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Author Topic: MR: War Arc: Shorts  (Read 3939 times)

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Offline NO1SY

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Re: MR: War Arc: Shorts
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2020, 08:21:09 AM »
For a short, and even reading this a second time, this sure does pack both a world-building and somewhat emotional punch. Great job Coryn, and thanks once again for turning my crazy ideas into reality!

Offline Coryn

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Re: MR: War Arc: Shorts
« Reply #31 on: November 22, 2020, 03:24:35 PM »
And here is the last short I intend to write! Please enjoy everyone, I'm off to start on the final chapter in the War Arc story!


Short 6: War Arc: Immortal

MR: WAR ARC: IMMORTAL

The sounds of drums and bagpipes filled the air in the central square of MangaRaiders. Leaves torn from their trees by fall winds drifted lazily through the feet of the attendees while the dirge played. While not entirely overcast, the October day had enough towering gray clouds in the sky that the sun was hidden more often than not. For the moment it lay obscured, and Bethuw'el watched as an edge-lit cloud slowly shifted past.
The general had traded in his usual beige uniform for one of black. It was a tradition he saw fit to uphold, and the others gathered had followed suit. Even 4Kids-tan had complied with the unspoken rule. She stood in a line behind Bethuw'el with the rest of his lieutenants, a notable gap among them signifying the one they were here today to mourn.
   Officers and enlisted men alike paraded over the raised stage. They formed a wall between Bethuw'el and the casket. Some merely glanced at the flag draped box, taking in bright, primary colors of 4Kids. Others touched it lightly, or whispered a soft goodbye. When the soldiers who had served in the dead man's unit passed by to close the procession, Bethuw'el beheld tears in their eyes. There had not been anything resembling affection between the men and their lost commander, but that did not matter. He had always held their respect, and its loss was worth the grief they now felt.
   The parade of black came to an end, and the dirge finished its final note. All came to silence, and Bethuw'el stepped up to the pedestal on which the simple wooden casket sat. It would be his duty and pleasure to give R-Kain's eulogy.
   Bethuw'el placed his hand upon the closed casket. R-Kain's body was not inside. It had never been found despite their search. The general himself had helped to sift through the wreckage of that fatal battle. Bethuw'el's ‘sword’ had gone down fighting, shattering on its final swing. It was only right that the general bear witness to the place where R-Kain had given his life for the cause.
   The general looked down with piercing eyes, imagining the casket's interior. A cleaned and pressed red uniform had been placed inside. R-Kain had never kept many personal effects, just a handful of medals and the nameplate from the tank he had been grown in. All were included in the pockets of the uniform as grave goods. Bethuw'el could not be sure they held the power to be a salve for his tortured soul in the afterlife, but a faint hope in the back of his mind wished it was so.
   Bethuw'el closed his eyes in order to gather his thoughts. From behind shut eyelids he waited for the change in light that signaled the cloud had passed, and the grieving were once again bathed in sunlight.
He began, "R-Kain…" Bethuw'el paused for dramatic effect, "is not dead! While he has passed from this world into the next, we do not call it 'death'. A soldier of the chorusses never truly dies, for their actions and deeds live beyond them! R-Kain's name and deeds live within us now, both in those who served with him, and in myself. His life has been etched into the souls of his enemies, such that those which survived him shall never forget who he was.
   R-Kain, while a troubled being, was a man of integrity. Like many of us, he rose out from a corrupted corporate machine that had lost sight of its purpose. A machine that would sacrifice those most loyal in exchange for short-term gain. The world R-Kain was born into was unkind. It was a world that saw him as no more than a weapon. A thing, not a person. But through his strength of character he rose above it. He made himself into not only a leader, but a warrior! A warrior respected by his subordinates and superiors. A warrior feared by his enemies.
   Although he has now left us, R-Kain will live on, immortalized forever! When in a thousand years our descendents speak of the Lost Chorus, they will tell the world: 'and among them stood R-Kain, Sword of the Lost Chorus, the burning hail that brought justice to the Net!'"
   Bethuw'el thrust his fist into the air, "Nine cheers for R-Kain! Nine cheers for the immortal R-Kain! Nine cheers for the immortal Lost Chorus!"
   The crowd erupted at the command, and joined their general in the chant.
   "R-KAIN!"
   "R-KAIN!"
   "R-KAIN!"
   "R-KAIN!"
   "R-KAIN!"
   "R-KAIN!"
   "R-KAIN!"
   "R-KAIN!"
   "R-KAIN!"
   When the cheering concluded, all present returned to the somber mood, although now lighter. The chant served a dual purpose, both to hail the deceased, and to release a rush of  endorphins that eased the pain of the day.
   For the moment, Bethuw'el's part was played. He turned on his heel and marched back to his starting position. Once he was in place, Mother Pisti stepped forward. She wore an extra layer of ceremonial garb atop her standard habit, an embroidered white smock and gold necklaces and bracelets, which had long chains of charms drooping from them.  Both the embroidery and the charms depicted the symbolism of cleansing fire that she and many members of the Lost Chorus worshipped.
   Pisti reached the altar, and raised both arms as if in welcome. From the sides of the stage appeared her 'children' in robes similar to Pisti's, although much less adorned. Each member of the procession carried a lit torch, and, as they circled R-Kain's casket, Pisti began to pray. "Today we gather to remember our fallen brother R-Kain. Today we give thanks to the all cleansing flame that we have been blessed by his memory."
   Pisti reached into her robes and extracted a small, gilded amphora. She pulled out its stopper which hung from the handles by a thin chain. At once the scent of exotic spices and fresh cut wood filled the stage. Stepping up to the flag draped casket, Pisti continued the funerary rights while shaking the amphora to and fro. Each thrust of her arm sent small amounts of aromatic oil sloshing out of the amphora's opening. The clear liquid dribbled down onto the flag, quickly soaking into the fabric and dripping off the sides once it became saturated.
   "From ashes he was born, and to ashes he shall return. The dead should not be missed unduly, for they do not miss us. All the righteous who have passed, and now our comrade R-Kain, have been granted entry into paradise. They are no longer marred by earthly discomfort, and feel no pain or struggle. When the time comes, may we find them again and join them in mirth."
   The amphora emptied, Pisti placed it back in her robes, and stepped back, "we now consecrate your remains with holy fire! May our forebears serve as your vanguard into the afterlife, and may you serve as ours!"
Pisti stretched out her arm, and from the side of the stage appeared another of her children with a final torch. Taking it from him, Pisti turned around and faced away from the casket. This signaled Bethuw’el to step forward again. Going up to Pisti, the general extended an open hand, and the matron of the flame solemnly passed over the flame. “It is time to perform your final duty, general.”
   Bethuw’el nodded, “So it is.”
   Pisti stepped wide with a graceful sway, leaving the path between Bethuw’el and that which remained of R-Kain, open. As the nun prayed silently, Bethuw’el marched forward. There would be no more public goodbyes said, no more prayers to be offered. The general had done all he could for his lieutenant in life. All that was left was to send him to death in a manner befitting a soldier.
   General Bethuw’el lowered his torch onto the oil soaked flag, and said one final goodbye, meant only for himself and for the dead.
   Seeing that the casket was alight, the children of Pisti lowered their torches as well. Each torch was then laid around the base of the casket, where they became the ceremonial foundations of R-Kain’s funeral pyre. Already Pisti’s children were filtering off the stage, destined to return with logs and incense to burn. While they were away however, there was another ceremony that needed to take place.
   Stepping back from the rising heat, Bethuw’el checked his posture, and called out into the crowd. “Come forward, Captain Ely Sium!”
   As R-Kain’s casket began to crackle, the purple haired captain stepped up onto the stage from within the crowd. Her rapier sat tied at the waist of her long coat in a black ribbon as a show of respect for the dead, but like Bethuw’el her only other outward sign of mourning was the black color of her uniform. The face of the one-horned demon captain did not betray her inner thoughts, and she cooly came to a halt an arm’s length from Bethuw’el. “I answer the call of my general!” she said with a salute.
   “R-Kain has gained immortality through sacrifice,” said Bethuw’el, “but the Lost Chorus is also immortal! The Lost Chorus is immortal, as since its inception, whenever a soldier has fallen, another rises to take their place! R-Kain has fallen captain. Will you rise to take his place, or will you elect another to?”
   There was no doubt in the general’s mind what the captain’s answer would be. The details had already been arranged. Her belongings were currently in the process of being moved into MR Tower. Even now a fresh uniform awaited Ely Sium in her new quarters. It matched the styling of her current uniform, as was the right of all ranking officers to choose for themselves. But instead of the white befitting a member of the archeological corps, this new uniform was a shocking crimson, the only color appropriate for the Sword of the Lost Chorus.
   “It will be my duty and my honor, sir!” proclaimed Ely Sium in acceptance of the position. In response the crowd erupted in cheers, and shouted acclaim for the former captain. The demon woman would no longer possess a rank within the standard command structure. Her fellow officers, and those that would now serve under her, did not simply witness a military promotion. In their eyes, what just happened was more akin to apotheosis. Ely Sium now stood equal to mythical heroes in the flesh, only eclipsed by the great general himself. R-Kain, while still missed, would not feel as far gone. For the men and women who would now serve under her,  having a new leader in Ely Sium was nearly as good as reincarnation.
   The proceedings thus ended, the mourners departed in waves, each deciding their own time to go their separate ways. Bethuw’el was the last to remain besides Pisti’s children. He left only as the sun began to dip below the horizon. The children would remain by R-Kain’s side all night, plying the funeral pyre with dry wood and incense until morning. By then only ashes would remain, and R-Kain’s soul would have completed its journey unto life forever after.



« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 03:27:06 PM by Coryn »

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF

Offline NO1SY

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Re: MR: War Arc: Shorts
« Reply #32 on: November 23, 2020, 11:30:53 AM »
Its so interesting and pretty cool to read a story that humanizes the opponents in MR Canon. Very well written and well conceptualized, and still strange how traditionalist The Lost Chorus of 4Kids are.

Now that I have finished my first report for work, I can get stuck back into this :)

Offline Coryn

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Re: MR: War Arc: Shorts
« Reply #33 on: November 24, 2020, 08:07:46 PM »
Thanks NO1SY! After this I'll be getting into Repulsion!

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc: http://goo.gl/KYgsfF