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 [Atoro] The Definition of a Surahnian [Rette}

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PostSubject: [Atoro] The Definition of a Surahnian [Rette}   Sun Aug 26, 2012 1:53 pm

((This started as a neo rp, but has gotten a little too dark to continue on neo safely... bringing it here for maximum awesomeness and horror. This is not a nice rp, however, it does say a lot about Surahnian background, and Surahnia itself. Apologies for the mess of text following.

Also, you should listen to: this while reading it Smile )


It still hadn't quite all sunk in yet. The years, by all standards to those older than him, had been miserable ones. Great Surahnia had been utterly destroyed from the inside out. She had been ravaged by a cunning death spell over the land the forests had become rotten and bog like, the fields were deserts in their own rights and the towns were havens for petty crime among people that may have once been neighbours.
Despite all odds, some families chose to carry on their lives and through whatever means, were able to make it alive up to this day.
Or had they?

It was only a month ago, that the message had been sent to all Surahnians. Throw away your old beliefs, turn away your loyalty from the Surahnian Master and send yourself to the lands of Lahruka where you will work honestly with us.

So, feeling any situation had to be better than their gradually deteriorating lifestyle that was all but dust, Rette's mother, brother Ixas and remaining two sisters had set on with the lines of others to hand themselves over to the cunning Lahrukans. Zartear, that wretched man...he felt disgraced to call him his brother anymore...had forsaken them altogether for his own glory. Ironic, considering how much he hated their father for doing the same thing some seven years ago now.

Everything was horribly clear, he could no longer pretend to be a naive child. Even so, Rette was holding out on the notion that he could make it to the far eastern gates of the Lahrukan kingdom, due west of here in a weeks worth of travel...There he may still be able to find his family by some means. He did not care about the others.

It was pointless of course, but nothing would dissuade him; this was Rette. The eldest brother of the Straten family and so it was his duty to do this. Rette was passing by one of the countless desert-fields on a beaten road where thousands of captives had trodden the earth since the beginning of the movements. Seeing the rise and fall of the land endlessly in front of him, he felt completely numb. There was no fiery passion in him to keep moving, more a feeling of resignation, a general apathy to this country that had promised so much and then had all hopes dashed.
He wasn't sure of his own standing anymore, what was he now? The country of Surahnia no longer existed, but he would never be Lahrukan.
He certainly wasn't a nomad either, but that seemed like the only choice.

Rette silenced the useless chatter in his head and carried on walking. Were it not always this silent in these lands now, it might have been peaceful but instead, it was just another weight on his shoulders and a reminder that all that was once had...was certainly lost.

Surahnia was a mess, and as much as Atoro hated to see it in such a state, there was little he could do to reverse the destruction the Lahrukans had caused... a man of barely 20 was rather restricted, when he had nobody behind him. All he had to his name was a small bag of mismatched possessions (not all his), a battered rapier, and the clothes on his back. And his name, but that didn't really amount for much. No, nobody would miss him, not when he was gone- but the one thing he did possess was a strength inside him, that whatever the Lahrukans did, whatever got thrown at him, he just seemed to pick himself up again and keep going. It was a bit of a wonder (considering Surahnia was a desert and pretty much everyone he knew had passed), but there were more important things to think about than that. Atoro was a thinker, a planner, one for trying to get back a little of what they had lost.
Why he was cooking up some harebrained scheme to help rescue a handful of captured Surahnians was completely beyond even him, but here he was, crouched by the edge of an old dusty road, trying not to be too conspicuous in his travel-worn clothing and waiting for someone else mad enough to agree to his plans.

This Rette, who he had heard of through a few different channels, and had met once on occasion, seemed like just the sort of man. He was easy to spot in the wastelands, slowly trudging towards him. Atoro waited a little longer before stepping out to meet him, just waiting until their paths crossed. He had learned subtlety since the Lahrukans had invaded.
Rette," he said, as he came into range, settling his bag a little better on his back. "You are not having second thoughts?" Rette did not look like the sort of man ready for a... well, break in.
This is for the good of Surahnia, this revenge on the Lahrukans." He looked unfeelingly at the landscape around. "Think of /this/ as the reason to do so."

Rette stopped and lifted his eyes up to the man that had appeared before him. He knew what to expect, had done this before and so kept his distance.
“Let me go in peace and I shall do the same for you." He said, as if ignoring the words spoken to him entirely. Besides, it sounded like madman rambling anyway.
Rette had no interest in the liberation of the many, it was a fact nobody of his standing could compete with the nation of their conquerors. One needed to be a Master with many soldiers...

What did this weak boned looking one hope to do?
Instead he let a few words of contempt pass.
Then where were you some years ago, before this tithing?
He ignored the glance around, and then carried on walking, as if approaching the man.

Atoro had heard the words that Rette said many times; in the streets of the few "towns" left in Surahnia, but unlike them, when he let them slide past him, he felt a tongue of anger at this. No! He wanted action, he wanted some sort of recompense today, not just another complacent man willing to bend under Lahrukan rule! Normally he was more like this, but that was back in towns... not in the wilds.
“No!" he said, a little forcefully, exhaling a scathing breath. "Huh, you are cowed by the Lahrukans too, even though you are not chained. See what they are making us into?" He bunched his hands into fists, then cooled his anger a little, standing to the side of the road as Rette came close. "Help me do something about this.”
He couldn't just do these things by himself. Plans needed men.

Rette stopped and furrowed his brows, an air of impatience about him. Yet, for what it was worth, he appreciated being able to speak to somebody however hostile he seemed or ridiculous the companion.

“All remaining know that the Lahrukans had won decisively eight years ago...you seem as if you are in the wrong time. What would you do anyway? Release a few families so the others will be killed?"

“Would you prefer that they are all killed, at some point?" Atoro said. His words had to make sense, there was nobody that had not seen the destruction that had been caused by the Lahrukans. "Eight years is a long time for them to become complacent; eight years of seeing Surahnians as a beetle under their boot... it is time to strike back." A steely edge crept into his voice as he approached familiar ground. "I have a plan, we can free a few families from their grasps... is it not one falling stone that misplaces the rest, and starts an avalanche?”
If such things could be carried out by only a couple of men, then word would spread, they may get their homeland back yet...

He understood now, the man was a displaced preacher. The sort that never understood the weight of their words.
“You and /who/? Me? You are sick. Do not dishonour our dead with your false promises." He growled from his throat, all this talk of uprising was so useless it was practically an insult. "I go not out of revenge, but freedom for my family alone. Your games are best played on others." Rette glowered at him again before passing him by.
“You are welcome to walk with me, though I will hear nothing of your idle talk." He said plainly.

Atoro wanted to whack some sense into Rette, to make him sit up and actually take a /look/ at the world, but he knew it'd do no good. Sometimes things needed to be taken a step at a time. Instead he fell into quiet frustration, dropping his eyes to the ground, before deciding no, he would see what he was walking through. He would not be cowed by an enemy not even there.
“But you still /go/," he said diligently. There might still be a hope there yet, if he could knock a little sense into the man. That however... seemed like it may take a while. At least a few words here and there would not go amiss, if he could slowly convince him. There must be /something/ in him to keep him walking towards Lahruka.

Rette did not reply, he had already said why he was going and didn't care for whatever this other had to say. But another person to travel with bettered his odds of getting there in one piece.

They walked as far as anyone could expect them to, given their condition. The usual was done, to scavenge the bodies across the road, to search out for the scarce and rancid game but now finally on the horizon was the far eastern gate of the Lahrukan kingdom. Technically, this was known as the city of Zankritch, but what did he care? It may as well have been any other place, it was only relevant for the fact that, they had been catching up and now he saw it all. Lines, lines deep and wide and for all those that had died and littered the path still so many gathered here for what they hoped to be a better future.
There, Rette would find them and then they would roam freely away from there...perhaps seek refuge in the quiet north of Kahruna or live upon the desert border of North Surahnia...It was possible, wasn't it?

“So ends our journey Atoro." They had shared few words, but Rette knew his name now. "However... if you say anything of your vile talk that will put these people in graves or worse, leave them for the birds I want you to know that the willow mother will not forgive you. She is a fair judge...”

He hissed, not even looking him in the eye, quite content to carry on swimming in his own bitterness. Atoro was a convenient outlet.

The long trek towards Lahruka had been a quiet and frustrating one, frustrating at least for Atoro, who had tried to make Rette see his point of view through the few words he spoke, but had made little more mark than a flower thrown at a wall. He was thankful they had come to their journey's end; but that did not make it any easier for him to see the ruts around the road they followed, or the land ahead.
“The only people I wish to see in graves are the Lahruka," he muttered quietly, not daring to speak any louder, so close to the object of his talk. He did not think any Surahnian deserving of such a bitter fate they had all found.
“Let's get this done," he said shortly, eyes skimming across the city in front of them. He did not want to dwell on the willow mother; it seemed she had left them all to some evil fate anyway.
Atoro had never been to Zankritch, and had no map of the place (such things were held closely guarded), but he had a vague gist of where they might find their kinsmen. Either in the outer slums of the city, living in filth, or working in the worst parts; why would they treat prisoners-of-war any better? They only had to follow the stench. It was going to be getting into the city which would be the hardest bit; it was probably guarded. But they were hardy, or at least Atoro was. He was not above using foul ways to outwit the Lahrukans.
“The gate is a poor plan, we should use either a sewer, or wait for night, or a passing trail of captives," he said, eyes raking the edge of the city before he pointed out a likely spot. "There."

“Suppose we do make it into the city, what then?" He couldn't believe he was humouring the man, but truth be told he wasn't sure how he was to go about this either. "That is...what do you plan to do? Is it death on a few you seek?" He then turned to meet Atoro's eyes. "Revenge on /who/ if you're only going to have this small moment then you might as well make it count." Rette didn't say it, but they were as both as good as done.
At night then, we can go together into the city.
It shouldn't have been too difficult should it? These were not the towering walls of the capital, hardly more than a dignified fence if he said so himself. He'd seen better in the dead forest.
“So then, why?" He finished, glancing away an air of anxiety about him.
Amongst that crowd may be people he knew. However, he had to stop himself thinking about this, it clouded his mind far too much.
Surely the Lahrukans expected there to be clusters of many like himself, just waiting at the edges, half drawn in but hesitatant...still biding their time.

Then? After they had actually gotten into the city? Atoro hadn't thought on it much, half because he daren't get his hopes up that much, half because the thought of actually /managing/ made him red-hot with anger. He didn't know exactly who it was that had taken his family, and he had no idea who had started the whole war against Surahnia in the first place. But Rette pulled up valid points, what was he planning? He needed a proper goal, before anything else.
“We should burn this place," he said, but it was halfhearted. "It is a stain on the land. And then the same will be done to them, that they have done to us.”
But already, he was picking holes in his own scheme. No, it would never work, and there were Surahnians in there.
He stared angrily at the ground. He should have thought about this before now.
“We shall rescue the others, then... whoever is in our way, they should burn," he said, trying to sound sure of himself. He was sure, he was. This was the best way of doing things. A plan would sort itself out in due course; things would be made right for them.
He did not want to wait for night, but they had to, until it was right for them to creep into the city.

Rette looked at Atoro cooly, what had he expected?
“So you have no plan then, as I thought..." He could hardly criticise the man though. Rette felt the same way, if he had the power he'd burn it wholly himself but could barely entertain the idea for now.
“Ourselves...we are not fit to destroy even the weak things..." He didn't elaborate on the things he'd like to do, instead Rette took a step back, placing his small bundle of belongings on the floor.
A bow, a few arrows of questionable quality and other such necessities.
Rette had never been a natural for hunting though, unlike Ixas and had never had the gusto for slaying like Zartear. His brother in that respect had shown a talent for that and was not above extorting his fellow countrymen though rarely shared his gains. “Well Atoro, we have time until then and time not best spent resting for now...So I'll tell you, you may hate this country but, there's always been a something to it that no plague could take away... Lahrukans had to kill our land to draw us to them, they'd never take it honestly...much less be able to keep it. They'll rot from the marrow." He added, his tone was low yet vicious with his mind in a colder place still.

Atoro didn't say anything, for fear of Rette shooting more holes in his badly-hatched plan, but it wasn't as if the other man had a better plan than his own. What was he expecting, to waltz out of there with all his associates in tow and not have any trouble? He too, was asking for the moon.

As he stepped back and put his things on the floor, Atoro copied him, stretching his shoulders back and trying to release a little tension from them. He kept a wary eye out on the city for scouts, hands clenching by his sides before he crouched down in the dust beside his bag and idly poked through his things, hating to be still. It wasn't normal, when their whole days were full of movement.
He could not help a spark of... it wasn't quite joy, more like relief, when such angry words came Rette. Yes, that was the sort of thinking he was looking for, hard as it had been to prise it from such a closed shell of a person.
“One day, the Lahrukans will rot from every side," said Atoro. One day, he hoped, he /knew/ that the Surahnians would have no more of this, and there would be rebellion. Their land was not the same as before, but as all things changed, this time they would rise victorious.
But it was things like these, crazy things- yes, he knew this was madness, yet he still pursued it? What else was there to live for?- that were the only things that were going to spark such movements.
“You must want to /do/ something to hasten such rot? Well, think of this as that," said Atoro, but didn't dare add more. He did not need to lose his accomplice, so close they were.

They'd exchanged a few more words, surprisingly. As if just talking about the weather, but now there was a mutually understood silence. Rette was scrambling up the decidedly worse for wear southern wall...It was notched here and there, even a fool could climb this, how much more one that had learnt to since a child. He slipped up into the shadow of the wall walkway, underneath a pointed tower that oversaw this section of the wall.
It would not be this easy, surely...Yet there was not a single guard anywhere here to be found. It was utterly deserted. All day he had slowly watched the trickle of people filing in to the apparently well-watched city, but had not found a trace of any recognisable face.
The Lahrukans were distinct from the surahnians, you could see it right away. Their skin may have been the same whiteness, but their hair was brown and their eyes a muddy green. In these regions, nobody had suspected the Lahruka could also house powerful magi like none seen before, and it had been their downfall.
There was nothing going on in the streets below them, he searched about for his would-be partner.
“Atoro." He whispered, gesturing snippily fearing even this would stir attention, but only the slight gust of wind in an empty night responded.
In the distance he could hear the noise of people, but could not see.
They would descend the wall into the city, and...and hope to make it to whereverthe people were...and go from there.

This was beyond foolish, but his body had a mind of its own and before he knew it Rette was climbing down a discreet ladder, to the cobbled backstreet below.

Atoro looked around him one last time before starting to scale the wall in front of him, his fingers fumbling for the handholds that Rette easily found. He was not used to this; everything else he could do, but he had never properly learnt climbing, as there had been no need! Thankfully, the wall was not too much of a challenge, and though it took him a while, he managed it to the top, hauling himself onto the thin walkway and crouching next to Rette.
“Here," he said, keeping his voice neutral. There was no need for an argument now. His eyes skimmed quickly over the layout of the city in front of them, as much as they could see, committing it to memory before scrambling after the other man, rubbing his bruised fingers on his trousers. At least it was a ladder down, both quieter and quicker to use.
Once on the ground, he pressed himself back against the wall, waiting to be discovered, as well as trying to source where the sounds of people were coming from.
“That way," he mouthed and pointed, a little to the right, and further into the city. Now leading the way, and plotting a route in front of them, he stole along the side of the buildings hoping that nobody would see them. His bag shifted uncomfortably across his back, rough bow pressing his few arrows against his spine. The sword he had dug out long ago from some ruined pit of a town was there too, wrapped in dirty cloth- he hoped he wouldn't have to use it. With no training, there was more chance he'd slice part of himself off, rather than an enemy.

Rette was swift in following, as Atoro took the lead down the narrow passageway of buildings, fearing that at any moment they may be spotted and thus would end their journey.
Every house he was quick to pass, like a scuttling little animal caught out in the light where it did not belong.
They were the lucky ones though, both of them had still somehow kept a hold of their weapons and had little difficulty travelling here; thieves apparently shied away from Lahrukan territory...just in case they were snared.

Rette stopped abruptly and peered around a building corner, he could see a small group of people. Clearly lahrukan, they were clad in armour with the green and red crest woven into their clothes. He froze, unsure how to react. This was nothing like any monster he'd come across in the forest, yet he couldn't peel his gaze away from them. They appeared to be talking furtively, until some lines of scraggly looking surahs came their way.
They were prompt, and escorted the train of people in another direction, the other guards up to that point relieved of this duty to guide the people.

Rette was surprised, they seemed to be treating them well. He allowed his hopefulness to show a little, maybe the Lahrukans were keeping their word afterall.
“We'll follow them." He said, not waiting for approval but rather slinking out from the building, and moving smoothly from shadow to shadow. The houses all seemed to be void of people, from out of the corner of his eye he saw another movement of a surah group being lead in the same direction.

So, something important was happening. Maybe now the Surahs would find out where and how they would live.

Atoro jerked to a halt too as they spotted Lahrukans around a corner, shrinking back against the shadows of the building they were hiding by. A rush of emotions passed him, fear at being found, joy that there were still some of his countrymen alive, anger that they were being held as captives. But he had enough sense not to rush into anything; for all their will, they were just two men and sorely outnumbered. They would be killed in moments, if they were not careful.

He let Rette take the lead as they crept out from behind their building again, his eyes scanning cautiously this way and that as they followed the little group of Surahnians. One group of moving captives was one thing, multiple groups another however, and he felt concern growing. Who would move so many people in the middle of the night? True, the Surahnians were not in the best of shapes, and not easy on the eyes, but he did not think that would cause the Lahrukans to move them only at night.

The further they followed them, the more people there were on the streets, and the pair had to be more cautious. Once they were nearly spotted, and had to remain still and silent for an age, before they could move again. He was acutely aware of how deep they were starting to move through the city, taking street after street away from where they had started; although they were not heading directly to the centre, rather around the perimeter a little.
Eventually a gentle buzz of voices ahead of them, whispers in magnitude, drew them towards whatever awaited them at the end.

Rette was feeling increasingly uneasy, it was utter madness. To have even held onto this notion that by a miracle he'd rescue his family and go unscathed...or even noticed.
Atoro seemed to have caught the feeling too, this kind of movement this late i nthe night and then the eery quietness of the city outskirts...Whatever was going on /everybody/ was turning out to witness it and the Lahrukans saw it fitting that the surahnians be there too.
Rette felt a stone growing in his stomach, a heaviness of foreboding.
Shuffling his way into yet another dark and narrow alleyway, away from prying eyes, he dared to whisper.
“They're going down that way" He flicked his hand out to show him, "All of them, let's follow.”
He nodded to make sure Atoro understood then once again carried on walking, with more pace now, he was getting closer to the groups as they began to merge in the streets. They needed a place to watch from safely...
He was so close now, he could see them all. The Lahrukan guards lining the sides of the surahnian trains. Dull eyed scrawny people, hardly the warriors of just over a decade ago that everybody knew of. Then he stopped on the spot, his feet frozen to the ground as his eyes met with one of the surahnians, their line having come to a halt for a moment.
Her eyes fluttered between him and whatever was in front of her and she shook her head cautiously.
“We must be here or...but how? What is there here?" He whispered again, there was the sounds of people congregating now, but from this angle he couldn't hope to have a look from round the corner. He'd surely become one of them.
He also didn't know whether he was asking the girl or Atoro.
She ignored him from then on, and obediently followed her line.

“Where are they all going, to head the same direction?" Atoro whispered back swiftly, picking up his pace to match Rette's. With so many more people around, they had to be even more cautious, which seemed to go against walking quicker... but he could feel the same tug pulling him forwards to see whatever everyone else was gathering for.
/This is dangerous/, he told himself, silently. If they were not careful, they'd end up in the Surahnian lines too.
When they finally stopped, hidden in an alleyway, Atoro tried to suss out all the different directions that danger might come in, but truth be told, there were just too many. He anxiously slid one hand round the base of his bow, at his back, gripping the battered curved wood tightly. He couldn't see well, so kept glancing behind them, where faint shapes flickered over the other end of the alleyway as more Surahnians walked towards their destination. It must have been a huge place, where they were heading, for these were no mean numbers walking past.
He ducked his head out from the wall as Rette said something, his eyes passing over the line of Surahnians in front of them, but not finding the girl he had been looking at. After all, he hadn't seen the conversation, and she looked like everyone else...

Taking a foolish chance, he cautiously slipped past Rette, crouching low to the ground so he was less easily seen, and peeked round the corner. Lines of feet ran the whole way down the street, then even more at the end, where the whole place just seemed to be filled with people. A square? He had to assume so, because that was the best he could see, in a few seconds' chance before shrinking back into the shadows.
“We need to find our way forward somehow, closer," he said. He was curious to see what was going to happen; he wanted to help these sorry people trudging past, but it was better to scope everything out first? He looked up the closest walls to him, then started to try and climb so they could get a view from the rooftops- if they weren't guarded. But why would they be? This was a Lahrukan settlement, after all. They weren't supposed to be there.

He thought it strange that atoro would try that now of all times, but it should ahve been easy enough. Following suit, Rette retreated from the walkways and scrambled up another of those discarded ladders, edging his way up onto deep set window ledges; this had to be a house for the well-to-do.
The roof was high and tiled and sloped, peculiarly, apart from one small depression in the middle where it was as flat as the floor.
He felt uncertain to be treading on it, but making his way slowly over the peaks of the roof with quick feet and a light touch, he then finally sunk down and crouched on the flat surface between the two peaks of the roof on the house, already feeling he had over exposed himself and even less confident in the strength of it. Rette hoped that Atoro could follow but now his attention was elsewhere, as he watched. He seemed shocked, the amount of people here in this square, side to side without an inch to spare. The surahnians filled every space in the grand square, though there was a thick border all around their formation, several yards and the lahrukan guards stood to attention here. Keeping their distance.
Rette's mood darkened in this sea of people, how could he hope to find the only few people that mattered. Who cared for the rest? He knew he didn't...but even that was a lie.

“Atoro..." He hissed.
Yet another line merged into the square, bulking it out even more, everybody in that crowd was facing away from them and looked on blankly. It was a sight that unsettled him, this was entirely unfamiliar.

Although the rooftops were not as easy to cross as the alleyways, they seemed to be much safer than down below, and they came across no guards as they stole towards the square in front of them. Atoro slid into a gap between two dipping roof edges, flattening himself against one sideways and holding himself in place with his feet on the other. Despite the place currently looking calm, he found himself with his bow in his hands, ready to pull an arrow if he needed it.
“What?" he growled back at Rette, sparing him a glance before looking back to the square. He obviously wanted to get down there and find whoever it was he was looking for, but there was no way they could, with so many Lahrukans around.
When the square seemed to be as full as it could go, Surahnians packed in tightlyas they could fit, and even more on top of that, when it didn't seem possible, Atoro started to think, quickly, trying to work out some way of getting people free. With so many Surahnians in one place, think of what they might achieve if they could get them out of the city? There would be utter chaos. It was just the Lahrukans around; perhaps he could shoot one down, and if people reacted fast...

His attention was pulled away from the crowd sharply. A tall, magnificent looking figure came forth from the north west entrance to the grand square, he could only just about see them from here. Whomever they were, they commanded respect, the soldiers parted for them without a moments delay.
Strange, certainly, this figure carried a tall staff, leafed with gold all over and with a distinct glowing orb, set in a ring of black stone, sitting at the top of it. The soft blue light was beautiful but Rette knew better than that...It was not the staff of royalty, no mere ornament, this was a staff that only the strongest of magi could control. So he had heard. His people had never been known for their magical prowess, but this staff was a cause for disgust the land over and dread wreaked from it. It was only now he could see that the locals had collected at the edges here, eyes fixated on this Leading Mage, this /plague/ mage that dared to present himself here.
Rette had said to begin with, that it was hopeless to kill them all, so you had to make it count. That was the one, yet he felt powerless.
“That one. It's a plague mage. I know it, it has to be. I /mean/ it, just look."
His eyes were wide now, watching even the smallest of movements from this heinous mage.

“Worthy foes, Surahnians, we welcome you from the mercy in our hearts, to the Kingdom of Lahruka, city of Girratz. Today the honour is mine, the privilege is yours..."

Atoro had never heard of a plague mage before, but he had never really been in a position to hear a lot about the Lahruka, or their methods; his family had kept themselves quietly to themselves, and once they had gone, he had always kept on the road. His frown furrowed as Rette identified him, but he kept silent, waiting... things certainly seemed to be coming to a head, soon.
He had his bow in his hands; he could pull it back now, and send an arrow shooting right at his target. But there was too much distance, and he could feel his hands shaking from fear of being caught, and that would ruin his aim.
“What do we do?" he whispered instead, not daring to pull his eyes away from the mage. He could feel something terrible was going to happen; why else would this creature be here?
His words sent chills down Atoro's spine.
Suddenly he knew that they had to rescue at least a few Surahnians from the edge of the square. It was the right thing to do; they may just be strangers, but they were kin.
But there was no time for that sort of thing; a spell shimmered out from the plague mage, wrapping itself over the square like a huge bubble, magic flickering across it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: [Atoro] The Definition of a Surahnian [Rette}   Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:05 pm


The web of magic was beautiful, entrancing even as it spread over them majestically. But all Rette could feel was a maddening sickness creep up inside him. Could this be so? That the Lahrukans, already knowing they had won all those years ago, were now adding insult to injury, were crushing them like this?
"My family is there, my...they're all there Atoro." His voice was shaking with anger and he felt himself quiver all over.
The plague mage took one prominent step forward then put himself into a battle like stance, his staff raised to the sky regally.

"The privilege is yours Surahnians, to become clean and peaceful again, this is the wish of every Lahrukan. You may share, in the far past, our blood...but none of our being." The mage sounded as if he were a young man, but how could that be so? How could anyone have such power and be like that?
The mage slowly circled his staff in the air, thick from the tension and a small warm colour pulsed from it. In a glittering moment, the halo of bluish white magic that formed the entrapping web over his kin, became a fire that burned without smoke and it began to consume the people beneath it.
Rette could not move. This death was a slow one for everyone there, and the agony of knowing that amongst them would be his family broke him in two, the dazzling fire had stunned him, but it was the tears that stole his sight completely. Curse that he had ever come to witness this. Better for him to burn along with them than sit here as a coward, watching and knowing he could have done better. He had disgraced himself and them entirely.

In a moment of clarity, he had made up his mind, and the plague mage would be the one to die.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: [Atoro] The Definition of a Surahnian [Rette}   Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:23 pm

Atoro had no words for Rette, he had no words for any of this. He knew his family too, his mother at least, had been diligently heading for this place, it's name on her lips when he had split off from them, back in the wastelands of Surahnia. He had no idea if she had gotten all the way there- his father and sister too, they were with her, but he had hoped they had, if only for their sake that they no longer had to walk. When he had seen so many Surahnians down there, in the square... a little thought had flared that they might be down there too, that he might be able to see them, that they were alright...

But his hopes at seeing them again were shriveling in front of his eyes. He felt himself grip his bow a little tighter in his hands, holding it close, but that was detached. The plague mage's words were so obviously fake; Atoro saw them only in a bleak light, as he had been thinking of Lahrukans in such for so long. Wizardry like this was unnatural.

Then the mage sent fire across his magic, and it felt like the world was ending in front of Atoro's eyes.
He scrambled back from the edge of the rooftops, wishing he could close his eyes to it, putting one hand over his face, mouth open in horror. His bow clattered on the roof as he dropped it, but the sound of cheering and screams covered that; even when he put his hands over his ears, trying to block it out, he could hear it still. They had to get away from this, and do something, but... there was nothing they could do, and it hurt even to move. All his plans of saving people vanished; what could they do, two men against this?

Although, the plague mage was only one man. He didn't care any more, everything was going up in flames, and if he was going to burn from the inside, then the Lahrukans would burn too. Or at least, that was what numbly came to the front of his mind, but he couldn't yet act on it.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: [Atoro] The Definition of a Surahnian [Rette}   Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:37 pm


To know where your kin were, in front of you, and not see them...but so clearly hear them and the crackle of fire was an unbearable torture he couldn't stand. Rette got to his feet, he had to run away, far away and hopefully this would all not matter tomorrow. Because of course, this was not a reality. His family wasn't in that group, they must be with others somewhere, wouldn't even know about this...why he hadn't even seen them!
All this chatter in his mind to settle him did nothing, the words of solace were burnt up by the inferno.
He faltered for a moment before turning away, his foot catching on the discarded bow and he stumbled, falling to his knees and promptly righting himself. The bow though, fell down and rattled on the cobblestones in the square beneath them. The gravity of what he had just done hit him immediately.
There would be no justice for the lahrukan mage, and as much as he wanted to utterly give up, his instinct told him with immediate effect, that they must escape. Now.
"Atoro!" He rasped, try to reconcert himself, blindly running, throwing himself at the roof peaks, to climb over them. Everything seemed to slush from one ungainly movement to another, he felt all of it out of his control and his balance tipped this way and that, as he slid down the other side of the roof sickness hit him.

Rette couldn't hear them, but they were coming, as hellbent as the rabid Lahrukan wolves of home...This was exactly like that and in a matter of seconds, his body defied his mind. It wouldn't allow him any time to pity or wait for death, because every instinct was screaming at him to get out.
"Atoro!" He called out again, not even looking back as he blindly began to run through the street. The chorus of screams hastened his feet, people be damned, he was never going to burn alive with them.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: [Atoro] The Definition of a Surahnian [Rette}   Sun Aug 26, 2012 2:51 pm

Everything seemed to happen in slow motion as Rette slipped down the rooftops from his previous perch, accidentally kicking Atoro's bow down into the street below them; it had been precarious anyway, and it had needed little persuasion from him for gravity to get to work. Even through his hands clamped over his ears, the sound seemed deafening, and he looked up with wide eyes, stunned in place.

It was when Rette said his name that he was shocked out of it, scrambling to his feet and lurching into a run as well, keeping himself upright by using his hands against the edges of the roofs. He threw himself after the other man with everything he had, making stupid jumps across the gaps they crossed without even a second thought for what would happen if he missed, grazing his hands and knees and shins against tiles, and a wall when he missed his jump and fell forwards onto his face, his legs burning. He picked himself up anyway, sticking to the rooftops as Rette descended into the streets, pausing a couple of times to look around for the best route across to the wall. There were Lahrukans on their tails, he could hear their shouts as they tracked them, and a rock came flying towards him and hit him on one arm when he stopped in full view, hunting the best route of escape.
"Rette, this way!" He shouted as he jumped across a gap over the street the other man was running down, crouching to point to the direction he himself was taking, before straightening and running again. He scrambled across a couple of other roofs, trying to let himself down gently onto a shorter roof when he came to it, but his grip was slippery, and his arm hurt, and instead he just fell, sliding down into the V of where one building joined with another, stunned. After what seemed like a lot longer than a few seconds, he crawled onto his hands and knees, hiding for a second to try and regain his breath, and pawing at the spot where the rock had hit him, its sharp edges drawing blood through his ragged shirt.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: [Atoro] The Definition of a Surahnian [Rette}   Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:03 pm



Rette didn't even attempt to follow Atoro's roof leaping feats, and sure enough, it hadn't gone well for him either. Both of them, in fact, were in trouble for this. He rounded a bend, feet barely having any purchase on the stone, when he saw to his left, Atoro slumped down from a fall and pursuing Lahrukans coming that way, but only one was visible to him, they knew they had him.
His cover would be blown at any moment and now he had a panic in a few seconds, to decide his way out of a dilemma. Keep running and hope Atoro would save himself, or help him...
Fortunately, the morality didn't lie with him, seeing another guard prowling the street in his would be exit, he was forced to take the route of helping atoro. He didn't think to himself what he would have liked to have done otherwise.

Without bar now, he ran at full pelt again like an animal enraged and pushed the full force of his body to an oncoming guard, ready to simply haul Atoro away into the furnace. Rette made contact with him like a stone, even as unfed as he was... and had him under his weight squirming and thrashing, quite taken aback.
The Lahrukans had created strong people from harsh circumstances, such fights like this (the fools should have known), were common place all over Surahnia. Only, with your neighbour over things such as food or a pot of water that wasn't merely sludge. Nobody cared about it, brutality was accepted and so, Rette felt no remorse while attempting to crush his skull into the stone. However, the effort fell short when he felt the sudden, strong, grip of a hand on the back of his jerkin, tear him upward.

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PostSubject: Re: [Atoro] The Definition of a Surahnian [Rette}   Sun Aug 26, 2012 3:18 pm

Clutching at his arm, Atoro tried to stand, either to get across to the next roof, or get down into the street and try and escape that way, but his feet slid out from him and he wasted precious seconds stuck under a couple of tiles. He ripped his bag free, belongings scattering onto the ground and rooftop, then grabbed at the battered sword he had tucked away in there and dragged the dirty bindings of it free, holding it tightly as he slid off the roof, landing in a heap on the ground and stealing away even more precious seconds. By then, Rette had attacked a close guard, who had almost gotten hold of Atoro himself... he backed away, furiously hunting for an escape route, finding himself pinned against a wall behind him, more guards closing in in every direction. Not looking good. He bared his teeth ferociously at the next man that came close, holding the rapier he had retrieved from his bag in both hands, the tip shaking, rusty from being buried in the wasteland out in some forgotten town. Rette wasn't in a good place, neither was he, so the only thing to do was attack.

He ran forwards with a yell, keeping the buildings close to his side as he tried to shoulder past the other guards, shutting his eyes and wildly swinging with his sword when he felt someone try and grab him. He tripped and fell again as his legs tangled up in someone else's, bruising his knuckles but keeping hold of the sword, kicking out and scrambling away and up to his feet again. He backed off a few steps, face creasing as he saw Rette being hauled up to his feet by another Lahruka- what could he do? If he attacked, then he would last only moments, and everything in him rebelled against that. He didn't want to die, he would not die at the hands of the Lahruka...

But part of him died anyway as he turned and fled down the street.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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PostSubject: Re: [Atoro] The Definition of a Surahnian [Rette}   Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:27 pm



The horror of it all. He caught just a flash of Atoro's figure running away before his view span back as he fought to be free.
Just enough time to see that good for nothing rat running away, it wasn't as if he had a choice in saving him. Now he was in a world of trouble. Rette roared and struggled with pain and a desperate yearning to be free of them, but they managed to hold him back with relative ease, thumping him from every exposed side possible until he felt his body ache in a thousand different ways.

He spluttered and blood felt from his mouth to the ground. He was coughing sharply, only then to feel the pounding of fists to make it no better, he could see the cruel pleasure his captors took in punishing him. Now, he was laying down like a body cast aside from the middle of a street, curled up uselessly to hide himself from them. Misery filled up every thought and feeling in his body until it was all too much, but still not enough to send him into a blissful unconsciousness.
Suddenly Rette felt his arms violently pulled by his wrists, buckling him backwards so he was dragged on his back, watching his feet trail in front of him as he scraped along the stone back to the square. It didn't matter how much he screamed like a child, nothing was going to change this, his voice simply joined the choir of sorrow of his kin.

"To the fire, purge the demons in his heart!" A person called from at the edges of the crowd. He could hear cheering, jeering and their happiness to witness his anguish, so bloodthirsty and entertained by this.
"Atoro! I swear you'll...Atoro!" He shouted again until his voice cracked with the effort, the sound fighting against the wave of appreciative woops and cheers of the crowd.
They then chanted together as he felt his entire body raised from the ground, they were counting.
Then there was a moment of lightness, as he was thrown like rotten lumber to the fire, falling back into the flames and onto the blackened bodies of his people.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: [Atoro] The Definition of a Surahnian [Rette}   Sun Aug 26, 2012 10:17 pm

Wishing he could block out Rette’s shouting from behind him, Atoro just ran. He had no idea where he was going, picking direction after direction, whichever route looked like the most convoluted, trying to loose the couple of tailing guards that had followed him. He clutched at his hurt arm with one hand, sword in the other, squeezing through a gap that wasn’t made for a human and popping out the other side into a little courtyard area, the sounds of pursuit receding behind him. He couldn’t get the screams of those captured Surahnians out of his head though, the angry, agonised yells of Rette as he left him behind.

By the Willow Mother, what had he done?

He stumbled against the wall, sinking into a crouch (his body wouldn’t allow him any further, screaming at him to keep running, but now his mind was taking over), his mouth open in a soundless cry. He didn’t know how long he stayed there, not long, finding himself next somehow on a rooftop, the time inbetween blurred and lost. Numbly, he crawled over the rooftops until he got to the square again, draw by the horrific scenes, refusing to believe that it was happening… refusing to believe that Rette was down there, and he was here on the rooftops, alone. As much as they hadn’t gotten along, Atoro didn’t want the last person he knew to be…

Despite all the things he had seen in Surahnia, living with nothing and fighting over the most meagre of rations, seeing people torn to pieces by ravaged, diseased animals, the Lahruka tearing apart everything he had ever known, he felt sick to the core. His head thumped painfully, the words of the crowd washing over him in waves. This was like nothing else he had seen. In shock, he unconsciously picked up on his name being shouted from down below, and he felt his eyes being drawn to a figure at the edge of the fires.

He couldn’t watch. But he heard, and the sound burnt itself into his memory. Then it was over. He wanted to lie down and make everything disappear, sob, die, anything was better than this; but despite his guilt, the horrible images behind his eyelids, something still pushed him forwards, dragging him off the rooftops, forcing him down onto the streets, bloody rapier still in his hand. When he almost ran into another troop of Lahruka, it helped him hide, take the foul paths towards the city wall, skirt the main roads, pause on the route to numbly retrieve a broken arrow. Was it his, or Rette’s, or another man’s? Somehow, bruised, battered, broken, he made it to the city’s edge, dragging himself over the wall and forcing himself to walk. He didn’t look back, just stumbling blindly on, not caring that he had no food or water, that he was injured…

There was little doubt that he would be the only Surahnian walking away from Girratz that night, but he was not convinced, especially when Rette appeared to him in a sleep-deprived, scarred hallucination, that he felt any shred of luck, or happiness, in being so fortunate.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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