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Thread: Reluctance

  1. #1

    Default Reluctance

    This is a story I came up with while experimenting with my biped. Decided that, since I liked playing it so much (though I still love my hatchling), I would come up with a little story to introduce her.

    It's been a while since I've actually written anything, so I'm not sure it's as good as it could be. But it's late for me, and I'm tired, and if I try to "fix" it anymore I'm going to mess something up.

    So here you go.


    Gods, her head hurt. Her thoughts were jumbled, her mind sluggish in the mental fog that surrounded it. She wasn't exactly sure where she was, and for a brief moment she wasn't sure WHO she was.


    Was that her name? That sounded right... Geirahod. Did she have a last name? Nothing came to mind as she slowly sat up. Still lost in her cloud of confusion, Geirahod looked down at herself. She wore what appeared to be a plain tunic and some trousers of one earthy tone or another. Some bland boots covered her feet, and the straps around her shoulders were attached to a backpack. It seemed a bit small, but upon looking inside it she found that it was empty.

    Just as well, it didn't look like it could hold much of anything. Anything important, anyway.

    Her hand came up and pressed against her forehead. Her skull throbbed, as though she had just been clubbed over the head with a tree. She brushed her brown hair out of her face, made several attempts to do so, and finally got fed up with the whole process and ripped a strip of cloth off the bottom of her tunic to tie it back. Upon raising her arms, she saw that her muscles were thick and well defined. Had she done hard labor for a living? She didn't feel stiff and old, as one would had they done such vigorous work for a lifetime... in fact, she didn't feel as though she was any older than twenty or so winters. Something told her that the rest of her form would be no different; she wasn't sure if she was proud or embarrassed by the thought. Her hands were calloused, evidence of hard work.

    Geirahod stood up, suddenly finding herself extremely unsteady. She could feel a numb, tingling sensation all over her body, and she squirmed uncomfortably at the feeling. Once she was sure feeling was coming back into her limbs, Geirahod looked around at her surroundings. Tall white pillars encircled a platform, upon which stood three humans. The female half-giant towered over them as she slowly climbed up onto the stone. The first human opened his mouth as if to speak to her, and instead she walked past without a word. Geirahod wasn't exactly sure where she was or how she got here, nor could she remember exactly what happened to bring her here, but she was going to find out on her own. And then she was going to find a way back home.

    "Wait!" One of the other humans, somewhat smaller than the first, stepped forward as he called to her. She scowled under her breath as he came after her, despite the fact that she continued to walk awa. "Wait, we must speak! You're one of the Gifted!"

    She raised an eyebrow as the man jumped off the platform to follow her. Persistant little thing, she gave him that much. "I'm not sure exactly what that means." She said slowly, as if to get a clear point across. "But I intend to go home."

    "You don't know how you got here, do you?" He had her full attention now. "You don't remember a thing? The Gifted cannot truely die, though it seems as though they do. They are brought back to life by the Ritual of Everlasting Life! You're Istaria's hope against the Withered Aegis!"

    Geirahod narrowed her dark eyes at the much smaller man dangerously. "You speak of something I don't understand. If you don't start making sense, and making sense real quick, I'm going to-"

    "You died to come here!"

    The half-giantess' fist smashed into the man's armored chest and nearly sent him sprawling. "You lie!" Just because she couldn't remember how she got here DIDN'T MEAN SHE DIED!

    The man, though sore, was more experienced and had managed to avoid the damage from an angered being far larger than himself. "No, I don't. But if I were, how did you manage to get that scar on your face? It looks fresh."

    Scar? Geirahod felt her face. Her fingers came in contact with... something. It was her skin, that was certain, but it didn't feel right. It felt thickened, hardened... much like scar tissue. Across her face, from her left lower jaw to under her hairline above her right eye, was a single long, jagged scar. It ran across her mouth, stopped and angled across her left eye and eyebrow, and then turned a second time and disappeared under the hair above her right eye. A portion of the scar branched off from above her split brow, and cut a path down across her nose to about midway past her right cheek, What? No... No! How did I get this? What did this to me?! "I still don't believe you... I can't..." She could feel herself shaking. In anger? Fear? "Prove to me that I am one of these Gifted, and then I may."

    "Was it not just done? How in the world do you think you were brought here?! Do you believe some great Dragon just swooped down, snatched you up, and deposited you here!?"

    That was enough. She wasn't going to take this anymore, and her fear and sudden desparation were starting to become a dangerous mix. "Fine. If you won't prove this theory of yours, then I'll find my own answer!" Geirahod lunged at him suddenly, making a grab for the dagger in his belt. He hollered, surprised at how bold she was, as she ripped the sharp blade from it's sheath. Defiantly, she brandished it at him, causing his comrades to draw their own weapons. Bellowing angrily, she raised the weapon high--

    And drove it into her own chest.

    The force of her blow managed to shatter a couple ribs. Even with her quickly fading vision, she could see the three men staring at her in horrified, stunned silence. She felt her knees hit the ground, and blackness claimed her as she fell face first into the dirt.


    With a yell, Geirahod's lungs disobeyed their master and forcefully took in air. She shot up, gasping and coughing, and looked around bewildered. There before her stood the three men on their platform. The one in the cape looked at her with a disapproving scowl, while the one whose dagger she had grabbed looked away, clearly uncomfortable.

    Behind them, set against the rocky cliff, was what looked like a crude funeral pyre. Smoke rose from the fiery mass, and the smell of burning flesh assaulted her nose. She didn't want to believe it, but in the back of her mind she knew she didn't have to be told what was on it.

    "" She felt weak. Her chest felt as though acid had been rubbed into her skin. It burned like a fresh wound. Checking to be sure that it wasn't, she was both relieved and horrified to see that there was indeed no wound across her torso. "I... I don't understand."

    The man in the cape continued with his stare. "It is Empire regulation that any and all bodies, Gifted or not, are burned so that the Withered Aegis cannot use them against us. As you can probably see, you Gifted are granted a new body each time you die. I would keep that in mind next time you decide you want to carry something valuable around with you." He paused, sighing, before continuing. "You were already told that you possess the abilities of the Gifted, and among those is the inability to be killed permanently. You are Gifted, Geirahod, and you cannot simply give up something like this. The Rite of Everlasting Life has affected you, why can you not accept it's gift?"

    Geirahod stared at him for a moment, her hand still trying to hold the imaginary wound in her chest shut. Being unkillable was a gift? Having to die and die, over and over and over again, and feel the wounds as if they are truely there? To see your own body on a pyre, or laying in a pool of blood, or even fighting against you on the side of the undead? Or to live on, while those you may come to care about die before you, never to open their eyes again? The pain in her chest slowly eased into a throbbing ache as she thought.

    Standing, once again on unsteady legs, she looked down at the human before her. "This is no gift." She muttered, turning and stumbling down the path behind her. "This is a Curse."


    Geirahod spent the remainder of the day wandering the little island she found herself trapped on. It had one cobblestone road that seemed to wind all over the place near the platform, a few dirt paths that seemed well-traveled, and a healthy population of gruoks, spiders, and beetles. For the time she spent wandering, she saw no other people. Yet she came across a number of pieces of craftsman machinery.

    She decided that this place must be a sort of training ground for the "gifted".

    The more she thought about her curse, the more disgusted she became. How was this curse supposed to be a good thing? At the likely cost of their minds, souls, humanity, or whatever it was that they had left to loose, how was this supposed to help them against the Aegis? How was SHE supposed to accept these unnatural abilities as if she was simply born with them?

    She felt something soaking into her boots. Looking down, she found that she had somehow wandered onto the beach and into a foot of ocean water without even realizing it. Scowling, she sloshed back to dry land, and hauled herself up the somewhat steep cliffside to sit on a ledge overlooking the sea. Behind her were a number of overhands arranged in a semi-circle around a huge smokestack. Under one shelter was an anvil, and opposite to the anvil was a smelter. Someone had left a number of smithing tools next to the equipment. She stared at it for a moment, then grumbled and turned away to watch the ocean, emptying her boots of salt water as she did. Geirahod didn't like the alien, yet extremely familiar, sensation she felt when she looked at the forging tools. She felt the urge to try her hand at it, but she mentally beat it back and continued to stare at the choppy water.

    Some time passed, and still the half-giant sat. Thoughtful, troubled, disturbed... scared and angry. So many feelings and thoughts assaulted her mind at once, that she found it difficult to focus on any one part for long. Geirahod wasn't exactly sure how long she was there, but at about sunset she picked up the telltale sound of sand and bits of rock crunching together under a pair of heavy boots. She turned her gaze towards the pathway that climbed up the cliff, and saw a Dwarf making his way towards the forge. He was dressed in clothes similar to hers. Over one shoulder rested a bronze pick, and clutched in his free hand was a sack that appeared to be holding quite a bit of ore from the nearby mine. She watched him as he set his pack down next to the smelter to begin working. After a few minutes, Geirahod turned away and continued her staring contest with the vast water before her.

    Before she knew it, Geirahod felt a tap on her shoulder. Turning her head, she found she was face to face (quite literally) with the Dwarf she had watched. He must have been an extremely empathic or observant, because the look on his face was one of concern. "Ye okay, lass? Ye look... troubled."

    Geira frowned. "Well... I am. This blasted Gifted business..." She turned away and stared off at the horizon. "What if I don't want to be "immortal?" What if I don't want this?"

    The Dwarf looked at her, the furrows in his brow creasing as he frowned a little. "Ye're unhappy with what has been given to ye?"

    The half-giant ground her teeth together. "Yes, I am "unhappy!" I didn't want this! I don't want to be thought of as a tool, or a weapon, or a tactical advantage! I don't want to be called a hero or a god!" She raised her fist and slammed it against the rock cliff. Several small rocks were broken off and sent tumbling down the steep cliffside slope. She ignored the blood seeping from the gash in her hand, though she did seem to calm down slightly after having made that particular display of anger. "What's so great about this? This is no gift... I've been cursed. Cursed to fight an undead force some Human created, cursed to defy death and still suffer its pain. Cursed to watch those around me die, and never stand again..."

    With a grunt, the Dwarf sat down next to her. And there he sat, silent, a look of thought very plain on his face. Several moments passed before he spoke again. "Let me tell ye something, lass. My pa's pa, before he died, once told me that if there were ever a way for us ta get some kind 'o advantage over tha Withered Aegis, he'd gladly participate in it, even if it cost 'im everything." He paused. "He said to me once, he says, "Boy, if I had to give up mah place among Brobbet hi'self, an' all o' our kin up there in tha Gallery, just so I could help secure a safe and bright future fer mah family, ye know what I'd do?" And ye know what he says to me?"

    Geirahod looked over at him expectantly. "What did he say?" Though a somewhat sincere question, it was more said to appease the much smaller man.

    "Mah pa's pa says to me, "I'd do it without a second thought." And ye know what? I un'erstand 'im, cause now I'm doin' what he wasn't given tha chance ta do. I got mahself a wife back home, an' I'm gonna give her and tha family I'm tryin' ta start a chance at a better future."

    As the Dwarf talked, Geirahod noticed how passionate and determined he was about being Gifted, about being able to fight for the rest of the Living Races in a desparate bid for survival. He sounded so proud of himself, so proud to be able to fight for his family and his people. She frowned, a horrible feeling of guilt and shame condensing into a lump in her gut. Here she was, bemoaning herself for being cursed, lamenting her horrible fate.

    And there was the Dwarf, radiating a sense of pride and honor that would put any noble knight to shame.

    Geirahod sat there, practically radiating her feeling of discomfort. The Dwarf saw this, and smiled to himself under his thick beard. "Ye know, lass... none in Istaria like what tha Withered Aegis has done. And know that yer not alone in tha way ye feel... I doubt very few of us are entirely 'appy with our fates. But we're tha only hope that Istarians have now." He stood up, rummaging around in his pack as he did. From it, he removed a bronze short sword. It was well used with at least one nock, but anybody could see that it could still serve it's purpose. "'Ere, take this. I know it isn't much, but tha blade is still more er less functional. In this day an' age, people 'ave ta do what they can ta survive. If yer unable ta face yerself in tha mirror because of this curse ye say's been put on ye, then tha only thing I can tell ye is that yer gonna need to make a living for yerself somehow. Try to avoid the Aegis, if ye can." And with those words, he left, the sound of crunching gravel fading with him until all she could hear was the quiet crash of the waves against the rocks below.


    It had been several days since any of the three humans that watched over Spirit Isle had seen the distressed half-giant. Were she not one of the Gifted, they would have begun to think that something had happened to her and she was now food for the various critters that roamed the small island. However, as she hadn't magickally appeared, they were beginning to at least feel curious. Where had she gone? Had she left the island without even receiving any sort of guidance? Or perhaps, had she actually died and her spirit simply refused to return, and instead opted to stay in limbo?

    At the moment, however, they couldn't be bothered by the decisions of one errant Gifted. One Gifted, a Dwarf who was surprisingly adept with a smithing hammer, was about to depart to the island of New Trismus and he was wishing everyone a heartfelt goodbye. He was a very friendly individual, and also very loud... though it was expected for a Dwarf. They were known for their enthusiasm, and this one was no different. He laughed and joked with the three of them, as though there was no ongoing war with a likely unstoppable undead force.

    In the middle of a story the Dwarf was telling about his grandfather, he paused and leaned to look past one of the men; the look of surprise clearly showed through the forest that grew on his face. The shock was quickly replace by what one might call pride, as he smiled a smile so huge his eyes nearly disappeared. The men turned around, and were soon expressing a sense of shock all their own.

    Before them stood Geirahod. She looked... different. While she was wearing a pair of hide pants and vest (where had she gotten those? They could never figure out HOW exactly those grulets and spiders were getting ahold of these items. Some cargo ship must have gone down near the island), she seemed to emit an aura of... was that determination?

    Geirahod smirked at the stunned expressions on the humans faces. Her discussion with the Dwarf, who was now practically beaming, had helped her to realize something. This wasn't just about her. While she didn't have to like the fact that she had been chosen for this (and she still considered it a curse), that didn't mean she had the luxury or even right to sit there and sulk like a child. If her father had seen her, he might have actually slapped her for the way she acted.

    She raised the short sword to her shoulder, resting the flat of the blade on the material of her vest. "So, where do we begin?"

  2. #2

    Default Re: Reluctance

    *applauds* nicely written!

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