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 Female x Male  Post Apocalyptic We Will, We Are, We Must Be | Theo and Erolliepollie

Discussion in 'Roleplay Execution' started by Abeyance, May 29, 2018.

  1. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    Carson suspected that people never quite knew what to expect with him. He looked exactly as one might expect a Strider to look; rugged clothes, scarred skin, clothes crusted with grime and dirt. Many people had fear in their eyes when they saw him, no doubt due in part to the rifle over his shoulder or the sturdy hatchet he wore plain on his hip. He hated that it was necessary to what he did that he look so imposing, that he carry tools that made innocent people tense. But in a world like this one, what choice did he really have?

    He made up for it in what ways he could. When someone was scared of him and he had to deal with them directly he was quiet and polite. When they tried to intimidate him he would joke and disarm them. He didn't want to be someone to fear, not even to his enemies. If he could convince a raider to put down their weapon and pick up a civilized lifestyle again, that was worth it.

    All of this was why, when word came down that a town was in need of a new Strider, he was quick to take the responsibility. Theirs had apparently been killed by a raider band that caught him off guard, and it was imperative to reach the settlement quickly and establish himself. By the time he reached the settlement, the signs for which declared it as 'Little Lake', he was half asleep on his feet. The guards met him near the gate, primitive pitchforks clutched in hand, and he soothed them with an offering of Strider's Bread, a special sort of stuff that only his kind knew how to make. He was allowed inside and given the same small room his predecessor had used, a clean but tiny shack with a single bed and a handful of notes written in ancient binders.

    Carson set about heating a can of soup for himself as he poured over the notes, carefully picking through the encoded messages left behind. Local threats, caches of as-yet untapped resources, raider movement patterns. He took a moment to note that those patterns had to have changed, if they'd caught the last man unawares enough to kill him. He heaved a sigh and leaned back against the shack wall, eyes closed, allowing himself a moment to simply rest and think. He was tired, too, but he had a job to do. Sleep could wait until he'd learned everything he could about Little Lake and its people.
     
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  2. Erolliepollie

    Erolliepollie Lowkey a frenchfry Member

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    Malia Gillian was known a bit as the town bother, the odd one of the bunch. She didn’t fall in line as easily as most would, she had different ambitions than someone in a dying down should, and people noticed. She wanted to help people, to go out and find ways to make life easier for people like those of her town, but apparently since she’s ‘not a strider’ she’s ‘incapable.’ At least, that’s what her father told her. With long, light brown hair and green eyes that tend to stand out, she didn’t feel as if she fit in in this small town. But nonetheless, after an incident that took her father’s life, her free spirited mind became dormant, and she numbly followed whatever lines set. Well, for the most part.

    Word of the new strider spread quickly, as there wasn’t much ground to cover. Their town was small, many of their members had been picked off over the years, it was only natural. Malia was walking down the small road, on her way back to her own small hut when she first handedly became aware of the new strider in their town. With the death of the previous one, everyone had been on recent edge, and precautions were made to ensure the safety of everyone in the town. She stopped in her tracks, curiously watching as the gate guards let in the unknown man, her eyes flickering over his stature. They led him towards the same shack their previous strider occupied, and for a moment, made eye contact with the man.

    Unlike many others, she wasn’t afraid of the striders, she’d spoken to their other one on many accounts and, even though he wasn’t the friendliest specimen in the world, she got along fine with him. She wanted to do the same with this one, and as she set down her things and took a step in his general direction, she felt two hands clamp down on her shoulfers, spinning her around. She looked up to the boy with the raven black hair in annoyance. Her brother.

    “Oliver, seriously, I wasn’t going to do anything stupid.” She protested the young man.

    “Yeah you say that, can’t you just at least let him get settled in before you scare him off,” he smirked down to her, giving her a shove in the direction of their hut.

    She sighed, but obeyed, giving one last look in the direction the strider disappeared to, before slowly making her way back to the hut. She’d have to get creative in ways to talk to him, her mother wasn’t fond of Striders themselves. She’d just have to wait until he came back out, no way she’d be able to get past people if she walked up to his shack. She sat outside her small home, a battered old book in her hand as she flipped through the pages, glancing up every now and then.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2018
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  3. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    Before he realized it he'd nearly drifted off. He sat up sharply, the bed creaking beneath him, the binder nearly falling out of his hand. He snapped it shut to grip it, and a loose page shot out, narrowly missing his nose in its flight. He snatched it out of the air with his other hand and turned it over, frowning at the writing. Notes on the townsfolk--a natural sort of thing to leave behind. He set the binder and page aside on the sheet and stood to check his soup, which was thankfully unburnt, though it was a near miss. He shut off the hot plate and wrapped the can in a towel as he spooned some into his mouth. The taste made him grimace, but he couldn't exactly afford to be picky. Seasoning was a sparse commodity, indeed.

    He set the spoon aside. If it weren't going to be a good meal he may as well swallow as much as he could at once. And rather than sit alone and suffer through he decided to go and get his own reckoning of the townspeople. He'd heard a discussion not too long before his doze-off, something about someone wanting to meet him and another person insisting that they give it time. He left his rifle and heavy coat behind, wearing a somewhat archaic leather jerkin with metal pads tucked into pockets sewn along the leather. His rifle and other firearms stayed in the shack, but he left the hatchet on his hip, two feet of hardened oak topped with a blackened steel head. A reminder--to him, of his duty, and to them that he would be ever-prepared to defend them if need be.

    He pushed the shack door open and stepped out into the daylight, holding his can tight as he sipped the contents. They pulled another grimace from him as he peered around the town, seeing what he could see from the very front of his shack. Small, and dwindling, he decided. They'd had it rough. He started to walk, idling slowly toward the nearest of the buildings, mentally mapping everything out as he went. He barely noticed the girl reading outside one of the homes, his eyes sliding across her and the shack behind her as he made note of location and populace.
     
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  4. Erolliepollie

    Erolliepollie Lowkey a frenchfry Member

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    She was rather taken by her book, her eyes scanning across the pages as she leaned against a tree. She was one of the only people in her small town that actually enjoyed reading as a hobby, the rest day it’s a waste of time and materials that could be used for fire. She loves them, however. It provided her with an escape from the hellish world she was born into. She turned a page, her legs crossed over one another before she flickered her eyes up to glance around. She did a double taken tilting her head as she saw the Strider out and walking around the town. He looked young, her age even, and she was tempted to go up and introduce herself. She stood, brushing off her legs and tucked her book under her arm. But, once again, she was interrupted by her brother. He seemed a bit out of breath this time, jogging up to her.

    Oliver was three years older than her, and though their hair were two completely different colors, they shared the same vibrant, green eyes. He was her best friend, her only friend, they took care of each other when their parents failed to do so. Not by choice, of course, sometimes taking care of two children in this world was hard work.

    “Hey, Lia, listen.” He placed his hand on her shoulder, spinning her to him. “Listen... Thomas is sick, and it doesn’t look good right now. We lost a lot with that raid, so I’m going to run up to the next town over to grab some medicine, Okay? I just—“

    Malia interrupted him before he could finish, shaking her head.
    “No, no way. You’re not going out there alone, I’ll come with you.” She offered sternly, earning a rejection.

    “No, you’ll stay here. Who else would annoy the strider but you? Look, I’ll be quick, I promise. I’ll be back by tomorrow, Okay?” He was talking lowly, clearly not wanting the strider, or anyone for that matter to know. “Stay here and take care of mom, and here.” He passed her a pin that he kept with him.

    She didn’t want him going, the last time he went out he nearly got himself killed. But nonetheless, they not shared the same stubborn bloodline and, before she knew it, he was jogging off in the direction of the hole in their fences they found last year.

    “Oliver!” She started after him, but someone grabbed her arm. She growled and ripped her arm away, shaking her head and starting away from her house. Everyone in the town was warily watching the strider, keeping their families away if possible. They didn’t understand that striders were people as well, they just knew their reputation. However, her conquest for befriending the strider was momentarily forgotten as she slung a backpack over her shoulder, fully intending on following her brother. She brushed past the strider, earning looks of confusion from the other residents. She had a small reputation for getting frustrated, so some people brushed it off. But those who paid enough attention, it was clear her intentions weren’t very wise.

    The world outside their walls was beyond dangerous, and venturing past the territory wasn’t allowed. Of course, that was only if you got caught
     
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  5. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    Carson had missed the argument entirely, too far off to hear the siblings and their disagreement. He saw the boy, though, as he headed for the wall. Clearly he thought himself stealthy as he slipped from tree to bush to rock, hardly hidden but entirely furtive. Carson understood why. If the rules here forbade the residents from leaving the walls then the first thing most of them would have done would be securing a private, hidden passage out. He made a decision right then and there, throwing back the rest of his soup and tucking can and cloth alike into a pouch on his belt. If there was a breach he had to know about it, and since asking politely rarely worked out...

    He made to follow the boy, who'd vanished somewhere along the curve of the wall, only to nearly be bowled over by the girl, presumably his sister by the resemblance. Carson raised one eyebrow as she rushed after the man, then looked around at the residents and offered a small shrug and a smile. These things happened. What kind of man had his predecessor been, to elicit such fear? He set off after both of them, his steps virtually soundless, following the tracks they'd left in dirt, dust, and grass alike. He was wary of distance--he didn't want them to spot him before he found the breach in the wall, but he didn't want to lose sight of them either.

    Perhaps most importantly, he wanted to help. But one thing at a time.
     
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  6. Erolliepollie

    Erolliepollie Lowkey a frenchfry Member

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    Malia ducked under trees, squeezing her small frame between rocks as she followed her brother. She was completely unaware of the man following the pair as they made their way outside the wall, she was focused on catching up with her brother. The strider that occupied their town before the current one wasn't particularly kind. Malia and him had a mutual understanding, but he enforced harsh rules that he had insisted would keep her and the others safe. In the end, however, it clearly didn't pay off. With his arrogance came his death, and many towns people with him.

    Eventually, she caught up to Oliver, and he jumped a bit at her presence. He rolled his eyes, turning around and halting. His lack of movement caused her to slam into his chest before looking up, crossing her arms in annoyance.

    "Lia, you aren't coming with me. I already made that clear." He insisted sternly. Malia, however, ignored him, pushing past him and sliding between the break in the town wall, stepping out into the forest.

    "I heard you the first time, and I'm ignoring you." She shrugged, walking ahead of him.

    He grunted and started after her, shoving her to the side.
    "Why are you so stubborn? Why can't you go bother someone about what happened in the most recent chapter of Romeo and Juliet." He sighed heavily, his voice low as they crept through the woods.

    Malia just cracked a smile, shaking her head as they slowly stepped through the thick brush and tree ridden space, carefully calculating her steps. There was no telling the things out here in the open, and she didn't want to chance it by making too much noise. They remained unaware of the man on their trail, but something was off in the air. There was the sound of a twig snapping, and both their conversations stopped short.

    "Probably like, a deer." Malia shrugged, looking up to Oliver.

    "Yeah.. stay here for a second." He gave her a look and walked off in the direction of the noise, Malia furrowing her eyebrows.
    She opened her mouth to protest, but he gave her a look that made her zip her lips and nod. Now, she stood in the woods alone, or at least she thought she was. She sighed and looked around, taking in the scenery before her. It was honestly quite beautiful compares to that of her small town, sunlight poking through the trees, the quiet sounds of forest birds filling the air. It all just seemed right, something was bound to go wrong.
     
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  7. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    These two were reckless, he decided, or at least headstrong. Carson had no rightful idea what they were doing out in the woods, but he knew that the further one went into such forests the more dangerous it became. He decided to speak to them himself and started to close the gap, stepping longer and more swiftly toward them, any notion of stealth abandoned. He wasn't as familiar with the area as he'd like to be just yet, but he knew from even a cursory glance at the notes left behind that they were full of all sorts of perils. The sooner they noticed him and he caught up, the better.

    He stopped short himself at the sound of the twig. His senses, attuned to danger, could catch a faint whiff of something--he wasn't sure what, precisely. Leather, or fur, or something not within the usual blend of the forest. He slipped into a crouch and moved as swiftly as he could, first to the girl, who stood among the trees with no pretense of subtlety. He grabbed her arm and yanked her to her knees swiftly, his other hand covering her mouth so she wouldn't cry out. He made sure she saw him, made eye contact with him, and put a finger to his lips. When he was sure she understood he let her go and glanced at the leaf-strewn dirt, then rushed in the direction the man had taken, one hand moving toward the hatchet in his belt. He didn't want to use it, not so soon, but he feared he might have to.
     
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  8. Erolliepollie

    Erolliepollie Lowkey a frenchfry Member

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    Malia was moving backwards, going to crouch behind a bush when she was yanked down to her knees. She nearly cried out, but the hand over her mouth concealed her gasp. She snapped her eyes to the man who forced her down, her eyes widening when she recognized him as the town’s new strider. She nodded, controlling her shaky breathing as he slowly let her go. She went to motion to him, but before she could even tap his arm he swiftly dashed away, leaving her more confused than before. It wasn’t as if her and her brother were helpless, they’d been on plenty ‘missions’, but today they were reckless.

    Oliver had krept through the trees, keeping his body low and quiet. He was good at what he did, but unfortunately, good didn’t seem to cut it today. Just as he slowly rose to take a look around and clear their area, he felt a sharp, hot pain on his torso. He looked down, his lips parting as a rather long, metal object protruded from his lower abdomen. He choked on a strangled sound, gasping when the blade was ripped from his body, collapsing to the ground. The individual seemed to have appeared from nowhere, and went to finish Oliver before a twig snapping broke their attention. They swiftly spun, coming eye to eye with the strider, crouching down in an animal like stance as it sidestepped it’s ground. They wore a mask, a skull mask of what seemed to be a wolf, one hand touching the ground as it stared down the man in front. After a side glance to the boy on the ground it took off, disappearing through the bushes. Oliver lay on the ground, sputtering as his hand pressed to his side. He turned his head, catching the strider’s eye and shaking his head.
    “Malia,” He choked out, pain lacing his features. It didn’t look good, not at all.
     
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  9. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    Raider. Or worse. He wasn't sure. He drew the hatchet and prepared for a fight, but the figure vanished into the trees before he could even take a battle stance. He wished he'd brought his rifle. It wouldn't have taken long, but he had no way of knowing where the two were headed or why. He paused for a heartbeat, deciding to follow the attacker or aid the other man. When they made eye contact, though, it was decided. He slid the hatchet back into the leather loop on his belt and knelt down next to Oliver, placing one hand over his. Wounds like this one--Carson knew better than to hope. Knew better than to even reach for his medical pouch. Instead he reached for one behind it, and took out a small white bottle. The label had been rubbed clear ages ago, but the medicine within remained potent.

    "Malia is fine," he said quietly. "She's hiding nearby." He glanced up and around and decided it was worth the risk. "Malia!" he called, brief and sharp. If the feral man came back then Carson would be prepared. He pulled open the bottle and dumped a single pill into his hand, which he put to Oliver's mouth. "Swallow it whole. It will ease the pain." It was all he could do, realistically. In ages past such an injury could have been treated--he'd read books about emergency surgeries and procedures, but even then. He kept what grimness he could from his face as he put pressure over the wound, keeping Oliver there for as long as he was able.
     
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  10. Erolliepollie

    Erolliepollie Lowkey a frenchfry Member

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    Oliver looked up to Carson when he knelt down, taking in choppy, uneven breaths as he fought to stay grounded. He blinked a couple times, his eyes continuously trained on the man, even when he turned to call for Malia. His muscles weakened, and the only thing that kept his hand against his wound was Carson’s own hand atop his. He didn’t fight when offered the pill, and he swallowed it as directed, his body quivering from the pain as it struggled to stay functioning. Before Malia could get to the scene, Oliver reached up and placed a hand on Carson’s shoulder, pulling him down to his level to try and sputter a message.
    “Y-you have to— have to, keep her s-safe,” he took a couple choppy breaths, shaking his head. “She’s d-different, strong, b-but naive. Please.” He practically begged Carson before dropping his head back again, closing his eyes for a moment.

    Malia heard the sharp call of her name, but furrowed her eyebrows when it wasn’t Oliver’s voice. She immediately scrambled up, pushing herself off the ground and sprinting in the direction of the voice. She looked around as she ran, but stopped when she saw the strider hunched over, next to the body of someone. Her stomach fell and she felt tears in her eyes as she ran over, sliding down on her knees next to Oliver.
    “No...no, no Ollie, hey, you’re fine.” She shook her head as she ran a hand soothingly through his hair, her other hand against his chest. “You’re fine, this isn’t anything, you’ve had worse, yeah?” Her words were rushed and forced, as if she was more so trying to convince herself of their truth. He swallowed and shook his head as well, placing his hand on hers.

    “It’s ok-kay,” he whispered, as it was all he could muster at this point.

    After a moment his breathing increased, the pain from his injury spiking as his health declined, rapidly. Malia adjusted so his head rested in her lap, and she took in choppy breaths as a couple tears rolled down her cheeks.
    “Shhh,” She sniffled, holding the side of his face to try and ease his pain. “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry,” she repeated this, shaking her head as her shoulder shook. She snapped her gaze to Carson, her eyes red.
    “Please, we have to get him back, we have to help him we can’t just sit here.” She pleaded for him to help, her hand holding Oliver’s tightly
     
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  11. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    "I'll take care of her. As if she were my own sister." He knew better than to qualify promises with a dying man. He stayed at his side when the girl--Malia, he reminded himself dully--approached, only shifting to look away and to give them more privacy. He scanned the trees and bushes for any sign of the hunter, cautious and nervous. He couldn't move the body and fight, and he wasn't about to leave the man out in the woods with his sister crying over him.

    He looked back when she addressed him and sighed softly. "In a moment. Once the medicine sets in I'll help you bring him back. But listen to me, Malia. There's nothing anyone in Little Lake can do for him now. Including me." Except for dig a grave, which Carson himself would gladly do. He had come here to try and prevent this kind of senseless death, to try and bring stability to the townspeople. Instead he had only just arrived and one of them was dying. If they had disliked him before they would be sure to resent him now. He looked back to Oliver, certain that the medicine should be taking effect any second now. It was designed to do so, to quickly and swiftly numb pain. It had a price--but Oliver was already paying it in full. "I'm sorry," he told them both quietly. "I should have been more prepared."

    After another moment he moved, turning to lift the dying man in his arms. He was gentle and careful, and when he began walking he cut through the trees, walking for the clear and empty road that ran alongside the forest, the same one he'd taken to reach Little Lake. Better to be out in the open than in the trees with a killer.
     
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  12. Erolliepollie

    Erolliepollie Lowkey a frenchfry Member

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    Malia looked to Carson with watery eyes, it occurred to her she didn't even truly know his name. When he warned her that the chances of him being helped were nonexistent, she just shook her head as the tears fell freely down her cheeks. She bent down, pressing her lips to his forehead as his breathing shallowed. "I'm so sorry, Ollie, this is all my fault." She whispered against his hair, still clutching his hand. She couldn't bear the thought that not only had she lost her father, but now her best friend, too. It was too much for her to handle, she didn't know whether she wanted to cry, or scream... she was lost.

    Oliver seemed more at ease now, his body had ceased to shake from the horrid pain. He felt.. light as air. He could feel his body, it felt heavy as lead as his eyes struggled to remain open. He knew as well that he wasn't going to make it, but for Malia's sake he saved his energy, keeping his mouth shut.

    When Carson gently picked Oliver up, he winced and let out a soft grunt in protest to the movement, Malia stood and numbly followed. She followed him through the clearing, seeing the way that Oliver's head lulled to the side every now and then. She sniffled, staring down at the blood on her hands as she followed him to the gates. As they reached them, the guards opening the gates, the widened their eyes and immediately directed them to their infirmary hut. Malia followed swiftly behind Carson as he brought Oliver to the shack. Oliver was laid down on a bed and she fell to her knees next to him, clutching his hand as he offered her a weak smile...his last smile. She wiped her eyes, her shoulders shaking as she heard someone call to get their mother. Oliver gently tapped her arm with whatever strength he had left, pulling something from his pocket. It was the pin he had tried to give her before he left, inside the bronze circle was an oak tree, the branches touching the edges of the pin. She took the pin, nodding to him and slipping it into her pocket.
    "I'm so sorry," She choked out, resting her forehead against his arm.

    "Lia.." he sputtered, his eyes fluttering closed.

    She opened her eyes, widening them as his own green eyes became lidded. She shook her head, trying to wake him.
    "Ollie, wake up," She pleaded, everything seemed to slow as someone pulled her away from him. She tried to kick her way away from whoever was holding her back, but whoever it was had managed to pull her from the small room so she didn't have to watch as they cleaned up after her deceased brother. She collapsed onto the ground, her shoulders hunched as she cried. She cried for losing her brother, for the fact that it was her fault, that she didn't try to prevent it. Her mother arrived just after he passed, and she could hear the wails of her mother as well. She stayed on the ground, leaning against the wall of the shack, nodding numbly as others offered their condolences so quickly.
     
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  13. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    Carson felt torn. He had delivered the body to the medical hut and excused himself as the town doctor verified what he already knew. Part of him wanted to stay and beg the family for forgiveness, but he knew that was wrong for two reasons. First, it made it sound as though there was anything Carson could have done to prevent it and the harsh, ugly, unreasonable truth was that he couldn't have done a damn thing. If he had his gun or if he'd stopped them sooner or if he'd patrolled the woods--for all the dozens of excuses he could make this was not his fault. Which led to the second point; this death was not about him. It was not about his failures or his successes, his shortcomings or his flaws. A man had died. The people deserved to mourn that before he tried to apologize to any of them.

    So instead he had found the town leader and informed him of the situation. That some kind of feral huntsman in the woods had attacked and stabbed Oliver. Likely a cannibal, if Carson had to guess. Why else attack a lone man? Why else aim for the stomach, where all the inedible organs lay? He spared the mayor those details, though, and left him to decide on appropriate defenses and measures as he returned to the hut that would be his base in Little Lake. There he strapped on the rest of his gear; a long, sleek rifle with an antique scope mounted along the top rail was slung by shoulder strap across his back. The jerkin he already wore passed for armor--the coat he slid on over it was padded and hardened in places, but little more than leather and wool aside. On his opposite hip he wore his sidearm, a pistol with deadly accuracy. Along with the rest of his supplies, he was ready to go out and hunt the murderer--

    At which point he paused yet again and weighed his options. Responsibility to the town meant that he should stay and make sure nobody else left, especially relatives or friends who might be eager for blood and wind up only tasting their own. But in his heart he wanted to hunt down and destroy the man that had done this. It felt fair. It felt right. But it was irresponsible, an irrational response from the one person in this community who had to favor rationality and survivability above all else. When he left the shack he still wore his full kit, resolved to at least be ready for anything, and returned to the medical building. A woman was wailing inside--the man's mother or wife, he reasoned. Malia sat outside, surrounded by mourners, but they parted as Carson approached. He knew how he must look. Grim. Angry. Hardened. For once it felt appropriate.

    "I'm sorry," he told her quietly once he'd knelt next to her. He didn't touch her, mindful of her personal space. He was a stranger, after all. Even if he'd only just washed her brother's blood off his hands. "If I had been a minute quicker, then." He cut himself off and shook his head. "I promise, Malia. I'll find the beast that did this." If not today then soon. He had to promise himself that much.
     
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  14. Erolliepollie

    Erolliepollie Lowkey a frenchfry Member

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    It was a good thing that Carson decided to stay and make sure nothing else went wrong, or no more stupid decisions were made, because Malia was planning to make a big one. She knew the direction the hostile ran off to, she could tell by how many times Carson would look in one direction while still out in the woods. She wanted her revenge, she wanted whoever, or whatever, that thing was to pay. But right now, she was angry and irrational. She needed time to actually come to her senses, and she needed someone to keep her on track while she grieved.

    She was beginning to become overwhelmed with the numerous people that surrounded her while she sat, curled on the ground. They kept repeating their apologies and condolences, it was becoming sick to hear and she needed some air. Her hands were covered in Oliver’s blood, and all she could do was stare at them. Stare at what that monster has caused, what she had caused. Her accusatory thoughts were only interrupted by the voice of a familiar strider, crouching in front of her. He, again, offered a condolence, but this one she nodded to with a weak grateful smile, one that hardly counted as anything but the slightest upturn of her lips. She noticed the way that the small crowd of people had quickly shuffled away when he approached, and she found herself relieved for the fresh air.

    “It wasn’t your fault,” she shook her head, resting against the wall of the shack. She flickered her eyes up to him, actually getting a good look at him for the first time, before everything went downhill. It occurred to her she didn’t even know his name, but he knew hers. When he vowed to avenge her brother she just sighed, wrapping her arms around her shins. She stayed quiet for a moment before looking up to him. “What’s your name?” She waited for a moment, playing with a rock on the ground. “Thank you for being there, it could’ve been a lot worse.” She admitted, shaking her head at herself. They were always so careful, but today they were so stupid.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2018
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  15. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    9:04 PM
    Wasn't it, though? Wasn't he the one who was supposed to prevent this sort of thing? Again, he set it aside. This was not about him. "I'm Carson," he said quietly in response. "Try not to think about what could have been. I find it can drive you mad with doubt." He put a hand at her elbow and gently urged her to stand, eyeing the blood that lingered with the dirt on her fingers. "Let's go get you cleaned up, eh? I can tell you firsthand that it doesn't get any more comfortable to let that linger." His tone was quiet, careful, soft. He remained insistent until she stood up, at which point he guided her toward the shore. It may not have been the cleanest water, or the best option, but it would wash away the blood and dirt.

    "So, Malia," he said, using her name again, using it to remember it. "How long have you lived in Little Lake? Do you know the history of the town at all? Anything that could help me be better at my job?" Keep her engaged. Keep her mind off of the tragedy. He knew from long experience that dwelling on it would only make the guilt worse, the anger fester. He knew he had to at least try and distract her.
     
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  16. Erolliepollie

    Erolliepollie Lowkey a frenchfry Member

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    Carson. She took note of that, pulling her eyes from the door of the hut to look at him as he addressed her. Not thinking of the ‘ifs’ was easier said than do, she found it was the only thing running through her mind. If only he hadn’t gone, if only she hadn’t gone, if only they had been more careful, quieter, if only Carson had caught up to them, if only, if only, if only. But he was right, she needed something else to think about. Nonetheless, the fact remained that it was her fault, and the thought was eating her alive. His hand on her elbow brought he out of her daze and she gazed up to him for a long moment before flicking her eyes to her hands, nodding in agreement. She pushed herself off the ground as he pulled her up, glancing around and seeing eyes on her. Some of them looking on sympathetically, some of them angry. She tried to ignore them as Carson tugged her through the town to the waterline, she felt numb.

    Her head was pounding, and her eyes stung. But, his voice was soft, caring, even. He was gentle with her, unlike that of Striders in the past, they put on a comforting mask for no one. Ever. She knew, she lost her dad. His harmless questions ripped her from that thought..though she wasn’t sure if she was upset about it. “My whole life, me and...Oliver were born here. Our dad died about a year ago. As for town history, it really depends what you want to know. It’s right in the middle of a raider path, which is why we’ve always had to deal with them. Everyone here acts as if nothing is wrong, that the world didn’t end and this is just another day on the calendar. I don’t get that, I just don’t get the dynamic of these people.” She sighed after her small tangent, gazing down at her bloodied hands as they walked. “People die a lot, they’ll go missing and people just shrug it off, forget even.”

    “I’m apologizing in advance for you having to be here. People here aren’t...open minded, and they’d care less what happens to you. Just a fair warning.” She spoke quietly now, looking up to him. “I’ve tried to make a point and actually get to know people, but it doesn’t always work.” She tried to rub the blood off her hands before they reached the water, as If she finally realized it was her brother’s. It was a strange sight, seeing her so distraught, nothing had ever truly shaken her like his death. Nothing mattered enough.
     
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  17. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    "You know," he mused, "in a way this is just another day on the calendar. The world didn't end--it changed, yes, and violently. It's a more brutal world now. A more primitive one. But it isn't over, Malia. We're just on our way to the next step up." For all his positive talk he couldn't help but agree with her. People had become so numb to the cruelties visited on them by their fellow man. He didn't know when they had all silently agreed to shrug off the inequalities and come to rely on a few for protection against the many, but he knew all too well that it was so. His parents both had been Striders like him. And he knew what end awaited him as much as they had known their own fates.

    They were at the water by then, and he knelt down to scoop some sand and dirt up into a makeshift dam, creating a little bowl there on the beach. He reached into his belt and came up with a sprinkle of powder, which he dropped into the water and stirred with one finger. In moments suds had began to blossom across the surface. "Don't worry about how they feel toward me. It's not Striders they hate or fear. Not really. It's the reminder." He looked up at her. "We remind them that they aren't safe. That they can't be complacent. That there is very real, very valid danger to contend with on a regular basis. We're meant as symbols of peace but we're seen as reminders of war. Here, though, wash. The soap will make it much easier."
     
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  18. Erolliepollie

    Erolliepollie Lowkey a frenchfry Member

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    He was right, right about the fact that the world was heading in an up direction. Humanity already hit rock bottom with the outbreak, not that she knew what that was like, but it’s only inevitable that people begin to grow. He just didn’t know how to accept that, because she hasn’t seen a change in all her years on this hell. No one strived to make that difference, all they did was rely on those who swore to protect them. That wasn’t right, that wasn’t surviving, as far as she was concerned that was cowarding.

    She knelt down next to him, sitting on her knees in the sand of the shore. She could taste the salt as she breathed in the ocean air, her long waves blowing in the breeze. She never came down here, not really, but whenever she could sneak away she adored the coast. It was beautiful, perhaps the only truly beautiful thing left in her world.
    “I think it’s unfair that the world relies on Striders to keep them safe, to keep them going. Nothing against you, I couldnt Understand what you must do on a daily basis but... how can people expect to grow when they don’t even grow themselves? It’s nice to have someone there just in case, you know? But to rely on them, and depend on them for survival? I just... I want to be capable on my own, if that makes any sense. These people don’t know how to live, they barely know how to survive.” As she spoke, she scrubbed the blood from her hands. At first, it was gentle as her fingers glided over her skin, but she became rougher with her movements as she continued. “People die because of it, and no one does anything about it.” Her voice wavered in the slightest, but she pushed it aside.

    After she had managed to frantically rid herself of her brother’s blood, the small puddle now tinted red, she fell back from her knees, her legs stretched in front of her as she shook her head. “I’ve just always felt so out of place here, but no one will teach me, I mean no one knows enough to teach anything.” She sighed heavily, looking up to him. “What made you become a strider, if you don’t mind me asking?”
     
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  19. Abeyance

    Abeyance Security Member

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    He kicked out the dam once the blood was gone from her skin and let it wash back out to the larger body of water. Carson remained silent for a while, just watching the sun sparkle off the wavelets, the breeze stir the leaves of a nearby tree. He considered simply refusing to answer. The story wasn't a happy one, and more negativity might be the opposite of welcome right now. He rested his head on the head of his hatchet as he thought it over, thumb stroking the darkened steel. "I was born into the life," he finally said. "My parents were both Striders. They met in Safeco--that's a town hundreds of miles from here, in the ruins of a city that used to be called Seattle. They met, they had me, and then they spent the next fourteen years wishing they hadn't.

    "Not because they didn't care. They did, to the best of their ability. But because a child is a liability to a Strider. Either you're guilty because you have to leave it behind, or you're guilty because you have to take it with you. Either way, I learned quick. I had to. How to fight, how to hide, where to look for what sort of needs. When I was fifteen my father died, and I decided to take up his protection ring. He had five towns that called him their own, but I was... inexperienced. New. Fresh. I lost every single one of them to raiders. Even Safeco, in the end." He went silent again, his mind inadvertently turning back to that night.

    Exhaustion. Fear. Screams--no. No. He pushed it back down and straightened, removing his hand from the axe head. "To give you a shorter answer, I've been a Strider in spirit since I was born. I kept up the lifestyle because... people need hope, Malia. People need us to show them the way until they can find the strength to learn it for themselves. Someday they'll stop resenting us and begin following us. Someday they'll stop being afraid and tired and beaten and surge back against the evil that surrounds them. I believe that. I have to. What else would I be doing this for?"
     
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  20. Erolliepollie

    Erolliepollie Lowkey a frenchfry Member

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    She understood his hesitation to answer her question, she doubted that anyone he’d met had actually tried to hold a conversation for too long. People didn’t take well to Striders, they tended to avoid them. She stayed silent as he had his mental debate, her eyes never once fleeting from the edge where the sky touched the waterline. She felt safe here, she let her mind escape the horrors of the day. She wasn’t the favorite, in her family or in her town. Oliver however, Ollie was the most well liked person to ever exist... in her opinion at least. He got on with everyone, he never fought, he was perfect. She took that away, and she’d have to live with that notion.

    When he finally spoke up, she turned her head, her vibrant green eyes resting on his solemn expression. She felt a pang in her heart as he expressed his past, the path that brought him to where he was now. As he described the loss of so many people, people that he had tried to protect, she frowned and looked to the ground. She could tell he was trying not to let that recount affect him, but it was evident in his voice.

    She stayed silent for a moment, thinking her next works over. “You can’t protect everyone, that’s just not the way this world works.” Her voice held a sadness to it, though she kept her tone level. She wasn’t sure how to truly respond to his reasoning, she just had to voice her opinion carefully.
    “I don’t like hope. Because in the beginning, I was handed so much hope. They told me things would get better, that a new beginning was coming but... it’s not a fact. Hope gives people false optimism.”

    She really wasn’t one to be a downer in this already unfortunate situation, but she’d seen anough torment in her life. She’d lost enough that she eventually became sick of it all. The world was the way it was, and she had to live it through as it is.
    “Maybe you’re right, maybe people do need hope. They do need someone to show them the way. But what happens when that isn’t enough?” She looked over to him, offering him a slight smile. “I don’t know, I’ve only ever known the fear. It’s just so... confusing.”
     
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