Abattoir--Revans Rubber Duckie, Chapter One, Fantasy/Young Adult

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Abattoir--Revans Rubber Duckie, Chapter One, Fantasy/Young Adult

Post  Revans Rubber Duckie on Thu Mar 08, 2012 11:52 pm


(Click for full view if interested--it seems to of have cut off the side a little)
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Ethessa is a human experiment, along with hundreds of other children, given the ability to destroy and create her cells in exchange for sacrificing her memories. Put through brutal tests and unrelenting experiments, she has learned her only purpose in life is to kill and be the perfect soldier.

Her abilities and morals are put the test when she's put on an assignment--something that has never happened before with any child experiment. Tasked with escorting a noble girl, Ethessa soon finds that she is about
to be thrust into the middle of a war that may very well bring everything she believes crashing down on her.
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Schactha. Western continent, primitive in terms of technological advancement compared to the East. Population: seven billion. Death rate: an average of four thousand two hundred and eleven monthly. Current status: Civil war. It's funny how worlds easily fall into war. I'm still not all to sure why there's a war going on in the first place, but I'm not allowed to ask either. Not that'd it matter. This war's been going on for four years, and only now are the letting us join in. Actually, it's just me, but I like to think I'm not that special. I've been ordered to escort some girl to another country, so we'll see how that goes.
My masters sure are getting jumpy. Especially Mr. Blauro. It's two countries fighting again. It's not that bad. Um, what was it? Crebar and Jichion? No, that was the last war...Crebar and...Dra'schon! That's it. I think we're helping Crebar. I'm kind of glad. It's really boring sitting here, so it should be fun playing war with the humans.

--Excerpt #13, Drak'thema 4.
Rain poured heavily around the carriage, making loud 'thud' sounds whenever it hit against the windows. Thunder was heard just as often as lightning was seen, which was every five seconds or so. The girl lay stretched out on one side of the carriage on a padded seat, one arm hanging lazily off the side while the other rested over her stomach. Her foot rocked from side to side showing her boredom. She let out yet another sigh.

“How much longer? And why couldn't we take our horses?” She turned her head from the roof to face her companion.

“At least another three hours, and I already told you why,” the young man, perhaps twenty, replied with an eye roll, his voice deep and monotone. He was staring out the window, temporarily shutting his eyes whenever lightning flashed. While it wasn't obvious he was just as bored, it was obvious he was beginning to get annoyed with the girl's constant whines. “Why don't you just go to sleep or something?”

“I'm not tired. Plus, with how loud the rain is, it's almost impossible.”

She sat up, following his gaze outside. Apparently there had been a time when everything was green with a healthy vibe, and wild life had stalked or flew around. She imagined it, never having seen it herself other than in pictures. Compared to the rotting wood, craters, dead grass, and greyed sky, it was a well welcomed and preferred image, even if it was imagined.

“Hey, Xan,” she piped up, her God-sent silence ending, “Did it really use to be pretty out there? I can't remember.”

The black haired, dark cool blue eyed man looked over at the girl, looking at her with something like sympathy, “Yeah. There used to be birds that sang, and pets running around chasing rabbits. Not a single place didn't have some kind of green.”

“That was before the Magi War, right?”

“Read your textbooks. I'm not your notebook.”

She scowled and pulled a knife out from somewhere underneath her cloak, similar to Xan's own, which he huddled under. She started to play around with the knife, slowly twirling it between her fingers before starting to throw it up and down, making it land neatly between her fingers. Throwing it up again, she frowned when Xan grabbed it in midair with his index and middle fingers.

“Show off,” she huffed.

“If something happens, this is going to kill you immediately, Ethessa. Don't play around.”

“Well maybe if you weren't so old and boring...” she started, a playful glint finding it's way into her eyes.

“Just go to sleep, Ethi,” he replied leaning back with closed eyes and rubbing the bridge of his nose with his free hand. Xan turned his attention back out the window, refusing to buy the bait. He was only eight years older than her. Ethessa knew quite well what his age was, thanks to an experiment, and that he was there for only one purpose. Had it been up to him, he wouldn't be here. She was far too naive and annoying for him. Everything was all fun and games for her.

Then again, Xan really couldn't blame her considering that it was the only time she could act like a child without being punished. She was incredibly different within the 'institution.' She never laughed there, or even smiled. Back there, it was never fun and games. Back there, it was do or die.

Ethessa was what most of the population would call thema. To the common public, they were a group of orphans being trained as elite warriors under the guidance of Eastern philosophies. In reality, though, they were test subjects from birth, or if they're lucky, whenever they got bought from the slave market. True, most of the science had come from Eastern origin, but it was mainly based upon Northern principles.

Northerners, unlike Easterners, depended upon their mind power for nearly everything. They were considered odd everywhere else, having mastered telepathy and telekinesis. They rarely spoke out loud and often wore blindfolds, using their minds as a source of sight. No one was really sure how that worked, but neither did they complain. There wasn't a single accident recorded that involved the northern population, be it trivial or war related.

Easterners on the other hand, valued brilliant minds who could create mechanisms for easier lifestyles. They had been the creators for nearly everything there was that was technologically advanced. Ranging everywhere from weapons to housing, to even eating utensils, Easterners had some play in it's creation, if not being the original inventors themselves. Unfortunately, not many new inventions made it to other areas, the East being on a completely different continent.

The basis for the thema testing came from the idea of using memories as a source for everything, similar to how Northerners used sheer mind power. It had started over thirty years ago, with a couple of Easterners encountering the North during a war. Xan didn't know the details, but somewhere along the lines they created (or found, as the details are extremely vague) the ability to replace cells using memories. Not everyone believed that though, some of the subjects claimed to have had the ability since birth.

Once the ability was rediscovered, children became prime test subjects. Eventually they had found ways to use this new found power as a weapon, and the slaving market, being the supplier for all the children, took off quickly. Perfect 'elite' warriors indeed, if they could heal themselves at will and turn their own bodies into weapons.

Problems arose, of course. Time limits, accidental deaths, complete obliteration of memory, among other things. Only recently had the founders started to really try to remedy the main issues, and until anyone was able to figure out how to use memories without destroying them, subjects were stuck with people like Xan.

His job was to know every detail of everything and anything about Ethessa. He was there to fill her in when she 'forgot' something or needed pointless information to use as a 'source'. Because he had to look after a 'warrior,' he had taken it upon himself to learn various forms of martial arts and weaponry. Though in combat he would never reach the same level as his companion when she reached her full potential, he was still quite skilled and above average.

Unlike these two, most pairings of thema and supervisor got along well, with little to no problems. That is, if they got along at all. Some pairs barely acknowledged each other beyond tool and weapon. Usually the 'organization' would pair together people with similar personality traits and likings. To the common view, it would look as though something had gone wrong when they had paired Xan and Ethi together. The two were almost complete opposites, or so Ethi thought.

"What're you doing?” he looked down to find the girl in question had made his lap her new headrest. Grinning, she looked up at him mischievously, and Xan immediately knew he had done or said something wrong.

“You told me to go to sleep, remember? You're comfy, so I'm going to do exactly as you say.”

Xan made a signature eye roll, “Whatever. Just don't drool,” he replied, ignoring her mutter of how boring he was, and complied to her wishes. He looked back outside, counting down the miles as they passed. Though he had turned his attention outdoors, he hadn't missed her small smile before she turned onto her side to fall asleep.

About two hours later, he looked back down to check on her. He pulled back a few stray strands of bluish-black hair. Xan didn't understand why, but somehow Ethessa had gotten the idea that he was her 'peraro.' A foreign term that she remembered meant 'older brother.' Apparently it was an honourable term to be worn with pride. He faintly recalled it from some of his travels, but memory told him one had to ask for permission to do so. Ethi had simply self-proclaimed him as such and refused to listen to his complaints. Xan had given up on trying to correct her.

To him, Ethi was nothing more than a mission partner, and a burden sometimes. Xan didn't understand why she tried to get on a friendly basis with him. She had forgotten about him once already, he doubted it would be the last. To make it worse, it had been to win an arena competition at the 'orphanage.' He would have understood if it was to save someone or to complete a mission, but it had not been so at all.

Of course, Xan was just looking out for himself. Ethi did not know how much it hurt for someone close to her to suddenly forget everything associated with her. How hard it was to rebuild such a relationship. There was always something missing. Something that was a small, impassable barrier.

Ethessa stirred and shifted slightly at his touch, clutching her cloak closer to herself for warmth. Like most girls her age, she refused to listen to other people. More specifically, she didn't listen to him. So, when she had decided to come in a fancy tank top and the baggy pants issued to all thema, he simply replied not to come crying to him when she froze half to death. Xan was going to stand by that.

The carriage came to a jerking, sudden, unexpected, complete halt, nearly throwing Ethi off her pillow. Xan however, managed to grab a hold of her and keep her still. She had not woken up from the either the throw or his rough grab. That was not a good thing at all. Why did she pick now of all times to do this?

Click.

The door handle. What was going on? They had at least another hour to go, no thanks to the weather. What was he going to do? She would not wake up, that much he knew. Not this soon, and for all Xan knew, the . . . something—someone?-- that was opening the door could be armed, or just dangerous in general. He fingered the knife he had confiscated earlier, keeping it discreetly hidden behind the girl's sleeping form. If it attacked, he was ready.

The door swung open, though slowly. It had neither the power nor lack of grace an attacker would use. It was refined and practised. The kind that gave a warning someone was about to intrude. The kind of opening a noble would get. The door waited a few seconds before opening completely.

“G'day, sir,” came a cheerful voice.. Xan gave an inaudible growl. Guard check point. He inclined his head in response to the guard's greeting, his features and expression that of a relaxed and refined noble.

“Same to you.”

“We d'unt want any troublin,' so would you be kind enough to tell us what your business is?”

Xan took note of the way the soaking wet guard held his spear. Professionally. Thumb and index were ready to spin it for attack. His stance proved he knew how to use the weapon. Even for him, going up against the guard was suicide in such close quarters. The glint in Xan's foe's eyes told him bribery and threats were of no use. This guy was smart. Xan gave an inaudible sigh. It seemed he would have to tell.

“We're on our way to visit her mother. She has fallen ill and sleeping beauty here,” he nudged his head in Ethi's direction, “wanted to see her one last time.”

“I see,” the guard scratched his wispy beard, “An' how old is she?”

“Fourteen. Under the age for legal searching.”

The guard gave a grin. “Ah, 'our wron' 'ere. Since the marriage age changed, so 'id the search. As o' two 'ears ago, she's qualified, so wake 'er up, will ya?”

Damn. That really was not good. He couldn't wake her up in her current state. While most beings simply needed a few hours of sleep to function properly, she needed nearly half a day to keep her power under check. That, or she entered a hibernated sleep, like now, where nothing could wake her. Some wild beast could be eating at her insides and she wouldn't know.

Moreover, and to the point, they had hidden all of their weapons with her hoping they could hide behind the legal search law. Obviously, that had backfired now. Xan had one more card to play, and he prayed to whatever gods or almighty being that existed out there it worked.

“Is that really necessary? She's been going without sleep for the past two days due to worrying so much. I'd rather let her sleep.”

“Look 'ere, it's just standard procedure. She can 'o to sleep ag'in aft'r,”

“If that is the case, then I will have to respectfully refuse. I'll pay whatever fine comes for it, but please just let her sleep.”

The guard gave a chuckle, “I 'ee. Guess you'll 'et wh't's comin.' Fifty fer th' carriage fee, one twenty for the refusal, fifteen fer th' passe'ger fee. An' if you'll be so nice as t' step ou' fer search, sir.”

* * *

“Hey! Open up!” Xan yelled. He had been knocking for the past five minutes. He'd known they wouldn't open right away; after all his objective was an extremely important person, but this was getting ridiculous. Sighing, he took another look at the wooden house, trying his hardest to ignore the pouring rain. The light signified someone was inside. The windows were barred, though that was common for those who could afford it, and the random grunts proved someone was still alive.

After a rather thorough search, Xan had made it to his destination; a remote wooden building a few kilometres away from the main Ikasa mansion, out in the countryside of Crebar.

“Open the damn door!” He was starting to wonder if this was the right house at all.

Finally, the door opened a couple seconds of seconds later, though not to Xan's ideal sight. In front of him stood a man who was as tall as he was wide. Absently, Xan wondered if the man could even walk out the door without smacking his head or getting stuck. The sneer implied the man really hated Xan for interrupting, though it quickly disappeared when Xan pulled out a complicated pattern designed pendant to signify he was from Drek. The mountain moved aside with a slight bow of his head. Xan entered.

As custom dictated, he made a bow to everyone in the room before kneeling before the only apparent female in the room and bowed his head. He took her outstretched hand and kissed her fingers, noting there was no jewelry on them. Odd for someone of noble birth to not have a ring of some sort, even if only a family heirloom. Not even a single ornament in her snow-white hair was to be seen (and for how long it was, that was extremely rare), almost as if she did not wish to show where she was from.

“You may speak freely, friend,” she said, her voice cool and collected.

Xan turned his head upwards to stare her in the eyes, “My name is Xanthos eth Vesak of Dra'schon. I am to be your escort,” he announced, standing up after the young woman had allowed it. Oddly enough, she treated it as though it were a tradition than an actual exertion of her power. The looks he got once he announced his house name, Vesak, were to say the least, distrusting. All gazes except for this aristocrat's, so seemed unaffected by the revelation.

“I see. We are to leave immediately then?”

“I would prefer it, yes. The ultimate decision is up to you, of course. I will also assume you have prepared and readied everything that you will need, m'lady?”

Xan saw the hint of a scowl on her face, though it was gone just as quickly as it had appeared. So, she did not like formal speech either. Well, that was all right in his book. In a few moments, she was going to end up facing the least formal being in the world. The graceful smile on her face seemed a little out of place when keeping that in mind.

“You have assumed correctly, Xanthos eth Vesak of Dra'schon.”

“Simply Xan will suffice, m'lady,”

“I see. Then I trust you will not mind that I request you call me Alida, will you?” Her piercing blue eyes seemed to almost dare him to refuse. He gave a small nod.

“Not at all.”

This was definitely an interesting noble. Nearly all exerted their power to it's fullest potential, but this girl acted as though she were annoyed by it. Alida gave a small nod in return. He was amazed at how informal yet eloquent she was at the same time. She stood up with practised grace, coming up to Xan's shoulder in full height. Quite impressive compared to most of the tiny noble girls he had come across.

“Shall we, then?” she asked.

It was then Xan noticed the girl could not be any older than sixteen. That was fairly odd. She did not act her age at all. She was far too well rehearsed in the art of courtship, as if she had done it her whole life. Then again, coming from the Ikasa household, she probably had. One could tell simply from the elegant white and blue tinged dress, that looked like it was made of the finest silk worthy of even the gods, that she came from an incredibly wealthy and prestigious family.

She did. Ikasa was, for all intents and purposes, the leading house within Crebar. Though it did not manage exports or laws, it handled enforcing them and keeping others in line fairly well. There would always be the few who still defied the rules, but they never lasted long. When war first was announced, Ikasa was on of the first to jump in. It first had tried negotiations, but when those failed, hell had no mercy on their enemies.

Elegant, quiet, cold, and authoritative. Those were traits of the household. Alida showed them perfectly. She spoke only when needed, she had the grace and looks that seemed almost inhuman. Her face showed none of her true feelings, and she did not fail to let one know she was in charge with the aura she gave off. Yes, this was a perfect example of Ikasa.

The men knelt to their 'princess' thumping a fist against their chests. Xan stayed standing, but mimicked the fist movement. It was a small action showing where one's loyalty lay. For her to be getting this salute from her men meant she was well respected. Xan guessed it was with good reason, too.

“It is not proper for you not to kneel, Xan,” she stated seeming almost amused.

“Forgive me, but if I may be so blunt, I am neither one of your men, nor have you earned proved yourself worthy of my respect as of yet.” The men seemed to growl at the statement, repulsed that someone would dare speak against their princess, though they calmed down with her next words.

She seemed to smile, though with how small it was, it was hard to tell, “Fair enough.”

Alida placed a hand on each of their heads, each rising as it left their heads and turning to face her. It simply meant she accepted them as trusted soldiers and took pride in them. Tradition never failed in this country, it seemed.

“If all goes well, I will bring back your new prince, and future king. I will expect you to show the same amount of respect and acceptance you show to me. Anything less, and I will personally see to your punishment. If you hear nothing of me two weeks from now, assume the worst. I expect you to execute my father's orders to perfection. Until we meet again, whether in this life or the next,” Alida turned and left, knowing full well the impact of her speech.

Her men made a loud cheer, showing their approval. Xan made a final bow after the soldiers had quieted, heading after the young noble.

“Your belongings?” he asked. He heard a chuckle.

“No need to worry. I already have all I am in need of.”

“You haven't taken anything,” he replied bluntly, following her down the stone path that lead back to the carriage.

“I do not need extra cargo. We will only be gone a few days, correct?” Her pace never faltered, and she never looked or glanced back even once to see if he was following or paying attention. She knew he would be doing both.

“Yes, m'la—Alida.” He opened the carriage door for her, offering his hand to help her up. She took it with a smile, sending a nod as her thanks. Xan got in after her, telling the driver he may go over his shoulder, closing the door behind him. He took a seat beside the new passenger. His burden had taken up the entire other side. Alida raised an eyebrow in question at the comatose like body.

“Your guardian,” Xan replied as the coach jerked into motion.

“A girl?”

“A beast more like it, but yes. I'll assume you already know what our ... organization does?”

“I know of the basics, yes,” she nodded, “This seemingly dead child is the best, then?”

“Best?” Xan scoffed, “No. She just has the most potential and talent. Despite knowing that, she still acts like a spoiled brat, so feel free to ignore her. I apologize beforehand for her behaviour.”

“I see,” Alida seemed amused by his behaviour and feelings toward the girl, “I take it she is in, ah what was it called, hibernation?”

“Yes. She should be up soon, though. It's been a few hours.”

Alida finally ripped her gaze from the girl to look at Xan, “Shall we drop the formalities? They are a bit of a nuisance, I think.”

“If so you command then very well,” Xan shrugged, still staring at Ethi, “However, I am obligated to warn you, that you will be barely more than air and my responses will be...” he paused looking for the right word, “distasteful.”

The noble chuckled. Xan turned his gaze, but not his head, to look at the girl beside him. By laughing at such a fact, she had accepted the deal. This girl just kept getting more and more interesting.

“Do not worry, Xanthos. After all, we have been together before.”

Xan let out a surprised sound, turning to face the strange noble with a look of shock. If they had met before, and been in each other company, it would have had to of been long ago. He gave a slow nod, his mind trying to piece everything together. If she had known him, did that mean she knew his past as well? If she knew his past, did she know the truth? Concern was the only thing that ran through him, though for who or what, he did not know.
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Revans Rubber Duckie

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