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Alarms ring out. A disconnected voice is speaking. It could be my voice. Air is moving. Rushing? My head throbs. There are lights. Rings of lights through squinted eyes. I try to move. Moving hurts. Everything hurts. What is that noise? Focus. I need to focus. I close my eyes, I will adjust my eyesight later. First, let’s see what part of me works, then I’ll deal with everything else. I move my toes and feet, wiggling at first then raising them to check if they function, “phew” I breathe. Oh, I can talk too, okay this is good, let’s see what else I can do. I move my right hand upwards, heavy, sore, but functional. I try to repeat the same with my left, but a sharp pain fires up to my shoulder in response. The pain doesn’t subside. This is less good. How do I turn off this damn alarm? I open my eyes slowly to adjust to the brightness, a strong glaring sunlight. Colours too. I can see an array of colours, some near, some in the distance. I try to focus on the colours and shapes closest to me. Pulsating in a reddish hue I read the words ‘Life Support Critical - Suit Breach Detected’. I’m wearing a helmet, and a suit, yes, an exosuit, my exosuit, I think. I roll my head to my left to try and identify the source of the pain. An unnaturally smooth object blocked my view, curved and sharp like a broken metallic eggshell. It was crushing my left arm. The mere sight kicked the rest of my senses online, adrenaline flooded my body. My arm is crushed and my suit is probably punctured. I need to act. Now. Trying to lift the fragment with my right arm is useless. The object's surface is so smooth it is hard to get any purchase with a single gloved hand, not to mention it is damn heavy. I need a lever. Reluctantly I lean up as much as my body would allow to see if there is anything usable at hand. I gasp. For a moment, the pain, alarms, chaos seems to dull as I soak up the panorama before me. It is a landscape of spectrum; wild and teaming with vegetation and life of which I have never seen before (I don't think so anyway…). Enormous trees with fat, bulbous trunks clustered the rims of rolling, uninterrupted hills. Thick green leaves branch off the trunks and hang so low they meet the grass. Incredible flowing red grass, for miles it seems. The rippling grass gives off a silver tint from the reflecting sunlight. Overhead in the bright blue sky a flock of… something wheels through wispy clouds, I could hear them calling out. The vista stretches on, seemingly unbroken, to the horizon. The moment quickly passes as the searing pain grows in my arm. I look to my right, nothing immediately passable as a lever in sight, just that sea of red wavering grass. I look down at my feet, another fragment within grasp. I use my heel to slide the piece to my free hand. It was flatter than the problematic fragment, around 3 feet in length, and not very thick. It will have to work. Okay, the next challenge: A fulcrum. There is nothing immediately around the crushing fragment that I could wedge my lever against. I roll to see what is in the vicinity that could be usable, my arm screams at me to roll back. I close my eyes. Maybe I shouldn’t move this fragment, what if I bleed out? Or my suit decompresses? I guess if that was going to happen it would have happened by now. The moving air seems to have stabilised, which likely means I’ve equalised with this planet's atmosphere, and the atmosphere isn’t bad (for now, I could just be suffocating more slowly, or breathing in toxins). No, I need to move this fragment. Think. My left arm seems to be stretched out to the side, underneath the fragment which lays across it. In my hand on my right I have the second longer, but thinner, fragment to serve as my lever. Ah. I have had a fulcrum all along. My head. Well, my helmet to be precise. I can slide the lever under the fragment to my left, rest the lever on the visor of my helmet (and hope it holds...) and pull down with my right hand. I follow the steps of my plan, and ready myself to pull the lever downwards. The fragment resting on my helmet blocks most of my view of the sky and it’s creatures above. I shift my grip on the lever a couple of times to find a comfortable but effective pulling point at the furthest end. And pull. Pain rings back up my arms as the fragment shifts slightly, it’s working. But I need to pull harder. My grip tightens as I tense my whole body into the pull. *Tink* Oh no. *Tink Tink* No. Small fractures appear in the top right of my helmet. *Tink Tink Tink* More now. On the left too. Webbing out. If I can just shift my arm free. I turn my face away from the (reinforced..?) glass of my helmet visor and pull down with the weight of my whole body. *Thunk* I gasp for breath as I roll over to see my freed arm. Through my spiderwebbed broken helmet visor I inspect the damage. Broken definitely but amazingly little blood. I’ll need to reset the bone, but first I need to catch my breath. After a moment I hazily climb to my feet, clutching my fragile left arm. My head swims and it takes me a moment to steady myself. I fumble at the buttons on the exosuit to quiet the alarms and warnings (they aren’t helping). Then a question: How did I get here? The question forms in my mind and whilst I knew I had the answer… I couldn’t grasp it. My head is hazy, like a heavy fog blocks the way to the answer. Let's start with what I know: My name… My stomach sinks. My name… what is my name? I must know that? I do know it. It’s in my mind but it’s blocked, blocked by the fog, the static. I get queasy with trying to grasp the answers, my body shivers. It must be amnesia.. Right? As I finish that thought my eyes focus on back onto the landscape around. The rolling red grass and the barrell-like trees. It seems strangely familiar. My eyes stop on a path, a scorched path. Red grass tainted black by fire. Still smoldering in places. The scorched path stretches on for what must be a half a mile, littered with anomalous metallic debris. The destructive path and it’s debris seem to converge on a point. An object. A ship. My ship. My body straightens at the sight of the crashed shuttle. Plumes of smoke and ripped bulkheads. The ship is a wreck, but it’s my ship. My ship and my journey. The questions on how I got here and who I am still echo in my mind, but I know that is my ship. My ship and my sky. The pain in my arm seems to ease, I start to walk the scorched path to my ship. The ship I will fix. I will fix my arm, I will fix this ship, I will fix… This is what I must do. I breathe easier, more certain of my task. I know the answers I seek are in the sky. My eyes look towards the creatures rolling through the clouds. My sky.
This is a short story that was written by myself for Survive Stormont, it details a narrative event that some players and staff were a part of, though was later written out of the core lore. - Emily The Church of Death Late last night an ominous letter was set from the infamous Puppeteer. He called all who were brave enough to attend The Church of Death for a service that was like no other. Laid in wait were the Shadow-Walkers; their corruption controlling their every move. The people of this land sort to capture and cleanse the minions, but they decided to bring the fight to the Andorrans. Two warriors marched into the snowy tundra, to the darkness that hummed behind the church doors. A Queen of the Andorran people and tamer of beasts, and her mighty Nordic brother, known for his prowess on the battlefield – Raven and Raen Azar. Adorned in fur and fighting off the bitter cold, the pair crossed the bridge to The Church of Death, ready to face whatever monstrosities their old friends had become. First was Limos, the embodiment of Famine, once known as Shea White. Though small in stature, a dwarf of course, the red headed corruption challenged Raven to combat. The two danced with their sword and axe bared, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. Raven was the first to cut flesh, striking Limos twice before the dance continued. However, Limos did not falter. She rushed the Nord and struck with immeasurable force, slicing right through the furs that protected him from the cold. Raven was now bare fleshed in the snow, on one of the coldest nights this land had seen for some time. He didn’t concede however, fighting through the icy winds that licked his chest as he rushed the dwarf once more. Limos, cocky in her ways, did not expect the towering man to recover so quickly and was caught with a winding blow to the chest. She crumpled instantly, hitting the ground with a tremendous thud. One down, three to go. Next was Nergal, the embodiment of Pestilence, once known as Bhalmar Silverfist. Nergal was a frightening creature, always cackling like the madness inside him would boil over at any point. Allowing Raven to recover, the Nordic Queen took to her axe, swinging it through the air as if it was but an extension of her arm. Nergal cackled as he too raised his sword, burning with a bright white light, unlike Limos’ black blade. The two met toe to toe, but honour was not something Nergal knew of, much more used to playing with his poisonous toys. He slashed at Lady Raen wildly, cutting away at the thick pelt that protected her from the chilling cold. But Raen didn’t falter, her training some of the finest. She kicked out with her leg, knocking Nergal flat on his ass. Without a second thought she brought her axe down, hitting the blunted side against his temple. Nergal let out a wild growl, his eyesight blackened from the blow. If it had not been for his sickly habit of all things narcotic, he would have been knocked unconscious from the attack. Nergal took his dagger, coated in malice, from his hip and thrust upward. Fortunately for Raen the blow to his head meant he missed; his vision starry. She recoiled from his attack and hastily kicked her boot at his head, rendering him useless. Two down, two to go. Third was War, the embodiment of himself, once known as Grufyd Rocksmith. He exited the large wooden doors to The Church of Death, a soft green glow and demonic humming coming from within. His fiery red form was illuminated by the warmth of the torches at the entrance as he met the Azars on the icy battlefield. Once close friends, now War would seek to destroy the two of them in honourable combat, worthy of such heroic warriors. Still reeling, the Nordic siblings stood side by side, a blockade of immeasurable strength. Raven attacked first, laying down his axe to retrieve a bola. Raen came at War with all her strength, slashing her battleaxe down against War. It caught, slicing through his shoulder as Raven threw the bola at his feet. War was struck again, but this time his red blade lifted to meet the blow and knocked Raen aside. He may have been immobilised, but War was no easy opponent. Raen cried out as she hit the ground, jerked like a doll in the snow. Filled with protective rage, Raven drew his Viking axe from the ground, the blade glinting under the moonlight. He ran at War, with no intention of stopping. The two collided with an impact that shook for miles, knocking the air from both their lungs. Even immortal, War was only as strong as his host. The butt of Raven’s axe came down then, striking War in the face repeatedly. Again and again, crimson blood flowing from War’s nose. Raven was fuelled with rage, becoming an immovable object of pure fury, with War pinned under him, who had one goal – save them. But the blows did nothing to deter War from his victory; he must win the battle the others had failed to. His arm came up, blocking Raven’s attack before grabbing at his throat with a vise-like grip. With no air, Raven’s face became withdrawn and pale, his eyes glazing over with every second that passed. This was his end. Only War forgot one thing. Her fury. Raen, protecting the brother she loved so dear, slammed her weapon against War’s head, the snow beneath now pink with blood. Suddenly War’s grip faltered, and Raven could breath once again. War had been defeated. Three down, one to go. As the pair hobbled into the warmth of The Church of Death, they were met by glowing green eyes and a voice so chilling it caused the hairs on their arms to stand proud. The Puppeteer, the embodiment of Death, stood at the altar, as if in greeting. “Such a shame,” his voice echoed in the expanse of the church, a knowing glint in his glowing eyes. Raen Azar went to draw her axe once again, unsteady on her feet. Raven did the same, though he too looked inches from death. “Now is not your time, but…” The Puppeteer laughed, the room filled with a thick green fog, as he disappeared into the night, his voice echoing his goodbye. “I am inevitable.”
I have recently been looking through old files of mine and discovered some short stories I had written, and have decided to post them here on Ember. This was the second short story I wrote for a old friend's larp game, it was supposed to be a memory for one of her players, but I like it as a standalone too. Enjoy. - Emily Tavern Tales The amber liquid burnt as it slid down my throat, warming me to the core. I chugged the drink in one, needing the dull buzz that the whiskey permitted. It was my fifth… or eighth, I had forgotten the number by this point. Well, my drink number... There was one number I could never forget; their faces, their names. That number. “Another?” The bartender gazed across at me from the end of the bar, shining the same glass he had been most of the night. He was standing as far away from me as plausible. His posture was tort, defensive. I could see the tension ripple in his muscles through the thin cloth of his shirt. He was built like a soldier, all brawn and testerone. But I saw something in the look he gave me, something unsaid. Fear. He must have heard the stories, could probably smell the inconsistency in my DNA. Splicers were hated. The ‘normies’ were terrified of us; of our power, and ultimately, the destruction we were so capable of unleashing. “Is there any point in askin’,” I slurred back, trying my best to throw as much venom in my words as I could; whilst fighting off the dizzying sensation that was creeping at the back of my mind. The man didn’t move for a second, hesitating as he had all night. I had the unbridled urge to leap forward and shout ‘boo’, just to see this mountain of a man shit his pants. But then again, such momentum would probably have me vomiting all over myself. “Last one,” he declared, crossing the distance to fill my glass with a cheap, vinegarette of a whiskey. It was as potent as I could afford after being kicked from the military. I shrugged his words off, snatching the glass tumbler from his grip with ease. He stumbled back, knocked off balance by my unnaturally fast reflexes. A grin spread across my face then, creasing the corners of my eyes with joy at the man’s discomfort. He scuttled away as I took the glass to my pastel lips, grimy fingerprints evident to my superior senses. This place is a pigsty, I grumbled inwardly whilst pouring the cheap liquor down my gullet. I detected motion out the corner of my eye. Two large shadows towering over a smaller one. I blinked once, then twice. Trying to clear the black spots from my vision, only to realise that there was indeed something happening off to my left. Two drunkard men were surrounding a feeble woman, their potbellies evident under straining outer garments. The woman cried softly, a pathetic noise to my inhuman ears, pinned between the monstrosities in the darkness of the corner booth. I was off my stool in an instant. My body working on auto-pilot. Before my numbed mind had a chance to catch up, I had crossed the tavern’s expanse, foot extended to the rear of the right-most pig. It connected with a loud crack, breaking a bone or two.The man was thrown into the nearest wall with a deafening thud, his large figure collapsing in on itself. I turned then, catching the other by the throat, claws extended. He rasped beneath my iron-grip, batting at my hold with feeble, intoxicated blows. His efforts did little to deter me, as I lifted him up off of the ground. The man was almost double my size, but felt as light as a feather in my inhuman grip. His hazel eyes bulged at me, from both a lack of oxygen and the terror I saw etched on his greasy features. He tried to talk, beg me to let him go most likely, but I tightened my grip further, causing a wispy wail to leave him. The man had a balding head of black hair, streaked with greying strands. He was on the heavier side, his cheeks bloated and red. His nose was too small for his face, getting lost under his pudgy flesh. How easy it would be to end your pathetic existence, my inner darkness cooed. “You will die tonight,” I growled between gritted teeth, slightly spitting the words at the man. He was about to do something terrible to a girl who couldn’t defend herself. I felt it in my bones. Could read it in their looming postures. It was disgusting, vile even. To think they could take what they wanted no matter what. It brought forth a darkness that I had been accustomed to since that fateful night that led to my excommunication from the military. “Never again will anyone take what they can’t have.” My voice became a heated rumble inside my chest, a low growl leaving my pursed lips as my lycant side took over. With a swift twist of the wrist, the man’s neck was broken, and he was no more. I let go then, his lifeless body landing with a heavy thump onto the sticky wooden floorboards. Another body to add to my number.
I have recently been looking through old files of mine and discovered some short stories I had written, and have decided to post them here on Ember. This first was a short story I wrote for a old friend's larp game, it was supposed to be a memory for one of her players, but I like it as a standalone too. Enjoy. - Emily The Escape “Get up!” A stern voice shouted, hitting the bars of my cell with a wooden baton. The noise ringing out in the empty space of my hole. I awoke suddenly, thrust from the warmth of my dreams. I sprung to my feet, keeping my posture low, in a defensive position. My body ached, the cold, hard floor of my cell taking a toll on my aging muscles. My neck was crinked, my calves cramped, and my left arm was numb from sleeping on the stone. I could feel my heart hammer in my chest, my breath lodged in my throat. “Morning Little Doll,” the voice leered at me. His tongue slipping from the confines of his mouth to lap at his dry lips. I knew that voice. Recognised it as soon as I heard it. That was the voice of my torturer; the one man who was allowed to do as he wished, with no consequences from the Cult Leaders. He was my keeper. My guard. My living nightmare. His stare haunted me when I closed my eyes, cold and unforgiving were those blue irises. Those same eyes looked upon me now, peering between the metal bars of the cell in which I called home. I was kept here during the night. Shackled to the ground like a dog, and treated worse than such. The weight of the iron cuff on my ankle was more noticeable in that moment, the flesh raw and bloody underneath the constraints. I tried not to look down, to pull at my lead, but I couldn’t help it. He was here, and I had to do anything I could to get away. “Now, now Little Doll…” the voice cooed, jiggling heavy, iron keys in his left hand. I stared at them, almost hypnotised by the allure of freedom. Instinctively I bowed my head, lowering my body to the ground, on all fours, as if praising the man who could grant me my freedom. “That’s a good Little Doll.” I kept my eyes low, staring at the marbled stone, my life of imprisonment teaching me not to stare into the eyes of my Master if I wanted to ever be let out of the hole. That was what my ‘room’ was, a hole at the bottom of a building I barely knew existed. 3 solid walls of stone, encasing me like a tomb, with one barred gate at the front, the only light and interaction I have ever received. It was cold in the cell, below freezing really. If it had not been for my hot blooded nature I would surely have frozen to death many years ago. “They want to see you. Who’s a lucky Little Doll?” His familiar voice leered, a slimey kind of noise that crept into my soul and unnerved me to the core. “But first… I need to teach my Little Doll some manners, don’t I?” Those words chilled me to the bone, no matter how hot my skin was to the touch. Fear crept in, my eyes darting from the floor to his aging face, a thick beard framing his pale, flaky lips. “No…” My voice was small, child-like, not that I had ever seen one, just heard stories of them. I sounded as powerless as I felt. Chained up like a beast in a cell that would be my prison until it became my tomb. Panic settled in me then. I tried to suck in a deep breath, but choked on the stale air I needed to calm my racing heart. No, no, no. The voice inside my head mumbled over and over, a mantra of sorts. Must run, it urged, must be free, free from this man, from this place. I clenched my fists until my knuckles went white, the pressure calming the nerves that had boiled up from the depths of my desperation. Must run, the voice urged again, more firmly this time. Must run now. I didn’t know what I was thinking. How could I even escape this Hell that my life had always been? But I had to try, or I feared I’d be lost to those four walls for the rest of my miserable existence. “No!” My voice was still small, but it had a defiance to it that was new to my ears and his. I sprung to my feet then, yanking at the iron shackles on my ankles in the process. It hurt, a lot, but I was determined to be free now, or die trying. “Never again will I be your Little Doll,” I spit the words at my captor, forcing what might I could muster into my defiance. The air around me shifted then, taking form as I willed it so. Something I had learnt all those years ago. “Little Doll wants a beating, does she?” My captor warned, moving forward to ram the key into lock that held the bars closed between the two of us. He was trying to keep me contained, beat the disobedience out of me, as he always did. But not today. Not today, the voice muttered, and never again. “Not today,” I mirrored the words I heard inside my head, knowing that the time was now. My eyelids flutter closed as I began to concentrate, controlling the air around me. I gathered it around me, nestling myself in its protection. I heard him gasp then, the iron keys clattering to the floor as the air around him became unbreathable. I didn’t open my eyes, too scared that I would see those blues eyes and crumple under them. Instead I held the air close to me, as tight as I could, before I pushed it forward, releasing a shockwave of energy that burst through the walls around me. Everything exploded in an instant, the power of the energy blowing the walls of my cell outward with ease; my captor too. I heard a loud crash, followed by a chilling crack and wet squelch, my eyes still screwed shut. I hesitated then, not knowing what would be revealed to me as I opened my eyes, but wanting dearly to be finally released from this nightmare. My eyes didn’t defy me. The walls of my once complete cell were crumbled into rumble, a circle of debris surrounding me. The metal bars too had been blown from their hinges, thrown at the far wall, under which was a bloodied figure that my gaze averted, refusing to acknowledge. “I did it!” I exclaimed, squealing happily. In that moment I heard the rushing footsteps of people above. Oh no, the voice croaked, they’re coming for me. Must run. I did as it said. I took the keys from the floor, using them to release me from my shackles before I turned and ran through the wall that once stood in my way. I ran and ran, as far as my feet could carry me, and then further still. “I’m free.”