Light Unseen - Chapter 1: Exodus
It seems that no matter where or when you are, war is a constant. Whether it be the Flame Dawn against Genesis, the world against the sleepers or the heavens against man conflict is never ending. However, the settlement of Scohaven, far in the mountains north of even the great city of Bask has had the fortune of being a land far from the rain of fire and metal present in the rest of the world under the watchful gaze of the Aurora Commonwealth. But as history has shown, peace is only a temporary state.
"Damnit Cais! I asked you to fix the generators two weeks ago!"
"Sorry Isan, but you know as well as I do that with the snows the way that opening the circuit box is going to do more harm than good."
"You're a techie Cais, are you telling me you can re-wire a glacial-generator but you can't figure out how to build a simple barrier to block out a little snow? It isn't like theres a blizzard outside for calamitys sake.
"Yeah, yeah I'ÃÂm on it,"ÃÂÃÂÃÂ as he reached for his tool kit, he murmured under his breath "Flame Dawn take you, you wretched old man."
The repairs took several hours. Despite the numerous shocks and burns, and the constant battle against the elements, Cais removed his weathermask to study his work before toggling the unitÃÂs bright red switch to the on position. Finally, Cais got the no. 6 generator back online while managing to keep the frozen water out of the primary circuits. He calmly grabbed his light-tool and began to pack up. Maybe the slight electrical burn on his hand would convince Isan that he actually knew what he was talking about. Then again, having the thermal units back online would be a nice boon during the frigid Scohavish winter. As he clasped his weathermask in hand and turned to face the way back to the power station he heard a loud metal ricochet pierce the control panel behind him.
As Cais turned to face his immaculate repair work he noticed it wasn't quite so immaculate now. In fact, a giant hole could now be seen in the center of the box and snow was quickly filling within the panel. The opposite end of the hole continued well into the snow which was quickly melting into a pool of water. The moment Cais found the thermal round at the bottom of the pool, he clumsily slipped the weathermask on and sprinted back to the power station, leaving his tool kit behind.
As Cais neared the environmental seal connecting the city with the outside, he noticed something horrifying. The doors were locked and in the city there wasn't a single light on. Worst of all, he left his toolkit far behind giving him no way to access the maintenance panel. His sudden dismay at the cities power outage was abruptly interrupted by a single glance skyward. Angels. They were everywhere, but not the kind of angels you would find in a childÃÂs fairy tale. These angels were armed to the teeth and firing death down to the city below. If he had anywhere to go he would have, but Scohavish winters were known for their unstable temperament. If he were to be caught outside during a whiteout death was all but certain, and the nearest settlement was at least 100 miles to the west. The southern route was even more treacherous despite its calmer weather patterns. More than likely the southern pass would be snowed in by now. Things were not looking good. Before he had time to ponder his next move the doors in front of him began to open, despite the power loss.
"Cais? Cais is that you?"
"Demis? What is going on in there?"
Emerging from the darkened corridor was none other than none other than Demis, CaisÃÂÃÂ' mentor and a member on the civil council.
"Its bad in there Cais. Really bad. The power went out all at once and before we knew what was going on, the whole settlement was under attack by angels. They declared they were fighting under the banner of someone called Ex. They've been rounding up people to ÃÂrecieve penance, whatever that means. They came in guns blazing so we figured it wasn't a good thing to stick around and find out what that was."
"Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Come on out everybody, we need to move before they start looking outside the city for stragglers."
Emerging from the tunnel were several dozen refugees, most covered in debris of some sort or drenched in their own blood or the blood of someone else. Whatever was going inside the city had turned it from a peaceful and quiet community to a warzone almost instantaneously. You can't go anywhere without something trying to hit you from above.
"I gathered everyone I could find on my way out, we need the manpower if we're to carry the supplies we need to get to Bask anyways."
"Bask? They're closer to the border and a far more appealing target than our modest little ground. What makes you think they haven'ÃÂt been hit yet?"
Demis couldnt look Cais straight in the face. It was like he wanted to say something, but to do so would break some sort of ancient taboo.
"I'ÃÂÃÂll tell you when we get there Cais. Until then you aÃÂre going to just have to trust me - Bask is still safe".
"Demis you know me. I am a trusting guy. Now, what do you need me to carry?"
End Ch. 1
Ch. 2 - Flight
There were nearly 50 refugees in the group. Most of whom were either injured or carrying the injured. Those who weren't were carrying food. At least the winter storms brought one advantage - water was hardly a scarce commodity. The weary expedition travelled many miles uninterrupted, but each mile cost them something and, on occasion, someone.
"Leave him Cais. He isn't going to make it."
Cais unmounted the small child from his shoulders. His face was black and purple. His eyes were the color no child should be and even his skin had lost all sign of life. Thankfully a few of the refugees were hunters and more than able to make some form of winter protection out of the nearby bears and wolves. Sadly, this discovery came far too late for the young boy who was already beginning to show the symptoms of severe frostbite. The animal pelt the boy wore was unfortunately too little too late, as was the case for many others. By the end of the first day the size of the fragile expedition had already been reduced to 20 They had been fortunate not to encounter a whiteout, which would have surely killed them already, which could still kill them.
"Was it really that bad Demis? You know as well as I do this is suicide."
"Trust me Cais it was that bad. It was raining thermal rounds. You couldn't walk anywhere without a chunk of building falling on your or a random shot. I don't even think they cared about the resources, it was the people they were after. I don't know why and I don't want to know. At best it was slavery. But you don't cause that level of fear without a purpose. Even the Flame Dawn wouldn't have caused that much devastation if they chose to invade. They're a lot of things, but at least they have a purpose when they conquer. This was just a senseless slaughter, almost as if it was revenge for some terrible crime. Don't ask me why Cais, I couldn't tell you."
"Demis, you need to tell me why we're risking so much to get to Bask. I've always trusted you, but...Alarin was far closer, and it had the protection of the subterranean tunnels. But this route is designed for travel during the warmer part of the year. Even if we make it to the tunnels, there is no guarantee the lightbridge will even have power, the solar energy it receives is so small I wouldn't even trust it for a single crossing, let alone getting 20 people and supplies across it. And I don't know how much harder we can push these people. Most haven't eaten today and we have to reach that tunnel before nightfall. Last night almost killed all of us and I don't think we can take round two. Even if we were to change our direction we could still reach the tunnel that connects to Alarin and--"
"Cais...Alarin is gone."
"How do you think I was able to gather supplies and get ANYONE out with as quickly as that happened? Alarin messaged ahead and let us know what was coming. I had barely started taking inventory in the food stores before the attack began. Bask is the closest place we can go. The winter conditions have made any northern or eastern route impossible. Plus we aren't equipped to traverse any mountains right now."
"Damn. You know this means we're going to have to leave a few more people behind don't you? Killian has a crippled leg right now and that older couple have been slowing the whole group down. I believe in leave nobody behind as much as the next person...but there are still three kids in our group. They won't last another night."
"I know Cais...I've just been waiting for the right moment to-"
"Demis, there isn't a right moment. You have to do this now and we have to speed up markedly if we're going to reach the tunnels. Even without those three slowing our progress I'm not sure we'll make it before nightfall."
"Cais, I know what you're say---DOWN NOW. EVERYBODY DOWN NOW!!!"
"Demis are those?"
"Yeah Cais, Angels."
[I'll get some more work done on this tomorrow. I feel right now is a pretty good place to stop and take a breather. *trollface*]