The Hardened Soul (Plot Discussion)

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Christopher, Jan 16, 2014.

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  1. Hello ;) this is the discussion thread for the Zombie RP 'The Hardened Soul".

    This RP is a continuation of an RP world built in a jump in RP that Garthnix and I had done recently. The plot started to develop and I feel it is time to do a private invite only RP story. Let me know if you are interested in joining and I am sure we can work something out.

    Below I will post the bio's and the Rp's happenings so far copied directly from the previous jump in RP. Please try to read mostly the whole thing if you are interested in a part that way we can discuss how your character will fit in.

    I will post the story in sections with each persons posts in different colors. GarthnixZozo's posts will be in red and My posts will be in white. Back story will be in Blue.

    The first section can be skimmed effectively but notice I have marked the important sections.

    Except for the first Scene.... formatting issue sorry....

    If you have any questions about the story line or the setting, just ask!!
    #1 Christopher, Jan 16, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 16, 2014
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  2. First meeting...

    Nicholas Meyers
    Age: 20

    Body: Medium build

    Eyes: Blue

    Hair: Black with medium beard

    Height: 5'8

    The day was still young. The morning had been fairly uneventful due to the recent storms. The rain seemed to slow the infected down a little. It also allowed Nicholas to easily collect water, so it was alright with him. His partner and he had slit up earlier that morning around ten minutes after dawn. He figured she would fair just fine seeing as she was an extreme marksman with a bow. Nicholas preferred to have his hand on a rifle, but seeing as no one was making bullets, he tried to conserve ammunition. He drew his short sword out of the head of his most recent assailant and moved on down the street. The plan was to meet up around the south side square by mid day. It was a little further past rendezvous time than he was comfortable with so he figured it was time to start looking for his partner. As he was wiping off the blade, he noticed a young lady entering a house. Being nosy as usual, he tucked himself out of sight and proceeded to enter the back yard of the house. the back door was open and he could hear some voices inside. He chuckled at himself as he straightened up his beard and pushed down his shirt. He then took quiet steps and entered the home.

    Vera Lockwood
    Age: 17

    Body: Athletic, yet hidden.

    Eyes: Green-hazel.

    Hair: Sandy brown, worn in a high ponytail at the top of her head, reaching the middle of her back.

    Height: 5'6

    Why did her mother have to keep doing such things to herself?! Everyone told her of how dangerous it was, but she never listened to anyone aside from her late husband who had died many years ago. She would have been declared the family's crazy grandma if only they had a pet cat and some grandchildren to give her. Unlikely, both. Vera pushed her way through the front doors of the house, shaking her head with disbelief once she passed the archway and was away from the eyes of any others. There had been a man beside one of those undead creatures not too far away. She would need to be careful not to raise her voice and bring attention to her family.

    Vera shut the door firmly behind her, using a leg to kick it behind her in her frustration. She went straight through the hallways, sending away any younger brothers or sisters who tried to approach her. The older ones simply recognized the look on her face and hurried back up the stairs to their rooms. In the kitchen at the back of the house, the curtains were drawn shut despite the darkness that came with the blessing of the light rain, the light in the ceiling was on, and her mother sat calmly beside an infected male. He was quite immobilized; chains binding his wrists behind his neck, elbows tied together with rope on the opposite side of his neck in a choking hold; both legs were nonexistent, having been blown off in some kind of explosion; and he was her brother.

    Vera's rage melted to dismay. "Mama, we can't keep him here," were her first words. They had been doing this for years: her brothers were sent off to war, while the girls stayed home and learnt how to defend themselves. The few eldest brothers who were still human had continuously managed to grant their mother's wish, and sent home their infected brethren. The worst part though was the way their mother treated her infected sons, like poor children who had come home from school with a scrape on their knee and tears in their eyes, the only cure being a kiss and a cuddle. It didn't ever

    in that far. It was Vera's job to make sure of it.

    "Nonsense," her widowed mother scoffed, stroking the greasy hair of the infected with the back of her hand in short, repetitive motions. "Laodo is sick and needs me to take care of him. We can't just get rid of him. That's not how family works." A pause and a shamefully whispered, "I though I raised you better than that, Vera."

    She couldn't believe this, no matter how many times it had already happened with her other brothers. Every time, it ended the same way, with her demented Mama attempting to sacrifice herself in order to feed 'her poor, starving boy', and every time, she had been stopped at the last second by Vera's intuition for disaster. It had warned her to come now, but seeing her like this was killing Vera inside. "Mother, he's dead," she explained as gently as she could, voice quivering slightly as she spoke the words she was always forced to utter. The elder woman was upon her in a second, dealing a swift slap to her daughter. "Leave my house this instant," she hissed, sour spittle flecking the side of the younger woman's cheek. Clouded, gray eyes, bloodshot from her tears of weeping at the loss of her other children stared up at her in rage. "I have had enough of your impudence and unrighteous interference in my private affairs, girl. Leave."

    Tears filled her eyes at the harsh words, but she refused to give her mother the pleasure of seeing her weep. "I will," she snapped. She turned her body sharply away and marched up the stairs that had the youthful bodies of her siblings lining across the steps. They had heard everything and knew that it was what was best, now they would follow their 16 year old brother. Vera made it to her quarters in one piece, and still so as she stuffed a backpack with her meagre belongings, a longsword in her free hand that had been a gift on her last birthday in reward for her obtaining such a high level of skill at such a young age.

    She was back downstairs in less than a minute. "You'll regret this," she warned her mother sharply.

    "Not if I'm already dead, I won't." A sick grin broke out from the old lady. It was a hint at the fact that she was going to be killing herself soon anyway, so what did it matter to her if one more child learned tunnel have her? With a sharp flick of heh hair, Vera turned on her heels towards the back door, only just now seeing the same man as earlier. Inside her house. Not her invidious anymore, but, still... "What are you doing?" she asked the man incredulously, surprise freezing her previously confident stride. "Out of my house!!" her mother suddenly screamed at the top of her decaying lungs, shoving the two outside.

    Nicholas listened to the family arguing inside. He could tell that their was likely a mother keeping the undead reminets of her undead children and a few other family members. He wasn't sure if he should go inside or not, but decided it would be entertaining at the very least to see their reaction. As he took his first few steps into the back door, the young lady that he saw enter the house appeared. She asked him what he was doing and he just stood there..

    "ughh" he let out.

    Before he could even start to justify his presence, he was pushed out into the back yard again with the young lady. He almost fell over the first step but regained his balance and turned back to the girl.

    When the older women shut the door behind them, Nicholas turned to the girl and said in an apologetic tone: "Hello, I'm Nicholas.." He felt kind of awkward due to his invasion of this intense situation. He stood there straight as a board prepared for one of two probable reactions.... one, she slap him.... two, she slap him....

    Or three, she slap him twice. Which was exactly what she did. Half being done with the outside of her hand, and with the inside she slapped his other cheek.

    "One," she explained hotly, pink marks burning her own cheeks with embarrassment, "is for entering my home. Two," she showed Nicholas two of her fingers for emphasis, "is for listening in on my conversation, and I would have hit you a third time for touching me if it had been anyone other than my own mother who pushed me."

    Her only other hand was clutching her sword so tightly that it had made her knuckles go white. She bit down harshly on her bottom lip to keep from saying more while she tied the sword belt across her chest and around her back where there would be less a chance of the adjustments being wrong and leaving the tip of her blade dragging on the ground. That much done, she folded her arms across her front and stared at the young man for several moments...choosing...

    She abruptly offered her hand to the boy, letting the other fall onto her graciously curved hip, something that would normally remain unseen beneath the loose layers of fabric she wore. "I wish it were more of a pleasure to meet you, Nicholas," she said, evidently more calm, "My name is Vera."

    Nicholas stepped back as he was slapped knowing he deserved it. He knew the feeling of a women's slap much too well. Before the infection he was consistently in trouble with women, this was proving quickly to be no different.

    He regained his feet acting unfazed by the slap. Extending his hand as well he said "Nice to meet you Vera" with a smile.

    He stood there kind of awkwardly holding his rifle. "Im meeting my partner on the south side if your going that way?" he said as a question.

    Vera managed a half smile of her own at the male's offer, deciding that he wasn't so bad as she had first labeled him as being. Still, it would take time for her to learn how he really was and that was something she didn't know how much of which she had left. No one did anymore. She looked over her shoulder at the house she had come from, knowing that she wouldn't be wanting back in, or granted entry for some time yet. Her leave was permanent and she accepted that.

    Looking at Nicholas again, she gave him an innocent, one sided shrug. "I know I'm not staying here." South side was at least somewhere and a destination that could be reached with fair ease. She gave him the quick 'one-over', summing up his physical appearance from the shoes he wore, the gun he held, the sword he carried, the blue of his eyes and the darkness of his hair. Not necessarily her type, but she wouldn't mind being seen with him, and he also seemed quite able bodied.

    Noticing that he was being looked over, Nicholas jokingly pushed out his chest and straightened up. He kept his face serious though. His sense of humor was often not seen as funny anymore, but it entertained him. He then looked her over. Since she was going to evaluate him, why shouldn't he... Unable to see her body build, he relied on the thinness of her face and toned arms for proof of athleticism. He had noticed her hips as she'd moved the loose fitted clothing to rest her hand on it. It wasn't often you foundation looker out on a supply run.. Green hazel eyes... Check....

    He smiled at her confidently and offered her toward the gate. "Shall we then madam?" He said as he checked his equipment.

    A grin played over her lips at his attempt at comedy, using the back of her hand to cover it quickly. There wasn't much form of entertainment left in the world aside from general survival and training, and those were out of necessity, so it was nice to see a bit of lightheartedness, even if wasn't all that funny. Feeling herself then being looked over, she simply bore with it, a slight tilt of her head the only askance of if he was quite done yet.

    After a smile that showed he was, he gestured towards the large gates that led to the square. With a small dip of her head in consent, she started off only slightly ahead of him. "Indeed, we shall, good sir," she teased lightly at his formal speech when she passed him, sandy ponytail moving in step with her pace.

    'Well this is in company of only a few successes' he thought as he returned the smile and followed Vera.

    He trotted slightly behind her to catch up. She obviously knew the town fairly well. Nicholas wondered if she knew the roads as well as he. He assumed she probably did due to his newness to the area.

    "So you are from around here?" he asked in an attempt to learn more about the girl. The phrase was a bit foreign to his lips. He hadn't had an opportunity to ask a question like this to a women in a while. They always tried to kill him or take his food which he found funny because he didn't look like the type that you mess with. Although with things the way they were, anyone was a target. "Personally, I'm not from here. We came from further north. A militia group broke up a small colony that we were staying at and pushed us out of the area. We are tentatively headed for the Gulf coast" he said to the back of Vera's head.

    Even with the loose clothing he could see her walk with a slight sway of the hips. Whether she was doing it on purpose or not he couldn't tell, but he wasn't going to complain. Snapping out of the momentary lapse, he caught up with her and walked on stride next to Vera. He adjusted the leather belt that held his sword and spare magazines for his rifle. The camouflaged overcoat he wore constantly pushed the belt down over his hips which aggravated him, but the coat was a necessity.

    A soft hum of thought came from the girl as she thought of a way to explain her heritage that would be simple and easy to understand for the boy, "That would depend on how far we're going back," she mused, head tilting back so that she could gaze at the sky while half of her vision remained on the road and surrounding area. "My grandparents are from a tribe that belongs to the East, high in the mountains, away from most civilization." Not for the first time since the dead had started coming back to life, she wondered if there were any survivors. "They're kind of like the Omish people. They don't use electricity or most technology unless they have to, preferring to stick to human labour, but they are not weak or easy-going peace lovers like people believe the Quakers to be. They are strict and punishing, sending off their weakest to-" She cleared her throat hesitantly, realising how demonic the tribe must be starting to sound. "They're simple old fashioned in an unforgiving way. Women cover themselves regardless of the weather, boys have a passage of rights to manhood and both genders train vigorously in martial arts in order to decide ones rank and wealth status. My mother, she left that life for my father who came from the 'normal' world. Tradition is tradition though and he honoured my mother's ways. Meaning," she twirled on the spot, a mischievous glint in her eyes as a bright smile momentarily dawned her features, before once again hiding it with the back of her hand, "I can kick your butt in close combat." Maybe... she added to herself. She was quite confident in her practice, but it really depended on if Nicholas had training of any kind, and if so, what kind and how skilled he was. Many possibilities, though she didn't necessarily mind unless he was only a clever thief who was after her belongings. In which case, it still mattered little to her, so long as she could punch him in the face for lying to her.

    She quickly returned to walking towards the gates that they were approaching at a rapid rate, listening as Nicholas gave his own share of story about how he came to the town, nodding occasionally to show her interest. Waiting patiently until he caught up to walk beside her, she asked curiously, "What's at the Gulf?"

    As she gave her explanation of her family, Nicholas found himself caring about what Vera said. It had been a while since he'd listened to the words of another person. His facial expressions varied with her story, starting out disgusted by the evil sounding people and then relieved when 'simple' and 'old fashion' was mentioned.

    "Is that a challenge?" he said playfully as he lifted his brow. He tensed the muscles in his body to prepare for any quick attack... but none came so he relaxed a bit. He was extremely confident in his fighting skills. Not particularly good with a knife, but more than proficient with his jujitsu. If he could get an enemy on the ground, it was usually game over. His brute strength was fair, but it was practice of using it that made him lethal.

    "The Gulf? You haven't heard? They have made those Oil rigs into small cities. Not really sure how they've done it, but It is a hell of alot warmer there than here... So its worth a shot." he said matter of factly. "We are hanging around here for a few days to rest and get some supplies. How settled is this town?" Now he was playing a bit dumb, but wasn't trying to deceive Vera. He was actually just trying to let her talk.

    A cool breeze that carried the scent of earth and rust blew through the air as the two spoke with one another, a blend between the healthy heat from the ground and the sickening stench that seemed to follow the undead like a swarm of flies that they could not be ridden of, regardless of the attempts of the sky. The distant crackle of charged energy in the air held the promise of a storm that would still be yet to come for some time. By tomorrow evening perhaps but surely no later.

    A small shiver ran up Vera's back when the slight breeze brushed over her face and bare arms, causing some dozen goosebumps to rise up without her noticing. "Some warm weather would be nice," she agreed, raising her hazel-green orbs to the auspiciously cloudless blue of the skies. When the topic of the town was brought up, it was a simple matter of relaying her day's findings from earlier that morning. "South Side is relatively safe, with East and West acting more as buffers that keep us safe from the North and Central regions. Only the occasional creature gets through the gates or over the walls, but it does happen. Some families live here, while their eldest children or parents salvage around the infected areas for supplies and items of value that can be traded for food or warm clothes with the soldiers. Such as myself. South Side Square is probably as safe as you can get." Vera looked over at Nicholas with a hint of suspicion, pouting her lips out as she watched him, unrelenting in her pace. "Although, you already knew that, didn't you?" She allowed his playful offer at a fight to slide under the carpet for the time being, making a mental note to herself to take him up on it the next chance she got, if for nothing else than amusement's sake, then to learn more about him.

    Nicholas laughed at her suspicion.. "yea... I did" he laughed..

    The south side square was not far from where they were now. only a mile or so up the road. They both walked the same path due to their knowledge of the route. Nicholas knew the area, but surely not as well as Vera did, so he offered up no new routes. They continued walking until they were within sight of the square. Nicholas stopped short of a barbed wire bundle in the street. "My partner is supposed to be here. She is never late, but she does sometimes make interesting appearances...."

    Nicholas told the story as they finished the quarter mile walk to the center of the square where the statue of a horse and man stood.

    (back story)He had just found out that the school was on lock down. His dorm mate John had his things packed by the time Nicholas had made it back to the room. Michelle, his roommates girlfriend, was crying quietly as John packed. Nicholas walked up to her and said sternly, 'Where is Avery.' it was much less a question than it was a demand. Michelle said she was at the library. Before the last part of her sentence was out Nicholas was at full sprint, knocking people out of the way and taking three steps at a time. By the time he made it to the front doors of the library, it was deserted.

    The single story labyrinth of shelves and books had been scattered and destroyed by the panic. He ran in and stopped in the center of the huge room. 'Avery....' he whispered.... Then he heard the same sobs that rang in his head now. Someone all bloodied up was tearing books from an over turned shelf. The crying was coming from under the shelf. Nicholas went closer to the deranged professor that was digging at the shelf. It turned on him and let out a nasty growl. Nicholas didn't flinch... He stood there and stared it in the eye. 'No." he muttered as he tore a lamp from the table. once he had taken care of the deranged man, he quickly dug Avery out from under the books and shelves.

    Vera smiled at Nicholas's laughter, an even more uncommon sound than that of people trying to make a joke. As they walked, Vera listened, eyes never leaving the young male's face if she could help it except for to blink or look around them in case one of those creatures was near, going undetected by their wandering minds. As soon as she had dubbed it safe though, she would immediately return her gaze to the man, head dipping and tilting, eyes widening or frowning in key to the story until he came to an end.

    She found herself sitting at the base of the stone monument, between one of the horse's standing legs and the other that was curled into the air high above her, by the time his tale was finished. He must not have many who he can talk to, she noted sadly to herself. Her case was the opposite, she had too many with all of her brothers and sisters getting on her back over the slightest of things. Not anymore though... Part of her was glad though that Nicholas trusted her in even the slightest of ways, enough that it entitled her to a story. "So she's always where she's supposed to be, but not always where you would expect to find her," Vera commented thoughtfully, looking around her and only now noticing the emptiness of the court. There were usually more people than this, at least some people, but there was no one aside from Nicholas and her.

    Nicholas stood In front of the girl as she sat under the stone horses raised hoof. He reached up to scratch his head in thought as to where Avery was. It was long after she was expected. Nicholas knew not to go looking for her. Following Avery's rules, he knew he'd have to go home. They always waited 2 days before going out looking for the other. Each could hold their own in most all situations so Nicholas wasn't yet worried.

    "Well Vera, I'm supposed to go home if she doesn't show... Your welcome to stay at our place tonight if you want. We are staying there" he said as he pointed to the old drug store. The second floor was a small apartment.

    Nicholas was a bit nervous that Avery had been infected, or worse, taken by militia......

    He put on a smile however and attempted to be a good potential host.

    Vera looked up at Nicholas in confusion of his offer but when it clicked in her mind, a small pang of embarrassment tightened her stomach that made her look away. She hadn't even thought about where she was going to sleep for the night, part of her assuming that she would have to rough it out in an abandoned building after checking the shadows for the dead. It had happened several times before when she had been kicked out of the house for a day or two at a time, being too stubborn to apologize, she would wait it out until someone was sent to find and tell her that she could come back.

    She wasn't just ready to admit her forgetfulness yet, so merely gave the male a nod of acceptance to his offer, as well as in gratitude. "Th-thank you," she remembered to say hurriedly, before she forgot even that small courtesy. Vera stood from her cross-legged position as easily as if she had been crouching, not using the aid of her arms to assist herself. Standing, it was easier to make out the small windows and balcony that came off of the living quarters above the drug store, the stone horse's rump no longer limiting her vision. "It's cute," she noted aloud. Cute, as in small, but saying cosy could be a major miswording, seeing as how that was usually based on the interior of a home. She hopped down the one step to the road, dusting off her ruffled dress that reached down to her mid-calves, where it met the brown leather of her knee high boots. "Would you rather we stay here for a little longer?" she asked, spotting the fleeting look of worry cross his face before he smiled.

    Nicholas straightened up his face and regained his wits. "No, No.... She can handle her self..." he picked up his pack and led Vera toward the drug store. "Its not much, but its safe."

    The most important thing was safety. With the walls around the town, it was relatively safe but Nicholas didn't really trust it. The guards were just people... he knew what he could do, but not anything about their abilities. He always took greater precautions when protecting those he cared about.

    As they climbed the stairs, Nicholas said over his shoulder, "We have some food if your hungry."

    They walked into the small apartment. Nicholas dropped his bag and sword belt by the door and hung his rifle on a rack next to an entry table. He then took off his boots and hung up his coat on a hall tree. The tiny entry way had three doors, two on the right and one on the left. through the first one he went leaving Vera to lighten her load. The living room was decorated in a very 1900's way. There were kerosene lamps on oak end tables, and the couch was circa 1920's. Everything matched nicely. In the kitchen, there was a wood stove with a large pile of logs next to it. The cabinets all had the doors off so that the room could easily be emptied if needed. He put a few logs in the already burning stove. "Looks like Avery has been home" he called from the kitchen. "The fire is somewhat fresh. I figure she will be home later."

    "Make yourself comfortable.. If you want a change of clothes, Avery is about your size. Ill get you something if you want it." he said trying to be friendly.

    Very followed him up the stairs once they left the square, a small nod her first answer to his offer of food, followed by the saying of, "I could eat." She wasn't necessarily hungry but nor was she full, a feeling that actually slowed down reflexes and most actions. Besides, she didn't want to take more of their rations than she had to, but if Nicholas insisted, then she could eat.

    Once inside the small home, she followed his lead by removing her sheath and sword from across her shoulders, setting her back pack down neatly next to it. She momentarily contemplated taking off her shoes as well but went against it, deciding that it would be a pointless obstacle if she needed to leave the house quickly. Never feeling safe until a new area was explored, Vera walked down the tiny hallway, peeping tentatively through the archway Nicholas had gone through, seeing that the setting truly was quite cosy, in a sense, for a living room and led off further to where she assumed the kitchen to be. Looking over her shoulder showed her the other two doorways, which she assumed to be the bedrooms, deciding to stay clear of them unless given permission to do otherwise. Yes, she was going to be a good, little guest and ignore her curiosity for the sake of wanting it to be a change from slicing off the heads of those she met before they could gauge out her eyes. He wasn't one of the undead though, so that would very much help matters.

    She sat down on the old fashion couch, crossing her dress over her knees as she began to memorize the room for safety purposes. It was beautifully decorated and she was a little surprised that so much had been unharmed in the initial breakout, though it was understandable that some simply stayed inside the safety of their homes like hermits until then either dying while on a supplies run, or merely up and leaving one day. As her host's voice called from the kitchen offering some new clothes, she looked down at her current outfit and remembered those that she had packed based on practicality, not cleanliness. "If you're sure she won't mind, then yes, please." It would be a simple matter of going out in the morning to wash her things and bathe in the river, but something new really would be helpful until then.

    Nicholas came through the doorless passage from the kitchen into the living room. He had a mix matched set of tea cups and saucers. He set the tray down on the oak coffee table and gestured to the white cup with red zigzag trim. He picked up the other cup and took a sip of the hot tea. After returning it to its saucer, he crossed the room to the hallway and entered the closest bedroom. He returned with an ocean blue blouse, white undershirt and a pair of loose fit grey pants.

    "There is a working shower in the bathroom, it runs off of the rain water if you want." He said as he set the outfit down. He then returned back to the bedroom and brought the girl clean under garments.

    "You can have these" as he tossed a bra on top and picked up the pile of clothes. Holding them out to her, he smiled.

    "I will start the food. Something small?"

    The smell of steaming tea was carried into the living room as Nicholas emerged from the kitchen, a tray of the hot liquid in his hands. At the gesture of his hand, Vera gratefully took the white and red cup into her own hands, holding it beneath her nose to try and guess the type. Peppermint, perhaps, she thought, blowing on its surface to release another waft of white steam. She took a sip and smiled. Peppermint indeed.

    She watched over the rim of her tea cup as Nicholas left the living room to reappear some moments later, an outfit in hand that he left on the couch before leaving and coming back, this time holding some undergarments. It was a good thing that the cup was covering a majority of her lower face and the heat from the drink could be easily blamed for the pink coloring that rose to her cheeks as she accepted the offered stack of clothing. Her eyes remained dutifully looking at her drink when he smiled, the blush deepening some. "Please," she answered quickly to his offer, a small bob of her head acting as a nod, while keeping her gaze downwards. Abruptly, Vera stood, clutching the clothes to her chest and setting her half finished cup of tea down on a lime green saucer. "Excuse me," she mumbled, head low as she maneuvered herself around the man and went to the hallway, opening the second door that must be to the bathroom and barricading herself inside, shutting the door softly behind her.

    Nicholas returned to the kitchen and started the beans on the wood stove. Just as he was about grab the used tea tray from the living room, the he heard the door open. As soon as he did, he ran to the entryway. Standing there by the two piles of gear was Avery... Her long dark hair was tied up with bailing twine and her jacket had blood on the left breast pocket. She looked mildly rough, but Nicholas had seen worse so he wasn't too surprised. What was surprising was the look on her face.. Normally she would be happy to see him, but she just stood there stairing at the second pile of gear... the gear that didn't belong. She finally looked up at him and dropped her bow on the floor along with a small bag that clunked a metallic sound. She kicked off her untied boots and pushed passed Nicholas to go clean up. "No.... Avery, wait..." Nicholas said knowing that when she saw the bathroom door closed and the water running what would happen. He didn't stop her in time though because like a rubber band, she shot right back through the hallway. She pushed Nicholas out of the way and picked up her bow. As she was putting her boots back on, she looked up and extended her middle finger to him. There was no pleading with her.... she wasn't going to stay... And before Nicholas could get a single sign off, she was slamming the door.

    She would come back, he wasn't sure when, but she had done this before. Never because of another female in the house, but she had left because of his insensitivity. Nicholas thought it was odd that through all the death around them, that she still cared about things like jealousy... Even though she hadn't even seen who the other person was, it was too much for her. They had always swore it would be only them. She wasn't about to give him a chance to explain until she cooled off. He knew that she would accept it, but just needed time....

    Nicholas went back to the couch and waited for Vera to finish in the bathroom. He figured she heard the slamming, hell, even the walkers would have heard her.

    Vera had been through and seen many fights since he was a young child, ranging from the late night, heated whispers of harsh disagreement on a matter, to the smashing of plates on the floor and screams of bloody murder from an enraged aunt or second cousin as they would fight with their spouse over even the most trivial of topics. Back then, it had usually been about food, money or the state of their marriage and how having gotten together was the worst idea of their lives. Very commonly ending with the females demanding for a divorce from their passes husband. Ludacrisy. Now was no different, aside from being amongst strangers and presumably about her.

    The familiar cramps of anxiety clutched her stomach muscles tight, fearful of turning off the water on the off chance that the newest person to enter would hear her breathing or hammer their fist on the door. Infuriated men were easy to take care of; beat them, or cry. Infuriated women were, ironically, terrifying, seeing as her own temper had a knack for flaring up at times. The general unpredictability of their actions and lack of shyness when enraged... She couldn't hear anybody out there however, aside from the occasional plea from Nicholas to the girl he had mentioned earlier was named Avery. Her lack of speaking reminded Vera painfully of her only sister in law. Suddenly, a loud boom that shook and rattled the very foundation of the small building was heard, leaving her clutching the bathroom sink to keep herself from ducking down defensively at the furiousity that the sound implied. She waited an extra ten minutes to be sure that nothing else would be slammed, and only being met with silence, she slowly open the bathroom door.

    The hallway was empty, she noted, only her head peeping out from the crack but, seeing nothing else, she opened it a little wider until there was enough room for her entire body to slip through. Although her breathing was slow and regular, it was in sharp contrast to the rapid beating of her heart as she closed the bathroom door behind her, standing awkwardly in the hallway. She hadn't dared to put on the girl's clothes now and was still holding them in the neat pile that Nicholas had offered them to her in, her own dress now partially wet near her niece from where she had dried off her face, the only part of herself that she had decided to wash aside from her arms and legs. At first, she had planned I'm using the dirty outfit to drive herself with, but after hearing the girl, she decided that it would be best to stick to wearing what she had for now. Feeling eyes on her back she turned around to see the young man sitting on the couch, watching her timid exit from the bathroom.

    She straightened under his gaze and stiffly approached him, offering the stack of clothes for him to take. " Here. I think she would rather have me dead then wearing her clothes..." she mumbled, quite serious in the statement. " I should probably leave, to. Get out of her house." She flinched slightly as she quoted the words her own mother had used against her, a helpful lock of sandy hair choosing that precise moment to come loose from her ponytail, shielding a good portion of her face from the boy.

    Nicholas knew his guest would want to leave, and he would freely let her. He wasn't, however, about to just let her walk out though.

    He took the clothes from her and laid them on the couch. "You don't need to go..." he said simply. When it came to bad situations, he was one of few words. Often while in the field he would talk very little. Saying only important things in as few words as possible. "She would do this if i had so much as brought home a cat." When he heard this come out of his mouth he instantly wished he had said it in a different way. But it was out there. He hoped she took it the way he had meant it. Avery didn't adapt to change very well... Not well at all. Having someone or something in the house that wasn't usual made her antsy. She best dealt with it by leaving... Leaving to hunt... Her hunt was for the undead.

    Avery was often reckless when she was enraged. The trouble with her leaving was that Nicholas had no idea what would happen to her. If Vera agreed to stay Nicholas would have to ask her to go out looking for Avery with him...

    At his words, Vera's eyes narrowed ever so slightly, brows furrowing some as well as she felt an anger of her own start to simmer beneath the surface at what she took as an insult. "So, I'm worse than a cat?" she snapped in a tone of disbelief, feeling heat begin to rise to her face. A cat wasn't a horrible thing to be called, but saying it as if cats were a lesser burden than her, then it made to show that she was worse, being that she was a human and needed more to live off of. She folded her arms defensively over her chest and huffed in irritation at what had previously been a helpful fall of hair.

    Vera's face turned to a bit of a disgusted look and Nicholas felt bad for having caused it. "Vera.... I didnt mean it like that... All I mean is that its not just you.." hearing how silly it sounded, he kind of chuckled. He then walked back to the kitchen to grab the food. He put it in small Tupperware containers and returned to the entryway where Vera still was.

    "I have to go look for her. She gets rather reckless when she is like this." he said. "Shes my sister... I cant just leave her out there."

    His line about it not only being her, reminded Vera very much of one of those old, romantic dramas where the lead character would cry out, 'It's not you, it's me!', always making her smirk and agree with the guy admitting his being a jerk. That was probably not what Nicholas had meant it to sound like, but hearing him laugh afterwards did help to ease her temper some. She pondered on what to make of the situation as he went into the kitchen, debating on if she should really leave, or maybe if she talked with Avery, just maybe, they could work something out perhaps, maybe. It would be difficult though and possibly not worth the fight, considering that she was only a new acquaintance and the other girl was-

    Her mind hit a brick wall. All anger was lost in the sudden collision and left only a look of confusion on her face, eyes blinking twice in quick succession. 'Sister...? Oh...' She tried not to look too sheepish or surprised but she had just naturally assume that... He hadn't said and... "Oh," she repeated again, this time aloud, eyes widened slightly. Realizing her own silence, she quickly nodded in understanding of his viewpoint and the urgency that was required in finding his sister. "I'm coming too, then. It is partially my fault for her leaving in the first place." Hurriedly, she spun away from him and went to the front door to adjust her scabbard over her back and throw on her pack in such a way that it would not hinder the accessibility of her sword. She would rather be thrown into a pit of one hundred angry Averys before she would tell Nicholas that she had thought the other young woman to be his girlfriend or worse, his fiance.

    Nicholas didn't argue with Vera about her coming. He was actually glad that she was willing to help. He looked her in the eyes for a long moment and said "Thank you.."

    He picked up his ruck sack, rifle, and sword, and put them on. Out of the entry way closet he pulled a duffle bag that was half full of food and medical supplies. He put this over his shoulder and proceeded to the door. He waited for Vera to exit the house before he locked the apartment door.

    Down the stairs they went, out into the south side square again. The air smelt a bit damp still and the ground was wet. The ground being wet meant that the walkers would still be slow from the rain and moister. Once they were in the street, Nicholas looked both ways pondering Avery's choice of direction. He knew she would be outside the gates... Likely in the forest outside the south gate. There have been other times he'd found her there, so that’s what he chose.

    "There is a small wooded area outside the south gate. I'm sure you are familiar with Baldwin woods. That trail less 120 acre park? Well, Avery goes there when she is upset. I figure she won't be too far into the bush." said Nicholas as he began walking toward the south gate at the end of main. The gate was about ten foot high and was covered in barbwire. There was a doorway at the far left along with a guard shack. When they approached, the guard came out to check their I.D's. Nicholas took out his town I.D that had been given to him upon arrival a month ago. Nicholas looked back to see Avery do the same and the guard let them out of the gate without a word.

    The world outside the gates....
  3. The world outside the gates....

    The woods were as silent as ever, the occasional mating call from one bird to another, or the near silent buzzing of insects the only sounds. It was peaceful almost, like a world of old where y ou could forget your current troubles and let it all slip away, letting your mind simply wander. Vera could see why this place would appeal to Avery. She herself would leave the confines of the town and infected areas that were so over run that it made her feel ill just thinking about it, in order to allow herself to simply breathe. Something so simple as the pleasure of breathing was often forgotten of, but she took that small luxury now, allowing a cool, calming breath of air to make its way through her body to expand her lungs. Her eyes opened at the sound of a rustling in the bushes, calmly drawing her sword out of its sheath and waited, until a small, fluffy rabbit hopped into view. It sniffed the air, watching her and Nicholas for a moment in curiosity, before its ears twitched ever so slightly and it hopped away from something too slight for their human ears to pick up.
    The simplicity of the forest had managed to calm her heart enough to the point that, unfortunately, it sped up at the slightest surprise of abnormalty. Aside from the hare, there seemed to be none in their immediate vicinity and for that she was thankful. She pushed on ahead with her blade at her side, the very tip no higher than half a foot above the ground. Eventually, a feeling of almost being safe -false security- began to creep up on her mind, relaxing her free arm to the point that she permitted it to swing by her side in assistance of her balance, having to remind herself to keep her left arm always at the ready and her legs poised to run at a second's notice.

    It wasn't long before the duo came upon trees that carried bits and pieces of cloth in their branches, the ones low enough to snag on such items. She paused at these limbs, crouching down to inspect them further. "Look at this," she whispered, a small nudge of her head indicating the scraps of cloth. Most of them were worn and faded, more like rags then clothes, and had freshly dried blood encrusted on them. She stood, a look of confusion furrowing her brow further when she noticed flattened threads of strings attached to the larger trees. Pulling a clump out of the leaves from above her head, she held it in her fingers, puzzled. "It's hair." A repetitive sound of clicking, like someone cracking their fingers without end started up, soon followed by a distinct, second clicking. A third. A fourth. More. Above them. Vera looked up, meeting the sunken, bloodshot eyes of a woman who should have been very much dead. Her skin was peeling off in strips of grey flesh, leaving blood to ooze and scab over the cracks of her mostly bare body. She was pierced in several places, such as through her stomach and arms by a sharped branch that had acted as a stake, pinning her up in the trees. That's didn't stop her from moving what she could though, slack jaw salivating at the man and woman who happened to stop directly beneath her... and her companions. Amongst the branches of nearly every tree, there was at least one other undead human in similar conditions, unexplainably up a tree with a makeshift weapon jutting through various parts of their body.

    Nicholas walked alongside Vera with his rifle drawn to the ready. He had made a silencer out of some old pillows and duct tape so that the walkers wouldn't notice it as much in the silent night. He knew it would only be good for about 50 rounds though.
    When Vera looked up, he followed her eyes. Above them were the rotting corpses, Hung by make shift weapons. "Traps... Lets go" He said as he put his hand on her shoulder to push her onward. They continued through the brush to a clearing about as big as a small house. There was a foundation there from a house that must have been demolished long before the outbreak. Vera was about a step ahead of him. They were walking through the middle of the remnants of the house when Nicholas looked down. A glint had crossed his eye, a glint of moonlight shining off a piece of fishing line. Just a moment before Vera's shins hit the string, Nicholas tackled her to the ground still tripping the line. They hit the damp leaves with Nicholas smashing Vera. A huge bamboo square swung down over their heads. It had sharpened bamboo spikes sticking out on all sides covered in some kind of green paste. Nicholas remained pinning Vera to the ground until the death box swung to a stop.

    Nicholas rolled off the girl onto his back and took a deep breath. His heart pounding fast and adrenaline pumped through his veins. Through the tree tops, he could see the full moon shining through a break in the slow moving clouds. In his head he thanked the moon for giving the string away. He rolled his head to look at Vera to see if she was alright.

    One minute she had been observing the growing closeness of the ruins to a small building, then in the next everything became of swirling world of dark green and brown, something large and solid being forced upon her backside. Reflexes forced her left arm to jut out at the last second in order to stop it from impaling her, her other bracing for the impact of the wet ground. A caught her well enough, until the slippery sheen of dew and unrelenting weight forced down flat. Seeing as how the build wasn't clawing and biting at her neck, she relaxed, bearing with the uncomfortable position until Nicholas rolled off of her, at which point she also turned to her back and gazed up at the deadly contraption.
    She outstretched her right arm and gently thumped the male's chest with your fist, a half amused smile on her face. She was quite sure that she had warned him of not to touch her without her permission or she would slap him a third time, but that was somewhat irrelevant to the fact that he had just saved her life. Gently slapping him, even playfully would appear to be more of a caress though, so she settled for a light-hearted punch of companionship. "Thanks..." she sighed quietly. Several heavy foot falls approached them and a voice called out, questioning their well-being, but she simply raised a hand at the figure, a sign that they were alive and well. He was probably just another guard Scout who patrolled the woods. Vera rolled her self a few more times to clear her body of the cube and stood, noticing her outfit now being entirely caked in mud, but not really in the mood to complain. It was already in need a washing and earthy scent would help to conceal her from keen noses. She went around to the other side and offered a hand to help Nicholas to his feet. "Let's keep looking."

    Nicholas laughed heartily at Vera's punch. He too remembered the promise of a third slap and happily accepted the thump in its place. In a daze of the moment, he saw the guard that Vera took notice of before he did. He came toward them with his shotgun and ammo.

    "Don't get too wild with that thing" Nicholas said sarcastically to the guard. His dislike for them always surfaced quicker than he preferred. He didn't trust them.. He preferred to rely on protecting his own and himself.

    He accepted Vera's hand and got to his feet. He brushed the leaves from his pants and nudged forward at the girls suggestion. He now lead them through to an area that Avery often found in her fits of rage. They slowed to taking just a few steps at a time listening closely. As they neared a larger oak, the sounds of a girl talking low came from above them. "Avery?" Nicholas said lowly. He looked up to see Avery straddling a girthy branch. She dropped from the tree directly in front of the two. She didn't pass a glance toward Vera, but kept her eyes directly on Nicholas.

    "Are you alright?" Nicholas asked Avery.
    "Well...... I do feel better..."
    "Im not going with you if shes coming though."
    "Yes you are. Avery this is Vera. She is going to stay with us for a day or so."

    Avery then agreed to stay at the apartment. She seemed a little happier and accepting.

    Nicholas turned back to Vera to see how she was taking Avery's sudden change in mood. Avery gave an odd look to Vera telling her she hello. Nicholas knew that she would soon accept her, but she wasn't used to change. He had neglected to tell Vera that Avery had bipolar disorder and often had these mood swings. It didn't make her an incompatant fighter, but did cloud her judgement. She shouldn't be left alone often. Nicholas figured he'd tell Vera later in private.

    "Lets go home?" Nicholas said after a short silence.

    Upon locating Avery, Vera had been almost certain that some form of an argument or fight would ensure, though when none came she was relieved, she was also somewhat more wary of the female. Her anger was still evident though in the way she ignored Vera's existence, and it hurt, making her internally wince at the pointed distrust and denial of her existence. It wasn't a completely new feeling, but that certainly did not make it hurt any less, simply allowing it to follow the path of an already burrowed tunnel of contempt that had previously been carved by various others. Vera sighed inwardly, not blaming the girl. The surprise came when Avery suddenly broke from the disagreement with Nicholas and seemed almost happy to acquiesce to coming back with them now, and her staying. It crossed the girl as odd at the time but was quickly forgotten as a small, polite smile came to her face at Avery's greeting/ acknowledgement of her, quickly returning the pleasantry in earnest. After a short pause that was neither awkward nor peaceful, Vera appreciated Nicholas's suggestion, showing so with a hasty nod. "Let's."
    The journey back to the place that she would temporarily call her home was no more eventful than the trip entering the woods, a simple matter of tracing their paths the way they had come, in order to avoid any undiscovered traps. When they passed through the area of undead who's bodies were entrapped within the trees, she paused for only a second, looking around for the remnants of the snares so that she might discover how they operated. She wasn't a masterful artist when it came to gears and pullies, but she liked to view herself as not too shabby either, delighted whenever the odd creature was caught in the surrounding suburbs where she may have placed something quite a while ago. Her fingers absentmindedly twisted a simple, silver band of metal that sat comfortably on her middle finger, tightening and loosening it as she gazed around her, eyeing the trees and bodies, puzzling herself on how they came to get up there and become impaled without blood being spilled below the trees, which would alert other undead to stay away. Her hand slipped, letting her ring spin in a brief form of free-fall before becoming submerged beneath several small piles of fallen foliage a few feet ahead of her. A voice beckoned for her to come along, but she didn't hear it, on her knees in an instant with her hands rummaging in the darkness, eyes wide to try and take in as much light as was available. She had to find it! It was the only keepsake she had left, and a bit of dirt and clumsiness was not about to keep her from it.

    Relief flooded her face as her fingers met the cool, familiar touch of the metal, which quickly turned to a frown when she tried to pull her arms free of the leaves. Vines or a thick root had taken hold of her wrists, tightening them together more the harder she tried to pull away until it was almost painful. The sound of something being reeled in rapidly, like a fisher's line being returned after hooking a catch, started up from above the girl, making her eyes widen in realization a moment too late. With a short yelp, her body was suddenly jerked violently off the ground, ripping bits of cloth, hair and skin from her being as she ascended higher into the trees; their short, claw-like branches snagging on her momentarily before the strength of the reel continued to pull her skywards, disregarding any damage done to its latest find. It jerked to a halt near to the halfway mark up the large plant, leaving Vera to spin one way or the other as her bindings straightened themselves out after their straineous task. She attempted at a wave towards those on the ground, though realizing that she couldn't move her arms in such a way, she substituted the movement by using her legs, which in all honestly appeared more like a struggling call for help. She sighed, allowing herself to go limp. At least now she knew how the bodies got upwards, even if she wasn't all that positive on the forces behind it, she had a rough image of how such a contraption might work, where it used the strength of the quarry against it.

    The soft hiss of the ropes continued to buzz in her ears and at first she was confused at how it was possible, until she remembered the benefits of the kinetic energy that must have been built up during her ascendancy. It was a double trap that was powered by the strength and weight of its prey. Ingenious. But where-

    As if sensing her unspoken question, a set of three long, thin, sharp branches of wood came shooting through the air in her direction, their settings of accuracy also automatically adjusted with the figure of her weight. Another yelp passed her lips as she twisted against the binds, turning her into a squirming target that the 'arrows' would be slightly less likely to hit. One flew by within an alarmingly close proximity, making the girl swallow with nerves, throat suddenly dry and an urge to vomit dangerously close to breaking edge. The second one came even closer, gently scraping her cheek like a wicked kiss of departure, causing tears to come to her eyes as some of the sensitive flesh was pulled away with the bark. Her eyes shut tightly as she knew the third and final shot was about to be thrown, disbelieving in the chances of it missing her this time.

    Avery and Nicholas looked back to see Vera being shot into the air. The rope that bound her drug her like a doll upward into the trees amongst the other trapped walkers. Nicholas raised his rifle seeing that she was much too close to the biting corpses. Taking aim he put a round through the head of one biter. Being slightly more careful he squeezed off another, sending it close by Vera into a walker on her right. Nicholas noticed that there was a machine lowering down in front of Vera with pointed tips protruding from its ends. The tubes containing the sharp tips had some kind of shaft at the back that must act as a propulsion mechanism..... Arrows.... Nicholas looked to Avery all in a moment as she spun around to the nearest tree.
    Avery sped up the branches as fast as she could to reach the top. She made it to the upper level of a locust tree and began to jump from tree to tree. "Hurry!" Nicholas yelled as the first Arrow narrowly missed her. Avery moved into a place where she could see how the contraption was hung. There were two thick ropes holding it up. Avery pulled her bow from her back and knocked an arrow. She let it fly at the furthest most supporting rope. The rope split on contact and the front side dropped by about an inch.. Not enough.. The second arrow tore Veras cheek as it passed. Nicholas dropped to his knees helpless and watching. Avery pulled a second arrow from her quiver and fixed it to her bow. She took careful aim and let it fly. It hit the mark with a zipping sound causing the back side of the machine to drop several more inches. It released its final projectile. The arrow went a good two foot below Vera and embedded into the tree deeply.

    Avery squirreled her way over to the tree Vera was hung from. Avery loosened the binds with her knife so that Vera could drop free. before cutting her completely loose, Avery stuck a few arrows into the tree below Vera so that she could stand and climb to a nearby branch. The ropes fell free from Vera's hands. Avery dropped from a lower branch back down to the wet ground where Nicholas watched from. Now on his feet, he went to Avery and hugged her. He looked back up to see how Vera was faring the decent.

    Vera fell lightly on her toes as the last thread in her bindings was cut through by Avery's blade, one foot balanced on the thin shaft of a smartly inserted arrow, while the other landed on an unstable branch. Unsure of which to follow to the trunk, she stuck to using the branch when possible, unless it thinned out too much for both of her feet, in which case she also relied on the arrows' shafts for support. At the main support of the tree, she stopped, hands roaming over herself to check the damage, as well as to give her a chance to catch her breath before continuing her to send. There were several small nicks and cuts on her bare arms and neck, along with an untold number of splinters, but overall there seemed to be little damage to her body. Her clothes were another matter, as they had been the main source of her protection. The dress was shredded in several places, bits of twig, blood and leaves peppering the outfit, a majority still stuck to the evidence of their massacre at the edges of the tears. Thankfully, due to the layering in the cloth design, she still remained modestly covered for the most part. Other than that, she still seemed to retain her hair and she was willing to wait until they return to the house before probing the side of her face.
    Several undead noted her hesitancy about the climb down, and turned their mutilated faces to her, hands reaching out to grab what was clearly too far for them to reach. Vera shuddered lightly before turning her back to them and half climbing, half sliding down the tree, cut hands gripping passing branches for support on the way down until, at last her, her feet touched ground. With a sigh of relief, she turned to the embraced form of Avery. "Thank you," she said softly, head bent to the ground slightly in unexpressed embarrassment, hazel-green eyes watching the two almost awkwardly.

    Once Vera was on the ground safe, Nicholas could see that she had been torn up a bit but not seriously wounded. He laid his ruck sack on the damp leaves that covered the chilled ground. From the pack he pulled a small medical kit which he opened to retrieve peroxide and tweezers. He moved quickly over to Vera, took her lightly by the shoulders and looked directly into her eyes. "Are you okay Vera?" he asked her concerned and serious. He then began to inspect her for her wounds. He pulled a splinter from here and one from there. "This may sting a little" he said as he pulled a larger piece from a cut near her rib cage. Through the rip in her dress he dabbed some of the peroxide on it. "don't touch it" he said quietly as he finished field dressing her wounds.
    "When we get back to the house I will treat the rest." he said noticing the deeper cut on her cheek. With his fingers he turned her head by the chin to see the cut better.

    Nicholas had become quite handy with medical supplies since the world had changed so dramatically. He had been forced to fix up a small group of people outside a camp in Ohio on there way to the Ohio river. The group had Avery hostage and demanded he perform an amputation on a young man who had been shot in the leg during a militia raid. He honed his skills on others down through Kentucky and now for the last few weeks had been helping people around this Georgia town. These wounds would be easy to treat. He knew he could make her comfortable before the night. Nicholas was grateful it hadn't been worse.

    He dropped his hand from Vera's face and looked her over one last time before standing face to face with her.

    All that time, Avery had been collecting her arrows and glancing over to see Nicholas working on Vera. From a thicker branch just above the two she asked if Vera was alright. Nicholas just nodded up to her and looked back to see if Vera was okay to walk home.

    She may not have realized it quite yet, but Vera have been avoiding stepping on any more leaf clusters. If anyone asked her about it, at first she would feverishly deny her following such a pattern, until she were to figure it out on her own. At which point she would grudgingly admit the truth the next time it was asked of her, but no sooner. Subconsciously, she feared getting ensnared again by concealed ropes or wire and was not all that eager for the event to repeat itself, even when she came out of it quite lucky. This, much to her unknown irritation, stopped her from taking the few steps back away from Nicholas when he gently held her shoulders. At his inquiry, she raised her head, about to laugh the question off or shove him away from her, which of the two she had not yet decided between. "I'm fi-" Her sentence was cut off though as her eyes met his, so worried and somber as they gazed at her, that she immediately lapsed into a state of silence, simply nodding her head once in silence. Her eyes quickly fled from his. Why did he have to look at her like that....? Regardless though, she went unprotesting as Nicholas continued to scrutinize her physical well being, a suppressed hiss coming out as something was removed from near her ribs, directly after his warning of the predicted pain.
    For the most part, she remained passively obedient to his touch, moving this or that in accordance to what needed to be examined at the slightest of prompts on his part. She flinched when his fingers pressed against her chin, eyes shutting tight at an expectancy of pain in her cheek to suddenly flare up. When it didn't and his hand was removed instead, she re-opened her eyes, blinking a few times before releasing a breath that she hadn't been aware of was being held. Avery's voice called out to them, asking if she was alright, with Nicholas's nod being in the positive, looking back at her in confirmation afterwards. She gave him a small smile alongside another equally small nod, choosing to sidestep over the leaves that blocked her path instead of waiting for him to move, or simply stand slightly too close to him than what comfort levels would deem as appropriate.

    Vera waited the short time that it took Avery to finish retrieving her arrows and swing back down to the forest floor, before they continued their trek back through the greenery. They reached the guarded wall some few minutes later, the barbed wire fence standing firmly between tall slabs of concrete that stretched onwords for several miles before being separated by another gate of similar appearance. If they were to continue along the wall, it would be subtly noticeable that each post became more heavily guarded as they approached the nearby suburbs. Eventually, swarms of undead would be met loitering outside the wall, the station having been overrun by the creatures just some months ago. Their progress was slow but strong, and it worried the young woman to think that soon they would infest even the strongest holding points of their town. Maybe a few years... Months... Weeks... Days? She sighed but was broken from her thoughts as the guard asked for her identification, which was quickly shown, followed by an usher for the girl to enter and join her companions, both of which were already safely inside. Now, just a brisk walk across the Square and they would be home.

    Nicholas looked up at the second story window that held behind it their temporary home. The place had been theirs since they had arrived in the town, given to them by a younger man that Nicholas and Avery had helped out.
    They were just crossing the empty street to the sidewalk entrance to the staircase. Nicholas was up front keeping a steady pace. He noticed that there was light in the living room. Candle light setting the window aglow in the dark night. They never left candles burning, and the only three occupants were in a line behind him. He looked back first at Avery and then at Vera.

    An Unexpected Visitor...
  4. An Unexpected Visitor...

    Without voicing his suspicions, he told Vera wait at the bottom of the narrow stair that led up to the apartment door. He looked up the old wooden stairs, shouldered his rifle and began the ascent to the door. Avery was close behind him with an arrow knocked on the string of her bow. The door was cracked open. Nicholas went slow and methodically until he reached the door. He stopped short and looked over his shoulder to ready Avery. She mouthed the words 'breach and clear' to him. He nodded and counted to three.


    The door flung open as Nicholas put his shoulder to it and busted into the hallway. They started through to the living room. The once perfectly arranged furniture was strewn and flipped around the room. The lamps and candelabras busted on the hardwood. The rugs were kicked up. A large oil lamp sat on the floor in the middle of the room flickering off warm light. No one was there. The two continued to search the other rooms which they found in similar condition, except Nicholas's bedroom.

    Nicholas started back toward the front hallway to call for Vera. Now that business was done, Avery started questioning Nicholas. "Who the hell would have done this. What arn't you telling me? Nicholas!" She said to his back as he finished the walk down the stairs to get Vera. He walked out of the narrow passage. "Vera.... Come, we need to get you cleaned up." He didn't tell her what they found, he just peered around the square quickly and climbed the stairs.

    Glancing over her shoulder showed Vera nothing more than the empty Square with its lone, stone monument and rows of closed shop-lots, very few of which would even be opened during the day. Of the many, few were still in business, having long since stopped providing whatever they had initially sold, and adapted into becoming houses of trade that would bargain with anyone who had possession of anything that was of worth nowadays. Be it food, livestock, clothes, or even the simplicity that was wood, so long as it was usable. Now though, in the cover of night, they were dark and threatening, begging a passerby to be consumed within their shadows and never come out again, and the way that Nicholas had looked about had not settled well with her either. She looked away quickly and hurried up the steps after the male, the childish fear of something grabbing at her ankles as she did so making sure she kept up the unrelenting pace until the front door was firmly shut behind her.

    Much to her confusion, Avery had immediately started bombarding him with questions and demands for answers again, the first of which she had only heard the echos of while she had waited downstairs. Her eyes darted between the two momentarily before pushing herself away from the door, through the hallway, and stood beside the connecting archway that led to the ransacked living room. She glimpsed an upturned pot just outside of the kitchen, so assumed that it was the same in there as well. It looked as if the entire place had been set upon by a miniature tornado, the eye of which had left a lamp in the center of the room to emphasize the damage done. She leaned against the arch, one hand going to her hip with the other limp at her side, head cocked slightly as she looked at the boy who probably held knowledge of what had happened. Her eyes widened at him, showing her surprise, while also meant to silently ask the same questions that Avery was very clearly voicing aloud.

    Just as quickly, she seemed to lose the battle of will and went into the living room to try an straighten up what she could, mind too weary for her stubbornness to be at its strongest. If he was going to answer, then he certainly wasn't going to do so by using telepathy and would have to speak, in which case she would most likely hear him anyway. She shoved the couches that were still upright back into the positions she had recalled seeing them in only an hour or so ago, leaving the others that had been knocked over as they were. While the first question that sprung to mind was, 'why would someone do this?' it could quickly be excused as being the work of hobos who were searching for food or shelter, also answering the question of who. What it left unanswered though was what they were looking for, because, as far as the girl could tell, nothing seemed to be missing, which simultaneously debunked the first theories of 'why' and 'who'.

    Nicholas ignored the barrage to questions from Avery's mouth and attempted to brush off those of Vera's eyes. For a few minutes, he allowed Vera to help straighten up the living room as not to be rude, but stopped her before she collected some of the heavier things. All the while they were starting the clean up, Avery continued yelling in a hushed voice. The walls were paper thin and even in her fit, she knew the whole square didn't need to hear what was happening.
    Nicholas stepped over the upturned coffee table and placed his had on Vera's shoulder gently. "Vera, come. Lets get you cleaned up, you are not in any shape for cleaning."

    Medical Tension...

    He led her to the bathroom past Avery who had intensified the questioning, yelling and accusations. Nicholas nudged Vera on a little faster down the short hall to escape the vocal attack. Once he had her in front of the mirror, he turned and shut the door. "There, momentary peace." but the closed door did not stop Avery from still yelling at the door. He voice soon became a light buzz of background noise.

    The vanity held a medium square mirror which he had placed Vera in front of. He spun her around softly to the full length mirror on the back of the bathroom door. Nicholas then started to collect the things he needed to better clean her wounds. He pulled a dark cherry stained stool from the corner of the large bathroom and placed it behind Vera to sit on. He turned the water on in the claw foot tub so he could have some hot water (solar water heater).

    He went back to her and started with her cheek. He skillfully and mildly dabbed and worked the wound clean. As he did so he assured her, "It is safe here tonight. As you can now see if not before, Avery is temperamental. Don't let her unease you." He moved his attention to a less serious cut on her neck. "When we are finished here, she will be fine."

    He crossed in front of her between the mirror and herself. He looked her in the eyes, stopping briefly to interrupt, but soon went back to work on her.

    Her dress was fairly torn and likely best used for rags from here out. With the cheek taken care of, he moved to the deeper cut on her left rib cage. The dress was torn wide from the passing projectile revealing the bloody cut. He had saved this wound for last, the most serious of the set and the only one to need stitched. In an attempt to keep the mood in the high ceiling-ed bathroom light, he commented on Avery's absence from the other side of the door. "I believe she is finished..." With a short grin, he went back to collect his sewing kit from the vanity. From the kit he prepared the needle and sterile thread, not letting Vera yet see what he was doing. "They are not coming back." he said more seriously. "I am certain."

    At her left side he reexamined the gash to be sure it needed what he was about to do. He pulled a small flask from the sewing kit. "Drink this, or you'll wish you had." He handed the half full steel container of whiskey to her.

    Giving her time to decide on the liquid, he went to a coat tree in the same corner her retrieved the stool from. He retrieved a medium robe. It was white and still clean. Returning back to the girl, he stood a moment. He took the flask from her, whether or not she used it, and placed it on the floor. He stood her up. Unsure how to prompt it, he lightly took hold of the bottom of her dress to remove it. He did this slowly so as not to scare her. The needle and robe fell from his arm with a clumsiness he never had while doctoring someone. Now that he thought about it, he'd never been shy about clearing clothing from a wound....

    Sitting on the stool, unmoving as Nicholas worked on her cheek and neck, Vera finally took the time to appreciate the spaciousness of the bathroom. The first time she had come in, she had been too distracted by the yelling and the control she had taken upon herself to not be sick with nerves, to even notice the size of the room. Let alone the vanity she now sat before, even with her back turned to it, it had seemed pretty enough in the first glance after entering. She was also taking Nicholas's closeness a little better than before, a bit more used to the feeling of professionalism coming from someone she knew better than a mere doctor, but she continued to tell herself that it was no different and that she should stop viewing it as so. Her composure stayed intact for the most part until he paused to look into her eyes again, in reply to which she quickly looked away after a moment of meeting the gaze, then down to the floor and slightly to the left.

    Once he was behind her, doing who knows what, she relaxed a bit, allowing her shoulders to slump from their tense straightness into a more casual sitting position for what could be done while sitting on a stool. She nodded at his comments, thinking them over with a quiet, distracted, "That's good then." They...? So, he must know that there was definitely more than one person who wrecked this place while they were out. He went silent though and she was left to her own thoughts until she was handed a flask and a warning, before he once again left her line of vision somewhere near her back. Raising the liquid to her nose and taking a delicate sniff declared it as some kind of alcohol, something she hadn't had since she was fourteen and rather careless about what she consumed. It had also been the day she learned the hard way that she was extremely sensitive to the stuff after being discovered some time later that night in the middle of a swimming pool with swarms of undead trying to grope at her from the pool's edge. They were unsuccessful, of course, but it had still taken a good deal of effort to clear a path through them in order to rescue her, too drunk to be able to tell the difference between a tree and a lamp post, so undeniably useless in getting herself out of the situation. She pursed her lips together uncertainly, swishing the liquid around a few times. Just one mouthful, she reasoned, couldn't do too much damage. She would probably be asleep soon anyway. Before she could reason herself out of it, she had taken the drink to her lips and the promised mouthful, almost immediately wishing she could spit it back out at the sudden heat that flared up. Unable to do anything else without embarrassing herself, she swallowed it in a single, fiery gulp that felt like a trail of fire was running down her throat. There was absolutely no way that she could have ever wished she had taken that, had she of not, but only trying it would have been able to teach her otherwise. She pulled the flask from her mouth and kept it at a small distance from herself until Nicholas came back to retrieve it, thankful once its light weight was removed from her. She could feel her insides warming from the liquid, starting at the pit of her belly and slowly moving up to her chest where she knew from dealing with drunk uncles, that it would only grow warmer.

    Her body went very rigid and still when he started pulling up her dress, legs self-consciously pressing together as subtly as she could manage, toes curling in a mild form of panic within her boots. Just procedure, just procedure, just procedure, just procedure, she mentally chanted, feeling each part of her body become tense as each inch of cloth was removed, revealing more skin than anyone other than herself had seen since she was a child. His apparent nervousness as the robe fell to floor did nothing to still her nerves and rapidly increasing heartbeat, in actuality only making them speed up more. When the dress came up around her head and became snagged on her unusually highly placed ponytail, she took the cloth from his fingers, having to pause in order to remove her scrunchie for the ruined outfit to be removed, after which is was easily pulled from and dropped to the floor near her feet. The heat of the whiskey spread across her chest and shoulders, easily making its way up her neck and already warmed cheeks, turning her flesh a soft shade of flushed pink under his gaze. Without the concealing design of the outfit to confuse the eye, her body truly was quite attractive. Her legs were slim while also remaining femininely muscular in appreciation of the exercise she had been up to since young, which lead up into curved hips that were accentuated by her slim waist and flat belly. In show of her discomfort, she folded her arms defensively across her chest, directly below her bust and unaware that she was only elevating them slightly by doing so. She bit her bottom lip, nervous, but notably less so than when he had first touched her dress, the alcohol already working to help numb not only her body but her mind as well. "Are you going to start yet?" she asked suddenly in a very soft voice, looking over at him and this time not breaking eye contact when she met his blue eyes.

    The locked gaze lasted a moment too long but didn't cause Nicholas to feel awkward. He'd worked on many females, seeing them even further undressed. This was no big deal. Or was it? She was unbelievably beautiful. He was completely taken by surprise. Before their eyes met, he had let his drift over her body.
    He suddenly broke the eye contact and placed his left hand on her arm. He pulled at them as to tell her to uncross them. "Left arm above your head" he said softly. Nicholas examined her rib cage, careful to stay focused on only the cut. He placed his left hand on her hip to steady her. Her skin was a bit cold to the touch but he proceeded. With the needle strung in his right hand, he began the first stitch. He carefully wove all six through her skin, pulled them tight and tied them off. Once finished, he dropped the needle into a small bag on the floor below him. He took some peroxide and cleaned the stitch work.

    Nicholas stood up again after collecting his things and offered Vera the white plush robe. He had been looking past her pure beauty for the sake of getting her patched, but now he didn't restrain his eyes. He allowed himself to look over her body. Starting from her legs up past her flat toned stomach and to her eyes, resting there.

    In that moment Avery pounded on the door with an announcement. "Dinner.."

    As she lifted her arm above her head in obedience, Vera glanced the tell-tale sliver of metal in the boy's hand and suddenly understood the need of the whiskey, inwardly groaning at the expectations of pain. She sucked in a breath as the sharp prick of pain pinched into her already tender wound, making her almost squirm if it had not been for firm Nicholas's hand on her other side, keeping her still. It could have been worse, she knew, considering that a needle wasn't simply being injected for an immunization, but literally threading through her skin. She pursed her lips tightly, deciding not to dwell on the image of that until the stitched were over, at which point she also released the pent up air from her lungs. Ouch. More of that peroxide stuff was applied to the wound, making her wait a moment before tentatively lowering her arm back down to her side again. Looking over his work, she deemed it as nicely done and was about to tell him so when she noticed his looking over her body again, making her flush a bit more until his eyes locked onto hers. She tilted her head and raised her brows slightly in question, opening her mouth to say something, but thought better of it as Avery's call for the evening meal echoed in the bathroom, making her jump slightly in surprise.
    She abruptly took the proffered robe and shrugged it over her shoulders, tying both the sash around her waist and her hair with the scrunchie into a long ponytail at the crown of her head. Then, with a mumbled word of thanks, she ducked her head down slightly and pushed past Nicholas and out of the room. The other woman was no longer in the hallway, so she assumed that she had already retreated back to living-room or kitchen. Walking the short distance, she poked gently through the cotton of the robe at the stitches, wincing at the throbbing sting that the touch cause. It would be sore at best for the next few days before the thread needed to be removed and she was anticipating the ache of sleeping and quick movement. Her hand moved over to hold the opposite side of her waist for a brief second, a small shiver running from the area and down her spine in recollection at the heat from the male's own hand. She swallowed guiltily and dropped her arms to her side, soon entering the room with Avery and silently taking a seat.

    Personal History...

    Nicholas allowed her to take the robe and slip out of the bathroom without protest. For a moment, he was unsure about the situation. Now a bit relieved that it had an outcome, he tidied up the medical supplies and disposed of the infected items.
    He entered the room minutes after Vera, wiping his freshly washed hands on his shirt to dry them. He didn't look at Vera who still had a slight tinge of pain on her face. The room had been fairly straightened by the three of them and then by Avery while Vera was being worked on. The sitting areas and tables were all back to their original positions. Nicholas selected to stand near the kitchen. The smell of bread and oats drifted past his nose.

    The room was silent with the exception of Avery's humming from the other room. The tune was slightly dark and sad, but when she entered carrying two plates of food she held an expression of contentedness. Once Avery sat the food on the antique coffee table, Nicholas announced "We are leaving tomorrow. We will be gone by two hours past sunrise." His statement came out a bit concerned, but collected none the less.

    He took a seat at the table in front of his plate. "How are you feeling?" he asked without looking up from his plate. Avery didn't return from the kitchen which Nicholas addressed "She doesn't eat in front of anyone."

    He laid his fork down in the cinnamon oats and pulled a drawer open on the coffee table. The drawer had a false bottom of which Nicholas removed the lid. In the hidden space there were two things, a folded envelope and a little black box. The envelope looked as if it had been heavily handled before it was stowed away, but the little black box was pristine. The box was made of ebony wood and bore two gold plated latches on the front and had four claw foot legs. He first chose the box which he pulled out and held in one hand. After setting it on the table, he lifted the envelope from the drawer.

    Nicholas held the tattered paper in his hands as he sat forward on the couch. "Avery and I will be going in the morning. We are working our way down to the Gulf coast. It's around five hundred miles. Will you come with us Vera?" he asked as he looked up from the envelope over at Vera. He looked her in the eyes, unsure of how else to ask this. He turned his attention to the kitchen where Avery appeared from. She pranced across the room and exited toward the bathroom. Nicholas watched her pass in front of them and then returned his attention to Vera.

    Vera's eyes widened slightly at Nicholas's announcement of their departure in the morning, though her eyes remained stuck to the piece of warm, buttered bread that she was biting into. Of course they were leaving. Their house had been ransacked and was irredeemable as being a safe enough living environment. Well, really, no where seemed to be safe anymore if both the undead and humans were out to get something from you. She sighed, already thinking of several routes that might be taken that would lead to the mountains, as she knew for a fact that she would not be going back to her former home. Nicholas asked how she was feeling, answering with a half-hearted shrug and something mumbled that might have contained the words 'sore' and 'sleepy'. There were several passes that could be taken that led towards the towns located near the mountains' peeks, but no direct path, which would be a complicating if some of the Amish villages near the foot of the hills had turned. It was too probable.

    Her attention was recaptured when he bent down and began to rummage in a seemingly empty drawer, allowing her planning for the following day to slip away to the back of her mind as a sudden curiosity took its place. Her eyes followed his hands as he lifted first, a beautifully crafted box of dark wood and ornatedly detailed feet that kept the bottom from having to touch the table. How pretty, she thought, eyes drawn away from the cube a moment later. The second thing that was removed was an envelope of aged paper with creases and smudge marks on the outside, which he didn't remove his eyes from. Nicholas scooted forward on his seat, looking a little anxious, making her straighten slightly in attention, head tilting slightly. He relayed the first two sentences that she already knew, a third one that was certainly informative, and a fourth that was honestly unexpected. Should she go with them...? Her eyes lingered away from his hands to rest on her plate, though she could still feel his gaze boring into her like twin beams, waiting. There were no real reasons for her to stay aside from her younger siblings, but she could easily write a note for them and leave it under the doormat. They would find it eventually and her mother never went outside anyway. Besides, hadn't she just been thinking earlier that this place would become overrun sooner or later? If she weren't to leave for the mountains, then, yes, she would assume that she would have normally asked to tag along, but now it was her choice. She was vaguely aware that Avery had left the immediate vicinity. Five hundred miles would mean their being on the road for two, maybe three weeks, so long as they didn't make more long term stops. Vera's gaze met his, unwavering as she nodded once. "I will."

    His heart leap a bit at her answer... he'd hoped she would. They could use another fighter. Nicholas had yet to test her, but he had been watching the way she moved. Smooth and light. It told him she was capable of holding her own. If not already skilled, at least she would be teachable.
    He briefly nodded to Vera and returned his attention to his envelope.

    "You'll need to know a few things..." He removed a peach colored paper, less torn than the envelope, but still worn. Nicholas read aloud. "I, Nicholas, swear allegiance to the militia of New Ohio. For the term of my service as Lieutenant, I will follow and issue orders in the best interest of the militia." He stopped reading and folded the paper back up. He placed it on the table next to the box. He pulled another paper from the envelope and straightened the wrinkles out.

    He held the paper in front of him. In bold black print; NOTICE OF EVICTION.
    Nicholas read from the letter, "Effective immediately, the residents of this home are to be gone. You are hereby exiled. The decision has been made to terminate your rank and citizenship of New Ohio for disobeying direct orders from a higher ranking officer." He once again stopped, folded the paper and placed it with the other on the table.

    When pulling the last paper from the envelope, it fell open on the floor. WE WILL FIND YOU NICHOLAS

    Vera calmly bent over in her seat and retrieved the last of the papers from the ground, feeling her hair shift to drape over her left shoulder as she did so. Straightening back to attention, her eyes roamed over the five words again and again, feeling gears beginning to click and move against one another in a way that should have been done earlier. Both hands held the paper threat, head tilted slightly as if the words were puzzling, but also coming into focus. After a long, drawn out moment, she handed it to the boy between two fingers, watching as he folded it and placed it on top of the others. "Nicholas..." she started carefully, tone even, "what did you do that caused you to lose your Lieutenant ranking, get banished from an entire state and leave the militia nipping at your heels?" Her teeth were biting gently on the inside of her cheek, the only outward show of her anxiousness, eyes narrowed slightly in a concern that was not for herself. Her mind sometimes did this though, trying to find a solution to a problem that she hadn't even realized was confusing her until after it was solved and could easily be confronted. Annoying and confusing, but it happened. Of course, this wasn't going to stop her from traveling with them, but it did help to clarify some things. Such as where he obtained his confidence and abnormally quick reflexes, what gave them more determination than most to find this safe haven and who had ransacked the house while they were out. Her thoughts froze as something clicked and began to move them in reverse. The militia were here, but why? 'They were looking for something. Something that he shouldn't have. A liability.' Vera blinked and when her eyes opened, they were looking at the immaculately perfect box.

    Nicholas allowed the questions to slide past unanswered. His eyes had been locked on her facial expressions in an attempt to read her reactions. She showed everything she thought. He figured it was only because she was tired, but he didn't mind being able to basically hear her thoughts.

    He too looked at the box. He reached over and clicked the latch. The top was spring loaded and sprung open once the latch had been tripped. The inside of the box revealed a single inside compartment. Simply four walls, a bottom, and the now open lid. Unexpectedly, there was nothing in it. Just a bare black bottom. Empty.

    "It's not what it contains, it's what it does not yet hold."

    During his time in the militia, Nicholas learned a lot about humans. He would have thought that surviving against an undead enemy would be enough to occupy a mans brain. He was proved wrong on many occasions.

    "As a lieutenant I was in charge of about fifty guys. I took direct orders from the militia general, Cain. I've seen this man do horrible things. I always thought he had reasons for what he did, but I was wrong. I couldn't stand by and watch him torture innocent living people. Starve them, beat them, rape them. He used his men to put ruthless fear into people."

    He closed the box and put it away back in the false bottom of the drawer. So much to why he did what he did. He would normally have not said even that much.

    "There is a man at the edge of the mountains. His name is Virgil. I anticipate we can be there by the evening of tomorrow. He knows a better way through the mountains and a thing or two about Cain's army."

    He stood. Vera, you can have my bed, I'll be sleeping here on the couch. "I assure you this place is safe for tonight, they won't be back." He offered Vera his had to help her from the couch and to show her the bedroom.

    A brief sense of hesitation stalled her from immediately taking his hand, leaving hers hovering above his palm for a second longer, unsure. She was being silly, she knew. Even after his having touched her in more intimate ways, though that was excusable as being necessary, she was still nervous about allowing more physical contact with people than she absolutely had to. She sighed quietly and shook her head a little in order to clear her thoughts, accepting his hand gratefully with a murmured word of thanks. Thinking it over, this had been the third time today that he had insisted that her staying here would be safe and accepted, so at last she decided to believe him as he proceeded to escort her to the bedroom. It, like the rest of the rooms, was both spacious and cozy at the same time without becoming cluttered, furnished in the same Victorian fashion as the living and bath room. He lingered only for as long as he had to and was soon gone again, leaving after the polite bidding of a good night from Vera.

    Getting out of Dodge...
  5. Getting out of Dodge...

    Vera's eyes blinked into wakefulness, greeted by the silent darkness that consumed the room and cast all of its occupants into shadow. She remained very still, allowing her sense of hearing to take the place of her eyes in order to gauge her surroundings better. Nothing moved, nothing creaked, and it wasn't until she heard the early cawing of a lone bird announcing the approach of dawn, that she slipped from the bed and away from a lumpy bundle that could have been either the sleeping form of Avery or mere blankets. It was with some difficulty that she managed to locate a desired chest of drawers and change out of the robe which had been slept in, and into an outfit identical to that which Nicholas had offered to her the previous evening. The blouse was white or possibly creme and although the jeans were tighter than the clothes that she was used to, they fit well enough and would have to be made do with. Satisfied, she crept from the room, through the hall and out the door, loosely throwing her scabbard over her back as she went.

    The sky was still black, but held the tell tale signs of morning in its shades of dark purple and thin strips of red that clung to distant ground where the sun would soon emerge. Much of the color that would have shone through by now was concealed beneath a layering of cloud and a fine mist, courtesy of the recent rain showers, that left the air sharp in her lungs as she padded stealthily across the cobbled square and out the main gates. It was an odd thing for her legs to feel so constricted, but also more capable of movement then they previously had been. Weird. She would have to get used to it, though it helped immensely when, after arriving at her former home and noticing that the door mat was no longer in place, it was required of her to maneuver across the young branches of a decorative tree in order to reach the fire escape. From there, it was a simple matter of pinning her note to the nearest bedroom window of her siblings, telling of where she was going, where several snares had been set in their town, which areas to avoid completely, which to scavenge from, and so on, the last order telling them to watch over their mother and what to do once she passed over.

    Upon returning to the Square some hour past sunrise, it was evident that the household was up and about, the sound of bags being packed and drawers rummaged, and the smell of cooking from the kitchen. No one was in the hall and she gratefully slipped into the bathroom to wash up before they left. If anyone noticed her absence, it was not voiced, each too distracted with their own responsibilities to stop and talk. After a hasty breakfast that consisted of the uneaten beans, french toast and a sliced apple, they slung on their belongings and departed with a quick one over of the rooms to make sure nothing of necessity had been forgotten.

    It was not long before they came to the wall that led out of the entire district and its many suburbs, where a guard asked for them to return the residency cards that had been given when each had first arrived. Vera was almost reluctant to part with the only evidence that this was her home, or used to be, but gave it to the guard all the same, receiving a nod of approval. They were soon ushered through with some generic words of advice; warnings that had long become common knowledge to the public and deeply implanted safety guidelines that had to be followed if one wanted to keep their life. With the town behind them, each kept their eyes sharp and their thoughts to themselves, a silent agreeing arising that it was too early for talk. Inevitably, Vera's mind continued to stray and pick at the conversation between Nicholas and her the night before, rerunning minor details that had yet to be enlightened. There was the sadistic General, of course, who must have ordered him to do something that was morally wrong, but viewed as good by the militia for some reason, while also involving the small box that didn't hold anything... yet. Although it holds nothing though, it's importance is good enough cause for them to hunt him down and want him dead. Does it concern the undead? A cure? She frowned. That wouldn't make sense though! A frustrated breath of air passed her lungs, but remained otherwise inexpressive towards her thinking.

    As the noon sun grew higher and more intense, so did the heat of what had been predicted as another cool, cloudy day, and the talk that should have already begun was ignored as the quiet was further instilled by sweaty discomfort. The bare face of the sun on the damp earth only resulted in the warmth growing as the water beneath the ground steamed up from the depths and filled the air with a hot moisture that clung to the clothes and skin of those who passed through its humid reign, leaving a sheen of sweat on their brows. Discomfort indeed. To distract herself, Vera went over in her mind again and again the network of the mountains they would need to pass. Each time, hitting a mental block of forgetfulness or uncertainty that came from the long years away from the village homes that she had spent a modest deal of her early childhood. It was oddly comforting though to think of even coming near to the brutal town, even if they didn't pass through it, and the idea of meeting another who knew the rocky terrains better than herself left a similar feeling of ease. It wouldn't be long now, as the foot of the distant hills was already in sight, a town visible from under the forgiving strip of a shadow that it cast.

    Nicholas trudged along in the lead of the three piece troop. He adjusted his rifle that was beginning to slip on his shoulder and tightened the ruck pack around his waist. Every so often, he would look back at the two girls to be sure they were keeping pace. So far they had seen very little of the reanimated dead. They'd stuck to the foot trodden trail between the larger city that they had just left and the smaller villages of the mountains.

    They were beginning the assent into the main pass. This was one of three that they'd need to navigate, but not before stopping to see an acquaintance on Nicholas' They came between trees and thickets, meadows and empty fields, finally coming to a plot of shacks. There was a barbed fence around them and signs that said keep out. A women stood in the garden but disappeared at the sight of the three travelers. The path led them straight to the front gate that was hinged to swing only outward. Three large padlocks kept it tightly sealed from any type of intruder. An old dinner bell hung just to the right of the gate on a post, the kind that would have been used on a farm to bring in the cows, or to single to the field workers that supper was ready. Nicholas reached up and gave it a solid ring.

    "Virgil!" Nicholas called.

    This is where we will begin...
  6. So... ill start off the discussion! :)

    I think that there is room for a character to enter at this point. Virgil may not be home or may not even be alive... But the group spotted a women on their approach to the house/compound. So there is an opportunity for a female to enter. Also, be sure to post a bio for me to approve. Remember to read where the story is. One of the most important events is the part about Nicholas and the militia.

    Nicholas doesn't have to be the main character the whole time. I was thinking that Vera and Nicholas are obviously co-mains.

    I'd like for the other players to add to the story line through their characters experiences and also through introducing plot advancement.
  7. Well, I do have my Natalie. Should I go ahead and post her skeleton here? I think it would make sense, she having her medical background and what not.
  8. Most definitely!! Do note that Nicholas too is fairly skilled as a medic. He dressed Vera's wounds in the "Medical Tension" section. This could be cool if they collab on knowledge orrrrrrrrr since Nicholas is well know in the East as an accomplished field doctor, perhaps Natalie has heard of him before or knows of him. :)
  9. Hmm, Well I mean I can edit her to make more sense for the story! So maybe she could be complete an utter dead weight xD Or maybe she was on an archery team headed to the olympics or she is an excellant tracker! I am very flexible when it comes to characters, just let me know if you have any ideas that you think would benefit the story that would result in a position for me!
  10. I think any of the ways you mentioned would be fine. Part of the fun is allowing free rein within the storyline. So just post your bio here whenever you are happy with it. Also we can give feedback on a certain idea if you feel unsure.
    #10 Christopher, Jan 21, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 23, 2014
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  11. Ok, so i'm going to get this rolling this week if everyone is still on board. Garth, your already good to go. Rosie, you still haven't submitted your character info.

    Keep your eyes open for the link to the IC thread.
  12. I will get it done as soon as possible okay? Promise!
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