World Moved On (IC): Chapter 5, the Dark Tower

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World Moved On (IC): Chapter 5, the Dark Tower

Postby RedBstrd » Tue Feb 08, 2011 5:29 pm

World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

The Man in Black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed...

The heat was nearly unbearable, the gunslinger's water skins were nearly empty, and his horse dropped dead weeks before. In the two dozen feet behind him trailed the rest of his ka-tet, equally oppressed by the sun. The gunslinger did not know them well, nor did they know him. Like other gunslingers from before the world moved on, he carried by his side a pair of ancient pistols - his were lead. The man that he had been chasing for the last year had nearly a week's lead on the gunslinger. This man, a dangerous sorcerer, sometimes went by the name of Marten Broadcloak, while others he called himself Randall Flagg, Walter O'Dim, and a half dozen other names. If his true self was not clear to the gunslinger, the magician's nature was still unquestionably evil: Marten Broadcloak betrayed Steven Deschain, the dinh of Gilead, causing the leader's death and the fall of the great nation to the forces of the "Good Man" Farson. Any gunslingers who survived the chaos fell in the battle of Jericho Hill, destroying the line of Eld and leaving Owen Armistead as the only remaining gunslinger.

Months earlier, the gunslinger nearly caught up with the magician in a small town. Marten Broadcloak, however, put on an impressive performance in the town's inn, laying out a sequence of tarot cards which foretold that a man carrying a deadly plague would soon arrive in their town, signalling the death of all of the men. He left the displayed cards on the inn's table to allow the gravity of their situation sink in. The following day, a farmer spotted a lone gunslinger riding towards town, far ahead of Broadcloak's predictions. The sorcerer fled the town, leaving his forgotten cards behind. Trailing behind the Man in Black for the few days it took him to cross the valley and the outskirts into town, Owen took his rest in the rather unfriendly and unwelcoming inn. The assembled locals viewed the gunslinger as the harbinger of their deaths. They were right.

As the gunslinger enjoyed a beer despite the obvious hostility of the townsfolk, the inn's jukebox began playing a song about a girl who falls for the man in the long black cloak, something triggered inside of the heads of the inn patrons. They fell on Owen like an elemental force. As he holstered his twin pistols, the gunslinger picked up the deck of cards that the magician forgot, counted the dead as 19, and stepped back out into the night. A few miles away, he made camp with a simple fire and put himself into a trance, drawing out four cards and placing them in front of him: the Beast, the Gambler, the Wolf, and the Freeman.

The gunslinger learned the trick of putting himself into a trance long before, when he walked among the Manni mystics. He learned their words and their ways, some of which he still remembered. Much later in his hunt for the Man in Black, in the scorching desert he shared an oasis with a group of horsemen calling themselves members of the Nomad Nations. The gunslinger was not a man of books and had never heard of these people, but he spoke in the words of the Manni holy text, and the nomads recognized the truth that they had been passing down by word of mouth for generations. They invited the gunslinger and his ka-tet to break bread with them and their "dreamthief," something akin to a Manni mystic, looked over the only unaccounted for card in Owen's hand: the Beast.

The dreamthief told Owen of a creature who stalked the desert by night, preying upon the horses and camels of the nomads. The beast possessed monstrous claws, immense strength, and great cunning. In fact, it could almost mimic the sound of human speech in its growls, howls, and wailing. Nodding to the nomads, the gunslinger led his ka-tet back into the desert and in search of the creature. The gunslinger, no stranger to the wild, found the Beast perched upon a rock by a small pond, feasting on the bloody remains of a vulture. He saw in the eyes of the aberration a human intelligence and recognized the tent's cloth that the beast wore as a cloak as a kind of human modesty. Despite the protests of his ka-tet, Owen approached the creature and held out the card showing the image of the Beast. He explained that he was hunting the wizard Marten Broadcloak, but that before they killed him, they would pry from the trickster everything he knew about the near-mythical Dark Tower. The Beast nodded in understanding. To his companions, the gunslinger only explained: "It's ka."

As Owen leads his companions across the desert long after their supplies have diminished and their mounts have perished, the Beast follows behind him. His story remains unknown to his dinh. The Beast is not alone in following Owen; the gunslinger's ranks included the Freeman, the Wolf, and the Gambler. The Gambler was the first of these to be drawn into the gunslinger's story, almost a full month before a chain of events including crossing through a doorway into what surely must be another world left the ka-tet marching through a seemingly endless desert. The Gambler, a man known by his friends as Russ Jones, crossed paths with Owen many months after the gunslinger found Broadcloak's deck of cards. Investigating reports of a man brandishing a pistol, Owen crossed a grassland towards the city state of Cincinnati, knowing that he could close the distance on the Man in Black later. Russ Jones at first glance was definitely not a gunslinger: he was slim and not a man of war. He was carefree in a way that no gunslinger could be, relying on luck and not training. The Gambler had drawn his gun on a man who accused him of cheating and himself brandished a blade. That rumor is what reached Owen, which led to initial disappointment. At the same time, the gunslinger saw potential in Russ: he possessed great luck and was able to win enough card games to eat meat every night. Over drinks, the Gambler bragged of his winnings, but there was another side to the stories that the gunslinger noted. He would be willing to bet - a wager Russ wouldn't turn down - that the Gambler lost as much as he won, if not more. The gunslinger thought it was ka, a way that the universe and Purpose used Russ to put money in exactly the right hands at exactly the right times as the world needed. Of course, Russ had never heard of ka. He was not from Mid-World at all. In fact, he wasn't quite sure where Mid-World was, how he got there, and what the hell a "gunslinger" was. He had hazy recollections of his last few nights in Vegas, but not much was clear. Somehow he ended up in a city called Cincinnati that looked more like Texas. As such, he was all ears for the gunslinger's tale of the mythical Dark Tower which would bring peace to the troubled. Not quite knowing the reasons why, but always conscious that his luck was about to run out, he joined Owen's ka-tet.
Last edited by RedBstrd on Fri Jul 26, 2013 1:08 am, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby RedBstrd » Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:42 pm

After the Gambler threw his lot in with the gunslinger but before the Beast joined, there were two others. The first of these was the Wolf. Not actually an animal, the Wolf was a man who wore a suit of armor including a visor shaped in the visage of a wolf. When encountering him, the gunslinger thought the man seemed more like a robot from before the world moved on than a real person. Likewise, Russ thought he looked like something straight out of movie. In fact, everyone in Mid-World would find the Wolf to be someone who quite simply put seems out of place - and for good reason. The Wolf, known in Granbretan as Master Sergeant Bron Kalkulus, arrived in Mid-World as a consequence of serving as an ornithopter mechanic on a crew which traveled well past the edges of Londra's control over Europa. Landing at the edge of civilization in a borderland known as "Ukraine," the Granbretaners successfully located a fist-sized crystal orb known as the Red Amulet which had great importance to the scientist-sorcerer caste in the capital. Lifting the orb from its resting place, the Wolf experienced a troubling vision of a fiery death for the people of his city. He emerged from this vision to find himself in a completely different place and time - in somewhere called Mid-World - but with a sense of certainty that his world would come crashing down within generations and that his true purpose must be to find the fabled city of Tanelorn and discovering what wisdom lies within the city walls and in the words of the city's protectors, the mysterious Gray Lords.

The gunslinger and the Gambler did not encounter Kalkulus alone, though. The Granbretaner had found himself in a train station (where seemingly no trains had arrived in a long time) in the presence of a terrified and confused man. This other figure seemed to carry himself as a seasoned veteran but possessed a kind of refinement like an officer or noble. Both unsure of where they were, they exchanged stories over a campfire. According to the man's tale, the former noble hailed from the Young Kingdoms and was captured by a race of demon and dragon blooded tyrants called Melnibonéans who ruled the known world from an island of untold wealth. While the civilization lapsed into decline, Jhondak took part in gladiatorial fights for the entertainment of drug-using nobles in the decadent city of Imrryr. He had little prospect of escape until the day that he saw the albino Elric lead a fleet of Young Kingdom "barbarians" to sack the Dreaming City while the returning prince dealt with his treacherous cousin who acted as regent over the empire. Jhondak took the opportunity to arm himself and try to flee from his Melnibonéan captors only to come face to face with a Pan Tangian sorcerer dressed in a black robe. The Man In Black smiled malevolently at the newly escaped Freeman and unleashed powerful magic at both Jhondak and the soldiers of the Bright Empire who were rushing past the former slave to defend their beaches against the horde of barbarians charging off of the ships prince Elric led.

The pair encountered the gunslinger and his gambling companion a week later in the ruins of a factory from before the world moved on. Jhondak and Kalkulus hoped to find something that the latter man referred to as an "ornithopter," while Owen and Russ hoped to find the trail of Marten, which had gone cold somewhere in the area. Neither pair found what they sought, but a short parley and a discussion of the cards that the gunslinger had drawn convinced the four men that they shared some sort of destiny together, which the gunslinger labeled "ka." Likewise, they found a curious doorway which only seemed to have one side. Stepping through it after much deliberation, the incomplete ka-tet found itself in a seemingly endless desert.

A few weeks have passed and the ka-tet has become complete. In the merciless desert, however, that situation seems of little comfort. However, while the water supply of the ka-tet begins to disappear at an alarming rate, the gunslinger's eyes make out the faint outline of a city in the middle of the otherwise sparsely populated expanse of sand.

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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby Vistarius » Tue Feb 08, 2011 7:12 pm

The Beast, a man once named Adrian Speck, followed along in near silence for as long as he could. He lacked the ability to produce any real words, but he could at least attempt sounds. Occasionally they did sound like words. Feared at first, he had grown used to his compatriots and they seemed to grow used to him. A gentle soul, trapped in a violently powerful form. He was a walking cliche, but that wasn't too important to him. Training himself to manipulate what tools he could find with his claws, he was slowly getting better but as a medic he wouldn't be of too much use. So far, he had relied on his senses and his brute strength to earn his place by the sides of his allies, but much was still out of grasp.

The ways of the gunslinger drew him in, and the odd words he used held a strange curiosity to Adrian. The Daemon that had changed his life had used similar language, and the words Ka and Ka-tet struck him with an odd familiarity and held meaning he couldn't quite understand. Perhaps when he'd found a way to speak, he'd ask for more details. In his misery, Adrian kept himself at a comfortable distance aided by his inability to communicate, though he figured he would one day have to break that. If what the Gunslinger had said was true, and it was a kind of fate that brought them together, they'd have to learn to rely on each other much the way a true family did. Already thinking of the future, he believed all of them was capable and strong, but if it came down to it, his role would be to be beaten so they could live. If he was cursed to live as a beast, might as well bear what others could not.

The gambler was intriguing to him, someone that talked like a person out of the movies he'd watched in his time. Like perhaps they were from the same place, only seperated by a few years. The Wolf looked like someone out of a comic book, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. They were up against odds that Adrian wasn't fully aware of, in fact he wasn't even certain as to exactly what they were doing. Chasing a man in black, sure he had gotten that, but to what ends? If this man was as powerful as the gunslinger believed, did they even have a chance of stopping him? But if magic did come into play...then perhaps he could find a way to change himself back.

Of course, he still had to decide whether or not he believes in magic...

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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby Shock » Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:04 am

Jhondak

The initial fear of being in whatever hell the black-clad sorcerer had sent him to had subsided, being replaced with a nervous acceptance. Kalkulus, the man he had met at the "train station", spoke of, and worked with, a strange mechanical sorcery but seemed trustworthy enough so Jhondak joined with him in hopes that they might discover where they were. The men they met a week later, Owen and Russ, were also strange but less so. Owen spoke of ka and showed him the cards. Jhondak found it convincing and, though wary of it, knew better than to try to thwart Fate. He had even gotten used to the presence of the Beast which followed them.

And so he traveled with the ka-tet, which was far preferable to travelling alone in this place. The desert had further tanned his already dark skin and the deep blue color of his leather armor was beginning to fade from the sun. Jhondak longed to be back on the ocean where only he and Straasha the Sea-King controlled his destiny. Perhaps the city ahead signalled a change to more favorable terrain.

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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby McGuffin » Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:42 pm

Russ trudged along wordlessly after Owen, the heat having subdued even his usually jovial mood. He felt parched and wondered whether he'd died and gone to Hell. It wasn't the heat sapping his strength, or the thirst that made his throat feel like sandpaper. It was the damned sameness of it all, the seemingly endless desert stretching out in every direction. He'd briefly considered the possibility when he'd first found himself in Cincinnati, as the locals called the town, but he had quickly shrugged it off and fallen back into familiar routines. That was until Owen had showed up, talking about a Man in Black and ka and other stuff he didn't understand. He'd found he liked the man none the less, even if he could stand to lighten up a little, and agreed to join him on the road.

Each person that had joined their merry little band was stranger than the last, although he grew accustomed to all of them eventually. Even the Wolf Man, although he hadn't been able to sleep the first few nights since the Beast joined them. A shadow of a smile crossed Russ's face and was gone as quick as it came. The Wolf Man. His father had loved old movies like that. All of them seemed equally lost, all except Owen. Maybe it was this ka that guided the Gunslinger's steps and drove him on. Russ didn't know but it was a direction as good as any to him.
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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby Kommando » Wed Feb 09, 2011 7:57 pm

Master Sergeant Bron Kalkulus was pondering the situation, as there was not much else to do and if there was anything he was good at, it was thinking. He was aware that water was in short supply, and despite the fact the sound pounded on him as the rest, the insulated cloak saw that he suffered less than the others, woven as it was with a little Granbretanian sorcery. Still, the city in the distance offered a chance to break the monotony of the endless desert and Bron did his best to encourage the others. For the moment this was his Unit, or as Owen called it, a ka-tet. Bron didn't pretend to understand that, nor ka for that matter. Though he was around sorcery every day, he followed more scientific pursuits, leaving mysticism and alchemy for others.

Jhondak was the first person he encountered in this world. In some ways, he was a bit of a comfort to Bron, who was not accustomed to operating outside of a military body. Jhondak was from a world that was all too real to the Adepts in Londra. Other worlds were not unheard of and in fact were well documented. He had even once seen an envoy from the island of Pan Tang, populated by a people not dissimilar from Granbretanians.

Bron's Duty was to return to Londra, but an inner voice told him to find a city called Tanelorn. The Gray Lords who ruled there would have answers for him. But for now, his concern was his Unit. His Ka-Tet, this ragtag bunch brought together by Ka as Owen called it. They relied on each other to survive in this world, and little by little Bron learning to relate to them. Each one an individual from a different time and or place.

Master Sergeant Bron Kalkulus pondered his situation. There was much time for it. He wondered what they would find in the city that lay beyond in this world that had moved on.
Last edited by Kommando on Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby Project Icarus » Thu Feb 10, 2011 10:32 am

Owen Armistead

Owen squinted through the sweat that dripped into his eyes from his brow. A city? The gunslinger's heart leaped into his throat at the thought. He removed his tattered felt brown hat and wiped his face with the back of his hand, his unshaven stubble tickling his skin. As he turned to look at the three men and the hulking brute that followed behind him, the hint of a smile tugged at his mouth and eyes.

Russ, Jhondak, Bron and The Beast - a strange collection of names for a strange collection of men. Owen knew without a doubt that ka had brought them together, for nothing else could have. A gambler from another world - who owned a gun! - , a slave fighter whose hints at a noble air faintly reminded him of Gilead, a soldier who spoke of devilries and wonders as if they were everyday, and a beast who seemed a man or perhaps a man who seemed a beast. Ka had a strange sense of humor.

But however strange their coming together, Owen knew there was a purpose, ever-present in his mind. Find the Man in Black. Find the Tower.

The large-framed man looked back forward, halted and held up a hand. "A city," he forced his speech through dry parched lips that stung when he formed the words and he pointed in the direction he looked. He looked back at his ka-tet. He intended a grand speech to encourage them, but all he could say was, "Let's go."

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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby RedBstrd » Fri Feb 11, 2011 2:51 am

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Hours later, just before dark, the ka-tet reaches the gates of the impressive stone city. Despite its remote location, this outpost of civilization is a marvel: it features spires topped with minarets, high walls to shield against the desert wind and sand, ziggurats, finely cobbled streets, . The city itself is inside of a desert, but the nearby nameless mountains provide a barrier that rain clouds cannot easily pass, ensuring that the little water that rains down in the desert falls more heavily near the city than elsewhere. Likewise, it seems to be fed by a number of wells and underwater streams down from the mountains because the city possesses lush gardens, trees, and even fountains. The buildings of the city are expertly designed with various mosaics, gold leaf adornment, columns, or painted with rich clays as stucco. Undoubtedly, a booming gold mine lies nearby.

The citizenry walking down the streets just inside of the gates wear white clothing or robes and turbins or face-masks, much like the nomads in the wastes outside. The guards, however, wear armor nearly as ornate as that of the Granbretaner. The large gates are nearly closed this late in the evening and the guards eye the ka-tet suspiciously. "What is your business in Quarzhasaat?" one asks Owen, who leads the armed procession to the gates. He speaks in what Owen, Jhondak, and Bron recognize as the common tongue of their homelands, while Russ and Adrien identify it as English spoken with an Arabic accent.

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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby Project Icarus » Fri Feb 11, 2011 7:25 am

Owen

Owen took in the ornate city, with its spires and gardens with a sense of awe that was hardly hidden from his companions. This was completely unlike any of the towns that he had encountered since beginning his pursuit of the Man in Black, and a thrill ran through his body at the wonder of it. As the guard spoke to him, it briefly occurred to him that the city's name sounded quite strange.

"Greetings, friends. We are simply weary travelers seeking a temporary refuge from the desert. Our only business is to patronize your merchants and taverns to relieve our weariness and provision ourselves for the rest of our journey. If it is violence that worries you, I give my word that I, for my part, am at peace with you and your folk, and I can vouch the same for my companions."

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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby Shock » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:11 am

Jhondak

Relief flooded into Jhondak's heart when he heard 'Quarzhasaat.' They were nowhere near Tarkesh, but it was at least possible to get there from here. Home felt within reach, after years away. He allowed Owen to speak to the guard and turned to his companions.

"This place, Quarzhasaat, is on Earth." He thought about the stories the others had told. "My Earth." His expression turned to an exhausted smile.

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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby Kommando » Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:48 am

Master Sergeant Bron Kalkulus

Bron winced when Jhondak identified their location, not that anyone could see due to the grimacing Wolf visage he wore as a replacement for his face. For a moment he regretted not having his smaller, more social mask. But formal it was.

His instincts did not care much for the tone of the person who challenged him. In truth, this had happened more than once in Tragic Europe and usually such a challenge was answered with the Flame Lance. Bron and his people had burned many towns, and done worse with more creative engines of destruction, some of which the wandering Wolfman helped design. It was not that he had the heart of a killer, but that it was just his duty. For most of his life he viewed it no different from killing rats or other vermin.

But somehow Owen had become the defacto leader of this new Unit, the kat-tet. He heeded Owen's word and lowered his Lance. He looked up at the person challenging them and slowly moved one hand to his helmet. His visor moved up to reveal his face. This was not unheared of amongst his compatriots, as it set his companions at ease when they sat to break bread. But he almost never did it during the light of day.

He called out to the man, "We'd even settle for some water and respite from the sun before moving on, good Sir. And though armed I am sworn to protect anyone who gives me their patronage." Its was not a complete lie, but not a complete truth either. Still Bron was not in a mood to conquer, but he quickly lowered his mask after speaking his peace.
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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby Vistarius » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:19 am

ADRIAN SPECK

His powerful shoulders slumped as he lowered his head. Muscles tensed, but the mind behind them told the body that there was no need to be so untrusting of these new people of this city. He wasn't alone anymore, he was with companions, people who were interested in keeping him alive, they would help him through this. If the situation turned ugly, he was more than ready to leap into action, but for now there was little he could do. He was desperately wishing for a disguise, but what could hide his brutish form? For the duration of the city, he'd likely be told to keep in doors and away from the children.

If the beast could sigh, he would. Raising his head to gaze up at the architecture, it was indeed impressive. He liked the intricacies of the design and appreciated the light engineering done to keep the water where it needed to be. If nothing else, then as the Wolf said; they could at least gain some water here. His throat was parched and the fur along his body was drenched with sweat. Whatever beast the daemon that had cursed him was going for, it wasn't one that did well in the desert. Large drifts of sand were not easily passed, and the heat was beginning to wear on him. He wondered if he could get some of that cooling desert clothing, and almost laughed. Who was going to take a beast to the tailor, and what tailor would help him?

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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby McGuffin » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:22 pm

Russ Jones

Russ let out an appreciative whistle as he looked up at the towering spires. After the small towns and hamlets they'd passed on the way he hadn't expected something like this. He was a city boy at heart and this promised a welcome change of scenery at the least. He turned to eye their entourage and grimaced inside, glad he at least didn't carry his gun openly. Any guard with half a brain would be suspicious of a heavily armed group like them.

"Yeah, just a group of weary wanderers, that's us. We're not looking for trouble, just something to wash down the dust in our throats. When we saw the silhouette of your great city I said to my friends here, 'That looks like the kind of hospitable place that'll welcome a road-weary wanderer and fill his cup with water or maybe something a little stronger.'" Russ winked at the guard, all smiles now, lowering his voice like he was sharing a private joke with the man. "For the right price, of course, am I right?"
Last edited by McGuffin on Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby RedBstrd » Fri Feb 11, 2011 1:50 pm

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The guards wave the ka-tet inside of the walls. "Alright," the de facto speaker of them says, "Don't cause any trouble while you are here. Know that stealing water is the highest of crimes here." He then notices the Beast with the group, but doesn't quite know what to make of the large, cloaked creature. "Keep your Orgian brute-slave under control. We've seen their kind before and we're not afraid to use these halberds if he even thinks of getting out of line." Once he has made his point, one of the other guards points down the road: "The Purple Lotus is down this road and on the left. They should have rooms free. We're not expecting a sand storm, so only a handful of you wanderers and tradesmen have passed through here today." He then moves over to where the other guards are to close the main gate for the evening.

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Re: World Moved On (IC): Chapter 1, the Drawing

Postby Vistarius » Fri Feb 11, 2011 10:16 pm

THE BEAST
Adrian was slightly puzzled, but he'd do his best to remember the word. It was interesting that circumstance, or fate as some may call it, had provided him an easy means of entering without much on behalf of his friends. Being called a brute slave was perhaps one of the lightest names he'd been given throughout his journey of dealing with what he now was. He'd called himself worse.

The city impressed and disheartened him. He was so far away from home, he began to wonder why he'd ever wanted to pursue the secrets that weren't meant for him to know. If he'd been happy with what had been given to him, he'd never be here in this strange world, fighting for survival. He'd be extra careful to keep his claws tucked away, even if a fight would be started he'd have to be careful. It'd be much like the slaves of Earth history, if a white man attacked one and the slave defended himself, it'd mean trouble for the slave and anyone traveling with him. He wasn't certain that was the mind set, but judging by the men's attitude towards him, he could guess he was right.

The beast, looking somewhat puzzled as he tried to figure out just what exactly a brute slave looked like, looked down at the dirt and attempted to avoid contact. It was better to get to a place where he could enjoy some soothing water, and get some rest. The primal instincts within him wanted to climb the tall buildings, to feel the wind as he got as high as he could go. He somehow doubted that would go over well.


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