buildings to the dingiest squalor had been searched. He was organizing a more thorough search of the red light district with several heads of military and the chief of the police when a small chime emanated from his desk.
“What!?” Laverne snapped.
“They’ve found her, in the industrial district,” a sultry voice responded, unfazed by Schultz outburst.
“Sorry sweetie she’s dead.”
Schultz felt his stomach drop. “How?”
The voice described what had happened to his niece, such brutal atrocities even Laverne could barely stomach. The people in the room averted their eyes and cringed deeply as they heard the description.
Tears flowed down his face, Schultz took a shuddering breath. “Who did it?”
“We don’t know for sure, but the Sons are suspected.”
“Call the media.” Anger burned in Laverne’s eyes.
The chief of police tried to protest. “That wouldn’t be a good idea.”
“Call them dammit!”
The media responded with unusual haste. Representatives from every publication large and small, crowded around Schultz’ desk within half an hour. Cameras and microphones were pointed at him, ready to capture every sound and facial expression he made. Laverne’s eyes were red, puffy, and wet with tears, his tie off kilter and his hair disheveled; this man was clearly suffering, the press and the public waited with bated breath.
“Rolling… You’re live Mr. Schultz”
“Citizens of Alcadon, this is your leader Laverne T. Schultz, I do apologize for interrupting your regularly scheduled programming but I have to share news that is of the utmost importance to us all. You all know that a search has been ongoing for a missing member of my family for the past week, I have just learned that my beloved niece, Shelly, was found dead in the industrial district just an hour ago, she was brutalized and murdered by persons known to the military and to myself. She was kidnapped and tortured and murdered by members of the Sons of Light and Freedom, a group of rebels who fear our technology and way of life, small-minded people who think the only way to exact change is to destroy, pillage and rape. For the past several years there have been sporadic raids on the far reaches of Alcadon and the Shalti farming settlements that supply our food have been under near constant assault. They’ve placed a stranglehold on our food supply, so I will be implementing a rationing system that will take effect later in the week. The Sons of Light and Freedom have never made it this far into the city so I, my closest advisors, and senior military officials believe that they were assisted by spies who have infiltrated our society with the intentions of destroying it. It is unknown who these persons are but they are believed to be many in number and totally ruthless in carrying out their goals, our total destruction. If you observe any suspicious activity do not hesitate to report it to your local authorities, we need strength and unity now more than ever, thank you.”
The reporters were frozen in shock, a member of the Schultz family dead and spies in Alcadon and it could be anyone, friends, family, themselves. Fear permeated the room, the city outside was frozen in stunned silence as the news was digested, this was bad, this was very bad. Beset upon by terrorist forces, Alcadon sat on the edge of destruction. Suspicious glances were thrown around like bullets as the streets cleared.
“Ladies and gentleman of the press, if you would forgive me, I need some time to myself.” Schultz looked to be on the verge of another bout of tears.
The press silently gathered their equipment; Schultz turned his chair so that it was facing the window, silently scheming cruel and brutal ways of crushing those who wronged him. His eyes lit up as he was struck with an idea.
“Marge my dear?”
“Yes sweetie?” The sultry robotic voice spoke from his desk.
“Schedule a meeting with Dr. Fitsch, tomorrow at three.”
“Done, anything else?”
“Not right now, thank you Marge.”
Chapter 4: Meeting Schultz
After what seemed like ages the elevator finally began to slow and came to a stop. A quiet ding could be heard and the polished silver doors opened. During her trip a mile into the sky LE realized just how ridiculous she looked, it was as Dr. Banthu had said ‘I’m all for self expression my dear, but couldn’t you have picked something a bit less conspicuous?’ Her legs were thicker than tree trunks, and her shoulders were massive, so massive that she could barely fit in the elevator. Her torso was nothing but corded muscle, like steel wire, bulging. And to top it all off she had been given powder purple skin with pink and green highlights what the hell? But it was as the doctor had said, the biomass formed itself in accordance with her personality, but there was no way that this was who she was!
The elevator doors slid smoothly open revealing a long featureless hallway ending at a set of ornately carved double doors. Flanking the doors were two of the Four Horsemen, LE recognized their weapons, it was Death and Pestilence. She’d only heard descriptions of their weapons but had never seen an image of those who wielded them. Death was tall and lanky, about a foot shorter than LE, and completely jet black with an aura of black smoke rising from his figure. Pestilence was a sickly green with ridges highlighted in a deep umber red that made her look like she was in the process of melting, her skin was oddly luminescent as if it was wet. Upon seeing LE emerge from the elevator both of them stood rigid and alert, hands playing at the handles of their weapons, never taking their gaze off this new threat.
As she made the long walk to the double doors LE could feel something rather odd, as if a presence was trying to claw its way into her mind. She opened her mind, so to speak, and let this presence in. A burst of emotion filled her head; a highly confused and inquisitive sensation rode through her brain like a wild animal, searching for something. LE traced this odd alien sensation back to its source, Death. Death was racing through her brain like a madman, she quickly shut her mind again and the sensation ceased, Death notably flinched and nearly lost his composure. LE could now feel both of them, but in a more subtle way, unlike the wild dash Death made initially these were now quiet sensations, confusion, inquisitiveness, fear, and another LE couldn’t quite place.
The door slowly opened and a red haired woman wearing a stained white coat slipped out. She gave a perplexed look at LE as she walked past, unaware of the wireless mental gymnastics taking place.
Expanded Scene Available
As LE finally came upon the door, seriously that hallway was long, both Death and Pestilence barred the way, the subtle feelings became more intense, they now seemed questioning in nature.
“Excuse me, I have an appointment wi-“
Both Death and Pestilence held out their hands, aggressively inviting LE to take them. LE hesitated but took them. A wave of questions flooded her mind: Who are you? What are you? How can you speak? Are you like us? Where did you come from? Tell us, please tell us! The wave of questions died down until just one could be heard, who are you?
“Um hello, I’m LE, I suppose technically I’m an Indra like you except I was constructed about a week ago.”
The voice in her head sounded again, she assumed it was death from how deep it was. Well then, let me be the first to welcome you to this world we call home, please forgive my encroachment earlier, I had assumed your brain was the same model as ours and would automatically pair, it seems I was wrong. Your brain must be more complex as you seem to have the capability of human speech, how interesting, is that not interesting sister of mine?
A soft accented female voice responded, yes brother, this is most interesting, it seems the humans have found a way to construct Indra once again, please don’t be mistaken little one as happy as we are to see a new face it is most troubling to learn that mankind can once again build machines such as ourselves. There was a reason our project was abandoned, even now it haunts me to think what went into our creation. If you’ll pardon us for a moment, we have to put out the Call, I’m sure everyone will be very excited to meet you, while we do that, please go inside.
“I’m curious, how are we communicating right now?”
With that they stood aside and opened the door, allowing LE entry into Mr. Schultz’ office.
The room was lavishly furnished, oil paintings in elaborate frames hung on the walls, the floor was covered in thick wool rugs, and various styles of chair, sofa, and table were scattered about in circles and semicircles throughout the room, a seat for every occasion. Enormous crystal chandeliers hung from the ceiling though most of the light was pouring in through a positively giant picture window that spanned from wall to wall. So tall was the Schultz building and so wide was the view LE could see the Mhoroyshi Salt Flats in the distance past Lake Halgue. It was a truly awe inspiring sight, and there seated in front of the window at a desk made of likely extinct woods was Mr. Laverne T. Schultz.
Upon her entrance he snapped shut the book he was reading, and looked up, his mood was as impossible to determine as his age.
“Welcome my dear, I’ve been expecting you.” He stood from his chair and walked around to where LE was standing. “I’ve been hearing vague progress reports from General Sullivan for so long I was beginning to think you were just a figment of his disturbed imagination, and yet here you stand.” He began circling her like a vulture. “According to what Dr. Banthu has told me you have a more advanced chip serving as your brain, the LE Model is that correct?”
“That is correct sir,” LE responded.
“Ah.” Schultz’ eyes widened. “Banthu also said you’re capable of human speech but I had assumed he was exaggerating, I see now I was mistaken.” His inspection became more thorough. “What are these small holes on your arms and legs?”
“Air jets sir, they are able to shoot jets of air to improve my agility, they are also able to create a vacuum if properly placed on a wall allowing me to cling to sheer surfaces, I have several hundred interspersed on points across my body”
“Well then that’s very interesting, very interesting.” Schultz thought for a moment. “I think a demonstration is in order. Death! Pestilence! Could you come in please?”
The door to the office swung quietly open and the two stepped silently inside.
“Alright you three, we’re going to take a small field trip to the gymnasium! I want to test out LE’s combat capabilities with some light sparring.”
Death and Pestilence nodded in unison –creepy– and smartly turned around and made their way to the elevator.
As he walked down the hallway Death stretched his neck and rolled his shoulders. This will be fun; it’s been too long since I’ve had a new sparring partner, come along, our siblings will be eager to make your acquaintance.
“You go along and follow them; I’ll take my private elevator.” LE could see a spark of excitement break through Schultz’ perfect façade.
It was quite a process fitting the three of them into the one elevator but they somehow managed. I think you could give Wall a run for his money girth-wise, how tall are you anyway? Pestilence asked, her head crammed under LE’s armpit.
“Seven feet eight inches,” LE responded a bit defensively, “I’m sorry about that; it’s just how I came out.”
Pestilence responded, it’s alright little one we understand, though I can’t say I’m looking forward to sparring with you, I doubt our weapons are even capable of cutting you with the armor your sporting. Brother, how’s your hand-to-hand?
The door opened on a massive gymnasium, easily five hundred meters from end to end, the perfect place to stretch one’s legs. In the center it seemed a scuffle had broken out, two larger figures were trying and failing to wrangle what appeared to be a child wielding an oversized sword.
Pestilence perked up slightly. Oh dear, Kid came for a visit, how convenient.
Death and Pestilence eagerly exited the elevator and began hurrying over to the altercation, LE followed at a slower pace watching the drama unfold. Death joined the small group distracting Kid and the others momentarily while Pestilence slipped behind and put Kid into a Full Nelson completely killing all momentum she had in the process. As LE drew closer the attention of the new three became fixated on her, she began to feel their minds probing hers but they were quickly quashed by Death and Pestilence.
Alright, surprise them.
“Hello!” LE raised her arm in greeting. “I’m LE and you’re very confused right now”
“Yeah I get that, here take my hand and we’ll be able to communicate in a less lopsided way.” LE held out her hand to War who took it eagerly, and placed her hand on Famine’s shoulder she began to hear their thoughts in hers.
Kid on the other hand decided to complicate things. While still in Pestilence’ Full Nelson Kid whipped her legs up and thrust them back down to smash into her captor’s knees. Pestilence went airborne and as soon as Kid’s feet made contact with the ground she full bore flung Pestilence off of her using her core to dislodge her and launch the unfortunate Indra at least fifty meters across the gym like a ragdoll. Kid cut a snarky little pose putting both arms on her waist and thrusting her head in Pestilence’ direction, if she had a tongue it would no doubt be blowing raspberries. Kid sharply turned towards LE and ran at her full speed, before LE could even fall into a defensive pose Kid launched on her and gripped her in a… Bear Hug? This was unexpected.
In LE’s mind she could hear Kid’s voice; it definitely fit with the image. She’s so cute! Can we keep her?
“Ah, I see you’ve made the acquaintance of the rest of my Horsemen.” Laverne T. Schultz had snuck up on them in the confusion. “And who’s that clinging to you like a limpet?” His tone became much more childlike. “Why I think that’s Kid, what a nice surprise, it’s an honor to be in the presence of such a celebrity, though I’d ask that next time you don’t throw my bodyguards around quite so much, they have a reputation to maintain.” He gave her a little wink, Kid responded by blowing metaphorical raspberries in his direction. “Erm, Pestilence… you okay over there?” he called over to the still prostrate Indra; she gave a thumbs up as an answer.
“I think she’ll be sitting this one out Mr. Schultz.”
“I think so too, humph, well it’s a good thing Kid’s here to take her place.”
“It was kid who did that to her in the first place.”
“Semantics… Alright you four I would like for you to do some sparring with LE here, she’s new so go easy on her. Let’s do a little bit of solo work to gauge your abilities. Death, how about you start things off?”
Death nodded his head and moved forward, the other Indra and Schultz retreated to a safe distance.
I will not be taking things ‘easy’ on you little one; these lessons have to be long and difficult for you to reach your full potential. Please forgive me if I hurt you.
“And I you!”
The two of them took their preferred defensive poses and began circling, each looking for an opening to exploit. LE intentionally relaxed one of her arms allowing for a free hit, Death lunged and LE blocked. His fist made contact with her elbow and a resounding crack reverberated throughout the gym. If Death was injured he didn’t let it show, he began circling again, LE advanced and threw a lazy haymaker which Death easily ducked under. As LE’s punch sailed over his head Death grabbed a hold of her hand, keeping it in place so he could land a series of body blows with his right arm, LE had predicted this and with her right hand, which she had kept out of view, she landed an uppercut right square in his sternum.
A small shockwave could be felt by the spectators, Death was ripped away with incredible force; he flew in a lazy arc until hitting the floor halfway across the gym in a tangle of limbs. One punch was all it took to take Death down. Everybody, including Pestilence who had regained her senses, rushed to where he lay. An enormous indent had caved the front of his body in like an aluminum can in the hands of an angry toddler.
Well, I think I blew that one, Death said weakly, raising his head to look at LE, that’s what cockiness gets you. He could sense LE’s concern. Don’t worry I’ll be fine, though I think I’ll be laid out for a couple of days, could you tell that to Schultz?
“Sure, um, Mr. Schultz he says he’ll be fine but he’s gonna need a few days to recover.”
Schultz was still staring in awe at the obscene damage a single punch had wrought on his strongest Indra but he quickly snapped out of it. “Oh, good, excellent, I was getting a bit worried, it seems the matchup wasn’t as unfair as I thought.”
“I’m glad I only used 50% power, if I’d gone full on he’d probably have been vaporized.”
Five heads turned sharply at her.
“Uh, yeah, with the air jets I can vastly increase my body’s strength, on top of using them for maneuvering. That was a regular punch enhanced by the jets on my underarms.” LE raised her arm up to show a series of small holes arranged in a line along her triceps muscle, cloudy vapor was still rising from them. “I suppose that’s why I’m so stocky; my body has to be strong enough to cope with the force of the jets.”
“Be that as it may, you still knocked out Death with a single punch. We need to get a stronger sparring partner for you, perhaps Wall or Wulf, I wonder, can any of you make long range communications with your fellow Indra, I’d really hate to have to track them down.”
The four standing Indra nodded in unison. Creepy.
Death turned to LE. What he doesn’t know is that we’ve already put out the Call; they’re all coming, perhaps not to fight but most definitely to talk.
Chapter 5: Discovery
Five hundred miles away from the hustle and bustle of Alcadon, across the Tabi Wetlands, and deep in the Olosos Grasslands, a small group of men and women toiled away. Each of them silently cursed their superiors for getting them shoveled away in this barren hole, this was the Kidjii Dig, and this was the worst punishment imaginable for these people. Being so close to both the Desert of Shiim and the Jungles of Khumret the days were hot, the nights were cold, sand was always to be found in unfortunate places and rain was as common as the dirt they were digging. The Kidjii Dig wasn’t a very high priority to the Department of Engineering and Archaeology, leading to a small staff and outdated or outright broken equipment. For these archaeologists and engineers there was no place on Earth they’d want to be less.
That night morale was through the floor. Rock bottom had a basement and they were sleeping on its floor. Multiple instances of equipment failure led to the whole day being scrapped while the engineers fixed the decade’s old equipment. Twelve men and women reclined in uncomfortable plastic chairs, eating nearly expired rehydrated rations, muttering to each other about what they’d rather be doing. The mood was getting mutinous, and the dig supervisor Dr. Lawrence Tryel knew that, and they knew he knew that.
“What are we even doing here?” One of the crew members, Dahn, mumbled louder than the rest. “We’ve been here three months digging a massive hole for what? Why are we digging here? What evidence is there to support that there are any artifacts or items of scientific or technological significance here in the first place?” She was now addressing Tryel directly. “Why, are, we, here? Please enlighten us Doctor”
Dr. Tryel stuttered for a moment, paused, let out a huge sigh and said, “we are here based on nothing but vague rumor and incomplete data taken from mostly disintegrated documents and damaged computer cores. Normally this sort of thing would be completely ignored by anyone with an iota of sense but the higher ups still sent us out here anyway.” He looked around the room. “None of you volunteered, you were all assigned, right?”
There was nodding and grumbling from everyone there.
“Well I was assigned too, I want to be out of here as much as you do but the department heads gave me a job and I’m going to carry it out, find or no find. Now listen people, we can make this easier on ourselves if we just understand that not a single one of us wants to be here not even me. But that doesn’t mean we can’t try to enjoy ourselves. Think of this as some sort of demented camping trip, you don’t have to deal with your supervisors, who I’m guessing are the reasons for you all being here, and you don’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of Alcadon.” His eyes brightened as he was struck with an excellent idea. “And don’t worry, your reports are all going to be stellar, as soon as we get out of this I’m going to make sure that each and every one of you gets the highest marks possible for just putting up with this bullshit. Whaddaya say folks? A few more weeks of this and you’ll get the greatest reports of your careers, hands down.”
The prospect of an overwhelmingly positive personnel report helped to lift the spirits of the ragged crew, a good enough report could get them a transfer away from their overbearing supervisors. They went to sleep that night a bit happier than usual and Dr. Tryel went to sleep for the first time in days without wondering if he was going to wake up with a knife in his back.
Morale was up and the dig was moving along at an unusually fast pace, a shipment of fresh rations helped to lighten the mood somewhat too, anything was better than the dehydrated fruits and stale bread they’d been living off of. For the first time in months morale was higher than rock bottom. The dig these beleaguered scientists were working in was a large rectangular hole around fifty feet deep, with scaffolding criss-crossing over the depths to provide platforms for walking and to house lighting fixtures. A large vertical conveyer hauled debris up to the surface for analysis and disposal. Recently there’d been several artifacts that had churned up with the stone and dirt, lumps of decomposing plastic mainly but a fairly intact military helmet had been found. Rough dating placed the helmet back to the 45th century, it was one used by the ancient Americans in one of their interminable wars with the rest of the world. This caused quite a stir among the scientists, the 45th century was the time of the Indra, and perhaps some answers were to be found amongst the debris.
The drill had hit something, something large and metallic. A frenzy of activity began, everyone was in that hole, digging, chipping away at the fractured bedrock, the debris pile had to be cleared more in that one day than it had been in a month. Excitement swelled as they grew closer and closer until it emerged like a prehistoric monolith. It was a massive metal door, wide enough for two of their all terrain transport vehicles to comfortably pass through side by side. It was an ancient underground bunker, and judging by the few artifacts that had been uncovered, it was military.
“Get the acetylene torch down here right away!” Tryel called to the solitary crew member at the top of the excavation, he was most anxious to get inside. There hadn’t been a bunker discovery since the Sampras Dig almost a decade ago, just wait until those dusty fools at the department heard about this!
The cutting torch was lowered quickly and two men set to work cutting the hinges and the bolt. The wait was agonizing but after an hour of cutting the door was freed of its constraints, with the help of a rope and some elbow grease the door fell forward, landing heavily on the ground. Inside nothing could be seen but darkness, grabbing his flashlight Dr. Tryel marched inside.
It was pristine. By the looks of things the door had kept the entire structure completely airtight preserving everything inside. Papers that would normally have long turned to dust were as untouched by time as if they’d just been made. Careful not to disturb anything, or even shift the air lest these precious items disintegrate in front of them, the team set to work photographing and scanning everything. With the photographs and scans the team would be able to generate an interactive model of the find when they got back to Alcadon. Room by room they went, photographing and scanning, not a single detail was missed, artifacts not seen intact in years were found in abundance. Pocket computers, photographs, holographic generators, fast read data tapes, and storage drives looked as good as the day they left the factory. At the center of the maze-like complex was the control room in which was housed a massive mainframe supercomputer, this is what they’d been searching for.
Carefully sidling between massive storage banks and servers Tryel approached the computer control Hub. Crossing his fingers, Dr. Tryel initiated the startup sequence; a low humming could be heard from inside the machine’s housing. Lights throughout the bunker flickered and came on, one by one banks of monitors lit, at first dimly but quickly growing brighter. Letters and numbers filled the screens until just one word was left on the screens.
Looking down at his notes Tryel shakily typed in: USFTW1776
He’d always thought the password was a joke but it seems those particular rumors were indeed true, he’d have to thank Dr. Brummel when he got back, after gloating to him of course. Icons filled the screen, classified projects, blueprints to weapons, and all sorts of ancient knowledge was just waiting to be discovered, but there was one that drew Tryel’s eye.
This had to be it, this was the missing piece to the puzzle that was the Indra, and finally their secrets would be revealed. He moved the cursor to the icon and clicked.
In the deepest corner of the complex the final rooms were being recorded, all that was left was one more behind a particularly hefty door.
“Hey, Roth! Could you give me a hand?” Jayce, one of the technicians called in a loud whisper to the other, “this one is a bit more difficult than the others!”
The other technician, Roth, came over and assisted Jayce with pulling the door open. The squealing of rusty hinges shattered the somber silence that had rested on the team. Rust would indicate the presence of moisture; it seems this room had been breached at some point in the past. The rest of the group, save Dr. Tryel who was still indulging in the secrets of the Indra, converged on this unusual door. Though it was only open a crack a foul odor began to permeate the room and the adjacent ones before long. Jayce and Roth pulled the door open the rest of the way, the entire team behind them.
Flashlight pierced the darkness, the walls were red with rust and the floor was covered in nearly a foot of some sort of thick black tarlike substance that quickly began flowing out of the now open door. Something was wrong, something was horribly wrong. Flashlights scanned the entire room, it was completely empty. One of the beams focused on something floating on the top of the ooze, it was stark white standing out against the black. The shifting of the ooze moved the object, it rolled slightly revealing the hollow sockets of a human skull. Some of the team had already fled foul the smelling scene, some to retrieve the Doctor and others to just get away from the stench, the skull sent the rest of them packing, all but one, Jayce. With a seeming disregard for his own safety and sense of smell he waded into the room, there was something else hidden beneath the sludge, he could just see the outline of it poking through the surface. As he drew nearer to the object he could see it was a vaguely humanlike figure, perhaps it was a body, preserved in this sludge.
As he approached the object he could feel other smaller objects hidden beneath the sludge crunch under his feet, he bent down and picked one up, it was a bone. Jayce, now regretting his decision to enter this chamber from hell, crouched down to examine this thing, it couldn’t be human the proportions were all wrong, its waist was far too thin and it’s legs too long. The most startling thing Jayce observed was a complete lack of hands or feet, this thing’s arms and legs simply ended in a long spike.
“What the hell are you?” Jayce gave the thing a small prod.
With stunning speed the thing reared up and in one smooth motion impaled Jayce through both eyes and tore outwards shredding his skull and its contents into pulp. Jayce’s decapitated body slumped into the thick ooze; on all fours the creature exited the room that was meant to be its eternal tomb.
Back in the central control center Tryel sat engrossed and horrified by what he was reading, could mankind have been capable of such depravity, even then? A sharp scream roused him from his stupor, the scream quickly faded to a gurgle and then silence. More screams, noise surrounded him, each ending as sharply as they started, a rhythmic thumping could be heard pulsing through the complex. Mind numb in terror, he fled, he ran as fast as his portly frame could carry him towards the exit. As he rounded a corner he bumped into Roth, or what was left of him, he was nearly cut in two; only thin ribbons of flesh held his body together, his arms had been cruelly twisted around one of the pipes running along the ceiling holding him aloft to be ripped to shreds. Tryel bolted past the eviscerated body, the screams had stopped, all he could hear was his heart pounding in his ears and that same rhythmic thumping reverberating through the empty halls.
Tryel knew what he was going to do, he was going to get to the surface, get in an ATTV and get back to Alcadon as fast as the thing could take him, he was going to come back with an entire platoon and reduce this cursed building to scrap metal. He rounded a corner, it was a dead end, it seems one of the team also found that out the hard way, they seemed to have been exploded. The walls, floor, and ceiling was painted red in their blood, viscera dangled from the ceiling, all that was left of them was a pair of legs attached to a pulverized waist.
The lights went out, replaced by red emergency lighting. Tryel fumbled in his waistband to retrieve his flashlight, struggling to remember how to get out of this deadly maze. The rhythmic thumping had ceased, a shrill mechanical scream pierced the air, beneath it Tryel could hear another more human scream, sheer terror and then silence once more. The rhythmic thumping resumed, moving farther and farther away until it could be heard no more. Tryel shook himself from his freezing fear and resumed, taking small quiet steps, he must not be heard. Whatever it was that was killing his team could be anywhere, he must not be heard.
After what seemed like ages of wandering around, dead end after dead end he saw it, the Exit! The harsh industrial lights pierced through the murky red abyss, Tryel sped up but kept his steps silent, he must not be heard. As he crossed the threshold he saw the rest of the team that had made it out of the complex, limbs and torsos were arranged in small piles, some of them seemed to be arranged like ancient tribal effigies. Tryel quickly and quietly began climbing the scaffolding; fifty feet had never seemed so high, he could see the dark sky turning purple with the oncoming dawn, how quickly time seemed to move underground.
As he hauled himself up the final rung and onto the grassy earth he saw it, the creature, walking on all fours like some demented spider, its body laid flat suspended by its legs, and it’s head bent up to face forward. It was in the process of shredding the dig site, tents, and equipment; neither fabric nor metal stood a chance against this creature’s rage. Tryel let out a small gasp at seeing this beast, upon hearing him the creature’s head swiveled to face him, vicious cracking could be heard from its neck, its face, oh it had a face. As if chiseled from marble, a smooth impassive human face was bared outwards; its eyes and lips were jet black, contrasting with the sickly paleness of its fetid quivering flesh. The two of them stared at each other, neither moving, both studying the other, waiting. Tryel slowly began shifting towards the ATTV’s parked several yards away, all he had to do was make it.
“Medusa…” he muttered under his breath.
A high pitched keening whine tore from the closed mouth of the creature. Medusa the Insane, the first Indra, the one never meant to see the light of day. Medusa, fast as lightning, drew up upon the Doctor, who was too stunned to move, and struck.
Chapter 6: Calamity
The dawn broke over another bitter cold night. The Tribe of Tchi’il Br’kan, the greatest Tcha’Gough leader to have ever run the Alcadon Plains, was on the hunt. A horde of grey skinned savages streamed across the grassy landscape searching for their quarry. A great herd of plains deer had been eluding them for several days, hunger and fierce savage will drove the Tcha’Gough forward against starvation. The survival of the entire tribe depended on this hunt, without this fresh meat they would surely starve. A savage howl rose from the front runners, fresh tracks had been found, less than an hour old! The pace quickened, faster and faster they ran. Several of the old and infirm who had been struggling to keep up fell behind and were trampled by the uncaring strides of those behind them.
The tracks led into a natural canyon, one entrance one exit, the stupid beasts had cornered themselves! The front runners began to whoop and holler with the joy of the hunt, their hunger forgotten; now they only thirsted for blood.
Madness and confusion followed as the whole tribe attempted to squeezed itself into the narrow canyon; several were crushed along the sides as too many bodies crammed into such a small space. A call rang out, louder than the rest.
“Stop!” The voice rang out; calming the manic Tcha’Gough, their leader Tchi’il Br’kan had spoken. “They, in there!” He gestured to the canyon “We out here!” he gestured to the masses of his tribes people. “No escape! Only us!” he raised his arms up in a pseudo shrug. “We send few in there and scare prey to us, and we FEAST!” A cheer rose from the mass of grey skinned savages. “You group!” He pointed at a handful of the frontrunners. “Go! Li’ Djein protect you!”
The runners thundered into the canyon whooping and calling, taunting their prey. The deeper they went the steeper the walls became as they rounded the final bend the walls had curved inward creating an earthen cave. The pitiful amount of light creeping in from the rapidly rising sun revealed a total lack of prey, no deer, not a living thing in sight. The superstitious Tcha’Gough crept into the cave, confused at the apparent vanishing of an entire herd of deer; they scurried about the large opening and found no trace of anything. Could this be a trick by some lesser imp? Tricking the whole tribe into following tracks that weren’t there? The runners did not know why the deer seemingly vanished, but fearing the wrath of their chief they turned to exit but found their way blocked, a glowing white figure, skeletally thin had cornered them, weapons drawn. A wailing screech tore from the cornered Tcha’Gough’s throats, Scorn: The Pale Death! He had come to kill them just as he’d killed countless before them!
Scorn was known to the Tcha’Gough, he’d killed countless numbers of them since long before the runners were born. Tales told by the old ones said Scorn: The Pale Death was responsible for the capture of their god, Li’Djein. No Tcha’Gough had ever fought it and survived, only Wulf the Hunter could possibly save them. Scorn advanced slowly, seemingly taking relish in his prey’s fright, step by step he drew closer. His prey retreated further into the cave until they were pressed against the back wall, hyperventilating and crying they got to their knees and prayed to their god Li’Djein to spare them. Scorn pulled an arrow from his quiver, he knocked it and…
He stopped, standing rigid he froze entirely. It was a miracle! The cornered Tcha’Gough, seeing an opportunity, dashed around him and ran at a full sprint to the exit; they’d gladly take their chief’s punishment over Scorn’s. After navigating the twists and turns, they rocketed out of the canyon entrance and threw themselves at their chief’s feet, cowering and wailing.
“Scorn! Scorn! Li’Djein spared us!” They cowered and shook on the ground.
The chief was taken aback, these were his best runners and were not given to mistruths, if Scorn was in that canyon and Li’Djein had spared them then it was best not to push their luck. He sat deliberating for a short while, no prey was worth what Scorn would do to his people, finally he announced, “we go! Find new prey elsewhere!” There were many grumbles and groans from the tribe, but all were well enough aware of the alternative. “We go, no-“ Tchi’il Br’kan never got to finish his statement as a glowing white shaft sprouted from between his eyes like a sick magic trick. As he slumped to the ground the shaft was pulled free by some unseen force, it passed through several more Tcha’Gough as it returned to the hand of its owner, Scorn had emerged from the canyon.
He laid into the shocked Tcha’Gough wreaking havoc in their ranks, wielding his short dagger and a loose arrow he killed no less than ten in his first assault. What he neglected to see was a large figure sprinting up behind him. Wulf reared up poising his massive bulk, bearing his massive cudgel down on the back of his nemesis’ head, a massive dent was left there as Scorn crumpled to the ground. A ragged cheer rose from the Tcha’Gough, Wulf the Hunter had saved them! Wulf bent down, grabbed Scorn and slung him over his massive shoulder like a ragdoll. He raised his hand in farewell, touched his open hand to his chest in the traditional symbol of apology and sprinted due south.
Expanded Scene Available
Eyes squeezed shut, Dr. Tryel braced for his inevitable death and… nothing, his death at the hands of a blood crazed Indra seemed to be delayed. He cracked one eye open and immediately recoiled in horror. Not two inches from his face was the pale impassive mask of Medusa, and a fraction of an inch from his left temple was its massive claw poised to add him to the body count. Medusa was completely still, frozen mid-stab as if some unseen force had restrained every muscle in its body.
Tryel not wanting to look a gift horse in the mouth, or continue looking at Medusa’s, quickly scrambled away towards one of the parked ATTV’s. Thank goodness they hadn’t been shredded yet. He rushed inside the large vehicle, booted up the nav computer, and set course back to Alcadon, maximum speed.
“Exceeding recommended speeds may increase risk of death or injury, do you wish to override the defaults?” a tinny computerized voice spoke from somewhere inside the console.
“Yes, you stupid machine!” He hamfistedly mashed the buttons on the touchscreen display. “Just go!”
The vehicle was off in a flash, wheels spinning and engines revving, Tryel was thrown backwards into the sizable storage bay. He didn’t bother to get up; he just laid there digesting everything he’d seen. The horrors he’d witnessed were too many to fathom, he’d seen human bodies twisted like dough in the hands of a baker, he’d seen things not humanly possible and yet there they were. He did what anyone would do in such a situation, he began to cry, huge ugly sobs heaved from his chest and tore from his mouth, wails of agony bounced off the bare walls of the vehicle.
“I’m an anthropologist! I’m supposed to be sitting in a library reading books about the past; I should be crammed in a hide somewhere watching primitives hit each other over the heads with rocks. I’m not qualified for this! I don’t want this! I don’t want this… I don~ whan~” The gravity of what he’d seen finally got to him, and he fainted.
The jolt of the ATTV stopping jolted Tryel into wakefulness, his fitful slumber had been plagued with nightmares. Hauling himself up into a sitting position he stopped for a moment to let blood drain to the rest of his body, a grey haze pulled at the edges of his vision for several seconds before clearing. After regaining his senses he put himself to the task of figuring out where he was.
Climbing into the cab of the ATTV he checked the navigation computer. Damn his fat fingers, in his haste to get moving he’d changed the vehicle’s destination to the small town of Khim. Well at least it was on the road to Alcadon, he prepared the computer to depart again until an ominous groaning resounded through the cab. Immediately panicked Tryel prepared to set off again, the groaning sounded again, it was so loud he could feel it, wait a second. He placed his hand on his stomach, another groan, well that explained that. Tryel was suddenly aware that he hadn’t eaten anything since that morning, was it that morning, or the day before? And found himself to be painfully hungry. Well, he was in Khim, there must be an inn open that’ll spare him some food, he rifled through several drawers and pulled out a few dirty coins, even better he’ll buy some food. He opened the door and set off toward the dimly lit village, bent near double with hunger.
The village was completely silent, unusual; normally a village such as this would have at least some activity, even this late at night. The pubs should be rowdy and bursting with townsfolk, and yet they were quiet. Tryel poked his head in a few of the empty establishments, nobody was there, mugs of ale and plates of food were still sitting at the tables. Curious, Tryel took a swig of ale and a bite of food from one of the empty tables, flat and cold; they’d clearly been there a while. Not wanting to miss an opportunity Tryel wolfed down the cold meat pie and chugged the half empty pint down. With his belly full he resumed his search for the missing townsfolk.
Building after building was devoid of life, a few times he’d seen stirring but it always wound up being a cat or rodent. After the fifth house he’d began to lose hope of finding anyone, how does and entire town just vanish? The sixth house gave him an answer. Upon opening the front door to the sixth house he felt it bump into something, stopping it from moving; he squeezed himself through the small gap to see if he could move the blockage. What he saw only confirmed his worst fears. It was a fashionable woman’s shoe, nothing unusual until taking into account that the woman’s foot was still inside of it. Tryel quickly shut the door and made to leave, Khim had no doubt been paid a visit by Medusa, and he wasn’t going to stick around to see the aftermath.
Tryel ran as fast as his legs could carry him towards the ATTV on the outskirts of town, the route carried him parallel to the town center and through the gaps in the buildings he saw what happened to the townsfolk of Khim. A red mountain of flesh was piled up in the middle of the town square, the men, women and children had been reduced to a pile of shredded meat. Tryel’s recently eaten meal threatened to reappear so he turned away and kept running, there was nothing he could do, even if he’d warned them it’s doubtful that they’d have listened to him anyway.
He turned the corner and the ATTV came into view, his footsteps thundered across the silent streets. He threw himself through the still open door and made doubly sure to set the computer on Alcadon this time. With the ATTV off once more Tryel huddled in the darkest corner of the storage compartment and waited, and wept.
Across the country, high up in the Schultz building, Laverne T. Schultz sat in his office twiddling his thumbs. Ever since his media address it seems like he was needed less and less as the situation began to spiral. Good god he was bored. The last bit of excitement he had was when the engineering staff found the bug in his elevator, that was close.
“Alright Marge, what’s the news?”
The sultry voice responded, “I’m sorry sweetie you’ll have to be it bit more specific than that, there’s a lot of news, what do you want to hear?”
“How’s the crime rate?”
“Petty crime has increased by 25% while violent crime has risen by 67%, and the murder rate has quintupled.”
Schultz furrowed his brow. “Disaster always invites disaster; I assume the prisons are full?”
“Fit to burst”
“We’ll have to bypass normal punishments; I’ll leave that to the judge’s discretion, just get people out of those cells. Have any spies been apprehended?”
“There have been a swarm of accusations but it seems most are false reports.”
“And the one’s that aren’t?”
“The police have them locked up and they are currently awaiting trial.”
“Televise them, and advise the judges that innocent is not an acceptable outcome. We need to send a message, to both the Sons and our own.”
“Drumhead?” Asked Marge
“Drumhead. The people need peace of mind, expedited judgment may just help with that,” confirmed Schultz. “What about gossip? Rumors, anything of note from abroad?”
“The Indra are on the move.” At this Schultz perked up. “There have been sightings of all known Indra with the exception of Ghost, but that’s not unusual. Apparently they have all been moving in the direction of Alcadon.”
“So they were true to their word, erm, how are people reacting to this?” He already had one panic on his hands he didn’t need another that he couldn’t control.
“People are mainly confused, though most are understandably skeptical; some of these Indra haven’t been seen in over fifty years. The only sighting with multiple witnesses was in a small trading post in the southern Knoss Wetlands. Nearly two dozen people witnessed Wulf actually carrying a struggling Scorn.”
“Hmm, so even he’s coming along.” He sat still for a moment. “Relay a message to Death, I need him to find Kid and direct all of our visitors to a place where they won’t be noticed, tell him my facilities are at his disposal, we already have enough trouble on our hands, we don’t need people getting any more ideas.” He sunk back into thought.
“Also, one more thing.”
“Hmm?” Schultz was clearly distracted.
“Neither the Kidjii Dig nor the Village of Khim have reported in several days, it is not thought to be a technical fault.”
“We’ll send somebody down later.” Schultz waved it off.
Chapter 7: Ellis
Another rainy night fell upon Alcadon. The gathering gloom had driven most indoors while the few who remained on the streets invariably had something nefarious in mind. The only place that wasn’t barren of people was the enormous red light district in southern Alcadon, Nicky Town. The buildings in Nicky Town weren’t as tall as their neighbors and seemed to be falling apart even quicker, the roads were potholed and rough. One didn’t drive in Nicky Town, if the road didn’t claim your car the people surely would. If one were to skim past the many fights muggings and other petty crimes, and down an unassuming alleyway between two crumbling tenement buildings they would find a door. Beyond this door was one of the many bars festooning the streets of Nicky Town, there were no signs, no indicators of there being an establishment, you had to be in the know to find this place.
The bar was a tidy little place, the floors and walls were clean, the alcohol wall was immaculate, and so was the clientele. It was quite a juxtaposition to the dirty dingy exterior. This nameless bar was visited by the highest in society when they felt at their lowest, and right now one of these high society folks, sitting at the bar, was feeling quite low indeed.
Ellis Schultz sat slumped at the counter face buried in a large bowl of shelled peanuts; he’d been drinking that night, heavily drinking. Fellacian absinthe was one of the strongest alcohols known to man, a single shot would get you drunk, two will black you out, and three would make you pass out, Ellis was on his fourth before he finally lost consciousness.
Ever since they found his sister’s body he’d been making regular visits to the ‘gentleman’s bar’ to forget, to forget who he was, who she was, and just everything in general. On top of his now crippling alcoholism his performance in the military had spiraled, he was on the verge of dishonorable discharge after being demoted from Sergeant to Private First Class.
“Barman… Another…” Ellis drunkenly said to his bowl of peanuts.
The bartender looked up from the fancy drink he was mixing. “Sorry lad, I’m not giving you another; you’ve already had too much.” He returned to his art. “The only drink I’ll give you now is something to clear your head.”
Ellis roused from his drunken stupor. “More booze?” he inquired drunkenly; he was barely coherent with the amount of slurring he was doing.
“No lad, quite the opposite.”
“I’ll take two…hic… please.”
“Alright, but don’t blame me if your head explodes.” The bartender turned around and opened a small specially labeled refrigeration unit and pulled out several ingredients. A thick purple liquid that stunk of fish, blended Algaeon root, sweet pickled beef, and a drop of clear liquid from an opaque black bottle were all dumped into a blender and made into a fine puree. A spritz of whipped cream and a cherry on top completed the horrendous grey concoction. “Here ya go lad.”
Looking dumbly at the mixture, Ellis gave it a little sniff.
“Don’t smell it, drink it, now!”
Frightened by the stern bartender Ellis downed it in one gulp. He sat dumbly for a moment, whipped cream on his nose, and then it hit him. Almost as if struck he flew off the barstool and writhed on the ground; the few other patrons looked down with pity at the wretched soul dancing a horizontal jig on the floor. He looked almost as if he was seizing, a dark stain appeared on his pants. As suddenly as it started, the jitters ceased and Ellis lay still on the floor. He peeled himself off the floor and waddled back to the counter.
“Gimme another,” he slurred.
Just as the bartender was about to mix another shot the door opened and two well dressed men stepped inside. Both were tall and clad in high ranking military garb. A tense air filled the bar as the men approached Ellis.
“Mr. Schultz if you would please come with us. Your uncle would like to have a word with you.”
Ellis ignored the two and sat back on the barstool. “I said gimme another, now!” His drunkenness had seemingly been coupled with anger as he twisted himself in the stool and threw a sloppy right hook at one of the men. “Oops!” Ellis overturned and flopped out of the barstool landing in an unconscious heap on the floor.
“Gentleman,” the bartender interjected as the two hauled Ellis up between them. “I hope you have a good cleaning service for your car, ‘cause in about fifteen minutes you’re gonna need one.”
“What’s wrong with him?”
“He drank the ‘wake-up’ shot, took it like a champ, I don’t need to explain to you what it does to a man.”
“No, you don’t.” The two were intimately familiar with what made that particular drink ‘tick’. “I’m sure you have a bathroom.”
“Oh aye, you’re welcome to it, I’m not the one cleaning it up anyway.” The bartender jerked his thumb behind him toward a dimly lit hallway. “Second door on the left.”
25 painful minutes later the two men finally had Ellis outside and were bundling him into their waiting car. “Alright get us out of here, back to base, quickly before people see,” one of the men said to the driver.
The drive was painfully bumpy; the two were having a difficult time keeping Ellis from flopping around like some sort of possessed marionette doll. Eventually the roads smoothed as the car exited Nicky Town, a sharp left was turned, away from the center of Alcadon, towards the industrial district.
Ellis awoke, blurry eyed, sitting in a comfortable chair opposite a homely grey haired, heavily mustachioed, man. The room he was in was empty apart from the two chairs, a small table, and a bright light set in the ceiling casting an amber light over the whole affair. Upon seeing Ellis drifting back into consciousness the old man leaned forward and gave him a few gentle slaps to the cheek to expedite the process.
“You awake there, son? Didn’t think you were for a moment, four shots of Fellacian Absinthe have been known to kill y’know.” He chuckled good humouredly to himself as if the prospect of this pathetic man sitting opposite him dying was funny. Ellis was quickly regaining his senses. “But no time for that, it’s time for serious talk, think you’re up to that.”
Ellis nodded, sobriety had descended upon him rapidly and he was quickly taking in his surroundings. “Who are you?” he asked.
“Well, my name isn’t important, not as important as the group I work for at least. I am a member of the Sons of Light and Freedom, the group who killed your sister.”
At this Ellis slammed his hands on the table and made to get up, at this he realized that he was secured to the chair and the chair was affixed to the floor. “You murderers! My sister was innocent, why did you kill her! You bastard I’m gonna kill you when I get out of this.” Ellis struggled violently but his bonds wouldn’t budge.
“Now son, I understand your hatred for us, but we didn’t mean to kill her.”
“Use your head kid!” The old man’s patience was wearing thin. “We killed her, yes, we didn’t know that it wasn’t Schultz in the elevator, she was an accident. She was as innocent in all of this as you are, and that’s why you’re so important to us.”
After several more minutes of futile struggling Ellis finally resigned to his fate. “Okay… why am I here? Why have you abducted me and imprisoned me here?”
“Well, I was just about to get to that before you had your little outburst.” The old man let out a long sigh. “First of all you haven’t been imprisoned; as soon as we’re done here you’re free to go. As for who we are, the Sons of Light and Freedom are a fringe organization operating out of the Halgue Flatlands to remove Laverne T. Schultz from power over the city of Alcadon. We are not the technophobic terrorists your uncle says we are though our motives are likely as unsavory to the people of Alcadon as those that we have been accused of.” Ellis made to speak. “Hup, I’m not finished yet. I simply need you to answer a few questions, they may seem simple but I know for a fact that you cannot answer them.”
“Alright, ask away, I don’t have any choice in the matter anyway.”
“That’s the spirit, now… How old is the city of Alcadon? And how old is your uncle? Who are your parents?”
“Well… um… I-I… I don’t know.” Ellis had never thought of this before, how old was his uncle? How old was the city he lived in. Uncle Schultz had founded the city and yet… he felt a sharp pain, a pounding headache began to set in; he clasped his head with his hands pain shooting through his temples.
The old man pulled a tiny sphere from one of his pockets and placed it on the table.
“Do you know what this is son?”
“This is control; you’ll know more soon enough, you’re free to go.” The old man pressed a button on the underside of the table and Ellis’ restraints lifted. Ellis remained seated as the old man walked towards the door, leaving the small sphere on the table, before he left he gave Ellis one last piece of advice. “Oh, and I’d recommend against talking with your uncle about this.”
Ellis stumbled out of the run-down factory where he was being held. After he regained his bearings he set off toward the center of the city, towards the Schultz building.
A disheveled Ellis stumbled into the main lobby of the Schultz building at around four in the morning. The walk had taken longer than expected, but the streets were thankfully empty. He made a beeline to the front desk.
“How can I help you sir?” asked the woman behind the desk, a very confused expression on her face.
“I need to speak with my uncle!” Ellis began frantically searching his pockets trying to find his ID card.
“And who would your uncle be?”
“Hah! There it is! I need to speak to my uncle Laverne T. Schultz!” A triumphant smile played on his lips as he showed the Special gold ID card to the clerk.
The woman’s eyes widened. “Yes of course right away Mr. Schultz, you do realize your uncle is liable to be sleeping at this time though, it woul-“ She was cut off.
“My uncle never sleeps!” He was already running to the elevator.
“Fair enough,” she mumbled under her breath, she clicked an intercom button on her desk. “Mr. Schultz, your nephew is here to see you, and it sounds urgent.”
The elevator ride had never seemed so long, Ellis furiously spun and paced around the small metal box, waiting, waiting, waiting. After what seemed like an eternity a small ding sounded and the doors opened, his uncle was waiting for him.
“Ellis! What’s wrong? No, no, let’s speak in private.” Schultz indicated the two Indra standing at the door at the end of the hall. “Come on, in my office.”
Walking briskly past the two guards Schultz dismissed them with a wave of his hand, the two Indra, War and Pestilence stood to attention and made their way to the elevator. Closing the door behind him Schultz let out a large sigh, “alright, what’s wrong?”
“I just had the most unusual encounter with some ‘old friends’ of yours.”
“Oh? I have plenty of ‘old friends’ which ones were they?”
“The Sons of Light and Freedom.”
“Oh, them, come let’s sit down.” Schultz ushered Ellis to a comfortable sofa as they sat Schultz offered Ellis some liquor, Ellis refused. “Now I want you to be honest with me… What did they say, what did they want from you and what did you tell them?”
“Well that’s the weird thing, they didn’t torture me, they didn’t even lay a finger on me, all they did was explain who they were, what they wanted, and asked me a few questions.”
Schultz squinted in confusion. “That’s very unlike them… what did they ask you?”
“They asked me how old you were and how old Alcadon is, uncle… I couldn’t answer them. Just thinking about it gives me headaches. The more I thought about it the more I realized… just who are you? Who are my parents? Are you my uncle?”
Schultz grabbed Ellis in a rough hug, as he pulled away Ellis could see tears streaming down his cheeks. “Oh, my boy, they got you too…” Schultz stood up and began pacing around the room. “Your parents, both of them, died when you were very young. Your mother was very close to me, she worked under me for many years, and asked me to be your godfather, I gladly accepted. It broke my heart when they died; I don’t think I’d ever gotten so close to anyone as I did your parents, they made me feel… normal. I adopted the two of you, their children, as my own. I wanted to protect you from what was out there, but it seems I failed, with both of you. The Sons killed your sister; I don’t care what lies they’ve told you to the contrary.”
“No, they admitted to killing Shelly. But uncle, the city… you say you founded the city and yet…”
Schultz sat down and poured some water from a pitcher on the side table. He offered Ellis some. “Please, let’s talk about this in the morning, it’s very late and I know for a fact that we’re both tired. I’ll lodge you in guest quarters for now; the Sons are liable to be after you tonight, I’m sure they told you not to talk to me. Before you go, do you remember the address of the factory you left? Could you write it down for me, I’ll send my people down there right away.”
Ellis nodded and wrote the address on the paper Schultz offered him.
“Here use my private elevator.”
“Wouldn’t it be suspicious for all those people to see me enter but not leave?”
“I’ll explain it to them tomorrow as soon as you’re safe. You can’t stay in Alcadon, after we talk tomorrow I’ll send you to a safe house to the south.”
The door noiselessly slid open and Ellis stood inside.
“Guest Level B,” Schultz said to the elevator, the doors closed and Ellis was whisked away. Schultz wandered back to the couch and poured himself a tall glass of booze.
The elevator ride was taking longer than expected. Ellis was beginning to grow nervous, soon though it drew to a stop, the door opened to a wall of darkness, and indescribable stench poured in.
A scream and that reedy whistling laugh once more.
Chapter 8: Visitors
At such an early hour nobody paid much attention to the lone ATTV weaving its way through the mostly barren streets to the Schultz Building. Maneuvering its way to the rear of the building it pulled into a large garage, the loading and storage dock for the Department of Engineering and Archaeology. Quietly and precisely the ATTV pulled into a parking space and stopped. It was a few minutes before anybody actually noticed this extraneous vehicle. Two technicians approached the vehicle.
“Alright, run the numbers, where the heck did this thing come from.”
“Yeah alright, J7-65-I14, hmmm.” The readout on his palm computer read ‘Dr. L Tryel, Kidjii Dig’. “This sucker’s from Kidjii, what the hell is it doing back here?”
“What? Okay, we’re cracking this thing open, what the hell is going on here? Radio Brummel to get down here, he should be in.”
“Dr. Brummel to Loading Bay Alpha, Dr. Brummel to Loading Bay Alpha.” The call went out over the PA system. The second technician turned to see his friend struggling with the door. “It’s probably locked from the inside; don’t you have the master key?”
“Of course I don’t have the master key, if I did I wouldn’t be struggling with this door, do you have one?”
“Then shut up! We’re going to need the torches; this thing needs to be cut open.”
“Isn’t there anyone inside?”
“If there was somebody inside the sensors would have detected them, the readout was negative this thing is empty.”
The second technician returned with the cutting torches followed closely by Dr. Brummel who stood back to allow the two to cut safely. There was a solid clang and the door slowly raised, its hydraulics hissing. The three immediately recoiled at the stench that rushed out of the open vehicle. Death, the odor of festering, moldering, decay assaulted their noses.
“Okay you two,” Dr. Brummel addressed the techs, “you go fetch a hazmat team, I’ll download the computer memory, get out of here before you get any greener.”
As the two fled, Brummel hoisted himself into the ATTV. Placing his palm computer on the vehicle’s display the two paired and automatically began exchanging data. It was taking longer than expected, there seemed to be a bunch of personal log entries, this was very unusual. Brummel placed the entries in the compound computer and flagged them for immediate review. As he turned to leave Brummel saw into the cargo area, what he saw was stomach churning.
It was the body of Dr. Tryel, that much was unmistakable, as the head was the only part of the body that hadn’t been meticulously dissected. Every organ in Tryel’s midsection had been carefully removed and dissected, sections of muscles and ligaments had been severed, and his arms had been partially flayed. Brummel was simultaneously impressed with the precision of the study and appalled at it having taken place on his close friend. Covering his mouth he quickly exited the vehicle. Leaning against the ATTV Brummel tried to catch his breath, Schultz had to be notified. This wasn’t the Sons, this was something different.
“If it’s any consolation my little round friend, he suffered… greatly.” Brummel whirled around to see the grotesque form of Medusa emerging from beneath the vehicle. “I flayed his arms first, and then cut every tendon in his body, his screams were…” Medusa gave a shudder of pleasure and began advancing on Brummel who slowly backed away. “I took out his organs one by one; from least important to most, he was alive to some capacity by the time I took his liver. Such a strong little man, it was almost a pity to see him go. Will you be my new… plaything?” By this time Brummel had begun to flee. The spiderlike Medusa quickly followed.
Fumbling with his palm computer he tried to set off the alarm, in a flash it wasn’t there anymore along with the rest of his hand. Brummel screamed in agony but kept running, he had to get to the coordination office at the end of the loading bay, he could raise the alarm from there!
Brummel fell heavily; his Achilles tendon had been severed by Medusa. A wet rattling scream tore from Brummel’s mouth before Medusa silenced him forever.
Turning from its most recent kill Medusa set off down one of the spotless white corridors in search of its fellow Indra.
LE was getting tired of sparring, that’s all she ever did, day in and day out. Her only source of enjoyment was Kid and her odd ways. Currently LE was doing agility training with Famine and Kid, ducking, dodging, and weaving through their punches effortlessly eventually her mind began to wander. A sharp jab to the face brought LE back to reality.
Famine threw another light jab. Your mind is wandering again little one, please take this seriously.
“How can I take this seriously? It’s the same thing day after day; I’m just not being challenged anymore. Can we do something a bit more stimulating? Weapons training perhaps? Something with a little bit of risk involved.”
It would be a good change of pace, but unfortunately you don’t have a weapon.
In a flash Kid was off to where she’d stashed her swords, she lifted one of the many mats that lined the floors of the gym and popped up several floorboards. She pulled out her usual three swords and one LE had never seen before. Kid excitedly ran back and presented the massive sword to LE
Here ya go Ellie, use this one!
The sword was easily seven feet long and nearly six inches wide, it had a strange flat top and was perforated with holes. The hilt was very short, only allowing it to be held with one hand.
“Erm, where did you get this?”
Yes Kid, where did you get this sword? I thought you only had three, not four, you didn’t steal it did you?
No! Wall gave it to me. Kid was instantly defensive. He said he didn’t need it and that I should have it since I have so many swords already. It was too big for me so I hid it here in case he wanted it back!
Hmm, I don’t entirely believe you, but since Wall will be here shortly I don’t think it would hurt to let LE borrow it for now.
”Wait, he’ll be coming here?”
Yes, in a short while, Death has gone out and collected all of our fellow Indra, who have come specifically to meet you. In fact I think it’s about time to collect my siblings, they’re currently guarding Schultz, I wouldn’t want for them to miss this meeting.
Just then the elevator doors opened, War and Pestilence stepped into the gymnasium.
Famine waved them over. I was just about to collect you from Schultz.
No need, he dismissed us himself, he needed some private time with his nephew and so we–.
Excellent, Kid interjected, I have an idea, just hear me out, this should be fun.
War held his hand up to silence her. Kid we don’t have time for your shenanigans, the others are about to arrive, they’re in the building now; I felt them while in the elevator.
No, no, this should be perfect, Ellie’s been complaining that she hasn’t had a good challenge in a while and this should be the perfect way to give it to her, it’ll also be a really cool reveal for her. I know how dramatic you guys are, it should be perfect.
The three resigned themselves to their fate, there was no stopping Kid when she had an idea. Very well what’s your plan? War asked.
Luckily for the visiting Indra there were multiple elevators down to the gymnasium, trying to fit all of them into a single elevator would have been a nightmare. The elevators dinged in unison as the doors opened to the gym and a scene of absolute carnage. The floors were shredded and the broken bodies of War, Pestilence, Famine, and Kid were lying unmoving on the floor weapons in hand. What sort of creature could defeat four fully armed Indra?
The Indra streamed from the elevators inspecting the damage, could this be the doing of the new Indra LE? Weapons were drawn and all were on high alert, could this be a repeat from last time?
Kid shakily raised her arm and waved them over.
Death crouched over her. What happened!? Where’s LE, did she do this?
Y-yes, she got a weapon and went mad, we couldn’t even land a hit on her, she’s just too strong. Kid fell unconscious.
Just then a deep rumbling could be heard and the floor beneath the Indra’s feet began to shake violently. Erupting from the floor, LE sent splinters of wood and shredded mat across the room spraying the gathered Indra with debris, she landed several meters away. She cut a daunting sight, a near eight foot tall block of muscle emanating an angry red aura advancing upon the Indra twirling a massive sword above her head like it weighed nothing. She came to a stop, eyeing up the collected Indra she could feel their thoughts barraging her, but she held them at bay. Using a clever trick taught to her by Kid she blotted the thoughts of the others out entirely, soon she felt nothing from them at all. LE fell into a defensive position and with a deafening roar of her air jets she rushed them.
The Indra were not prepared for the speed of her onslaught, before they could even brace themselves LE was among them. Scorn and Valkyrie were bowled over and flung into the nearby wall. Wall, the only other Indra near LE’s size, grabbed her about the shoulders in a bear hug in an attempt to hold her still. LE, undaunted, used a similar trick like the one she saw Kid use on Pestilence the day she first met her. Using the air jets on her legs LE blasted herself off of the ground in an arc over Wall’s head; the force of this sudden movement broke his hold on her. With her arms free, she took hold of Wall’s shoulders and used her momentum to fling him in a high arc across the gym.
The Indra formed a loose circle around her, barring her escape, Wulf stepped forward, keen to take on this new foe. Throwing his bow aside he clutched his cudgel with both hands and rushed her. LE feinted to the left holding out her sword so that Wulf would run into the flat of the blade. Wulf saw this and ducked underneath the sword, a hit like that could have torn him in half regardless if it was the flat or not. LE spun, blade outstretched, to face her foe once more. Unfortunately her unintentional strike smacked Lethe square in the chest, sending him whirling across the floor and into the arms of Wall who had regained his footing. LE did not let this accident distract her; her foe was Wulf, who was proving to be a wily foe indeed.
LE threw a hard left swing at Wulf, he ducked underneath the slow swing and landed a solid blow directly into her side with the cudgel. A sharp crack rebounded through the gym. Much to the dismay of Wulf it was not his foe that broke, it was his cudgel. His reflexes dulled by shock, he couldn’t dodge the massive foot as it tore him from the makeshift arena. He rocketed across the gym and lay still, still holding his broken cudgel.
Pixia and Valkyrie stepped forward each holding their blade of choice, a thin straight sword and a massive battleaxe. Valkyrie rushed forward trying to land a direct blow; LE blew over her and caught the unfortunate Valkyrie’s head between her legs. LE twisted her body and windmilled Valkyrie to the sidelines where she landed heavily, this left Pixia. Pixia launched upwards, taking flight with her wings and attempted to land a downward strike on her foe, LE was too quick. The flat of the massive sword appeared in Pixia’s way almost instantly, catching the unfortunate head on. Pixia was thrust to the ground beneath the sword where she was left unconscious.
Wall rose up behind her once more and wrapped her again in a bear hug disarming her in the process. LE tried to blast out of it again but his grip was too strong. Not good, not good! Like a wave the remaining Indra began to wale on her. For the first time in a long time LE felt pain, there must be a way out of this! Well, if she couldn’t dislodge Wall she’d just have to take him with her. She inhaled deeply and directed all of the force to her feet; she was going to blast off like a rocket! The massive force tore through the poor abused training mats; foam flew everywhere, in an instant where two massive Indra once stood there was only air.
A massive crash could be heard above the heads of the confused Indra, large chunks of the ceiling began to fall among them. Wall was the first to hit the floor, out cold. LE gracefully landed and rearmed herself, beckoning for another to challenge her. Ghost stepped forward; this clearly meant something to the others as they all fled a fair distance. This Indra, clad in its grey cloak held many mysteries, and it was LE’s turn to learn them. Ghost whipped off their cloak and…
What stood before her was likely the pinnacle of the female figure, taken aback by this LE dropped her guard for just one moment. A massive blow to the stomach brought her back to reality; she could feel the force of the punch bend her flesh like clay. Taking advantage of LE’s distraction Ghost wove her way through her defensive pose in an instant and landed the mighty blow. LE was torn from the ground and landed in a clumsy backward roll into her defensive position. She cast away the sword; it was too slow and clumsy for an opponent such as this. She curled her massive hands into fists and waited for her opponent’s next move.
The joyful ding of the elevator sounded, followed by the scream of metal being rent asunder. The elevator doors were torn open as effortlessly as one would tear a sheet of paper. The conflict was halted, everyone present turned to this new threat. The sturdy elevator doors, now a shredded mess, were cast aside by Medusa who emerged in a spray of sparks and metal splinters.
“Aww, how sweet, a nice, little, family reunion.” The wet rattle that was Medusa’s voice spread across the gathered Indra like a toxin. “It’s too bad that I… was not invited, what a shame.” Medusa slithered from the wreckage of the elevator and made toward the group, everyone was on alert, this was serious. Medusa jumped a bit when it saw LE. “Oh my! How delightful, we have a new, baby… sister, how they grow.” Medusa hunkered low as if preparing to pounce then resumed, drawing closer to the gathered Indra. “You know, I never could stand children, too loud, not enough mess, too… fragile. Exert any force on a child and poof.” Medusa lashed out rending a massive gash in Valkyrie’s chest. “They die…”
Valkyrie convulsed on the ground before going still, a thick black liquid oozed from the massive wound.
“See? So weak, so… fragile, pathetic.”
In unison Wall, and Wulf rushed Medusa in an attempt to pin it. As if it were liquid, Medusa slithered beneath them and pounced onto LE’s chest.
“Hello little sister, what do your insides look like? I am so very curious.” Medusa plunged its claws into LE’s chest and everything went black.
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