Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Like a Good Stew, the Plot Thickens...

The Azure Span, Two Days after the Reanimation of Cleric Vodaryn.

Shadow Army Aerial Transport, The Righteous Wind.

Gregg twisted the final bolt on his armor, and watched the steam be released slowly from the overworked hydraulics in his greaves. The old power armor, as life saving as it was, often needed repairs. After all, it had survived over two thousand years locked within a vault underneath the Great Forges of the Golden City.

Gregg gingerly removed the leg plates from his body suit, slowly disengaging the neural inputs. If done too fast, his lower body could suffer anything from numbness to temporary paralysis. After the last piece of his armor had been removed safely, Gregg stacked it in a large metal case at the back of the transport, and made his way towards a viewing window.

Even through the thick metal of the aircraft, Gregg could hear and feel the heavy thrum of the roof mounted blades, spinning quickly in order to the keep the ship afloat. Gregg’s mind was often boggled at the sheer complexity of technology found within the Forges. Having come from a simple farming community, Gregg was bewildered when an assault rifle had first been placed in his hands, wondering how mere men could manipulate wood and metal to function in such deadly concert.

Time spent in the army had made Gregg accustomed to the powers available to those who lived in the Golden City. Heating, light and quick transport were all taken for granted by those who lived in the high towers of the City. Only mere miles beyond the city’s border, the general population of Atlum lived a poor life, desperately eking a living of the sometimes harsh landscape.

The ten year winter was oncoming, and life for the people of Atlum was about to get much harder. During those trying times, the Praetor currently holding power usually opened the gates of the Golden City, allowing all those who could make the trip to enter the hallowed metropolis. However, safety from the winter did not always come without a price. The fit men of the family were conscripted into the standing army, and the women-folk were often made to toil in the factories. Gregg’s parents had considered these hardships small sacrifices compared to the near-impossibility of surviving a winter.

However, the current Praetor had not opened the gates yet. As the Righteous Wind neared the Shores of the Black Sands, Gregg peered out of the window and glimpsed a long, winding trail of bodies, lit occasionally by torches. These people had come from every corner of Atlum, seeking asylum within the walls of the City. Every day, the crowd milling outside the gates grew larger and larger, and often times, violence boiled over, inciting riots within the group.

Gregg feared that if the group got any larger, they may try to enter the city by force, and Gregg would have to play a part in preventing them from accessing the City.

A chirping in his earpiece interrupted Gregg’s maudlin thoughts; a communiqué from the pilot to let the Vindicator know that the landing pad in the marshalling zone was fast approaching, and that Gregg should strap himself in for the descent.

With a bump, the airship touched down upon the landing pad, and the pilot began to shut down the massive engine that powered the ship. Gregg clambered out of his seat, and exited the aircraft before the rotors on top had stopped spinning.

At the other end of the landing pad, a small man in a hooded robe waited for him. As Gregg approached, the man lifted his hood, and regarded Gregg with an imperious stare, despite his being several feet shorter.

“The Praetor would speak with you, Vindicator.”

Gregg nodded. He had hoped to visit his family before speaking with the Praetor, but one seldom gets what one wants.

“Lead the way, Savant. Let’s not keep the Praetor waiting.”

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