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Old 11-13-2017, 05:56 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Northwest Ohio
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Oil Dispatch #39

It's been a bit, but I figured it was best to let the BlizzCon hype die down before proceeding. I'd go so far as to say I'm happy about it happening at the beginning of the month than the middle or end, which left November in November buried and forgotten in previous years. In addition, becoming a better writer means I make more smoothing passes than I used to. That should be improving quality.

* * * * * * *
Personal log, November Terra:
It’s only been two hours since my last message, but there’s been a very big change. Tybi is talking to me. I almost can’t believe it. It’s like Blood-breath’s speech affected her somehow, though it wasn’t immediate. She didn’t make a peep while we moved to our new hide-out, one I picked out on my morning sortie. While I can’t be certain we weren’t seen, silence—and the mid-day heat—upped our chances considerably. Then again, it’s that Spectre, not the neighbors, that worries me. I have no doubt she’s out there prowling the rooftops just like I would be. That’s why I left her rifle behind. I’m never one to give up potential weapons, but I couldn’t take the risk it had some kind of tracking beacon. I’m not stupid.

For her part, Tybi didn’t need much coaxing. I just told her we were going, and she went. It wasn’t far anyway. She did, however, spend a lot of time scratching her head. I think her fuzz is getting to a length where that wig is really uncomfortable—which explains why the first thing she did on our arrival was to throw it on the floor. She hasn’t touched it since.

I offered more food as we got settled in, which she took without a word. I could’ve put conditions to make her talk, but I didn’t feel like it after what my Spectre self said. That…rattled me. In a way, though, it was my own uncertainty that opened the channel between us. I just stayed where I was and started talking. “I’ve been thinking,” I told her, “about what you said—about not wanting to be a murderer. I...agree.” That got her attention. “You’ve seen my memories. I made the choices I did because I didn’t see any other option. After what happened, I couldn’t go back to my old life even if I’d wanted to. I wanted more than anything to forget—to disappear—to just stop existing. I was...weak.”

“No.” I almost jumped when she spoke. I guess I was used to being ignored by now. “You did...what you had to. That’s what has me so scared. All those people...” Her voice trailed off.

“Are you...blaming yourself?” I asked. “Don’t. You’re me—but you’re not me. You live in a different world. You don’t have to do what I did.”

She looked at me for the first time in days. “But what if I do? What if there’s some force of fate making me like you?”

I shrugged. “So what if there is? This is Luxoria. There’s no Ghost Program taking kids from their families. You can be anything you want.”

Tybi suddenly looked away, leaving me to wonder if I’d hurt her again. She had me convinced she’d gone silent by the time she spoke. “Anubet. That’s what we call them here. When our lord, the mighty Ta-sadar, pledged himself to Sut, the Destroyer put his mark upon him and increased his power a thousand fold. He demands that all gifted ones—like me—be joined to him and marked as his children.” She shuddered. “They are his elite guard, our most powerful weapon against the swarm—after the temple.”

I thought a moment. Elite status. Unfathomable power. “Wait. This mark—it wouldn’t happen to be the head of a dog, would it?”

“A jackal. But yes.”

“I see.” I stood up and paced away. “Phagun wasn’t the only one after you.”

“No. The king’s men killed my parents—my whole family. I was away when it happened, but—”

“But you came back and found them,” I finished for her. I turned. “Similar, but different.”

She nodded. “They left us alone because we were nobility. Then, one day, they came anyway. Why would they do that?”

I looked at her. “Honestly? Maybe this Tassadar is a jerk. Maybe the war is going worse than you think. Does it matter? Shit happens. You just have to figure out how the make the best of it.” My smile was almost unintended, layered with all the burdens of a professional killer. It’s weird how sharing a load can make you do that.

Tybi mirrored my expression perfectly, and for once I was glad about it. I knew exactly what she was feeling. “You’re right,” she said quietly. “I’m glad you’re here to help me with that part.”

“So am I.” The words came out before I could stop them. I cringed. “Uh, I’d better take a look around; make sure we weren’t followed.” I didn’t look back.

Tybi—I don’t know how to feel about her. Maybe Blood-breath was right. Maybe I do keep trying to rescue myself. That would explain the attraction. I’m also getting too close. But I guess it’s past time to worry about that. WAY past time. Nova out.

* * * * * * *

Probably the chief hurdle of the Luxoria story arc is that this is my first attempt at a character who changes over the course of the story. You have to balance the forces and start hinting at an emerging new self in conflict with the old self, which leads to the ending above. Nova has tremendous difficulty allowing herself to be vulnerable, but that's the solution to the problem with Tybi. Too bad -- oh wait, I can't tell you that yet.
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