A Bleeding Dictator

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Starving, Jul 10, 2012.

  1. "Push the troops forward to the left storage, they'll serve as a great distr-"

    "Are you ridiculous? If we take them out now, we'll fall back and they'll advance!"

    "But if we can hold them off for an hour they can maneuver through-"

    "No! It won't work, they'll just send out mo-"

    "We need to work together here, a distraction could work-"

    "But taking this group will significantly lower our chances for survival-"

    Voices argued, day and night, in the headquarters at the southern city of New Joten. One of the many at risk of being seized by the clutches of the Dictator. The Dictator was... a force to be reckoned with. And that was wording it lightly. The man has managed to capture several cities and provinces, not to mention he has conquered every bit of the Tropics down south. That is particularly what had him at such an advantage, he had every resource he could possibly want or need in such a rich and exotic land. Not to mention after having captured tribes and enslaving many, he had an impossibly huge work force. His army... Pah, let's not even get started on the army. This man, whatever his motives were, was succeeding in leading his dictatorship. It was a pain to sit outside the room, just to hear their voices rise and fall in bouts of hopelessness and victory. But he was to be interrogated by these people soon enough. Until then he was under watch. Elijah was, reportedly, the only escapee of the Dictator's forces when he fled from his home city to the closest capital which could protect his life.

    They had a surprise attack launched on them. Everyone had seen the blimps flying overhead, thinking it was either just another airshow or just more foreigners on a massive tour. They didn't expect the bombs to start dropping. He himself was returning home from the open market, having gotten his automobile fixed, and expecting to eat lunch with a friend. Pity, that friend was dead now. He remembered coming on the highway to find traffic stopped, looking to the city he saw flashes of orange black smoke was beginning to rise. He did not, however, remember much after that. His memory was fuzzy. He thought he drove off the road and into the grasses and fields, trying to get as far away as possible... then, an explosion? There had to be a nearby explosion. Otherwise the whole right side of his body wouldn't have burns and scars from flying debris. It was nothing that immobilized him, but Elijah had spent the first month here in recovery, and it had taken him half a month to get here in the first place. At least, he thought that was the case. He snarled, leaning over with his elbows on his knees. His hands tangling in thick, black, and curly hair.

    The guard at the entrance merely stared at Elijah, wondering what in hell's name he was thinking about. He was a strange, sickly, and scarred little man. Didn't trust the look of this escapee one bit. He was a rather short one; barely standing above 5'4", he was no taller than a teenage girl. His overall skin tone made him look as though he hailed from the desert. Only one side of 'im was covered in loads of little scars and burns, making his skin a molted color over there at least. His hair on that side was shorter even, most of it had been singed off and it was growing back quickly. Overall though, Elijah looked ill. By his stature he was a well muscled man, but he looked thinner than what he should be. Must've been losing weight and muscle mass. The gaunt face certainly didn't help that image; hollowed cheek, dark bags under the eyes, pale lips. He'd been givin' a loose maintenance worker's uniform, dark grey in color, the sleeves rolled up and boots tied tight around the pant legs. Hearing Elijah snarl he gripped his gun tighter, pulling down the visor of his headgear. Last thing he needed was a maniacal short man.

    "We need a better detailed report on what happened to the city of Linden if we're going to try and recapture the place."

    "Well that's just it, no one made it out alive."

    "Wrong, we do have the only survivor, or at least the only reported one."

    "You heard the nurses, he has a very unclear memory. He doesn't even remember how he got here."

    "That doesn't mean he won't remember anything, he's the only chance we got."

    "It probably wouldn't even matter, chances are the place is up its neck in droids-"

    "We. Don't. Know. That."

    "Then bring in the man now, by Gods, you people need to take some action."

    "Well then clear the room, we don't need more than three people and it could be risky anyhow... Exit through the back please."

    There was some rather frantic murmuring and the shuffling of heavily booted feet making their way out of the room by means of another exit. Elijah felt slight relief that he at least wouldn't be interrogated by a whole committee. The door at his side creaked open. "Mr. Park? If you would come in please, we're ready to question you now," a man's voice from the other side spoke to him. Pushing himself up from the rickety chair he'd been forced to wait in, he stepped into the room. It was unlike anything he'd seen, that's for sure. A world map of a table in the center, devices foreign to his eyes and screens all about the circular room. The bright light from overhead burned his eyes, making him squint. "Mr. Park, please, have a seat here." The same man that spoke to him guided him over to the other two who were waiting, a single chair also waiting for him. Well, at least this one's padded, he thought. Sitting down he stared up at the three in front of him. Two men, one woman. Each in uniform of purple and gray. The center man, dark skinned and bearded was the first to speak, and clearly the one to question him.

    "Welcome Mr. Park, we hope your stay has been pleasant."


    "... You'd rather get down to business I presume."

    "You presume correctly, Sir."

    "Very well then. Where were you at the time of the capture?"

    "I was on the highway, coming home."

    "How far were you from the city?"

    "I guess about five miles or more, I could see the World Clock."

    "How did you know the city was under attack?"

    "There was black blimps flyin'. Droppin' bombs from overhead."

    "So this was a bombing?"


    "How did you escape?"

    "I turned off the highway, into the fields. They was chasin' off the vehicles when I got out of city limits."

    "Did you get caught in the bombing?"

    "I... don't remember."

    From there, things turned downhill. Elijah was calm and collected at first, but his anger was getting the better of him when he found he could no longer answer their questions confidently, or even answer them at all. The inquiry had continued for two hours of them repeating the same questions nonstop, at some point even questioning if he was on their side. He understood this was protocol, but Gods this was difficult to sit through. Eventually though they had been called to other duties. With the questioning finished, he was given order to leave. Though he was fairly certain they dropped a hint that they'd be watching over him. With this, he was escorted out of the building, the guard from earlier walking him through dim tunnels before coming to the outside world.

    It had become a military camp. Merged with the citizens that were left. Troops ran everyday, even in the rain as they were doing now. The people were often hurrying, frightened, looking away from the soldiers as they went off inside their homes to lock their doors. "Get a move on," the guard had grunted at him. With a scowl on his face, Elijah stepped into the rain, making his way across the street and to the nearest dry spot on the pavement. A mother and her children scurried away, her boys clutching to the thick skirt of her dress as she urged them to move along. He sighed, closing his eyes. This was too much activity for him. People running, people fleeing, men shouting, rain falling... Just everything. When he opened his eyes again, he stared back at the building he just left. The entrance now sealed off by means of several walls. The guard was no longer there. Pity, he'd have like to feign illness and be left to the nurses again.
  2. The night was fairly quiet in the chaotic city, the torrents of rain muting almost everything but the heavy strokes of the bell tower marking eleven-o-clock.

    Soldier's calls broke through the night at the west end of the overcrowded, sprawling city. With no discernible borders, tents and temporary shelters were propped against walls, in alleys, even in the streets to accommodate the streams of soldiers and refugees flooding in from smaller, less fortunate cities.

    It was in hail to another such group that the soldiers at the west border - that is to say, the westernmost place where the tents stopped - were shouting. It seemed to be mostly a group of soldiers, for they were all dressed alike and in the green steel plate armour which was distinctive of the E.C. Military, and they walked in formation as opposed to the ragged, more mismatched group of refugees which plodded along, heads down, behind them.

    Shayah walked in the back of this group, a heavy hooded cloak of dark canvas pulled over her head, and a sagging pack strapped to her back. The group came to a stop as the soldiers began running checks on the group - precaution against spies and invaders in disguise. Shivering, she shifted her pack with one hand and tugged her hood forward with the other.

    It had been a long journey to make on foot; the highways to the west being too demolished for contact machines, and any hovercraft vehicles having arrived days sooner, filled to capacity. Shayah had had to sleep more than once curled up in the edge of a crater, huddled with complete strangers for warmth; they could not risk a light of any kind, and many a twisted ankle and cut knee was to be had on the rough roads. Daring to raise her head just a bit, she surveyed the overgrown military camp of a city, soldiers patrolled and ran in formation everywhere, and the only lights came through cracks in otherwise sealed windows, and from the starlight’s glitter on solar crystals projecting from ceilings and walls; a modern source of heat for the rainy season that - even given the more pressing concerns at hand - prompted the rural girl's interest.

    The small village of Kiern in the hill country to the south and west was no longer standing, having been overrun by the dictator’s forces, but even when it was at its peak, it wasn’t much to marvel at. Mostly it survived on agriculture, sending its vegetables and animal products to the city with the transports that went along the highroads, collecting as they went. There was but one smithy, and all he knew how to craft were farm implements, anything that could not be carved of wood or shaped of clay had to be ordered in from a larger town, and highroad fees were expensive, given the cost of guarding transports these days. It had been a while since Shayah had seen anything remotely impressive that wasn’t used to harvest corn.

    A sharp word from a soldier snapped her thoughts back to the present, as the city guard had finished interrogating the soldier platoon, which was still being eyed with suspicion, and had started randomly questioning some of the refugees.

    Blinking, Shayah realized the speech – whatever had been said – had been addressed to her, and lost in her thoughts as she was, the soldier had assumed ignorance, which made his dark eyes flare with contempt from behind his visor as he reached forward and jerked her hood back.

    The rain gushed over her fair-skinned face, and she squinted her eyes against the rain, reflexively raising a hand to block it out. It was the most outstandingly forgettable face the guard had encountered in a long time, a rounded jaw line and a nose just slightly too big for a woman, dark eyes, no freckles, tattoos, piercings or birthmarks, and her chocolate-coloured hair was tied back.


    “Jade Lawkin”


    “Kiern. I sheared sheep.”

    With a grunt of satisfaction, the guard let go of her hood and stepped back, moving on to check a few more of the survivors while Shayah righted her cloak, annoyed that its entire point had been negated – her hair and face were soaked.

    It didn’t take long for a few questions to some other survivors, and then the guard tramped back to his place at the gate, and with a shout, the group trudged into the city.

    The military group tramped straight toward the barracks, though they were probably going to be disappointed if they thought there were spare bunks, and the refugees began to scatter; looking for family, looking for food, looking for a place to sleep.

    Shayah shifted her pack on her shoulders, and set a course through the streets for the nearest pub.
  3. For awhile, Elijah had simply stayed at a post. Said post being the wall of an apartment. The overhanging balconies his shield from the rain. And even then the puddles had managed to get him wet, the water crawling up the pantlegs of the jumpsuit he'd been given. The night air was starting to become humid and hot. A storm's coming. His thoughts were soon confirmed as a flash of orange lightning was to be seen in the distance. Revealing many towering and rolling clouds. Soon the rain would hit down hard, and nobody would be able to see anything but a white mist. And perhaps the glowing crystals atop the buildings. The soldiers began to dissipate, running to wherever their shelter was as they had guided the incoming refugees to their own. Elijah himself would've liked to be hiding in a dingy tent by now, but the thought of being caught in a storm in a position like that wasn't too pleasing. He'd have to try and find suitable living space afterwards. Maybe he could find a family willing to house him, so long as he worked for them. That was a rather nice thought, however also naive, and unfortunately chances are it wouldn't happen.

    Staring down at the crumbling sidewalk, he pushed himself off the wall (fairly certain there were now dirt spots on his back from it) and began to walk again. There had to be a place open. And though he didn't have much money, seeing as he had to scavenge for it in one of the E.C. headquarters he was just in, he was fairly certain he'd be able to buy a drink. Yes, perhaps a nice intoxicating beverage would alleviate his stress. Eyeing the shoddy buildings all along, he looked to spot a joint that would sell such a thing to the likes of him. He hoped there'd be a pub nearby. The business at the so called borders though may be taken up by the refugees and the like. Then again, he doubted that many of them had the money to spend there. With that he made his down to close to the western end.

    Elijah had his head hung for awhile, back to staring at the mottled and crushed concrete of the walk, perhaps even spotting blood here and there, until he heard the shouts of soldiers again. Though a storm was coming they had brough in another group. Appeared to be a rather big one, despite how far away he was down the road. He wasn't too surprised though that he heard the battle ready men from such a distance. Conveniently at this time though, he also spotted a pub to his right. Thank the Gods. He was a bit startled though, when he'd seen the creatures tied to the lamp post outside. They were the armor clad fowls of the tropics. The armor had been rusted away though, and the birds thin and old. It was a surprise to see them really. He'd only ever seen one down in the more southern regions of the E.C., and they were in their prime. Colored in bright purples and reds, their riders decked in tribal markings and equally bright furs. Shoving the fascination aside, he made his way in.

    The people were quiet and mumbling, the bar tender pulling at the levers above to drop down the drinks. Some had turned their heads to spot his burnt half, only thinking him another refugee (which he was as far as he was concerned) that had been caught in the fire. The hovering stools appeared to be breaking down, needing to be replaced with old modelled four leg ones such as the one he just sat on. Slapping down a silver coin on the metal counter, he ordered whatever it could get him for. When the drink dropped down it was a round jug, filled with a weak, brown, and syrupy drink. But never mind that it was so, he'd take it. With that, he took a big swig and settled his head down. A heavy sigh and a hand tangled in the shorter half of his hair, closing his eyes- he only hoped for the days to go by quickly.
  4. Shayah kept her head down as she made her way purposefully through the streets; as much to protect her face from the rain as to conceal it from all of the paranoid eyes in this city. This far south in the E.C. was generally accounted as safe, thus the masses of refugees fleeing here instead of just wherever was closest, but because of this the city was generally considered a prime target for the enemy forces. Any refugee, any mercenary, any militia soldier, could be a spy; and all it took was one leak to spoil the plots going on in the military tents.

    It was interesting, Shayah thought as she tried to ignore the splashes of hurried boots going past, the snap of the occasional stray, the same fear that had given trust to these people, brought a fellowship of provision between them, was also tearing them apart with suspicion. Eventually the warm glow of the pub rippled yellow on the puddles before her, and an upward glance confirmed the place was open and not just occupied as a living space by yet more refugees. How many people can a wounded land possibly bleed? She wondered as she crossed the street toward it; barely sparing a glance for the tropical fowl, her eyes locked on the muddy cobblestone.

    She shook the rain off her shoulders and pushed back the hood of her cloak as she entered. The place was surprisingly empty, given how many people would be driven to drink in these kinds of circumstances. This was not a wealthy city anymore, stretched thin with refugees demanding food, drink, shelter, and warmth; and to deny it was to leave them to starve and die.

    Shayah walked past all of the citizens who were - if thin and worn down - at least wearing clean clothes and drinking decent ale. She went to the bar and plunked herself down next to a young man in a strange jumpsuit; either an escaped prisoner or a refugee or possibly both. "Fall in a bonfire, mate?" she asked casually, fully aware that travel-worn and mud-covered in her seen-better-days cloak, she was not the picutre of good health herself. She raised a hand to wave the bartender over; she didn't have much coin on her, but nobody came to a bar just to talk; she had to get something, even if it was watered-down.
  5. At first he had ignored the fact someone had sat down beside him. After all, it was just another person here, why would it matter to him? Another long sip at the light concoction, and he was surprised to hear that a woman, or was it just a girl, had spoken to him. Elijah sat up, turning to face her. She was a plain looking woman, far as he could tell. She was rather dirty, her image slightly obscured by the filth and still dripping from the rain. By his guess, she had recently arrived, much like he had. He chuckled at her comment though, falling in a bonfire eh? If only that was it.

    "I wish... Got caught in an explosion... I think," He said, the last part added with a bit of hesitation. Every time he so much as mentioned it, an absurd amount of flashbacks played through his mind. Screaming, wreckage, fire, smoke, whispers. It was all odd, so he pushed it aside with another drink. He'd think on it later so as to get rid of all this disorientation. Much later. "I can hardly remember... We've all seen better days though, eh?"

    It was possibly the most rhetorical of questions. But well, now he had some company he supposed, with this woman. She seemed nothing special, hardly different from him or anyone else here, but surely there were interesting stories to be told all around. Though bars had now just become another place to drink sorrows and memories away. Pity, he remembered what was once the lively joints back at home, where reason to drink was just because they could. Now though they had probably been destroyed, if not serving the forces of the dictator.

    Running another hand through the shorter side of his hair, a habit Elijah developed, he decided why not strike a conversation up with this stranger? Might pass the time before he had to leave and find a place to sleep for the night. He'd rather not have this day carry out anymore than it had. And what better way to make time fly by than with words. "What's your name, stranger?"
  6. "Jade", Shayah replied, putting out her hand as the lie came easily to her lips. The bartender came around then, and eyed the second refugee with a measure of resentment - it was always a gamble with them, far too many slipped out without paying. Probably because most of them had very little to pay with. And anyone who would make a decent bouncer had been long since drafted by the military or pressed by one of the more militant groups running about.

    "Fizzing rum" she requested. Not the most extravagant of beverages, but drinkable, and more importantly just one wouldn't come even close to getting her into trouble. She followed the bartender with one eye as he went to the wall. Small puffs of steam erupted from the top of the wall of works as two bottles were raised on rods from the selection in the counter; a cup was set into a depression in the copper board as the ingredients were lowered to pour into a funnel above it. A pipe which ran along the base of the bar on her side began to vibrate slightly, and Jade straightened her legs to let her thinly booted feet rest on the warm steam conductor. She remembered once wondering how wise it was to have a vital componant exposed to where it could be kicked, dented, even ruptured if one of those hover-stools went haywire. Then she had discovered the wonders of sitting with a cup of ale in your hands and a steam-pipe at your feet on a stormy night: It was the closest to comfortable a person was likely to get, these days.

    Taking in the young man's appearance in more detail, Shayah kept her plain face straight. The hair on one side of his head was nearly scorched off; the jumpsuit he was wearing was unbecoming, but mostly in one piece, suggesting he hadn't been wearing it for a long time, he was dirty with ash and grime, but so were most people; even so, one could usually rinse most of the filth of the world off with a bucket and a rag; even if you had to do it with your clothes on for lack of privacy. He apparently either hadn't had the chance yet, or was at the point where he couldn't bring himself to care. Still, most of the details pointed to him being fresh off the road. Unless he had lived here previously, or the bombing he referred to had happened in a district of this same expansive city, he probably wouldn't have the news she wanted.

    Still though, never trusting the odds completely, Shayah decided not to abandon this person immediately, or at least not before confirming a lack of useful news.