Author Topic: Sun Down  (Read 1191 times)

Nazareth

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Sun Down
« on: December 03, 2014, 02:47:16 AM »
( The Third continuation of my story between Val and Nazareth. The language will be mild, but there will be violent depictions. )



?And I?d say!--? Shouted Nazareth over the crowd. Most heads turned, looked up and, unbelievably focused, spread the disturbance to the idle, to the empty, to the previously focused eyes of the dull-eared with either shoulder-slaps or simple words. Nazareth stood tall on the angled roof: her smile was brilliant, diabolical; her eyes were wide and mirrored the piercing lividity of her smile; her scarf wailed and her bare feet stuck to the tiles, side-by-side.  ?--that you as well, Peddler of the Word, do not understand their resilience!?

The crowd remained silent and allstaring until Nazareth ripped the blade out of her belt and held it over her head. With the downlow and extinguished purple sun grazing the curved steel, Nazareth appeared to wield violet flame in her hand. ?Whatever contracts you think protect you will shield you no longer, Brides of dust.? The arm that prided her blade fell limply, quickly, and the sharpened end smashed into the roof, cut it up with a metallic wail and a burst of soot that rose from the split old tile roofing and became purple.

?My sister hangs,? Nazareth said quietly. The gatherers may not have heard, but each-and-every grew visibly anxious. ?Here---there it is.? She advanced the nose of her sword, used it to point out the pillar. Blade sustained as example, she petitioned her audience with a wide, scoping glance. ?Is this what satisfies children of the dust? My sister was no warrior---she was sick from birth. Each of her nineteen years of life were spent in agony. Her body failed in the Flat Sea---there, out beyond your very gates---no more than an hour?s walk. She sought razor shrub seeds and obsidian---she was no monster, Brides. She left home to collect a handful of seeds for her garden. But you are all sufficiently intoxicated on a victory, yes? Prided by your monument and ornamental body??

The crowd was still. The Dominion?s question was vetoed in silent unison: She demanded no answer, this much was clear. Her verdict and judgement had been determined the minute that pillar was plastered into the sand and uncovered. Closest to the building upon which Nazareth stood was a frail, gaunt woman who had a little girl latched around her thigh. The child, who was guilty of nothing more than presence, was big-eyed and dark haired. Mundane like all Brides maybe, but yet unmined; yet bathed in the liquor of diluted history. She smiled.

Nazareth?s slender eyes drifted to the pulpit. She growled quietly, ?But I am a warrior,? before hoisting her blade high above her windy hair and cracking scarf. Nazareth hollared, ?I?ll make you all such tributes! Want to celebrate a corpse! I?ll give your capital a hundred of them to celebrate!?




The people below berserked. Riotous howls, both low and masculine and sharp and young, flooded the village square. Thunder in the form of escaping feet assaulted the air, mixed with the screams and made a storm. The small rank of soldiers that had taken station near the foot of the pillar drew shield and steel. They conformed and took an advanced post in front of the pulpit and the towering trunk. The monument?s slender, deathblack shadow severed the crowd, crawled up the face of the building Nazareth was stationed upon and lay draped next to her shyly, sisterly: brown and quiet and skinny and dead.
   Nazareth thrusted the violet-sun blade up over her head. The Priest flapped his flowing arms, his flowing tongue, informed his congregation of their rights, of their triumphs, of the treaty, of the impossibity of attack: ?They Cannot! They Will Not!?


I am not ?They?.

I am Nazareth.
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Nazareth

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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2014, 04:13:28 AM »
The explosion on the roof erupted soundlessly. A great font of soot and debris burst from where Nazareth had been standing. The smoke fired backwards, as if she were a propelled by flame. Out of the big, dirty cloud that had congealed there suddenly on the rood, a tracer seared, shot right out of the mass like an arrow of steam and pulverized the pulpit where the old holy man stood. The sound was great and loud, a jumble of cracking beams accompanied by a stereo of shrieks and howls. The great retreating congregation paused in unison, each turning over pairs of eyes to the orange-brown pillar of smoke where the  pulpit had, only seconds before, stood. Some looked back at the roof where the demon had stood: she was there no longer, traced only by a few lingering snakes of strange, silver steam.
   
Two of the soldiers that had taken station in front of the pulpit had gone down, but were merely dazed. With their hands brimming their eyes, shielding them from the raining chunks of timber and rock, they looked back at the decimated structure and scanned the thick cloud that had appeared behind it. The men that had been standing yards away, in front of the sacrificial pole, jogged over, each cautiously grasping the hilts of their sheathed weapons, wary of counterattack. They helped their comrades up, reassured them by tapping the backs of their helmets with little knuckle-slaps. Two of the four men smiled; two of them scanned the wreckage with wide, digestive, terrified eyes. And one was scouring the rubble near the pulpit?s crushed base, bending and reaching, picking and throwing. This was Marcius, Captain of the Cadre. His movements were fevered, angry even. In frustration, as he still struck-at, picked-off and dug-through the rubble, Marcius turned and drove his blade into the sand to free up his right hand.
   
His digging did not last another minute. The first item dug-up was a shield, round and shiny; Marcius threw it behind him, near the feet of his cadre. The second shield was brought up next; he cleaned its face with a few simple, respectful wipes to cleanse the regalia. He marched it over to the fallen man that had lost it in the sorte. ?Together,? he said in a narrow, tough voice. Marcius was a middle-aged man with scraggly black hair, a strong, square face and squinty eyes. ?Never lose your colors. Assemble and fall behind.?
   
The man whose shield Marcius held reached-out hesitantly to retrieve it. His voice was young: ?Captain---she?s---?
   
Marcius was looking over his shoulder, where the smoke gathered still. ?What she is makes this important. We crush this here, it ends here. Sovereign Bride and the rest of our province can not afford tales of rogue Dominion. This one is young---if we keep our minds uniform, we can detain her.? The captain returned a confident nod before shoving the shield forward forcefully. ?Fall-in.?

Marcius and his four men gathered themselves. The men stood two-by-two behind him. When their captain drew his blade, his men did the same. They exuded confidence until a frail, terrified wail fired out of the cloud in front of them.
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Nazareth

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« Reply #2 on: December 10, 2014, 10:38:20 PM »
Nazareth hit the pulpit like a rocket. Her body decimated the platform, smashed right into it, shoulder-first and at high-speed, and sent the Old Preacher sailing backwards. The sand was soft, but impact in such a way, at such a speed, did no service to his old body. And when he finally came to rest after skidding almost ten yards through the biting dust, the Old Preacher pushed his hands deep into the sand, arched his elbows and pushed, but there was no motion, only pain. He gave up. Now-mussed ropes of old, gray hair lay all over his face, law strewn all over the sand and soot. The Priest groaned when he moved his arm; pain there, just in moving it: It?s broken. Everything--- Each limb reacted similarly: resistance to movement and sharp, coursing pain. Even the man?s diagnosis, poor as it was, could not truly illuminate the severity of his injuries. He had a punctured lung that even now was flooding blood into his cavities and making his mouth moist with a rusty syrup. This battery, however, bred a fear that was easily usurped by the smooth, wicked calling of his assailant.
 
Visibility was limited inside the cloud, but proximity vanquished the unseen. Nazareth approached the fallen priest with her blade drawn and low; she dragged it as if a child who could not bear its weight, letting the tip cut through the sand behind her. ?Stay still, old prophet,? she said absently as she paused and scanned the area. When she dropped her slender crimson eyes, his old, half-blind milky whites ascended to contest, fear all washed up in them. Nazareth crouched at his side; he whimpered and tried to scuttle, but his body would not abide. ?Shhh---be still. That is what I said, yes?. Your body---it?s busted. Completely.? A wolfish grin infected her jaw. She scanned the man, foot-to-scalp, then said, ?All this fear---why? You put my sister up on a stake to show all these people how powerful your great Empire is, just how far you?d all come. To show them just how little there was to fear. But you did not believe it, did you? The picture behind the picture: you understand how absurd it is, do you not? To hang up the body of a child to prove the power of your unified nation and ecclesial influence? Hah---absurd, no? ?Look at what we have done! Slayed a child---a sick and dying one at that! In fact, we found her dead---this is our power!---they simply drop dead in terror!?

Nazareth hung back her head and laughed aloud, laughed so hard her entire slender body wracked and shuddered. When she calmed the smile stayed, vibrant, infinite, and a sweet, warm. feminine coo warbled in her throat. She stood up and flicked her right hand to throw sand off her blade. Her expression stiffened: pretty as a doll but harsh as a heretic, eyes of fire slender as they examined the puddling old prophet. He had tried twice more to crawl away, and not only had he again gotten nowhere, the strenuous movements had brought blood to his lips. Files of thick, black blood curled over his lip and ended in the splintered, silver roots of his beard. When she lifted her blade his mouth shrieked but no sound came.

?Take solace in the fact that you?re life was basically over anyway,? said Nazareth emptily. ?Perhaps you?ll get the purge you so desperate sought, old prophet of the dust. Maybe the next time the world spins us into morning more of our children will hang from your pillars.?

The girl?s elbow snapped like a loaded spring and the blade rioted through the dusty air like a silver beam. The cut was clean, was so precise and swift that it did not, at first, appear to have even struck the priest. It opened in red finally, congealed across his neck until it looked as though she?d tied a red ribbon around it, then sprayed what blood had sat pressurized in his throat into the air with a hiss.

Nazareth lamed her arm and the nose of her blade crashed into the sand. Dead, coarse eyes inspected the corpse. At last she smiled. She said, ?When I hangyour children from the pole, I promise to at least do them the service of inscribed names. ?  The Dominioness curtseyed, sheathed her weapon and turned herself towards the smoke that was clearing near the ruined pulpit. Five broadshouldered forms were working through.
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Nazareth

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« Reply #3 on: December 13, 2014, 03:58:48 AM »
Marcius paused his crew by raising a fist. Each man behind held their shield across their chest to maximize the area it covered. This was a learned  technique. The scraggly haired captain turned. ?Staying on me will be pivotal,? said Marcius. ?It will be my charge to keep the girl occupied. She?s fast; she?s strong, but she is no God, such is thought of all Dominion: if they were would our regalia fly atop Ionisis? highest balconies??
With an instructional jab of his sword, Marcius indicated the area ahead where the girl?s position was approximated. ?What the Gods gave them in muscle they took from mind---just stick to me.?
The men appeared reassured. Marcius was a hardened man, a man whose appearance in the War of Two Turns was not a farce. He claimed no merits, came home without commendation, but had been humbled by all he saw and his dismissive, pass-along whimsy had earned him the absolute trust and loyalty in his men. But whether or not he believed victory would be rudimentary was unknown.
Marcius advanced the troop. Brazen fronts of purple sky were beginning the tear open the tissue-like sphere of smoke at its highest point. Because night was impending this did not enhance the visibility, but it aided some of the men?s resolve. The wind was mild but sand swirled in the cloud; the two men in the formations? rear held their forearms over their faces.
Sight of the Old Preacher?s foot paused the contingent, Marcius as well. He turned back and ordered his men to keep their sights clean, their awareness keen. Because the devil was not there. Their leader ordered advance and they followed in order. Marcius sprang into a jog, made it to the preacher?s side and knelt. There was no need to check vitals, but he did anyway, shoving tied index-and-middle into the soft, feasible skin of the old man?s opened throat. Marcius almost smiled at the absurdity.
Blood, still shiny and red, was run over the old man?s robes, was caught up in the spiny shards of his beard and mustache. Sand had begun to collect in the sticky pools on his worn, old white robe. Marcius closed both the old preacher?s eyelids, moved his hand down afterwards and took up a handful of his shirt, closed his own eyes and appeared to pray.
He was still in kneel, still in spiritual finality when his men gasped in reaction to girlish laughter that ricocheted out of the swirling dusts that encased them. The laughter was fresh, juvenile and feminine. It mocked them.
Marcius released the corpses cloak and stood slowly, unwilling to rattle before his men; all four them were twirling around their heads in search of the omniscient laughter that seemed to pick and play and race around the area in blightful stereo. The captain made a stop at all four men, approaching them individually, reassuring each with a firm slap on the shoulder and a few jovial words. Morale was at a premium, but it appeared as though he was unwilling to let what scraps of resolve remained in his men slip through his fingers. Eyes peeled, he recited with a smile. Firm hold on your weapons; eyes on eachothers? backs. Nothing we haven?t seen before.

But at last the demon called to them: ? 'Marcius', said your old prophet, yes?? Asked the unseen girl. The tiny compliment turned thier heads in unison. Their location was, of course, an approximation and nothing more; Marcius knew it to be south, but this was not a sprite of information that rendered any aid. ?Your name, captain? Am I saying it right---Mar-See-Us---I don?t spend much time inside the walls of your golden palaces, meaning I am not exactly keen to the pronunciation of your flowery names. But I think I got it right.?

Marcius advanced, separating himself from his men. ?Come out!? he shouted, but without anger. ?This is absurdity, child. You risk throwing your people into turmoil over this---I heard you speak: I can hear in your voice that you carry the pride of your people with you everywhere you go. I respect that, I do. But you must know that the actions of one rogue Dominion are easier explained if you allow yourself to be captured and tried---you are young, so I doubt your punishment will be execution---?

There was no immediate answer. The men were growing anxious. Marcius turned-face and made a fist right around the exact center of his belly as an instructional measure, reminding the men to keep their shields up. The captain turned back to the approximation of Nazareth and opened his mouth to speak, but her unseen calling silenced him.

?No execution? You?re saying the blatant murder of a respected man of Your Word is not a crime punishable by death? Why, I think if a normal citizen of your Empire were to turn his blade on a priest his sentence would be death, would it not? Did I look a fool to you, brave Master Marcius??

?What I was saying---? Marcius ventured, but a wrathful barrage cut him off.

?Absurdity!? Nazareth howled. Her voice had harshened considerably. ?Have you the memory of a pea, Master Marcius? My sister was supposedly killed for venturing too close to your lands---that?s what the dead man said, was it not? No. Even if I had not decided to send the lot of you into the void this day, this patronizing would have certainly sold me on the idea. So I?ll do you a solitary service: turn around and point. Pick one of your men as penance for Pilot. Pick him and stand aside, and I?ll tear him asunder as payment. Do this and you and the remainder of your men will be spared.?
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« Reply #4 on: December 26, 2014, 05:21:31 AM »
Because their faces were buried in the blocking cage of their steel helmets, each of Marcius? men appeared stoic and statuesque when Nazareth?s demand roared over the dusty field. None moved. none spoke. Marcius himself was lost in a pocket of time somewhere else, in some time when his voice moved men towards an attainable objective; lied to them, made them high maybe, but there was always a goal, always a chance.
   
Marcius took a step forward and hoisted his chin. ?If that is your final demand, then I of course offer myself to be your opponent,? he said. His arms loosened, his knees crunched, his shoulders melted, eased. A wiry smile swept over his jaw like a macabre wave, something of a badge of confidence ironed within a ribbon of certain death. He spoke from that smile: ?None of us are afraid of you, child. I respect what you are capable of, do not take that as an insult. But I saw the very worst of it all during the war---I am no great warrior, but I will not fold easily. If my blood will satiate you---will spare my men---then come and get it.?
   
?I won?t be damned to a final minute of contest,? came a voice from over Marcius? shoulder. When the commander turned he squinted at the approach of one his men, the tallest of the quartet with wild blonde hair that rained from every accommodating crevice of his steel helmet. ?Marcius!? He yelled, not longer advancing. ?Sir! You can?t be serious--?
   
?Enough,? Marcius said; his voice was beaten. ?Why criticize me for taking task? None of you are experienced enough to do combat with Dominion. Fall back in line,? he said with a vicious stab with his left hand, finger out and pointing at the three remaining men who were still in formation. ?Now.?

The tall, blonde soldier did not move. For a moment his head lowered as if the order had been received, but when it jolted back up his body advanced, and fast, towards Marcius. The commander lifted his sword arm but not in a manner relaying the threat of strike, it was rather a diagonal raise, signalling a halt.  The blonde soldier pushed Marcius? arm away with both of his hands and continued forward, where the men best approximated Nazareth?s voice. Marcius did not bother to corral him. His strict, slender eyes only watched revolt in motion. The Commander offered only: ?You can?t understand---?
   
?All I understand,? roared the rebel blonde, reverting his body around so that he could pummel Marcius with his rioting tone. ?is that I wasn?t born, wasn?t raised, haven?t lived to this point in my life to wager what?s left of it on the game with a child of the void, commander! I?ll die with my blade high and shield low---that?s what I was taught.?
   
Marcius? lips began to form words, but a sparkle in the dust, maybe twenty yards away, frightened his face and forbade his words. It was silver streak screaming across the sand like a star cruising across the sky, growing larger, approaching he and his man at a speed that broke his thoughts and cried, ?action!?, in his ears. And he did act. Marcius leapt forward and wrapped both arms around the tall blonde?s armored hips. Wracked and confused, the blonde tried to wrestle free, dropping both his shield and sword so that he could bear-down on his commander?s shoulders, so that he could claim balance and throw him off him.
   
Marcius was a strong man, but was not a specimen suitable for the movement of a man such the size as his rebellious soldier. His internal clock rang aloud and he had no choice but to forfeit his lock on the blonde?s hips. Marcius instead pushed off and dove to the side. There was something of a seconds-shard between Marcius dive and the impact of the anomaly he had spied congealing in the sand. It was Nazareth?s blade---Marcius was sure of it now, for it was now jutting out of his soldier?s belly, but hands free---there was no sign of the young Dominioness: she?d thrown her weapon from the seclusion of the whipping sands beyond.
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Nazareth

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« Reply #5 on: December 26, 2014, 05:31:42 AM »
The hulking blonde crashed down onto a knee, tipped back his head and howled a wet, painful strike into the air. The blade had passed through his belly at such a speed and with such precision that it hadn?t been inside his body long enough to become bloodied: it was curved; silver; immaculate.
   The three men that had stayed put shrank in shock, gasping without sound.
   Marcius was scrambling to his feet, his eyes engorged, wild. He tripped in his haste, crashed onto his arms-and-legs and, with his own blade still secure in his right hand, crawled through the sand in a fervor.
   The struck blonde was still alive, but had redacted into a curled-in fetal. The large helmet he wore featured wings of steel protection around the crown (naturally), the cheek and and chin, leaving only the straits of nose and the subtle, shaded wrinkles of a buried mouth visible from within it. Because of this Marcius could not diagnose the blonde?s condition (whether he was conscious; -alive-) , but such a query was futile given the obviousness wrought in steel and careening out of his belly.

   Marcius had made it to the blonde, was hunched over him, frantically shoving him forward, baiting a reaction when there was a holler from behind: one of the three men who stood in formation about ten yards away: ?Sir!----Up!?
   The commander, with his hands still laid-over the still body of his punctured soldier, glanced up and caught her.
   Rushing ahead, body leaned forward, arms back and flailing free, red scarf cracking behind, beaten by the speed by which she moved, white hair whipping around like whiteflame was Nazareth, finally free of her shroud of sand.
   Marcius didn?t move just yet. He?d wait; wait for her to get in range, wait for her to jump in, wait for her to misstep, then he?d thrust.
   Fifteen yards; ten; five; Marcius squinted. It appeared as though she was intent on just running right -into- him, for her posture hadn?t changed. She did not look poised to strike, did not look prepared to do anything besides run into him, head first.
   The three men at Marcius? aft drew their blades and began to jog forward; Nazareth was only feet from Marcius when they decided rush.
   The commander struck at last, jumping onto his feet and, swiftly, slyly, shot his right arm ahead to where Nazareth was rushing; she?d been moving too fast to dodge it.
   
From Marcius? viewpoint, the seconds that followed advanced without explanation. He thrust his blade at the girl when she was only feet away. And when his arm was fully extended, when it was at the point to where she should have inadvertently impaled herself, he saw at the end of his blade only brown, hot air, the sharp glimmer of the girl?s dancing hair and a few rogue threads of red out of the corner of his right eye.
   
With an agility unforeseen, Nazareth juked the blade, moved with an alien fluidity, with a speed that seemed to place she and Marcius in dissimilar spatial planes. Her body corkscrewed around in quick, whipping circles, like a dancer, her hair shooting around in all directions as she evaded and span. She ended up on Marcius? right, just to the side of the arm that was still extended from his thrust. She hooked her right arm around his and tugged, making sure it remained taut and long. In the next instant she unloaded a furious punch to Marcius? elbow with her left hand and ruined the bone, splintered it to powder, drove right through it, leaving his appendage kinked and mutilated.
   It wasn?t until perhaps three seconds after Nazareth had shattered his arm that Marcius managed to peel off the impossibility of her evasion and trek into the notion that not only had she indeed escaped impalement, she?d pulverized his elbow before he?d even blinked. But the shock, the tempo of it all made it impossible for him to react. He could only look down at the girl?s slender, childish arms as they hooked his dreadfully crooked, wasted one.  
   
The three soldiers rushed. Out of the three, two took the lead, leaving one behind, the shortest of the quintet; he kept his shield high and ready as the other two rushed to Marcius? aid.
   Nazareth turned around, with her right arm still latched around Marcius?, snapped around and looked up at the nearest soldier, an average sized man who had managed to get close enough to strike. He held a longsword high over his head; Nazareth stared up at it and waited.
   The girl stood her ground in an almost protective manner, as if the arm of the commander were of great importance. The soldier thrust down without care, a mighty hack that aimed to sever the girl in half, right down the middle, scalp-to-scalp.
   When the blade was near enough to be a problem, Nazareth lowered her head and jumped back and ducked under Marcius? arm (that which she still clung to).
   The soldiers lack of judgement brought the edge of his blade down upon the arm of his own commander (Nazareth had aided with a little extension of her arms, ensuring the careless rot with the longsword caught a nice, meaty part of Marcius? elbow). Because the soldier?s service longsword was not an instrument of great sharpness, the impact was blunt. Nazareth released Marcius just after the soldier?s clubbing swing, and watched as the force from the blow drove Marcius? entire body down into the sand.
   
Horror grew in soldier?s eyes, but Nazareth afforded him no time for further emotion. While the blade was still down and at an angle, half-stuck in the sand, half-stuck in Marcius? arm, Nazareth leapt up then dropped her bare foot onto the broad end of the downed blade, drove her body down through it and snapped the steel in half. The recoil of this action sent a jolt through the handling soldier?s arm that made him react with an opening of fingers, causing the hilt of the severed weapon to break free of his grasp.
   When she hit the sand, Nazareth knelt, spun, collected up the sharp end of the blade that had wriggled out of Marcius? arm from the impact of the severing, followed through to complete the three-sixty, then opened her fingers. The broken nail zipped from her hand and seered through the soldier?s neck and sent him back five steps, his mouth frothing, bubbling, before his feet got tangled up. When he hit the dirt he gagged and choked, took the the edge of the nasty spike in his neck between his fingers and pulled. This lasted only seconds before he stilled.
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« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2014, 09:44:13 PM »
Minus the incapacitated Marcius, the small regiment was rounded down to two: The short one with the shield, and the one with that had seconded the longswordsman. This man, who also sported a shield,  as well as a shortsword, gawked at the child warrior with gigantic green eyes that beamed from the deep shade of his helmet like lanterns on the hills in a faraway night. He would take a step forward, move his boot maybe an inch, then, before the toe would crush new sand in advance, retract it. The shield he carried was diamond in shape and made of black, dirty iron; he laid the end of his blade across the crowning ridge of the shield, as both protection and threat.
   
Nazareth stood up slowly. When she was upright, the young Dominioness tipped back her head and her hair, now unbothered by the wind, for it had calmed, spilled off her crown like molten ropes of silver. Her fine, sharp nose peaked; her loud, sanguine eyes closed; a smile formed.

The soldier with the bright green eyes, with his blade resting over his shield, lurched forward. When he caught the girl perching with her eyes closed his palms became greased in sweat, his lungs became bloated with fierce, spiky air and his heart and head recieved sudden injections of faulted pleasure, of some blundered information that cried in riot, cried in opportunity. His boots smacked over the deep sand, equipment rattling as he charged in metallic smacks and chimes.
   
Nazareth didn?t move.
   
Green Eye?s final stomp brought him within three feet of the everlasting Nazareth. It was in his mind that he would begin with a quick thrust, but a sudden milding of courage changed hands. Instead of opening his defenses by moving his shied away so that he thrust, Green Eyes decided to lower his shoulder and extend his shield-arm in an attempt bash the girl in the chin with his blackiron plate.
The energetic girl dipped right below the charging shield with that instantaneous haste, raised her right arm and, now between Green Eyes and the shield, placed her hand on the inside of the plate. The shield was simple in design: ironplate on the face, leather on the back with a single handle for the hand. Nazareth shot to her feet, her head appearing between Green Eye?s chest and the shield he?d extended, then fired her arm back. The flattened hand she?d placed on interior exploded into the leather lining and forced the shield back, out of Green Eye?s grasp ( The speed afforded Green Eyes no reaction time; three fingers got caught in the handle, and when Nazareth punched the shield away those three snapped off like brittle twigs ).
   
Green Eyes had yet to feel or notice. When at last his lagging eyes rendered the silver flame of Nazareth?s wild hair, he reacted by driving his blade down diagonally, an oblong strike directed at the young Dominioness? shoulder.
   
For the first time since the sorties genesis, Nazareth was caught off balance. Later she would rationalize it as ?Combat at a speed too fierce for those of mundane blood; I struck too fast for them to even feel their own damn broken fingers?. She did, however, evade Green Eye?s strike by bending her body all the way back, so far that she fell onto her side with a bright, furious groan.
The completion of Green Eye?s swing was dotted by a stumble as all his weight had been levied into it and it struck nothing. The girl was down, and had he not been so certain that there had been no recoil in his hand, he might have thought he?d made contact. It was when he tried to bring his left hand in to second his grip on the hilt that violent thrusts of electric pain shot through his wrist, screamed up his arm and numbed his shoulder. Green Eyes crashed down onto a knee, dropped his blade and in wide-open agony examined his two-fingered hand. All that remained were index and thumb. The pinky, ring and middle were torn-down in various locations, with the middle sporting the greatest remainder (about half with a knife-like bone, thoroughly bloodied, sharply protruding). Ribbons of redblack wrapped up his wrist and the bottom of his arm, ran to about the elbow and careened off, causing drip. The blood began to collect in sticky, embossed bulbs in the sand near his down knee.
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Nazareth

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« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2014, 09:55:37 PM »
The short solider with the shield did not move. It would have been easy to reel, to shrink in shock, to feel the pain, to weather the death of his comrades, to study what he could, but the girl moved too quickly for him to track. It seemed like less than ten seconds filled the gap between the death of the first, the tall blonde, and the kneel of Green Eyes. Fast as the girl moved, certainly more time than that had pitched in, but Short Shield?s eyes diagnosed in interrupted washes, some waves making it over the levee, others stunted permanently. His thoughts were even more useless, like the freehanded appeal of an intoxicated epileptic: scratch and claw. It was perhaps this lack of better understanding that next sent him forward, sent him into a full-steamed charge.
 Green eyes was still on his knees, but he was screaming now, both from pain and the fear of Nazareth. The girl had jumped to her feet, had snagged Green Eye?s relinquished blade, had positioned herself in front of him, had taken the hilt up in both hands and lifted it high over her head.
Short Shield kept running, trucked through the needy, sucking sand, through the affront of dusty wind, fast: determined. The howls of his comrade changed nature, sharpened-out, pierced the sounds of wind, of grains rushing over rock. The short soldier raised his shield higher---he could now only make out the high-pointed blade that the child hellion held high. The screaming continued until short shield noticed the blade disappear, noticed it drop down with only the only indicator of a swing being a quick streak of silver and recoiling threads of hair as Nazareth?s body leaned forward into the cut. Green Eye?s voice was vanquished immediately.


Like the longsword that hadn?t been sharp enough to split Marcius? arm, Green Eye?s short sword featured a dull end. Nazareth?s abnormal strength was what granted it the cutting power to split Green Eye?s skull, but even so the lame tool was incapable of a complete division. The narrow beam of steel made it through the man?s scalp, drove down through his forehead, down past eyes of green and to  the nose, where it failed to continue falling. Despite the brutality of the cleave, Green Eye?s head remained whole in appearance, aided mostly by the swallowing helmet that brandished but a single separation on the crown, that perfect slice where the sword had fallen through. But the opening near his jaw was flooding thick ropes of blood, not all even and clean: some had purpled dollops of brain matter, some were peppered with chips of bone.

Short Shield charged still. With that protective plate lifted high he was spared the sight of Green Eye?s dissected head, was spared Nazareth?s celebratory howl (With the hilt of the buried blade still in her grasp, the girl?s head had tipped back so that she could bark laughter into the dust). He was complete and neutral, elated by the surge of action that had boiled over mollified emotion, speculation and fear; he was a perfect instrument.
Nazareth could hear the final soldier?s rickety approach. She lifted her right leg and pushed her barefoot against Green Eye?s chest plate. With a twist that featured a quest of nasty snaps and rays of shooting crimson, Nazareth began a procedure that would cork Green Eye?s head off his very dead body. The more she twisted, the more gruesome the audio, the more affluent the squirting blood. A final mighty twist dislodged the stubborn crown: skin tore, muscles snapped and cracked like over-stretched elastic bands, bone cracked, but she?d removed it at last. Nazareth held it high over her head, grinned like a wilds and snapped around to face the charging shield-bearer.
Short Shield began to holler, charging his resolve as he folded headlong into a reckless sprint. Ten yards away, he grunted beastily and threw his shield away so that he could take his sword into battle with a two-handed grip. Without the barrier he?d been holding high, a picture of Nazareth was rendered. With that blade high overhead and Green Eye?s head skewered upon it, she stood, grinning like the abused demon she was. What blood hadn?t been released from Green Eye?s head had trickled down the blade, rolled over the hilt, dripped off the pommel where it collected in Nazareth?s hair and upon her sharp, absurd face. The soldier stumbled, nearly tumbled into the sand.

Nazareth leapt forward, her body seering through the dusty air like a silver bolt, the short sword loaded behind, ready for an obscene swing that would boast the power to sever Short Shield in two.
When she was within range, hard as she was to track, Short Shield lowered his blade, then turned it up to issue a quick, uppercut-like swing.
The girl?s body contorted in-air inhumanly. Nazareth tipped back while she soared so that her barefeet were extended ahead. Those unusually adept feet clamped down on Short Shield?s raised blade like a pair of clapping hands. Next her body span, still in that absurd, horizontal mid-air lean, like a cyclone resting on its side over the plains instead of drilling into it. Four revolutions in all, quick like a top, were more than enough to jar the blade out of Short Shield?s grasp. She landed artfully, legs spread apart in some commanding pose, arms out at her side, her macabre shishkabob short sword still secure in the right hand. Short Shield's dislodged weapon spinning through the air behind her.

Short Shield took a single step back.

Nazareth lowered her weapon, supported the pommel with the palm of her left hand, then thrusted-up (Short for a man he was, but he still held several inches over Nazareth). Green Eye?s head had slid to about the blade?s meridian, leaving about ten inches of pointy steel available for this thrust. The first of the ten struck Short Shield in the chin, and in no time at all, Nazareth shoved the remaining nine all the way into his head diagonally.
A wicked bout of seizures and several wet, mixed-up groans wrapped him up before his collapse into the sand.
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Nazareth

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« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2014, 02:27:18 AM »
Some time after the death of the green eyed soldier, Marcius had sat up. He?d collapsed just beside the tall blonde, the soldier?s whose body was shrunk and curled, decrepit and doomed to be eternally stilted by the tip of Nazareth?s weapon, for it was this stand that made it unable for the blonde to roll over onto his belly. Marcius looked at his arm. It was unusual for a soldier, an officer especially, to be on duty without armored sleeves of some kind, whether it be a simple chainmail or even leather: he found the added weight a detriment. And perhaps he could admit that procedure might have supplied salvation for his arm, but what he couldn?t admit to his men earlier was what cruised over his brain now, like a comet, ear-to-ear: they really hadn?t stood a chance, not ever.
 The man narrowed his eyes and examined the ruined arm. Again, the speed of it all diluted his recollections. He figured particulars were pointless, but a hearty lack of understanding fertilized an uneasiness in his chest.

'One thing to be shaken with the understanding you?ll have tomorrow to contemplate it,? he thought. ?Another completely to be torn down like a beast with the understanding you have but minutes left of your life to diagnose.?

Marcius, who was smiling slightly, pushed himself to his feet. The task was arduous given his condition (it was one thing to suffer a broken bone, another entirely to suffer a pummeling of tendon, muscle and, ultimately, resolve), but rickety, unwilling legs found ground, and Marcius found himself upright. To his right, Short Shield was dying, but Marcius didn?t turn. The sound of a blade running up into a man?s throat was one he?d heard several times before, and because of the uniformity of these instances he dared not look.

   When Short Shield collapsed, Nazareth?s view of Marcius was no longer obstructed. Her arms limp at her side, her legs straight, taut, her posture perfect, she looked on the man with a skinny, distasteful gaze. ?And that?? she said cheerfully as she began a slow stroll towards the far-looking commander. ?Too weak of stomach to watch, Master Marcius? I offer my apologies---I often forget how easily you all break.?
   
Marcius looked down; his smile didn?t flee. With his left hand, he began brushing caked sand and soot off his shirt. ?I understand,? he said in a raised, but even tone.

   Nazareth paused. Her face collapsed in on itself, imploded into a rancorous webbing of wrinkle and over-lip teeth. ?Don?t act calm, damn you. Don?t you dare.?

   A hand on his scruffed jaw, Marcius shrugged his eyebrows, smiled a bit more sharply then turned to look the Dominioness in the face. ?I?m sorry, child, but what I said earlier was no boast: I?m not afraid of you. I really can?t explain what it is---perhaps it?s your face? Out there---? Marcius indicated the village square, where the congregation had stood, where the pulpit presided, where the priest spoke, by lifting his chin to the north. ?---you heard The Speaker talk of my involvement in the war: that was no lie. I was at Roan, child. I was one of the ten---the story is true. I?m sure that is no surprise to you, but in Ionosis, the tale has been doctored considerably. A normal Dominion is a forced to be reckoned with, I understand: But. . . but her---The one that stood ahead, the one they all call ?Maetron?. You remind me of her.?
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Nazareth

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« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2014, 02:42:39 AM »
Color evacuated Nazareth?s face. When her lips broke to bark a questionnaire, to perhaps beg Marcius for some order of confirmation as to the validity of his claim. But the quizzical regions of Nazareth?s brain were often, were now, superseded by the regions that called for action, respect and retaliation. The girl bent her knees and prepared to leap forward.
   
Out of the ground climbed several rogue arms of sand, like tentacles or chains. Nazareth turned around when her ears caught the disturbance, but her reaction was delayed. One rope lassoed her right arm and one looped each bare ankle. Nazareths?s body lurched forward and the ropes bent, but would not tear. Her head twisted as she violently howled and clawed. ?Val!? She hollered before snapping her head around.

The dark haired boy was on all-fours. Both of his hands were buried in the ground and his body rocked with each strained breath. His mouth was wide, exasperated, bobbing and a flurry of shimmering sweat sparkled on his forehead. He pulled his arms out of the sand, swayed to his feet and placed the back of his wrist against his forehead, ready to topple from exertion.

Nazareth continued to kick and claw, but when the elastic chains of sand continually forbade advance, she stilled, sighed and lowered her head. ?---Val---Release me, or so help me--?

   Close enough to hear the girl?s words clearly put him close enough to examine the fruits of her labor. The hand that had been collecting sweat on his forehead dropped so that it could now cover his ever-mouth. Open eyes of crimson surveyed this little crop of dust that Nazareth had made a bloodsport arena. ?What did she do,? he mouthed.

   ?Now!? She screamed, her arms and legs back to slashing. ?Val! Look at me---Look at me, Valcroix.?
   
He wouldn?t. Perhaps he couldn?t. His feet continued to advance towards her, but his eyes were low in a consistent horror. Word had reached Val  concerning Nazareth?s deeds before, but those were mere words, rumors even, he thought. Neth was not Maetron?s daughter, she was her agent, she was her last and best soldier. No one in the family was blind to the fact, but no one ever spoke a word of it. However these examples of dissection, impalement and mutilation brought it from grayscale to color for Val. He saw it all as he continued with hesitation and disbelief, that hand still over his ever-growing mouth. And when at last he came to the man with not only a sword in his throat, but a sword that had another head impaled upon it, Val stopped his advance, dropped his arm like useless junk and looked up at his sister absently. His expression read simply, Why in the world, Nazareth?
   
?Val---you have to release me. Please, I?m asking you.?

The contained raged, sorrowed, depressed and hopeless agents that cruised around the boy?s belly, that peppered his heart and swelled his brain were unleashed through a violent shout. Val?s fists balled and his knees bent so far that it looked as though he?d collapse to the ground. The agony sped from his throat and coursed from his soaked eyes. Finally, he fell onto his knees, looked up and simply shook his head. ?What did I say?? he asked in a thoroughly beaten, plaintive voice. He continued to cry: ?I told you not to do this. . I told you I didn?t want this, Nazareth. I told you it wasn?t worth it. Look at this. Look at it!? Val gestured to his left with an arm: Short Shield lay there. He dropped his eyes and shook his head again. ?Look at it,? he said to himself. ?Why in the world.?
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« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2014, 03:23:50 AM »
Whether he?d simply broken concentration, or acted of conscious volition was unknown to Nazareth, but after her brother dropped his head the manacles of sand loosened from her wrist and ankles, melted away back to the desert floor. The girl had a simple and weakly angered expression. Her hair and face were still peppered with the notes of blood that had dripped out of Green Eye?s split-open head. She said, ?I?ll look at it. If I were talented with a brush, I?d paint it. If I were skilled with a quill, I?d write about it.? Three long, furied steps brought Nazareth to her brother. She knelt to make eyes, but he wouldn?t look up. ?And if my body didn?t require sustenance or sleep, and if our mother hadn?t put me in charge of making sure you don?t end up hung from the pole like our sister, I would do it every hour of every day for the rest of my life, Valcroix. I would kill their parents, everyday, and I would kill their children, everyday, and I would kill them. Every. Day. I think I would keep a dozen or so as pets and make them breed just so I could keep killing them, Valcroix.?

   Val?s head shot up, as did both his hands. Agony and an insatiable rancor flaming in his eyes, the dark haired boy snatched his sister by the throat then kicked off the ground so that he could position himself atop her. He tried to jerk her head, tried to press his thumbs into her windpipe, tried lifting and smashing, but when a fresh screen of tears were disbanded by a blink, his unblurred vision rendered the image of a girl unphased. Val was Dominion, but he was not cut from the same cloth as Nazareth. Not only did he not have the physical strength to strangle her this day, he ventured that he could come back to this very moment in time three hundred years from now and still not possess the power to do so.
   He released her neck by shoving into it, pushing himself up. Nazareth stood soon after and adjusted her scarf.
   
Marcius had taken himself back down to a knee. During Val?s advance and the subsequent argument that followed, he?d watched, he?d felt something when the boy spoke, but he was quite sure the sun had set on him.
   
   But Valcroix made Marcius the center of his next assault. Pointing him out, and with a strained, crushed gaze leveling his sister, he said, ?You?re not killing him. You won?t.?
   
   Nazareth was still picking sand out of the welcoming fabric of her scarf. A smile formed; she rejected him with a shake of her head. ?No. I just murdered four soldiers wearing Bride regalia, Valcroix. Brave Master Marcius over there will have the Capital?s armed forces mobilized in a weeks time. As much fun as that sounds, mother won?t allow it.?

   ?Nazareth---you just killed their Speaker in front of the entire village. And if you think I?m going to let you decimate what?s left of this village, you?re dead wrong. I?ll cover it in steel; I?ll stand guard until my body dies from exhaustion. Then you can explain that to mother.?

   The boy?s sister rewrapped her scarf, smiled when it was snug, then  again shook her head. ?Not a problem,? she said simply. ?Brides love relishment---the leader of their towns, their clans, always live in the most lavish houses. I?ll simply pay their leader a visit before our leave and explain to him that what I did, I did as an act of retaliation for the murder of our sister. And if I sense that he does not believe me, I will threaten to vanquish his bloodline. And if I still sense that he does not believe me, then I will do just that. Besides---no simple towns mayor out here on the rim wants to be the currier for war---our remaining tribes will strike this area first. I?ll swear that there will never be a Dominion presence in this town again.?

Hastened by the cool, logical explanation, Val hurried over to Marcius. ?Well---he won?t say anything either. Right?? Hopefully, the boy looked down to Marcius and began nodding his head, hoping to beckon replication from The Commander.

A smile, long and wise, developed on Marcius? scruffy jaw. He closed his eyes and shook his head. ?No. Those four men mean---meant---more to me than my silence; than some shallow escape. If you two left right now, I would bury what?s left, then make the march to Ionosis and file my findings. I?d have no choice, boy.?

   
?Nazareth
,? Val said. ?Don?t. You told me before that Mother has pull in the city---she won?t let something like this bring everyone to war again. If they really fear her like you say they do, then they wouldn?t dare."

   The grinning hellioness began to slow stroll over to the downed blonde who still had her blade captured in his belly. ?I?m sorry, Val,? she said sweetly on her way past. Shrugging, she looked at the boy with a catty grin. ?Can?t you see that brave Master Marcius wants to be with his brethren?? She paused near the commander, bent over and poked his chin. ?What is it you call your deity again? Arias? He is represented as the sun, yes? ?The Man with The Fire in his Eye?---that?s from one of your hymnals, yes? Do you pray to him now??
   She stood up then kicked over the blonde, snagged the hilt of her weapon and jerked it out of his belly.

   ?Nazareth---if you spare him, I?ll be yours forever. I?ll stop wandering away from home, stop making you waste your days searching for me. I know you have better things to do. I?ll stay at home, letting you go out to do whatever. I swear it---I?ll do--?

   ?You?re a liar,? his sister hissed.

   Val tied his hands together and shook his head. ?No, I swear it. I?ll read, I?ll---I?ll continue work on Pilot?s garden. I won?t leave home. I?ll listen to Judace?s lectures, whatever you want, so you can go out to do whatever it is you want to do without mother chastising you when I slip away from home. Please. I?m begging you.?

   Near Marcius, Nazareth flung her blade out towards him, but did not strike, simply pointed him out. ?And on what guarantee? I won?t lie, that is a delicious offer, but up to this point, you?ve yet to keep your word over a simple childrens? game, over the simplest and most meaningless of things. You're a born liar, Valcroix. You were born that way, and you?ll always be that way.?

   ?I?m begging you.?

   Scowling, Nazareth turned her arm around so that the pommel of her weapon faced Marcius, then jerked her arm forward and struck the commander on the side of his head, just north of his temple. After a throaty groan, he fell over, limp and unconscious. Nazareth immediately fell down to her knees, pushed Marcius so that his chest was flat and up, then reached into his leather vest. Pinned to the interior was circular pendant of gold: it was the Bride Arms Regalia, worn by all soldiers devout to the capital. It was a symbol of the very god Nazareth had mocked, Arias. The Brides symbolize him with a half-circle ( representation of the sun, or ?Arias? ) with five arrows launching as-if sunrays. Above the arrows is the crescent moon, an allegorical reference to Arias? defeat of the darkness. Next she marched over to the dead blonde, reached into his vest and snatched his pendant. When she stormed passed Val on her way to collect the three remaining pins, she chirped, ?He?ll live.?

   When she had five pendants in total, Nazareth began to untie her scarf. When it was undone, she knelt down and unfolded it. Pinned to the interior, usually secluded from a folding, were thirty-two pendants, just like the ones she?d just taken off Marcius and his men. The ranks were even and all pinned in clean, perfect rows. She spoke as she went to work filing her latest insignias: ?Just know that if you break the promise you just made to me, I?ll spend the rest of my life making you pay for it.? She found him with her eyes. ?I mean it. If you run away, I?ll find you. If you take refuge in the capital, I?ll storm the gates and tear the streets asunder until I find you. If you marry, I?ll kill your wife. If you flee this very world, I?ll run across the stars in search of you. And if you marry a goddess, I?ll spend every day cutting her to bits, just to watch her reassemble so that I can cut her some more.?

   Val was sitting crosslegged in the sand a few yards away from Nazareth with his back turned on her. He said nothing.

   ?A hefty price to pay for the life of one bedamned Bride, Val. What is it about them that fascinates you so??

   ?It?s nothing about them personally,? he said. ?I just think we owe them a little more than murder. You look at things from only a single angle--that of persecution, because it?s all you know. But you are young. Look at them as a whole: A Dominion lives easily ten-times longer than a Bride; we have a better understanding of all things. Step back even further---you just can?t see.?

   ?Oh? And what is it I?m not seeing??

   ?Their lives are so short, that they never see the light of their actions. If a man was born at twilight and was damned to a life of only six hours, he would not even know the sun existed.?


   When the fifth pendant was in place, Nazareth smiled and began the careful procedure of folding up her scarf. She said, ?I?ll show them The Sun.?


(Thanks to all who read---this little thread received way more views than I'd anticipated. It may have been hard to follow for you who haven't played with me before or understand the lore and backstory of the characters, so I appreciate all that made it this far. Feel free to PM me with questions or concerns. Thanks. ))
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