[CANON][RP Episode] In pursuit


#1

It was late evening when a ship docked in Fotun, Kleriel’s southern colony on the corrupted isle of Ravios. Nothing out of the ordinary about the ship, it was but a schooner, still sailing with the old ways of the wind’s blessing. The sailors disembarked, and most of them, as well as the few passengers they had along with them, headed towards the inn higher up the hillside, overlooking the port and shoreline.

It was that evening that the hunters in Kesh’s service questioned the local folk there, who were all either drunk, or on their way there, where a certain Felix Mehemii might be. After a few rounds, anyone was willing to tell them what they know, for nobody thought much of these people or Felix. The hunters discovered he had lived here for a while now, taking up contracts to slay many of the unknown mutant creatures that inhabit Ravios whenever was needed. What interested them the most though, was a patron’s account of Felix wishing to acquire a vessel of some sort short after the war started, and a fisherman’s report on seeing a Valkorian set sail south west of Ravios on one such a boat not too long ago.

It was past midnight when the bar was closed, and people began to leave the inn, and so did the hunters. Without asking, they commandeered one of the fisherman’s boats and set sail south west, in pursuit of their target.

@Ariovistas @SirGeorgar


#2

Some distance away, the next morning, Felix Mehemii, unconscious, was being bound and bundled into a Jade Throne Air Force transport helicopter by unkind hands. Several soldiers busied themselves with the warrior, while the medic was patching up the wounded. Others formed a loose perimeter, but they were unwary. The threat, it seemed, had been subdued.


#3

It was a misty morning as the Keelish approached the shore of Vellanora, with smoke pouring from the volcanoes. As they drew closer and closer, and unknown noise grew louder and louder. Soon enough, they would realise that it was mechanical, and that there were people present. Using magic, they turned themselves invisible, and abandoned the boat out of sight in a secluded cove. They hid and observed around some large rocks how men in steel, not much unlike their own cybersuits, were loading Felix on to an airborne vehicle. Since they have no way of tracking them, abducting one of the guards securing the perimeter for interrogation was their only hope of figuring out what was happening, and where Felix was being taken. And most importantly, if they could get to him.

Unwary and relaxed as they were, feeling confident that there were no threats in this entire region of the wilderness, they could not hear or see the Keelish draw closer to them. They approached crouched and very slowly to not brake their disguise, as they were only partially invisible, meaning the guards could notice the distortion in the air as they moved, but not when they remained still.

And then they pounced on one, gagged him, and knocked him out. The next thing he saw when he came to, was being chained down, his weapons removed, his gag removed, and the rest of the party he was with having departed. Standing in front of him, some form of people he had never encountered before, staring down at him.


#4

Trooper Enmaesh look up at these… creatures he’d never seen before. They stood tall like men, but their faces were plated and birdlike, and the language they spoke was this nauseating, cloying drawl.

He tried to move his arms, but they were tightly bound. One of the birds, the one who noticed his movement, stepped down on Enmaesh’ shoulder to restrain him further.

One of them appeared to be a leader of some sort. He knelt in front of Enmaesh, grabbing him by the collar to pull his face close, and spoke.


#5

‘‘Who. Are. You?’’ the Keelish male asked, slowly and out loud in the common tongue.


#6

Enmaesh stammered out his name, first in Kavehan, then in common.


#7

The Keelish let go of his collar and rose.

‘‘Not you individually. All of you.’’


#8

Enmaesh blinked, clearly not understanding what the bird was getting at.


#9

‘‘Tell me! WHO are YOU!? WHO are you PEOPLE!?’’ he yelled and hit him with his right arm, knocking him out…


#10

Some time later, the Keelish departed, leaving a broken, bleeding body on the shores of the ocean. They had gotten all the information they wanted out of the soldier - name, nationality, place of birth, ethnicity of his grandmother.

And once they had all they wanted, they simply left. His limbs were broken in a dozen places, jaw all but shattered, and the burns and stab wounds and patches of flayed skin left barely a square inch of his flesh untouched. Torn patches of bleeding meat sat where his fingernails used to be, and the almost-corpse had empty holes for eyes.

But, for all that, hate had never burned so brightly in his heart. And like moths to a flame, it drew the other hate-bearing to him. They came, dark shades in the night with their hovercraft. Priests of a malignant deity. Robed in crimson and black, the only light about them coming from their cybernetic enhancements. Silenced machine guns, pistols, and huge sniper rifles hung from their frames, and from beneath a crimson hood, the brilliant cyan of bionic eyes took in the scene.

Their leader looked down on the ravaged soldier, almost shuddering at the sight. Even his hardened heart was touched at the burning sensation emitted by the figure at his feet. “Take him with us. It would be a shame to let this one go to Zurvan.”


#11

Groaning. An operating table. The lights, blinking. Always blinking. Never ceasing.

Enmaesh opened eyes that were not his own, felt the dryness of a throat that did not belong to him, and his artificial lungs issued a sound that was, for lack of a better word, utterly inhuman. He had gone from a soldier, to a victim, to an experiment. The furthest-ever conversion of human flesh, forged by the crafts of the greatest of Kavehan cybertechnicians.

Paid for at the behest of the Midnight Order. The priests of Angra Mainyu.

Unsteadily, the once-man stood. Servos creaked and whirred in his legs, balance automatically corrected by the gyroscopes in his lower spine. The AI-brain hot-wired into his own processed impulses a dozen times as fast as his own, letting him react purely on instinct when the door to his cell slammed open and a dark-robed figure dove inside, the silvery white of a combat knife flashing towards Enmaesh’ stomach.

He twisted himself aside, catching the other man’s arm in an elbow lock before snapping the joint like a twig.

Or, at least, that was what his AI told him should have happened, but it didn’t. Instead, the other man’s limb resisted the force, reversed the lock in a heartbeat, and before Enmaesh could breathe he was pressed up against the wall with a knife against what, in a living person, would be their throat.

The figure breathed. “Wouldn’t it be great if that was actually threatening, hm, initiate Enmaesh?”.

Enmaesh growled. “My name is Tebish.” before driving his forehead at the bridge of his enemy’s nose. But the other man dropped his forehead, catching Tebish’ with his own, before driving his knee up the cyborg’s not-stomach.

“To the courtyard with you. I can tell we have much to do.”


#12

Several weeks later, Tebish found himself, once again, on the pavement looking at Ushta’s boots. His master paced around his fallen form, lecturing. “No, Tebish! Too predictable, again. You keep going for the obvious, for the logical, obeying that AI in your skull like a good little lad. This is not good enough! Logic will get you killed. Being predictable will get your brothers killed. Now stand up, and fight me like a man!”

The cyborg roared at the hard asphalt covering the courtyard and all but jumped up, twirling the long rod in both his hands. A vicious sweep towards Ushta’s feet was followed by a quick lunge at his face - a standard, logical pattern of attack. Ushta responded as he usually did - by jumping, turning on his heel and sweeping his staff towards Tebish’ face.

Tebish did not dodge. He stood, and let the staff ring his metal skull like a bell. This was the first surprise. The handful of asphalt gravel he’d scraped off during his master’s speech was the second, as it went for Ushta’s face. This would not faze the other cyborg’s bionic eyes, but the moment’s distraction it gave him was all Tebish needed as his hand shot out, caught the other man’s staff, and whipped it out of his hand in a circular motion. This was the third surprise.

Ushta stood, blinking, and then a slow grin spread over his face. “Excellent. Let’s try this again.”


That night, Tebish was laying, prone, on a rooftop. Next to him his master was speaking in breathy whispers. “All the world is in biology, Tebish. A nation is just like a body. Its people are the organs, blood vessels, muscles. Its ruler is the brain. Its fist in their army. But we are special. We can be either the poison flowing through its veins, slowly killing it from within, or a purifying antidote. Now look down.” Ushta pointed. "That man has been indicated by Doîshta investigators as a seditionist. Tonight, he will be purified. Because he’s a noble, the police can’t simply make him disappear like they would a rebellious commoner.

But we can."

Ushta patted the heavy bulk of the Widower rifle. At 33kg, it was the heaviest infantry weapon available to the Shahanshah’s soldiers. It could also fire accurately for miles - the furthest-ranged kill made with this weapon had been more than three miles away from the shooter.

Tebish looked through the scope. The target’s onboard targeting computer calculated, making adjustments for air pressure, wind speed, local variations in gravity - all the things that would impact a bullet’s path to the goal. When it got a targeting solution .2 seconds later, he did not hesitate. Gently depressing the trigger, the heavy knockback from the weapon’s thick barrel sent him sliding back almost 10cm on the roof.

He did not look down to see the target’s head all but evaporate.


#13

Kesk sat behind his desk in his study. The desk was cleared of all paperwork and quills he usually had at the ready when working. He was a dark figure, in black robes with golden trims made of the finest silks. His right hand he had resting on the table, his fingers drumming against the desk, while the other laid on his lap. In front of him was the leader of the hunters he sent after Felix. Still angry for letting him slip through his fingers like he did months ago, rescued by an unknown party, he was not satisfied with the report he was receiving. A mighty frown upon his face as he learned that Felix had slipped past him once again. This time abducted by an unknown party. He clenched his right hand in to a fist in fury as he asked.

'‘Who were these people?..’'
Nervous, and unsure if this news would please his master, or anger him further, the hunter attempted to swallow his stress, and reply in confidence.
’‘We captured one of the men that abducted Felix, my master.’’ he said trembling, and with a bow of his head. He continued. '‘The man was of no nation we encountered before. They seem technologically adept as we are, though militaristically far superior to us…’'
Kesh raised an eyebrow to this news, but remained silent. The hunter continued.
’‘We had issues communicating with the prisoner at first, but after we… ‘‘established’’ a mutual understanding, he broke, and revealed that he and his people are Kavehan.’’

Kesh’s face lost all emotion upon hearing those words. He was questioning if such a thing is even possible, he was sure that Kaveh was lost to history. Or what if this hunter was making excuses, what if he never found him, and is making up stories in which it would be impossible to reach Felix.

Kesh supported himself with both his arms on the desk as he rose from his seat.
’‘Guards!!’’ he yelled, and from just outside the door, two Asmodae in full black dragon body armour with a large shield and spear each, stepped through simultaneously, each from their own flank, and stood to tower over the hunter. The hunter, trained since little to subdue all emotion and maintain a professional appearance during his time amongst the Samurai, continued to hide his nerves skilfully.

Kesh spoke in his grim tone.
’‘You are the best of my hunters… your loyalty to me has been unquestionable since the day you began to serve me.’’ he began as he slowly made his way around his desk, supporting himself upon it with one hand as he did so, still recovering from the wounds Felix bestowed upon him. ‘‘Right?’’ he then asked abruptly.

The hunter, bowing his head and looking at the floor in a show of respect, and to avoid eye contact, replied in between shallow breaths.
’‘My master, of course. You honor me with your words, i…’'
Kesh interrupts him.
’‘There is no reason for me to suspect that you are LYING to me, is there? Due to your… failure to bring me his head?’’
’‘NO! My master. I would never…’’ the hunter exclaimed, and got cut off again as Kesh reached for his walking stick which he had leaning against the wall and began to approach.
’‘Then you have no issue venturing to Kaveh to find him, then?’’ Kesh asked, almost as if jesting.
The hunter did not reply, only nodded, determined to bring his master what he asked for.

Kesh reaches the hunter, and puts his right hand on his shoulder.
’‘You have never failed me. And you haven’t failed me this time, not yet. I will give you yet another chance to find Felix, END him, and bring me proof of the deed. You will go to Kaveh under the cover of merchants and scholars. Make sure he doesn’t escape the 3rd time…’’

Kesh then took his leave out the door under the escort of his two guards. He had an appointment with a private therapist who was helping him recover. The hunter, meanwhile, had much to consider, and much to do.


#14

The unknowing target had spent the trip to Kaveh in a state of restless unease. During the air strikes on Kleriel, Felix had stood on the bridge, watching and listening as Gilgamesh set about destroying the Keelish fleet. The darkness within had swirled, thoughts of war and death feeding it, and only be a supreme strength of will had he not gone berserk.

But now he was in Kaveh, and safe. He had avoided the Valkorian garrison, although they had no doubt seen him as he walked throughout the city. He felt happy, but a feeling of fear was continually growing on him, a sleepless malice that roamed through his consciousness. His hand often strayed to the swords on his back without reasoned thought, but he always assured himself. ”What’s the worst that could happen?”


#15

A month later, after peace was signed between the north and the south, and Kaveh had re-established its presence in the world. A lone sail ship approached the city of Kurshid. It was a frigate, with large clear white sails and flying Kleriel’s green flag. Up close, the ship looked rather advanced for its type, with synthetic polyester fibre sails, and carbon fibre enforced wooden hulls. On board, there were a few merchants, scholars, and unbeknown to anyone, assassins. Rhoa wanted to come along for the trip, she had been studying the Kavehans almost ever since she got a chance to visit their abandoned ruins, but without giving his reasons, Kesh forbade her to go.


#16

Felix had watched the Valkorian garrison leave, his heart both sad and relieved. The cruiser vanished over the edge of the ocean, and Felix trod through the remains of the fort, musing on many things. The uneasiness in his mind still troubled him, although the dark creature which swept within him had been silent for weeks.


[CANON] [RP Episode] The New Age
#17

Little did the man suspect that he was not alone. A tail of Midnight agents followed him through the night, as was common practice for foreigners of import - as a reassurance, and a safeguard should he harbour designs against the Shah.

Tebish, whose undying hatred of everything Keelish was the only thing that remained of the person before he was remade in metal and hydraulics, was one of them. His rifle was a comfortable weight on his back, heavy pistol riding on his hip, silenced submachinegun in his hand, and his mechanical eyes switched to low-light functionality.

The other tail - the foreign one that skulked in shadows, might have thought themselves hidden in the night, but for a brother of the Order darkness held no secrets.


#18

The Keelish arrived in Kaveh’s port without issue, and the first Keelish merchants made it through customs to sell and buy wares. They exchanged many goods with the locals, half of them neither of the parties completely knew what they were, but found them exotic. News of Keelish merchants could have drawn the attention of Felix and drew him out that way, where he would inevitably have been picked up by the silent stalkers hiding in the shadows of the new Kurshid’s many concrete buildings.


#19

And so he did. Felix made his way through the evening crowds when people got off work and went for some last minute shopping before the closing hour. The sun was setting and was low above the horizon, unseen by most of the city, which was already in darkness of its own long shadows.

He made a turn around a corner, on to a long walkway with merchant stalls positioned to its left and right, with a thin one way road going down the middle of it for light traffic. It was then that he came in to the sights of the Keelish sniper at the far end of the street, in an apartment building he has set himself atop of. The others who were following Felix had let him know where he was coming in from.

A loud shot echoed through the streets as the sniper pulled the trigger of his heavy sniper. The bullet ripped through the air with lightning speed until it reached Felix, and cut clean through him, cutting down another pedestrian behind him before finally coming to a stop. Innocents screamed and chaos erupted as people ran for their lives. In the confusion, the sniper made his getaway.


#20

As the shot rang out, a second before it hit him and every went black, Felix had one last thought.

”Oh.”

A dark stain spread from beneath the body of the soldier, running into the gutters. The swords on his back lay useless in their scabbards, their shining edges helpless against the rifle.

A small, black mist gathered around the body and dispersed, scattering into the winds with a sighing sound that seemed to come from everywhere at once. The few remaining bystanders fled at the sound and sight, screaming of dark wraiths. A shape formed in the clouds, with wings of fear, but it held no power anymore…

Felix was dead.