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What Mattered The Most


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A dark beach. Strange rocks twisting in their tortured forms overhead. An endless sea of black, murky water stretched out across the horizon. The gentle sun shone softly over corrupted oceans, lending the entire scene a distinct feeling of wrongness.

In this place Kevin found himself, standing upon the beach. Obsidian waters lapped softly at his dark boots. Further out, a thick fog-like mist obscured any end of the waters. He turned and observed his surroundings for a time. There was something about this place that seemed familiar, almost like a second home.

[i]'I haven't ever been here, right?'[/i] The Emperor thought to himself with a trace of concern. [i]'There's no way this place should even exist.'[/i]

At this point he started walking with no real purpose in mind. The beach stretched endlessly into the distance, and not once did the rocks repeat their pattern in an endless dance of granite elegance. Yellow eyes glared steadily at him as he passed by. Out of the corners in his vision, the Emperor noticed black shapes darting from boulder-to-boulder. He was being followed.

[i]'Keep walking, Kevin...' [/i]A voice nervously sounded in his head.

The dark corner of his mind stirred to life. [i]'Buddy, there's no way you can get through this without some help.'[/i]

[i]'Shut up.'[/i] It seemed like he had more than one personality, but that was crazy talk.

It read his mind. [i]'So's thinking you can get out of the Dark Meridian.'[/i] The voice laughed in his head; a wicked sound.

"You have been chosen, Emperor of the South."[/b] A massive, booming voice which was loud and yet inaudible echoed through the area. Kevin stopped and shook his head before starting to walk again, looking for an exit. He stood very still when the hallucination repeated itself.

"Chosen for what, oh voice of no form?" His sarcastic words were bit off at the end, a sure sign that the Emperor was considerably agitated. He began pacing on the shore, glaring out across the water from time to time as if to catch a glimpse of some way out.

[i]'No use...'[/i] The sadistic voice whispered gleefully.

"Is that mist closing in?" Kevin ignored the voice and concentrated on what he saw. Sure enough, the pale fog was rolling off the waters and spilling onto the coastline. Within moments the Emperor couldn't see beyond ten feet in front of himself.

The voice laughed. [b]"Does the blind man ask what blue is? You cannot possibly comprehend my plane of existence. Yet. For you see, I am a warning. Of sorts. Dark times are coming." [/b]The voice chuckled to itself, soon transforming into a full-whatever laugh. [b]"Yes, DARK times indeed. Be wary of yourself, Master of the South. All is not as it may seem."[/b]

"What on Bob is that supposed to mean?" But the voice was gone. And amidst the reverberating echoes of a voice heard only inside his head, Darkness began swirling around the Emperor. His mind turned to blackness, but he barely managed to catch the sound of insane laughter.

It was only later that the Emperor realized it was himself laughing.

Edited by Shadowsage
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  • 2 weeks later...

Two people; one half-a-head shorter than the other walked hand-in-hand through the bustling metropolis of Imperial Central, then known as Ikarid; Capital of the Republic of Daorim. A young couple, hopelessly in love with each other. Nobody in the world would ever believe that one would grow up to dominate a significant percentage of the world. At the time, there was nothing that mattered more than each other.

[i]'I love you, darling.'[/i] Kevin murmured to the girl holding his hand. In response she nestled her head against his shoulder, sniffling happily in response. For a few hours at the least, the entire world was right for the both of them. It was these moments which would be forever etched into the memory of both Kevin and Megan until the day they died.

Time passes quickly, though.

Explosions dotted the street in a blazing march of madness; silent in its' deafening roar. The blast-front reached the two, knocking both from their feet. Kevin acted to shield Megan with his body and fell on top of her. Red-hot bits of shrapnel slashed into him with an agonizing burst of pain stemming from his right eye. Additional stabs erupted from his back and legs.

Kevin's hearing returned and he rolled off of his love dizzily, unable to think through the pain. She was still breathing, but appeared to be unconscious. Even through the haze of shell-shock, he looked through the one eye functioning and carefully brushed the hair from Megan's face. His expression was one of numb acceptance, as well as fear for his partner.

At this point the Guerrilla forces responsible for the attack appeared.

They strolled confidently through the street, stopping to beat a few shocked civilians into unconsciousness. A few members appeared with little fanfare in front of Kevin. The first raised his rifle-butt and brought it down in a slashing maneuver. The surplus, single-shot rifle was derived from an ancient design known as the Garand; it's heavy wooden construction lent it force and speed.

Kevin sidestepped and scissored his arms between his assailant's right elbow. He wrenched his arms in a complete circle, snapping every ligament and the cartilage of the man's elbow. An instant later, Kevin's foot smashed the man's right knee into a pulp bending the wrong way. The howl of pain echoed across the street, alerting every other guerrilla to the scene.

Not quick enough for their friend.

In one swift move, Kevin pushed the already stumbling man to the ground and lifted one foot. He paused, swaying and off-balance still from the series of eruptions. After he was sure of his footing, the heavy shoe came down like a lightning bolt on the doomed guerrilla's throat.

A weight smashed him in the back of the head, and then there was darkness.

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Kevin shook his head, vision coming in and out of focus in time with the waves of pain washing through his head, radiating out from his right eye. His vision was noticeably different, shifted to the left and less adept at guessing distances. He grunted in understanding and tried half-heartedly to move his arms. Encountering resistance, Kevin looked down and noticed the ropes which tied him tight to the chair he was sitting on.

Further towards the ground, his legs were lashed and shackled together, as if the guerrillas he had been captured by expected him to break out with a concussion and traumatic damage to his head. His lips drew back from teeth stained with dry blood at the pleasure the thought gave him. His years in the Kingdom and Republic's armies did not go to waste, it seemed.

Kevin guessed that someone was watching him, and a few minutes later he was not mistaken. Heavily armed and armored men poured into the room, their weapons trained on his shackled form with an almost imperceptible shaking of fear. A few flinched when confronted by the savage grin of their prisoner, but the majority remained mostly impassive behind faceplates.

"You killed one of our men, you know." The voice came from behind the soldiers. They parted slowly, allowing a man wearing a long black coat to make his agonizingly slow way forward. Silver lightning bolts glinted evilly on the collar of the immaculate leather uniform. On his breast various medals for valor and bravery cited combat years past. The entire outfit was marred only by a single bullet-hole, right over where the man's heart would be.

Kevin spoke back, his voice husky and deep from sleep and caked blood. "He had it coming. !@#$%^& tried to hit me. Got any water?" The request came out almost like an order, and the SS Man; if that was what he was; smiled wickedly.

"Certainly." With a nod, one soldier produced his own water bladder and squeezed out some of its' contents on Kevin's face and mouth. The fresh liquid was one of the most refreshing things he had ever tasted and he savored the sensation of it reviving his dessicated gums.

"You have my full and undivided attention, mister...?" Kevin had no idea what to call his captor.

The man smiled wickedly. "The name is Martinez. Marcus Martinez."

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  • 3 weeks later...

"The way I see this situation, you gentlemen," the word came out as a bitter growl, "hold all the cards. I don't know where I am, I'm tied to a chair, and you have successfully kidnapped an innocent bystander. All because of your grudge against the government?"

His captor picked at a bit of nonexistent dirt beneath a fingernail. "I'm afraid that's the gist of it, my friend. But we men are... amenable to reason." A completely false chuckle forced its' way from between clenched teeth. "If you would be so kind as to consider, just for a few moments the corrupt actions of our government then we will certainly let you go. And your lady-friend.

"After all, our 'beef', as you say is with the corporate pigs who have bought the Senate and continue to rape the Kingdom. I'm sure you haven't heard this yet, but the Senate itself is convening tonight to vote the King out of power. Starting tomorrow we will have a President and, effectively, an Oligarchy under the guise of a Republic. Daorim, they're calling it." He smiled grimly. "In one of the ancient local languages, it means 'sheep'. The Republic of Sheep. Fitting, is it not?"

Kevin's smile faded into a deep frown, his forehead furrowed in thought. [i]'He's right. The government you swore allegiance to is long gone. The people need protection from this menace.'[/i] It didn't take much for him to make his decision. After all, his own thoughts on the matter had been following the same path for months already. Kevin just hadn't wanted to admit the truth to himself.

"Mister Martinez; I think it was? It might surprise you, but a lot of us in the Veteran community have had similar thoughts that you've outlined." Apparently it wasn't much of one, since the man didn't flinch at all. If anything, a satisfied glint sparkled briefly in his ghostly eyes. "I think we can help each other here. I have a few...unique skills and clearances your movement has not had access to."

"Go on..." Martinez was cautious in listening, lest he find himself saddled with a saboteur.

"I'd like to offer you my services in overthrowing the Senate."

Edited by Shadowsage
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