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 Prologue: Fragments

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Red Blizzard

Posts : 164
Join date : 2011-05-30
Age : 25
Location : Elsewhere

PostSubject: Prologue: Fragments   Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:20 pm

Nobody remembers when they were born. For every newborn creature coming into this world, the moment of birth is a dark time. It is a moment where the light of the world greets their eyes for the first time, and they truly begin to live. Yet they cannot comprehend it. They have not realized yet that they are alive. Ironic, that people are born with light in their eyes and darkness in their memory. By the time they actually grasp what it means to live, the burden of living will have weighed them down. Time will cause the light to fade from their eyes. Once that happens, people turn inwards to seek the truth. Their hearts turn to stone and their eyes to steel, and they look down on those who think themselves happy and free. These people prey on the naïve and innocent, crushing those that do not understand, to make others realize. But those that have not realized this reality band together for shelter against the darkness. Thus, clans are formed. Clans, for those who cower behind each other and hide within castle walls and think they have outsmarted the truth. One cannot outsmart the truth. One must go out to meet it alone, whether in life, or in death. But so many cannot – will not – grasp this reality. They shun death as the ultimate evil, along with anything that brings it: Famine, Plague, War. Though clans set out to make war in order to have their little peace, they look upon War as their worst enemy. War! There are things far more terrifying.

The cloaked figure turned away from the castle rising out of the forest, and sank back into the darkness, out of sight of the moon.


The whispers spread throughout the clan like the rustling of dry leaves. Soluna was pregnant. People whispered about it in the hallways when they thought nobody was listening. They whispered about it in the bars of Wa-Kia, between mugs of ale. They whispered about it in the forest while scouting, in the fields while training, in the smithy while forging, in the river while bathing. They thought about it in their bedrooms at night, locking their doors to keep their thoughts from seeping out in their sleep. But everybody knew. Soluna herself had found out less than a week after that fateful night. The signs were unmistakable. She had meant to break the news to Felk as soon as possible, but he was away on a mission. So she kept quiet. But quiet wasn’t good enough. People knew when her belly began to swell, and three months after the incident that leveled Wa-Kia and nearly claimed Dye’s life, there wasn’t a single person in the clan that didn’t know. Except for Felk.

The door swept open one night just after full moon. Heads swiveled as the slim figure of Felk came walking in, footsteps tapping off the stone floor. His mission had been long, and some of the newer members didn’t recognize him. But it was clear that wherever he had been, he had been well rewarded for his efforts. A variety of new trinkets dangled from his thin black body. In addition to his original sword, he now had two more: a smaller longsword strapped across from the first one, and a long, thin claymore on his back. His hatchet had been joined by several throwing axes at the belt, and a new, dark cloak hung tight around him. One might have mistaken him for a vampire, but there were some mistakes you were better off not making. Even though it was a day after full moon, several older members shivered as the moonlight shone behind him. He seemed to twitch unintentionally around the face and hands, hinting at the night before. Though his amulet seemed to tell a better story; specks of blood and wolf hair could be seen on it.

His first sentence was simple and direct. “I’m back.” Then, “Where’s Soluna?”

A man nodded upstairs. “Hasn’t come out of her room since yesterday.”

Felk sighed. “I’ll bet. Is she still getting used to the transformations?”

“Yup. Some of us can’t sleep at night but for the howling.”

Felk sighed and mounted the stairs. A knock on Soluna’s bedroom door. No answer. He tried the handle, with little success.

“Soluna? It’s me, Felk.”

The lock clicked, and the door pushed inwards. Felk found Soluna curled up against the wall, right next to the door. Even with her knees drawn up against her chest, he could see the swelling belly of a three-month pregnancy. Around the room, torn bed and destroyed furniture alluded to the full moon on the night before.

Felk opened his mouth, hesitating for just a moment. “Rough night?” Soluna nodded. “So…you’re pregnant.”

Soluna looked up sharply, eyes gleaming. “Don’t act surprised. It’s your child as much as mine.”

“Wow…I’m sorry if I said anything wrong.”

Soluna sighed. “If I’m being snappish, I have good reason for it.”

“Still not used to it?”

Soluna slowly stood up and gestured around the room. “I’ll never get used to it. Every time I transform, I go for the first thing I lay my eyes on and don’t stop until the moon is gone.”

“It gets better after six months or so.”

“Six months! We have a child to worry about, Felk! Just because I transform doesn’t mean the baby temporarily goes away. It stays with me! What if I accidentally hurt it? What if something bad happens, and I break out and hurt someone? This is bad, Felk. I hope you’ve realized that by now.” Soluna’s eyes glistened.

Felk sighed and stepped forward, embracing Soluna softly as she cried into his chest. “We’re killers, all of us. We’ll think of something together. Come out into the woods next time before full moon. There’s a quiet spot where nobody goes, and we can transform together there. You’ll be less violent when there’s someone of your kind with you. Trust me.” Soluna sobbed and looked up.

“How can we raise a child if we’re killers? Our baby’s going to grow up thinking that it’s okay to kill people, and that would be horrible…” Felk closed his eyes. He didn’t blame Soluna. In the past three months, he had spilt more blood than he had drunken glasses of wine. When he looked down at Soluna again, he did his best to look reassuring.

“Do you want to leave the clan?”

“No…that would be worse…”

“Well then, we’ll just have to think of something. Not everyone in the clan has to kill all the time. Maybe I’ll ask Dye to play babysitter.” Soluna laughed despite her tears. The thought of Dye raising a baby played out comically in her mind. “Besides, we have time. The baby won’t be due for another six months. Just play it safe and don’t go out on too many missions…”

“Don’t you mean any missions?”

“Right…” Felk looked at Soluna wryly. “Why, you’re not feeling the urge to kill anyone, are you?”

“Actually, I kinda am. I’ve been cooped up in the castle for nearly a month now, since the last transformation. I honestly need to go fight a demon or something.”

Felk smiled. “Actually, I saw a poster on the way in. Offered a nice reward for the head of a demon rampaging in the north. We could go there. It would be a quick trip there and back. And I promise the baby won’t be hurt.” Soluna wiped the tears from her eyes and looked around to the crystal claymore gathering dust in the corner. One demon couldn’t hurt…


The doors burst open a second time that night as Blizzard rushed in, shades askew. He was late for a midnight meeting called by the Captains, and scrambled through the hallways, feet slipping on the smooth stone floor. In the gathering room, a few insomniacs had gathered around the fireplace, kept entertained by a man playing the guitar. The man’s black vest played out lazily, revealing a chest covered in black tattoos. A casual smile played across his lips as he strummed, eyes half open, entrancing a well-fed audience. The guitar cradled in his hands looked to be stained with what appeared to be blood, and two giant spikes jutted out at the top where the pegs stuck out. Ostensibly, it could be used as a weapon, though its magical properties were probably what mattered. Magic, the one thing Blizzard hadn’t used ever since his demon blades were destroyed in Jake’s exorcism. His own weapons were simple folded steel, his other personal affects similarly simple, both past and present. Blizzard felt a twinge of longing as he recalled his own guitar, crushed months ago. He hadn’t been able to find a good one ever since.

Clearing his head, Blizzard started for the door to the meeting room. It opened before he even touched the handle, and the furiously red face of Dye stuck out in his face.

“DAMN IT BLIZZARD, WHERE ARE YOU!?!?!?” Then he turned. “Oh, there you are. GET IN HERE NOW!!!” A mortified Blizzard followed Dye into the meeting chamber, where the other Captains were waiting. Priest was at the head of the congregation, seated at the far end of a long, silver table polished to reflect the ceiling. Fresh white robes flowed about him, hood drawn up to cover his eyes. His fight against Dye had worn him down mentally, and even now, he was still so drained that he hardly left the castle for any reason other than to rebuild Wa-Kia. Next to him, the other participant in the fight looked equally weary. Dye had lost his armor and his weapon, and sat in a simple black tunic, sapphire necklace visible. He was using a simple claymore for now until a new weapon could be forged, though even the best of the smiths nearby couldn’t forge what Dye required. Across from him, Saint was leaning back in his seat, looking equally pale. Dye had destroyed him before going off to fight Priest, and the delayed administration of proper healing meant that he was still taking potions to regain physical strength. Sitting a little ways away from them all, black bandana covering one eye, Nathan looked physically healthier, but wore the same expression as the others. One of judgment.

“I now call this meeting to order.” Priest tapped the table lightly with his hand as Blizzard took his place across from Nathan. “We are gathered here today to discuss the demotion of Blizzard from the position of Captain.”

Blizzard jumped up, sending his chair flying backwards. “WHAT!?!?!?”

“Please sit down, and don’t make it any harder than it has to be.”

“Any harder…It doesn’t have to happen! What genius was it that called this meeting?”

Nathan waved Blizzard down. “That would be me, but we’ve all had it on our minds for a while now. Face it, you’re nowhere near what you need to be to keep your position in this clan. You’re just not active enough.”

“Hmmm…not active enough huh?” Blizzard furrowed his brow in mock concentration. “Remind me who it was that wasn’t active enough to stay as Captain at one point in time? And whose word was it that kept said person from being ejected from the clan?”

Nathan sighed. “Look, I’m grateful for what you did there, but that was in the past. We’re talking about today, and now. All of us here are more active than you are, and have spent months trying to build everything back up to what they were before the War incident. Meanwhile, seeing as you haven’t done anything…”

“What do you mean I haven’t done anything? I’ve been working my butt off maintaining our diplomatic ties with the world.”

“Mind sharing what you’ve done so far?”

Blizzard opened his mouth, but before he could retort, a deep voice resounded from the door. “He’s been working with us.” Everyone turned as the dark figure of Lizargeco, leader of the Guardians of Doom, strode into the meeting room. The temperature of the air dropped by ten degrees with his mere presence, giving goosebumps to anyone in the room who had skin…meaning anyone other than himself.

“I don’t remember inviting you to this meeting…” Priest half rose.

“I decided to take a look at how this clan has been doing. Apparently there’s been a mistake; I thought I heard someone mention demoting Blizzard.”

“No, you heard correctly.” Nathan glared at Lizargeco with his one eye. “And Blizzard working with you guys? More like playing. All he does these days is hang around with your group when he’s not with us. He’s more a member of our clan than ours.”

“Must I remind you all that part of keeping diplomatic relations stable is to maintain a friendly connection between clans?” Blizzard pulled his shades down, red eyes sweeping across the table. “Remember that I was the one who first approached their clan? Nobody else dared to go near them.”

“Indeed. And in good time too.” Lizargeco approached the table, but did not take a seat. “I was actually considering taking action against Requiem with its swift rise to power. If Blizzard hadn’t formed an alliance with us, I would have razed this clan to the ground.”

“Yes, yes, that is all very well known history. But what does Blizzard do these days? Sit around and play while others work.”

“That’s not true! I’ve been working hard to form new alliances and mergers!”

“Like the one with the Shadow Ninjas?” Saint’s tone was so icy that Blizzard instantly froze. The room, if possible, became even colder. “We fought hard to drive them off after you practically opened the door on them to enter, without consulting the rest of us. Your knack for impulsive diplomatic action without even consulting Priest has made you a bag of mixed results for us. I can hardly tell now whether you’ve done more good or bad now for our clan.”

“Whatever. One mistake…”

“And you haven’t benefited us at all in recent months. Maintaining diplomatic relations with the Guardians?” Dye spoke up. “You hardly do anything other than hang around with them all day. I’ve seen you there once or twice. No work done at all. You hardly know this clan anymore.”

“How can you say that? I was here when this clan reformed! I helped to build this clan!”

“Not any more, you haven’t.” Saint stood up, green eyes staring daggers. Blizzard growled; Saint had become a Captain after him, he had no right to look at him like that. “Let’s take a little test, shall we? That man just outside the door, who is he?”

Blizzard shrugged. “Am I supposed to know every single person in the clan?”

The other Captains nodded. “You’re losing your touch if you can’t even realize that any more, Blizzard.” Nathan shifted in his seat to look directly at Blizzard. All eyes seemed to be pressing in on the irate Captain. “For your information, that man is Boomfus. Joined a month after Soluna came to us. He hails from a group known as the Demons of Hell. You’ve heard of them, yes?”


“Know what they’re up to right now?” Blizzard did nothing but glare in response. “No answer? As a diplomat, you ought to know. Their leader, Casadin, is considering war against us. I would think that you were the one to know this first, not last.”

“It is settled then. Since you cannot maintain your activity nor your ability as a Captain, I, as leader of this clan…” Priest stopped mid-sentence as Blizzard stood up, kicked over his chair, and swept the room with his eyes.

“It seems that if this clan does not wish me to waste my time, I would do better than to continue to remain here.”

Dye stood up immediately after him, swearing and spitting, hand reaching for his claymore. “There, your silver tongue at work again! Every time we try to tell you something, you try to make us look bad with your fancy words. I’m sick of it!” Blizzard turned away. “Don’t you dare turn your back on your leader!” Blizzard began walking towards the door. “HEY!!! WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING!?!?!” As Blizzard reached for the doorknob, there was a sharp pain in his back. Blizzard didn’t bother to turn around as the claymore pierced him, sliding in between two rib bones and splitting open his lung. The blade continued on through him into the door and out the other side. There was a collective gasp inside the meeting chamber. Outside, the guitar music stopped.

“Ironic, don’t you think?” Blizzard spoke without turning around as blood ran down his front and back. “Among all the Captains, I am the only one that does not possess any form of magic. Priest can manipulate light, Dye can light himself on fire, Saint can control electricity, and even Nathan can blink teleport short distances. But other than my skill with weapons, I have no special fighting ability whatsoever.” Dye let go of the claymore and backed up two steps as Blizzard continued to talk calmly to the door, unperturbed by the stream of blood now staining his jacket. “So I use my power of voice rather than my physical ability to sway others. Now, it seems that power is waning as well. Perhaps you lot are right.” Blizzard half turned, red eyes bright in the dim light. “What good is a Captain that can’t fight?” He twitched his body, and the claymore snapped in half, the hilt sliding out of Blizzard’s body and clattering to the floor. Facing the silent Captains, Blizzard slid open his jacket to reveal the sword wound, inches below his open heart. Already, the blood had stopped flowing.

“I request that you postpone my demotion to give me time to redeem myself. Good night.” Blizzard was gone, jacket rippling as he stalked through the gathering room, past stunned faces and silent mouths. His footsteps rang out hollowly through the hallways as he made his way across the castle. But the entrance to a set of massive double doors, he was stopped.

“Blizzard.” The deep voice of Lizargeco arrested Blizzard as he stood in front of the doors, a sliver of moonlight shining through a crack in between them.


“What do you plan to do? You helped to build Requiem, now they’re shrugging you off. One of them even stabbed you. If not for your heart, you would’ve been dead back there. Let me help you with this argument. These people need to see that you’re right.”

“Thanks, but I think I’ll go this one alone.”

“And what will you do if they demote you?”

Blizzard paused for a moment. “Quit, maybe.”

“And join my clan for good?”

Another pause. “Probably not. I was meant to be neutral, not evil.”

“I could get you situated somewhere…”

“I said, I’ll go this one alone.”

“Fine.” Lizargeco swept off silently, disappearing into the darkness of the corridors. If he didn’t want help, that was his business. He had better things to attend to anyways.


Boomfus eyed the bloody footprints leading across the room and down the hall. A water mage could clean it up in a snap, but that sort of look made the castle look lively, at least while the blood was still fresh. What interested him more was why the Captain, whoever he was, had left the meeting room in such a state. Usually, a guy with a wound that big was either dead or dying. In fact, he knew of only two other people that would still be walking after such an ordeal: Dye, usually, and Nathan, occasionally. This guy looked like he hadn’t been affected at all. Looking around, Boomfus saw faces equally as confused as he was, though the fatigue was in their eyes as well. It was past midnight. Maybe what they were seeing was a dream or something. Not bothering to pick up his strumming again, Boomfus set his guitar aside, while others tottered off to bed. By morning, none of them would remember that the incident had ever happened.

Just then, the meeting room door opened as the other Captains streamed out, stalking in different directions. Dye stared at the shard of claymore stuck in the door, grunted, and yanked it out before heading off. Boomfus was left alone in the meeting room to mull things over. He didn’t stay long. Picking up his things, he went after Saint, catching him in a corridor near the back of the base.

“Came to ask about Staitus?”

Boomfus nodded. “I don’t have many friends sir, and he’s one of the few I know well.”

“You’re in a new clan now. Everyone can be counted on as a friend.”

“Once I get used to them. Anyways, where is he?”

“Still out on his mission. He should be back any day now.”

“That’s what you said a week ago.”

“He asked for an extension to make the job more complete.”

“That’s just like him…”

“Isn’t it?”

“That was sarcasm sir. I know he wouldn’t do that.” Saint sighed as Boomfus eyed him, red eye gleaming, other one covered by spikes of long, black hair. He was tired of seeing red eyes now, and turned away, gazing out a window down at the lake. The moon reflected almost perfectly off the lake’s surface, waning. Saint wondered if the clan’s power was waning as well. To have another argument following hot on the heels of the last one…At least it was Blizzard this time and not Dye. While Dye had the potential to destroy anything he touched, Blizzard was less powerful, as he had stated himself before leaving. Still, his voice could spark a rebellion if he so chose to start one. Saint groaned and rubbed his temples pensively.


No answer. Boomfus forged ahead. “What happened earlier? I saw some Captain come baring out of the meeting room with a sword wound through his chest, didn’t act as if he were hurt at all.”

“That was private business. Don’t worry about it.”

“Alright then.”

No answer again. “Goodnight sir.” Boomfus left Saint alone to drown in his thoughts.


Nathan sat in his squad room, going over the recently added pink decorations. They were not only catchy; they were easy to see. They also helped to rake in new recruits looking for a tight-knit family within a family. The squads were set up to help each Captain go about with their own private missions without having to ask for assistance from members who might already be engaged with other duties. His squad had been the first created, the Elites, but had suffered a lack of interest in the wake of squads led by more popular Captains such as Saint and Dye. But now, he was experiencing a renaissance as members flocked to his fresh, spunky squad that now set itself apart from the others. In fact, all of the squads were now booming, other than Blizzard’s. Then again, he never did any fighting these days, which was small encouragement to the more bloodthirsty members.

For a moment, he wondered if he had been too hard on Blizzard. He did contribute to the clan while it was still being founded. But that had been ages ago. If he didn’t keep up with the times, he would be swept away and left behind. Nathan grunted once, got up from his seat, and left the squad room, stumping up the stairway to his bedroom.


One week. Blizzard had one week to clear his name. Priest sighed and rolled over in bed to look out the window. Something bugged him. It wasn’t Blizzard’s reaction. He didn’t expect him to come peacefully, and he certainly didn’t expect him to go down without well-articulated arguments. His “silver tongue” as Dye put it. But at least nobody had been hurt…except for Blizzard himself. Dye’s hot head again. No, what bugged him was not what had happened, but what might happen next. He had one week to do whatever it took to get him back on top. It could work either way. Blizzard had enough charisma to launch a full-scale uprising if he so chose, loyalty being nothing. Then again, he could also try to prove himself…and go overboard in the process. That possibility proved just as frightening as the first. While Dye had clearly been more violent with his own uprising, he had been more predictable. Just a lot of hacking and slashing, not much thought put into it. Coming up with a way to bring him back was easy enough. With Blizzard, there were hidden surprises to watch out for. He might destroy Requiem’s diplomatic relations. He might bring in the Guardians. The possibilities were endless…

Priest rolled over in bed and sank into an uneasy sleep.


Dye stopped before open double doors, moonlight streaming through. This was the open-air chapel that Requiem used for group sermons and to pay their respect to the dead. Rows of long, wooden seats slanted like rippling V’s leading up to the altar in front, which was little more than a simple stone table with an empty silver crucible on it. Peeking in, Dye saw something else on the stone table. He squinted, trying to discern what it was among the shades of night blue light. Unable to make it out, he marched in, footsteps clacking. Overhead, stone arches crossed over, supporting the walls of the church, but opening up to the night sky. The roof had been finished at one point, but the tiles had been faulty and the beams had rotted when it rained, so they were both removed for now. Moss hung in thin, transparent clumps from the underside of the arches, filtering in the moonlight.

Up at the front, Dye could begin to make out what he was seeing. Blizzard was there, working with shredded strips of his old jacket, using them to bandage up his wound. He didn’t look up as Dye appeared, leaning over his shoulder. Instead, he methodically finished dressing his wound, then stood up and turned around to face his companion.

“What is it?”

“Just thought I’d see what was going on here. Priest decided to give you what you wanted. You’ve got one week.”

“That’s wonderful.” Blizzard’s voice lacked any real emotion as he stared Dye down.

“Well…that’s pretty much it. I thought you might’ve wanted to know.”

“Alright.” Blizzard continued to stare at Dye.

“What else do you want? An apology for what I did to you earlier? Because you’re not getting one.”


“Blizz, stop talking to me like that. Look alive if you want to stay in this clan, you’re practically asking for a demotion right now as it is.”

Blizzard didn’t answer this time, continuing instead to stare at Dye.

“Lost your silver tongue, have you?”

“Look, enough with the silver tongue business, alright? I speak with my own voice, not something fancy that I make up to impress other people. Just because you use your sword to talk doesn’t mean other people have to be just as inarticulate with their words!”

Dye took an involuntary step back, and it was several moments before he could gather his thoughts enough to speak again. “Well then…just out of curiosity, how did you survive that attack so easily?”

Blizzard blinked. “It’s not magic, if that’s what you think it is. I just take damage better than most people.”

“Does it hurt?”

“Like hell.”


“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“It was meant to hurt. You can’t just turn your back on Priest like that. Some of us are getting worried that you think you’re his equal or something like that.”

“I don’t think that.”

“Well, you sure act it. The rest of us Captains have been working our butts off, and none of us act like that. Saint’s done a great job taking over reconstruction while you were off playing your little games. Now, there’s talk of Priest leaving.”


“Don’t pretend you didn’t hear. Priest hasn’t recovered since what War did to him. All of us can see it. He’s so tired he can barely hold meetings any more. It’s partly my fault, but I’ve been trying to make up for it. But Saint’s doing better than me, organizing the new recruits and all.”

“You speak so highly of his all of a sudden. What, do you think that he’s capable of leading this clan or something?”

“Honestly? I do. He’s been taking tips from Lizargeco and everything. He’s popular, he can come up with plans on the spot, and he’s got ideas that will take this clan places. Meanwhile, what have you been doing with the Guardians? I see that you’ve still got that nasty open heart.”

Blizzard looked down to the cavity where his heart was clearly visible, beating. “This? It’s going away.” He pointed to scar tissue forming around the edges. “The hole has been shrinking for the past few months, ever since I lost those demon blades.” Dye nodded as he remembered the weapons, which started off dull but became sharper the more blood they absorbed.

“So? I lost my scimitar and Priest lost his starsword. And Saint’s been losing his shortsword in every single fight he’s in. We all lose our weapons at some point.”

“Yeah, but what powers did your scimitar have?”

“Erm…not much really. It could withstand really high temperatures.”

“But that’s it.”


“That’s exactly my point.” Blizzard took off his shades. Even in the dim light, Dye could see them glistening. “My demon blades were all that I had. That, and my guitar. Now, I have nothing but my voice, and nobody listens to me. I’m hopeless Dye. The reason I’ve been away from the clan for so long is because I can’t do anything here any more. Dye…” Blizzard’s voice sank down to a whisper. “I’m afraid.”

Dye stared at Blizzard for five seconds. Somewhere deep down, mixed emotions began to bubble up. Anger at Blizzard for being afraid. Amusement at the ridiculous situation. Sadness that Blizzard had sunken to such a level. Satisfaction to see Blizzard squirming for what he deserved. Pity, seeing him in this wretched state. It all seemed to boil in his stomach and came out as a loud, raucous laugh that echoed off the chapel walls and roused several people from their sleep.

“Afraid? You! Afraid! You’ve got to be kidding me!” Dye caught himself mid-breath. Tears were glistening at the edge of Blizzard’s eyes. This wasn’t funny. A Captain wasn’t supposed to be crying. Blizzard wasn’t even supposed to be Captain, but that didn’t justify him for crying. He used to be a Captain, and that meant that he shouldn’t be crying right now.

“You don’t get it.” Blizzard’s voice was shaking. “I can’t do anything!”

Dye’s stomach churned as he watched Blizzard break down before him, collapsing to his knees and crying into the palms of his hands. The bloodstain on his bandages was black in the moonlight, giving Dye a slight twinge of guilt. He was his friend after all, no matter their differences. While he waited for Blizzard to stop shaking uncontrollably, he pulled up a church bench and sat down next to him.

“Look, you’re not getting kicked from the clan or anything. You can still be diplomat.”

“Yeah…and be put under the control of one of you guys?” Blizzard looked up, eyes redder. “What do any of you know about the world out there? When was the last time any of you have ventured outside of Wa-Kia?”

Dye sighed. “When was the last time you came closer to base than Wa-Kia? You’ve traveled too much.”

“Because there’s too much to see! The world is a big place Dye! And if nobody else is going to help me out there, I’m going to be away for long periods of time having to deal with issues far beyond our current reach!”

“Well then, don’t reach that far. Stay a bit closer to home. You’ve got a week to redeem yourself, so why not start small? Get your squad up and running for starters.”

Blizzard sighed, wiping his eyes. “Crud…I can’t believe I just cried…”

“Calm down. It’s not the end of the world. Just get your squad working, get to know the clan again, and you’ll be fine. Maybe lead a mission or two.”

“Easier said than done. I’ll need a new weapon for starters. And I’ll need a new guitar.”

“A guitar? For what?”

“I’ve always had a guitar, why stop now?”

“Well, you’re out of luck if you’re going to look nearby. The last instrument shop closed their doors in Wa-Kia last week.”

“Well then, I’ll have to look farther then, won’t I?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“Another long trip.”

Dye groaned.

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