The Aftermath

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by EquinoxSol, May 11, 2013.

  1. Finley walked in the shadows of the buildings, her steps as silent as possible as she strained her ears to hear anything at all. For the most part, the desolate city was strangely quiet, and that set her on edge. Fingering the handle to the knife she kept at her side, she glanced over the cracked street, biting the inside of her cheek.

    Normally, one could hear the sounds of the infected roaming the streets, attacking any poor creature they could find, and sometimes each other. One would also hear the screams of those they caught, the wet crunches of bones snapping and the gruesome ripping sounds of skin being torn from flesh. Even the memories of the last time Finley had witnessed something like that was enough to turn her stomach.

    Momentarily distracted by the sight of a banner hanging out of a window that said, "Alive here," Finley was considering going into the building and seeing if the banner was true, when an inhuman growl sounded behind her.

    The infection, virus, disease, whatever you would call it, twisted its victims until you could hardly tell they were human anymore. Most of the time, they would be on all fours, teeth grown to the size of sharks and rows leading all the way down the throat, so that once they caught you, you would lose a limb getting out. Their skin paled to an almost transparent white, and from a distance you could count the veins just underneath. If one was unlucky enough to not be killed after being bitten by an infected, they would suffer a long, painful descent into madness as the disease worked its way through your blood system. Once it had reached your heart, you would be unconscious as your body's DNA changed.

    Quickly turning, Finley drew her knife as she saw the infected, a black-haired monstrosity that must have been seven feet tall on two legs. Already muttering the words she would need to use her magic, she held the knife in front of her, challenging the infected to attack first.
  2. The dirty streets rumbled beneath his feet. It was dark, which was at least some sort of comfort since he could blend in just fine into a cloud of smoke. His wispy form shimmered in and out in the dark as he shook with fear. He could have sworn he heard snarling in the underbrush a little while ago, and he was terrified something would come out.

    The halfling at his side picked up her red cloak, keeping it from dragging along the ground and making noise when it rolled over rocks. "Are you close to it yet?" The shae shook his head.

    "I don't know," he mumbled into the dark. Bri focused on his mask, which gave her something to focus on when she looked at his almost formless body. "Just give me time to figure it out."

    She peeped over his shoulder and glanced around. The only thing she could see were trees silhouettes. "I don't get how you can see in here," she scoffed. "This is atrocious. How are we going to find the castle in this mess? You said you knew where it was. I don't see it, and I'm getting cold and hungry." She reached into her pack. "Oh, and we're only about halfway through our rations. It's been three days, Shae. Let's find this place and hole up."

    He glanced sideways at her, annoyed, and then continued through the darkness. The sooner they found it, the better. It wasn't as if they had to go very far anyway. He knew it was close. The problem was going unnoticed.
  3. As the infected rushed her, Finley finished the incantation, and the shadows seemed to darken and deepen under the moonlight. Glancing upwards, towards the roofs of the houses, she mouthed the words, "Light," before turning her attention back to the infected. Before it could get within biting distance, the shadows that had seemed to turn more sinister turned to fire, setting alight the infected and the grass around it.

    Silently watching as it screamed and died, Finley slowly sheathed her weapon, trying to ignore the sounds the beast made. When they screamed, they sounded almost human again. Sighing softly, Finley turned her attention to the figure that had suddenly materialized at her side.

    "You could've been a little quicker there, little brother," she said quietly, continuing on her path, aiming for the forest.

    In the darkness, the younger boy smiled, white teeth shining like a beacon. "I could've. But where's the fun in that?" Felim was about to say more, but a slight rustling to his left cut him off. "Did you hear that?" he asked, his voice lowering to a whisper.

    Finley's eyes struggled to readjust to the darkness. After being by the fire set by Felim, she was still trying to regain her nightvision, and could see only silhouettes. "Get behind me," she murmured, drawing her weapon.

    "No!" Felim shook his head.

    "I just need you to light fires for me, nothing more. Besides," Finley added, "I'm the one with the weapon." Raising her voice, she called, "Whoever's out there better come out now, before the whole forest is on fire."
  4. Bri pricked her ears to the voice. "There, did you hear that? Now we've gone and scared somebody out of their wits. That's probably who we thought was a monster a few minutes ago. Let's just show ourselves and hope they can tell us some directions," she stated flatly. Shae turned toward the voice, and decided to take a chance.

    "We may as well go," he said, "if only to keep fire from destroying the forest. Part of the reason this castle was a good idea was because it was abandoned and surrounded by trees no one wanted to traverse into."

    "Probably because they weren't idiots, and wanted to stay close enough to buildings and whatnot to find food and provisions. We're out in the forest going to an abandoned castle. I seriously hope it's just that - abandoned." The shae shook his head again, and made way for the voices he'd heard calling out to them. When he stepped out into a clearing, Bri yanked down the hood over her two glowing eyes, and remained in shadow. She only reached Shae's hip in height, and she yanked the cloak over her body for warmth.

    "Hello, we're not dangerous," Shae said, raising his hands in the air calmly. "Just passing through."
  5. The shadows cast by the moonlight seemed to recede a little as Finley muttered a cancellation incantation. Keeping her dagger in her hand, she narrowed her eyes at the man, trying to determine if he was in the early stages of the disease or if he was a true human or not. Most likely, he wasn't human. Not many people were anymore, and Finley couldn't remember the last time she'd met one.

    "You can't be heading to the city, are you?" she asked, curious. "'S nothing but bones and emptiness now...even the old lord of the castle got infected...Who are you?" she finally settled for, wanting to know if it was safe enough to put away her weapon.

    As a chilly wind blew through the trees, ruffling the forest leaves and making goosebumps rise on the skin of the young mage, Finley wished again that she hadn't been forced to sell her cloak to a caravan of traders in exchange for food for a week. Now that the food was gone and the nights were getting longer and the days shorter, Finley was seriously wishing she had kept the dark wool cloak.

    Felim stepped closer, past his sister, trying to get a good look at the strangers. If Finley hadn't cancelled her shadowspell, he could set the shadows alight like he had done with the infected, just to see who they were. But his firespells didn't work without his sister's magic, a weakness he often wished he didn't have.

    "My name is Felim, Hallowed by Fire," he said, trying to be amiable. Once, Finley remembered, he didn't have to try at all. But that was when they could both still remember their last name, and Finley had been able to protect her brother from most of the horrors of the world. But that time was long gone, and now it felt like every smile Felim made was strained. "What's your name?"
  6. "That's actually exactly where we're going," Shae said with a nod. His silver mask shined in the moonlight, but the rest of him almost melded in with the darkness. "I don't remember my name. My friends calls me Shae, since that's apparently what I am."

    Bri stepped slightly behind him, hiding herself as best she could, but her cloak stood out a little more in the darkness. "I'm Bri Bonethief," she said quietly, and watched for any response. The castle was said to be empty now, but the walls were apparently still in perfect condition, minus a few cracks, and a broken front gate where they had broken through and attacked the residence. Bri knew enough of Necromancy to raise enough skeletons, and tie their bones together into another makeshift gate - one that would probably scare off raiders as well as protect against another infected attack.

    Shae took note of their position, and understood fully well. Any time they'd run into someone living in the area, they knew the hardships they'd been going through, even if not the details. Everyone left alive was ruined now.
  7. After the two odd ones stated their names, Finley felt obligated to say, "I'm Finley, Hallowed by Shadows. We don't remember our last names...sorry." Not knowing exactly why she had apologized for that, she tried to cover it up with, "Why would you want to go to the castle? There's nothing left there, besides what the looters left, which isn't much." She purposefully left out the fact that the castle was where she and her brother were heading, knowing that it would be a safe place to stay the night.It wasn't as if she wanted to be staying in the same building with strangers.

    Staying the night had been Felim's idea. To his sister, it didn't feel right staying at a place where once a great lord had stayed. But Felim had insisted, and it wasn't as if either of them were any use to anyone alone. Together, they were a force to be reckoned with, but apart they were nothing but wanderers who knew a couple fancy magic tricks.

    Closing her eyes for a moment, Finley frowned in the darkness before saying, "If you're going to the castle, I hope you can protect yourself...I was just attacked by one of the infected just now, back there," she gestured to where she had been. "I'm not sure where the other ones are..."
  8. Shae shrugged. "That's where we're headed to hole up. I guess we'd better be prepared." Bri turned to look at him slowly, then shook her head. The night was already long. She winced at how long it would take to get through the castle enough to be sure it was pest-proof. How many rooms were in it?

    Wind rustled her cloak, and she yanked it closer around her, stepping on the bottom that dragged on the ground to keep it from blowing up inside and freezing her. Night was so cold, and her pack was beginning to get heavy. If they didn't start to head out soon, she knew she would collapse. Shae glanced her way, understanding silently, and then shifted his weight to start his trek again.

    "We're almost there if you'd like to join us. If there are enemies nearby, four is better than two anyway. We were planning on clearing out all the rooms and then setting up base there for a while, out of open danger."
  9. Finley bowed first, followed by Felim after she nudged him. They had been born among some lesser nobles, and both knew how to act among others. "We would be honored to go with you," she said, her proper speech and manners taking over, causing Felim to chuckle softly.

    Straightening, she said, "That sounds like a good idea. Safety in numbers, right?" Trying to smile good-naturedly, she wished it wasn't as dark out, so that the two could see her smile.

    "We should go," Finley said, "if we want to get there before dawn."
  10. (Sorry for the late reply Sol, I'm working on a game. >.> It takes up huge chunks of time to pixel. XD)

    Bri nodded. Good. Having more than one person was a great idea. She turned to Shae, and gestured with her hand. "Show us where, shadow-man." His silver mask was flat, but he could hear him chuckle. "Remind me, Shae, and I'll have that mask enchanted for you so it changes expression with you."

    "It's alright," he said, the laugh still in his tone. "I don't mind so long as folks can hear me."

    "That's not the point," she said with a shiver. "It's really creepy to hear you laugh and that mask just stare back coldly. It startles people," she said. "I noticed that in the last village. It's unnerving folks when we ask for directions or provisions."

    Shae shrugged. "Maybe later," he said simply, and pointed ahead in the dark. "The castle's this way, I do believe. If we head that way, we should come across it in less than an hour, and we can clear the land of any infected, then move in. Going through all the rooms should be at least a 2-day endeavor if there are enemies all over the place."
  11. Finley muttered, "Great, more infected," a frown on her face. Felim didn't respond, studying Shae intently, as if trying to understand him better. It seemed that after he had laughed, the lack of motion had piqued Felim's interest, and he was now curious.

    It was only when Finley nudged him, saying lowly, "Staring's impolite, Felim." Bending for a moment to tie the laces of her boots, Finley finally put away her dagger, deciding that she would trust these two strange people, for now.

    "Let's go," she said, pushing Felim forwards, towards the direction that Shae had pointed.

    ((It's okay, I know how that is ^^ Sorry for the short replies on my part, I've been feeling unwell))
  12. (It's alright, not every post gotta be a whole continent. XD Feel better soon Sol! Also, I don't think I linked what a shae actually is. DX This one's female, but you get the gist:

    She chuckled again. "That's only worst-case scenario. If we're lucky, most of the rooms are abandoned by now. Off wandering for prey or whatever those things do," he said with a shudder. The smokey outline of his frame wiggled, barely visible in the darkness save the reflective silver mask. Bri shuddered along with him.

    "I wonder if there's some cure for this. I'd love to bring back some of my friends." She thought back to Alma, dragged away in the night kicking and screaming, the snarling of the monsters echoing in the dark as she cowardly climbed a tree and hid above the ground. She slammed her hands to her ears to block out the noise, and even now she felt sick thinking about the twisting feeling in her stomach.

    Shae sensed her discomfort, and leaned down, touching her shoulder. "Are you alright?" She nodded her head, almost frozen in place, and shaking.

    "I'm okay. Let's just go. I feel really bad all of a sudden, and standing out here doesn't make me feel any better." He nodded, patted her back comfortingly, and then rose to his feet again.
  13. The two siblings were silent as the others spoke among themselves, Felim fidgeting and acting restless, but his sister was still as the shadows she commanded. "Finley," the younger boy muttered, tugging at her sleeve, "I...something feels wrong. We should go...forget these people." Flinching as he heard the leaves rustling in the wind, he frowned at Finley, not liking how she was looking at the two.

    "Let's go," the young woman said, gesturing to the others once they had finished talking. Not bothering to see if they were following, knowing that Felim would watch her back, she walked in the direction of the castle, trying not to remember the last time they had been there.

    Felim and she had been with their parents, who were attending the old lord in order to finalize plans to marry Finley to the lord's eldest son, and Finley could remember how infatuated she had been with him. All seemed to be going well, until a group of infected attacked. The city used to be the least affected by the disease, but the infected attack that night ruined all that.

    The siblings had run to hide in the rafters of the large commons room that they had been playing with, each closing their eyes and holding their hands against their ears so that they wouldn't have to hear or see their parents dying.

    They had hid there until they could no longer hear the infected, and from then on, they had wandered, trying to survive. And now they were going back there...It gave Finley queer feelings in her stomach, and she was glad that the darkness prevented her emotions from showing on her face.

    Praying that there was no blood or anything left in the castle, not thinking that it would be a good thing to see, Finley made sure to put one foot in front of the other always, longing to be able to sleep with a roof over her head.