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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - GENERAL
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CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 1085 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
Redemptions Revolution PT6 Painted Edge
June 20th, 2507 Surface of Harvest
“…I know most of you boys are of the rural sort,” Allen says to a group of young men sitting on benches under an open sided awning, “and to many you are not worth handing a weapon and expecting to fight longer than it takes you to shit your pants and miss your momma.”
Amongst them the younger ones chuckle, the older ones snarl under their breath.
“It is okay to laugh now. But those of you grumbling better have a good time while you can. As you, we are volunteers.” Amarok steps out of a nearby communication tent and seems dazed as Allen continues, “Under certain conditions set upon us four, your training instructors,” Ursus and the nearly featureless Odachi stand on the ends of the lines facing Allen, “we hold only the rank of private and will only be addressed by our call signs. The stout fella to my right is training instructor Ursus. The hardass to my left is training instructor Odachi. Training instructor Amarok will be with us shortly. I am Training Instructor Rider. As I have told you before we all hold the rank of private. For everyone our call sign is our name. We hold no static unit. We do what we are told when we are told to do it. Usually the upper echelon sends us on outings much like this one. You have already received your basic combat training but we are here to enhance your woodcraft and prepare you for operations behind enemy lines.”
Amarok joins Allen standing before the group. He seems visibly shaken.
“You all have been chosen from separate parts of the ‘verse for various reasons. One. You all showed exceptional levels of knowledge in several fields. Two. You all have shown an acceptable amount of independent thought and reasoning. Three. You all come from out of the way parts of the ‘verse making you all virtual strangers. “Allen turns and looks at Amarok for a moment before continuing.
“I want all of you to think long and hard about the call sign you choose. Maintain some identity to you people or home world, but try not to attach yourself to any family names or identities. Clan, village, tribe, and family names are not acceptable. This call sign will stick with you throughout your service and probably beyond. There are a few encyclopedias here if you need further reference. “Allen signals Amarok to follow him to a shade tree nearby.
“What’s going on?” He asks. Amarok stands in a state of shock before him.
“It is all gone. Ekchlee o’n cl’ee etch. *The land and the people* it is all gone.” Amarok waivers a bit as tears begin streaming from his eyes. Beginning to fold physically Allen holds on to Amaroks shoulders before he can fall.
“Where, what are you talking about?” Allen asks Amarok. He strains a little holding up Amarok as he gets heavier.
“Peechta, Shadow, it is been destroyed.” Amarok stands a little as to take the weight off of Allen. “They bombed it. All of it. The towns and the villages. They say it because we volunteer so many. Do we do this thing to them?”
“No. we face them, remember.” Allen tells Amarok, slowly backing away so he can stand on his own.
At a moments passing the world goes dark. Allen and Amarok sit opposite each other at a small campfire. Rocking back and forth Amarok cradles a small leather bag in his arms. As he stops Allen moves over to him as Amarok begins handing him small items one at a time. First a small wooden mixing bowl and grinder, next some stringy root and some dark berries. After firstly breaking them into bits Allen drops them into the mixing bowl and begins grinding them together. After a few moments Amarok pours a small vial containing a shiny black mineral into the bowl as Allen continues mixing. Once ground into a consistent dry paste Amarok pours a small bit of clear liquid from another vial into the bowl. Allen quickly mixes it into a thick paste grinding leftover bits as he finds them.
Amarok pulls a small instrument from the bag. It appears to be a small sharp talon attached to a short hard wood handle by a thin leather strip. Looking up Amarok seems to fall into a state of meditation as Allen moves closer to him. Handing Allen the instrument they trade as Allen hands him the bowl. Amarok holds it cupped in both hands so that Allen can dip the talon into the liquid.
The markings already on Amaroks face are highlighted by the gentle campfire sway. A series of nearly a hundred dots form a triangle over his left eye, a thick line from the tip of his nose to the top of his forehead, a series of lines’ extending from his bottom lip outward on his chin as would the final rays of sunlight on water, and three horizontal stripes under his right eye.
Wincing lightly as Allen makes the first mark Amarok continues to hold the bowl. As Allen dips the tip of the talon in the bowl Amarok breathes deep before the sharp talon again pierces the skin on the right side of his face. Slowly what was three horizontal stripes under his right eye became three long horizontal stripes extending to his ear. Slow and agonizing is the process. What were three stripes become four, then five, then six. The sixth stripe runs along Amaroks jawbone and to the hairline on his neck.
As Allen finishes the last bit of stripe six Amarok shudders from the trauma his body had just endured. The shock of the marking he endured gives way to the realization of what happened to his home. Weeping Amarok struggles to finish the ceremony. Extending his hand Amarok retrieves the hunting knife handed to him by Allen. Using the blade Amarok slowly saws bit after bit the longer parts of his hair off. The first bit is set in the bowl with the talon. Reaching for the fire Amarok tosses it in where it quickly begins to burn, the black liquid crackles and pops lightly.
What was once covered in dark straight locks is now a tussle of clumps and bald spots. Amarok stands, Allen does not help him. He seems to gather strength as he grips the knife tightly in his right hand. Holding up his left arm Amarok stares into the fire.
“e’ch’klee ohn’day ohn’duc ohn’too cl’ond.” *In time we live laugh love* Amarock says in a strong yet strangely soft tone. Reaching with his right hand he slashes three times over the top of his left forearm. Holding the arm over the fire only a slight trickle sizzles on the coals and smokes out of existence.
As Amarok hands the knife back to Allen it is not wiped clean. The blood mingles with the steel then the leather as it is sheathed.
Monday, January 7, 2008 11:09 AM
Monday, January 7, 2008 11:33 AM
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