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dagee
11-08-2005, 00:57
A Soldiers Story

Journal date unknown.

I lost track of time a while ago, sitting here in this makeshift cell. You would think with nothing to do but count the risings and fallings of the moon that I would at least know what day it is or even what year. Funny how not knowing something as simple as what day it is can remind you of everything you lost. Time, how do you steal time? Sun up, sun down days pass by. But that was before. Before the breach, before the fires, before the darkness, before the thunder, before the screams… before Ascalon was ripped apart.

Time moves differently now. In the beginning, right after it happened, after Ascalon - time froze. It just stopped altogether. The fires fell from the sky charring the earth. The smoke rose up blocked the sun, night fell and time stopped.

When it started again nothing was the same. Gone were the green hills, plush vallies, and clear blue lakes of my childhood. Gone were the gleaming golden spires of the Castle. Gone were the people I knew and once loved. Now all there was, was sand.

It all seems like a dream. Not the war, not breach. No the time before. We should have known back then, before The Fall, we should have seen this coming. Things were good. Dancing in the streets, visitors from the outside bringing with them tales of adventure and even better - gold.

Of course we had all heard the rumors of char South of the wall but those were just rumors, tales to attract more people, more would be heroes to our lands. And it worked. They came from every region of the world. First just a few people brandishing cheap iron swords, axes and makeshift bows. Then others came: exotic women wielding the powers of the earth, men pale as the snow in winter, with bloodshot eyes and long grey fingernails. They swept out upon our land. And we, in our greed welcomed them.

Greed perhaps that’s where we failed. So eager to please the strangers to our lands that we that we forgot the dangers within of past. We became complacent. All we saw was their gold.

It started out slowly at first. A wink here, a gold coin pressed into the right hand and suddenly the catacombs, the place were our fathers had died and had been buried, was no longer silent; that holiest of grounds had been despoiled and something, something that had long ago lain itself to sleep was awaken.

But we ignored the horrors emanating from below Ashford Abbey . We failed to heed the warnings.

The wall. It all comes down to the wall. The wall eternal, everlasting, and impenetrable. How long had it stood there? I had heard that it was built after the last great war over fifteen hundred years ago. That great stone barricade spanning the breadth of our world; twenty feet thick with one steel gate the even, Dwayna could not comprise.

We thought it was the wall that protected us, that brought us peace. We were fools.

It happened slowly at first. A few inquiries from the foreigners and a nagging insistence from the council that we let some through. Of course, the king refused. What the council was suggesting was unthinkable. But the council had a strong ally – Prince Rurick. He saw the opportunity for more gold and perhaps felt the lure of adventure.

It was a small trickle at first; a dignitary here, a lord there. But soon the gate was being raised three or four times a day. At first it all seemed ok. The gold, which had always flowed into our city freely, gushed. Prices skyrocketed. Simple things like dye, which had once sold for a few coopers, were now being sold to the visitors for hundreds of gold pieces each. And we in our complacency sat back and watched it all happen, content in our greed.

Then it happened. Prince Rurik led a group of lords across the wall, as he was wont to do on occasion. His group returned at sunset but this time he didn’t return with them. At first no one thought anything of this; Rurick had been obsessed with the wall and often times would stay long after his hunting party had returned. A day went by and then another. Search parties were sent but to no avail. Then, on the third day, we saw him. A group of guards rushed out to meet him. He had tracked a group Char he claimed to an old Temple. Of course none of us believed him. Char were the stories of legend; but they had been decimated in the last war to near extinction. Now, they were nothing more than figments of forgotten past a creature from a story told to frighten little children, and to attract adventure seekers and their gold.

The following night, there was a feast in the great hall; a feast like none other. One of the captain’s of the guard, and Rurick close friend was to be married. We were all invited. There was wild bore, barrels of wine, and of course dancing - lots of dancing. The evening was punctuated throughout with bawdy songs, raucous toasts and of course more drinking and dancing.

At one point a loud chorus of The Shy Maiden was taken up and suddenly the whole room was filled with the din of 200 drunken soldiers and guests.
It was in the middle of all chaos with people singing and dancing on the tables that it happened.

Prince Rurick, who had for the last few minutes been having a heated discussion with the king, stormed out of the hall and returned moments later with something bound up in his arms. Untying it he slung it across the table knocking down goblets, plates and food to the floor. At first no one really understood and then suddenly, there was an almost audible intake of breath, as time stopped, for the first time. Those of us closest to the prince stood there staring in disbelief. It was surreal. All around us the music wafted and we just stood there frozen. Upon the table, was a hide -a Char hide, like the ones displayed in the tapestries that draped the wall of the great hall.

Everything after that event was a blur. A woman screamed then fainted. The king, one who had always comported himself with utmost dignity cursed loudly. And the room which had just moments before echoed with the sounds of merriment was now filled with chaos.

Within weeks sighting of Char south of the wall were occurring almost daily. Panic had hit the streets. The visitors who had flooded our city for the last year suddenly were leaving in droves. Worst off all, smoke from north of the wall could be seen. For the first time in living memory the world to the north that we had all believed to be so peaceful emanated with life.

Yojimaru
11-08-2005, 10:39
Pretty good, I look forward to reading more.

James Satan
11-08-2005, 17:24
yeah- great style! (did you read my story before adding dates to your backstory? If so- thats very cool of you, if not.. mad coincidence!)

dagee
11-08-2005, 21:49
James Satan, just mad coincidence.


Part II

Gwen

Gwen, daughter of summer and love of my life, she was born two days after Summer Fest, almost one year to the day that the treaty with Nolani was signed. No one loves a child like a soldier. Perhaps we who have seen so much death that it has become commonplace marvel at the prospect of new life, of innocence.

From the moment she was born I knew then that my life would never be the same. Before her birth there was nothing but uncertainty. Would I make a good father? Could I, a simple soldier the son of a farmer, provide for a family and most importantly …would I love my child.

All my fears disappeared the day she was born. A child gives you strength that you did not know you possessed. When they stare up at you, with that look of hope in their eyes, they wash away your fears and immerse you into an almost overwhelming sensation of love.

Born in a time of peace, she was a daughter of innocence. For her the world held no fears. On her seventh birthday I gave her a flute I had carved for her while traveling with my unit on the way back from Fort Ranik. She carried it with her everywhere playing for anyone who would stop and listen.

When I close my eyes, I can still picture her skipping through those golden fields right outside the guard station, flute clutched tightly in her little hand.

She was fourteen the day the day of the breach. They say there is nothing worse then for a parent to outlive his child. They are wrong, there is nothing worse then for a soldier to outlive his child. We fight, to keep our families safe; we fight so that our daughters and sons will always know peace, security and comfort.

I guess I did not fight hard enough.

Captain Tydus brought me the news of her death right after the first wave of char pored out from the breach in the northern wall. Its funny how we human beings are put together. All, I could think about was her flute. The day before the attacks she asked me to go out to with her to lake to help her look for her flute. She had lost it out by the shoreline after being frightened by a River Skale. I was tired and promised I would help her the next day. She had of course cried, but even a daughter’s tears can’t overcome the weariness of a long day.

Tomorrow never came. I was called out right after the wall was compromised and the sky turned black.

Soldiers don’t have time to grieve and I took the news of her death and the death of my wife and tucked them away, deep within myself knowing that after the war there would be time to grieve.

James Satan
12-08-2005, 13:00
Awww! thats so sweet.. and talk about a totally unexplored thing to write about- great new idea!!

(I'll shut up now, and let you get back to writing)

dagee
13-08-2005, 00:28
Quagmire

Four days we ran, from Ascalon to Piken, then from Piken to Nolani. Each time it was the same. Utter devastation. By the fifth day morale was beyond low. One in five us had not made it Piken. Even less had made it Nolani. No one talked. We were the walking dead. Though no one had said so, we knew the situation we faced was hopeless.

As we ran, I reflected upon the events directly following the initial attack. Captain Tier, cousin to Prince Rurick, had addressed us. “It is perfectly true”, he said in the high nasally voice of an over educated bureaucrat, “that the Ascalon Province… has... been… breached”. He punctuated each of those last words pounding his fist upon the oaken table he stood in front of. “But we shall strike these heartless, brutes down. Already I have convinced the King to send a large battalion to the north. Indeed”, he droned, “I expect that we will have wiped out every last Char within a fortnight.

The battalion never even made it to the Northern Gate. We found their bodies, hundreds of them strewn right outside the craterous hole that was now referred to as the breach. What sickened us more then the site of our fallen comrades and the crows that were already feasting upon their entrails was the lack of Char dead. For every score of ours that lay upon the ground only one of theirs could be found.

Even the slow-witted Edd could see what had happened. “They had… uh whatcha say.. uh… had no chance, they was slaughtered.”.

“Slaughtered”. Piped up Thom a veteran of many wars, “and what’s more they were slaughtered with utmost precision. This was a planned, coordinated attack, not some random accident. Man”, he said almost to himself, “that pompous *** Tier assured us that they were brainless beasts, savages with more - how did he say it ‘more brawn then brains’. But this attack it was orchestrated and carried out perfectly”.

He was right of course. We, well not we, the council and generals had underestimated the Char. They were more then just some large, hairy savages. They had shown, so far, to be highly disciplined, patient and most of all ruthless warriors. From the looks of things they had attacked from two different direction a classic hammer and anvil maneuver. But to wipe an army contingent that large…I shuttered.

“They used the wall against them”, Thom continued. “Must have ambushed them near the outskirts of Green Hills County. The Char’s controlling of the higher elevation and the hills, probably convinced the battalion’s captain to rush to the shelter of the wall. But that didn’t work, the Char must been there waiting. They never stood a … a chance.” His voice lowered at this point to almost a whisper as if the realization of what he was saying was just now sinking in.

It was then that I heard it. An almost imperceptible whistle, a parting of the air and then a dull thud. At first it hadn’t register in my wind what had happened. Then I heard a grunt and curse and Thom, hero of the Kyrtan rebellion, and veteran of the Siege upon Fort Ranik, sank to his knees and arrow jutting out of his throat. He tried to speak but nothing came out, then his eyes rolled back into his head and he died. After that it was like a nightmare. Hundreds of arrows sang though the air, and from all around men died. The thought of standing and fighting never occurred me; our foe was hidden, obscured by wall and the surrounding hills. With fear coursing through my veins I ran.

Half our unit died in that initial assault. The rest of us somehow made it out. Perhaps there was just too many of us. Perhaps the Char had not counted on such a large force moving in so quickly after the last battalion had gone through, or perhaps they just didn’t have enough arrows left over from their most recent battle. Whatever it was some of us survived; survived and ran.

We ran until the air in lungs felt like fire. We ran until finally we could run no more and collapsed upon the hard, scorched earth. Surrounded by canyon walls, we lay there and waited, our ears preening for the slightest of sound. But all that we could hear was our own ragged breaths. For a few minutes there was a deep silence. Then finally someone spoke, a young wiry soldier who eyes reflected the fear that we all felt.

“We lost them – yeah?”, he said uncertainly. But before any of us could answer we heard a muffled echo of soft padded feet. Frozen with fear and exhaustion we waited not daring to breath.

Time slowed, then, just as we thought we had were safe, storming around the bend came a huge band of Char, clad in their thick leather, iron studded armor, brandishing huge, steel axes and long heavy maces. They had tracked us and more disturbingly, seemed not the least bit tired from the arduous run. Before any of us had time to react they were upon us.

All thoughts of fatigue and weariness left. Without remembering having drawn it, my sword was in my hand, just as one of huge beasts charged. All thoughts fled form my mind as panic threatened to overwhelm me. The hide that Prince Rurik brought in must have been from a young Char because it would not have covered half of the beast that was now rushing towards me.

Somehow I managed to evade his initial attack. Turning myself once more to face him I had just enough time to scramble back as his axe grazed my cheek. I backed up and stumbled wrenching my knee and fell to the ground. The huge beast closed the distance quickly, his fiery, cat like, yellow eyes glowing in the darkness. Drawing his axe back in final long whirling sweep he attacked.

shadowlethe
14-08-2005, 03:16
Brilliant.

Aria Darkstorm
14-08-2005, 06:44
please continue

Sasquatch
15-08-2005, 23:27
yay for creative writing!! :happy14:

dagee
25-09-2005, 01:14
The world blinked out. One moment an axe held in the grip of monster was swinging at me and the next blackness. When the world blinked in it was through a haze of pain. Someone was screaming in agony. “Dear Dwanya”, I thought help him. Then, the world blinked out. When the world blinked in again the screaming was gone replaced by a garbled moan. What happened to the man in agony I thought. But the thought was cut short by a sudden wave of pain and the moan I had heared became more desperate and the world blinked out again.

A mist surrounded me, and I felt the blaze of heat upon my forehead. The agony was still present but less intense. With tremendous effort I lifted my head up and looked around. The canyons were gone, in their place was the burnt out wreckage of what looked to be a mill. As my surrounding became more focused I saw men milling about and the sounds of hushed whispers. A group of men were huddled together talking

“Ya stay if’n ya want” I heard an angry high pitched voice say” Ya stay and what? Take care of the wounded? Why? They canna’ help us. Let the crows feast um I say. We don’t has enough rations for ourselves, let alone them. You want to stay- fine stay but we take the food and water.

“No, a commanding voice said”. No we stick together that is our only chance. And we bring the wounded. The rest well… we can’t bury them so we burn them.

“What yews want tuhh attract more death upon us”, came a third voice in a harsh, unrecognizable guttural accident. “No, we bring those that can walk the rest we leave.

A silence followed his pronouncement. Then the group broke apart and a tall man, with a face gnarled and caked with dry blood approached.

“Yews awake now” said the strange accent I had heard before. “Good, You walk.” This last sentence was not a question but merely a statement. With firm grip he pulled me to my feet and looked me in the eye with curiosity and some amusement.

“Yewa ahh … gonna keep ahh… that in”? He said?
“Waaah” I said my voice coming out garbled.” It was only then that I realized that there was something in my mouth. The foreign man seemed to sense my confusion and reached over and behind my head untying a leather strap that held a broken narrow sword pommel that had been between my teeth.

“We had to” he said simply. “You were ahh ... goin ta give us away and well it was needed for other reasons too.” He said glancing quickly at my sword arm. Looking over to where his eyes had been, I felt a sense of confusion. Something was wrong. Where was my arm? I could feel it, but it was gone, invisible. I turned back to him.

He must have seen the confusion on my face, “Feel it hey. Yeah that ahh canna happen. So I ahh .. heard”. He said, his voice trailing off slightly. “It was ahh… infected with ahh… something. We had ,.. no choice.

“What I said groggily” No, you don’t understand”, I sputtered finally comprehending the meaning behind his words. It’s here I can feel it”. I could feel the rough leather of my sword grip in my hand, digging into my palm. “You’re mistaken”. I repeated more urgently trying to make him see his error.

He looked at me again with a pitying look in his eyes. “No” he said, and then he pointed over to an object on the ground. I approached it. Staring. What the hell was this? What did it mean? I picked it up and the smell of death drove itself up my nostrils. It was cold, wet and eerily stiff. I stared in disbelief. It was an arm.. and suddenly I understood. I let it fall from my one remain hand and onto the dry stone ground floor of the mill. With a sudden wave of nausea, I fell to my knees retching.

“No”, he said again. “No you can’t ahh.. do this we have to go. Stand!”, he said with a note of urgency in his voice. He pulled me up once again to my feet and with an arm under my shoulder guided me out of the mill, and into the harsh sunlight of an afternoon day.

Thus began the march - the march of the dead.

dagee
26-09-2005, 01:22
Nolani
Somehow we made it to the Nolani region before being captured. By the time of the Char’s final assault upon our unit, or what remained of our unit, it was not so much a battle as it was the inevitable end to a journey through hell. Half starved and dehydrated we could hardly stand let alone fight. My wound had, by this point festered, to the point the that even in my dreams the smell lingered. Of course we never had much time for sleep so our dreams were not the proper sort of dreams of a unconscious mind but the delusions of dead men, who were too stupid to lie down and die.

In the end, for myself, the Char’s assault saved my life. Being too weak, too delirious to fight I was captured and held prisoner. Perhaps it was the stench of my wounds or perhaps a certain degree of humanity or kindness within the char that we have never suspected but, whatever the reason, one of their healers saw to my wound. By that point I was so delusional and so close to death that I did not even feel him saw through the remaining stump of my arm, removing the infested portion before it could spread further.

Life amongst the Char was strangely surreal. Having always imagined them as viscous monsters seeing them amongst their own had an unnerving quality about it. Their homes were thatched wooden houses with clay roofs. Simple yet strangely quaint looking in the desert waste land. The homes were quite large, the Char preferring to live in “prides” as they called them, a group of not only of direct kin but extended families and relatives.

The char it turned out were a very close nit society. They ate all there meals together and their young were watched not by the parents but by the Char elders. Family to the Char seemed to encompass the whole village not just those connected by blood. The village, for that’s really what it was, orderly and clean. To the north near a small river was a communal garden and opposite that, dwarfing the other structures was a huge temple that the entire village worshiped in before their afternoon meal.

As a prisoner I was kept locked up in a makeshift cell with several other survivors of my unit. While we were not exactly treated with kindness still we were fed, clothed and, for those of us who needed it, given medical attention.

The longer I observed the more confused I became. Why had these seeming peaceful creatures attacked us? It was not until after the first winter had come and gone and the summer was once again upon us that I finally came upon the answer.

Under the cool stare of a starless moonlit night, those of us who had survived the winter were released from our cells and led to the center of the village where we were met by the thunder of drums echoing through the valley floor. A large bonfire had been erected and a ceremony of sorts took place. We were brought to the outer edge of gathering guarded by two large Char soldiers.

As we watched in curious silence, various residents of the village came forward holding assorted objects: wooden shields, a book, a small carving, objects that turned out to be prized possessions of the Char’s fallen dead. Each of the villagers in turn came to the fire and set their bundles before the flame bowing and whispering inaudibly to some foreign but benevolent god.

Before the night was over, two char approached the fire holding a small blanket. The ever-present beat of the drums stopped and a stony silence pervaded the gathering. The larger of the two Char, presumably the male, though with Char it was always hard to tell since males and females were roughly equal in size, his head erect was leading his mate tenderly by the arm. As they approached the fire the villagers as one went to the ground kneeling with heads bent low. Again the ritual at the fire took place with the female uttering a few non-descript words.

As they turned I looked at her face and felt a terrible sensation in the pit of my stomach. Her stripes were strangely familiar. The dark black stripes interlaced with tinges of red evoked a memory of a loud boisterous night, the night of a wedding. Suddenly, the horror of what I was seeing struck and I fell to my knees as despair and realization crashed in upon me. It was not the Char that had decided to attack us it was us that had attacked them. Rurick had slain a Char young and to these creatures, these people whose society was so close, he had done more then slay a single child of a loving family but the child of the village, a village so close that the death of one was a loss to all.

End of Prologue

Gnome Sniper
26-09-2005, 05:12
I'm really enjoying the story so far. I think you've done a wonderful job and can't wait to read the rest of it. However, as a kind of clerical note, I do believe it's "Charr" and not "Char."

Immortal Barrinvorg
27-09-2005, 01:54
Yeah a great story man, and a detraction from the norm, provide more scope and a shift on events, so you cant always think of the bad guys as pure evil.

dagee
27-09-2005, 09:39
The winter hare’s nose twitched as it lifted its head up momentarily from its feast of the reddish radish leaves that grew wildly during the summer at the base of the vale. Momentarily forgetting its afternoon meal, it stared around ears perked smelling the wind. The forgotten forest wheezed and whispered in the late afternoon breeze and occasionally a small, almost imperceptible, drip could be heard from the snow that was finally melting off the tall pines. Of course even at this low altitude the warmer temperatures would soon be replaced again by the interminable cold that was a part of life in the vale.

The hare looked around once more for the location of the disturbance that it had sensed. But seeing nothing, quietly bent its head back down and continued to nibble on the bittersweet leaves. For several long moments it sat contentedly eating; it ears perked high in the air listening for danger. When at last the hare had its fill, it looked up slowly once again sensing a presence. Several paces off there stood an old man with a gnarled walking stick standing beside one of the enormous pine trees. His mouth was puckered up and he was absentmindedly biting the nail on one of his long, slender, boney fingers. His grey eyes were lifted skyward and in his other hand was a large parchment creased with age and use. Finally after several moments he glanced down at the parchment and then quickly back towards the sky.

The hare stood transfixed and confused. How had this human creature gotten so close without the hare hearing him? Even now, except for the fact that the hare was looking directly at the old man none of its other senses registered the man’s presence.

The old man once again glanced back up at the sky and then back down at the parchment and finally gave a loud harrumph. He then turned his attention to the hare. “Well, then”, he said in a deep exasperated tone, “I don’t suppose you know where the town of Yak’s Bend is?”

The hare stared at him twitching it nose nervously. Then without a second thought headed off to a quieter and less crowded section of the forest. The old man harrumphed again, then taking one last look at the parchment carefully folded it back up and stuffed it into his grey woolen robe. “Well”, he said to no in particular, “then I guess I’ll just wait.”

With that, he eased himself slowly down the base of the pine and sat resting his back along the huge expanse of the tree’s trunk. After a few moments of adjusting his long, boney frame to a more comfortable position, during which time he uttered several more annoyed harrumphs, he tipped his odd grey, crooked hat over his eyes and within moments was soundly asleep.

Had the hare not rushed off and instead lingered, perhaps it would have been surprised to see the man’s ragged cloak and hat slowly turn from grey to brown then to dark brown until the inert figure was indistinguishable from the tall pine at which he rested.

Immortal Barrinvorg
29-09-2005, 03:24
Hey man nice this is gettin good. keep it going.

jacob abbett of guild war
03-11-2005, 06:50
this is a good story keep it going :happy65:

Shortyafter
04-11-2005, 04:44
Good story so far, one of the few I read without pressing back after the first paragraph. I like your writing style.

The Charr didn't only attack Ascalon, they attacked Orr and Krytra too. They were in most cases the aggressors. It's your story though, just wanted to make sure you knew.

dagee
09-11-2005, 03:04
Good story so far, one of the few I read without pressing back after the first paragraph. I like your writing style.

The Charr didn't only attack Ascalon, they attacked Orr and Krytra too. They were in most cases the aggressors. It's your story though, just wanted to make sure you knew.

Actaully I had no idea, which is funny because I have played through all the missions (I think) but I do have to admit I don't always pay much attention. As you can probably tell from my story so far I've taken some liberties with the world the A-net has created and will take even more attrocious liberties later on.

By the way, I have been real busy lately with work but I hope to have time soon to continue this story. I'm really curious about the old man and I want to see how fits into the story.

I have really appreciated the postitive responses that have been written so far. So for those who have taken the time to read my ramblings - thank you.

Shortyafter
09-11-2005, 03:37
Actually the missions are very vague, even after beating the game I didn't totally know the plot until I got bored and read the storyline in the manual. ;)