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Chapter 5: King

Leo and I vanished into the caverns between the mountains that loomed ahead of us. The sun shown bright through the crack between the two mountains giving us two looming shadows that captured the day’s bleak existence within its cold clutches of solitude. My boots were worn down rags that were placed upon my feet for warmth against the sinister chill. Icicles were peppered along the branches of the scarce population of trees and my fingers were beginning into icicles of their own. I pulled out my pistol and shot three bursts into the air and placed my fingers along the barrel for even an inkling of warmth. Leo was instantly alarmed unholstered his dagger and snared back at me. “Jesus Christ,” he mumbled. “Are you trying to get us killed?!” “I…um,” I started. “My hands were cold-” “I don’t give a damn about the weather being a little too brisk for your “illustrious” fingers!” “But why should you? What do we have to worry about?” “Orion…you don’t want to know how many answers that question has,” said Leo, with another glare of seriousness. He turned away to the snow once more, looking as if he saw his own future, staring through his soul in the frozen fractals of every snowflake that covered the bare wasteland. We trekked on, looking for any sign of humanity. My communicator started blurbing nonsense and I hurriedly pulled it out of my satchel. My numb fingers finally clasped around it tightly with hope flowing through my veins. “Hello?” I nervously asked. “Hello? This is Orion Bridger from Outlast-112, I am requesting a search party for my friend and myself,” “Wh…what-t-t…ar-r-r-r-r-r-e…co-o-o-o-o…rd…..nates…?” the communicator blabbed. I rummaged through my supplies until I found a beacon sender. I brushed some scurried snowflakes off of its screen. “28.5983° N, 83.9311° E!” I yelled as clearly as I could. The communicator went dead. “No,” I gasped. “No, no, no, no, NO!” I screamed as I threw the communicator on the ground and smashed it to bits. “Is this what we’re going to do? Just wander about in the Gravens until we freeze our asses off? When I became...

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Chapter 4: Exodus

We dragged the body to the entrance to our chamber of rock and I gave the “all clear” with my heat signature scope. I hurriedly pointed forward towards the aperture of the entire chasm. As quietly as we could, we hauled the Goblin’s corpse into the open. My breath shuddered and I shivered as I tried to hold in the utter fear I felt. Knowing that if you make even the slightest, wrong move, you would be dead in an instant, was very hard to handle. My face had turned pale and my stomach lurched like a brick bouncing on a trampoline, yet Leo’s expression had not altered since the moment he slew the Goblin. He stared straight forward into the barren mountains of the Voidlands, the sun beginning to perk above the towering alps. The once dark, blue sky had now been stained with the blood red paint of morning, streaking the sky like a paintbrush across its canvas. The wind had stopped and the snowfall had ceased, and the now the Voidlands almost pleasant. I would’ve thoroughly enjoyed the view if it weren’t for the fact that behind me lurked hundreds of skeleton-like creatures that if awake, would tear my eyes out their sockets and eat the tough flesh that surrounded my slowly, ever so slowly, decaying bones. “Ready?” Leo asked me seriously in a deep, hollow voice that was so unlike Leo. He had changed. “Sure.” I said, still thinking about what had changed Leo. “Alright, on three okay?” We stood one step outside the cave with the Goblin being carried by Leo and I. Our fate would be sealed once we performed this one simple task. I stood firm, but still looking back and forth towards the mountains and towards the Goblins that slumbered in the depths of the cave. “One…” Leo began. I shifted my footing. “Two…” I got a better grip on the Goblin’s legs so we could swing it out the door. “Three!” We heaved the Goblin outside the cave and the entire cave was filled with the echos of screeches and screams the second the Goblin’s corpse hit the snowy ground...

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Prologue

In the days of Dawning, there was only good in the world. In every way, humanity had expanded to new feats and triumphs. Tomorrow would be another day of purity and peace. And the day after would be just as grand. No war or industrial havoc would be ensued upon the world. Our society grew ever more advanced- not in technology- but in developing new ways to live in harmony with nature. All of humanity changed from being destroyers of reality, to creators of new doorways to a better civilization, a better future. Humans walked among the earth, the grass grew from the soil, and the stars stayed luminous in the cosmos. That was how it was and how it should have stayed, but our perfect world began to rust, and the days of tyranny came into existence, and our dhad come back to haunt us. Our world was thrown into a corrupted society, driven by only greed, wealth, and power. We tore up our beautiful world to shreds to build machines for our own destruction and to vanquish the remaining light of our golden age. A group known as the Sentinels took complete power over us and our way of life. They thought they had harnessed the true meaning of power through dominance and strength, but all it brought for them was hate and pain from others. Rebellions and protests took place but were quickly rejected as the sounds of gunfire echoed in the streets and the smell of smoke blazed in the sky. As the Sentinels swept the land with blood, we grew farther and farther from our days of prosperance. Soon, our numbers were too small to carry on. We lost the battle for our survival, and all was lost to the shadows that still roam the earth. However, those who survived carried out the legacy to protect the idea of a better world. We became refugees, building outposts to defend the areas where the scars of tyranny have left untouched. Even though the dystopia that we now live in will never be truly healed, our hearts remain loyal to what used to be good in...

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Chapter 3: Animus

I tried to get some sleep as well, but that horrifying image stayed planted in my brain for years to come, but it would only become worse. The black veil of the stars had fallen over the sky and the Voidlands were still as barren and desolate as usual. Leo still dreamt away as his mind traveled to distant lands of unseen imagination. However, closing my eyes had no effect on my brain to start thinking of ways to escape out of this cave, but at least I knew I wouldn’t die in vain, Leo was my main priority now, for the Defiance. Leo leapt up in action as if ready to fight off one hundred Goblins. He held his tightly in his clutch as he peeked over both his shoulders rapidly, breathing heavily, looking for something to kill. His eyes were wild with the inferno that now fueled our enemy, bent on rage and power. But then his eyes relaxed and his shoulders shlumped as he realized that there was no danger to shoot with his pistol or throw one of those gadgets at it and do whatever it did. Leo looked down at me with a stern expression. “Oh.” he stated. “It’s just you. To be honest, I completely forgot you were here. R-Ryan. Right?” “O-rion,” I said matter-of-factly with a scowl. “Well same thing!” He lightly chuckled but then was serious all over again. “I’ve thought up a plan.” “Great!” I exclaimed, eager to learn his devious plan of escape. “What is it?” “It’s gonna involve a lot of blood and a lot of killing.” I didn’t want to have to endure any more action for one day, but it seemed that my options were very thinly whittled down, so I hesitantly nodded in agreement, trembling with anxiety. “First,” he started, “we have to wait.” “For what?” I nervously asked with hesitation. “A live Goblin.” “Why?” “Because they’re the bait!” I paused for a little moment to process the sudden rush of bloody adrenaline. “Define bait for me.” I asked reluctantly. Leo rolled his eyes. “Okay.” said Leo straight-forwardly. “We can’t go any deeper into their...

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Chapter 2: Leo

After inspecting the rest of the wreckage of the Trekker, I started scavenging for any footprints or trails that might lead to Outlast-112 or to whoever the pilot was. I strapped my goggles back on and surveyed the area for any color besides violet. At that moment, I discovered a steady pattern of blue, imprinted along the snow bank. Footsteps! My searchings were not in vain, someone was out here with me in the Voidlands. I followed the footsteps over hills, banks, and valleys, never losing hope that this person was alive. My communicator kept blearing in my ear, giving me the same staticky noise. Sometimes I thought I heard voices, but they were only short blurs of nothingness. As my search continued, the footsteps led to the base of a mountain. The pattern of blue lingered into the dark, desolate cavern that lied beneath the towering construction of time that was the mountain. The foul breath of decay breached my nostrils. My mind started filing through the possibilities of the outcome of that pilot. Either the pilot’s motionless corpse was rotting on the floor of the cave, or the pilot inexplicably found a bountiful harvest for food that was starting to reach the end of it’s expiration date. I would very much prefer the latter, but I knew in the back of my mind that it was very unlikely. I reluctantly trudged down the snow bank that led into the black grotto. My heavy breaths became unsteady as they fogged the bitter air and my eyes shifted rapidly, trying to detect what the fate of that poor pilot had come too. My boot finally reached the cold, wet floor, but the disgusting stench of what awaited me in the inky blackness got ever so stronger. With my rifle in hand, I wandered into the emptiness of the cave seeing nothing but eerie rock. Crunch! The sound echoed throughout the entire den, leaving me bracing for the deathly appearance of something that did not wish for me to be present in its home. But instead, I felt the touch of a finger on my lips and a, “Ssshh,”. I...

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Chapter 1: The Good in the World

How could it all come to this? As I lay atop the sullen cave floor, I could still hear the screams of the innocent. My life now is a mere shadow of what it used to be. Forevermore will the earth be scarred and burned, but we as a people have the strength to heal our home. The world has gone into a new era, and so have I. How could it all come to this? As I lay atop the sullen cave floor, I could still hear the screams of the innocent. My life now is a mere shadow of what it used to be. Forevermore will the earth be scarred and burned, but we as a people have the strength to heal our home. The world has gone into a new era, and so have I. The wind felt bitter that day as the snow swept across the barren fields of the Voidlands. My grey eyes opened to find nothing but the scarce remains of wood that I used for my fire. The thick clouds that hovered above my petty cave blotted out the sun, but the snow was so crystallized and white that it was almost blinding. I slowly got up, realizing how cramped and dormant my body was from the hard, cold surface of the cave floor. I rustled out all the glimmering snow from my grey cloak, bearing the symbol of the Bringers on the back…a phoenix. I slung my rifle around my back and I placed extra wrappings around my armor and my face to protect my body from the harsh cold. As I stepped out of my cave, the world felt quiet, like it was in complete hibernation from the sins that have been produced by the race of humanity. I pulled out a pair of high-powered, heat-reading goggles. Through the lenses, all I could see was the heat signature of purple. White was the only thing I could see with the naked eye. I ended up in this wasteland through a patrol of the surrounding area. My party of four disappeared into the malice of the Voidlands. I’ve been out here...

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