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    Veteran Enthusiast Bolt's Avatar

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    Mar 2006
    ctf_Ash, but beating Joel.

    Jarkal - Finally an update? 17/11


    For those of you who don't know, Jarkal is a story I've been working on for some time. I've got the Word document set up so the headers are shown at a larger size when I copy it directly to this thread so I'll be keener to update!
    I'm halfway through Chapter 15 at the moment, so be ready for an update. A lot of the first few paragraphs have been fixed up and made better to read. A lot has been changed however the storyline is no different and you don't really need to read it again if you haven't already, the changes I made were only to clarify things that didn't make the best of sense and make the words used more suitable.

    --- Part I: London Bridge ---

    Clenching his sword beneath his coat he gazed in despair towards the corrupted cities that were situated to his east and west. The bullets battered his senses as his enemies used up the final rounds their guns contained. The ripping of broken concrete and the ringing of falling bullet shells echoed through the air re-acknowledged him of the situation he was in. He needed shelter and where he was, the closest thing he could see was deep beneath the rotting corpses scattered across the, once busy, suburban motorway. Stranded in the median of the great bridge, connecting Orroway to Benevaar, he began to scribe down strategies in his mind of some way to get out of his situation, but none of his schemes lead to him safely returning to where he yearned to be.


    For years he had wished to return to his rightful place in the headquarters of PDB, the Protectors of the District Boundary. He had abandoned his job as head of the PDB to aid his allies in the battle against those who called themselves 'WRACC'. No one has yet discovered what this anagram means, if it actually is an anagram or if it even has any significance to the clan at all. The attempt seems to have failed as those he’d aided now lay lifelessly across the bridge.

    A loud echo shattered his thoughts and the crack of a wire sent the bridge into a series of slow swaying motions. The WRACCs were snapping the huge metal ropes holding the great suspension bridge in place. The sword strapped to his thigh held no use to him at the moment and the possibility of his survival was lowering. Another crack shattered his thoughts and the bridge began to incline further towards the deep blackened, oil filled water, which would definitely be a ghastly death, not to mention a horrible end to the city and its few remaining inhabitants. He fingered the rough glass object in his hand and ran his fingers around the thin metal coil circling the great object. The flame stored inside began to burn his hand and the metal coil had burnt a parallel collection of thin lines across his left thigh over the time it had been stored there.

    He couldn’t allow the artefact he held in his hand to break. That would end in a horrible, disgusting, obscene way, as the flame inside the great glass orb was no ordinary flame. It was a myth, which a few weeks ago was believed to be untrue, but this object went against all the logic in the world and defied the countless quotes from the world's greatest scientists about the legend and until now, the object was forgotten. What our brave man held in his hand was the last of the eternal fire, which was claimed, by legend, to be destroyed by dark magic centuries ago. When this flame set something on fire it spreads like normal fire, except there is only one known thing that can destroy it, and one known person who has the knowledge to perform it, although, he died over three hundred years ago. Whether the secret to destroying the fire was passed on or not is irrelevant to the man, however the enforcing that the artefact doesn’t get in the wrong hands is life threatening.

    Another crack echoed through the air and the bridge heaved sideways, creating strain across the concrete supports and structure of the mighty bridge. A huge fracture ripped through the concrete supports, which sent a deep crack flowing gracefully across the pounds of rock and severing the two cities’ transportation link in half and careening slowly towards the oily surface of the river. He dropped down onto his stomach and barely avoided the huge helix of alloy cable that sliced past the air above him.
    The bridge creaked dangerously to the left and began to descend towards the Marlton River below, sending a cruel shiver down his spine. The feeling of death overcame him and he realised that this event on the bridge may be his final moment…


    He yelled out in desperation and scanned his surroundings. His breathing became hoarse and he looked frantically across the bridge for any possible escape routes. There were a few broken cardboard boxes that looked like they were used for an old supermarket and an overturned shopping trolley, although that slid over the edge, not that he needed it. The flame in his pocket grew more infuriating and he moved it into the severely scarred area of his thigh, which had already been burnt numerous times, and the pain was mildly familiar in that area.
    Maybe the object could sense the rising possibility of death...

    The bridge had sunk down further, and he was surprised it was taking so long to tumble into the river, but it had now begun to accelerate towards the water below. He grabbed hold of a broken concrete stump, which had once been the support for the huge ropes which held this now condemned suspension bridge up for its mere fifty years of service. He huddled against it, wrapped his body around it’s rough structure and watched the black liquid devour the opposing side of the bridge, which had severed itself from it’s other half and was now metres away from the water. The broken tip of the bridge dipped beneath the stagnant water, dropping debris and chunks of concrete into the thick, turbid solution. He clenched his eyes and grasped the concrete stump with all his might.
    ‘The end is now,’ echoed through his mind as he felt the oil trickle into his right boot.

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part II: Adrenalin ---

    His shin was now drenched with oil and the chill of the water began to take effect through the oily texture of the boot. His right foot began to lost it’s grip, as the oil rose up to his foothold, created a lubricant and made it hard for him to stand. He began to struggle, realising that if he slipped he, and all the defenceless people hidden in their houses were to suffer a death like no other. Adrenalin replaced his fear and he secured himself into a safer position, on top of the now oily and slippery stump. Glancing around he noticed that the huge group of WRACC members were beginning to leave. They obviously thought he didn't have a chance. He also noticed that the other broken surface of the bridge had become completely submerged, leaving no route to Orroway, or even worse, Launceston...

    If only he could return there... The chances of that were slipping and he realised he needed to do something before he plunged into the depths of the oily water, but he was urged to go on.
    I need to return to my rightful position! It's where I belong, not in this hellhole, which will soon cease to exist at this rate.

    A huge burnt out shell of a car scraped past him on it's roof and plunged into the oily surface of the river, redirecting attention back to his current situation. The rotting bodies had begun to slip off the edge of the bridge, making a potentially huge hazard for him to climb up the top, and even then, there were still twenty to thirty WRACCs standing curiously at the point where the bridge met the land on the east, waiting for something interesting to happen. He looked around the water and noticed a large wooden billboard and, realising it was his only chance now, he stood up on the stump, which was now almost vertical. He carefully balanced himself on the slippery surface and scanned the water and it’s contents.

    The billboard was about 4 metres away but he was about 1 metre above the surface of the water so there was a chance he could reach it. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the flame-orb. He passed it from hand to hand, avoiding the searing heat and mapped out his next actions. The vivid light of the orb shone out like a beacon, drawing the attention of the remaining WRACCs and intriguing them. He decided it was now or never. The bridge was falling, faster than ever, towards it's departure and he now realised that it was now or never. Act now, or die…

    He grasped the flame-orb tightly in his right hand and, holding back the searing pain from holding the gyrated metal coil tightly in his hand, crouched and bounded as far as he could towards the billboard. He promptly twisted around, whilst in the air to land on his back then thrust his hands in the air, keeping the flame-orb and his hands free of oil, as the pure heat of the orb would set alight the oil. He landed with a thud on the billboard and, to his advantage The wooden frame beneath it held his weight and he violently tipped away from the bridge.

    The landing plunged his head ten to twenty centimetres under the water's surface and he quickly closed his eyes, shut his mouth tightly, and slammed down on the billboard, moments before his face was submerged beneath the water. He held the orb up in the air as high as possible and fought the urge to lean upright, as it would pivot the billboard to too much of an angle sending him into the solution which would seal his life forever beneath the thick oily liquid.

    He waited, allowing the billboard to level out before he rose his head to the surface. Few seconds felt like minutes and at the point of releasing his head from the water he inhaled deeply, instinctively wiped his eyes and surveyed his position. He wiped the oil away from face with the sleeve of his left hand and checked the orb for oil. It was clean enough to continue so he didn’t attempt to clean it. Another huge crack echoed across the lake as the final rope snapped, plunging the final half of the bridge deep into the water. The release of the tonnes of concrete summoned a mighty wave from the water and he hastily fastened himself around the billboard by wrapping his already soaked legs around underneath the wooden frame. The wave picked him up and dragged him across the lake, although only a few metres. He settled, leaving twenty to thirty metres travelling distance from him to Benevaar and about seventy to Orroway. The WRACCs were now cheering and hurtling stuff at him from where the bridge was once proudly suspended.

    Those bastards, he thought as he checked his sword, which was now covered in a thick layer of oil. He ignored it, as he expected it would get another coating before he was off the billboard and oil would probably be rather painful on a wound. He withdrew his legs from around the billboard, lay down on his back, held the flame-orb high above his head and began to kick his feet. He picked up speed and began moving towards Benevaar, as Orroway was much too far away at this time. Making sure he avoided the projectiles of concrete from the bridge's broken edge being thrown by the WRACCs, Jarkal headed towards the land.

    The light from the flame-orb flickered, and shone brightly across the expansive river. It continued to burn away at his palms until he had to switch the hand he held it in. He eventually arrived near the edge of the river, roughly ten metres away from land and he needed to make sure he could get there before the WRACCs could. Luckily they were occupied by throwing stuff from their previous location and were dumb enough not to realise the situation properly. He kicked harder than ever as what was happening dawned on him.
    ‘Get to land and you will have a higher chance of living…’
    The orb seemed to mimic his thoughts as it shone brightly, as if in recognition of his thoughts. He reached the rocky edge of Benevaar and clambered onto the water-logged mossy beach. He decided it would be a good idea to part from his coat, as it was soaked in oil and would only weigh him down. He climbed up the small earthy ridge separating the lake from the city, crawled over behind a large brick building and collapsed behind a small wooden crate, surrounded by parcels and small boxes of fruit. He checked the flame-orb, glaring forwards at the blinding light shining from it, and rubbing it with his clean right sleeve, making sure it was free of oil before he continued.

    He hoisted himself up onto his fatigued legs and crept up against the wall of the building. He slid across the coarse brickwork of the building and carefully waited along the end of the wall. He peered around the corner and looked across the roads before him. There appeared to be no sign of WRACCs anywhere, so he crept out from his position and stealthily snuck up to a house. He opened the polished oak door slowly, to draw out the creak of the door to a less noticeable screech. He darted inside and slowly closed the door behind him.

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part III: Refreshed ---

    He grasped at the air around him and searched for a lightswitch where one usually expects one, in the corner of the room, but failed to find it. He didn't really need any lights shining though, as the blinding light from the flame-orb shone into every corner of the brightly enlightened living room. He placed the orb on a desk in the corner of the room and hid it delicately behind a roughly organised pile of books, making sure people passing by couldn’t see it, particularly WRACCs. He explored the rooms of the house, checking for necessities and what he needed, as this may be the last place he stops at for days, possibly even weeks. He returned to the living room and grabbed the orb. He took it with him into the next room he'd found and placed it on a nearby bench.

    He'd found the bathroom and a shower was in his top priorities list. He pulled off his clothes, which had become sticky and thickly clogged with oil. He no longer had any use of them So he carelessly threw them into a corner and watched as the oil slowly ran between the cracks in the tile flooring. He turned on the taps carefully and adjusting the temperature to his liking. The oil excreted out from his skin and thick black hair, which matted down to reach his shoulders. He rubbed the oil off his body and almost felt his skin praising him as it felt the familiar air rush past it once again. The thick black liquid poured down the shower drain and, no longer sticky, he stepped out of the shower. There was no time to relax.

    He opened a cabinet in the next door to the right, which he had discovered earlier to contain towels, and dried himself off. He wrapped the towel tightly around his waist, grabbed the flame-orb and stepped out into the hallway. He continued to search the small house and discovered a bedroom. He began to search the drawers for suitable clothes that would fit him. Luckily, the room belonged to, supposedly, a boy in his late teens with a large build, so the clothes fit him reasonably well. He searched for dark clothes, preferably black, as keeping shadow-like would be an advantage for his current mission.

    He found a loose-fitting black top, which fit perfectly and a pair of dark blue faded jeans he found in the bottom drawer. He donned a pair of black school shoes and some grey school uniform socks, which would have to do at the moment, although, the socks wouldn't be seen beneath the jeans.

    Satisfied with his newly acquired attire he returned to the bathroom where he cleaned the oil off his sword sheath and strapped it on, around his waist. He cleaned off the handle of his sword too but left the blade oil-stained to provide extra sting for his enemies. He deposited it into its sheath and grabbed the flame-orb. He needed a secure place for this.

    A ball was just a bit bigger than a golf ball, which could fit in the pocket of his jeans, though a more secure place would be preferred. There was nowhere else secure he could think of where he had secure possession of it at all times so he slipped it into the pocket of his jeans and made his way to the door of the house. It was then that he noticed the muffled voices outside the building, which sounded like a small gathering had taken place.

    He grabbed the doorknob and slowly creaked the door open. He peered out the small gap and his eyes fell on the ten to twenty unidentifiable figures standing in a large circle, just meters away from where he had escaped the oily grasp of the lake. He toned his senses to the arrangement’s conversation and managed to catch a decent portion of the conversation, or at least the end of it.

    "...The hell poured that oil in the lake?"
    "I heard a pipe ruptured up north and the oil travelled south"
    "And who destroyed that pipe, exactly?"
    "Well, some members of my squad bu-"
    "Who's responsible for your squad?" He yelled back.
    "Me, but-"
    "So get them under control!"
    "Yes, Sergeant Harris."
    "Do you realise, because of this we can't send our troops north towards Arlam?"
    "Oh, shit, you're right..."
    "How the hell are we supposed to work our way around that!"
    "I don't know sir."
    "Do you remember why I made you a squad leader, Hughes?"
    "Yes, sir, because I was reliable and dedicated to my position-"
    "Right, but you have the logic of a bloody pigeon!"
    After an awkward silence Sergeant Harris sighed and continued to speak.
    "Alright, this area seems desolate enough, almost perfect for setting up a base, don't you think?" He unsheathed his sword and scratched at the dirt at his feet. Hughes paused for a moment before replying.
    "Would you like me to search the village?" He questioned nervously.
    "You?" He retorted, "I have a great crew right here, isn't that right, men!" A cruel echo rumbling around the houses surrounding them as the dozen soldiers who had remained quiet until this moment cried out a deafening chant, which they must have been taught during training.
    "That's what a squad is meant to sound like, Hughes." Stated Sergeant Harris, as he sheathed his sword once again, "So… Did you hear of that Jarkal fellow who died on that bridge?"
    "No, sir."
    "Well I did. Apparently your squad destroyed the bridge and-"
    "My squad did what!"
    "Don't interrupt me! They destroyed the bridge and harassed Jarkal from the water's edge."
    "I wasn't told of that"
    "I bet you weren't. It was a disgrace! Immature! Childish! I would expect better from your soldiers!"
    "Sorry sir, it won't happen again."
    "Oh, I know that, there's only one route to Orroway and Jarkal is dead."
    "Is this the same Jarkal who took head of the PDB and resigned to help the people of Benevaar?"
    "Do you know any other Jarkals, Hughes?"
    "Good point."

    ‘Something is going to happen soon, and I'm sure I should stop It,’ thought our newly identified hero, Jarkal, from behind the door. He slowly slid the door open and slid out into the darkness, shutting the door behind him silently.

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part IV: Sting ---

    "Sir, should I lead your men in their search?"
    "Hah! I'll just send them off. They'll be fine."
    Jarkal crept in and out of the shadows, taking cover under anything he could find. He slowly, but stealthily, crept up behind the one known as Hughes and ran his fingers across the sheath of his sword. He grasped the handle and slid the sword out of it's sheath.

    "Okay, sir," Said Hughes, "I'll go onward towards Arlam and tell them the troops are delay-" Suddenly the sharp oily blade plunged into his abdomen, leaving a thick layer of oil in the wound. A flash of light shimmered off the sword before it was cruelly withdrawn back out from behind. Hughes fell to the ground and cried out in pain trying to scrape the oil away from the gash, but failing miserably, as scratching at it merely rubbed the oil in further. It was like no other pain he had felt in his life. He groaned, fell on his stomach and crumpled to the muddy ground below.

    Sergeant Harris dropped down to his knees and turned the lifeless body over and looked into his recent co-commander’s empty eyes. The soldiers, who until now had been standing perfectly still in formation, had begun to attack, making sure that Hughes' death was avenged. This gave Sergeant Harris time, as he examined the sharp oily cut stabbed through Hughes' stomach with his face displaying a look of disgust, curiosity and anger displayed across his face.

    "Bloody hell…" He muttered and looked up, just in time to avoid vicious slash of the blade slicing directly at his neck. Harris rolled over and quickly ascended to his feet. He grasped at his gun holster and slid his hand across the top to withdraw his gun, but it had been removed. The surprised soldiers instinctively reached for their guns and, like Harris, their guns had been removed. Jarkal stretched out his arm and displayed the gun proudly, flashed it to Harris, slipped it into the right pocket of his jeans. He knelt down and avoided one of Harris's soldiers who had foolishly run at him flailing his fists around in a windmill-like motion. Jarkal slashed the sword through the air and sliced off its hands with one clean slash, leaving two blood and oil stained wounds. The soldier screamed out in pain and retreated to the pack. Jarkal straightened his sword and pointed it towards Harris menacingly.

    "Jarkal... I heard you died?" Growled Sergeant Harris, as he wiped the dirt off his knees, which he had accumulated on his knees.
    "Oh, I don't think you have a reliable source, Harris." Smirked Jarkal, as he slowly walked up to Harris, and pressed the tip of his sword against his throat, "As you can see it appears that my body is standing here in front of you, as lively as ever..."
    "Is that oil?" Harris exclaimed, eyeing the sword suspiciously and recollecting the thoughts of the extreme pain Hughes and his soldier felt he decided that question had already been answered. Jarkal smiled slyly and ignored the question anyway.
    "So, you thought you'd destroy this city eh?" Said Jarkal, "I heard you're planning on taking Arlam too, are you?"
    "I can't tell you th-" Began Harris, but he was cut off by Jarkal's blade, which had been twisted, leaving a small circular cut on his neck. Harris inhaled heavily and continued.
    "Yes, we are."
    "Then tell me, what is your plan of action?" Inquired Jarkal, sliding his sword down to Harris' sternum where he pressed his sword in the gap between the sergeant’s ribcage.

    Suddenly one of the soldiers leapt out from his orders and tackled Jarkal to the ground. Harris ordered the soldiers to destroy Jarkal before fleeing off like a coward into the desolate village and the darkness that surrounded it. Jarkal twisted his sword around himself in a circular motion, making a clean slice along the back of the offender's neck, who crumbled on top of him.

    He threw the deceased soldier aside and lifted himself to his feet. The soldiers began to run forward, and Jarkal countered their attack by executing a perfect slide across the dusty ground and slicing the feet of two of the opposers. They collapsed to the ground, clutched their newly developed stumps and screamed. Jarkal silenced them with a slice of the sword and he leapt back up to his feet, placing a nice uppercut into a soldier's jaw, slicing his face down the centre. The lifeless body crumpled to the ground as Jarkal rammed the handle of his sword into another's neck. The soldier cried out in anguish and threw his arms out in front of him as a futile attempt to defend himself. Jarkal ran the sword around in an arc across his shoulders, dismembering his arms and replacing his head with a large bloody stump. Jarkal exhaled and dropped to his knees. The final five men were slowly retreating backwards, stepping back slowly, searching for their guns around the area and trying to hide their fear.

    "Stop!" Yelled Jarkal in a menacingly loud voice, which would stop anyone who had common sense. Jarkal withdrew the gun from his pocket and pointed it amongst the opposers.
    "Now I could save five nasty deaths today, although, I have no bloody idea why the hell I should." One of the soldiers swallowed hard and glanced among the other men, somehow expecting some sort of plan to come to his mind. Jarkal continued.

    "You're good men, it seems," Tested Jarkal, "as a good man could understand what it can and can't defeat. You saw that I was much too powerful to defeat, and you backed off like any logical person would do, right?"
    One of the soldiers let out a slight cough of disapproval and looked at the other soldiers, who were standing there silently, obviously damn scared of the situation they were in. He regretted the reaction had given but it was too late to apologise once the bullet had pierced through his temple and plunged deep into his brain. His eyes rolled back and his body fell limply at the feet of his allies. The soldiers stood tall and disguised their shock with a black stare.

    "So tell me, what exactly is your motive, Wracks?" inquired Jarkal, using the nickname everyone had grown used to, as pronouncing each letter as part of an abbreviation could waste time and, in recent situations, lead to death, as five syllables can often take longer than the time you have.
    "Umm, it's a long story but-" Began one of the four, but was cut short.
    "Well then, I want to hear all about it." Snarled Jarkal, who was desperate to discover what they really want and hid his excited interest with a violent and strong appearance.
    "Come on, we're going into this house, no exceptions."

    Jarkal ushered them across the street to a random house, which was locked, although a padlock meant nothing to Jarkal as he cut the rusty padlock off it's bindings with a single slice. He opened the door and the four men slowly entered the room. Jarkal took a final glance at the war-torn village, followed them in and pulled the door shut behind him.

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part V: History Lesson ---

    The weapons of the four men were dropped onto a small leather stool in the corner of the room and Jarkal beckoned for them to sit down in front of him. They did as instructed, grabbing some stools from across the room and placing them in a line in front of Jarkal. The sword held in his tight grasp was enough to make four unarmed soldiers do anything.

    "So," Began Jarkal, "I'm sure you have a great tale to tell me. Let's start with the Wracks in general. What exactly are 'Wracks'?"
    The soldiers hesitated for a moment. The history of the WRACC was a well-kept secret of their clan. Luckily Jarkal had been left with some nervous and new men to their forces. They hadn't finished their training, nor had they learnt one of WRACC's biggest laws, 'Do not surrender or show weakness to your opponent." That law was followed by a lot of 'inspirational' sayings and orders that brainwashed the recruits into thinking that everything they do, they do for the good of the world.
    "Well?" Emphasised Jarkal with a strong and cruel undertone, which managed to persuade one of the soldiers to speak.

    "The WRACC has a very long history..." Began the soldier furthermost to the right. He rocked on his stool slightly, which was missing a leg, and continued, "Our founders originate from the village of Wirchaur when the Distirian tribe invaded them years ago, which you should be familiar with."

    He was. Jarkal had lived at Wirchaur for fourteen years of his live as he grew up, before he left to avoid the Distirian tribe's invasion. He had no idea that the WRACCs had been organised from way back before the Distirian invasion so he listened intently, eagerly awaiting more details, while still only showing the menacing and strong appearance so no weakness could be recognised.

    "The Distirians won the battle and claimed our village but they were completely unaware of the Wrack's deep underground cavern where the people who were close to the original Wrack followers, or those forced by them, were hidden, along with a food supply which would last for years. There was a lot of supplies and room for massive development." The soldier cleared his throat again, glanced nervously at Jarkal's oil stained weapon and continued.

    "What they made was amazing. I was only a small boy when the development began so I was lucky enough to see the complete process of it's creation. The founders of our cult were reliable leaders. They cared for each and every one of the people in the cavern and were like living saints, until they went wrong."

    The soldier stopped again, to think about how to say what he was about to say and as he did this he quickly looked over at the silent glares of the other three soldiers. Jarkal tapped his sword to recapture the soldier's attention. He was cooperating well and Jarkal didn't want his progress to change pace.

    "The leaders were acting strangely. They knew that the Distirian people had found the entrance to their only escape route. The rest of the cult was curious when they were ordered to make another escape but they did, as they had a lot of respect for them. The leaders slowly brainwashed the people into thinking that the world was impure and that the people above the earth were corrupt and disturbing beings, which half of them were at that time.”

    “They told the people that their only hope was to destroy everyone above the ground and recreate the world in their image. The villagers had grown onto the leaders and took their word as if it was the unwritten law, so naturally, they did as they were told. The second escape route was developed and the soldiers exited through there. They took back control of Wirchaur and continued to destroy any opposing tribes."

    "Their enemies were now dead and they had no opposition, but yet they still felt the fear of being hunted on and captured or killed. They lived in their village for a couple of years and redeveloped it into a strong fortified city with almost impenetrable granite walls surrounding them. At some point - I can't remember when because I was relocated up to Arlam for training - the leaders commanded attack on everything. Literally. He sent soldiers out in all directions to kill anything living human they could find and take control of their dwellings. This was all part of his plan to fix everything, by removing anything that could 'break' his train of though, which was leading towards a world of no evil."

    The soldier paused for a moment, looking up at the window across the room anxiously.
    "What is it?" Questioned Jarkal, who glared over towards the window too.
    "Umm, nothing," Replied the soldier, "I thought I saw something move outsi-" His words were interrupted by the rain of bullets which poured through the window into his face from the armed figure hidden beneath the thick shadow of the cloud. The bullets shot past and tore through the other three soldiers’ flesh and plunged deep into their vital organs, sending them to the ground, collapsing where Jarkal once sat.

    Jarkal had slipped away from his position and quickly hid himself in the furniture's shadows. The man outside had walked up to the window and peered inside, staring down at the four lifeless men beneath the windowsill. A strong gust of wind swept his hood away from his face revealing his broad smirk spread across his face. He looked up towards the room and spoke out to Jarkal.
    "Come on out Jarkal." He beckoned menacingly, "I know you're here."

    He wasn't. The man's words were enough to hide the almost silent creak of the tiny window in the bathroom and Jarkal slid through with ease. He dropped down to the ground below and crouched down still, waiting for any sign that the man had noticed. He took the man's muffled voice from inside as a hint that he hadn't so he stood up against the wall.

    He had nowhere to go but a quiet place somewhere in the village would have to be the best option. He hadn't had a decent sleep for months and he decided this must be his chance. He picked his sword up from the ground, where he had dropped it as he climbed out from the bathroom, and returned it to his sheath. Satisfied with his progress he darted off into the nearest shadows and slipped off deep into the streets of the empty town.

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part VI: Visitors ---

    Jarkal's morning begun with a loud echoing bang, alerting his senses and, by instinct, he quickly sat upright. He quickly reached out and grabbed his sword, and pulling it defensively to his chest he waited. He stared out the window towards the noise, although there was no sign of any source of it. The noise sounded distant and from the north, meaning Arlam was probably in a lot of trouble. Even the distance couldn't dampen the true effect of the loud explosion, giving Jarkal the feeling that not even distance could protect him from danger. He settled back down in his bed, lulling himself further into his sleep by his thoughts floating around his head, influencing every decision he has made, and those that are still to come.

    After some time of reflection he glanced out the dirty stained window of his temporary shelter and realised that lying down and contemplating wasn't the best way to use his time.

    He sat back upright and pulled the few blankets off him. He sat on the edge of the bed and thought of his options. He looked over towards the dresser and remembered his main goal. The light of the flame-orb shone through the small crack between the drawers, reminding him of his duty to return it to safety. He stood up out of bed and stumbled as his legs were still tired from yesterday’s mission. He slowly walked across the room towards the dresser where his clothes were.

    He had found a new outfit from in the wardrobe, in the room across from the one he was in currently in, which consisted of his black shirt he already had, a pair of scuffed black leather boots, the dark-blue jeans he had found with his black shirt at his last destination and some black woollen socks, which were much more comfortable than the grey socks he had obtained earlier. He completed his equipment with a large black coat, similar to the one he had worn over the last few days, although this one hadn't been soaked in oil.

    He pulled his clothes on and returned to the dresser, pulling the powerful object he was protecting from the bedside table's drawers. The light from it lit the room, showing every inch of the floor and providing a strong glow lighting the window, almost directing his enemies towards him. He quickly slipped the object into his left coat pocket, first making sure there wasn't anything that could set the jacket and himself on fire. There wasn't so he placed it in there and buttoned the flap over the top. Once again the room was darkened, leaving Jarkal's heightened senses to navigate the room, which he could manage fine. He exited the room and continued down the hallway into the kitchen. It had been a while since he'd had a decent meal, so the first thing he did was walk over to the cupboards. The fridge gave off a low humming noise, whispering to Jarkal that it was indeed still going. He passed by the cupboards, grabbed at the fridge door and pulled.

    The door opened with a welcoming squeak and the contents on the door rattled, drawing Jarkal's attention to them. There was a bottle of milk and a small container with about a litre of water in it, which was much more appealing to Jarkal than the milk, as he was quite sure by the state of the house that it hadn't been lived in for over a month now, meaning the milk probably wasn't in the best quality it could be.

    He grabbed the container of water and placed it out on the bench by the empty metal sink and continued to explore the fridge. His eyes settled on a small box that he soon discovered to contain eggs although, like the milk, they were not fit to eat. He closed the fridge, realising that if there was anything to eat, it wouldn't be in there.

    He returned to his container of water, stopping to take a mouthful before continuing to scavenge through the cupboards. He found a tin of baked beans that would definitely be at eating quality, so he pulled that out of the cupboard and placed it beside his water. He found a can opener in a drawer, which also contained eating utensils, so he grabbed them too. He found a pan under the sink, which he placed the beans in before sitting them above the lit element of the stove, which he’d lot with a box of matches he found, sitting on the windowsill.

    The beans began to cook and the saucy mixture bubbled and popped, wafting a strong smell of the meal into Jarkal's nose, reminding him of the taste he had been deprived of for the last few months. Jarkal grabbed the handle of the pan and brought it over to a table across the room where he had placed his water and set up a knife and fork to eat the beans with.

    He took off his coat and hung it over the back of the chair he was going to sit at and placed the pan on the table, not bothering with a plate as there wasn't really one required. He didn't need to leave the table in good condition as, like the rest of the stuff in the house, the WRACCs would just take it when they scavenge the village for essentials. He picked up his knife and fork, settled back into his chair and began to eat his well-deserved meal.

    He was about halfway through his meal when he was distracted by some faint voices from outside the house. He grabbed his pan and the fork and walked over to the window. He leant against the wall beside it and listened to the conversation outside. It sounded like two men and they sounded like they had stopped.

    "I heard he was in this house," Spoke one of them in a low voice, "I think if we snuck around the back entrance we could catch him unarmed with our AK47s."
    "That should work." Replied the other and ending their conversation they walked around to the back of the house.

    Jarkal was way ahead of them though. He took a final mouthful of his beans and dropped the pan onto the sofa. He quietly ran towards the back entrance and pulled his gun from the right pocket of his jeans. He slid up behind the door so when it was opened it would close onto him and hide him from view. His plan was to catch them by surprise, as he knew not even his pistol could avoid the gunfire of an AK-47, let alone two. His heart rate rose higher as they were taking longer than Jarkal would expect for them to take. He slowly moved from his position and glanced out at the empty doorstep from through the obscured glass window on the door.


    He held his pistol out in front of him and turned around to face the two armed men pointing their guns at his forehead, huge grins spread across their faces. They signalled at him to drop his gun, which he did, then he raised his hands above his head.
    "Look at him..." Joked one of the men, "And they said he couldn't be caught."
    "Haha, I knew he was listening at the window!" Mocked the other, "You clearly aren't as clever as you seem. Isn't that right, Jarkal?"
    "So far..." Smirked Jarkal. The two men looked at each other with a confused look on their faces. One mumbled to the other, which Jarkal's heightened senses could hear as "What the hell does that mean?" so Jarkal stood their smirking at them. The two men turned back at him and their smiles slowly slid off their faces.

    "What the hell does that mean?" Exclaimed one of them, stepping forward towards him and pointing the gun right between his eyes. Jarkal stood there and looked past the other ones shoulder curiously and mouthed a few inaudible words. The two men turned around suddenly and pointed their guns at the room behind them.

    "Wh- who's there?" One yelled out into the room, "Give yourse-"
    Jarkal had jumped up, tilted backwards and planted his feet firmly into the back of the two men's necks, silencing them, sending them to the floor. The two of them dropped their guns and landed unconscious on the floor, face down.

    Jarkal glanced at his knocked out enemies and laughed. It was such an old trick, although he wasn't surprised that they fell for it. He knelt down beside them and checked their pockets for anything of use. He found a key and a paperclip in the left pocket of one of the men and a dagger in the pockets of the other man. He decided to hold on to all three items, as even the paperclip could be handy.

    He slipped the paperclip and the key into the left pocket of his jeans and grabbed one of the opposers' AK47s. He took the AK47 and the dagger and slid them inside the coat so they were out of view.

    He picked up the coat, slipped his arms into it and pulled it over his shoulders, suddenly aware of how much he was carrying. All the small things added up. A dagger, a pistol, a sword, an AK47 and all the other small things really added to his total weight. Still, he decided it would be best to keep all of these items, as they are all extremely helpful.

    He double checked that he had collected all of his things and feeling the flame-orb safely buttoned inside his coat, he stepped out of the house, shutting the door behind him and walked onwards, towards the no longer existent bridge where he was earlier swimming for his life.

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part VII: Epiphany ---

    Jarkal stepped out onto the twisted remains of the bridge, which was only about a foot of jagged metal hanging off the edge of a steep drop. The water level had gone down since yesterday's pipe burst from the north and the water was a lot clearer than what it was yesterday. He stared out across to the other side of the bridge, looking out at the huge city in the distance, which he has been deprived of, along with his job, his family, his past and what he hoped for as his future.
    With the bridge gone there is no way to get there. …Wait, what am I thinking! It's a river!
    He stepped away from his position and examined the edge of the water looking for what he required.


    He ran along the water's edge until he found an area to jump down to. He readied himself then stepped out and fell down to the muddy bank below. He landed with a thud and rolled across his back to ease out of the fall. He got back to his feet and ran across to the small dinghy tied up to a post a few metres along the beach. He pulled out his dagger and severed the rope holding the boat in place, as the intricate knot that held it there was much too complicated than he felt like dealing with.

    He placed the dagger back into his pocket, pushed off the land and climbed aboard. He sat down on the wooden plank that stretched across as a seat wiping the small layer of mud off the top. He reached to the side and pulled out the small paddles Plunged them into the water and, pulling them backwards, Jarkal sent the dinghy into a strong forward momentum. He pulled the paddles back out of the water and continued with the long and boring process of rowing the boat across the river.

    The other side of the river had been drawing nearer now and Jarkal could see the rocky banks of the islands he longed to reach. A strong chill ran up his spine as he thought of what could've happened to his old hometown. His thoughts took over his mind and he almost veered off course as he was staring blankly at the bottom of the vessel.

    He came to his senses as the dinghy scraped across the rocks beneath the water. He looked up to see the huge wall of rock separating him from the edge of the city. He scaled the huge wall, noticing that the wall was at least 3 times higher than he was. All he had was what he was wearing, the dinghy, the sixty centimetres of rope it was tied up with and the natural human inability to climb vertical walls.

    He walked along the wall looking for something he could climb it with or somewhere he could get up but there was nothing. Then he had an idea. He returned to his dinghy and dragged it out of the water. He pulled it upright and pressed it up against the wall, making sure it wouldn't fall over and then he prepared himself. He jumped up onto the dinghy, and put his body weight forward so it didn't fall backwards. He paused for a minute before he slowly stood upright and, grabbing the wall for support readied himself for the jump.

    He crouched down and sprang upwards with all his might, pushing his arms upwards as high as he can and reaching for the top surface. He had miscalculated the height of it. He grabbed the top with his fingers and held on as if his life depended on it, although it didn't work. His fingers lost their grip on the soggy grassy surface and he dropped down onto the dinghy.

    He wasn't ready for what happened and his shins scraped on the hull of the dinghy as he landed back on to of it, but scraping it wasn't enough. He fell towards the ground, buckling his knees and collapsing to the mud below him. He lay there for a while grabbing at his knees and holding in the pain. As the pain began to drift away to a useless memory he stood up and took in a series of deep breaths.

    He walked up towards the dinghy again and pulled out his dagger from his coat. He jumped back up onto the dinghy and again, made sure it didn't fall over on him. He knelt down on the dinghy and observed the part of the wall in front of him. It was a sturdy surface made of tightly packed mud and small rocks. It was perfect.

    He looked down at the dagger in his hand. It was made of steel with a blade about twenty-five centimetres long and a handle about fifteen centimetres. It was almost perfect too. He swung back and stabbed the dagger into the wall about a metre above where the dinghy was rested. As planned the dagger's blade stabbed into the wall and the handle protruded from it.

    Jarkal stood up tall and grabbed hold of the wall. He raised his right foot and up and placed it securely onto the handle of the dagger. He jumped up with his left leg and balanced strongly on his right, grabbing hold of the ledge for steadiness and stood up straight. He raised his arm up and put his hands onto the grassy top. This attempt was much more successful than his last and when he jumped up strongly he could get his head above the ledge. He pulled up strongly and threw himself up above the ledge.

    He was there.

    He stood up, brushed the grass and mud off his coat and looked across towards the city. Everything here looked familiar and he navigated his way with ease to his old house and stood at his old gate, remembering the old memories that made him wish for his old life to be his current one. He pulled open the gate and walked down the pathway which he can still clearly remember carrying his furniture and belongings in when he moved in. He also remembered when he slept on it that time he accidentally locked himself out, which made him resort to hiding a spare key beneath the pot plant around by his bedroom window, as he didn’t want to relive the situation.

    He collected the key and returned to the front door and stopped. He looked at the key and observed the precise edge cutting on the end of it. His heart began to beat harder now as he shakily reached into his left pocket and pulled out the key he collected earlier. He held it up against the other and sighed. They were the same. He pressed the key into the keyhole and turned it. Hearing the muffled click sound, he turned the door handle and pushed the door open.

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part VIII: Spark of Hope ---

    The floorboard at the door creaked as he stepped across, bringing back even more insignificant memories to poison his mind. The hallway was empty, although it always was, so any change that may've occurred he wouldn't have noticed yet. He walked down the hallway and proceeded to the second door to the left. He grabbed the small brass door handle and gave it a sharp tug, as it's mechanisms had required for a long time after he had fallen on it, and cracked his skull across it.

    The door heaved open and Jarkal looked into the room and dropped to his feet in disgust. His mind began to spin around in circles as his whole world twisted around in front of him. The feeling of fonder memories had faded away from his mind faster than he had dropped to the floor. He held his head in his hands and in the first time in years, he wept.

    His whole living room had been torn to pieces and all that could be salvaged was ripped off it's position and broken or stolen by whatever sick people could do this. The curtains had a huge black scorch mark stretching across and spreading on to stain the wallpapers where an obvious attempt to burn down the house had failed. Whatever could be touched had been ripped apart and anything that looked precious had been burnt in a huge pile.

    Jarkal raised his head from his hands and let the few tears slide down his face and drip delicately onto the dusty floor. He crawled forward on his knees towards the pile of ashes where he could see his prized medals and awards had been burnt, leaving nothing but a few crooked metal objects and some singed pieces of paper.

    He brushed his hands into the ashes and a strong breath blew the ashes in every direction leaving the small pile scattered across the floor and the salvageable memorabilia remained. He began to search through the pile vigorously and searched frantically for anything, but there was nothing. Jarkal again dropped his head down to his knees and pressed his head against the ground.

    He cried out and yelled as if those merciless bastards were standing before him. He lay there in the foetal position and hours passed as he took in the events which had occurred. He realised what he had gone through and how pathetic his situation was and how his whole life has been a simple search and destroy target. He pulled himself to his feet and yelled out, fuelling his anger and darkening his thoughts.
    He suddenly realised the one thing in the house which had a chance of surviving could still be safe.

    He turned back to the door and stumbled into the hallway and dropped to his feet near the entrance. He pulled away the Turkish-made rug from the entrance and pulled the carpet up to reveal the creaky floorboard he had stepped on earlier. He pulled away the floorboard and dropped it down beside him, looked down and smiled more than he had for almost his entire lifetime. He reached his hand deep into the crevasse and pulled out a small wooden chest. He sat down on the floor and placed the chest in front of him. He carefully lifted up the curved lid and, with creaking hinges, he dropped it back behind the box.

    Pulling away the soft velvet cover of the box revealed an almost empty box with nothing in it but a few photographs and some old pieces of paper. He first grabbed the photographs and flicked through them, first at the one with him graduating from school, and then at the one of him achieving his black belt after his six strong years of learning martial arts in a variety of different styles. The photographs sparked his memory and he dropped the pictures back into the chest and pulled out the few pieces of paper left in there. Flicking through them he found the one he needed and delicately pulled open the crisply folded lines. He put it on the floor and pressed it down flat and skim-read through it, ignoring all but the information he needed. At last he found what he was looking for.

    "If you ever need any help with anything of these sorts, feel free to visit me at 24 Baker Street, Launceston"

    Launceston... Approximately 20 kilometres from his current position... Hell, he had to make it there, even if it meant travelling by foot. He found a pen sitting in a small tin stationary box on the bench across the room and scribed down the address on the underside of his forearm. The address was too confidential to let anyone see it. He placed the papers back inside the chest, draped the piece of velvet back over the memories and had an idea...

    He grabbed the small tin box from on the bench and tipped all the pens and craft knifes and whatever else was in there out onto the bench. He grabbed the flame orb from out of his jacket pocket and placed it in it securely. He fastened the lid on the top with a few rubber bands that had been part of the box's original content and safely placed it into the hole in the floor. Returning the chest back in the hole with the tin box, he jammed the floorboard back into it's place and stood back up on his feet.

    24 Baker Street... Those few words ran through his head as he buttoned up his jacket and pulled open the door. With a silent creak and a nervous cough he locked the door, hid the key and walked off quietly down the street.

    - ? ? ? -

  2. #2
    Veteran Enthusiast Bolt's Avatar

    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    ctf_Ash, but beating Joel.

    Re: Jarkal - UPDATED and DDV3 Reborn

    --- Part X: The Araphian Myth ---

    "And then I walked here to seek your opinion." Finished Jarkal, particularly relieved that he had someone to share it with, but also that Master Zhu was safe and available for him to talk to.
    "That's an incredible tale you have there," Sighed Zhu, with a smile, "I can see you have a lot of duty in your hands."
    "Correct, but Master, I was wondering if you had any information on the flame orb?"
    "I'm quite sure I do..." He began to stand up slowly muttering something to himself. He walked over to the large bookcase, his long blue robe's decorations scraping across the floor. Jarkal distinctly remembered him wearing that robe on his graduation day...

    "Master, sorry to interrupt, but is there something unique about that robe you are wearing?" He questioned. Zhu looked up with a look of surprise and stood there silent for a second before he spoke.
    "I wear it only on special occasions... It's my celebratory robe, only for the most important of times."
    "Why today then? What made today special?"
    "The Eye of the Gods was blue and at it's widest point. It's a sign of great importance."
    "The Eye of the Gods?" Jarkal questioned him, and he was almost certain Zhu had heard him, but Zhu had begun to walk back over with his finger placed down on a paragraph of words.

    He settled back down on his cushion and spoke.
    "I thought the item sounded similar to the one in the Araphian Myth, 'Fire upon Thysalys'.
    He turned the book around to face Jarkal, who read the paragraph beside Zhu's finger.

    The Fire upon Thysalys (p2752, ref: 4) is a myth dated back from the Araphian Empire in approximately 230BC. It was said that a beast like creature stormed through the city gates, holding high a blinding glowing orb, pressing it against anyone who stood near him, instantly setting them alight and leaving them to burn. The beast continued straight to the Castle where King Thysalys inhabited at that time and set Thysalys on fire. The castle soon collapsed, supposedly from the intense heat of the glowing orb. The orb has never been recovered to this day, as it was expected to have shattered at the castle's collapse.
    (See also: Castle of Thysalys)

    Jarkal sat there in silence, amazed at the accuracy of the myth and his situation.
    "That seems pretty accurate." Stated Jarkal, turning the book back around to face Zhu, who also had a seemingly smug expression across his face.
    "I thought so too." He replied, "And I find it amazing you found such a thing. I expect that the dark magic has begun to weaken since the original myth. That or the story was much over exaggerated those years ago."
    "Hmm, well it has been several thousand years."
    "Quite right, Jarkal, even the strongest incantations have trouble lasting that long."

    Zhu stopped for a moment, taking a small sip from his, until now, untouched ceremonial tea and offering for Jarkal to have some too.
    "So you say you have it hidden in your house?" Enquired Zhu, "Do you think that is the most logical place for that to be kept?"
    "I see what you mean, although I haven’t got many other hiding places to put it."
    Zhu gave a disapproving scowl but continued to sip his tea. Jarkal picked up his teacup and took a small sip of his. The taste was horrible and bitter, but strangely addictive, as if there was some other complex ingredient to alter the senses. He felt much more aware and now noticed several things he hadn't before. The small embroiled stitching along the neck of Zhu's robe, the slightly crooked kink in his nose and many other things that made him just seem more important and wise than he already was.

    "Your story is an interesting one, I give you that, you have made many foolish decisions along the way, but they seem to be due to unexpected circumstances and I see you have a strong attitude towards these Wracks, which I can't really blame you for... They are a horrible bunch."
    "That's correct."
    "I suggest the next thing you should do is to see if you can find more information about the Wracks. I, myself wouldn't have a clue about them but I'm sure with your strong and leader-like impression I'm sure you could get it out of someone."

    "Thank you, Master, but I was also wondering about Launceston," Began Jarkal, "How is everything here?"
    "Horrible really... That Ryan Evans fellow is running the place as if it's a prison and the Wracks are ruining every free moment we have in our town. I usually spend most of my time down here. I have supplies to last me a few years now, obviously enough reading material and I've sent in a notice to the PDB saying I've been required to serve the city of Arlam up north. As far as they know, I'm nowhere near here."
    "Ugh, I'll get my place back as soon as possible."
    "I'd like that, but for now, I think you should leave." Replied Zhu with a strong tone to his rough voice, "It's eleven thirty at night and it's times like these that are perfect for travelling undetected. Coincidentally, Kaqsen visited about six days ago and he advised me of high security between Arlam and Benevaar... You should watch your back."
    "That's a wise decision, Master," Replied Jarkal, "But Kaqsen was here? I haven’t heard anything from him in years!"
    "Nor have I, Jarkal, but he needed urgent help with a plan he was, err, planning."
    "Really, what was that sir?" Inquired Jarkal.
    "Your tongue speaks beyond what it has requested..." Zhu replied apprehensively, placing his teacup back onto the blue cloth and placing his arms in his lap.
    "Sorry, Master, do you know which direction he was heading?" He asked, not being so direct this time, "I'd love to catch up with him."
    "He didn't tell me that, which was a wise move. The less people you trust information to, the safer your location will become."
    "Well, I thank you for your words of wisdom master but as you suggested before, I agree, and I should leave before the sun consumes the darkness."

    "Let me usher you out" Continued Zhu, "I have a back entrance that may seem less suspicious than leaving a house that has been 'empty' for a few months now."
    He smiled lightly and stood up from his cushion. He walked over to the bookcase and carefully placed the Araphian Myths book back in it's original position. He continued to walk towards an empty patch of the wall, to a huge banner displaying some ancient runic proverbs. He slid it away to reveal a small door, which he opened, revealing a long winding tunnel.
    "It leads right outside the city. It's safe. You shouldn't have any problems. I'll come with you."

    He walked ahead down the tunnel and Jarkal followed him closely, observing Zhu's small hobble which, he remembered, had been developed long before he had taught Jarkal anything. After a few silent minutes of walking they reached an exit and stepped through it. The blue moonlight shone across the grassy plain they had emerged onto and the grass seemed almost a pale teal. Zhu stared up at the moon and smiled.

    "The Eye of the Gods will always watch over you and protect you throughout the night, as long as you seek it's help," He began, "It may seem stupid but I have put a lot of faith in the moons cycle. Not once has it let me down."
    "Thank you for your blessings Master," Said Jarkal and, with a bow, he set off towards the hedges surrounding the outskirts of Launceston and watched as Zhu slowly edged back into the tunnel. With a final glance at the moon he slipped into an opening in the hedge and disappeared from view.

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part XI: Arlam Awaits ---

    The effort of moving from one place to another barely irritated Jarkal, as he needed to do it so frequently these days and this certain trip gave him more time to reflect on his memories with Kaqsen, an old training buddy from years ago. He spent over seven years practicing and learning with him and thanks to him Jarkal had learnt many life lessons from his experiences.

    The use of cars isn't possible as the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere was excessively high and merely starting a car would put you in a lot of danger for a simple advance in distance. For these risks Jarkal and the other hundreds of thousands of people who lived in this area decided it was in the interest of their personal safety to simply use other forms of transport.

    After a long lonely walk back to Orroway, Jarkal decided it was best to continue north to Arlam and avoiding returning to places he was before, as it would probably lead to trouble. It was long after midnight now, but Jarkal continued onwards from Orroway and returned to his old dinghy he used to get there the day before. His dagger was still there from his last attempt at climbing the wall, so he pulled it from the tightly packed dirt and returned it to it's sheath, which Jarkal had left lying on the shore the day before.

    Pulled the dingy away from the wall, as it hadn't fallen over when he had used it earlier, and he dropped it back in the water. Returning back into the dinghy he pushed it out from the shore and prepared himself. He paddled back across the ninety to one hundred metre wide river, which now was almost completely oil-free, apart from the small layer of brownish liquid resting along the shores. He reached the other side of the river easily, and drew up to Benevaar quietly, parking underneath the remains of the bridge so he would be less noticeable. He pulled the dingy back up beneath the bridge and up onto the land so he could use it later if he needed to.

    Again, he was required to climb up a few metres of the cliff which separated him from Benevaar but the process of climbing up was a lot easier, as he had the broken structure of the bridge to use. Reaching the top of the dirt wall, he ran towards a few bushes and hid in the shadows for a moment before continuing on. The last thing he would want to do is be caught after all he'd been through. Using all the shadows he could find Jarkal continued to make his way past the city and onward to the northern exit, which led to Arlam.

    The walk between Arlam and Benevaar is a simple one. A thin, long winding road accompanies the Marlton River, twisting and creeping around the hills up through Arlam and further North towards Marlton, which is where the WRACCs are currently based, basically meaning it's nothing close to what you would choose as a holiday destination or even enjoy driving through. Marlton was irrelevant though, as Jarkal's objective was to reach Arlam before sunrise, a very possible objective if he tried. The walk was a simple one, as instead of following the river on the east side along the road he cut across a valley between a series of mountains to quicken his travelling time.

    Rounding a corner, Jarkal trudged across a small ditch where a rockslide had occurred, carefully placing his feet in small footholds to avoid slipping and making noise. He had continued for at least eighteen kilometres since Benevaar through bushes and ditches and a small light source in the distance warned Jarkal of live ahead. Jarkal stuck to the deep bushes and hid between the coarse bushes and roots which kept him hidden from view.

    He crept along the side of the valley, keeping his distance from what he now recognised as a small WRACC gathering, with tent shelters and storage crates and sacks. They were clearly planning to stay a while. Jarkal turned back towards the track and continued a few steps before stopping suddenly. He stood completely still, listening. He had heard something close...

    Suddenly a figure slammed into Jarkal. His vision went hazy and he blacked out for a brief second as he was tackled from behind swiftly above the hips and slammed to the ground. The figure was cloaked in a black hood and completely unrecognisable, although Jarkal held still against the wet soil as he recognised the cool kiss of metal resting upon his neck.

    "Thought you could just sneak away from the camp eh?" Snarled the voice, in an exaggeratedly hoarse voice - a technique Jarkal used often to hide his identity - "You have two choices... Struggle to escape and have this lovely steel dagger slice your throat in two, or you could come along nicely to camp and we can talk..."
    Jarkal opened his mouth to reply but was interrupted by the figure snarl, "Screw it, I won't let you make the choice."
    The last thing Jarkal felt was the feeling of the cool metal part from his neck and the concussing blow of the dagger's base slamming into his temple.
    "There we go..." Grunted the figure as Jarkal collapsed to the ground and blacked out, "Not too hard now, was it..."

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part XII: Camp ---

    Jarkal awoke to the shrill sound of a bluebird releasing a high pitched tune. He opened his eyes and lay still, first observing his environment, making sure his first move wouldn't be fatal. Above him was the bright green waterproof fabric of a tent roof and, lifting his hands to rub his eyes, he discovered he was carefully laid in a bed with a warm woollen sheet draped over him... Definitely not the hospitality he had expected. He sat up and looked out the opened entrance to the tent and noticed another tent about five metres away. That wasn't how the campsite was laid out when he saw it last night... The WRACCs must've moved him elsewhere.

    Jarkal sat there for a few minutes. He heard no conversations between soldiers or the clatter of weapons being dispersed, but the quiet slurp of a man drinking soup and the crackle of a fire's embers burning out. Jarkal leant forward onto his hands and knees and peered out of the tent's entrance. Jarkal recognised a few crates of the WRACCs supplies from their last camp base and noticed the figure who caught him last night was sitting in front of a fire enjoying his breakfast, with his back facing Jarkal. Looking back among the objects in his tent and realised all his belongings were never detained from him, but lying neatly beside his clothing, and beside that, a fresh outfit to wear.

    This is strange behaviour for the Wracks... He thought, but he pulled on the clean black tightly fitted clothing and jacket and noticed there was enough pockets and room in his the jacket to hold all his items, so he gratefully placed his weapons and objects safely into his pockets, feeling relieved he had separated from the flame-orb back at Orroway. He pulled on his boots, which hadn't been replaced by the WRACCs and stepped outside silently.

    He stood up straight and stood still and quietly, listening to the birds and silently inhaling the warm air. Breathing out slowly, he looked over towards the man beside the fire. He hadn't turned around yet or noticed Jarkal's awakening, so Jarkal took this moment. He could pull out his sword and stab it between his shoulder blades, pierce his vital organs and leave him there to rot, escaping easily, but reconsidered, deciding that getting some answers would be much more beneficial.

    He unsheathed his dagger and crept up behind the man, whose figure, at this point, he now recognised to be the very same man who had attacked him the day before. Jarkal knelt down directly behind the man and paused for a moment. The man let out a short yawn and continued to sip at his second cup of soup.

    Jarkal took this moment to knock the mug out of his hands and grab the man in a tight inescapable headlock. The man cried out but Jarkal's grasp held his neck far too tight, preventing any noise from escaping. Jarkal held his dagger up against the man's neck and pressed the icy chill of the blade against it.
    "Seem familiar?" Jarkal snarled mockingly, imitating the man's voice from the night before and holding back the urge to laugh. The man looked up at Jarkal straight in the eyes and stared back blankly. Jarkal stared back in shock and released the offender, dropping his dagger and falling back onto the ground, looking in awe at the man before him. After a brief moment as Jarkal gathered his thoughts the man spoke.
    "Sorry about yesterday, Jarkal," He began, "I thought you were a stray Wrack scouting the area!"
    Jarkal attempted to reply but no words came out.
    "Surprised to see me, eh?" Laughed the man, "Well it has been a good few years since we last spoke."
    "I-I talked to Master Zhu yesterday" Replied Jarkal uneasily, "He said he had spoken to you about a week ago, Kaqsen... Why have you only gained this much distance?"
    Kaqsen laughed before replying, "I'm not running away Jarkal, I'm fighting. I'm helping. I'm eliminating the Wracks in any way I can. You can't be telling me you are merely running from your problems? That doesn't seem like you..."

    "I'm not," Replied Jarkal, now relieved, but still shocked he was thinking of ending Kaqsen's life moments ago, "I'm on a mission to travel up to Arlam an-"
    "You're kidding, right?" Exclaimed Kaqsen, "You're bloody lucky I caught you now then!"
    "What? Why?"
    "Didn't you hear? They have thousands of Wracks surrounding the city boundaries, killing anything and everything that moves. You wouldn't be able to get within eighty metres before one charged at you and stabbed you in the gut."
    "Really?" Questioned Jarkal, "Well I need to get there, regardless, so any plans of entering?"
    "Didn't you hear me? I said you don't have a chance. And I mean that, even for the likes if you. They have twenty-four hour surveillance of the borders. There is no way in."
    "Hmph," Jarkal grunted disapprovingly to Kaqsen's opinion but took his word anyway, "So what have you been up to for the last three years? The last time I heard of you was when you were caught for trying to steal Ryan's motorcycle."
    "Hah, that didn't go well. I forgot those things still ran on Petrol..." He replied with a smirk. He knelt down and retrieved his cup from the ground and picked off the few blades of grass that had stuck to the rim and refilled it with soup from the pot hanging over the fire.
    "I'm sorry about the soup." Sighed Jarkal, looking down at the moist patch of grass which had absorbed the chicken flavoured quick-mix soup as if it hadn't drunk for weeks.
    "No worries." Said Kaqsen, "Grab some yourself." He gestured towards a small sack beside the fire, which Jarkal pulled a cup out of. He carefully filled it up with soup and, sitting down in front of the fire beside his newly found ally, the two spent the next few hours discussing what had happened in their lives.

    “And then I ended up being caught by some jackass who ended up kidnapping me and keeping me in that tent over there overnight…” Finished Jarkal with a smirk. Kaqsen replied with a sly grin and looked down into his empty soup pot. Placing his mug on a nearby stone and glared down at Jarkal.
    “Ready for your first adventure, eh?” Laughed Kaqsen. Jarkal set his mug aside also and stood up beside him.
    “I suppose you have plans, don’t you?”
    “Well not written ones, but in my head, yes.” Joked Kaqsen, “You know the camp I knocked you out by?”
    “Yeah,” Sighed Jarkal, “What about it?”
    “They have about seven months worth of supplies kept behind their biggest tent and I seem to be running low on the last loot I stole from them.” Began Kaqsen, “With another man to help me, I’m sure I could manage getting an entire crate, instead of a little bag like last time.”
    “I’m up for a challenge…”
    “Great, get yourself ready, we’ll leave in ten. It’s only an eight minute walk. Meet you back here.”

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part XIII: A Fair Trade ---

    “Righto. Let’s get going!” Kaqsen declared, once the two met and Jarkal was briefed on the situation.
    “Lead the way.”

    The two began to walk west along a track which slowly disappeared into a thick of bushes. Jarkal looked at Kaqsen with a questioning look on his face but Kaqsen just laughed and detoured around it.
    “The track was used by livestock years ago. The bushes and shit have well grown over it now. I just walk along-side the mountain edge, keeping cover as I go.”
    “Makes sense.” Approved Jarkal.

    The two of them veered to the left of the bushes and travelled along the sloped surface of a mountain for about two kilometres before Kaqsen gestured for Jarkal to stop and be silent. Kaqsen crouched down and crawled in behind a small shrub, Jarkal followed suit, keeping close and awaiting instructions.
    “See that crate to the left?” Whispered Kaqsen.
    “I’d say go for the one beside it… The lid is still bolted on.”
    “So is the other one.”
    “The other one is in the sun.”
    Jarkal sighed and crawled closer to the crate. They were now only about 10 metres away from it.

    “Why don’t we just kill ‘em all?”
    “Only of necessary…”
    They quickly ran across the flat area separating them from the camp and dropped down silently behind the crate they were about to claim, a metre in width, height and length. They crouched there for a moment, listening for any sign of the WRACCs getting up to check.


    Jarkal hastily positioned himself on the other side of the crate and lifted. Kaqsen lifted the other side and the two of them began to walk back towards the shrub. Suddenly Jarkal stumbled over a small rusty petrol can and dropped to his knee. The contents of the crate rattled loudly and the sound of glass breaking made Jarkal’s heart skip a beat.
    “Oi!” Kaqsen whispered desperately.

    “Shit, it’s leaking” Groaned Jarkal, “And I think I twisted my ankle.”
    “Screw it, get to cover, then whine.”

    The two of them quickly ambled over and carefully placed the crate behind the shrub. Jarkal dropped down behind it and examined his leg.
    “Got some ice?” He joked, before receiving a small whack on the back of the head from Kaqsen, who clearly didn’t see the humour in it.
    “Can you carry it?” He asked.
    “Yeah, I’ll be all good.” Replied Jarkal, standing up and testing how reliable his leg was. It seemed okay, aside from the stinging in the joint, which barely fazed Jarkal as he’d become familiar with pain.
    “Good work…” Sighed Kaqsen, “Something’s leaking in there now.”
    Jarkal ignored his complaint and they dropped down and together carried the heavy crate back to their campsite, with nothing but a few minor stumbled on the mountain slope.

    The two of them carefully placed the crate behind a tree, returned to the campsite and collapsed from exhaustion down by the burnt out fire.

    “What’s in it?” Asked Jarkal casually, massaging his leg into better shape, or more like convincing his mind that doing so would make it better, as it wasn’t really.
    “Hold on a sec,” Replied Kaqsen, “We only just got it. Let’s just cool off a bit. Put something on the fire, that’ll cool us off.”
    Jarkal smiled in recognition and kicked a small log into the centre of the fire. Small pieces of debris shot out from the pile and settled on the grass around the stones surrounding the fire. The small chunks of wood burnt out.

    All except one. One dropped down beside the box and settled in the damp grass. Not for long. The grass hissed for a moment before erupting into flames and sending a gigantic trail of fire across the grass and into the bushes they has returned from. The crate began to crumble as the flames steamed and burnt at the soaked wood. Whatever was in the box was highly flammable and set a fire along the dripping trail they had travelled across.

    “Shit, shit shit!” Exclaimed Kaqsen, “What the hell is this!”. He reached out desperately to a bucket of water and threw it across the box, effectively putting out the fire surrounding it. Jarkal bolted up and dragged the box across from the soaked ground and peered off into the bushes. The fire had spread a long way and from his perspective he saw the fire creeping up to the campsite along the track.
    “Kaqsen, look…” He said, contemplating what could happen when it reached the campsite.
    “Hmm?” Replied Kaqsen. He walked over to where Jarkal was and peered over in the direction Jarkal was facing. Whether he could see as far as Jarkal’s heightened senses was debatable but over the years he knew that Jarkal only reacted in ways like this during highly interesting occasions.
    “Look…” Repeated Jarkal, “Any second now…”
    “Any second n- What? What’s happe-”

    Kaqsen was cut short, as the explosion spoke for itself. The fire and smoke mushroomed up as, can after can, the petrol exploded, sending metal chunks, dirt and ignited petrol across the campsite.

    The thick nylon material of the tents melted away as petrol sprayed across then and burnt through the fly net and covers and settled on the tents contents, the kitchen and dining room canopy melted away and shrivelled up from the exploding gas cooker’s heat waves burnt all remaining food and shelter in the area.

    Structure by structure the site fell apart, leaving a few stray chairs scattered across the area with small spark holes burnt through and WRACC members writhing on the ground scratching at their wounds and clenching them to see what soothed them the most, although nothing they had remaining could provide that of their first aid kit, which made perfect kindling for the kitchen fire.

    Kaqsen looked on at the mushroom of smoke and debris shooting up in the air and laughed. Jarkal began to laugh too, but they stopped when they realised that the trail of fire would lead right to them and if they were caught, they wouldn’t get off with a slap on the back of their hands and a time out.

    “Quick, before we leave, let’s check out the crate!” Stated Jarkal.
    “Leave? I didn’t think about that just yet, but yeah, you’re right. Let’s have a look too.”

    Jarkal stamped out a small fire next to his foot and limped over to the crate. Kaqsen followed and together they pried off the lid. To their dismay, the crate contained very little, but it was all quality stuff. Backpacks, canned food, kitchen utensils, matches, first aid kits. The WRACCs certainly weren’t stupid when it came to packing right, or stealing from someone else.

    “Lets grab some of that.” Said Kaqsen. “Backpacks and all that. We can take more with us.”
    “Exactly what I was thinking.”
    They grabbed the backpacks and stuffed their newly inherited supplies in. Jarkal picked up a small belt and inspected it. Attached were about forty traditionally crafted shuriken stars. Jarkal smiled briefly before securing it around his waist. With a final look towards their campsite, they secured the packs to their backs and trekked off, northward bound, into the bushes.

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part XIV: The Gates of Arlam ---
    The sun began to set behind the low empty plains before Arlam, and darkness began to consume our traveller’s surroundings, as they walked onwards towards their destination. Like a blind man playing battleships, they were left to rely on their remaining senses to direct them towards their destination, although, unlike the blind man playing battleships, hearing and touch played a larger part in their situation.

    Kaqsen and Jarkal engaged in quiet conversation few times after the sunset, as sound played a large part in mapping their route.
    The rustling of the trees, pointing out obstacles, the shrill scratching of grasshoppers, pointing out bushes and long grass, the quiet shaking of the grass, when used correctly, painting a mental image in Jarkal’s head of the landscape’s shape.

    Jarkal stopped and held his arm out. Kaqsen brushed against it and took it as a sign to stop and stay silent. Jarkal tilted his head sideways and listened in the direction ahead of them. The northern wind threw the sounds towards them and Jarkal could hear the chatter of a populated area ahead, though, a few miles away. Jarkal faced forward again, and squinted forward. His eyes channelled between different distances until he could see as far as he needed to. The tiny gleams of lanterns and lights filled the black void, like stars in the night sky.

    Kaqsen waited. He knew Jarkal has seen and heard something, and longed for Jarkal’s inhumane senses.
    “Arlam…” Whispered Jarkal with excitement. They continued walking forwards until Jarkal had a clear view of the gates. Jarkal counted 17 guards patrolling the gates, all dressed in the traditional Red and Silver WRACC guard uniform. They clearly had a huge dominance in the area. Enough, it seems, to heavily guard the area, and most likely, countless numbers of members inside the city walls. Jarkal dropped down behind a moss covered boulder and ushered Kaqsen down with him. Kaqsen could still see nothing apart from the small specs of light in the distance, like glow worms but, like glow worms, the light they cast couldn’t illuminate the area miles away from them.

    “I need you to head to the west of the city walls.” Schemed Jarkal, “Distract them with some small clutters but don’t let them see you.”
    “You know I trust you Jarkal, but I swear I’ll kill you if one of them slices my head off.”
    Jarkal watched as Kaqsen crept into the darkness before he got up to his feet and sprinted off as quietly as he could towards the east side of the building.

    The guards were actually standing watch, which was different to usual WRACC laziness. Jarkal took this as their way of showing how superior this place was to the other locations ventured through. This was sure to be a challenge.

    Jarkal watched Kaqsen knock his sword on a rock a few times. Accidental or on purpose, Jarkal was unsure, but the sight of a practically blind Kaqsen wandering amongst shrubs hitting surrounding objects brought a smile to his eye.

    “Did you hear that…?” Questioned one guard to another.
    “That… Scraping sound. From over there.” The guard pointed a few metres off Kaqsen’s position and the other guards squinted into the darkness.
    “It’s too bloody dark!” Exclaimed one of them.
    “Whatever, it was probably just a raccoon or somethi-“ Cut short by a fierce thrust, Jarkal’s shuriken star twisted through the air, sliced a deep gash across the guard’s throat and embedded itself in another guards shoulder. The now orally-impaired guard grasped at his neck before taking his final breath and collapsing sideways onto another guard, who instinctively grabbed him under the shoulders to hold him up.
    “Marcus!” He cried out, as he carefully lowered his dead companion to the floor, before he, like his accomplice, collapsed to the ground and lay limp. The guard who was impaled in the shoulder was startled and pulled the star from his arm, cringing as the ribbed edges tugged at his skin. The kill count soon rose to seventeen as one by one the guards collapsed before the gates at Jarkal’s assault.

    Jarkal walked across to the dead and examined them. No chance any could’ve survived.

    Kaqsen emerged from behind a rock and joined Jarkal before the gates. He looked down at the deceased soldiers and spoke.
    “I suppose your plan worked then?”
    Looks like it.” Jarkal crouched down and wrenched his weapons back out of the wounded guards’ bodies and into his belt’s holsters.
    “We better get in now, before sunrise.” Stated Jarkal, “It won’t be long after that someone will check where their beloved fathers and husbands are.”
    “Gee, you couldn’t have worded it better,” Replied Kaqsen sarcastically, “but you’re right, let’s have a look around.”

    It didn’t take long for Jarkal to find something to climb up the wall. Together he and Kaqsen placed a long wooden plank against the stone surface of the wall and climbed up across the wall and onto a nearby rooftop. Luckily it was like the walls, made of stone, so leaping onto it wouldn’t stir any neighbours or inhabitants, even when Kaqsen slipped, as he couldn’t even see the roof.

    Jarkal and Kaqsen looked across towards the northern walls of the village, though Kaqsen waited for Jarkal to identify what the hundreds of glowing lights belonged too, as he couldn’t.

    “A castle.” Jarkal spoke.
    “Should we check it out?”
    The two of them dropped down from the roof and disappeared into the shadows of Arlam’s residential district.

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part XV: Inside ---
    Kaqsen grew more confident the nearer they got to the castle. The closer they, the more he could see, and he found it easier to concentrate when there wasn’t a risk of falling over into your own knife, or your ally’s. The lights of the castle illuminated the ground they walked on, so Jarkal and Kaqsen carefully crept amongst the shadows of the buildings, signs and other large objects.

    “Wait here…” Whispered Jarkal, and crept off across the street and into the castle’s shadow before Kaqsen could turn and complain at him.
    “What do y- Damn it!” Muttered Kaqsen. He hated when Jarkal left him dependant of his actions, while still keeping Jarkal’s out of harms way, but over the years that they had known each other Kaqsen knew there were two options. Wait or follow.

    Kaqsen chose the follow option and he slowly crept across the ground, making sure he didn’t cause any distractions.
    “Hey, what is your name!” Yelled out a solid voice from the left. Kaqsen was caught by suprise and quickly turned to his left to see a large man running towards him, pointing a pistol towards his head.
    “What is your name! Get up against the wall!” He repeated, as he stumbled up to him and, pressing the pistol to Kaqsen’s forehead, ushered his back against the wall.

    This clearly would have been a situation where he should have just waited for Jarkal…

    “My name is Han-sui… Master Han-sui” Replied Kaqsen, “I come from the South.”
    “Clearly. What squadron?” Questioned the guard, as he slowly lowered his pistol.
    “I don’t belong to a squadron, I-“
    “Imposter!” Interrupted the guard, shoving the pistol back into his temple, “all WRACC belong to a squadron, unless you are a squadron leader!”
    “And you have insulted one, imbecile!” Snarled Kaqsen, “Return to your post idiot, I wish to enter this castle.”
    “This castle? This isn’t just a castle, it’s the Regional WRACC Assembly Hall!”
    “I know that.” Replied Kaqsen sharply, wondering how much longer he could hold his story, “just let me in, I need to speak with the head advisor.”
    “You mean Mildrif?”
    “Yeah, Mildrif, exactly.”
    “Okay, sir, right this w-“ His invitation was brought to an end as a cabinet fell from the castle and crumpled on top of the guard, crushing him limply to the ground beneath a pile of jagged debris.

    “What the…?” Choked Kaqsen, as a rope of velvet curtains dropped down in front of him.
    “Kaqsen, up here man!” Jarkal peered out from a third story window and smiled down at him, “I got an easy way in!”
    “I just- He wa-“ Kaqsen took one final look at the guard and pulled himself up the rope and through the window.

    “Got you out of a tough situation there, eh?” Smirked Jarkal.
    “No, what the hell, he was about to let me in!”
    “Let you in? You are in. Now at least…”
    “Ugh, whatever.” Kaqsen pulled the curtain rope back inside and collapsed down onto the large sofa placed in front of the window.

    “The Regional Wrack’s Assembly Hall” Stated Kaqsen bluntly.
    “Is that what this is?” Questioned Jarkal, rhetorically, “Looks a bit flash for an assembly hall...”
    He glanced around the room, silently admiring all the expensive looking items stacked against the walls.
    “May be just a storage room, nothing seems to be in any particular order around here...” Observed Kaqsen, “Not the most inviting place to put all this stuff.”
    “Probably right.” Agreed Jarkal reluctantly, as he didn’t like being proven wrong, “We should check out the rest of the building, there may be something of importance.”

    The empty hallway showed no one but the lifeless paintings covering the pale grey walls of the castle’s interior, and Jarkal’s heightened senses of sight and sound detected no threats in the rooms nearby. The two carefully stepped out and explored the rooms, finding nothing of importance. The fork at the end of the corridor left Jarkal and Kaqsen to a decision.

    “Left or right?” Kaqsen glared out in both directions but the darkness hindered his line of sight.
    “Well, do we want to go towards the red velvet flags at the end of the right corridor or the pale wooden door to the left?” Said Jarkal sarcastically.
    “Right sounds promising.”

    The two reached the flags in mere minutes and Jarkal had underestimated the decorations to the doorway. The red velvet flags hanging at an angle across the door were definitely a feature, however the countless amounts of gems embedded into the door made of solid rock really made the royal red of the curtains seem as grey as the stone the ceiling was carved out of.

    “Pretty.” Whispered Jarkal.
    “Time consuming,” Replied Kaqsen, running his fingers across the symbols engraved into each of the gems, “Each gem has a letter. It must be an ancient language or a code.”
    “Nice, I’ve never been the best at either of them.” Joked Jarkal.
    “Neither, but it must be an important room.” Stated Kaqsen.
    “The lock doesn’t seem to think so.” Laughed Jarkal silently, as he slipped his knife into the lock gently and twisted. There was a quiet click and in the gap between the two doors a small bar could be seen rising at the turn of Jarkal’s knife.
    “The lights are off inside,” Stated Jarkal as he peered into the crack between the doors, “I think it’s safe.”

    Kaqsen slowly turned the doorknob clockwise, making sure any sound produced from gears and axels were drawn out and quiet. The door slid open with ease and the two slipped through the small gap they’d made and carefully closed the door behind them. Jarkal peered around the dark room, carefully looking at each corner and object until his eyes laid on a small chair in the corner and the one sitting in it. Jarkal flinched in shock and his eyes locked with the old and frail man’s empty eyes.
    Jarkal looked at him briefly, the man showed no signs that he saw him, it may even be coincidence that he was looking in their direction. The risk wasn’t worth it at this point.
    “Go back” Jarkal whispered almost inaudibly into Kaqsen’s ear. He began to creak the door back open and Kaqsen began to slowly move back into the corridor they entered from, but was stopped by the man’s husky voice, penetrating the silence and sending a cruel shiver down Jarkal and Kaqsen’s spines.
    “I can see you, Jarkal,” Stated the man, “I was expecting you to come, just not this early... We need to talk...”

    - ? ? ? -

    --- Part XVI: Family ---
    Jarkal stared into the eyes of the man, and his blank expression stared back coldly. Jarkal attempted to judge him and whether they should follow his instructions, but the man had something about him which drew Jarkal to him. Jarkal grabbed Kaqsen’s arm and pulled him back into the room, never parting his eyes from the man’s wise glare. Kaqsen stepped forward blindly, following Jarkal’s tugging and waiting for one of the two to speak. Jarkal broke the silence.

    “What is this place and what are you doing here?”
    “I’ve been here for a few months now and I still can’t answer that, I think I’m what they’d consider a hostage, but frankly their treatment is rather hospitalizing.”
    “What makes you so important to be a hostage?”
    “Not much really, I was attempting to find more out about the Wrack’s plans, they noticed me and stuck me in here.” The old man’s determination, confidence and personality clearly hadn’t deteriorated with his age.
    “Did you find anything?” Questioned Jarkal.
    “I want to know more about you first. I want to put a story to a name. I haven’t heard anything too interesting since I’ve been here. Grab a seat, I’ll get a candle.” He leant over to his left and picked up a candle from a small tray beside his chair. He placed it in front of him on the coffee table and lit it, letting the match slowly burn out on the rim of the candle.

    “Would the lights draw too much attention?” Kaqsen spoke up, grasping his hand around a small rope which hung down from the ceiling and tugging it lightly. Nothing happened and Kaqsen looked questioningly towards the man’s dimly lit face behind the slow-burning candle.
    “I think candles set a good mood,” Joked the man, “Besides, I don’t think the curtain opener would light up the room, it’s darker outside than in here. Kaqsen glanced up at the dimly lit roof, examined the thin cord dropping down from the curtain rod, released the cord and frowned at the faint light which gave the room and eerie glow.

    Jarkal had already pulled a few stools over from across the room and was watching the flame intently, presumably in deep thought. Kaqsen sat down on the second stool Jarkal had fetched and looked over at the man quizzically.
    “So why are they treating you so... Horribly?” Questioned Kaqsen sarcastically, running his fingers across the intricate engravings of the table’s edges.
    “This building is an important, almost sacred place for the Wracks; I suppose they want it kept that way.”
    “So why would they keep you here?”
    “They want a close eye on me. They think I’m the organiser of some interrogative group or something like that; they don’t want me out of their sight. I don’t mind it this way either, they’re exceedingly nice for what they think I do.”

    “You want to know about me,” Stated Jarkal, through their conversation, “so how much do you already know?”
    “I know a name. And that you used to be head of the PDB; that’s pretty much all I know. I used to live in Benevaar, you see. I moved to Orroway shortly after you left. Evans hasn’t got a clue what the word ‘privacy’ means. Orroway is much less interrogative.”

    “Well considering they don’t even have any security whatsoever” Muttered Kaqsen.
    “I’d rather have nothing than what I had.” Replied the man, “Oh yes, and I forgot to say. The name’s Victor.”
    “How long have you been here?”
    “At least 3 years I’d say.” Said Victor. He paused momentarily and glanced deep into Jarkal’s eyes.

    “So what happened to your family?” He leant back in his chair and sunk into the soft cushiony head rest.
    “My parents died in a fire when I was a teenager.”
    “Really? How inconvenient.” Muttered Victor. “I knew your parents roughly fifteen years ago... That must make you about thirty... fourty two?”
    “Close enough. How did you know my parents?” Jarkal looked quizzically at Victor, glancing into his all too familiar facial features.
    “Well, you may have noticed my eyesight is more accurate than the average human.”
    Kaqsen nodded at this statement quietly then spoke up.

    “There’s only two people I know with senses that powerful. You and Jarkal.”
    What are you, my father or something? That’s impossible, I watched him die.” Frowned Jarkal. “I’d never forget that moment.”
    “I’m not your father, but we’re close.”
    “My father was an only child.” Jarkal leant forward in his chair and glared at the man. Awkward silence filled in the conversation without the need for them to speak.

    “So you’re my uncle? An unspoken of brother of my father?” Jarkal looked Victor up and down. That explained the similarities between them. Jarkal continued to speak.
    “So why did I never heard of you earlier?”
    “I was the black sheep of the family...” Sighed Victor. “I was cast out when I didn’t pass the trialling.”
    “Trialling?” Jarkal sensed pain in his eyes. Not recent pain, but ongoing pain. Jarkal liked eyes for the reason that a person’s entire life can be seen and translated from a person’s eyes.

    “Your grandparents lived in a very judgemental neighbourhood... Everyone strived for the perfect family and only the best of children were accepted as part of the community. I developed slowly as a child, whereas your father flourished. He had the senses and talents at three years of age that I didn’t develop until roughly my teenage years.”

    “So you were cast out of the judgemental neighbourhood as a child?” Questioned Kaqsen, he never passed down the opportunity to learn about Jarkal’s past, he knew so little already.
    “Yes, however I developed the family traits your father did a few years later, Jarkal. It runs in the family, we all have the heightened senses and ability to develop faster than ordinary humans. We’re a rare kind and the only ones remaining.”
    “You make us sound like a species... But I trust you. We should get out of here.”
    “Get out of here? I suppose so, what have you got in mind?” He stood up slowly, and walked towards the window.

    “Go back the same way we got in I suppose. We should head back outside the wall and work our way from there.” Jarkal spoke the details from his mind as he relived the trip getting inside the castle in his mind and the three men stood up ready to head outside.
    “Do you have anything you want to bring along?” Jarkal questioned, eyeing the room and it’s countless priceless items lining the walls.
    “Nothing but this backpack.” Replied Victor. He walked across the room, reached behind a small shelf of books and withdrew a small leather bag. He slung it over his shoulder and stood beside Kaqsen.

    “Think you can keep up?” Questioned Jarkal.
    “You should be more worried about Kaqsen” He smirked as he slipped through the doorway and along the hallway.
    “How do you know my name?” Questioned Kaqsen, “I never told you-“ He cut himself off as he knew he wouldn’t get an answer he could comprehend and followed the two down the hallway.

    - ? ? ? -

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    Re: Jarkal - UPDATED and DDV3 Reborn - 12 and 13!

    Place Saver

    Nev: tl;dr

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    Re: Jarkal - UPDATED and DDV3 Reborn - 12 and 13!

    Place Shaver

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    Re: Jarkal - UPDATED and DDV3 Reborn - 12 and 13!

    Daaaaaaaammmmmnnnn. Very nice. +1 1/2 intarwebs

    Sig made by Transparent <-- awesome

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    Re: Jarkal - UPDATED and DDV3 Reborn - 12 and 13!

    I never expected it to be that long :O

    I'm going to print it out and read it on the bus

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    Re: Jarkal - UPDATED and DDV3 Reborn - 12 and 13!

    :3 I dont have time to read everything now but. Iam going to print it out and read it on my way to school

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    Re: Jarkal - UPDATED and DDV3 Reborn - 12 and 13!

    Damnit write more, I want more, its so damn good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Leonardo Da Vinci
    "Our life is made by the deaths of others."

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    Mar 2006
    ctf_Ash, but beating Joel.

    Re: Jarkal - UPDATED and DDV3 Reborn - 12 and 13!

    Hey, here's a printable version for you guys.


    Much nicer. I've also finished Chapter 14 too, so I'll update that here and on the main posts.

  10. #10
    Dedicated Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Re: Jarkal - UPDATED and DDV3 Reborn - 12 and 14!


    The story is logically unsound, considering apparently the bridge is based on the london bridge, made in 1970, (Wiki) and by then guns were already evolved, why did they use swords?

    Time line of swords
    * 1232: The Chinese who invented gunpowder (black powder) first used it in a weapon - gunpowder filled tubes aka rockets.
    * 1364: First recorded use of a firearm - shooter lit wicks by hand that ingnited gunpowder that was loaded into the gun barrel.
    * 1400s: Matchlock guns - first mechanically firing of guns. Wicks were now attached to a clamp that sprang into gunpowder that was placed in a "flash pan".
    * 1509: Wheel lock guns - wicks were replaced the wheel lock that generated a spark for igniting the gunpowder.
    * 1630: Flintlock guns - the flintlock did two things mechanically, it opened the lid of the flash pan and provided an igniting spark.
    * 1825: Percussion-cap guns invented by Reverend John Forsyth - firing mechanism no longer uses flash pan, a tube lead straight into the gun barrel, the tube had an explosive cap on it that exploded when struck
    * 1830: Back action lock
    * 1835: Colt revolver - first mass-produced, multi-shot, revolving firearms
    * 1840: Pin-fire cartridges
    * 1850: Shotguns
    * 1859: Full rim-fire cartridge
    * 1860: Spencer repeating carbine patented
    * 1861: Breech loaded guns
    * 1862: Gatling Gun
    * 1869: Center-fire cartridge
    * 1871: Cartridge revolver
    * 1873: Winchester rifle
    * 1877: Double-action revolver
    * 1879: Lee box magazine patented
    * 1892: Automatic handguns invented by Joseph Laumann
    * 1893: Borchardt pistol - automatic handgun with a separate magazine in the grip
    * 1903: First automatic rifle- a Winchester.

    In 1941, Hitler authorized the development of the V-2 missile
    In 1960, the first submarine to fire a missile submerged

    Sig made by Transparent <-- awesome

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