The king sighed as he looked at the remains of the palace gardens.
Of the luxuriant gardens he had never seen, all that remained were empty planters and this single blade of grass.
The only blade of grass in the world.
The only vegetation.
The Last Blade of grass.
He sighed again, heavily, and the tuft blew backwards in the expulsion of air. As King Alran the 26th, of the kingdom of Humans, stood up, he could feel the sun burning his exposed neck as the wind chilled it to the bone.
A tear swept down his cheek as he realised that the forty people in the city would live for a week at tops, and the lucky people in the palace would live for little more.
He growled at fate, and cried for a few minutes, before striding purposefully into the throne room.
He sat on his throne, scowling, and the three others in the room didn't dare approach. They weren't guards: there was no need for guards now that no-one was going to live long. They were messengers.
The king growled again, and shouted, much louder than intended, "Find the greatest men and women in the city. I want them here, now."
He knew that they'd doubtlessly have spent their lives looking for means of survival of the people. But that didn't matter. He wanted to hear and see them themselves say that there was no hope.
That Last Blade of grass could NOT be the last, and WOULD not.
It showed the king's desperation that he demanded such a silly task.
But kings' orders are kings' orders, and so Johnny set off with Bryant and Fraz. It didn't take them long to set a plan of action.
"The mage's apprentice, for one," suggested Bryant.
"Well duh! If we can find her."
The said apprentice, a certain Miss Wolfswift, was impossible to get a hold of. She'd been that way since her mentor had died of general age and exhaustion.
"How about that new guy, Johnny? The guy who always seems to turn up when someone dies?"
"Oh, yeah, you mean Zombiehead?" Fraz asked.
"With the others, we call him Zombiehead. 'cause he's braindead, you see," Fraz explained. He was quite proud of this name.
Of course, Bryant looked at him as if he was stupid. Which he probably was, Johnny agreed.
"And that ex-guard, the one who lives alone in that big house?"
"He's been acting bizarre recently, Bry."
"A couple of years or so, he didn't recognise me for a while. It's like someone almost identical had swapped places with him."
"I dunno. We'll get him anyway, the king'll have us for breakfast otherwise."
"And that religious fellow?" Bryant proposed.
"Yeah, why not."
"I'll go fetch Zombiehead, you get the mage, Fraz can get the religious guy and we meet up here for the rest?"
Bryant grinned, "Fine with me." Fraz nodded in reply.
The three set off in opposite directions, scouring the deserted streets for signs of their targets.
Posted on 2011-07-24 at 20:16:58.
Edited on 2011-08-08 at 21:42:53 by Darren
As Takley strode towards what remained of the palace with Fraz, he stopped and thought of his oath to never let plant life die "I, Takley first and foremost devote my life to protecting all plant life on this world, I will not stop, until it has given up hope to support life that is not our own."
"Hey religous guy, you coming or what?"
Coming back, he reached for his grandfathers longsword and tower shield to make sure they were still there, they were. Proceeding again to the palace, he remembered that eh swore the oath to the king and as the last paladin loyal to the cause, he had to stand up straight and risk his neck or his life would be forfeit. Ha, he laughed to himself, its forfeit anyway, thats why hes coming to protect it to the end
Posted on 2011-07-25 at 17:45:51.
Edited on 2011-07-25 at 18:40:17 by Takley
Leon gasped as he saw the two guards in the cellar. "HEY! This area is off limits!" Leon grabbed what he could from a barrel of grain. "Damn" He thought, when did guards patrol the cellars? Leon kept running down the hall, as he turned the corner he bumped into another guards back and fell to the floor, throwing grain everywhere. "So you're the little thief we've been warned of?" The guard sneered. "Looks like you won't be escaping this time." Leon looked down at the ground and felt a sudden burst of shame for failing his goal, and his father. Standing up, he held out his wrists as the guards tied them up and started dragging him to the throne room to seal his fate.
Sonia wandered the empty streets of the small city, keeping to the shadows. Most people could be found in the center of town, huddled around whatever flame they could manage to procure. Sonia shook his head sadly. There wasn't much time left for these people. He didn't know why he wasn't feeling the same loss of hope, perhaps it was because he never had hope to begin with. He knew that it was all going to leave, and he planned to live as long as he could and do as much as he could in that time.
As he wandered, he noticed some of the King's messengers running around, looking for someone, he thought. What they could have been looking for, he wasn't sure, but perhaps they needed help. He had nothing better to do.
"Excuse me, do you need help?" he asked quietly, seeming to appear from nowhere.
Guards were always the same, swaggering when on duty, drunk when off and that bit cockier or more conservative when they came for you.
It took all of Razor's instincts not to stride into the shadows, give in to their cloak, or, if one of the men happened to be a Paladin and were able to see his sins throughout the cloying darkness, fall back to his scimitars.
He played the situation out in his head, two steps forwards, a leap, blades scything out to connect with the men's exposed throats, one hasty block from the man on the left, clearly the more able of the two, whilst his companion collapsed from the wound. A roll to bring him upright, a spark of hellflame to cover his unguarded chest before both blades sliced home.
The two weren't helping their case, still he nodded for them to continue...meeting the news with mixed joy and dismay.
"hey, you in there!" someone said while looking into the window. "The king has a task for you, wake up!" Seph having just awoke, stretched and pretended as if he hadn't heard the summons. Hearing a knock at the door, he peered out the window to see a guard standing at the door. Muttering to himself he made his way to the door "Well if they think im that ex-guard i better play along with it."
Seph answered the door and the guard wasted no time in relaying his message. "The king is in need of your assistance, report to the castle now." Turning on his heel the guard left without waiting for a reply. With a sigh Seph grabbed his belongings, and made his way through the barren streets to the castle beyond.
((OOC: Takley, SlenderNinja and Gerald, we'll deal with you three in the castle in a bit.))
Sonia's arrival took Johnny by surprise. He stuttered a bit at the appearance of such an outlandish fellow, before smilign nervously and asking, "Would you happen to have seen an elusive mage's apprent..."
His eyes dropped to Sonia's knives.
"Hey actually," he said, in a moment of inspiration, "Go to the castle. The king wants to see you."
Johnny grinned as he raced off, happy about his actions.
Johnny had met up with Fraz for Zombiehead.
It was all Johnny could do to not beat Fraz into a pulp. He could sense a little annoyance from Razor, but mainly amusement.
"Shut it, Fraz. Sir, the king would like to see you for a matter of great importance. Head to the castle."
As they left, Johnny kicked Fraz in the shin.
Sonia paused, caught off guard by the outlandish request. Before he had a chance to respond, the other man had run off, presumably to finish his search for a 'mage's apprent'. Well, if he was in search of who Sonia thought he was in search of, good luck to him, he was glad not to help. He'd heard things, and didn't like them. But why in the world would the king want Sonia of all people? He wasn't anything speci...oh wait. The guy was making s*** up. Sonia grimaced, having more than half a mind to ignore the encounter completely.
As he continued his walk through the town, he decided to disregard it all. He had no reason to believe that the King actually wanted to see him, not that he gave much to see. But, without his realization, his feet guided him to the castle entrance.
He looked up in mild annoyance and pulled down the lower half of his scarf. "Well," he muttered, making a face. "As long as I'm here, maybe this will amount to something..."
He took a deep breath and entered the palace.
Posted on 2011-07-26 at 17:03:39.
Edited on 2011-07-26 at 17:08:47 by Jing
The radiance of the sun rising over the horizon, filled Sariana with awe and amazement at the wonder that was the world in which she lived. The expansive meadow’s lush green sea of tall wild-grass was flowing in the cool morning breeze all around her as she danced happily, laughing with the greatest love she had ever known; Sarita, her four year old daughter. They tumbled to the ground, her daughter in her arms and laid there, entirely hidden within the grass, for a few moments; each of them trying to catch their breath. Her baby girl was laying on top of her, listening to her heart beat when she suddenly raised her head to look at her mother, and cried out, “Mommy?!”
Sariana looked down at her daughter with concern over the tone in Sarita’s voice; a tone of fear, pain, and confusion. What she saw when she looked down filled her with horror. Her beautiful little girl’s brown eyes were dull, her brown hair was suddenly flat and stringy, her skin had a sickly hue growing more pronounced by the second. Right before her eyes her daughter was wasting away faster and faster, until nothing remained but her withered corpse.
Sariana jerked up in bed screaming and clawing at her chest, crying at the loss of her daughter. After a few seconds she realized she was not in that beautiful field at sunrise, and never had been. It was all her imagination; a dream that never was, and never would be. Not for her. The world had long ago been stripped of all natural substances, crops, plants, live stock, and other animals. There was no food to be found anywhere.
After remembering the here and now, Sariana let herself cry, sitting on her bed hugging her knees to her chest, her head resting on her knees, her body trembling. She’d been a fool to have ever hoped life would get better. She should never have married Alexander, and she certainly should never have allowed herself to have a child. Not in this damnable existence. She had been forced to watch as first her husband, then her daughter slowly wasted away. She whispered into the black night, “Sarita, Sarita, my baby girl..Mommy loves you, baby….my Sarita…”
Suddenly she sprang out of bed and ran into her training room where she spent the next several hours expelling all her rage and pain with a furious passion that did not let up even as the sun slowly made its way over the horizon.
Suddenly she heard a man’s voice demanding her attention. She spun around, her hands gripping her tonfas so tightly that her hands were nearly drained of all color. “WHAT?!” She glowered at the man who had dared to intrude upon her time of release. Slowly the realization sunk in that this man appeared to be of the king’s men. Sariana took a deep calming breath and exhaled slowly.
“My apologies, Sir. How may I help you?”
He quickly explained that he had heard her boisterous training, and that the King had sent his messengers out to find the greatest men and women left, and that they were to report to his majesty immediately. She quirked an eyebrow at the man and nodded, “I’ll be there forthwith.”
She watched the King’s messenger leave, with a stunned expression on her face. Then she ran to clean up as best she could, grabbed her tonfas and placed them in her self-made holsters, one strapped to each thigh; then grabbed her locket off the make-shift night stand. She paused for the briefest of moments, softly caressing the locket with her thumb, before putting the necklace on, and leaving her place of residence to answer the King’s call. “What could this possibly be regarding?”
Posted on 2011-07-27 at 20:39:47.
Edited on 2011-07-28 at 16:23:33 by DarkAutumn
Bren Asera had seen nothing but rolling wasteland for two days. It was by no means unusual but nothing had stirred in his passing - the emptiness remained empty. The heat must have been getting to him. It was strange that he had not be set upon by some manner of creature as he struggled to keep going on; he'd run out of water in the morning cleaning wounds upon his forearms, now tightly wrapped in cloth.
His torn clothing billowed in the wind, his mother's amulet swinging in the bone-chilling cold. Each time it rebounded off his chest was like another shock back to reality. There would be no hope for his survival if he kept losing his focus.
He stared down for a moment at his sword, still encrusted with the blood of some beast. It had served him well, this extension of himself, but his limbs were growing tired. He knew not how much longer he could fight. If only he had found his mentor...
Rising the hill took more effort than Bren had expected. He took a moment to adjust the cloth that kept the sweat off his brow and dirt from his eyes. What truly shocked him was the structure he could make out in the distance, maybe half a days journey. How it could be standing was beyond him, and he soon came to the conclusion that the heat was actively playing upon his mind. He had nothing to lose in investigating it though; if it was real perhaps the walls could shelter him- perhaps there was water.
With the sun hard upon his back, and the wind ripping across his body he tried to make his way onward. On various occasions his footing faltered- casting him to the ground, and each time he expected it to be his final moment. Gradually he approached the fortress, making out more and more wear upon its walls and structures. Surely it was as empty and barren as the rest of this blighted place- it would vanish and leave him amongst more dirt when he arrived. But regardless he continued to venture onwards, toward the gate just coming into view.
To his surprise the walls looked more realistic as he approached, the waviness he had seen before disappearing with the fading sunlight. Even more of a shock was the feeling of wood as he threw his weight against the large gate, grinding it open.
Laughing in disbelief he stumbled inside to see many smaller buildings arranged neatly. He strode in further, sliding his hand across the stone walls until his legs gave way. He fell to his knees and leaned upon his blade, his senses failing him. Laughter took him again as he heard a voice in the distance.
"Guards! Someone! Anyone! Where did he come from?"
((ooc: will adjust as needed))
Posted on 2011-07-28 at 01:28:45.
Edited on 2011-07-28 at 04:43:13 by Tuned_Out
The crisp morning air was embraced with a smile as it drifted across her skin. The woman had been rummaging around in the abandoned houses since before dawn. After the passing of her mentor, Arathyra had dedicated every waking hour to furthering the research that remained incomplete.
Sifting through the dirt, she was a mess, however she seemed not to take notice of how she looked anymore. Forever grieving the loss of her mentor, she seemed to lose concern with appearances, and focused solely upon research. It was now her life's mission, as it had been his as well.
The young apprentice had been moving between abandoned buildings when she caught the exchange between Sonia and Johnny. She had been searching for anything she could salvage for her studies that may be buried from the past. Items that belonged to a time they knew now as a story, or legend. When the buildings had been whole, and filled with families. Times where the population of their homeland had been in the hundreds or even before that, in the thousands. It was a time of legends, everybody had given up home that their home would return to them as prosperous as it had been for their ancestors. The population as meager as healthy nature, she often wondered if the king had been wise in his decision. As most noblemen, she assumed that he did not wish to relocate in hopes of finding a greener future. Shaking her head free of her daydreams as the voices of two separate men rang softly upon her ears.
Slowly and carefully she made her way towards the guard though keeping to the shadows of the morning sun. Arathyra decided to follow his footsteps for a short while to try and figure out his motives for finding her. The woman was more like a unicorn than a horse since the passing of her father figure. Often whispers of her name would come across in passing, yet few had seen her. Constantly moving about the abandoned city in search of clues to the constant drought.
The apprentice picked her way towards the guard as he slowed his pace. When she was near enough to speak without raising her voice, she stopped her approach, and licked her cracked lips with her moist tongue to prevent further sun damage.
"Greetings Sir, whispers reveal to me that you have been seeking my presence. How may I assist you this day?"
Arathyra's long blonde hair was messy, and full of dirt, and yet her ice blue eyes shimmered beautifully in the morning sun. Standing tall she smiled to the man, as she awaited his response to her query.
"Guards! Someone! Anyone! Where did he come from?" shouted the hunger-stricken man.
Luckily, that was the moment Bryant strode by, spotting how the new arrival acted and his equipment, and said, "Sir, go to the castle. The king will want to see you," before speeding off, leaving Bren in a state of probable confusion.
Johnny had just been asking some commoner about the location of the apprentice when a voice rose up from behind him.
"Greetings Sir, whispers reveal to me that you have been seeking my presence. How may I assist you this day?"
"Yes, I was, er... The king has demanded to see you."
Posted on 2011-07-28 at 21:09:18.
Edited on 2011-07-29 at 09:38:41 by Darren
A dry breeze floated by Xavier as he perched on the roof of his building. Dry like everything else... The food, the land, the air... All of it was barren, and Xavier was right in the middle of it. It was not changing any time soon, and it was beginning to upset him. He needed to find moisture, but he never found anything. Just like he hadn't found anything in his previous searches.
There was nothing here but people. And the people he talked to didn't have the answers he needed. And if worse came to worst, Xavier knew that he would have to leave. Take off in to the unknown, hoping to find something there. But for now, the best option was not to be a complete idiot, and hang tight in the fort... Who knew, something may come up.
And as though wishful thinking were what turned the universe, Xavier caught sight of someone running down the road passing by his building. The fool was wasting energy, which meant he was either a nitwit, or was desperately searching for something... Or someone. Whatever the case, it piqued Xavier's interest, and he had to dive in... Well, not literally. He laid back on the roof as to conserve his energy and called out.
"Are you trying to waste energy, or is something that important that it requires you to run around like a fool in this blasted heat?"
Bren's laughter was cut off by the interruption of another voice."Sir, go to the castle. The king will want to see you,"
Bren blinked in shear confusion. Castle?....King? He must truly be in a delusional fantasy brought on from exposure... but the voices seemed so real. Lifting his gaze from the ground he just caught a glimpse of a man swiftly moving away.
Mustering up his remaining strength Bren pushed off of his sword to return to standing. He had to wipe away the grime from his eyes before he could see clearly - and the view struck home. The buildings he had first thought were neat and organized were actually crumbling masses that appeared abandoned, and the man nearby- presumably the first to notice him - seemed to be suffering the full effects of the waste despite his shelter. Either this was real, or his tiring mind was cruel in regards to details.
Scanning the heights of the buildings, Bren looked for the largest, fanciest appearing one. He'd only ever heard of castles in the stories of his youth... but there was one that seemed close to their description- even in this state of disrepair. Tightening his grip on his blade he began to head towards it.
Why anyway would want to see him -especially where he had just arrived- baffled him, and Bren had his own questions.
Posted on 2011-07-29 at 15:14:09.
Edited on 2011-07-29 at 15:15:36 by Tuned_Out