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Faith in You

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Faith in You

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Fishbucket on Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:43 pm

Faith In You

A thousand stars, thousands of thousands, fill the sky like pinpoints of light across the blackest fabric left to cover the world. It's beautiful, filled with streams of color from the nebula's nearby. I could lay on my back like this forever, staring at it.

"Good lord your lazy"

Ahh... and that brings an end to the peace of my night. "Or maybe I just know how to relax." I said, pushing myself back up onto my elbows to look my dearest friend in the eye.

Amalae... she is easily the most beautiful woman I know. Her hair is solid black, yet her eyes shine gold and bright. Her skin markings weave about her arms and shoulders like vines, leaves and branches, and as the marks reach down her body they become trunk of tree, and then roots. Or at least I assume they do, unfortunately I haven't ever seen the whole of her body uncovered.

I hope to remedy that someday, but clearly today won't be that day. "Oh come on, can't we skip a day?" I groan as I notice the two wooden training staves she holds behind her.

"Of course not, your still terrible!" She barks at me, ever so willing to play the part of trainer. She is always so full throttle, so gung ho and nonstop. I love it, and hate it.

It's complicated.

"oh hey" I jump back in surprise as she throws one of the staves at me. It clatters against the ground and bounces up, and I barely manage to catch it before it hits the ground again.

To say my groan was audible is an understatement, I'm pretty sure I saw a cricket cover it's attentae in annoyance. "C'mon Amalae, This always ends the same, can't we skip a day?"

"No! And it's because I always beat your ass that we have to keep at it." She responded, gesturing at me with the staff.

I stand up and sigh, getting into a ready position. We circle each other for a few minutes, with a distinct air of desperate guard on my end, and the smooth and graceful confidence that she always held when kicking my butt. One step after another, until I nearly trip over a slight bump in the ground. She leaps at me and, with a few swift and decisive strikes, I am once again on my back, though most distinctly not as relaxed as I had been before her arrival.

I sigh, rolling my eyes. "You happy now?"

"No! Get up! You can do better than this, and until you realize that I will continue to beat you black and blue"

"Whats the point Amalae!" I shove myself back to my feet, groaning as the sores begin to ache. "I'm never going to be as good as you!"

She shrugs then, taking a step back and sighing. "You don't have to be as good as me, Dalen, you just have to be as good as you."

I just stare at her for a few moments, completely lost. "What the heck does that mean?"

A dull thud as she struck the ground with her stave was my only response. Just when I thought that was the end of it, and turned away to head home, she spoke again. "Everyone has something... Something that is theirs alone. One little thing that, even if the whole of the universe was against them, they could win if it came to that."

I turn and see her looking right at me. "We just have to find your one thing that no one else can beat."

Shaking my head at her, I can't help smiling as I think of how long it would take for us to find that. I'm not exactly strong, never been too smart either. There were plenty of others who are more clever than me, more skilled, with more natural talent.

"I can't imagine that whatever it is I have is anything that would be enough to save the universe."

She laughs, and still chuckling drops back into her ready position. "All the stories say that no hero thinks their good enough, and then they are."

I suppose I should take a moment here to explain myself, so that if nothing else you may understand my tale. I was once like you, mortal, normal, with a life of my own and dreams for the future. I lived with my friend, on our quiet and quaint world. The only real differences between you and me, is location. Your world is located on the far flung arm of this galaxy, which by the way should not be called the milky way, because that sound so ridiculous.

Our world was located in the very center of this galaxy, inside the infinite core, what you called a black hole before you met me. The Infinite core, a realm of absolute darkness located at the center of the universe. Those black holes you see in the stars, they're not some heavy dot that sucks everything around it, their openings into the core. Doorways that lead into the beginning and end of all things.

The Infinite core is, understandably, difficult to comprehend, so let's just think of it as a open space that you can get to through a black hole. Now over the course of a thousand millenia, different races, planets, civilizations, star systems, have fallen inside of these openings. They don't end, these civilizations. Well not right away at any rate, most go on for several years before they collapse because of the empty darkness.

But ours was different. See, our world didn't develop near a star, rather, it developed on a star. I'm not the one to explain this, I don't do science or history well, but the way I understand it is that a long time ago a large, dying star, collided with a field of space dust, and the space dust stuck to the star and melded with it until it became a planet with a dim star for a core. Some meteors with life and all hit it, and then evolution came and so on and so forth, anyway eventually it made us.

We don't need light, actually we emit it. Most of us glow, it shows through our eyes mostly, but some of it escapes our skin as well. One of your scientists had it the most right when he first met us, we're sort of like living dwarf stars, we produce solar energy and electromagnetic radiation in the form of light, photons and such. And our minds are not actually bound to our bodies, but to the energy within us. Though we never actually knew this until we met you, destroying our bodies won't kill us, which is neat because we never really had a big population, even before all this came about.

This story of mine... I don't expect you to think of it as an excuse, or as reasoning of what I've done... I don't expect you to forgive me, I certainly do not intend to forgive myself. But I have to do what's right, at least this once.

I have to tell you how our world ended, and how we came to live on yours.
The best stories do not have just one or two characters, but all sorts of characters. You might not see them that often or know them that well, but the fact that they were there is what makes the story seem real.

After all, Life is full of characters, is it not?
I solemnly swear that there shall never be more than a 48 hour delay to my response to any question or post.

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Re: Faith in You

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Fishbucket on Sun Aug 13, 2017 12:02 am

Perhaps it would be better to start this with a description, yes? In our world, there were not that many of us, maybe four or five hundred. Which is fine since our world wasn't neary as large as yours is. You could go completely around our planet inside of one of the weeks on yours.

But despite that, it was our home, it was clean and simple, and safe. It was a world of peace and harmony, where we were content with what we had, and never took more than we needed. On that world, we had lived all our lives, growing closer and closer to each other. Each day went by, and nothing ever changed.

"Amalae slow down. I know you wanna get to town but there's no reason to rush." She was making me gasp for air at this point, though maybe that's my fault for letting myself get so out of shape.

"Sorry Dalen, I'm just really excited!" She fell back to join me again along the road. Her soft smile made me wish we were the only ones there, but unfortunately we had nearly a half hundred other people marching along in front or behind of us. Festivals will do that ya know.

"We've been to the festival before" I rub the back of my neck, glaring at a farmer and his burden beasts stinking up the lane. I try and shuffle to the far side of the road, nearer the trees and grass, Amalae following behind me absentmindedly.

She clasps her hands behind her and marches forward a few more steps in silence. "Well yeah, but still, it's the festival you know."

Ah, can't fool me girl. "Your just excited because everyone's going to be singing you praise and bloating your ego again."

"They don't do that!"

"Yes they do! 'Oh Amalae, your so sweet for helping me with my kids'"

She crosses her arms defensively. "That's supposed to be Mrs Durnell is it? Her little ones are beautiful and sweet, it's a pleasure to take care of them so she and Mr Durnell can enjoy each others company."

"Yeah" I grin "Especially if it gives them a chance to bring yet another sweet little one into the world right?"

I can't help but yelp in pain as she jabs me in the side, reminding me once again of how strong she is. Still, I'm not quite done yet "Then there's Urgo, who'll probably be throwing gilt your way for helping him rebuilt his house."

"It was the least I could do, since I was near at hand."

"Jann, you remember, who you helped put that dress together for."

"Well, she wanted to catch Torge's eye, and everyone deserves a chance at love."

"Yeah... I suppose they do at that." I can't tell if I'm blushing or not, but I really hope I'm not. "Egon, Duln, and Varro will probably want to give you gilt as well for teaching their sons sword work."

"That won't be nec-"

"Marc and Lux will want to repay you for helping with their wedding party arrangements"

"I just-"

"And then the council will probably give you a golden circlet for your work with the guardians."

"Okay okay! I get your point! But there is no need for you to be jealous. It's your own fault you don't ever do anything worthy of rewarding."

Rolling my eyes at her is probably dangerous, so instead I just laugh. "I enjoy my personal time, is that so wrong?"

"It is when your personal time is ALL the time."

I'm just about ready to respond that it isn't quite all the time, obviously, when I note the wall approaching. Made of stone and metal captured by salvagers from the void fields, the seven foot wall is an impressive sight, shining and soft looking, yet undeniably strong. Tested by the Guardians regularly, the wall has served as protection against raids by several Alien races to come to our world over the course of a thousand centuries. It protects the capital of our world, our society, from the wild beasts and the forigners who deemed to stay and try and survive on our world.

The press of bodies around us gets tighter, forcing us to walk with our shoulders near touching, as we pass through the gates. Amalae's fellow guardians are shouting down at her. "Hey Saint, how long you staying in town this time? Should I let the schools know your coming?"

"Not at all! I want to surprise them!" She responds, laughing ever so sweetly.

"So I guess then that I'll get some time to myself later this afternoon?" I mutter, just loud enough for her to hear. I look up to see the stars, which is harder here than it was back at home, all the shinetrees and flashbushes set hanging on ropes between houses and over the roads and walkways making it harder to see the far off light of the stars and nubulae.

"What? Why don't you join me?"

"Why would I? The Kids love you, I'd just be some random person they've never met."

"We could say your a fellow guardian."

"I'm not though."

"Well, not yet."

"Probably not ever, with how things are going."

She wraps her arm over my shouldrs and pulls me to her, smacking my head with her own. "Ow! What the heck?" I growl and look at her, my eyes scanning over her violet skin and ebony antennae. Her soft silver lit eyes never budge from my own.

"Stop with that down thinking, It's not gonna make you any better."

I roll my eyes, which turns out just as badly as I thought it would, as she punches me in the gut. It's not as hard as she could, I know, but I still find myself gasping for air. "I'm being serious Dalen! I have faith in you, so you should have some in yourself."

"Yeah, but you see the best in everyone, even if it's not there."

"Don't be foolish. Your a good man, and strong. You'll make a guardian yet."

The road starts to clear up as we get further into the city and the main thoroughfare widens. Tents and tarps of green and blue and all sorts of violet abound around us, the festival is in full swing, and the sounds of celebration are overwhelming, sending my ears twitching in annoyance. All I want is a nice and quite rooftop to take a nap on. I scan about the buildings, wooden and easy enough to climb.

"Come this way!" She grabs me by my shoulders and steers me along, passing carts and tents and all the various shops. Hitting each and every one. I haven't any gilt to buy anything, but that doesn't stop her making me look over each and every piece with seriousness. Eventually we come to Lorn's shop, off the mainway as it is. "Hey Lorn, how's your mother doing?" She hails him. I take advantage of her distraction to slip out of her grasp, though before she yanks me back again I throw my hands up in surrender. "I'm not going anywhere, I just don't want to be shoved anymore" I explain, turning to look around.

Lorn is a smithy, though that does him no justice. Multiple instruments of war hang on the wall, swords, axes, shields, even a silver bow. Definetly do not have the gilt for that, though some of the smaller bracelets may be in my range. I wonder if she would like one.

Lorn himself is an impressive man, near seven feet and three inches, marks of the mountain scrawl across his skin the color of pitch. He is strong, with muscles clearly visible on his body. His hair is grey, and his antennae stretch out from either end of his brow and out to either side of his head. His Amber eyes glow with joy as he see's Amalae.

"Well if isn't the Saint herself, come to visit me on the day of Drugar." He smiles brightly at her, his antennae arcing up over his head. "She's quite well, thanks to you. That jelly you gave us has done wonders for her aching joints, and I think she may even join the dancing this evening."

"Good to hear! Say, you don't happen to have anything new do you?" She winks at him.

"Your looking for armor? Why? Is something wrong with the set I gave you last year, You know I can repair it if you need. And it's strong and sturdy, it should last you some time yet."

"Oh it's not for me" She grabs and jerks me forward, which sucks considering I had been trying to slip out while she was distracted. "It's for this one. He's to be a Guardian soon."

"Dalen? A Guardian?"

Rubbing the bridge of my nose I say in an exasperated tone "Yeah yeah, go ahead laugh it up."

"Not at all" Lorn replies, and I look to see him inspecting me with the serious air he reserves for when he's measuring a customer. "You'll make a fine Guardian, especially with Amalae guiding you."

"You can't be serious? You too!"

"It's not that strange, you have a good heart, and whenever you can be convinced to do something you do it very thoroughly." He turns and heads to the back of his shop, where he keeps the furnace, anvil, and other tools of the smiths trade. I hadn't been back here before, and If Amalae wasn't pushing me from behind I probably would not have gone in at all. I thought it would be hot and soot covered but it's actually quite nice. Stone and mortar set, with mineral veins of no real value running through the walls to give it color. The Furnace itself is dim, providing warmth but little else, and the wall opposite it is left open to the street, so people might see the work done within. Hammers and chisels and all other manner of tools hang on racks of the wall opposite the door to the shop, and a massive anvil sits in the center of the chamber.

"I've just perfected a new technique, only have one full set that used it. It's good stuff too, channels the fire well. It's flexible, good mobility, yet provides complete protection." He stands next to a set of armor on a stand, clearly prepped for the festival.

"Oh I can't take that, you were going to unveil it at the festival weren't you?" Last chance for me to get out of this, and I leap at it with all my strength.

"Bah, it's nothing. Besides, people know I'm the smith the Guardians trust most. People see you walking around in it, They'll be certain to know it was my work."

"Go on, Dalen, take a closer look." Amalae gives me a strong shove forward.

"Aye, tell me what you think."

What I think is hard to describe. The armor is fantastically simple, yet unforgettable. The overall impression I have is of a Protector, a Guardian. From the Gauntlets to the Greaves, the armor is silversteel, chaised and with etchings and designs carved into it. The pieces that cover the biceps and thighs are made of several pieces that interlock each other, which makes it possible to bend and shift, with the armor following the movements of your body as though living flesh. The torso is made this same way, multiple interlocking pieces that overlap and shift, allowing full range of motion.

Two things catch my eye in particular. "Whats this?" I ask Lorn, pointing at the fabric flowing from the waist.

"Ahh, that's a special ornament. A cape, split tail. But I've a Trick set in it, a sort of skeleton in the leather, of struts and string that, when you pull the belt here." And he gripped the belt and unlatched it, pulling it up and away. As he did so, the fabric stretched and grew taut around the skeleton he had been refering to. It looked almost like a birds wings, but far too short, barely six feet from end to end. "Some of the Guardians have complained about how long it takes them to get from the citadal to the city and I remember one of them mentioned how great it would be to have wings."

"But surely they cannot fly with that?" Amalae stated a question, but underneath it I could tell she didn't think it was a viable idea. "They are too short, and the armor would weigh them down too much."

"Well Aye, it's not meant to let them fly, but more... Control how they fall. I've tested it well and thoroughly Saint, And if you jump from a cliff, You'll get enough speed falling to have enough lift that this will let you glide and control your fall. It's not much for distance, but it works great for speed."

"What about landing." I snort at him. He cannot honestly believe someone will jump off of anything with only that to carry them to safety.

"That parts... a bit more difficult, But I'm sure the Guardians will figure something out about it."

It's just like him to leave things half finished. Gesturing to the other part of the armor that caught my eye. "Whats with the helm."

It looks made from about three pieces of metal, curved into the perfect cover for the face. A plate that covers the face and front top of the head, as well as the jaw, latched to a second plate that cups the back of the head, and a final set of interlocked pieces that wrap around and protect the neck. What's interesting though is the eyes holes, they appear to have glass set into them.

Lorn smiles and nods. "Normally the helmet has only one weakpoint, the eye slits. But with this glass melted to the inside of the faceplate, you can see through the eyeslits, and no longer have to worry about something getting in."

"What if something breaks the glass."

"Then you get it repaired."

"What if the broken glass gets in my eye."

"Then you lose your eye."

We stand glaring at each other for a bit, before Amalae steps in between us. "It's wonderful Lorn, a fine piece of work. How much will you take for it?"

He shakes his head. "For you Saint, I give this freely. I ask only that you make a proper guardian out of the fool who shall wear it."

She smiled at him, while I tried not to retch. He went all formal speech just to butter up to her. Of course everyone treats her like that, and I can't hold it against them. We call her Saint Amalae because that's what she is. Pure and profoundly good, she brings joy and peace to all of us, and our lives are made better by her presence.

I... I am sorry. It is difficult to remember these parts of the story. It was so long ago, but that is not the trouble, it's.. something else. To remember how things were, and to wonder at how they could have been. I wish things had been different, I wish I had had more time, I wish....

But... wishing is only half the battle isn't it. You can wish for the moon and stars, but you will only reach them if your willing to fight.

And sometimes... Sometimes you can't win that fight....

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Re: Faith in You

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Fishbucket on Wed Sep 20, 2017 1:42 pm


"I really shouldn't be wearing this, I'm not a guardian yet!"

My protests fall on deaf ears, as Lorn goes over the armor and sees to it's fit on me. Amalae stands before me all smiles and charm.

"You said yet, where yesterday you did not even think you would be one. I see I have managed to get through your thick skull."

Of course I roll my eyes at her, and this time she can't retaliate so I do it again just for that. "Even so, I shouldn't be wearing the armor of the Guardians when I am not one."

Lorn steps in with his two cents, his voice coming from somewhere behind me as he fiddles with something on my back. "It should be fine for now, it's a new armor, and besides if the Saint gives you the go ahead then I garuntee you none of the guardians will stand against her... Besides."

And here he stepped forward and around me. "This armor needs to be tested, and what better person to serve as the test dummy than a fool such as you?"

His smug remark was lost on me as I inspected the armor. It fit well over my body. Smoothly, I bent and twisted to see how far it would turn and move. No matter how I tried, I was no more limited in my movement than Normal. It was much lighter than I expected as well, no more weight than I normally carry when Amalae was training me.

Perhaps that was the very reason for it then, her training with all the weights and stuff.

I stepped forward and inspected myself in the only mirror in the whole of the smithy. Even I had to admit that I looked good, Almost a proper guardian.

"Only one thing missin now." Amalae's hand on my shoulder spins me around, and she slams something into my chest. I barely feel it through the armor.

In my hands is a Guardian Issue Shield, with the inbuilt Scabbard and sword. I look up at her in shock and wonder."But... how.."

"Spares from when I first started. They'll suit you, I think." She said, handing me the shield. It was well made, probably more of Lorn's work. It's definetly a Guardian's shield, made of reinforced Anley Steel, unbreakable save by the strongest forces in the cosmos. Or at least, we've never found anything that can break one of them. The Shields are made to expand into three different settings. The first is compact, enough to cover the torso, used for a forward charge or mobility. The second setting expands the shield laterally, forming a tall barrier that, when used in conjunction with other guardians, forms a shield wall that allows the guardians to drive back invading forces.

The Final Setting expands the shield to it's fullest proportions, creating a solid wall behind which two or even three full grown men can stand behind. In this setting the shield can be planted in the ground as a barricade, creating a safe place for civilians to escape to.

The different segments and pieces that allow for this expansion are all shining and near reflective, polished to a degree that I can nearly see my own face in it. The hilt and cross guard of the sword peek out from the top of the shield, and instinctly I grasp it.

With a firm yank I pull the sword free, and inspect it. Guardian Swords too are made to change shape to suit the guardians immediate needs. As it stands, the blade is nearly three feet long as is, but with a twist of the handle it extends out to nearly five feet on top of that. Or if you turn the guard, the handle, which is already near a foot in length to accomodate the use of both hands, can be pulled out to four feet, creating a sort of spear.

The whole arrangement was quite impressive, Holding the shield on my left arm, and the sword in my right hand, I feel strong and powerful, as though the whole universe could come at me and Still not knock me down.

Something of my thoughts must be showing on my face, because Amalae grins and says "Each Guardian is a powerful force on their own, but it's when they work together, and pool their resources that they are at their strongest, Dalen. Remember that."

I blink and nod at her, still speechless. I put the blade back in the shield, and swing it around to latch it to the armor via the points made to hook into it. Once locked in, the shield follows my armor closely, and does not wiggle or shake.

"You think of everything huh Lorn" I mutter aloud.

"Of course, when working with metal, you only want to have to do anything once. It is very hard to go back and correct a mistake." He nods as though this is common knowledge.

The rebounding, long, low sound of the gathering horn echoes throughout the city, to mark the festivals official beginning. Amalae beams at me, taking me by the hand and, thanking Lorn, leading me out of the smithy and through the streets towards the city center.

The cobblestone streets, each stone as smooth as a riverrock from years of tramping feet, are filled with a dozen and a half hundred souls, from all clans and tribes, of every age from the most ancient to the youngest, milled about in a loud confusion. Amalae didn't bother trying to shove her way through it, she patted me on the chest, then turned and with a great leap, launched herself onto a nearby ledge, flipping upward and climbing hand over hand to the roofs.

My ascension was not nearly as graceful. I took a runningstart up the wall of the very same building, and then scrambled up using whatever handholds I could reach. By the time I got up to her, she was impatiently tapping her feet and restlessly looking to the center of town.

"Go on, Don't let me keep you back." I tried to sound cheery, despite being slightly winded from the effort.

She looked over, then back to me and said "Hurry up" Before dashing off so fast the dust on the rooftop followed her.

I took a more leisurely approach, walking along the rooftop and making as few jumps as possible. Afterall, there was no need for me to be present at the ceremony. I wasn't a Guardian like Amalae, and they all had to be present to light the Suar'laen Fire. Once lit, the Seasons dawn festival would begin. Dancing, eating, contests of skill, knowledge, and strength. And all the while the guardians would be guarding the fire and keeping the peace.

I'll never get how Amalae can find the festival enjoyable while she's working so hard. From my standpoint here on the rooftop, I can see the whole main square, including the ceremony. Theres dancers of course, in spare cloth of sensual design and quality, Some merchants in their booths hawking out their stuff, jewlry and the like. Even Lorn has his cart loaded and is making his way to a space behind the raised Dias that holds the fire, specially saved for him by the guardians.

In all this chaos, even with the high ground, I nearly miss spotting an abnormality in the color and glee. A figured fully covered in dark robes and rags is making his way across the far side of the square to the Hall of the Guardians.

Normally this wouldn't really be any cause for alarm, many citizens, both of our people and not, visit the guardians in search of aid or assistance. But during the Festival the only guardian who would be present in the hall is the Highlord. And nobody speaks with the Highlord unless it's of dire importance.

All thought of the robed figure was forgotten as the Herald Began the ceremony.

"Hello my dear brothers and sisters" He began to the delighted, uproarious applause of the crowds. "Once again we have gathered here in Valkhreth, our ancient bastion. It is in this place, generations ago, at the dawn of our civilization, where the greatest of us stood up and spoke out against the maddening emptiness of our world. It is here that Sol'Artos said 'We are of Light and Fire!"

The crowds cheered even louder this time, and from my perch I even saw many of them begin to brighten and shine, the flames of their souls being stoked to such hights as cannot be contained.

I couldn't help but smile at it.

"It is here" The Herald Continued unabatted, "It is here that he stood and with the fire of his soul, lit the darkness and drove away the maddened creatures that dwelt in it. In that moment, the guardians were formed, and ever since they have protected our world from the dark that surrounds us."

"Join me now, Brothers and sisters, as we once again recite this, our creed."

I stood as close to the edge of the roof as I could, leaning forward with dangerous abandon to in my strain to get a better look. I had had been present to these ceremonies before, but never this close.
As I watched, Seven Guardians, Including the Herald, ringed the Dias where the Sur'laen fire was but embers in the brazier. With a single voice that was a chorus, in which even from my precipice I could feel the power of those words. And then in my very heart I felt a stirring, I felt a connection. I knew, without knowing how I knew, that every guardian in the city was speaking together in that singular voice of will and power.

And I felt my own voice in that chorus as well.

"For those that are Afraid, I shall be Courage.
For those that are Weak, I shall be Strength.
For those who are Hurt, I shall be Healing.
For those that are feared, I shall be Understanding.
For those that are Hated, I shall be Compassion.
My shield is Shelter to all who seek to live.
My sword is light to guide them through the dark.
We are the Guardians, The unbreakable Wall, The Unshakeable Faith. When all else fails, we shall remain!"

As one the guardians drew and raised their swords, and I too followed suit. I could not help myself, it was as though my body was possessed of the will of hundreds. The flame of my soul burned within me, and I had to release it or be consumed by it.

From all over the city, ribbons of auroric light seared and flashed through the walkways and over the buildings, and even as I wondered at it, my own flames poured out over my body, along my blade, and towards the Dias.

The Sur'laen fire roared to life with an intensity equal to a newborn star, lighting up the whole of our world in a brilliance that could be seen from anywhere in the whole of the void! For another season it would bring light to our world, as it had for countless generations before, and as it would for a thousand years after.

I could not know anything of that of course, but even so I felt it was true. My legs buckled and I began to topple over the edge of the rooftop. The last thing I saw was the ground rushing to embrace me.

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