Carpathia III: Episode 134: Territory
Socializing the new arrivals from Nekramentia was unsurprisingly difficult. All of them had their own individual issues that could not be solved in a day and the Elders decided to work first on the issues that most shared, the most obvious of which being their unwillingness to interact peacefully with others not of their own species.
The humans and and komodo in particular seemed to have a special dissatisfaction with each other. In response, the Elders decided to have the two groups work together to raise a barn with close supervision.
It was not going well.
Razor: What do you think you're doing, Krieg?
The komodo Razor was addressing turned sharply from the wooden beam he was hammering and glared down at Razor.
Krieg: If you'd done this right the first time, I wouldn't need to be here!
Razor: Get back on your own side!
Krieg grimaced and pointed his hammer directly at Razor's face.
Krieg: Not until you start doing your job right!
Razor stepped back and used the toe of his boot to draw a line in the dirt. Then, he marched up to Krieg and snatched the hammer from his tiny hand.
Razor: This is our side!
Razor rapidly spun around to Krieg's back and shoved him across the line.
Razor: And that's your side!
Krieg whirled around again, meeting Razor at the line in the dirt as they both stared each other down.
Krieg: This line is on our side! You have more than half!
Razor: It's equal!
Finally, Jacob ran toward the two of them, who now both had their fists clenched.
Jacob: Hey! Knock it off, you two!
Jacob muscled in between them and tried to push the recalcitrant pair apart, though neither was keen on budging from their standoff. This changed, however, when a massive thud close by sent a tremor through the ground causing Jacob to fall backward. Razor and Krieg managed to keep their balance, but upon inspecting the source of the tremor, they might have wished they hadn't.
It was Blue, and he only took a second to survey the two of them before he opened his mouth wide and let forth a powerful, prolonged roar at them. For Razor and Krieg, being on the receiving end of a full-force dragon roar was much like gazing into the gaping maw of a Lovecraftian abomination. Krieg fell onto his tail halfway through, but Razor managed to keep his balance, shifting between covering his face and ears.
His lungs spent, Blue snapped his jaw shut and looked once at Krieg, flat on the ground, and then Razor. Blue tipped his head perpendicular to the ground and shoved his face barely an inch from Razor's body so that he could turn his softball-sized eye upon him. Razor trembled, wide-eyed, as a large, wet stain spread from his crotch and trickled down to the ground.
Jacob recovered more quickly than the others, as he picked himself off the ground and brushed the dust from his pants.
Jacob: Okay, everyone, that's enough. Back to work!
Blue backed away from Razor and sat on the ground, observing the now silent and wary barn workers. Jacob made his way to Razor and put his hands on Razor's shoulders, steering him away from the barn.
Jacob: Come on. Let's get you cleaned up.
Seated silently with is legs crossed in front of him, Jaze stared vacantly at the three gravestones in front of him. One was for Rhoskel. One was for Jump, whose real name he did not know. Finally, there was the newest gravestone, which was for Pestilence. As he sat, Jaze pondered many things. He wondered if, someday, Lord Lynx might find out what happened to his son and that the other is still alive. He wished that a Carpathian scientist could examine Mirage and Pestilence. With only a test and access to a database, the identities of Mirage and Pestilence would be swiftly known. Their families, he thought, deserved to know what happened.
Jaze's brooding abstraction was cut short, however, by the sound of hesitant footsteps approaching him slowly from behind. Jaze turned just enough to see Razor from the corner of his eye and then turned back to the gravestones.
Jaze: Aren't you supposed to be working on the barn?
The footsteps stopped and a small, mousey voice emanated from behind Jaze.
Razor: Jacob said I could come here first before I go back. Can I sit?
Jaze reached beside himself and patted the ground once. Without another word, Razor strolled up beside him and sat on the ground.
Jaze: I heard Blue down there. I suppose you had something to do with that.
There was a long silence as Jaze waited patiently for an answer. First, Razor sniffled and choked out his response with difficulty.
Razor: I was being stupid.
More sniffles came from Razor's direction while Jaze waited silently and patiently for Razor to collect himself.
Razor: I feel so strange. For so long, I felt like something was watching me. Now it's gone, but the nightmare is still there.
Jaze sighed, understanding all too well what Razor was feeling.
Jaze: The yellow eyes, right? That was Wishmaster.
Razor slowly turned his head toward Jaze, who remained fixed on the gravestones in front of him.
Jaze: That was Maelstrom's name and he was far more dangerous than any of us realized when we were there. We can save that explanation for later. For now, you have a long road ahead. I know what that place does to people. I still feel angry. I still have nightmares. Still, there are times when I feel like I can be happy again. It didn't happen often at first, but I do find a little joy sometimes, more and more. We've both lost a lot. It will take time, but these people here want to help.
Razor turned toward the graves for just a few seconds and then, his head lowered, back to Jaze.
Razor: I don't want to end up like them.
Jaze shifted on the ground so that he was no longer facing the gravestones, but Razor instead, who was listening intently.
Jaze: Nekramentia is done. That's the past. You need to work on your future. All the aggression that you have, and I have it too, all the rivalries, they're not going to benefit you going forward. Your first step is to rediscover who you are. Do you remember your real name? If you don't, that's fine. We can come up with a new one for you, but your Nekramentia name has to go.
To Jaze's surprise, Razor answered with little hesitation.
Razor: Oliver Kelly.
Jaze's ears twitched in genuine surprise that Razor, Oliver, remembered so quickly.
Jaze: That's good, Oliver. What else do you remember?
Oliver looked away to his right for a moment before answering.
Oliver: Bits and pieces, I think. I think I was six when I came here. I don't remember much about home. I remember my father making me making me say the prayer to our leaders, the Shadow Cloister, every night before bed. I still remember some of the words. Dad was one of their enforcers.
Jaze rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
Jaze: Hmmm... That must be Earth. Carpathia doesn't have anything called that.
Oliver: The Shadow Cloister took over after the Great Cat... um... What did they call it? Cat...a... clysm... Funny, I remember more, now that I think about it. Everything was so dirty. The air. The streets. The ground. The more I think about it, I don't think I want to go back there. Dad used to hit me a lot. He didn't like it when I asked questions. You said "Carpathia" a minute ago?
Jaze: I did. That's where I'm from.
Oliver: I remember that name. Dad said that it was full of man-beast monsters who wanted to kill all humans and that the Shadow Cloister were the only ones who could protect us. But... I don't think that was true. I know what real monsters are like.
Oliver raised his head, looking Jaze in the eye.
Oliver: I'm sorry I shot you.
Jaze: It's okay. I know what things were like back then.
It was at this time that Jaze noticed Oliver's hands and arms. They were shaking, though he didn't know why. Jaze slowly reached out and put his hand on top of Oliver's.
Jaze: Hey, are you okay? I think Blue might have done a number on you.
Oliver suddenly took a deep breath and clenched his teeth. Now, his entire body was shaking and he didn't seem able to control it.
Oliver: It's not that... I... I've been trying... trying to hide it. Sometimes... the shaking starts... and I can't stop.
Jaze stood right away and tucked his arms under Oliver's shoulders, helping him to his feet.
Jaze: Let's go see Artemis. He might be able to help.
All city pictures from SimCity 4