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Moth

The Unwilling Recruit.

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Spoiler

Flash back events take place 4 and a half years before All or Nothing? , final post takes place the week of. 

 

“I’m sorry, I must be hallucinating from the lack of sleep—you want me to have my people do what, exactly?”

“Exactly as I said, sir, you will bring them to me alive.” The glasses wearing woman kept her voice plain and calm, despite the man’s outburst. Large, brown eyes blinked slowly at the incredulous look he gave her. “We both saw the footage that was streamed to you, it was 2 on 5 and – “”And they were outside workers hired that way they could be expendable. Their job was to map the cave system, not to deal properly with skilled, humanoid hostile threats. ““It was 2 on – “ “And the bigger one took six body shots, while the small one took at least two. Or should I play the footage again for you?” Still, despite the subject matter, the woman remained calm and almost… disinterested.

The red headed woman cleared her throat, her eyes pulling away from the armed man in front of her to the bright eyed, exciting looking face plastered on the whiteboard opposite her desk. “In the footage, while the younger one is excited, the elder is clearly exhibiting signs of anxiety. Purposely putting herself in harm’s way to keep the younger one safe. If she survives the injuries she sustained, I will be impressed.  The footage was certainly—“As she spoke, the footage changed from the mauve skinned child to a side shot of the older girl, sharp teeth latching on and tearing the throat from one of the screaming victims. “…Graphic. While brutal, I am not sure this was planned. Or perhaps, overconfidence. Both startle after the first shot fired, and neither seemed to respond to verbal stand down requests.”

The man turned to watch the footage as she spoke, frantic yelling and pained screams filling the small office she had earned. “Language gap then?” “Most likely. I have faith in your people, after all we did hire them. Have them ready within the week. We will give them time to settle down—perhaps move closer towards the mouth of the cave. That party was a day and half into exploring, if we give them any more time to retreat into the cave system, we will probably never find them. “He nodded in agreement with her sentiment. “They will be ready in two days. You’re... you’re sure you’ll be able to restrain it?”

The scientist laughed softly at his uncertainty. “If we can’t, I will give you the honor of putting a bullet in its head yourself. “

 


 

“Outta the way—get outta the way you’re all slow!” A small voice called amidst the sound of celebration. Heads turn at the sound of the small voice, only for gasps and surprised murmurs to follow. She was a foot shorter than her sister, and not nearly as strong. The small girl stumbled under the woman’s limp weight, each stained in the sibling’s deep indigo colored blood. It took only a few minutes of her attempting to push her way through the crowd before older, helpful hands came to her aid. Her sibling was pulled into stronger arms, while she was thrown atop broad shoulders. Two hands reached to grasp at the man’s shoulders, while the other pair went to carefully use his head to steady herself.

“Get a healer!” The man’s roar was heard easily over the ambient merry making, and soon brought a shocked hush over the busy street. Soon, people quickly parted the way so he could make his run towards the temple. He was met, nearly there by a three beautifully clad woman each more extravagant as the next. “Set her down, --CAREFULLY!  “The soft spoken woman’s shouted chastisement made both the child and the man jump in surprise. As carefully as he could, the helpful bystander laid the still teen in the middle of the street. Two of the women took over, while the third directed her attention to the child climbing down the man’s back.

“What did this?” Her tone was angry and sharp as always. At first, the girl wasn’t sure she was being addressed and remained quiet. “Well child? We do not have all evening, what happened?” The barked questions caused the girl to jump in shock, wide eyes rolling up to the very pissed slate colored woman. “We… we went hunting to surprise mama— “” Forget the explanation, take me, now.” Each of the woman looked from their attempts to save the teen’s life to give the third a chastising look. The look went ignored, and the nervous child darted back the way they came. Her, and her tall shadow not far behind.

 

 

“It-They … They are right here. “Their pace slowed as they reached the site of the violence. Gray eyes narrowed upon the soiled flooring, nose twitching uncomfortably at a new smell these invaders had to offer. They smelled…. Dirty. Not of earth and crisp water, but of something else—something strange. “Do you smell that?” “Mn’, I do. Smells… like the springs, doesn’t it?” She nodded idly, her eyes narrowing upon the bodies and body parts strewn about the ‘hallway’. “Child, please return to the temple. We will take it from here. “ “Y-Yes! Yes ma’am! “ Scrambling off the girl went, to check on her sibling and tell her parent of what transpired.

“You didn’t need to be so harsh with her… “The soft, chastising came at her back, her head shaking a the deep voice behind her. “Children these days are so coddled, honestly—““Says the woman who has had all she has ever wanted. “A deep, rumbling growl was her only response to his teasing chuckling and with that, they begin their examination. Each was methodical when it came time to look over the scene. Each of the bodies was inspected, stripped and removed of any equipment and perceived weapons. They talked quietly among themselves as the process proceeded, noting the odd clothing—and how much clothing they were wearing in comparison to the sparse clothing their people typically wore. Several smashed body cameras were found, probably destroyed in the struggle. The remains were tossed aside, as was the clothing.

“Shall we take the bodies back?” “I will not have these… squishy... smelly things soil the temple. Leave them here. Perhaps their people will get the message not to come back. “His eyebrow raised in surprised, it wasn’t often she passed up a potential free meal but like she had mentioned they smelled… dirty compared to their usual fare. “When we return, we will pack for a stay and we will stick out the rest of the festival here—““But ma’am, your presence is required you just ca—“ “And it is better that I am the one protecting the festival, then overseeing a marriage. There will be plenty more. Perhaps if more return, I can talk them into… not coming back. Or we force them back. “ He nodded firmly with her assessment, forever trusting in the woman’s judgement. “Whatever you deem best, Sister Cothel. I am forever your shadow. “ Slitted pupils raised from the body she was investigating and a very slight smile pulled at the corner of her lips. “As it should be, my love. As it should be. “  

Edited by Moth

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“Alright, you all know your jobs. You know what we are here to do, if we can recover bodies we will. We will do our best to ensure that any hostiles we come across come home with us as intact as possible. Miss Conroy is doing a final ammunition inspection, and her people will pass out the equipment. I want no complaints or joking around until AFTER, we are finished. “ All eyes were on the man at the front of the transport as he spoke. “You will wear your body cam and you will keep it on. They are to be turned off once we return successful. There will be disciplinary action for those who will not abide by the rules set forth. “The team idly glanced among each other in confusion, they were never this particular with parameters, at least not for them. They were one of the few last resorts—of course besides CIDE, they were not to be taken lightly.

“I will also be attending the venture into the cave.” Eyebrows raised at the red head’s statement, the leader of the squad even turning to look at her in surprise. “Ma’am I’m not sure that’s a good—““It’s a perfect idea. I can take samples, proper samples, and with my medical training, I can ensure that any subjects taken are in good enough shape that they are useful to me.” Again, the squad looked among themselves. Great, a civilian to be in the way. “Don’t worry, I will be fine. Please, everyone come up and collect your gear, we are wasting time. “There was a moment of hesitation before the man barked “You heard the lady! Get movin’, the sooner we get there the better.” At that, the six jumped to attention and moved to the front of the transport to collect their weapons and their new ammunition.

 


 

“Are you sure you would like to go alone, Sister Cothel? I’m sure Sister—“The dismissive wave was enough to stop the woman’s concerned words in their tracks. A frown pulled at mauve colored lips as she watched the pair prepare for their stay on the road to the capital. “The two of us will be more than enough. – ““But the injuries—“”We will be fine, trust me.” Cothel’s voice soften and she turned from the armory laid out before her to look at her Sister. “And if I do not return, you will begin searching for my replacement. “” But Cothel, you’re the first in—“”Then you better start now, hm?” She offered her Sister a teasing smile, causing the concerned look on the other woman’s face to deepen. Cothel sighed at the look, her head shaking. “It is my duty, we both know this Sister Faelthel. Put trust in me, and I will put trust in you to tend my wounds should I return. “Faelthel’s frowned at her, but despite her obvious displeasure of Cothel’s choice, she gave a nod. “May your hunt be fruitful, and your body return unscathed.”

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So far, their travels had been…uneventful. Just the soft drip, drip, drip of water on aged stone. From time to time, maybe been a bit of a cool breeze. They were just a day into their travels and not even one of their potential targets had been sighted. As the uneventful hours passed, it was clear that the team was growing bored. It took everything in them not to start cracking tiny jokes or make up tiny tunes like they would on stake outs. The only thing that was worse than the boredom?

The constant stopping for samples. Little rocks, soil samples, or dropping samples. It seemed like they stopped every five feet at Ms. Conroy’s request. Each member of the team would have been lying if they said they hadn’t thought about putting a bullet in the woman’s head so they could get the job done. This was why they didn’t bring civilians, they dragged them down and they were constantly in the way. Despite the growing annoyance, and itching boredom, the team pressed on at her request. The day dragged on horribly--- until the sound of tumbling rocks echoed in the empty hall. Immediately, the team stopped in their tracks with Ms. Conroy following suit. A small, plain looking rock tumbled towards the bottom of the rock pile on their left, skidding to a stop at their feet. Every pair of eyes moved upwards, towards the top of the pile, but there was nothing there. Looks were exchanged between them, and the group spread out at the base of the rock pile. Weapons were raised, and muscled, well trained figures tensed in anticipation.

 


 

Time passed slowly outside of town, not that she minded it. Her company was excellent, as always, her close companion taking his time to whisper stories and legends she had heard so many times before, but were always welcome to be told again. The two were patient, but he was certainly more patient than herself. She was itching for revenge, a life—perhaps two lives taken for the single of theirs they had stolen. But, being reckless would get them nowhere and he was sure to remind her of this.  Their barebones camp sat at the top of one of many rockpiles that had been created throughout the cave system. Typically, it was used for hunting. One sat and waited for unsuspecting prey to walk through and then you pounced upon it. The system has served them well, and it did not fail them now either. Their invaders came in greater numbers this time, their caution apparent. Well adjusted eyes watched as slowly made their approach down the hallway, and the pair exchanged a look before she gave him a small nod.

The nod was returned, and the man disappeared from sight. With him getting into position, she decided to give them a reason to stop. Without concern of being spotted, she plucked a rock from the pile beneath her and tossed it over the edge to tumble down the pile. They jumped, and a pleased smile settled on her face. Anxious, good. Her head tilted as she watched them raise their weapons, and it was then that plans to changed.

Perhaps she should try talking first, for once.

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With the choice made, Cothel stood from her crouched position among the rocks. Head still tilted in curiosity at the creatures down below. They tensed further, and the one most likely to be in charge barked at the rest. She watched the sight passively, before very slowly making her approach down the rock pile. The team look between Ms. Conroy and their leader.

“Boss—“ “Hold. You’re about to have your encounter, Ms. Conroy. I hope you’re ready. “ The scientist only nodded in excitement as Cothel made her approach towards the group. About half way down the rock pile, the circlet that sat upon her head glowed softly. The group shifted nervously, but no hostile activity came from in, instead, a cold voice echoed in their heads.

“Why are you defiling our land and killing our children?” Eyebrows raised at the question, and they looked among each other once more. “Children? We did—“ “Do not  lie, there were more of you. We both know you are not the first to step into our halls. Answer my question. “ The demand came timed with her final step off the rock pile. She was only feet from them now, slate colored eyes narrowing as she looked between the lot. Silence stretched between the two groups, the team desperately looking towards their leader, who in turn was looking towards Ms. Conroy for guidance. After a few minutes of silence, Cothel pressed closer to the group, “You will answer my questions, or you will suffer the same fate as those who came before. “ Her tone was much sharper now, she wanted to make it clear that she was not to be ignored.

“They shot in self-defense. I am sorry that they took the life—” “Sorry does not bring back the dead. “Ms. Conroy looked surprised when Cothel cut her off, and it was clear that her agitation with the group as growing with the way she was shifting.  “You will leave, and you will not return.” “But we need to map this cave system, they’re could be val— “Things that do not belong to you. This is our home, and we will not leave. “Cothel’s eyes narrowed as she hissed at the woman. She stepped closer to the woman, silted pupils staring down at the human woman in front of her.  “Y-You, you don’t have to leave! We… We can still work around you! Perhaps we can trade goods in exchange for being here?” Her eyes flicked away the speaking woman to the back of the group. She gave a nod, and a sharp cry of pain came from the back of the party. The armed members flipped their sights to the back, eyes widening at the sight before them. A tall, slender man stood at their back, and impaled upon his swords. He raised an eyebrow at the armed members of the party, for the soldier he lifted up off of the ground was not dead.

“You leave, he drops him.” Cothel’s proposition, eyes upon the woman Cothel had deemed the leader of their party. “Let’s just go, Conroy, this isn’t worth it!” “Fuck your stupid science project! “ The shouts of the soldiers went ignored by the scientist. “And if we don’t?” Cothel looked towards her companion, and a pair of soft clicks followed. The victim screamed in agony as the blades parted and snapped outward in expansion. Blood and organs fell upon the aged stone beneath their feet and the managed body slid from the blades.

“A life for a life. Leave, and we will not take more. “ “Fuck this.” The comment came from behind Conroy, and just a beat after the first shots were fired. Cothel gasped in surprise at the sound, and initially she didn’t feel the shots she took to the shoulder. Instead, the stone in the heavy collar around her neck glowed and she let out a horrible, deafening shriek. Ms. Conroy, and the other members of the party recoiled at the sound, and her partner darted into the group to attack the member who attacked his charge. Ms. Conroy was shoved roughly aside by Cothel herself, who also set upon the group as well.

“Don’t kill them! Don’t kill them, let the sedatives take effect!” Conroy called but it fell on deafened ears. Weapons changed hands between Cothel and her partner, disappearing from his hands onto to appear in Cothel’s. Unfortunately for them, it was her that was far more skilled with the longer swords than her dear companion. The close quarters made it difficult for the soldiers, but with the loss of two more of their people, the pair seemed to be slowing down. Cothel’s steps seemed to falter, at that Ms. Conroys horrified eyes lit up in delight. A butt of a gun caught her companion at the base of his skull, and the man dropped like a sack of potatoes. “Dae!” Cothel cried out, but despite her willingness to go to her lover’s aid, her muscles did not want to cooperate. Heavy with new exhaustion, she stumbled into one of the soldiers, tripping over a body not long after. She fell with a heavy grunt, and the very pleased scientist made her way over to the groggy woman.

Those that remained watched as she crouched in front of Cothel, gloved hands reaching to grab a handful of her hair so the two could see eye to eye. Cothel hissed loudly in anger, her eyes rolling up to the woman who held her hair tight. “This is what’s going to happen. You are going to come with us, and you are going to cooperate. If not, I will return, and there will be a lot more for your people to lose than just a single child. Are we clear?” There was a growl and Cothel spat in her face. Ms. Conroy’s pleased expression fell, and the grip on her hair tightened. “I don’t think you heard me. I will get my specimens, whether I have to have my people put a bullet in your head and we return to try again. I will bring more people, better armed people and you will not be here to aide them. You and your friend will come with me and you cooperate. Or I will reign hell on every man, woman and child I get my hands on. Are we clear?”

A Sister of war, mother of none— she had little connection to those that were not of her own blood. Despite this, it was her duty to protect their sacred lands and those that were blessed enough to live there. She hissed again, but, her figure relaxed finally in the woman’s grip. Be in the drugs, or her assumed surrender it was hard to tell. “.. We will go. “ The woman laughed and finally released Cothel’s hair before she shifted to stand. “She’ll be out in a few minutes, restrain them and we’ll head back. “ The scientists words faded as Cothel slumped into the blood slicked ground beneath her, the heavy smell of iron and sulfur hanging in her nostrils.

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Novicide gasped loudly as she woke, wincing at the bright beautiful sunlight that filled her company provided penthouse. Her breath came in heavy, frantic pants and her heart danced a mile a minute. She started wordlessly at the ceiling above her and her heart ached for her lover. A hand came up to wipe the sweat from her brow in frustration, well muscled legs kicking at the heavy blankets that trapped her to the mattress.

She hated this place—she hates what she has become. Her eyes drifted from the ceiling, to the metallic glint of light on metal. She flexed her hand, her head tilting as she observed her still newly modified claws. Metal on her hands, metal in her mouth. She could not return home like this, soiled by their inventions.

The hand fell into the sweat soaked sheets, and a heavy sigh left her lips as she lifted herself up. She was so much better than all of this, a leader—Cothel the Ravenger, ender of tribes and bringer of war. She would be replaced, as every priestess was upon her death and she had come to terms with that. Her nobility stripped, only to be replaced by the celebrity of medical curiosity. She had become Novicide-- The Machine Killer, Devourer of Man. 

All she needed to do was wait patiently in her cage, just as Dae did in his box. 

CIDE could be their savior-- or she'll tear it apart to find it. 

Edited by Moth

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