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The Village of Kulley; Personal Roleplay
Topic Started: Sep 1 2017, 10:42 PM (416 Views)
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Officer of the Damaskian Army
Another day of training on Kelioux was in the books. Razak’s life had become routine and listless in his years spent on the planet and he hated that. He yearned for action, not just training. But he had to get stronger if he wanted to make General. He had moved up from Lieutenant to Colonel faster than anybody else in the history of the army had before, but had plateaued on his current rank for far longer than he expected. Stagnated was more like it. Remembering past missions from when he was an up-and-comer in the Damaskian military perhaps was not the best thing to pollute his mind immediately before his head hit the pillow for the night, because that’s when the nightmares started.

It was Captain Razak’s squad but the mission was not under his command. General Arkhas had taken over and was personally leading the unit to some backwoods planet in search for one of the Ancient Gems of The Lost. The Gems were fabled to give the bearer immense power when combined with other gems and Arkhas had become no less than obsessed with them over the last eight months. He had finally tracked one down to this planet. The mission was not officially sanctioned by the Damaskian military but Razak obeyed Arkhas’s orders to accompany him just the same. Although the mission wasn’t official, the repercussions for disobeying his superior, especially such a well respected one, would have been deleterious and Razak did not want to stunt what had quickly become an exemplary career.

Arkhas wanted the gems for himself. Razak knew this of course, but didn’t much care. Arkhas was one of the top Generals in the military, and was rumored to be a favorite to become Commandant when the current one retired in a few years. Although not very strong (perhaps why he sought the power of the Ancient Gems), he was easily the most intelligent of all the Generals. Razak trusted Arkhas. At least, before this mission he did.

As per standard military operating procedures, the group of twelve men marched toward their destination after their ship landed miles from the target. They were currently walking through a dense forest where the leaves on the trees were a bright yellow rather than the normal healthy green. The lurid colors were off-putting and hurt Razak’s eyes. Luckily there was a wide footpath that made the going easy and allowed him to keep his gaze on the more normal-colored trunks of the trees ahead. It took them hours compared to what would have been a quick flight but marching was meant to instill discipline and confidence within the ranks while also enabling them to reconnoiter ahead and simultaneously maintaining an element of surprise over their target.

A man in a blue uniform and matching blue cap burst out of the forest ahead – one of the advance scouts. While everybody else in the current squad was a Corporal or Private, this man was a Sergeant. Razak’s right hand man, Sergeant Maelstrom. He was tall with a thickly muscular build, far larger than Razak himself, and a bushy orange beard. Beards were normally not allowed on non-commissioned officers but Razak had gotten his old pal an exception. Despite being in his 30’s, Maelstrom looked too baby faced when clean shaven and Razak wanted his Sergeant to look like the rugged seasoned veteran he actually was.

“It’s just up ahead beyond this clearing, roughly three hundred wheels distance,” Maelstrom reported. He was talking about the village of Kulley, their destination.

“Very good,” General Arkhas replied. “When we arrive I want two men to skirt around South of the village, then two posted on the Eastern and Western flanks. Your jobs will be to ensure nobody flees. Hold the perimeter but do not engage unless someone is trying to escape, and only kill them if you absolutely must. Everybody else will stay with Captain Razak and myself upon approach but keep silent and let me do the talking. That includes you, Captain.”

“Yes sir,” Razak replied. The statement about not killing anybody unless they must should have been a foreboding red flag for the young Captain but he wasn’t thinking about that. Perhaps it was the yellow trees that distracted him. Or perhaps it was the thought that when Arkhas made Commandant, he would reward Razak’s assistance with a promotion – maybe even his own sector. Razak didn’t remember what was on his mind that day. He only knew he blamed himself for what happened.

The village was almost too small to be called such a thing. The walking path widened into a large clearing that held just six buildings. All of them appeared to be dwellings surrounded by their own little piece of farmland. Some had animals that Razak didn’t recognize but could tell they were being raised for meat by the pens they were kept in. Others merely had vegetables growing around them. Vegetables with the same disconcerting yellow leaves. Who would eat such plants? Not him. Apparently someone did though because all of the buildings had small plumes of smoke emanating from their chimneys. People lived here – though he couldn’t actually see anyone yet.

“This really the dump we came all this way for?” a Private named Riccon asked. “It looks like banjos are going to start twanging any second now.”

“Didn’t ya hear the General?” Sergeant Maelstrom replied. “Keep yer fuckin’ trap shut!”

Startled and perhaps a little embarrassed by his errant outburst, Riccon responded with the requisite “Sir, yes sir!” and fell back into the group of other soldiers.

The flankers quietly fanned out around the village through the shrubbery as ordered. That left three soldiers as backup for Arkhas, Razak, and Maelstrom. They approached the village head on and without trying to mask their movements. As they continued up the path into what would have served as the village square (though it was more of a circle than a square), a door to one of the buildings opened. Three men came out. They appeared to be middle aged and were all quite tall – even taller than Sergeant Maelstrom - and were wearing matching tunics. Blue capes swirled around behind them as they fearlessly strode towards the group of Damaskian soldiers. Their skin held a pale yellow tint to it. Not jaundice – but somehow natural looking. Razak wondered if the coloring was a result from eating the yellow-leaved plants, or if it was just a byproduct of the peculiar sunlight on the planet.

The three Kulley villagers stopped their advance only ten yards or so away. It was a lot closer than Razak would have allowed if he were calling the shots. But he wasn’t. So he remained mum, as ordered.

“Hello, my name is General Rylan Arkhas. I spoke with at length High Elder Durand from The Citadel about a red gem he told me was kept in this village. He referred to it as the ‘Rage Stone.’”

“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” one of the caped men responded succinctly.

“Oh but I think you do,” Arkhas said. “The High Elder was quite convincing during our palaver. He explained how those who possess the gem go mad. I’m here to take it away so it does not cause you any further problems. High Elder Durand sent me himself. I have a sealed scroll with me that I can-“

“Who?” the same villager asked. Arkhas was notoriously tetchy and did not like being interrupted. His face, which had started off pleasant and innocuous, even convivial, twisted into a snarl on the drop of a dime.

“Listen to me you little fucker. Do you know who I am? Do you recognize the uniforms? I bet you do. Now either hand over the gem or I’ll order my men to turn this place over and find it themselves. Your crops might get trampled in the process and where would that leave you in terms of food? Huh? Make it easy for everybody and just give it over. From what I know it’s just been sitting on some mantle collecting dust for decades in one of those six houses. You don't exactly have a lot of hiding places at your disposal, buddy. We'll find it. Pray to something else you ill-bred buffoons. It’s just a Ganr-damned STONE!”

Now a second of the three villagers spoke up. “What stone?”

The General sighed, his vituperative remarks seemed to have no effect on the villagers and his patience was growing thinner by the second. “Okay search the houses. Find the gem and bring it to me,” he ordered Razak.

Razak nodded to Maelstrom who in turn delegated the order to Private Riccon. Riccon approached the three men toward the building they had exited. They did not move. Riccon’s wary eyes stayed on them until he passed without incident. He reached the door behind them which was now closed and grabbed the knob. He glanced back at the three quiescent villagers who had not even bothered to turn around. Riccon opened the door and was instantly thrown backwards as a blast of yellow energy came from the darkness inside and pierced his chest. Riccon’s body landed on the footpath with a firm thud. Blood trickled from his mouth and his eyes dulled. A fist sized hole had been punched through him by the blast. He was dead.

“You’re not going in there or any other buildings,” the first villager bluntly stated. As if that were the queue they had been waiting for, more villagers exited from each of the buildings. They wore the same capes and the same tunics. Some varied in age from middle-aged to insanely young looking. Most of the buildings had two men come out but a couple had only one. Razak thought,
the patriarchs of each family sent out to protect their village from the alien interlopers. All in all it was now five against eleven.

General Arkhas didn’t even bat an eyelash at Riccon’s death. It wasn’t the first man to die under his command by a long shot, and wouldn’t be the last (it wouldn’t even be the last to die under his command today but that story was for another memory). Razak on the other hand couldn’t look away from Riccon’s corpse. Such a senseless death. Riccon had only just joined his unit two months ago. Out of options, he had joined the Damaskian Military to support his three children when his wife left him (and them) for a white-haired Avalanian Paladin. Now look at him. Dead.

“Captain,” was all that Arkhas had to say. Razak understood what it meant. The village was going to be wiped out. Not just to take the gem now, but they had crossed a line for killing Riccon and had to pay the price. Razak was fine with this.

Captain Razak jumped into the air and cupped his hands, two balls of energy quickly forming within his palms. The two remaining soldiers stepped in front of General Arkhas and the three fell back to the tree line. Arkhas was more than willing to give the orders, but would not be fighting today. Razak would be the one doing the dirty work. He fired a pair of beam balls down on the three villagers that had initially greeted them. The men crossed their arms over their faces in an ‘X’ and the ensuing explosion kicked up dust around them. When the smoke cleared, the three men were still standing and seemed almost unfazed. Razak had not expected that. These fellows were apparently stronger than they looked.

Sergeant Maelstrom immediately joined the fray. He created a ki sword in his right hand and charged the three caped crusaders. Maelstrom moved with incredible alacrity for a man of his size and closed the short ten yard distance before any of them were able to see he was coming. He rammed the sword through the gut of one of the Kulley-ites and then tore it to one side, violently cutting the man in half. A second caped fighter reached for Maelstrom, which was the last mistake he would ever make. Maelstrom pinwheeled his sword, slicing both of man’s hands off at the wrists. He let out a shrill scream which was cut short as Maelstrom plunged the energy sword through his neck.

The third warrior hit Maelstrom with a haymaker to the side of his head that the Sergeant did not see coming. The blow sent him flying through the air and into the side of one of the adjacent houses. He fell to the ground and the energy sword he had conjured disappeared.

Razak snapped his fingers and a stream of fire shot out toward the man who had blindsided the Sergeant. When it connected, he suddenly burst into a pillar of flames. The man screamed and waved his arms around frantically like a stuntman in a movie before falling to the ground motionless.

The caped men from two other houses flew up into the air to meet Razak. They grappled. These were the strongest warriors that Kulley had to offer but even five on one, they were no match for Razak’s superior strength and quickness. An elbow met the windpipe of one man, crushing it. A blast punch blew the head clean off the shoulders of other. A hammerblow crushed the skull of a third. The remaining two fighters floated backwards, wild-eyed and panting heavily from exertion. Razak simply raised both palms toward them and a burst of energy from a power blast soon engulfed the two fighters, disintegrating them within seconds. Five lives all ended in a matter of moments.

Sergeant Maelstrom stood back up and regained his composure. He found himself surrounded by the remaining three fighters. He shoulder charged one, who attempted to block by throwing his arms up in a last ditch effort, but Maelstrom bulled through him. The two others grabbed Maelstrom by the arms. The Sergeant vigorously spun around, flinging one high into the air like he weighed nothing. The Sergeant lowered his jaw and a mouth blast shot up into the air and destroyed the man. The second defender began hammering Maelstrom’s ribs with punch after punch. But the efforts were fruitless. The stocky Sergeant shrugged them off as if he didn’t feel them. He grabbed the man’s skull with both hands and squeezed. Even Razak had to shirk away as the villager’s head exploded like a watermelon under his Sergeant’s vice-like grip.

The last warrior that had been knocked over by Maelstrom’s shoulder charge got back to his feet. He looked around frantically and saw he was his Kulley’s last defender. The man unbuttoned his cape and threw it to the ground beside him as Razak slowly descended to the ground and landed beside his Sergeant.

“You will never lay your filthy hands on the scared Rage Stone,” the man told them. He reached into a pocket and produced it. The Gem was small, no bigger than a marble. But it was blazing a red that Razak had never seen before. The colors within it swirled and moved, almost as if they were alive. What kind of Magic did the gem possess? How had The Lost created such a wondrous artifact? The man grasped the marble tightly in one hand and it seemed to attach itself to his palm. Thin red streaks shot out through his yellow skin like he had an out-of-control infection. Razak could see the streaks on his face and knew that despite being covered by a tunic, they likely spread throughout his entire body. He was being changed. Empowered.

Before Razak had too much time to consider the transformation, the man disappeared. He re-appeared in front of the two Damaskians, hitting both of them in the face with an upturned elbow. The gem had exponentially increased his strength and this blow sent Razak staggering back and exploded Sergeant Maelstrom’s nose in a spray of blood. Maelstrom responded with his own power punch that landed squarely on the last warrior’s cheek, pushing the skin up around his fist and tilting the man’s head back. It did not seem to hurt him, however. He grinned and knocked Sergeant Maelstrom to the ground with a spinning backfist.

Razak unloaded a flurry of punches across the warrior’s body and face. Each blow knocked the man back a step but did not seem to be inflicting any damage. The Kulley-ite glared at Razak with eyes that had gone completely red. He now understood why the villagers here referred to the gem as a ‘Rage Stone.’ His pupils had been swallowed up by the same shade of swirling red that Razak saw in the Ancient Gem. The marble-sized stone had empowered the man several times over his normal power level but also had the side effect of sending him into an unbridled fury. Razak took a step back to devise a strategy.

Transformations like this were nothing Razak hadn’t seen before. He glanced back at Sergeant Maelstrom who had managed to get back to his feet. He appeared dazed but at least hadn’t been killed.

The enraged man abruptly extended a palm out toward Razak and braced his arm at the elbow with his other hand; a massive blast of energy exploded toward the Damaskian Captain. Razak recognized the attack as a Bakurikimaha. This attack was the real deal and there was enough oomph behind it to destroy him and the Sergeant both. He gritted his teeth and extended both of his hands out to meet the blast. He yelled as the energy connected with his palms, blackening his white gloves and singeing the flesh underneath. With another loud bellow, Razak upturned the blast and sent the energy off into the sky. It joined the clouds off in the distance and winked out.

It was Razak's turn now. He snapped his fingers which sent a swirl of flames toward the enraged Kulley fighter. The man deflected the flames with a savage backhanded swipe. This did not dissipate them, however, and instead the fire began to burn one of the farms. Razak snapped again and the man deflected again – this time catching a different farm ablaze. Razak repeated his attack again. Then again. The battlefield became an inferno of swirling flames and brimstone. Soon almost all of Kulley had caught on fire. Villagers, mostly old people and kids, started to flee their homes. They ran out in all directions into the forest. Razak could hear their sickening caws as the Damaskians on the perimeter slaughtered those attempting to get out of Kulley. So much for the bloodthirsty fools not killing unless they had to.

Instead of snapping his fingers, Razak changed his next attack by drawing back an upturned palm. A disk of concentrated energy formed above it, audibly whirring like a saw blade. He launched at the crazed warrior who, once again, attempted to deflect the attack away. This time it didn’t work, however, and the Kienzan cut through not only the arm he threw in front of the attack to block it, but also through the part of his body housing all of his most vital organs.

As the final defender fell to the ground with a lifeless thump, the red streaks that previously pinstriped his skin receded. The gem came out of his hand with a ‘thwok’ sound and rolled out of his palm and onto the ground beside him. He was dead. The village was burning. Nobody remained to stand in their way.

“Excellent work, Captain,” a voice from behind Razak said. He turned, expecting it to be General Arkhas congratulating him. Instead, he saw it was Sergeant Maelstrom. The blood under his nose was already starting to dry.

Razak turned back toward his final fallen opponent and saw the General was already plucking the gem from between the blades of grass with rapacity unfitting of a Damaskian officer. He plopped it into a small leather pouch and eagerly shoved it into his uniformed coat pocket. He made sure to hastily button it as added security. He said nothing to Razak.

Back on Kelioux Colonel Razak jolted awake in a sweat. He sat up in his bed and was surprised to see that he had only been asleep for a few hours. The red numbers on the nightstand clock momentarily reminded him of the swirling red he had seen in that Ancient Gem so long ago. He plopped his head back down and stared up at the dark ceiling, letting the memories of the dream slowly fade away as dreams always did. Razak did not think he would be able to get back to sleep that night. He was wrong.

Word Count: 3,465
All-time ADBZRPG battle record: 86 - 4

Winner of Best Saga Thread of 2011 (Shard of Lujati)

Winner of RP of the Season Summer 2017 (The Village of Kulley)
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