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Author Topic: Chelderan Chronicles: Sky's Edge  (Read 224 times)

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Offline Operative13

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Chelderan Chronicles: Sky's Edge
« on: August 30, 2017, 07:43:27 AM »
Part 1
“Give me my orders, and I’ll see it done.”

That’s what it was supposed to be. That’s what it was only meant to be. I never intended for things to get out of hand so quickly. If only I knew beforehand what I had got myself into...

They never said anything about what we were dealing with. Not a word. Anything they did say, they were careful to pick their words. But that’s how things worked between the Guild and our Legion. We were a mercenary army first and foremost. A Guild asset second. We operated under a strict code of conduct. We followed rules, guidelines, procedures. Everything that had to do with the Rules of War, we followed to the letter. Anything else was merely a tack to the endless requisites we were obligated to. So it appeared nothing special when the Guild had set us up with another assignment. Guard duty on a remote island for who-knows-how-long. It was certainly an easier task than any other contract we had taken before: Fighting wars and quelling unrest on behalf of regimes across the world was our typical duty. If not fighting, then training and supervising. And if it wasn’t that either, then guard duty usually came after. Rarely do people like us get hired as guards. Our specialty as combat soldiers goes to waste sitting around and looking after mundane items or people. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but when it does, there’s usually a very good reason for it.

Still, it was not my place to question the nature of the assignment. Only that we fulfilled the objectives laid out to the best of our abilities and nothing more. At the time, I couldn’t be anymore exalted at finding some peace and quiet after the long years I’ve spent serving under the Legion. I’ve traveled quite a bit during my time: the islands of Saint Else, the deserts of Eretus, the bustling cities of Dao... I’ve been to almost every corner of the Old World in my journey. But never to the New World.

I never understood why they sent me and my men to that forsaken island. They simply said they needed bodies to protect a valuable asset, and that was the end of the story. If they had told me what we were dealing with... the things we’d do... the things we’d have seen, I would have said no right then and there. I would have quit my job and retire from the world, never to see the Guild and their business again. But by the time I did, it was already too late.

It was a calm morning the day we arrived at the island. A cool breeze swept across the ship with a clear sunrise across the empty horizon. For almost the entire journey, it was nothing but rough seas and stormy clouds. Miserable and sleepless those nights were, especially for some of the unfortunate lads suffering from seasickness who could only string themselves up in their hammocks, counting the days and hours down. Frustrating it was for me to simply wait there alongside them, watching over their stiff bodies and feverish faces knowing I could do nothing for them but wait out the storm. Some of these men have been with me since the beginning. We’ve been through many hard-fought campaigns together. The wounds we bore and the losses we suffered then were a testament to the deep bond our company held, and as their superior officer, they looked to me for guidance. They’d run through hell and back knowing I’d do the same for them. So it came as no surprise that as soon as the helmsman shouted for land, everyone came dashing up the deck to lay eyes on their new home-away-from-home. A hundred-some men stacked the port side of the ship, even dragging the poor, sick buggers out from bed to squeeze a glance. Anymore and I swear the ship would have tilted right there and we’d have to swim the rest of the way! Everyone cheered and broke into celebration, knowing the long, perilous journey across the ocean had finally ended. This was only the start of our journey, however, and the beginning of our misfortunes.

From the onset, nothing spectacular stood out from the island: a simple mountain covered in trees jutting out from the surrounding waters. The only thing of note was the rather cold air in what was assumedly a tropical zone. From the ship’s bow, I watched as we approached this seemingly mundane island; cutting through the waves; blasting through the wind; the dry, salty air whisking through my face. Our new home, I thought. Our new life.

“Major Harrowind,” a soft voice called out from behind.

I glanced over to see my Captain, James Freiger, standing with his hands behind his back.

“We’ll be docking in half an hour, Sir,” he said.

I nodded in acknowledgement before turning my gaze back to the sea ahead. His heavy boots thumped its way to my side before James grabbed hold of the railings and gazed out too.

It was then that a burning thought I had held in the back of my mind crept out and emerged from its hiding. Now would be a good time to ask.

“Why do you think the Guild would have us sail halfway across the world for a place like this?”

James glanced back, an eyebrow raised.

“A hundred men,” I continued. “Stuck here in the middle of nowhere. They could have easily sent a hundred of their private guards instead and it wouldn’t make a difference.”

“Perhaps they have something in mind for men like us,” James replied. “Something none of their usual grunts can’t handle.” He turned and gazed back at the island. “Whatever it is, we’ll soon find out.”

“I’d be happy to speculate about that theory of yours,” I joked. He scoffed and shook his head at the sly grin I had.

Our smiling faces soon dropped the moment we spotted the two patrol boats heading our way.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 07:01:12 AM by Operative13 »
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline FinGeek12

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Re: Chelderan Chronicles: Sky's Edge
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2017, 12:59:30 AM »
This is actually really good. Do you have more or is this all you have right now.

Offline Operative13

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Re: Chelderan Chronicles: Sky's Edge
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2017, 01:04:26 AM »
I'll be updating daily as much as I can. The next part will come in a few hours.
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline FinGeek12

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Re: Chelderan Chronicles: Sky's Edge
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2017, 09:18:37 AM »
Great! This is really good.

Offline Operative13

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Re: Chelderan Chronicles: Sky's Edge
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2017, 09:22:35 AM »
Part 2
Approaching from the island at each ship’s flank, the patrol boats zoomed across the waters, leaving large wakes in their midst. With machine-guns and rifles ready, they turned their boats, blasting jets of water near the ship’s hull as they signaled to the captain’s nest above. A shipman waved back with bright patterned flags, each stiff movement a series of precise answers given to the men in blue before the patrol boats revved forward to escort the ship.

Special Defense, those men were. The Guild’s elite security force. Only once have I met those people during the campaign in Dao. Never quite the talkative bunch: Always kept to themselves, minding their own business, doing whatever odd jobs the Guild had in mind. They never seemed to take kindly to us Legionnaires. Probably because they see us more like outsiders than fellow colleagues. I’ve been in this business for ten years and I still don’t know how my own employers operate. What little I do know was that the Guild dabbled in a lot of experiments. Experiments that would turn the eyes of just about any head of state willing to invest a fortune in them. The Guild grew their business and connections through these secretive projects, gaining more clients and even more influence as each successful endeavour led to another. The Legion was just another aside the Guild had invested in to strengthen their influence in the world market. So the question remained: Why Us?

I wasn’t so sure about the answer to that. At least not yet. I didn’t know when I’d ever have that question answered, but whatever the answer might be, I was afraid to find out. Me. A veteran of ten years. Afraid of something trivial? It’s unheard of. But it wasn’t so much as the near-death experiences or the traumatizing horrors I faced on the battlefield that shook me: it was this sense of peace. This eerie sense of peace. Out here, in the middle of nowhere. Hundreds of miles away from what could be called civilization. What is there to protect? What possible threat could be so dangerous they needed a hundred of us from the Legion to guard it? It all felt surreal. Out of place. Just like this one island in a plain of ocean. For the first time in my ten years, I was sent on an assignment that didn’t involve putting someone in a casket. For the first time, I felt no need to ready my weapons before the start of a big mission. For the first time in ten years, I felt peace. And I was afraid of it.

Following the two boats inland, the ship steered its way around the island. Everyone watched in anticipation, waiting to see the magnificent base the Guild had in store this time. The Guild’s facilities never let up with their grandeur. Research labs, manufacturing plants, spacious living quarters... they even grew their own food. I remember someone said to me a few years back that the facilities were meant to be self-sufficient in case of disasters. Like their own little cities, he said. I suppose even when disaster strikes, the Guild can’t afford to halt operations. Not when so much is at stake. So it came as a bit of a shock for everyone to find that the base we had been looking so forward to was nothing but a small opening at the side of the island, built into the island’s cave. What used to be the rocky walls of this gigantic cavern had now been replaced by solid concrete. The floor had been deepened and expanded to make room for a single large ship, and a smaller expansion to the side of this interior port held the much small watercrafts, particularly the patrol boats that guided us in. Taken off guard by the lackluster display, the men began to jamber away, speculating on the purposes of the base design and what awaited them next.

“I bet they’re hiding something special in there!” One said.

“Maybe they haven’t finished building the place...” another mentioned.

“Or maybe they don’t want to blow everyone up when something goes wrong.”

Whatever the reason may be, it didn’t matter in the end. We were there to do a job. Simple as that. Guard the facility, and do whatever the Chief Director told us to do. The instructions could never be clearer. It was natural for the men to be excited this time around. They haven’t set foot on land for over a week, bored out of their minds with no radio and outdated newspapers and magazines to occupy their time. Some were smart enough to bring along their own books or cards to kill time, but they didn’t tend to mix well with bad weather and a rocking ship. For them, this was a sign of relief. For the moment at least. I still needed to prepare the work routine once we settled in and got acquainted with our new associates.

For what seemed like an agonizing half-hour, the ship finally docked within the Guild’s port, reeled in by special tethers on the docksides. The massive steel door rolled down behind us, and all around, bright lights filled the interior, exposing the overhanging catwalks above us. More Special Defense Guards occupied the railings, submachine-guns in hand and dark field caps concealing their eyes behind shadows as they watched us depart the ship with our oversized luggage. Just a few meters away from the boarding ramp, two guards stood asking for identification as my company lined up before them. One-by-one, we presented our yellow Guild Papers to the men in black uniforms and stood by the dock loading area, patiently awaiting the rest of the company to pass through security. It was then that Captain Freiger and I, watching some distance away, were greeted by two men in black suits.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2017, 09:28:10 AM by Operative13 »
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline Shane

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Re: Chelderan Chronicles: Sky's Edge
« Reply #5 on: August 31, 2017, 04:36:53 PM »
i really like how to detail the story....like how the solider do their work step by step etc....extraordinary work mister Opera

Offline Operative13

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Re: Chelderan Chronicles: Sky's Edge
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2017, 10:23:01 AM »
Part 3
“David Harrowind, I presume?”

The deep voice that spoke from behind caught us by surprise. I was too occupied spectating my own men that my situational awareness had failed. That had never happened before. I suppose knowing I wouldn’t get shot in the back anytime soon lessened the normal tensions I’d have.

We turned face to see who had called, and before us stood two distinct men in matching black suits. On their left lapel, a round pin embellished with a four-pointed golden star with a deep-blue center and streaks jutting out from each corner: the Guild’s symbol. The Legion’s own symbol held the same design, although it opted to remove the flashy streaks and place a blue ring around it instead. The man on the left had gray hair, combed back well and a fine, bushy mustache to go with it. He seemed quite a gentleman the first time I laid eyes on him. In fact, I just about mistook him for the facility’s Chief Director.

“That’s Major Harrowind,” James quickly corrected.

“My apologies,” the old man said. “I’m not all too familiar with how you soldiering men address one another as.”

“I take it you must be the Chief Director,” I assumed. Incorrectly that is.

“Oh, I’m afraid not!” he jested. “I wish I was, but I’m merely a superintendent. Patrick Messier.”
He extended an open hand.

“David Harrowind,” I greeted, shaking his palm. “And over here is my second-in-command Captain James Freiger.”

“A pleasure,” Messier acknowledged. James nodded silently as he returned the gesture.

And then we turned to the young blonde man to the right.

“And this is Smith Kollen, Chief Director of Paradesia.”

We were stunned. This young man? A Chief Director? This is the first I’ve ever heard of it. In my experience, Chief Directors ranged from the mid-thirties to late-sixties. They’ve had time and experience under their belt to lead such a massive operation as maintaining a highly-complex Guild facility. The Guild takes no gamble in ensuring only the best and well-qualified are suited to this position. This man here barely looked as if he broke through his twenties. I’m not certain what kind of experience this young man might have had to qualify for a position as high-ranking as Chief Director, but whatever they were, it’s clear the Guild had their eyes on him for awhile. They wouldn’t have given the spot otherwise.

“I look forward to working with you gentlemen,” he said in a calm, smooth voice, lending his hand.

I have to give credit where it’s due: his presentation and demeanour showed a great sense of care and professionalism. Everything he did, well-crafted and well-timed. Nothing let slip. His suit, straight and shiny. His hair, freshly done. His movement, calm and fluid. And all the while, his dead-eyed stare and straight facial expression from his dark-blue eyes and pale-white face kept still. He was like a doll.

“As to you, Chief Director,” I said, shaking his soft hand. James went ahead and did the same.

“I’m certain you all have plenty of questions you want answered after your long journey,” Kollen said.

“That, we do,” James replied.

“Rest assured, we will answer everything we can in due time. Our staff will take personal care of your luggage and men in the meanwhile.”

“Our men?” I quizzically asked.

“We need to get you up to speed ahead of time while your company stays here with the staff to run down basic protocols,” Messier mentioned. “Don’t worry... we’ve made the appropriate accommodations for you and Captain Freiger to rejoin your soldiers at dinner. But for now, you will need to come with us to discuss your intended duties at this facility.”

“Are there any questions you might have at the moment?” Kollen inquired.

I could not help but ask. “Yes. I hope you do not mind me asking, but how old are you exactly, Chief Director?”

Kollen and Messier glanced at one another. I suppose that wasn’t a very good question...

“Twenty-Five,” he answered. “You know it is quite rude to ask for one’s age, Major. One might take offense and assume you are implying something. Especially your peers.”

“My apologizes, Chief Director. I’m just simply perplexed by how young you seem, to be honest. It’s not everyday I meet someone such as yourself in such a high position.”

“I am flattered by your comments. Perhaps at a later time, we can discuss this in greater detail. However, we must carry on. If you would please follow us...”

Kollen and Messier turned and began strolling to one of the guarded blast doors. James and I promptly followed to, not knowing what awaited us inside. I could only imagine what it was based on my knowledge of Guild facilities, but I’ve never gotten as far as the inner sanctums, as those parts are closed off to anyone without the proper security clearance. As a Legionnaire, you’d be lucky to even visit any parts of their facilities. That only about strengthens the Outsider mentality the Guild and Legion has between themselves... yet here we were. Inside an actual facility. And not just one or two visitors. An entire company, stationed as permanent guards just as if we were any other Guild employee. I assumed they would only show us what they needed to show, and tell us what they needed to tell. The typical Guild briefing. Only I would soon find out, this was no ordinary briefing. And this was no typical assignment.

“I hope you and your men enjoy your stay here,” Messier said. “Quite a place to spend the New Year’s Day, don’t you agree?”
« Last Edit: September 01, 2017, 10:26:27 AM by Operative13 »
“To give of oneself is the noblest of all acts.”

Offline bandile

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Re: Chelderan Chronicles: Sky's Edge
« Reply #7 on: September 12, 2017, 03:42:49 AM »
wow! a very good plot.! good luck on the story