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Karg's Folly
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

Karg's Folly

Whispers of the Gods. That was what the locals called the howling wind that blew through the cold steppes during the gloaming hours. The people who called these lands home were a hardy breed far removed from the thin-skinned, tender-footed people who inhabited the gentle country to the south.

The people of the southlands called themselves Guymens, wore bright silks, and enjoyed the music of lutes, flutes, fifes, and bells. The people of the steppes had no formal name for themselves as a people, they were simply the Folk. The Folk dressed in heavy furs with earthy hues and had but two instruments for which to make music: the simple drums made from stretched animal skins and their deep, throaty voices.

Accompanied by the background noise of the Whispers of the Gods these people made their music in the time immediately after the sun died every evening. In their simple hide yurts, sitting around roaring fires they craned their necks upward to stare at the trails of smoke that rose through the openings of the yurts and sang their songs to the synchronous beat of a hundred drums.

The cold air made their lungs burn and numbed the magenta skin of their fingers, making drumming difficult. But the difficulty was as much a part of the ritual as the music itself. The stranger that sat in the far corner of the central yurt didn’t care much for music. It wasn’t just that he had a pair of tin ears; it was that he had no connection to the music.

He couldn’t understand what it meant for the Folk. Though the stranger looked bizarre (by the standards of the Folk) with his white skin, blue eyes, and brown hair he was allowed to share the heat of their fires after he defended the daughter of the village’s High Elder from a pack of yagat beasts.

He moved in ways impossible for even the swiftest and strongest of the Folk and in seconds he (with his strange blue-bladed swords) cut the mighty yagat to pieces. Overnight he became something of a living legend among the Folk. He was quiet and plain in his needs and wants, which was exactly the way the Folk liked their guests. He desired only the warmth of a good fire, a dry spot to sleep, a nice filling meal, and the soft hand of a demure maiden.

Many of the Folk’s greatest warriors challenged him to sparring matches, keen on testing their strength and skill against the stranger who some called a demigod. The stranger, reluctant as he was to indulge such bothersome challenges chose to humor the Folk’s warriors.

One by one he sent them all back to their yurts with bruises, minor lacerations, and the jarring knowledge that the stranger could have easily killed them had he been so inclined.

The Folk didn’t like strangers and though they were not an unduly violent people they weren’t the friendliest either. Cold indifference was how they warded off visitors. But in this stranger’s case they embraced him as if he were one of them, even going so far as to offer him the hand of the Elder’s daughter.

Now in his own private yurt the stranger tried his best to tune out the disruptive sounds of chanting and drumming. He sat cross legged with his two strong hands resting on his bent knees. His clothing, though adhering to the earthy colors familiar to the Folk was bizarre in its patterning.

Covering his torso, waist, and groin was a brown-gray tangzhuang-type garment with raised shoulder pads made from an unknown fabric with the texture of wool but the strength of the hardiest leather. On his feet was a pair of narrow toed dark-brown boots whose tongues extended to the mid shin.

His hands, arms, and legs were all wrapped in several layers of gray bandages so it was difficult to discern the exact nature of his physique. The Folk admired the stranger’s hardiness, they admired the fact that he could survive in such a cold climate without as much as a single fur covering him.

When the stranger’s mate entered the yurt she pushed open the flaps with one hand while in the other she held a steaming mug of meaty stew. The stranger looked with his blue eyes into the gentle amber eyes of his mate and flashed a tiny grin. The corners of his eyes crinkled and he loosened his meditative pose slightly to accept the mug of stew.

Thick as the stew was the stranger consumed it in the manner of the Folk: in one prolonged slurp. Setting down the mug the stranger took his mate’s hand and ran his bandage-wrapped hand through her silky blue-black hair.

Such was the understanding between them that they could have a full relationship without either of them speaking a word of the other’s language. The couple approached one another, their lips on a collision course for a gentle kiss when the stranger’s peaceful expression suddenly hardened.

Sensing her mate’s consternation the girl instinctively withdrew into the warm folds of her thick fur parka. A far away rumbling sound, a sound unheard by all the Folk who were busy drumming and chanting had drifted along the winds into the village and into the sharp ears of the stranger.

Drawing away from his mate the stranger’s hands fell upon the bundle of furs that sheathed his weapons. So sharp were the blades that the stranger had to stash them away lest his mate accidently brush against them and slice open her skin. But now the blades were out of their humble covering and once more in the stranger’s hand.

“I must go,” the stranger said to his mate. She didn’t understand the words but she understood the message and nodded obediently.
The stranger left his yurt and began to walk through the snow in the direction of the sound. It was a sound he knew well: the sound of a ship’s engine during landing.

The stranger braved the biting wind and trudged through three feet of fresh snow, crunching through the powder with his narrow-toed boots as if the snow were as light as air. It was half a kilometer outside of the village that he caught his first glimpse of the invaders and their ship.

It was a courier ship of the former Drexxian Empire, an ugly little rhomboid scow with a gray exterior marked with a single orange insignia: the symbol of Drexxis, the Dark God and ruler of the Drexxian Empire. But it wasn’t Drexxis’s ship anymore. Drexxis had disappeared more than a month ago and already his empire had splintered into a hundred rival factions commanded by warlords and petty kings.

Close to thirty meters long and seven meters high they were large enough to transport a hundred hardened soldiers or alternatively a few fat emissaries and their servants and bodyguards. This ship’s load was the latter.

The stranger approached the ship with neither caution nor eagerness. His stride was casual and his manner relaxed when the ship’s rear hatch cracked open, releasing a cloud of steam from the stark temperature differential.

A blast of heat energy from the rear thruster melted the snow in the immediate path of the ship’s gangway for several meters, allowing the crew to disembark. The stranger saw with his sharp eyes a fat, leathery olive-colored claw grasp a metal support. Soon the rest of the emissary’s corpulent body pulled through the opening and stepped out onto the ground that had been scorched bare by the ship’s thrusters.

The stranger nodded to himself, noting that whoever sent these individuals had done their homework. The atmosphere of the planet was toxic to most species of humanoids (including the stranger’s species, but that was another matter entirely) so the creatures who came from the scow were all selected for their atmospheric diets.

The emissaries were Jalans, reptilians from a swamp world with an atmosphere similar to that of the Folk’s world made mostly of nitrogen with the remaining one-forth made up primarily of equal parts oxygen and sulfur. Their six burly bodyguards were Huuta, a primitive but sturdy species of primates from the same world as the Jalans.

The two Jalans were both studies in corpulence with sacks of fat everywhere including the spots under their beady yellow eyes. Their chests heaved and their fat necks jiggled as they labored toward the stranger’s position. They dressed in gold silk and had on more gaudy jewelry than a Jillak whore.

Close behind were their massive Huuta guards who didn’t have the same difficulty with walking short distances and threw their heavy shoulders around as the marched in step, scowling with fanged jaws at the stranger who held his ground twelve meters from the ship.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post May 20th, 2010 10:11 PM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

“Kassok!” the foremost Jalan lifted his arms as if in preparation to embrace the man that stood before him, “You’re looking well.” The Jalan’s leathery lips curled into a crude smile, revealing a row of dagger teeth.

Kassok was indeed looking well. He appeared as a middle aged Caucasian male with brown hair (graying at the temples) and cold blue eyes. At just over six feet tall and with an athletic build he was an impressive specimen.

“Yes, its amazing that he can survive in such deplorable conditions,” the other Jalan said, clearly horrified by his surroundings and desiring to return to the jungles of his homeland as soon as their business on the little planet concluded.

“How do you survive here, Kassok?” the first Jalan asked, squinting at the grim man before them, “You’re a Rukenian, you should be dead from sulfur poisoning.”

“Perhaps the sulfur is afraid to assail his lungs,” the second Jalan joked. He and the other Jalan both shared a hearty laugh while Kassok stared blankly and silently at them and their guards.

“Yes indeed,” the first Jalan stopped laughing and looked intently at Kassok, “I want to first say how honored I am to speak to you, Kassok,” the Jalan dipped his head slightly, “There is no man, woman, or child in the entire realm of Drexxis who does not know of your exploits.”

“Cut to the chase,” Kassok growled, his face devoid of any emotion besides mild annoyance, “Who do you serve?”

“Ah, he said you were a laconic fellow,” the second Jalan beamed.

“Who is ‘he’?” Kassok asked demandingly. One of the Huuta gripped the pommel of his weapon when he detected the aggression in Kassok’s voice.

“He,” cut in the first Jalan, “Is Karg the Mighty.”

“Karg?” Kassok raised a brow, “Never heard of him.”

“Well he has heard of you,” the second Jalan said with a sly grin, “And he wishes to acquire your most valuable services.”

“Who was Karg when Drexxis was in charge?” Kassok asked, “I know he wasn’t an Armada Commander and he wasn’t a Vizier. So just what kind of background does Karg come from?”

“No, no,” the Jalans both laughed with the glee of career sycophants, “The great Karg was but a simple battle-leader only two months hence. But now he is one of the seven great lords who vie for the throne in Great Drexxis’s regrettable absence.”

“It is his humble origins we believe that give him an advantage over his decadent and effete rivals,” the first Jalan proclaimed, evidently unaware of the irony in his words.

“Shit is humble too,” Kassok replied. The two Jalans both traded puzzled looks, unable to determine how best to meet the impertinence. Anyone else would have been killed on the spot for insulting Karg but Kassok was a special case, “So what can humble old Karg offer me?” Kassok asked at length.

“Anything,” the first Jalan said.

“Anything you desire,” added the second.

“Riches?” Kassok offered, feigning interest with a slight grin.

“Rivers of gold and silver, mountains of gemstones!” the second Jalan proclaimed.

“Women?”

“Any woman your eye fancies shall be yours, Princesses, Empresses, virgin Priestesses—”

“Karg’s wife?” Kassok asked with a waggish smile.

“Well…” the Jalans rubbed their heads, “Karg has no wife.”

“Well that’s a shame,” Kassok scoffed, “Would he give her to me if he did?”

“Most assuredly he would,” the first Jalan said, “Karg is not the kind who would jealously guard some woman if it meant losing such a fine prospect as the legendary Kassok.”

“Would I have minstrels?” Kassok inquired.

“If you like,” the first Jalan, “You could have a thousand bards and poets composing songs of praise, glorying your name for all eternity.”

“Wow…as offers go that is tempting,” Kassok mused, “I’ll have to think about it.”

“Take all the time you need,” the first Jalan said with a friendly smile.
“Ah, but not too much time,” the second Jalan added, “After all Karg doesn’t have all of time to wait for your decision, he needs you now.”

“Thought about it,” Kassok said after less than six seconds of not-so-intensive deliberation.

“And?”

“No,” Kassok turned his back on the Jalans and their guards and started to walk casually away.

“Wh—wh—what?” the first Jalan blurted out.

“You can’t be serious!” protested the second Jalan.

“I’ll thank you to leave quieter than you arrived,” Kassok called back, his back completely turned to the Jalans, “That ship is a noisy one.”
“Now see here!” the first Jalan roared (or as close as he could come to a roar) out.

Mustering up all his strength the Jalan rushed his great bulk across the distance and caught up to Kassok. He reached with his fat right arm for Kassok’s shoulder in an attempt to halt the assassin’s slow march. Before he could reach the man’s shoulder Kassok wheeled around at obscene speed and thrust his bandage-wrapped index finger into the folds of fat on the Jalan’s neck.

Immediately the Jalan was paralyzed, unable to even move the muscles on his face. He tried to scream but all that his body could produce was a feeble whimper.

“So all this bulk is good for something after all,” Kassok mused in regards to the Jalan’s neck fat, “Without this bulk protecting your nerve cluster that little touch would have killed you.”

“What is the meaning of this?!” demanded the second Jalan, his fat gums flapping and spittle spraying from his mouth.

“Back off,” Kassok growled icily.

“I’ll deal with this!” roared the largest of the Huuta. The lumbering beast hoisted a hammer bigger than Kassok’s entire body and charged at the assassin. With a slight twitch of his finger Kassok performed the Teshin death-touch, killing the hapless Jalan before the Huuta could take his second thunderous step.

Kassok’s flat left palm shot out from his side and knocked the Jalan’s still-standing corpse off its feet and into the air. The charging Huuta was hit square in the sternum by 190 kilograms of flying Jalan corpse.

A cracking sound followed, whether it was the sound of the Huuta’s sternum shattering or the sound of the dead Jalan’s neck snapping on contact wasn’t clear. Most likely it was a combination of both.

The other five Huuta were quick to rush Kassok, eager to avenge their injured comrade. The smallest of the Huuta were well over twelve feet tall and weighed more than half a ton, most of it muscle. Huuta were prized as warriors because they could lift more than thirty times their body weight and had skin as hard as stone.

They were also ugly beasts with rather small brains and though they had wonderful senses of smell they had average hearing and motion based vision. This put them at a distinct disadvantage against the nearly-odorless Kassok who was able to sidestep all of their clumsy attacks and hit them where they were vulnerable.

In between the ponderous metal plates that formed the Huuta’s armor were narrow gaps that Kassok was able to exploit with ruthless efficiency. Kassok knew the location of all the important nerve clusters on 696 different humanoid species and close to a hundred non-humanoids. For Huuta the nerve cluster that when pressed would cause the shut down of the central nervous system was about the size of a cherry tomato.

In the time it took the five Huuta to fall dead Kassok finished off the first Huuta by pressing his boot to the Huuta’s thick, muscular neck until Kassok heard the vertebra crack. Now it was just the second Jalan and Kassok. The Jalan dropped to his knees, his belly fat flopping as he did and clasped his two fat hands together to beg for Kassok’s mercy.

“Oh please, Kassok,” the Jalan blubbered, “Don’t kill me!”

“Kill you?” Kassok raised an eyebrow and regarded the Jalan with supreme contempt, “No. I won’t kill you. I need you to deliver a message for me.”

“A message?” the Jalan looked up timidly at Kassok.

“That’s right,” Kassok said in almost gentle tone, “A message to Karg informing him that my services aren’t for sale and that any further disturbances will be dealt with. Severely.

“Of course, Lord Kassok,” the Jalan groveled, “I will take this message to my Lord Karg. I’m sure he’ll understand.”

“He’d better.”

“Thank you for showing mercy, oh glorious Kassok,” the Jalan said again, “You are a prince among men.”

“Yeah about that,” Kassok stroked his chin thoughtfully, “It seems unfair to your compatriots that you should leave without so much as a scratch.”

“Whatever do you mean?” the Jalan asked, clearly terrified. Without warning Kassok’s right fist shot out, striking the Jalan in the face and splintering his jaw.

“That’s what I mean,” Kassok growled, “Now go.”

*************
To be continued.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post May 20th, 2010 10:15 PM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
BruceSkywalker
The BatLord of the Jedi

Gender: Male
Location: The Batcave

this is very good... good characters


__________________



Thanks Steve... The Darkside of the force...

Old Post May 21st, 2010 07:26 AM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

It happened when Kassok was out stalking the wide snow-covered prairies for the rare but valuable game animals the Folk depended on for meat and fur. He was successful in tracking and cornering a scrawny shrub-nibbler when the sky was lit up by an eerie yellow glow.

It appeared first as a meteor (what the Folk called a fire-stone) streaking through the overcast gray sky but as it descended and drew closer to the ground Kassok realized the thing’s true nature, it wasn’t a fire-stone, it was a missile launched from a starship. The missile hit the center of the village and set the yurts ablaze.

Standing at a safe distance a quarter of a kilometer west of the village Kassok saw the explosion blossom like a fiery orange rose. After the initial flash of light there was a split-second gap between Kassok seeing the explosion and hearing the resultant calamitous noise, a noise accompanied by a shockwave that knocked him on his backside.

Kassok sprung back to his feet immediately and forgot all about the shrub-nibbler who mere seconds ago was about to become stew-meat. His mind turned to the village, to the Folk, to his mate. Kassok’s feet sliced through knee-deep snow as the man ran at inhuman speed in the direction of what was once the peaceful village.

When Kassok reached the blast site the explosion had faded and left behind a thin trail of black smoke rising languidly into the grayish-white sky and a smoking blackened crater deep enough and wide enough that were it filled with water it could be classified as a small lake.

Nothing remained of the village, nothing except for a small copper pendant that was partially buried under ash and rubble, a pendant that had belonged to Kassok’s mate. He scooped up the little trinket with his right hand, gazed at it wistfully for a moment and then stuffed it into the folds of his clothing.

He gazed up at the cold gray skies, his expression blank and emotionless. The sky shed frozen tears and Kassok stared unflinchingly into the aether. For a moment a red light illuminated the white-gray clouds and the low, rumbling hum of a ship preparing to land, pierced the wispy veil and echoed in Kassok’s sensitive ears.

The dark outline of a drop ship the size of a small village materialized through the cloudscape and a tiny grin appeared on Kassok’s face for a brief moment. The grin quickly faded and Kassok’s characteristic grim countenance returned.

*************
Lieutenant Ulgo hated snow. Of all the biomes and climates he had marched through in Drexxis’s name none had earned his ire more than those which contained snow. He hated swamps, jungles, and deserts with a purple passion but not to the same extent that he despised snow.

In Ulgo’s mind the only thing worst than being ordered to march through snow half a meter deep was being ordered to march through snow half a meter deep without being told why. Their orders had come straight from Karg himself, to come to this small backwater world and annihilate some tiny village no one had ever heard of.

Ulgo had no issue with that part of the mission, what he took issue with was the fact that after destroying the village from orbit they were to send a ground party of six hundred to explore the area surrounding the village (well, former village) in search of…something.

Ulgo was a Grodoran, a member of a short, squat race of near humans distinguished by their stubby, square teeth and hunched postures. Ulgo was tall for a Grodoran at 170 centimeters tall and with a decent build.

Of course in the cumbersome orange battle armor of a Drexxian shock trooper he was distinguished only by the yellow stripe painted on the top of his shell-like helmet, a stripe indicating his rank.

He had been tasked by the commander of the ground operation to lead his thirty man patrol deep into the wilderness in the direction of a partially subterranean structure the ship’s scanners had detected from orbit. When he and his men first spotted their target it looked like nothing more than an ordinary hill.

But the visor of his helmet soon confirmed to Ulgo that the ‘hill’ was mostly hollow and led into a tunnel that seemed to go for a hundred meters into the planet’s womb.

Upon reaching the hill (which was actually a kurgan, a burial mound constructed of wood and earth) Ulgo maneuvered his cumbersome blaze rifle so that the tip pointed toward a small passageway. He flipped on the light on the tip of his barrel and the little opening was flooded with bright blue light.

“Looks safe to me, sir,” one of Ulgo’s subordinates said. Ulgo nodded.

“You first,” Ulgo said to the solider.

“Me?” the man asked. Though his visored facemask didn’t allow for any display of emotion and his armor’s voice box couldn’t communicate tone it was clear he was frightened.

“You said it looked safe,” Ulgo said, “So what are you waiting for?”

“I…,” the soldier relented, “Yes, sir.” Crouching low the soldier managed to squeeze through the small opening and found himself inside of a dark earthen chamber.

He switched on the light panels on the chest and shoulder plates of his armor and jumped back when they illuminated a menacing humanoid figure looming over him. The soldier’s heart skipped a beat and he instinctively raised and fired his blaze rifle at the figure.

A hot lead slug shattered the head of what he soon realized was nothing more than a huge stone carving of a man, presumably some kind of guardian placed in the kurgan to protect the spirits of the deceased. The soldier was nearly knocked on his face by a hard slap from Ulgo, disgusted at the soldier’s lack of poise.

“What have I told you about wasting ammunition?” Ulgo’s voice box hummed.

“Sorry sir,” the soldier bowed his armored head in shame, “It won’t happen again.”

“Damn right it won’t,” Ulgo snapped, “You wait outside and guard the entrance,” Ulgo ordered, “A catacomb is no place for a coward.”

“Actually sir,” chimed in another soldier who had come through the entrance, a soldier who was known as a Know-it-All, “I think the more apposite term would be kurgan.”

“I don’t care what the proper term is,” Ulgo’s voice box hissed, “I just want to get the job done and get back to the ship. Now you men come with me,” Ulgo motioned to the seven men who had entered the kurgan, “Put your lamps up to the high setting, watch out for traps, and keep it single file: this passage doesn’t look very wide,” he said in reference to the tunnel that led deeper into the burial grounds.

The eight men moved slowly and cautiously through the tunnel, conscious of the fact that they were surrounded by ten generations of corpses, some ritually mummified and some merely left in disorderly piles of bones.

The further down they got the tighter the passage became and eventually it became impossible for even the smallest among them to go any further, inhibited as they were by cumbersome body armor and gear. Upon reaching this dead end Ulgo signaled his men who were topside.

No response.

“Damn it!” Ulgo swore, “Maybe there’s interference.”

“Unlikely sir,” replied the Know-it-All soldier, “These new transceivers have signals that can penetrate through a hundred meters of solid granite.”

“Maybe they all turned off their com-links,” suggested another soldier.

“Or maybe the problem isn’t with the transceivers at all,” suggested a voice that belonged to none of the men. It was a human voice unfiltered by a voice box of any kind. The soldier at the rear wheeled around and pointed the barrel of his blaze rifle at empty darkness.

“Who’s there?” Ulgo demanded.

“People ought to be more careful,” the voice said, seemingly everywhere and nowhere at once, “Wandering into tombs like this…not a good idea.”

“Show yourself damn it!” screamed the soldier at the back of the line, the soldier.

“You know someone trapped inside of one of these tombs would have a really terrible death,” the voice prattled in a maliciously amused manner, “It’s a race between dehydration, suffocation, and death by cold. In comparison, the fate that I now visit on you will be quick and easy.”

“Drexxis damn you, show yourself!” screeched the soldier.

“Here I am,” Kassok stepped into the light of the soldier’s lamp. The soldier shut his eyes and squeezed the trigger. But the blaze rifle didn’t fire. Before he could squeeze the trigger the soldier lost the use of his hands as Kassok’s shimmering blue-bladed zeltium chokutō sliced through armor, flesh, and bone like if they were delicate cloth.

The blaze rifle clattered to the floor, the poor soldier’s hands still grasping the stock and grip. A fiendish luster appeared in the corner of Kassok’s eye, the only glimmer of emotion on his otherwise blank face.
*************
More to come


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post May 21st, 2010 11:55 PM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

*************
“Still no response from Ulgo, Commander,” said a young human Sergeant to Commander Dulma, the person in charge of the ground operation. Dulma was a quiet, imperturbable man in his late middle ages with dark skin and graying hair. His armor was distinguished from the rest of his men by a prominent golden chevron on the chest piece.

“Damn his eyes,” Dulma spat, “. I should have known better than to send him out into that whiteness, damn fool probably got lost. That’s the third patrol now that’s failed to report back.” Dulma scanned the flat, featureless landscape for signs of the lost party but found nothing but more snow.

“Should we send a search party after him?” asked the Sergeant.

“No,” Dulma shook his helmeted head, “You know Karg’s policy.”

“Even so, they couldn’t have gotten far.”

“Damn it, I said no,” Dulma struck the Sergeant across the head lightly but firmly. The helmet protected against gunfire and the toxic air but not against blunt force and the Sergeant’s cheek was bruised from being slammed into helmet’s hard unpadded interior, “Now patch a line up to the ship, whatever it is we’re looking for isn’t worth braving the blizzard that’s about to blow through.”

“Umm sir,” the voice box of one of the soldiers sounded off.

“What is it?” Dulma asked impatiently.

“I think it’s a little late to be worrying about the snow storm,” the soldier raised his arm and pointed at an ominous dark cloud low on the horizon, a cloud moving in Dulma’s direction at frightening speed. Dulma scarcely had time to swear before the cloud was on top of his position, raining down more snow than his visor’s sensors could deal with.

There were close to two hundred men camped around the drop ship and all of them were now consumed by the icy haze. Men standing just a meter from one another were completely cut off, unable to see or hear anything further than the length of their arms. It was a commander’s nightmare, Dulma was forced to shut off his com link due to the deafening racket created by two hundred men calling out to one another, frightened and confused.

Turning off his com link and shutting out the noise allowed Dulma to hear the scream of a nearby soldier, a scream cut short. Dulma didn’t have time to register the sound before he felt a sharp pain in his back and chest and heard a smooth blade sliding through organ meat and bone, his organs, his bones.

When the cloud passed over and the area around the drop ship cleared up there was but one lone soldier left standing. The poor soul looked to his left and looked to his right, finding only the corpses of his fellow soldiers and the stains of many colors of blood in patches of snow surrounding them.

His heart raced and his extremities froze, sweat was pouring down his face in streams and his spine was tingling. He scanned his surroundings for some sign of life or a sign of the assailant that dispatched his comrades but found nothing. Instead Kassok found him.

The first blow to the soldier’s side cracked the outer layer of armor and launched the young man ten meters away where he slammed into the hard shell of the drop ship. He struggled with two broken arms to lift his rifle but Kassok disarmed him with a kick, sending the rifle flying to the side.

When Kassok grabbed him by the neck and hoisted him into the air the assassin’s fingers were leaving dents in tempered steel and cracking hardened explosive-proof ceramics.

“I can tell from the pace of your suit’s respirator that you’re having some trouble breathing,” Kassok said with a low growl, “Well…” Kassok placed a hand over the soldier’s mask, the only thing between him and the toxic sulfur of the planet’s atmosphere.

Kassok wrenched the mask away, exposing the soldier to the cold air. The shock of cold caused the soldier to gasp, accelerating the process of sulfur asphyxiation, “Breathe easy.”

*************

With his raven hair, creamy brown skin, sharp eyes, neatly trimmed spade beard, and luxurious clothes Dakross looked more like a charming diplomat than a fearsome Armada Commander. He waxed his beard and mustache regularly, combed his hair neatly, and dressed in the blue silk tunic and red satin cloak of a Vizier but with the iron headband of an Armada Commander.

During Drexxis’s reign such liberties in attire would not have been permitted but now that Drexxis was gone Dakross was ready to kick back and wear something that better suited his self-image as a suave aristocrat, discarding the ugly black uniform of the Drexxian military with glee.

He was one of a handful of warlords who had amassed enough territory and resources to have a legitimate chance of unifying the former Drexxian Empire under one banner and never missed a chance to remind people what that meant.

His faction had territory in a dozen galaxies and the ships in his massive armada numbered in the quintillions ranging from tiny single person scout vessels to enormous hundred plus kilometer long ‘Slavers’ (named after the nomadic slave-owning culture that had originally developed and used them before the Drexxian Empire subjugated them) with crews in the millions.

He made one such vessel (named the Dakross in his honor) his flagship. His flagship was his temple and woe to anyone who would be foolish enough to disrespect Dakross’s temple.

Soldiers and crewmen traded scuttlebutt quietly, wary of the numerous surveillance nodes scattered across the ship to detect any hint of spoken mutiny. In one corner of the ship’s bridge a small collection of officers were discussing the setbacks Dakross’s faction had suffered just a month ago.

“I talked to a soldier who was posted in a frontier station,” said one young female weapon’s officer, “He said that there were these little blue lights that tore through entire fleets and busted planets. His station opened fire on the lights but nothing worked.”

“I’ve heard rumors about these lights as well,” whispered another officer, “A friend of mine stationed in the Jora Sector thinks they’re some new weapon that one of Dakross’s enemies discovered. They’re always saying how Drexxis kept things hidden from everyone, maybe these lights are some doomsday weapon he had stashed away.”

“If its one of Dakross’s enemies then we can rule out Lady Lort,” said a third officer.

“What makes you say that?” inquired the first female officer.

“Well an old friend stationed in Fleet 754 told me about a mission into Lort’s territory a few weeks back,” the officer began to lower his voice, “According to my friend his fleet arrived in one of Lort’s most fortified sectors expecting a fight only to find the sector’s defenses reduced to scrap.”

“So maybe another rival moved in before you did.”

“Nah…see the burns on the scrap were unlike anything caused by any weapon in the possession of any known starship, also there were no recent drive signatures or hyperspace faults in the sector, whatever it was that did Lort’s fleet in, it wasn’t a fleet of ships.”

“Hey cut the chatter!” yelled one of Dakross’s overseers at the group, “Get back to work.” The officers scurried back to their posts rather than face the overseer’s wrath.

At the front of the bridge Dakross was sipping from a goblet of vintage wine and enjoying some time alone when a senior officer came before his mini-throne, bowing his head low first in recognition of Dakross.

“What is it, Commander?” Dakross asked, clearly annoyed at being disturbed.

“Pardon the interruption, Lord,” the senior officer bowed again, “But it’s urgent.”

“I gathered as much by the fact that you’d bother me during period of private reflection,” Dakross sneered, “Now please tell me what’s the matter before I have to give you a reprimand.” The senior officer nearly gulped, in Dakross’s vernacular a reprimand was code for being ejected into space.

“Lord Dakross a ship bearing the banner of Karg has been spotted in the sector,” the officer explained.

“When was it first spotted?” Dakross inquired, setting down his goblet and adopting a more professional tone.

“Just a few minutes ago, Lord.”

“Class?”

“It’s a battlecruiser, J-class, approximately one kilometer from stern to bow and with tier-3 shielding and a level-6 hyper drive.”

“Why didn’t you destroy it when it first popped up?” Dakross asked, arching his eyebrows menacingly, “You don’t need my direct approval to engage an enemy vessel.”

“My apologies, Lord,” the officer bowed a third time, “Its just the initial scan turned up some…strange results.”

“What does that mean?”

“Well, Lord, the ship is filled with organic matter but only one life sign that we can see. According to the scan it’s a Rukenian.” At that Dakross’s eyes widened and his expression slackened. It almost looked as if Dakross had seen a ghost.

“Have you…have you tried hailing the vessel?” Dakross asked in a semi-whisper.

“No, Lord Dakross.”

“Do it.”

“Sending hail now,” the officer replied with a curtsy. A few seconds passed before the huge com screen in front of Dakross’s throne lit up as a line was established between the battlecruiser and the Dakross. Dakross’s suspicions were confirmed when he was greeted with a pair of cold blue eyes.

“Kassok?” Dakross sounded winded at first, then his desolate expression was replaced by a joyous one, looking to Kassok as an old friend might, “Kassok!” he repeated, this time with more satisfaction and less tremulous surprise.

“Dakross.” Kassok murmured indifferently.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post May 23rd, 2010 12:14 AM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

“Leave us,” Dakross said to the officer, who complied and hastily exited the area, “How long has it been?” Dakross asked, stroking his spade beard with a ringed finger.

“Long enough for you to lose any sense of style apparently,” Kassok sneered in regards to Dakross’s foppish attire, “And here I thought you had a glimmer of self respect.”

“You speak with great impertinence considering how easy it would be for me to wipe you and your ship out,” Dakross replied with a smirk.

“You could try,” Kassok grunted, “I got my finger on the hyper drive control switch and we both know I’m quicker on the draw than any of your gunners.”

“True,” Dakross steepled his fingers and nodded his head, “Well this is a rare treat, Kassok. The last I heard you were on a ship bound for some backwater planet in the Firebrand Galaxy.”

“You heard right,” Kassok frowned, “I was in the Firebrand Galaxy, far away from the Drexxian Zone…until Karg sent a ship to seek me out.”

“I knew Karg would try to secure your allegiance eventually,” Dakross said with a knowing grin, “I’m guessing from the fact you’re in one of his ships surrounded by the corpses of his soldiers his attempt failed.”

“Spectacularly,” Kassok agreed.

“So what’s this about?” Dakross leaned forward in his throne and rubbed his hands together eagerly, “Are you coming to enter in my service to spite him?”

“You wish,” Kassok’s nostrils flared up with indignation, “I would rather die than fight under your banner.”

“If you don’t intend to fight under my banner then what business do we have together?” Dakross demanded.

“I won’t fight under you, but I’m willing to fight with you,” Kassok answered back, “I’ve been traveling around the Drexxian Zone, catching up with current events. From this fact-finding tour I’ve learned a great deal about your problems with Karg.”

“Oh?”

“I know that you have more than enough power to crush him but his location is a mystery. Because of that you don’t know where to strike,” Kassok smirked, “See thumbing through this ship’s data I’ve discovered the location of his secret fortress world.”

“And here comes the proposal,” Dakross chuckled.

“I’ve got the location of his capital, you’ve got the firepower: together we can take Karg down.”

“Interesting proposal,” Dakross flicked the tip of his beard with an idle thumb, “Transmit the coordinates and we’ll rendezvous on the edge of the system.”

“Don’t insult me,” Kassok snarled, “I’m not an idiot.”

“You can’t blame me for trying,” Dakross flashed a bright smile filled with pearly white teeth, “Fine then; perhaps it would be best if we met in person, at some place nice. How about the Grand Palace of planet Uki?” Of course Dakross would want to meet Kassok on one of his core planets, but Kassok had other ideas.

“I was thinking something a bit more…neutral,” Kassok replied.

“Any particular place you have in mind?”

“Yes,” Kassok nodded, “There’s a tiny tavern near the equator of a farm-world called Exus-67. I used to stay there during off-times, nice little place, very quiet, and well out of range of any major Drexxian military instillations, that’s where we’ll meet.”

“Of course, I’ll meet you there with a few handpicked guards and—”

“No,” Kassok cut him off, “Alone.”

“You can’t expect me to walk into what very well might be a trap without a single guard!” Dakross protested.

“Yes I can,” Kassok said icily, “You could take a thousand guards, an entire army if you wanted. We both know it wouldn’t help you if I wanted you dead.”

“Touché,” Dakross nodded and curled his lip, “Very well, but might I send a scout first to ensure you aren’t planning something insidious?”

“If it makes you feel safe then go right ahead,” Kassok answered, “I just don’t want to see this scout carrying any weapons, break my trust and the deal is off, I disappear and find another one of Karg’s enemies to share my valuable information with. Understand?”

“Clear as crystal,” Dakross nodded again, “Oh and Kassok…,” the corner of Dakross’s mouth began to twist and a sinister glint appeared in his eyes, “What did Karg take from you that earned him your ire?” Kassok’s eyes narrowed and a noticeable scowl developed on his face, “It can’t just be that he tried to kill you. I mean, I’ve tried to kill you a dozen times and you’ve never held a grudge. So what was it? Someone or something special to you? An adorable pet? A slow child you took under your wing? A woman?”

The transmission ended abruptly.

“Well, well,” Dakross stared at the blank screen, “I guess he has buttons to push after all.”


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post May 23rd, 2010 12:16 AM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

*************

The little tavern hadn’t changed much in the seven years since Kassok had last visited. It was still a quaint single-floor building made of wood and brown bricks with a straw roof and stone chimney. Its largest room was the anteroom, a central space that included a wooden counter (with a few shelves laden with various alcoholic beverages and cured meats) some wooden stools and a few tables and chairs.

Aside from the anteroom the tavern also boasted a few smaller rooms allotted for travelers who needed a warm, dry place to spend the night. When Kassok entered through the creaking front door he was greeted by the warm smile of a jovial old codger with white hair, a full beard, and a brown patch over his left eye. The man was portly and had some wrinkles on his rosy face but Kassok still got the impression of youth and vitality from looking into the man’s blue right eye. Kassok was still wearing his usual attire but instead of wearing his swords across his back he bundled them up in a brown rawhide bag which he wore like a rucksack.

“Looking for a room or are you just looking for a quick drink?” the old man asked, his wide smile revealing oddly (considering the man’s apparent age) white teeth. The man’s accent was peculiar, he spoke Standa (the Universal language of most humanoid space-faring races) but with an inflection not common to any of the thousands of cultures Kassok had yet encountered.

“The former,” Kassok murmured. Kassok squinted his eyes as he attempted to size the man up.

“For how long do you expect to stay?” the man asked.

“Not sure,” Kassok’s attention shifted from the old man toward a young woman who appeared from the tavern’s back door. She was short and slender with shoulder length sandy-blonde hair mostly hidden under a blue bonnet. She wore a plain dress of earthy colors and had plainer brown eyes. She wasn’t gorgeous by any means, but she did have a nice smile which she flashed when she noticed Kassok’s stare. Kassok didn’t return the smile but he did nod ever so slightly, “I might leave tonight, I might be here a week. Let’s just say I’m waiting on a visitor.”

“Say no more,” the old man nodded understandingly, “You may have the corner room, provided you can pay for it. I assure you my rates are reasonable.”

“Will this suffice?” Kassok reached into the folds of his clothing and produced a few silver tokens, enough money to buy the tavern. The old man’s eye noticeably widened and his belly jiggled as he chuckled.

“Yes…I should think so,” the old man accepted took the coins with his stubby fingers and waddled toward a little iron safe behind the counter, “Weiza, dear, be a lark and take this fine gentleman’s luggage to his room,” the man called to the young woman who nodded and approached Kassok. Kassok saw the faintest of glimmers in the girl’s brown eyes, glimmers the old man didn’t seem to notice. Kassok could hear the girl’s heartbeat as if it were a booming drum, so sensitive was his sense of hearing. Her heart rate climbed steadily but noticeably the closer she came to Kassok.

“That won’t be necessary,” Kassok tried to dissuade the ‘assistance’ but to no avail. The girl reached up and grabbed the rucksack’s shoulder strap, peeling the sack away from Kassok and taking it into her own hands. If the girl had the same ears as Kassok she would have noticed an increase in his heart rate as well, but for an entirely different reason. Whenever someone came within arm’s reach of Kassok a little sequence of events would play out in Kassok’s mind, a sequence wherein Kassok swiftly dispatched whoever it was that came within his personal space.

In his mind’s eye he saw his right hand snatching the girl by her wrist and breaking it before snapping her neck with a quick motion of his left hand. The girl fell dead to the floor, her soft brown eyes rolling back in her head and her tongue hanging out of her mouth.

Flash back to reality.

Kassok was still as a statue when the girl took his rucksack from him, smiling once more and throwing the slightest of winks his way before turning around and walking, rucksack comfortably in her arms in the direction of Kassok’s room. The only external sign of his body’s unconscious drive to disable any and all threats was a little jitter in his right hand and a momentary twitch in the corner of his eyes.

“She’s a fine girl,” said the old man, “A little too curious if you ask me but a fine girl nonetheless.”

“Curious?” Kassok raised a brow, “I don’t much care for curiosity.”

*************

The room was smaller than Kassok had anticipated, just one small bed barely large enough for a full grown man, a small nightstand, and about fifteen square meters of free floor space which was effectively cut down by a square meter each time the door opened. He didn’t mind the cramped conditions; he just needed space enough to stretch his limbs and a bed to sleep in. Kassok didn’t bother closing the door all the way, leaving a small crack a few centimeters wide. From the small crack an unearthly green light spilled out into the narrow hallway, illuminating the dark passage with its pale jade glow. It wasn’t a steady glow like an electric light, it was flickering like fire.

The girl who had taken Kassok’s rucksack to his room now approached the source of the eerie light. First she removed her sandals so as not to make a racket when approaching Kassok’s room, then she took the fringes of her skirt in her hands and lifted them so as to prevent accidently stumbling on her own skirt, and then she began to noiselessly creep across the hallway toward Kassok’s door. When she reached the doorway she peaked nervously through the crack and witnessed something she couldn’t fully understand.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Last edited by Omega Vision on May 25th, 2010 at 08:05 PM

Old Post May 25th, 2010 08:02 PM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

She found Kassok sitting cross-legged on the front of his bed, his left hand clenched tightly in a fist while his left hand was raised to his face, its index and middle finger extended. From these fingers a tiny green flame danced, the source of the bizarre light. Kassok stared into the flame, seemingly transfixed by it. The girl became partially transfixed too, so much so that she scarcely noticed that Kassok’s bare chest, arms, and legs were plastered with strange black tattoos. Kassok’s tangzhuang was folded neatly on top of his bed while the bandages that had covered the rest of his body were bundled up into four neat rolls stacked next to his tangzhuang. His only clothing was a brown linen loincloth that reached to his mid-thighs.

Glancing away from the flame for a brief instant the girl had to admire Kassok’s body and how well he concealed it in his unflattering attire. He was muscular and far more vital than his graying hair and middle-aged face would have let on. The girl stared at the tattoos on his shoulder and chest as if attempting to divine some meaning from their abstract shapes. The style of the inking was jagged and sharp-edged and though the girl had never seen such shapes before they looked like writing of some kind.

The green flame on Kassok’s fingertips intensified and the black ink of his tattoos started to glow with a faint jade luminescence. Kassok briefly closed his eyes and upon reopening his eyelids revealed that his cold blue irises had shifted into a fluorescent green color, the same color as the flame. The girl’s breathing slowed and her heart started thumping, she had the feeling that something was about to happen, something strange and marvelous. Something did happen.

The flame that had danced from Kassok’s fingers grew in intensity once more and then all of a sudden spread across the entirety of Kassok’s form, engulfing his body and encapsulating him in a cocoon of jade fire. Though the fire appeared to touch the bed sheets Kassok sat on they did not spread, and indeed the girl could feel no heat from the fire despite standing less than two meters away from its source. The girl gasped when the flames engulfed Kassok. It was only a little gasp, barely audible, and yet Kassok still took notice. Immediately the flames vanished, Kassok’s eyes returned to their natural blue hue, and the tattoos ceased to glow.

“The old man was right,” Kassok cocked an eye at the girl, who’s face could be seen staring through the narrow crack in the door, “You are curious.”

“I’m sorry,” the girl said, not quite panic-stricken but certainly ill at ease at the prospect of being caught spying.

“No you’re not,” Kassok said with a tiny smirk, “You’re not sorry at all. Not for spying anyway, you’re happy you got to see what you got to see. What you’re sorry for is that you got caught.” The girl pushed the door open and stepped through, a look of nervous curiosity worn over her pretty face.

“I promise I won’t breathe a word of what I’ve seen,” the girl said, trying her best not to stare at Kassok’s well-muscled chest and arms.

“Oh you’ll do more than breathe a word,” Kassok said dryly, “Not that anyone will believe you.”

“I suppose it does sound like a crazy story,” the girl agreed, “But what was that?”

“The fire?” Kassok asked. He stroked his chin thoughtfully, “It’s difficult to explain.”

“Is it…magic?” the girl asked, taking a tentative step in Kassok’s direction. She was oddly comfortable around Kassok. Whether this was due to her stated inquisitive nature or to her implicit attraction to the man wasn’t clear.

“You could call it magic,” Kassok replied. He looked to his right index finger and soon a tiny jade green ember appeared on its tip, “But as I’ve discovered it isn’t really magic and it isn’t as unnatural as it seems.”

“How do you mean?” the girl took a seat on the bed within arm’s reach of Kassok, her eyes glued on the dancing spark glowing on Kassok’s fingertip.

“Within all life forms there is energy, a type of energy that cannot be quantified or measured,” Kassok explained, “Though this energy is Universal and common to all life in its myriad forms virtually no one can channel or access it. At least not consciously.”

“Could I…access it?” the girl asked, leaning closer to the flame.

“I guarantee you that you already have at some point in your life,” Kassok answered, “If you’ve ever done anything that seemed impossible chances are it was made possible by the Viscera.”

“The Viscera?”

“That’s what it’s called; at least that’s what Drexxis told me it was called.” At the mention of the Dark God the girl shrunk back a bit.

“Did you say Drexxis?” the girl whispered the terrible name, as if merely invoking his name might summon the dread deity, “You’ve talked to Drexxis?”

“And then some,” Kassok frowned.

“But I’ve heard that no one can speak to Drexxis and live to speak of it.”

“That’s mostly true,” Kassok nodded, “I’ve talked to him and I’m still alive. His Viziers have spoken to him many times and most of them are still alive. Drexxis isn’t as terrifying as the tales would suggest, nor is he as needlessly cruel. He’s a bit like me in that regard: he just doesn’t let anything get in his way. But he’s much more ruthless than I am,” the flame danced on Kassok’s fingertip as if blown by a strong wind, “And more than that he is the only being I’ve ever encountered that has no connection to the Viscera whatsoever.”

“Does that mean he isn’t really alive?”

“Could be,” Kassok shrugged, “I never gave it much thought. It’s just that I look at Drexxis and I don’t see it, I don’t see his connection like if he’s some dead zone.”

“If everyone holds this Viscera within them why is it that I’ve never heard of it before?” the girl inquired, shuffling closer to Kassok by a tiny margin, “How exactly do you call upon it at will?”

“The Viscera is one of the Universe’s best kept secrets,” Kassok moved his lit finger toward the girl’s face, moving the flame to within a centimeter of the girl’s nose, “It can only be invoked and channeled by someone who has pushed their body to its physical limits and beyond, someone who has given up everything and emptied their spirit of all distractions. It isn’t magic because magic comes from the power of the mind. The Viscera is derived from the power of the body. Many people have channeled the Viscera in the past but almost all of them lose their minds and give in to a feral rage. I nearly succumbed to the same rage, but my will was strong enough that I retained my identity. With the aid of the mystic tattoos that cover my flesh I can call on the Viscera’s power without fear of losing control.”

“Remarkable,” the girl whispered, moving even closer to Kassok, “How does it feel?”

“You mean when I’m channeling it?” Kassok asked. He scratched his head and stroked his chin reflectively, “I’m not entirely sure how to describe it. When I become engulfed with the fire I feel…happy.”

“Happy?”

“Happiness, sadness, anger, fear, greed, love, hate, compassion, all of these sensations at once. In short, I feel alive.”

“Is that why you seem so quiet and solemn?” the girl asked, “Is it because the only time you’re truly stimulated is when you’re channeling the fire?” Kassok nodded and extinguished the little flickering green flame.

“If you walked on the surface of the sun…how could you be expected to care about the flicker of a tiny candle?” The girl’s trembling hand moved to touch Kassok’s closed left fist which tensed up at first but then relaxed. The hand opened, revealing the delicate copper pendant from Kassok’s dead mate.

“What’s this?” the girl’s fingers stroked the copper pendant, it felt cold despite having been clenched in Kassok’s warm hand.

“It’s nothing,” Kassok growled. His eyes were staring away from the girl, focused on a blank wall in front of him.

“Its pretty,” the girl took the pendant from Kassok’s hand and held it close to her eyes, examining it in detail, “A little worn but pretty.”

“You’re welcome to have it,” Kassok murmured.

“Oh no, I couldn’t,” the girl protested, half-sincerely. It was clear she desired the little piece of jewelry.

“Take it,” Kassok said, “I don’t even want it anymore so I may as well give it to you.”

“Oh…thank you,” the girl blushed and then set the little pendant on Kassok’s nightstand. She placed her hand back in Kassok’s and squeezed his fingers, “There has to be a way I can repay you.”

“Forget about it, it’s a gift,” Kassok was still staring at the blank wall when the girl’s left hand grabbed him by the chin and turned his head to face hers.

“I insist on repaying you,” the girl whispered.

“You really are too curious for your own good,” Kassok said with a bemused twinge in his voice.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post May 25th, 2010 08:04 PM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

*************

Considering how stubbornly Karg’s forces had fought on the outside Kassok found the lack of resistance in the fortress interior a bit jarring. For ten whole minutes Kassok walked unmolested through dim passageways and corridors with only his own thoughts for company. No soldiers, no pitfalls, not even a single tripwire connected to some fiendish deathtrap. It was as if Karg knew he was coming, it was as if Karg wanted him to come. Clearly Karg was an arrogant fool, but Kassok had already concluded that earlier on.

After the tenth minute though the seemingly endless labyrinth of dark passages ended and Kassok stepped into what looked to be a grotto, (a cave partially filled by water) an incredibly long grotto. The grotto was illuminated by several powerful electric lights suspended from the high rock ceiling. The light reflected off the pool of water and projected beautiful aurora-type patterns on the rock walls. Standing at the edge Kassok was thirty meters from the grotto’s exit and between him and the opposite end was the twenty-eight meter wide pool of water.

Kassok peered down into the water: clean, cool, and clear. So clear that Kassok could see all ten meters down to the pool’s rocky bottom. Kassok stopped down when he reached the pool’s edge and ran his hand through the water. Ice cold: too cold to swim through. The pool could however be crossed thanks to a series of narrow pillars that acted as stepping stones. Each pillar was spaced a meter apart from the next which would have made crossing a difficult process for a normal person but posed no problem to Kassok. Kassok could leap ten meters or more if the need arose and might have been able to clear the entire pool in three jumps, but he was in no hurry.

Kassok jumped onto the first pillar and was surprised to find that what looked to be a clean surface was in fact covered with a layer of invisible slime that made finding his footing difficult. As slippery as the slime was the fact that the tops of the pillars were only barely large enough to completely support both of Kassok’s boots (and only when said boots were scrunched close together) made balancing on the pillar a precarious venture. For balance’s sake Kassok stuck out both of his arms and attempted to find his equilibrium.

After a few moments of shifting his weight Kassok attained perfect balance and leaped to the second pillar, then to the third. He was at the middle of the pool and preparing to leap to the next when the fish-woman appeared. Where she had been hiding Kassok couldn’t guess since there was no part of the pool that his eyes could not scour, no part hidden from his sight. What Kassok could tell was that she was unlike any creature he had ever encountered before. Her morphology was at its core humanoid for like Kassok she possessed two legs, two arms, a torso, and a head. It was here that the similarities mostly ended.

She had two eyes in roughly the same place as a human but her eyes were without pupils or sclera: they were orbs of pure aquamarine and a good deal larger than that of any human. In the space between these eyes began a nasal ridge that extended down her symmetrical face all the way to the space above her lipless mouth. This nasal ridge had no distinguishable nostrils and instead relied on hundreds of tiny macro-pores that extended down the ridge’s length. Instead of extraneous ears the woman had two small fins on the sides of her head that acted as ears.

She had no hair; instead ten two-meter long ribbon-like fins protruded from her ‘scalp’ and moved like streamers as she moved gracefully through the cold water. These fins were constantly shifting colors in a tie-dye manner in response to subtle changes in the temperature of the water. She was totally naked save for a few pieces of clothing made from a kelp-like material strategically placed over her ‘immodest bits’ (indeed in her society the name for these pieces of clothing translated roughly to ‘modesty shields’) and the smooth skin of her belly was made from ultra-fine white scales that shimmered like polished silver in the light. The scales on her limbs, face, and back meanwhile were of a breathtaking turquoise hue.

Her hands and feet were webbed like a frog and on her wrists, knees, and upper arms were thick formations of fossilized scales that had over the course of the fish-woman’s life built up into impressive armored plates. Kassok peered down at her as she looked up, lifting her head and neck out of the water. The gills in her neck closed and after a brief period of adjustment she started to breathe through her lungs.

“Greetings, Kassok,” the woman said in a gentle voice as serene as the water that surrounded her, “My name is Tamung, and I’m thrilled to finally meet you.”

“Great,” Kassok said indifferently. After overcoming his brief sensation of shock at having been snuck up on by the woman Kassok once more returned to his usual phlegmatic mood. Even the woman’s uncanny beauty failed to interest him, “Unfortunately I don’t have time to chat. There’s a certain warlord who owes me his life.” The fish-woman frowned.

“If you’re going to try killing Karg you’ll need to go through me first.” Kassok raised an eyebrow. The girl didn’t strike him as a fighter or someone who had a prayer at accomplishing what hundreds of battle-tested soldiers failed to accomplish.

“That won’t be necessary. Not if you’ll kindly stand aside…or swim aside as it were,” Kassok said gruffly.

“That’s not possible, Kassok,” the woman answered with a shake of her head, “I’ll give you the opportunity to end your foolish crusade against Karg.”

“That’s not going to happen, Tamung,” Kassok growled, “I’ve been counting and so far I’ve killed 102 of Karg’s underlings. That’s only counting those I’ve killed today. Be smart. You don’t need to become 103,” Kassok’s threats were born of necessity. Ordinarily he would have killed Tamung by now and been on his way but he knew that even standing still was a difficult feat on the slippery pillars and he knew that making a move to kill Tamung would bring the risk of slipping into the freezing water. So rather than dicing her up with his swords Kassok elected to attempt scaring her off. The attempt failed.

“On the contrary, Kassok,” Tamung’s legs began to disappear right before Kassok’s eyes. The vanishing effect spread all the way up to Tamung’s neckline until only the parts of her above the surface were visible, “It is not I who shall die here. It is you who shall die for standing against great Karg.” Tamung’s gills reopened as she dove into the water, her webbed appendages and strong limbs allowing her to move like a bullet through the pool. Once she reached the bottom she disappeared from Kassok’s vision. Kassok drew his twin swords and readied himself for anything.

Conscious of the danger presented by the slippery surface Kassok drove one of his blades into the stone pillar, intent on using the sword as a stable handle to keep his balance. With the other sword in his right hand Kassok watched the waters carefully. Spotting a small ripple to the right of him Kassok instinctively raised his guard just in time to guard against Tamung’s assault. Tamung jumped out of the water like a torpedo and sailed toward Kassok. Kassok slashed with his chokutō at Tamung’s pretty round eyes but Tamung skillfully deflected the slash with her callused wrists, pushing the blade away and landing unscathed in the water on the opposite side of the span of pillars.

Once back in the water Tamung was invisible again. Kassok’s eyes roved to and fro, searching for tiny ripples in the water or some signs of activity that might betray Tamung’s position.

“My camouflage is amazing, is it not?” Kassok wheeled around toward the direction of Tamung’s voice, gripping the handle of his anchored sword for support as he shifted his weight. Tamung’s face was floating on the water, seemingly removed from the rest of her body. She was teasing Kassok.

“I think annoying better describes it,” Kassok answered, gritting his teeth. Tamung’s floating face giggled and smirked at Kassok.

“Call it what you will, assassin,” Tamung said, “It is useful.”

“What are you?” Kassok inquired. He had never encountered one of Tamung’s kind in all his travels across the Universe.

“I am a Teroxan,” Tamung answered, “On land we are unremarkable, feeble even. But in the water we are the ultimate predators. Surely you can appreciate that.”

“I can appreciate you not dragging this out longer than necessary.”


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post May 31st, 2010 12:05 AM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

“As you wish,” Tamung disappeared into the water once more; her face melting away the instant it was washed by the clear water. Kassok’s eyes darted around the grotto, scanning every inch of the water’s surface for signs of Tamung’s movements. Tamung emerged from the water once again, this time out of Kassok’s blindspot. Kassok heard the splash when she first exited the water but it was too late. Tamung’s fist connected with Kassok’s right inner thigh. Tamung wasn’t particularly strong so the impact of the punch itself was nothing considerable. What was considerable was the fact that she touched on a major nerve cluster. Kassok’s right leg went numb and started to spasm, a shock ran up his spine, and the skin on his face tingled.

Tamung splashed back into the water, a triumphant smirk on her face that Kassok could see just before it became invisible in the water once more. Two factors lessened what could have otherwise been a battle-ending attack. Firstly Kassok’s nerve cluster was shielded by the bandages and the thin layer of armor they concealed so the full effect of Tamung’s strike was prevented. Second was the fact that thanks to his embedded blade Kassok was able to keep himself from falling into the icy water even when his right leg gave out momentarily. The numbness and tingling in his right leg soon ceased but the leg still felt heavy and sluggish long after feeling returned.

The next time Tamung attacked Kassok saw her coming the very second her head broke the flat pane of water. Angling his sword downward Kassok tried to spear Tamung through her chest but once more was thwarted by her armored wrists. To an outside observer the fight between Kassok and Tamung would have seemed dizzyingly fast-paced. When Tamung jumped from the water and sailed through the air her average speed was close to eighty meters a second which meant that Kassok had only a fraction of a second after spotting the first ripples to prepare himself.

Despite the tremendous power Tamung must have used leave the water she somehow managed to suppress the ripples to the point that she barely disturbed the water at all. Tamung jumped out at Kassok twice more in the space of only four seconds, both times parrying Kassok’s blade with her armored wrists.

Kassok didn’t like this game one bit. He had remarkable endurance but even he couldn’t keep this up forever. Tamung on the other hand looked as fit as a fiddle, maybe even better than that. Tamung poked her head out of the water just long enough to blow Kassok a kiss before submerging once more. The fish-woman was enjoying herself. Kassok didn’t sense her next attack until it was too late. Tamung circled around Kassok’s pillar gathering speed in preparation for her next assault. When at last she was ready she catapulted out of the water, once more in Kassok’s blindspot. Kassok turned too late to block Tamung’s spinning kick which hit him right between his shoulder blades.

The sheer momentum behind Tamung’s kick would have surely broken the spine of a lesser man and though Kassok sustained no serious injury from the impact he was knocked clean off his pillar. Tamung hit Kassok at the perfect angle, forcing his embedded blade to slide from the pillar thus removing Kassok’s anchorage. Kassok flew through the air and very nearly fell into the icy water. But just before plunging into the water Kassok drove one of his blades into the next pillar, only barely managing to pull himself up on the slippery stone surface.

Kassok was beginning to sweat and pant, he couldn’t keep this up forever. Tamung’s main advantage was her camouflage, as long as she could strike at Kassok’s blind side then there was no way Kassok could win. But just as Kassok was beginning to despair he had an epiphany of sorts. He was a fool to rely on his eyes when fighting an invisible foe.
Tamung didn’t notice when Kassok shut his eyes, she was too concerned with readying her killing stroke: a single devastating knee-strike to Kassok’s neck, an attack Tamung knew would kill Kassok instantly if landed properly. But Tamung needed to wait for the perfect opportunity when Kassok’s neck was exposed. Only then could she strike.

The opportunity came sooner than she had anticipated. Cutting through the waters like a living torpedo Tamung circled Kassok’s pillar once again to build up momentum. Only this time Kassok could sense her movements. Blocking out all other senses including sight, smell, and taste Kassok was able to focus on his hearing alone. Kassok emptied his mind of all distractions until there were only three sensations: the sound of his own heartbeat, the sound of the electric lights humming overhead, and the sound of Tamung disturbing the calm water with her swimming. Though Tamung’s sleek body plowed the water gracefully she could not help that her movements caused little ripples and brought tiny bubbles to the surface.

When these ripples churned and these tiny bubbles burst Kassok’s ears picked them up as they would footsteps. His hearing threshold was much the same as any other Rukenian (or human for that matter) but through training he had conditioned himself to willfully lower it far below that level. With no other distractions a normal human could hear a mosquito’s wings at a distance of a few meters. In his current state Kassok could not only hear a mosquito’s wings buzzing at a distance of ten meters, he could also count the number of wing beats per second. This was one of the final tests of his training.

Compared to that following Tamung’s movements was child’s play. Kassok sensed Tamung’s head breaking the surface of the water, as fast as she was she wasn’t faster than sound and sound is what betrayed her to Kassok. The Teroxan burst from the water with her right knee already moving into position to crush Kassok’s exposed neck vertebrae. But as microseconds passed Kassok ducked down and out of Tamung’s path while his left sword-arm moved into position. Tamung had less than a second to realize her maneuver had failed before the vorpal tip of the assassin’s zeltium chokutō parted the sleek silver scales of her soft underbelly.

The blade’s edge was so fine that it could pass through the gap between two tiny scales without damaging either. So clean was the cut that Tamung felt little pain and no blood appeared, in fact once Tamung had cleared the blade there was a moment where it appeared no damage had been done. And then the micro-fault burst like a cracked dam. Orange blood poured out, widening the hair-thin cut into a full-on gash. Soon the flow of orange blood was joined by green and gray entrails. Tamung flopped back into the water with all the grace of a rejected fish thrown back into the water by a fisherman.

Her webbed hands fell on the gash in a vain attempt to stymie the outflow of precious blood and viscera. At first Kassok couldn’t see Tamung’s body when it returned to the water, having become camouflaged once more. What he could see was a seemingly source-less gush of orange blood that floated to the surface like an oil spill. But after less a minute’s time Tamung’s body became visible once more and floated to the surface, belly-up, gills wide open, eyes glazed over. The once clean water was now covered by an orange film.

As Kassok opened his eyes and returned to normal sensory functions his nostrils were assaulted by a fishy smell: the smell of Tamung’s innards as they floated to the surface. Kassok wasted no time in leaving Tamung’s grotto. He didn’t want to get the smell of rotten fish stuck to his clothing.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post May 31st, 2010 12:06 AM
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BruceSkywalker
The BatLord of the Jedi

Gender: Male
Location: The Batcave

keep up the good work omega


__________________



Thanks Steve... The Darkside of the force...

Old Post May 31st, 2010 09:28 PM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

quote: (post)
Originally posted by BruceSkywalker
keep up the good work omega
Thanks. smile


*************
Once out of the grotto Kassok still had to walk through five minutes’ worth of dark tunnels before he reached the next point of interest. It was another large well-lit cavern, but unlike the last one it contained no pool of water and it looked much more artificial with smooth carved walls and a tile mosaic floor. The mosaic was a depiction of the coming of spring with images of budding flowers and green grass.

Kassok studied the room’s walls closely, noting the presence of many lichens and fungi growing fat in the corners of the walls, a clear sign of damp conditions. The room was a moist one and the air was so saturated that dew was coalescing into droplets on Kassok’s blade just from momentary exposure. Directly in front of Kassok, in the center of the room was a circular dais roughly three meters across and which rose ten centimeters above the floor.

On this dais was a single stone pillar a meter high upon which rested a bronze bowl filled with a liquid that gave off an overpowering scent that was at once fragrant (like flowers and honey) and noxious. Kassok stared at the dais and its mystifying occupant, wondering what the purpose of the object was. Kassok’s ears pricked up and his body tensed when he heard the soft patter of footsteps echoing through the cavernous room.

Soon Kassok was joined by an unearthly visitor, a woman with such radiance that she made Tamung look dull and homely. Kassok’s intense face slackened and his body froze for a moment. It was what some might call aesthetic arrest, a sensation Kassok wasn’t familiar with.

She was a Caldan, there was no mistaking that. Kassok had only ever met two or three Caldans in all his life and none had been quite as breathtaking as her. Delicate, supple carnation-pink skin with little royal purple freckles covered her curvaceous torso and lithe limbs while her long slender fingers ended with perfectly shaped nails painted ruby red.

Her face was a case study in feminine beauty, perfectly symmetrical and immaculately proportioned in ways that human women could only dream of. Her golden eyes with their thick midnight-blue eyelashes and soft indigo lips would be enough to stop traffic on their own. She wore what could best be described as a skintight red chemise with a v-shaped cutout that bared her inner cleavage and midriff all the way to a few centimeters above the waistline.

The chemise cut off six centimeters below the waistline, beneath that her legs were bare all the way to her painted toenails. But for all the beauty of her body and face it was the woman’s hair that truly stood out. The woman’s hair flowed like a river of silky violet strands, snaking and moving about as if possessed of a life of its own.

The individual violet strands were entwined into macro strands (like ropes) and together these macro-strands formed the luxuriant curtain that twisted around the woman’s body and probed the floor in front of her. Other than their beauty Caldans were also renowned for their prehensile hair, hair that moved based on mental commands in the same manner as most other species might bend a finger or extend an arm.

This was accomplished thanks to chains of micro-muscles inside of the strands. Individually there was little the individual strands could accomplish but when entwined (as was the case with this Caldan) the macro-strands could be used to manipulate the environment as a hand might.

This Caldan’s hair though was unlike any Kassok had seen or heard of. Some of the longer macro-strands reached as far as four meters and if coiled up as tight as possible the sum of all the macro-strands would reach the width of a young tree trunk.

“Well if it isn’t the great Kassok,” the woman said in a surprisingly husky (and sultry) voice upon ascending the dais. She scrunched together her full indigo lips together in a ‘kissy face’ and twisted her hips to the side so as to show off her perfect hourglass shape. Kassok’s slackened expression dissipated when the woman addressed him, supplanted by his natural grim look.

“I’m not a fan of formalities,” Kassok grunted back, “Just call me Kassok,” his steely blue eyes carefully watched the woman’s hair as it slithered around her feet, “Now what do I call you?”

“Leega is my name,” the woman answered with a smile, sizing up Kassok thoroughly with her roving eyes, “But you can call me anything you like,” at that she opened her mouth slightly and rolled her tongue while simultaneously vibrating her vocal chords to produce an audible purring sound.

Kassok didn’t pay much attention to her advances. Whether she was genuine or just attempting psychological warfare didn’t matter to Kassok. All that mattered was tracking the current position of her snake-like hair. Leega noticed Kassok’s fixation and sighed a bit, “Ahem,” Leega’s hair which had heretofore taken the form of a curtain or cloak of sorts now parted into twin streams which rose up and formed a heart shape of sorts, “Honey, my breasts are up here,” she gestured to her cleavage and winked.

“I take it you know why I’m here?” Kassok asked, staring into Leega’s eyes rather than (as Leega would have preferred) at her bust.

“Yada yada yada ‘I’m here to kill Karg’ Yada yada yada,” Leega said, rolling her eyes, “Yeah I got the gist of it,” her tone then shifted to a slightly more serious one, “The fact you’re here means that Tamung is dead. Unfortunate…,” she stared up at the ceiling and looked grim for a second before breaking into a slight grin, “…But expected.”

“I take it the two of you were partners.”

“Unfortunately yes,” Leega rolled her eyes, “Tamung was such a silly thing. Completely useless on land, she could never come with us on missions that weren’t near a body of water.”

“Us?” Kassok arched his brow.

“Oh honey, you mean you don’t know?” Leega looked shocked, “You mean you’ve never even heard of the Fighters Four?” Kassok shook his head side to side, all the while glaring unflinchingly at the woman’s hair, “The Fighters Four--well I suppose there are only three now—is the greatest team of fighters in the entire Drexxian Zone. We serve Karg faithfully and in return he finds us great challenges so that we never have to deal with the boredom that comes with being the best at something.”

“And am I one of these challenges?” Kassok inquired.

“Nope,” Leega shook her head, “In fact you were supposed to join us and become our leader. Then we would have been the Fighters Five. How is it you’ve never heard of us before? Where you living under a rock?”

“Yeah I was essentially,” Kassok replied, “Then Karg destroyed that rock. Now I’m here. To destroy Karg’s rock.”

“You know it still isn’t too late to reconsider,” Leega said, setting her delicate right foot off the dais on the floor below. Leega’s narrow fingers touched the hem of her chemise and began to tug the chemise apart, slowly revealing more of her skin to Kassok. Leega started to saunter closer to Kassok, her hips waddling side to side with every little movement of her dainty pink feet.

The tip of her tongue rolled across the upper corner of her mouth and her golden eyes sparkled intently. Kassok’s gaze remained on her hair however, which was hovering behind her: wound back like a scorpion’s tail, “You can still be one of us. We can still be together.”

“Really?” Kassok raised a brow incredulously and let out the tiniest of guffaws.

“Oh yes,” Leega batted her eyelashes flirtatiously, “We were meant for one another Kassok.”

“Really?” Kassok repeated, this time with a smirk.

“Don’t try and deny your desires,” Leega replied, “Just because you wear the garb of a Teshin monk doesn’t mean you have to live like one. You should thank Karg for shaking you out of that little backwater ice-hole. What life could you possibly have had there? Here you can live like the Prince you are, with me. Wouldn’t you like that? Let go of your pride, Kassok, become Karg’s servant. It’s not too late.”

“Listen to me, Leega,” Kassok’s voice was as hard and sharp as the edge of his blade, “There are only two ways this can end. First, you can get out of the way or second you can try and stop me and die like your friend Tamung.” Leega’s expression hardened and for a moment she gave Kassok a vicious death glare. So far Kassok was the only man to have ever spurned her.

“Tamung and I weren’t friends, honey,” Leega said with a hint of venom, “If you don’t want me that’s fine. But I want you. And I’ll have you whether you like it or not.” Kassok chuckled.

“For the record if I had to choose…” Kassok looked away from Leega’s hair, meeting her gaze with his own. There was a waggish luster in his blue eyes at that moment, “…I’d have picked Tamung.”


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Jun 1st, 2010 01:25 AM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

Kassok’s attention was away from Leega’s hair, instead focusing on the look of extreme acrimony on the woman’s face. Had he been paying attention to the hair he would have noticed Leega surreptitiously balling the ends of the strands into a thick and heavy knot. Leega’s coiled up hair traveled so fast that it created a vacuum in its path, causing a loud cracking sound when the air rushed back in (an effect akin to a bullwhip, only much larger).

Kassok only realized just how dense Leega’s hair was when he was struck in the ribcage by what felt like a sledge hammer. Two of Kassok’s ribs were bruised and his entire left abdominal region was aching. Caldan or not there was something unnatural about the woman’s hair, there was no way it could impart such force unless Leega had done something to enhance it. When Kassok hopped back to his feet after being knocked on his backside he understood just what Leega had done to her hair. Reaching into the copper bowl with both hands Leega withdrew a scoop of golden oil which she then lathered onto her violet hair. After setting in the oil underwent some sort of chemical reaction and hardened considerably, “Liquid diamond?” Kassok asked, eyes widening just a bit from sheer surprise.

“That’s the laymen’s term for what is more properly called Yalturian Resin,” Leega replied, a cold and hateful expression painted over her beautiful face, “It’s incredibly pliable while at the same time practically impenetrable. Its molecules almost instinctively harden on contact with anything hard or sharp. And best yet it has an interesting reaction with the natural oils in Caldan hair that increases its strength tenfold without sacrificing any flexibility. Don’t ask me to explain how it works exactly because I don’t know and I really doubt you care anyhow.”

“Nice gimmick,” Kassok remarked, drawing his twin swords from their holsters on his back, “But have you ever tested it against zeltium?” Kassok kicked off from the floor and lunged through the air at Leega with both blades preparing downward slashes. His attack pattern was a simple one: the left blade would hit Leega’s right shoulder first, cutting all the way down to her left hip while the right blade would then do the same to the opposite side, effectively cutting Leega into four pieces. That was the theory anyhow. In practice it wasn’t quite so neat an operation and before Kassok’s blades could harm Leega’s silky skin they were intercepted by a thick curtain of hair.

When the zeltium scraped against the impenetrable liquid crust it produced the dullest of noises but otherwise no real effect. After realizing the futility of attempting to hack through the thick locks Kassok back flipped away to safety just before Leega could catch him with a counterattack.

“Of course,” Leega grinned, “Zeltium was the first thing I tested it against.” Before Kassok could plan out a next attack Leega’s knotted hair whip came down on him like a hammer, affording him just enough time to leap aside to safety. Upon striking the ground where Kassok had been standing Leega’s ball of hair created a crater big enough for a small child to crouch in and sent fragments of stone flying in every direction. For the second time that day someone else was forcing Kassok to a defensive/evasive rather than offensive position. Leega controlled the pace of the battle and the pace she chose was lighting fast.

Kassok knew his best hope was to hang in long enough for an opportunity to present itself. When Leega brought down her hammer of violet tresses once again Kassok thought he had that opportunity. With all of her hair extended as far as it could go Leega’s body was exposed. Kassok hurled one of his chokutō like a javelin, aiming it at the space between Leega’s eyes. As fast as her hair could move there was no way she could bring it back in time to shield herself. But as it happened the woman wasn’t a one-trick pony. As soon as she saw Kassok readying his right arm to hurl his weapon Leega prepared to dodge.

While the dazzling blue blade hurtled through the air Leega’s graceful neck twisted and her beautiful head moved safely out of the path of the zeltium projectile. Kassok’s blade sailed all the way across the room until it reached the wall whereupon it burrowed ten centimeters into the stone wall. Kassok cursed inwardly. He had underestimated Leega and been reckless, now he had lost one of his blades. No matter what though, he had to keep calm. If he allowed frustration to overtake his mind and cloud his judgment then there would be no hope of overcoming Leega and her deadly hair.

While Kassok was attempting to rein in his creeping frustration and maintain his composure Leega’s serpentine hair swiped at his legs, doing no damage but succeeding at knocking him off balance. Kassok landed on his right hand and his right knee and sprung away like a frog before Leega could land a blow on his exposed back. Leega’s knotted hair again struck the stone floor, shattering a section of the mosaic and sending little bits of rock flying.

“Honey you’re too slow,” Leega taunted, “What’s more you’re getting tired. A shame, I had hoped you’d have a bit more stamina than that.” Kassok dodged a swing from Leega’s hair by sidestepping and spat out of frustration.

“Once again, I’d pick Tamung,” Kassok jumped up and attempted a drop kick but Leega was able to use her hair to vault from the ground and out of the way of Kassok’s foot. Kassok’s boot smashed through the stone pedestal, shattering the pillar into a hundred fragments and knocking over the copper bowl it supported. The bowl’s contents spilled onto the dais and the floor below, coating the floor with a thin layer of golden resin.

“Do you have any idea how much that costs?” Leega fumed. A narrow coil of several macro-strands slashed at Kassok like a whip. Kassok’s right hand shot out and intercepted it however, gripping it firmly. The bandages on his hands gave excellent traction and provided good protection from friction burns that would have resulted from Leega’s attempts at retracting her hair.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Jun 1st, 2010 11:41 PM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

“Do I look like I care?” Kassok snarled as he tugged with all his strength at the coil, testing the strength of its roots. Leega was pulled off her feet and tugged along with the cable. The rest of her hair attempted desperately to dig into the ground to resist Kassok’s pull but the assassin was too strong and Leega’s hair tore away at the ground, creating trenches but failing to hold on. Kassok was attempting to spin Leega around like an athlete might spin a hammer.But the strain was too great on Leega’s hair and before Kassok could complete one rotation he suddenly felt all the resistance leave the cable.

“Eaaaeehhhgghh!!” the scream that emitted from Leega’s lips was an inhuman one, a sound akin to the screech of an injured torisian wingbeast. While Kassok fell on his back from the sudden loss of resistance Leega was jettisoned into the nearby wall, only barely managing to cushion her impact thanks to her curtain of hair forming a safety-net of sorts. Kassok pushed himself up with his elbows and looked toward Leega to inspect the damage. On the top of her once flawless head was an ugly red patch of torn scalp, plucked bare. It had doubtlessly taken Leega’s entire life to grow her hair to such length and volume, that was her life’s work, “You bastard!” Leega screeched.

Her face displayed such bitter animosity that even Kassok was taken aback. Leega’s hair rose above her head and began to braid together into a single ultra-compact cable roughly the width of the cordage on an old sailing ship. Rocking her head back and forth Leega whipped at Kassok with the cable like if he were a disobedient slave and she the brutal overseer. Kassok rolled away from the first strike and the ground where he had lain was utterly pulverized on impact with the dense hair-rope. He evaded the next two lashes by jumping over the second (as if he were playing a game of jump-rope) and by ducking under the third.

On the fourth attempt however Leega’s lash found its mark and struck Kassok right down the center of his thorax. Kassok’s tangzhuang was shredded, revealing the dull blue metal surface of his skintight powered armor that gave him his extreme strength as well as protected him from trauma that would otherwise tear him to shreds or grind him to paste. Though the lash failed to cut through the armor or otherwise damage Kassok’s skin or the bones and organs beneath that skin it did manage to impart significant kinetic energy: around 420 kilojoules transferred over a very small area (a horizontal slash along the length of Kassok’s chest).

The worst pain came from having his back slammed into the wall after the force of impact threw Kassok across the room. Kassok shook off pain and rubble from his body and rose up just in time to be slapped back down, this time it was his left shoulder that took the punishment.

“Ready to beg yet?” Leega sneered. Kassok was lying facedown on the cold stone floor, his chest was heaving and his face was covered in sweat. He glanced sideways toward Leega. What Leega didn’t realize is that his eyes weren’t directed at her person.

“No,” Kassok grunted. As quick as lightning Kassok rolled onto his side and hurled his remaining zeltium blade in Leega’s direction. Leega didn’t have to dodge this time around though, it was almost pathetic seeing Kassok miss his target by half a meter. But a tiny smirk soon revealed that Kassok hadn’t missed at all. All it took to start a fire was one tiny spark, in this case created from the tip of Kassok’s chokutō striking the rim of the fallen copper bowl.

The spilt resin caught fire almost instantly and Leega had to leap away (using her feet this time) to avoid being captured by the blaze’s embrace. The lukewarm air of the room started to heat up and the fungi in the corners of the room started to shrink as a result of the heat drawing the moisture from their cells. Kassok stood up and gritted his teeth, staring directly at Leega while the woman kept an eye out for the creeping fire, “Its over, girlie,” Kassok said.

“For you maybe,” Leega sneered back, “What will you do without your pretty swords?”

“I don’t need my swords to kill you,” Kassok answered, staring unflinchingly into the blaze that filled the center of the room, “But you seem overly reliant on that hair of yours. And while I don’t know all that much about hair-care I know that hair doesn’t take kindly to fire. Also while that damned resin might make whatever it coats diamond-hard against blunt force and blades it has no protection against extreme temperatures, which is why no one ever uses the stuff as a building material except in temperate climates. Look at those mushrooms: they’re wilting because the moisture is being drained from them. The same is happening to your hair, right now its drying out and dying because it’s being baked inside of the resin. I doubt you can move that hair at all, let alone use it to kill me.”

Leega intended to prove Kassok wrong. As before she snapped her head back and forth but this time the coil of hair went flaccid and fell short of Kassok’s feet. The assassin grinned, “Over reliant.” At that Leega lost her temper and rushed at the assassin with her long nails extended like daggers. The tips of her nails were coated with the same resin as on her hair and thus were sharp enough to shred through concrete.

“I’ll tear that smug look right off your face!” Leega swiped at Kassok’s face, employing a form that Kassok recognized to be a Caldan martial art style known as Yuugem. Yuugem employed a staggered, highly aggressive stance and concentrated on low kicks and slaps combined with slashes of the fingernails. It might have presented a serious threat to Kassok had it not been for the fact that Leega was weighed down by her locks of violet hair which were now more burden than asset. Burdened by the deadweight extending from her scalp Leega’s attacks were ragged and strained.

Kassok dodged her first right hand slash and then blocked her subsequent left hand slash by seizing her thin wrist with his left hand. Kassok applied pressure to the narrow bones and a sound akin to a large twig snapping preceded the howl of pain that soon escaped Leega’s mouth. Still holding fast to her left wrist Kassok swatted away a desperate slash from Leega’s free hand. In the process that limb’s wrist was broken as well.

Meanwhile Kassok grabbed a handful of macro-strands from Leega’s thick violet curtain and bunched them together. Tears were streaming down Leega’s face when Kassok looped the bundle of macro-strands around the woman’s lithe neck. She tried to scream but the sturdy fibers closed tightly around her neck. Kassok now used Leega’s own hair as a makeshift garrote, breaking her fragile windpipe instantly and shutting off the flow of air to and from her lungs.

“You asked me what kind of life I could have had back on that ice-hole, as you called it,” Kassok’s voice became a menacing low snarl. Leega’s eyes began to bulge out of their sockets and her pink skin turned bright red as the blood began to pool in her face, “Well to answer your question, Leega, I would have had a peaceful life. Was that too much to ask? Well was it!?” Kassok raised his voice to a scream while Leega’s weak hands tried feebly to free her from the grip of her own hair.

“Of course you wouldn’t understand that. You would never let me have a bit of peace and quiet; you just had to have me. You, Karg, Dakross, all of you self-important egoists just can’t stand to see someone like me leave the game. Well guess what? You win. I’m back in the game,” Kassok then pulled hard on the coils of hair, hoisting Leega into the air and off her feet. A popping sound signaled the snapping of Leega’s neck, “That’s what you and Karg wanted, right?”


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Jun 1st, 2010 11:41 PM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

*************
Kassok took his time traveling through the next series of dim tunnels for there was much on his mind. Leega had mentioned at length her affiliation with some mysterious (to Kassok anyway) group of fighters which included Tamung and presumably two others. If the last two challenges were any indication the next fighter Kassok would face would doubtless be some comely winged woman with sharp talons or some other such nonsense. Upon wandering into the third cavern however Kassok realized that wasn’t the case.

This cavern was markedly less adorned than Leega’s with no furnishings and no pattern on the floor, only a simple rock floor like what one might find in a natural cave. This cavern was also fair deal larger than the last two, with a ceiling so high that not even Kassok could jump high enough to touch it. Considering that Kassok had in the past jumped over the tops of trees this was quite an accomplishment. This cavern wasn’t lit by electric lights; rather it was lit by a layer of bioluminescent slime that grew on the smooth stone walls of the cavern and glowed with a pale orange light. The light was by no means intense but did provide adequate illumination, enough that Kassok could clearly make out the features of the massive creature that awaited him in the center of the cavern.

The creature belonged to a race of near giants known as the Bogunn which hailed from a distant galaxy on the fringes of the Drexxian Zone. The Bogunn were characterized by their massive size and their bizarre mixture of reptilian, insectoid, and mammalian physiological traits. Overall their bodies were mammalian with warm blood, body hair, and mammaries present in the females but their skin was noticeably scaly (like a lizard’s) and their jaws and teeth bore much in common with that of prehistoric herbivorous dinosaurs.

Like many insects the Bogunn had a pair of compound eyes on the sides of their long football-shaped heads and a trio of smaller front-facing ‘simple’ eyes in the center of their faces. This particular Bogunn was male as evidenced by a small ridge running down his long forehead as well as the lack of noticeable mammaries. He wasn’t abnormally large for a Bogunn, in fact he might have even been considered on the short size but he was certainly stout. Standing at just over four meters this Bogunn was all the more intimidating due to the fact he was built like a tank.

His skin was dirt-brown and scaly, his three small eyes were beady and black, and the tufts of fur that grew around his neck, shoulders, and chest were fire-red. He wore little clothing: just a brown leather loin cloth and a pair of fur-trimmed leather bracers around his wrist. He was almost entirely muscle save for a large paunch on his abdomen (which itself contained a good deal of muscle underneath the layer of glutinous fat).

When Kassok first intruded on the cave he found the Bogunn performing some form of exercise with a huge ball made of an ultra-dense stone-like material Kassok recognized as ‘Galt-block’. Galt-block was a synthetic stone comprised of crystalline matter that alternated between particles of dull gray, dark black and lustrous silver. Given that Galt-block had an average density 300 times that of the average chunk of granite the ball the Bogunn easily lifted above his head had to weigh well over twenty-five metric tons.

Even with his power suit at maximum power (which it wasn’t even close to at the moment) Kassok struggled to lift eighteen metric tons and without his suit he couldn’t even lift one (though he had come close on several occasions, albeit with great strain). In comparison the Bogunn treated lifting the object as if it were a casual exercise to be repeated a thousand times over every morning to keep his body in tip-top shape. Almost like a ten kilogram dumbbell a human might keep at the foot of his bed for quick morning exercise.

When the Bogunn first noticed Kassok standing in the small entrance of the cavern he dropped the weight, allowing it to fall to the ground. Instead of breaking the ground as Kassok expected the ball bounced. It was then that Kassok noticed the floor was also made from Galt-block, as were the walls and the ceiling. The Bogunn raised a huge four-fingered hand to his square jaw and scratched his chin as he looked the intruder over.

“Kassok, I presume?” the Bogunn asked, smiling good-naturedly in spite of the indifferent expression the assassin wore. His voice was deep but not in a menacing way, in fact he sounded rather friendly.

“So what’s your gimmick?” Kassok asked, inspecting the man-mountain closely, “Can you grow fatter at will?” At that the Bogunn began to chuckle with his thunderous voice and slapped his belly with a huge hand.

“No,” the Bogunn said at length after suppressing the chuckles, “I didn’t imagine you’d make me laugh. No my friend I have no ‘gimmick’ as you say, not like the others you have faced and apparently bested. What I bring to the table is pure strength,” he flexed his huge arms and showed off the small mountains that were his biceps, “I prefer simplicity over complexity. What Tamung and Leega possess are wonderful talents to be sure but needlessly complicated for someone of my tastes.”

“Not to mention annoying,” Kassok added, “So are you going to ask me to join you like the last two did?”

“No, friend,” the Bogunn shook his head, “You’ve killed two of our number, and while I do not bear any ill will toward you for that I am sure that there are others less forgiving. Ah but where are my manners? Allow me to introduce myself: I am Goturamm, third fighter of the Fighters Four,” the Bogunn crouched low, shifted back his left leg while putting forward his right while his hands adopted fighting posture, “We may begin at your leisure,” Goturamm said with a respectful bow of his head. Kassok adopted a fighting pose of his own and began to slowly approach Goturamm. Pausing for a moment Kassok addressed the Bogunn.

“You’re not going to flirt with me are you?” he asked, half seriously, “I think that was the most aggravating part of fighting your female compatriots.” Goturamm chuckled again.

“You’re a funny one, Kassok,” Goturamm declared, “Now if you are ready you may make the first move.”

“Is that really necessary?”

“Oh?” the Bogunn sounded surprised.

“You’ve done nothing to deserve death,” Kassok explained, “But if we fight I cannot promise you that you’ll survive. For your sake stand aside.”

“A generous offer,” Goturamm smiled, “But I want to fight you more than anything. You’ve defeated Tamung and Leega. That alone makes you a worthy opponent! Now please, make an old Bogunn happy and attack.”


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Jun 2nd, 2010 11:48 PM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

“As you wish,” Kassok shrugged before drawing his swords and lunging at his giant opponent. What Kassok didn’t expect was that the Bogunn would be fast enough to not only prepare for his strike but thwart it. While one thick muscled arm parried the razor sharp zeltium blades the other shot out with a flat palm extended, hitting Kassok square in the abdomen and sending the assassin flying back. Kassok’s sternum was nearly fractured and his lungs were completely squeezed dry of air.

Out of sheer shock Kassok’s grip on the handles of his swords was broken and the twin chokutō clattered on the floor. Once he recovered from the initial shock of being knocked back by the seemingly gentle giant Kassok attempted to recover his blades but Goturamm rushed across the room at obscene speeds (to the point that there was something of a visual blur effect) to intercept Kassok and cut him off from his weapons.

Goturamm tried to punt Kassok but the assassin skillfully dodged the huge foot and countered with a solid kick to the giant’s inner thigh that was intended to hit a key nerve cluster. Indeed Goturamm shuddered and looked visibly pained for a brief instant, only to soon recover and throw a downward elbow at Kassok’s face, forcing the assassin to jump back and give him time to recuperate.

“You know your nerve clusters well,” Goturamm remarked, “Fortunately I’ve trained to make myself resilient to such attacks. Not completely impervious, but highly resistant.”

“Wonderful,” Kassok said dryly, “And you’re awfully fast for a Bogunn,” Kassok leaped aside just in time to evade a right haymaker that (had it landed) would have taken his head of its shoulders, “What was that crap about pure strength?”

“Speed,” Goturamm began, bringing his right fist down on Kassok like a lightning bolt. Kassok managed to block the blow with a cross block, though he felt his wrists screaming in agony afterward, “Is a strength all its own.”

Kassok grabbed on to Goturamm’s massive right wrist and using the Bogunn as a fulcrum levered himself up and kicked with both feet at the Bogunn’s sternum. Kassok felt a shock run up his feet to his legs, nothing was broken: there was just a great pain from striking against the giant’s solid chest. Kassok had to wonder if the Bogunn was made of Galt-block as well. In contrast Goturamm seemed completely unscathed and soon demonstrated this by spinning around until Kassok’s grip on his wrist was broken.

The assassin tumbled on the hard floor, now further than ever from his swords. Goturamm blitzed Kassok as soon as the assassin could get back on his feet. Kassok sidestepped the blitz and what followed was two minutes of blistering combat between the agile assassin and the equally agile but far more massive Bogunn. Goturamm would throw his elbows and Kassok would dodge them, returning the favor with a knee or a palm-strike to the Bogunn’s abdomen that would bounce off harmlessly.

After the two minutes of sparring Kassok broke away and made a run for his swords but was cut off by Goturamm who just barely missed breaking Kassok in half with a roundhouse kick aimed at the assassin’s spine. Goturamm then forced Kassok away from his swords with a ragged bear-swipe of his right fist that Kassok had to jump backward to avoid. Crouching low like a sumo wrestler Goturamm stampeded toward Kassok with his fists flying. Kassok’s palms were flat as he countered the Bogunn’s jabs, seemingly slapping away the giant’s punches.

In truth he was employing a very useful and very esoteric technique that allowed redirection of kinetic energy through what (to the non-expert eye) seemed like magic. Kassok’s palm would move in the path of the incoming fist and with his arm as straight as a rod Kassok would intercept the fist and push it of course, seemingly reflecting all the impact away. Indeed each time he blocked a punch a barely visible pressure wave would appear emanating from where the open palm met the closed fist, a sign of the kinetic energy being redirected.

This spectacle continued for quite some time and all the while the two combatants moved up and down the arena and shuffled their feet in an intricate dance. First Goturamm would push Kassok toward the wall then Kassok would become more aggressive and push the giant back. Kassok was learning by the second how to control the energy he redirected and eventually he even managed to reflect the pressure waves back at Goturamm, causing the Bogunn some considerable strife.

Then unexpectedly the Bogunn stopped the flurry of punches and hit Kassok with a surprise kick to the abdomen, rocketing the assassin through the air and nearly scraping his head against the ceiling. Kassok flipped three times on decent before landing firmly on his feet. Immediately Goturamm was upon Kassok and the assassin just barely evaded a backhand swipe at the cost of his balance. Falling on his posterior Kassok didn’t have time to curse his momentary loss of coordination before Goturamm prepared his finishing blow.

Interlocking his two huge hands at the fingers Goturamm swung down at Kassok’s head with a brutal hammer-blow. But Kassok’s hands moved too, both with palms wide open and laid on top of the other for support. Kassok sprung from the ground and before the Bogunn could land his blow the assassin’s overlaid hands connected with the giant’s sternum. Goturamm’s fists stopped dead in their tracks and his compound eyes seemed to bulge out of their sockets. His mouth opened wide and a small trickle of blue blood soon turned to a gusher.

Kassok’s earlier kick to his chest had at the time caused no real damage but had succeeded in creating a micro-fracture in the heavy bone-plate that protected the Bogunn’s heart. When Kassok’s palms landed they shattered the weakened bone plate and forced bone fragments into the heart. Slowly Goturamm keeled over, first falling to his knees then plopping on his side. Kassok frowned when the sounds of the giant’s mighty heartbeat ceased. Goturamm wasn’t like the others, had things been different he and Kassok might have even been friends. Swearing silently to himself Kassok marched away from the giant corpse and picked up his swords.

‘Three down, one to go.’

*************


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Jun 2nd, 2010 11:48 PM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

*************
When Kassok at last came to the final chamber he didn’t know what to expect. He certainly wouldn’t have suspected that the last of the Fighters Four would be human. Kassok found the young man sitting cross-legged in the center of the small dome-shaped cave with his hands resting on his knees and his eyes closed tightly.

Surrounded by a ring of lit candles and with a burning stick of incense smoldering in front of him it was clear that the man was meditating. He wasn’t a particularly large person, at full rise he would have stood a head shorter than Kassok and he couldn’t have weighed more than seventy kilograms.

But Kassok knew better than to judge someone based on their size, if size had been that important a factor he never could have defeated Goturamm. The young man was of East Asian descent, with short black hair, sallow-brown skin, and small dark eyes underneath a pair of thick black eyebrows that arched most intensely when expressing anger.

He wore a red cloth around his forehead as a headband which pushed his short black hair up and on his hands were fingerless black padded gloves. His body was mostly obscured by his attire which consisted of a simple white keikogi robe (not unlike that worn by traditional Eastern martial artists in training) but even so Kassok could tell that he was made entirely of lean muscle. Kassok took one step from the dark tunnel into the candlelit cave and immediately the young man was alerted.

“I have been expecting you for quite some time, assassin,” the young man announced, his eyes still closed. Though his face might have appeared serene there was an undercurrent of agitation and hatred in his soft, humorless voice.

“I cannot tell you how many damn times I’ve heard that proclamation,” Kassok took another step into the cavern but didn’t attempt approaching the young man, “Kid, do yourself a big favor and stay out of my way.” Kassok started walking again but chose to skirt around the circle of candles in an attempt to bypass the meditating man in the center. The young man’s eyes cracked open and he glared at Kassok.

“Is that why you attacked him?” the man asked, brow furrowed and face now expressing surly discontent. Kassok stopped walking and looked over his shoulder at the young man with placid indifference.

“Is that why I attacked who?” Kassok asked.

“Don’t pretend like you don’t know!” the boy clenched his right fist and bared his white teeth at the assassin.

“Who’s pretending?” Kassok scowled.

“I’m talking about my father, you bastard!” the young man slammed his fist into the floor, shattering the clay incense bowl and creating cracks in the solid stone floor.

“Oh…” Kassok raised an eyebrow, “Right, one of those deals. Forgive me if I don’t remember who your father was or when I killed him. Its not like he’s in a small club,” Kassok said dryly.

“You didn’t kill my father,” the young man growled. He tilted his head down and gazed at the floor, “What you did to him was far worse. You crippled him, broke his spirit, shamed him. Death would have been mercy by comparison,” the man lifted his balled right fist to Kassok and tilted his head up, a steely and resolute glare aimed directly at the assassin, “You want an apology?” Kassok asked with a sneer, “Or…wait…don’t tell me, you want my head hanging over your mantle.”

“No!” the man slammed his right fist into the floor, this time creating a salad-bowl-sized crater in the sandstone floor. Abandoning his meditative posture the man took to his feet and adopted what Kassok recognized to be a Omnipugno (a three hundred year old Earth-based martial art combining all other forms of unarmed combat into one balanced art) pre-fight stance, a stance that involved bending his legs with the right foot forward and lifting his right arm in front of his face while the left arm was arranged perpendicular to the right with the left fist touching the right elbow, “I want you to know his pain, I want you to be dragged before Karg with every bone in your body turned to glass and all your pride likewise shattered. My father trained me in the arts he could no longer practice because of you; he trained me so that one day I could repay you for what you did to him. He wants his justice. I want justice.”

“No,” Kassok answered, “You want revenge. You won’t get your revenge, I’m sorry to say. What’s more I could care less if I ruined your father’s life. You know why not? Because chances are he was just some arrogant punk with a chip on his shoulder and something to prove, someone who thought he was the best and wanted to prove it by besting me. You know I probably never even got his name before crippling him.”

“His name,” the young man began slowly, his body shaking, his jaw clenched, his teeth bared, and his fists closed tightly, “Was Takeda Gousuke,” Kassok sighed.

“Perhaps you missed the part where I don’t care,” Kassok interrupted.

“And my name,” the young man continued, his breath heavy, “Is Takeda Yoshiro. Now prepare to feel my father’s pain you son of a *****.” Kassok shook his head and drew his chokutō, setting them down and off to the side and adopting a ready stance. He would humor the fool and show him just how foolish his quest was, and he would do it without weapons.

“Before we begin, I have one question,” Kassok started, a tiny smirk appearing in the corner of his mouth and a sparkle in his cold blue eyes, “You said your father taught you all his fighting knowledge, so here’s the question: How exactly do you see this going any differently from last time?”

Kassok was caught off guard by a sudden uppercut to his chin that sent him sprawling. Kassok had blinked and in that brief instant Yoshiro had rushed three meters to strike him. The blow wasn’t something that any normal human regardless of training or conditioning could have accomplished; it was enough to bloody Kassok’s lip, something that meant overpowering the shield his armor projected around his body.

Kassok was hit six times in the abdomen by rapid punches before being kicked hard in the ribcage and sent rolling across the room. While he pushed himself up from the ground Kassok could see (in the corner of his eye) Yoshiro charging at inhuman speeds with such swiftness that the white fabric of his gi blurred. Kassok hopped off the floor in time to avoid Yoshiro’s axe-kick (which created cracks in the stone floor on impact) and landed on his hands and knees a few meters away.

“My father taught me all he knew,” Yoshiro said, clenching his quivering right fist as it became engulfed in a pale yellow-green fire, “But he has not been my only teacher.” Kassok’s stare hardened and his mouth turned down in a frown. So the boy was a chi-user. That explained the superhuman speed and strength, Kassok thought to himself. Kassok had nothing but disdain for chi-users, they were babbling fools and mystics harping on about their close connection to the Universe when they were blind to the truth that they were just using a diluted, bastardized form of the Viscera.

“Did you learn about pressure points?” Kassok sprung at Yoshiro with his right index and middle fingers extended, thrusting them like a dagger at a spot on the boy’s chest. Yoshiro intercepted the thrust with his padded gloves, thwarting the attempt. Kassok’s left hand moved to attack another nerve cluster in Yoshiro’s hip but the young master’s other gloved hand moved to stop that as well.

Kassok feinted left with his leg while his right hand moved to attack Yoshiro’s neck but the young man saw through the trick and stopped Kassok with a front kick that hit Kassok square in the chest and threw the assassin back a whole meter. Yoshiro’s hips spun and his entire body twirled as he attempted to press his advantage with a devastating butterfly kick that might have broken Kassok’s jaw had Kassok not blocked it with his upper left arm.

The shock was incredible and Kassok felt as if his ulna was broken in three places. Still Kassok pressed on and pushed back with his sore arm against Yoshiro’s foot, nearly forcing the younger man off his axis. Yoshiro’s glowing fists and feet now moved like a pair of pistons as he began his rapid fire barrage of punches and kicks. Kassok quickly deduced the pattern: a left jab followed by a right hook followed by a sweeping low kick with the right leg which was then capped off by a right uppercut.

Kassok got so adept at blocking these maneuvers that he fell into Yoshiro’s trap and started blocking instinctively rather than actually thinking his moves out. So when Yoshiro abruptly abandoned the sequence half way through the right hook Kassok was totally caught off guard by the sudden left palm-strike that bruised the assassin’s right pectoral muscle and knocked him on his Rukenian backside.

“How did someone like you ever defeat my father?” Yoshiro asked while Kassok was busy picking himself off the floor. Kassok spat and grunted.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Jun 4th, 2010 12:05 AM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

“How?” The assassin’s gray and brown clothing blurred and the soles of his boots clattered against the stone floor like the sound of an automatic weapon. The gust of air that his lightning-fast dash created blew out all the candles in the little circle. The breath was forced out of Yoshiro’s lungs by a sharp blow to his stomach and the left side of his face was turned red by the toe of Kassok’s right boot. A tooth was loosened in the back of Yoshiro’s mouth and a fuzzy hum accompanied by a light ringing noise developed in his ears.

Yoshiro doubled over, instinctively clutching his injured abdomen while at the same time trying to power through the intense pain he felt on his face, “I beat him because I was better,” Yoshiro didn’t have the time to raise a defense before Kassok brought down his right elbow on the young master’s shoulder blades. Yoshiro was forced into the hard stone floor, his chin smashing the cold stone with such force that he bit a piece of his tongue off.

Yoshiro spat out bloody spittle and turned on Kassok with a clumsy ascending haymaker but the assassin caught the boy’s fist with his left hand, “I beat him because I was older,” a bone-crunching right jab knocked loose three teeth in Yoshiro’s mouth and forced him to once again bite down on his tongue, this time turning the tip into scar tissue, “More experienced,” Yoshiro felt the breath leaving his lungs from another blow to his stomach, “More focused,” Yoshiro received an uppercut courtesy of Kassok’s right elbow that caused a temporary loss of smell, “Meaner too,” with his left hand still around the boy’s fist Kassok squeezed down until finger bones crunched and blood oozed out of Yoshiro’s fingernails.

Picking Yoshiro off the ground by his hand Kassok twirled the boy around until Yoshiro experienced a brief loss of vision, finally releasing him whereupon Yoshiro flew four meters before slamming face first into the hard stone wall, “Its not too late, you know,” Kassok said to the dazed and battered young master, “Do what your father didn’t have the brains to do and give up, walk away and try to forget about ever getting even with me. Because to be honest you’ll never win with your attitude,” a tear rolled down Yoshiro’s cheek as he leaned against the cavern wall for support.

The tear rolled from his tear duct to his chin where it joined with a stream of sweat and a trickle of blood from a forehead gash, “I can tell you expected this to be easy,” Kassok continued, showing no pity for the wounded boy, “You played this scenario out in your head a million times and it always ended with me broken and dispirited while you went on to become the most famous martial artist in all the Universe. Never once did the thought of defeat enter your mind. Tell me: am I right so far?” Kassok sneered.

Yoshiro dug into the cave wall until small craters formed at his fingertips. He choked back tears and grinded his teeth while the glow that had enveloped his fists spread across his entire body. The glow was not a uniform one, nor was it stable, it appeared ragged and blurred as if strained by Yoshiro’s rampant emotions.

Yoshiro let loose an ear-piercing scream and rushed at Kassok with his uninjured left hand extended, its palm flat. The yellow-green flame intensified and flared up around the man’s fingertips while he moved it toward Kassok. His intent was clear: focus all the chi in his body in one devastating attack that would shatter every last bone in Kassok’s body.

While Yoshiro charged Kassok moved serenely into position and crouched low before exhaling. Kassok shut his eyes and moved his right hand into position, the palm flat as a pancake in the exact same form as Yoshiro’s. Tiny jade green sparks danced on Kassok’s palm, meeting the yellow-green fire of Yoshiro’s chi just as Kassok’s palm met Yoshiro’s.

Kassok opened his eyes, revealing a set of blue irises with small green flecks. His face was still and serene. Yoshiro’s countenance on the other hand was in absolute agony. When their hands met a wave of indescribable destructive force washed over Yoshiro and shattered ever bone beneath his neckline, starting with the bones in his left hand which were like powdered glass now.

Yoshiro’s shattered legs wobbled and he soon fell over onto his backside. He could only look on and cry noiselessly as Kassok calmly walked toward his swords and gingerly picked them back up. After a short period of silence Kassok addressed the young man, “I know you couldn’t have imagined this outcome, so I can’t really fault you for overconfidence and arrogance.

Nor can I fault you for wanting to fulfill your father’s wishes, foolish and impractical though they are. Have a son, if you can. Teach him what you know and pour all that hatred, pride, and vainglory into his heart and soul. Who knows? Maybe he’ll have better luck than his father and his grandfather. Just remember, Yoshiro,” Kassok said before departing, “I gave you the chance to walk away.”

*************


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Jun 4th, 2010 12:07 AM
Omega Vision is currently offline Click here to Send Omega Vision a Private Message Find more posts by Omega Vision Edit/Delete Message Reply w/Quote Quick Quote
Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

Lord Karg sat with his two lower arms resting on the cold, jagged arms of his iron throne while his two upper arms were crossed as if expressing impatience or exasperation. He shut off the view screen to Yoshiro’s cavern when the young master fell to Kassok’s power and skill. He didn’t shut the little silver screen with the proper button on his throne’s right arm though; he shut it off the way he shut off everything that disappointed him: by smashing it with one of his fists until it was a pile of scrap.

Karg was a male Goroian, and a large one at that. The Goroians were a species of four armed, three-eyed humanoids with purple (or rarely, as in Karg’s case, magenta) skin and taloned-tipped two-toed digitigrade feet. Apart from his three yellow eyes the distinguishing features of Karg’s face was the pair of small brown horns extending from his chin and the heavy skull-plate on his forehead that appeared like a large and bony ridge. His clothing was sparse and consisted of a pair of brown leather trousers that cut off at the mid shin and a matching vest that covered his back and some of his upper chest, hardly the attire of someone who aspired to rule the Drexxian Empire.

Karg wasn’t a handsome creature, his face was jagged and his lipless mouth was constantly baring a row of razor sharp yellow teeth but what he lacked in good looks he made up for with strength and the ability to intimidate others. In the cases where those qualities weren’t enough he also had quite a bit of wealth to secure loyalty. Standing directly to Karg’s left was a tall, rail thin man with an angular face, spiky dark hair, and skin as pale as paper.

His attire was just as strange and consisted of a glossy blood red jacket (with matching pants) over a black waistcoat and a yellow long-sleeved undershirt with gray pinstripes. Over his spiky hair he wore a wide-brimmed crimson and black fedora hat that was always tipped low to shield his eyes. The man’s lips turned up in an amused smile when Karg took out his frustration on the little view screen and smashed it to pieces.

“Too bad Kassok isn’t a view-screen,” the man cracked in his raspy voice, “Then you wouldn’t need my help to kill him.” Karg glanced up at the man with his three yellow eyes with their black slit pupils and growled.

“I don’t need your help to kill him!” Karg claimed with his cannon of a voice.

“Right,” the man chuckled, “I guess I got confused because of the amount of money I’m getting paid to kill him.”

“Kassok doesn’t deserve to face me in combat!” Karg brought down one of his four huge magenta fists on the arm of his throne which put a deep dent in the iron.

“Really?” the man chuckled again, “So how does someone qualify for that honor if beating and killing the Fighters Four doesn’t cut it?”

“Another word and I’ll cut your pay in half,” Karg snarled through his yellow jaws.

“You do that and I walk,” the man replied coolly. He turned away from Karg and started to casually walk in the direction of the rear exit, his hands stuffed in his coat pockets and a smirk pushing up the corners of his mouth. He had no intention of leaving and Karg’s reaction was predictable.

“Wait!” Karg cried out, holding three hands up in protest, “I’ll pay the full amount we agreed on, just do what you were hired to do,” even in moments of capitulation Karg needed to reassert his power with a demand, even if that demand bordered on a request. A long cackle escaped the strange man’s throat.

“Raise it,” the man said, halting his walk, “Raise the original price by a third and I’ll stick around.”

“Why should I?” Karg furrowed all three eyebrows at the recalcitrant mercenary.

“Emotional damages,” the mercenary replied snidely, “I need compensatory pay for all the financial and emotional damages I’ve suffered taking on this job.”

“Financial damages? I paid for your travel!” Karg protested, now practically foaming at the mouth from frustration.

“Be that as it may, you’ve also created a stressful workplace,” the man countered.

“And what work have you done since you arrived here three weeks ago?” Karg asked with another toothy snarl, “In the rare moments you’ve been awake you’ve drank my private spirits, pilfered my personal larder, and harassed my concubines!”

“See what I mean? You’re pissing all over my mellow center with all this nagging,” the man said sarcastically, “I’m on edge, I might not be able to shoot straight when Kassok comes knocking,” he grinned, “Of course a little pay raise might go a long way to steadying my hand,” though the man’s upper face was still obscured by the brim of his hat it was clear to Karg that he was winking. Karg’s nails dug into the solid iron of his throne, carving small grooves into the metal as if it were made of wax. Just beneath Karg’s skull plate was a pulsating vein that was growing larger by the second.

“Fine,” Karg relented, talking through his shark-like teeth (instead of moving his lips) as he always did when he was holding back the urge to let out an enraged scream, “You can have your one-third pay increase.”

“Try one-half,” the man corrected, he grinned smugly as Karg leered, “Because you argued with me and hurt my feelings again.”

“Fine, I’ll raise your already steep payment by half,” Karg said. The vein on his forehead was now a centimeter thick and looked as if it were about to burst open at any moment.

“Was that so hard?” the man asked with a cruel chuckle.

“Just be ready for when he arrives,” Karg grumbled. He could barely restrain his urge to rip the smug mercenary’s head from its narrow shoulders.

“I’m always ready,” the mercenary replied, patting a bulge in his jacket’s left breast, the spot where he stashed his weapon.

*************

After clearing the last of the tunnels Kassok arrived in the fortress proper where the actual inhabitants of the fortress resided. The passage widened from a narrow tunnel to a long hall lit by glowing torches and decorated by many small tents and tables that belonged to a small army of women who populated the passage. As per the claim of the Jalan emissary Karg had no wife but it was clear he had many concubines. These women cowered in corners and hid behind their silk tents as Kassok passed them by indifferently.

After a while they stopped cowering once they realized he wasn’t there to harm them and instead tried to ignore him as he walked by. Kassok looked confident, aloof even as he walked toward the huge blast door that guarded the entrance of Karg’s throne chamber. In truth Kassok was a bit concerned. For all he knew Karg could have an entire army waiting in ambush and with Kassok’s power suit’s integrity failing from over-exertion and battle damage he didn’t know if he had the power to take on an entire army.

Kassok paused when he came to t he foot of the imposing steel door. Exhaling deeply Kassok wound back his right fist and slammed it right in the center of the barrier where the two doors met. Tempered steel warped and crumpled around the contours of Kassok’s knuckles and the magnetically reinforced hinges were weakened considerably. On the other side of the door a new convex deformation appeared, the steel having been punched in ten centimeters. A follow up blow lower down the length of the door knocked one of the hinges off and the next four blows disabled the others until finally on the sixth mighty blow Kassok smashed the doors in and sent six metric tons of steel crashing down before him.

Kassok stared through the recently opened doorway, half expecting to be set upon by a hail of gunfire from waiting soldiers. Nothing happened. Kassok cautiously poked his nose through the opening like a groundhog emerging from its shelter after winter. Nothing. Karg’s throne chamber was empty, with no soldiers whatsoever. With his guard up and his head low Kassok climbed up the wrecked slab of steel that had until recently barred the entrance and strolled into Karg’s massive throne chamber.

Kassok scanned the high ceiling which was supported by two long rows of gray marble pillars for a sign of any traps and then scanned the white marble floors for signs of tripwires or trap-doors. The chamber looked clean. The size impressed Kassok; it was easily three times as large as all the chambers of the Fighters Four combined. In between the twin rows of behemoth marble columns the white floor was covered by a long blood-red carpet with gold trim. The carpet stretched across the nearly-hundred meter long chamber to a slab of granite upon which Karg’s iron throne was fixed. Perched on that iron throne was Karg himself. Standing just a few meters to the side was a thin man wearing clothes all too familiar to Kassok.


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Last edited by Omega Vision on Jun 7th, 2010 at 12:29 AM

Old Post Jun 7th, 2010 12:26 AM
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Omega Vision
Face Flowed Into Her Eyes

Gender: Male
Location: Miami Metropolitan Area

“That’s far enough, Big K,” the man reached into his jacket and whipped out a black and silver handgun far too large to (without some finessing) fit in the man’s jacket. It was an automatic slug-thrower, the kind used on Earth centuries ago. Its internal mechanisms and barrel were covered by a rectangular metal and plastic shell. From the muzzle of the barrel to the tail end of the hammer the gun was forty centimeters long, yet surprisingly light for its size. The man pointed the business end of the weapon directly at Kassok’s heart. Kassok froze in his tracks but didn’t express any real concern or apprehension, just annoyance.

“I thought we agreed you wouldn’t call me that anymore, Serge,” Kassok replied with his usual deadpan expression. The man twitched a bit.

“And I thought I told you never to call me Serge,” he countered. His tone was no longer playfully flippant, now it was one of mild irritation at being addressed by a hated name.

“Well I’m not going to call you “Guns” Pascal,” Kassok said with a sneer.

“Why not?”

“Because it’s ridiculous.” Kassok and Serge’s banter betrayed their familiarity with one another. As a fellow assassin and mercenary Serge had aided Kassok several times and both had a decent understanding of the other’s abilities which is why Kassok didn’t attempt to charge Serge right off the bat. Though he might have respected Serge’s skill with a gun he had absolutely no respect for him as an individual. As annoyed as Kassok was by Serge’s presence it couldn’t compare to how annoyed Karg was at the lack of action.

“I’m not paying you to talk to him!” Karg snarled, shaking a huge fist at his hired gun, “You can finish catching up with his corpse.”

“Don’t rush me,” Serge snapped back, “I want to give Kassok a moment to understand that he’s unequivocally ****ed,” Serge grinned from ear to ear, “Whenever I pull this trigger something dies, that’s a certifiable fact,” Serge boasted, rubbing the smooth surface of the pistol’s slide mechanism affectionately as if it were a beloved pet. His pride was well-founded and Serge was nearly as renowned and notorious as Kassok was for being the greatest gunman alive, “Not even you can hope to dodge my bullets.”

“You’re right about one thing,” Kassok agreed, “Dodging isn’t an option for me. Guess I’ll need to think of something else.”

“You always were good for a laugh, Big K,” Serge smirked at Kassok from beneath the brim of his fedora while his finger pulled back the narrow trigger. Kassok shut his eyes and closed his hands into fists while Serge took an eternity to squeeze the trigger all the way back. There was a tiny explosion and a flash of orange and yellow from the muzzle accompanied by a small cloud of white smoke. A hot smoking cylinder of heated brass jumped out of the shuddering weapon and spun over Serge’s head while the bullet it had helped launch exploded from the barrel and hurtled through the air at close to 500 meters per second.

Directly in the bullet’s path, buried under cloth, armor, skin, and muscle was Kassok’s heart which was beating at a phenomenal twenty beats per second. Kassok’s eyelids opened to reveal a pair of jade irises which locked on to the bullet just as it escaped the gun’s muzzle. Milliseconds ticked away and in Kassok’s altered perception where the bullet traveled at an ungodly slow rate across the fifty meter distance that separated shooter from target. The old assassin knew that he had only one chance at this and his body already went into motion before Serge had even squeezed the trigger.

His right hand that had been balled into a fist at his side opened precisely at the moment Serge’s firing pin was triggered and while the gunpowder in the brass casing was igniting the appendage started to rise up. There was no time for anything else, Kassok couldn’t hope to dodge or duck the bullet so instead he had to attempt what to most people would be an absurd impossibility: he had to catch the bullet. Even with a high-speed camera the ascension of Kassok’s bandaged right hand would have created a noticeable blur effect as it intercepted the hot metal slug.

What Kassok then accomplished was nothing short of impossible. Kassok’s fist closed around the bullet just as his entire body twisted into a lightning-fast 360 degree spin. Employing the same energy redirection technique that had blocked Goturamm’s punches Kassok was able to keep the bullet from impacting his hand and instead lend the projectile’s energy to his spinning fist. In essence Kassok was ‘tricking’ the bullet into ‘thinking’ it was still flying on a straight path through empty air when in fact it was now frozen in Kassok’s grasp.

The spectacle all happened in between ticks of a clock and neither Karg nor Serge had time to understand what Kassok had done until it was too late. When Kassok stopped spinning and opened his fist the bullet was released and sent flying back to its original owner. Kassok’s aim was impeccable.

Even Serge’s finely honed reflexes and uncanny powers of perception only gave him the speed and acuity necessary to understand that it was him who was ‘unequivocally ****ed’. His body was much too slow to do a thing about it. The hot armor-piercing slug tore through the metal muzzle and shredded apart the gun’s steel barrel. The gun was split open by its own bullet which exited out the other side, splitting into three different fragments.

The two smaller fragments zipped harmlessly through the empty air but the third and largest fragment tore a hole in Serge’s chest and drove straight through the gunman’s heart. The cardiac muscle that made up the vital organ was shredded by kinetic energy and heat and not more than a second after the bullet fragment exited out the opposite side of Serge’s body the gunman’s nervous activity ceased.

It was only after Serge’s body slumped over and released its grip around the broken gun in its hand that Karg’s look of victorious smugness melted away to be replaced by one of utter confusion and horror. Kassok leered at the corpse of his would-be-killer, regarding it as one might regard a piece of trash that had somehow drifted away from the refuse bin. Part of Kassok wanted to make some quip about how Serge’s boast had been frightfully true but the better part of him realized that anything he could say would only cheapen the moment and its delicious irony.

Instead the assassin merely continued on his leisurely march toward Karg’s throne. Half of Lord Karg’s body was frozen stiff while the other half was quivering with fear. Reining in his terror Karg instead summoned up his anger, anger at having suffered so much at Kassok’s hands, anger at Kassok’s calm, indifferent expression, and anger at having been failed by all his servants and soldiers. Slowly but surely Karg found the strength to reach for the weapons attached to the sides of his throne. With his lower hands he removed a pair of golden daggers while his upper hands seized a pair of heavy battleaxes with blades made from a zeltium-iron alloy.

When backed into a corner Goroians would often become possessed by an extreme version of fight-or-flight response which would increase their strength and speed at great cost to their reasoning. Karg stood up from his throne and lifted the weapons toward the ceiling before cutting loose with a deafening battle cry in his native tongue. Kassok kept walking at his slow pace, not even flinching at Karg’s challenge.

“I don’t care how many people you’ve killed today!” Karg roared, foaming at the mouth as he was overcome by the feral state, “You won’t kill me! I am Karg; I am the greatest warrior to have ever lived!” Karg’s mighty legs contracted like a pair of springs which upon release sent his huge body rocketing into the air. A howl on his lips Karg descended on Kassok like a diving falcon on a small prey animal. Karg never stood a chance. The fight was over the very second Kassok’s right hand touched the hilt of his chokutō.

*************


__________________

“Where the longleaf pines are whispering
to him who loved them so.
Where the faint murmurs now dwindling
echo o’er tide and shore."

-A Grave Epitaph in Santa Rosa County, Florida; I wish I could remember the man's name.

Old Post Jun 7th, 2010 12:28 AM
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