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    Under the Ethereal Knife

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    Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Mortis on Fri Oct 02, 2015 12:02 pm

    Time: Late Night
    Date: October 2, 0006

    Their trek from the city had been a long, thirteen hours on foot over the paved miles of highway and then off into the heartlands long, flowing grasses. Beneath Mortis' feet it all withered, carving a trail of blight through the otherwise lush countryside as he followed his brother. Where they were going was a vague hint, mention of a graveyard that would suit their needs, but was not the one that Aicara tended to. It mattered little, Mortis decided as he let his talons brush over the tall weeds he passed, their petals withered and curled into a blackened, crinkled mulch upon a simple touch.

    It needed to be serene, a place for Fear to be able to focus without distraction. That was all that mattered.

    The sun fell long after they grew to the center of the grassy fields, the setting sun and its diurnal faithfuls exchanged for myriads of stars wheeling over their heads along with the shrill chorus of crickets and soft hoots of owls out for their evening hunt. However, neither the myriad of stars twinkling above nor the chittering, skittering presence of the native fauna distracted him from their destination. All the life within this place tempted him, his claws flexing every now and again as he caught a glimpse of something retreating at their presence, whether it be a deer, a farmer's grazing livestock, or something that was alien to his senses. It all was worthy to be purged, he thought, it all required their lawful touch.

    Even if some would argue differently. Though, part of it was realized to be merely a longing to sink his claws into something, a distraction from what was to come. As much as Mortis welcomed his brother's offer, was eager to remedy both of their afflictions... Part of himself still felt hesitant. He had buried something away, something that Fear had decided was equally lawful on his brother's part during their earlier talk.

    He knew they were his vices, his weaknesses and unlawful intents... Though as he no longer knew what exactly those were, it was almost as if the ghoul was facing a locked door, knowing not what was on the other side, yet the vague idea of what he had placed behind it filled him with a distant sense of trepidation. He quietly hissed, talons moving to rest upon his belt as his tail lashed anxiously from either side before moving to curl around his leg.

    It was going to be fine.

    Fear won't let anything ill befall you.

    So went his thoughts, attempting to reassure and calm himself as they grew closer to their destination.

    As they crested a hill, they suddenly were upon it. Overgrown with weeds and long grasses, one would readily think the place to be merely another stretch of grassy field among grassy fields. However, if one were to look closer... He could see the remnants of tombstones, cracked and worn with time and weather. Beyond that was the slouching silhouette of an equally neglected building, perhaps a church or funeral parlor at one point. Now? Holes littered the boards that made up its walls, nature having long since taken this place over as well as grasses started to grow up through the floor and various fungi made their home in the abandoned furniture within. However, even with its neglect and wear, the place felt oddly serene, peaceful among the song of crickets that quieted with their arrival.

    He shambled forth and placed a set of yellow talons gingerly upon the cracked remains of a nearby tombstone, turning to look back at the fellow Judge. In the dark his eye sockets dimly glowed a dull red, barely perceptible unless one was close enough to see. The pinpricks fixated upon his brother's helm, anticipation mingling with his malignant aura. "Sshall we begin?" He hissed, waiting for the ghoul to move first before doing anything further.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Fear on Fri Oct 02, 2015 11:50 pm

    Whereas his brother had found the excursion rattling, be it from the endless wildlife that called this uncivilized hinterland home or the demons plaguing his own anxious thoughts, Judge Fear had found it rather... serene. Gone were the thousands of unheard voices echoing within the city's limits; gone were the thousands of unfiltered emotions, byproducts of complicated thought; gone, gone, gone was the stink of established society. His head was clear, his mind sharpened to a razor's edge. Embracing no-man's land felt incredibly liberating.

    Though, his brother's restlessness to purge, purge, purge was distracting in more ways than one.

    There were at times during their journey where Judge Fear came to a pause, the helmeted fiend content to observe this alien world idle by. Birds, vermin, the occasional large animal... even the wind as it rustled through the large grasses and visibly swept across the plains; he found them equally fascinating in their own right. Why, may Judge Mortis begin to inquire? Well, why not? What good was eternity if one constantly slaved for an unrealistic goal, unobservant of the universe around them? It sounded like a lot of unnecessary busywork that would ultimately account for very little, if nothing at all. Sometimes, these quiet recesses in their walk would last for a minute - maybe two. And sometimes, they would last for an entire fifteen minutes. It all depended on what Judge Fear wished to study, or how many attempts it would take for the anxious Judge Mortis to get the message loud and clear: keep it down, don't touch all the things, and simply follow. Easy enough, yes?

    It was going to be fine.

    Fear won't let anything ill befall you.

    Alas.

    For a moment, if ever so brief, the Dark Judge was silently thankful that the Sisters' hadn't given him a tail or likewise appendage to betray his inner thoughts. He largely disregarded Judge Mortis' fidgeting and concentrated on maintaining his sang-froid demeanour. Easier said than done, somewhat...

    The sun rose and the sun fell, bloating with its orange girth as it sunk beneath the horizon. Darkness settled upon the land and soon a new world arose from its slumber. Creatures of the night stirred from their burrows, their nests, their dens; crickets began their moonlight serenades and the gentle hooting of owls faintly echoed in the distance. Dozens of eyes gleamed in their pulsating sockets to better appreciate what others may not. Almost there, brother, almost there. And then, you may truly experience the dread gnawing within your turbulent mind at its fullest.

    Leathery feet softly crunched against the virgin earth, their trek beginning anew.

    Another two hours, another excruciating wait for the honourable Judge Mortis. His patience was well rewarded as both of the undead fiends shambled atop a grassy knoll. It was unnecessary to point out the uneven silhouettes of weathered tombstones, or the deteriorating condition of an old chapel having since long been abandoned. This was indeed a cemetery; neither required further explanation. Ancient joints groaned as taut leather stretched, Judge Fear pointing one of his yellowed talons at the graveyard's unmarked center. "There," he rasped, his first word uttered these long thirteen hours. "Go there, Judge Mortisss, and await my inssstruction while I prepare the wardsss and sssignal K.A.R.R. to begin hisss patrol. Do not wander, do not fill your mind with busssy thoughtsss. Merely sssit and enter a ssstate of controlled ressst." You can surely follow these instructions, can't you?
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Mortis on Sat Oct 03, 2015 12:46 am

    Serene, liberating, relaxing... Certainly the sheep-skulled one of their duo may have been able to see it as that at some point, but certainly not right now. Another time, when their goal was not at the forefront of his mind despite all the evidence that dashed any possibility of their cause's fruition. At every pause the ghoul quietly hissed and flexed his rigid talons, scanning the horizon for anything worth their devoted hands or gaze.

    Perhaps Fear had found a sinner for them to purge along the way? A wandering hick or wayward homeless person, maybe, but instead... Mortis found that his brother wished to merely observe the flowers, the birds and tiny creatures that scampered at their feet. More often than not the creatures would be running away from them, or more Mortis' own fetid aura as it gradually corrupted the surrounding plant life and anything else that was unfortunate enough to be caught within its radius. How tempting it was to perhaps reach out and pluck a butterfly from the air, maybe a low flying bird thinking to protect its nest as they passed by the occasional tree.

    Thankfully, their stops never really lasted more than a few minutes. Though even then...

    During one of their longer stops along the way, The looming silhouette of Mortis' ragged form found itself in the shade of a tree. An occupied tree at that. tiny tweets and chirps rang from the branches, high enough that the reasonably sized human would not be able to reach, but not high enough to get out of the way of Mortis' decay touch. "Sss.." The noise was grating, it suffocated his thoughts and riled his already tense senses. A gnarled claw reached up, uncaring about the mother sparrow that had been aggravated by his intruding talons and began to one by one pluck the featherless newborns from their nest.

    Crumpch! munch... much...

    One by one he cleared out the nest, idly stuffing every twittering, squirming little nestling into his mouth for a mid-trip snack. Should his honorable brother decide to argue? Well, a Judge needed his proteins, after all. Even the mother, as she darted and dived about his skull in outrage, was swiftly plucked from the air and sent to join the rest of her family. Alas, simply not touching all the things was something that Mortis had some trouble complying to, despite wishing to seek his brother's aid.

    Though he had to admit, with the birds silenced, he felt somewhat more at peace. Somewhat being the key word so long as his mind still swam with anticipation. Even with a week of preparation the undead found it challenging to keep all of it down and his thoughts tranquil. Come the day of the actual act, his senses piqued once again as a sense of dreaded excitement twitched in his spine and tail. Still, he made an attempt to try and quell his feelings all the same, for the sake of his brother who was trying to remain tranquil despite his anxiety. As the finally crested the hill and looked upon the ancient cemetery below, it only grew more poignant, and amassed still with every step down to the crumbling headstones.

    He followed Fear's gnarled finger as it pointed to the center of the graveyard. Though that appeared to be the only relatively simple command to be given this evening.

    "[...]Do not wander, do not fill your mind with busssy thoughtsss. Merely sssit and enter a ssstate of controlled ressst."

    The undead fiend nodded in affirmation, "Yesss, brother." He rasped, turning and shambling over to the site as instructed. Long limbs effortlessly made their way through the overgrown grasses and weeds, until their owner found what was deemed to be the approximate center of the graveyard. In ordr to keep himself from wandering, Mortis settled himself down in the long grass and seated himself upon the ground. Ancient joints creaked and groaned as he pulled his long, gangly legs into a cross-legged sitting position, clawed hands resting upon either of his armored knees.

    Empty your mind...

    His talons flexed against the rotting material and released.

    Calm yourself...

    Thus was the gentle coaxing that Mortis brought forth, trying his best to flush away the devils that crept about his thoughts and lingered in the shadows of his mind. Though even as he set his mind to it, to doing as Judge Fear had instructed, Mortis could not help but feel that anticipation creeping back up in the wake of his efforts.

    Along with the ever present desire to continue their grand, yet obsolete, work.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Fear on Sat Oct 03, 2015 6:19 pm

    Crumpch! munch... munch...

    Not at all necessary, though Judge Fear uttered not a word - even as he kept his unwavering stare transfixed upon his apparently hungry fellow Judge of the law. What reason was there to disturb creatures of the lower orders, knowing full well that they could not commit crime? Perhaps the honourable Judge Mortis will never overcome his restlessness in undeath. Such a pity, for an eternity of anxiety must surely be a personal Hell.  



    At the graveyard, his brother's nervousness hardly improved; in fact, it only worsened.

    It permeated everything Judge Mortis did, be it his thoughts or his actions, and the trickle effect shared by all Dark Judges was no less distracting now as it had been then. Still, Judge Fear calmly went about his chore in blissful silence and dispersed the wards equidistant to their neighbours. A protective circumference encircled the pair, keeping the fiends securely within and everything else unwanted... out. Upon setting down the last ward, an obnoxious - ssss... POP! - sensation tingled in the deepest recesses of their minds. The disturbance paled in comparison to the trapped feedback loop of their individual auras; an unshakable chill snaked up Judge Mortis' spine and an overwhelming stench of rot entered Judge Fear's useless nostrils. Are we comfortable, brother? Last but not least, the helmeted ghoul reached for a mantrap, immaculately polished, and hefted it up beneath the pale moonlight. It brightly glinted with every rotation of his hand. Good, K.A.R.R. was getting into position. Now to set everything into motion...

    As predicted, Judge Mortis was no more at peace than he was during the start of their lengthy excursion. Look at him sitting there... seemingly inept at quieting his rebellious mind, a slave to his desires and ideals. Judge Fear audibly huffed, "You are not relaxed." It was always the smart ones that struggled with the simplest of concepts without fail. Chains melodiously rattled as he approached, the graveyard grass softly crumpling beneath his abhorrent feet. "Do not think about what isss to transsspire; you have already sssubmitted yourssself to thisss fate," he hissed. "And do not think about our work; are you a capable of free will or are you a mindlesssss thrall?"

    The Dark Judge let his words hang in the impending quiet between them, dozens of otherworldly eyes focused upon his brother's twitching. Funny, funny... This was dredging up memories of his own, of when they were mere students in Law School. An irrelevant recollection for their given situation, sadly.

    "Do not wander, do not fill your mind with bussssy thoughtsss. Enter a ssstate of controlled ressst," urged the fiend again.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Mortis on Sat Oct 03, 2015 6:53 pm

    With a quiet hiss and a pop, the ward was set in place. Nothing ill could get in, at least in theory. Though, Mortis' tail still did twitch upon the grassy earth, flicking to either side and rustling the weeds. Gnarled toes gave a flex as he mimed taking a deep breath and releasing it, his skull tilted down as he tried to keep himself calm and empty his mind of thought.

    And he tried...

    And tried...

    Couldn't there be a way that he could simply be knocked unconscious? A cold chill raced up his spine as they were now fully alone with each other, stuck in a feedback loop of their own auras. His tail twitched again as the chill persisted before it pressed itself up against the back of his leg, another hiss escaping him as he heard the fellow Judge recognized his failure. He had hoped that it was not so evident. "I am trying, brother." He replied evenly, glancing up to watch the other approach.

    "Do not think about what isss to transsspire; [...] And do not think about our work..."

    "Ssss.." He let those two statements repeat in his head like a mantra, grasping onto them and making an attempt to ignore everything else. Though, how could one find rest if he never knew what rest truly was? He did not remember sleep, nor did he recollect any time of stasis aside from their unwilling containment at the hands of the Mega City's Judges. Even then, he hardly had been rested, always seeking a way out, a crack in the prison that had been so carefully crafted for him and his brothers. But there was something he did remember... The decades spent imprisoned allowed him to meditate in between the times he grew tired of pressing himself against every facet and angle of his crystal a hundred times over.

    Perhaps this was the key.

    "Yesss, brother." he rasped in reply to fear's urging, and fell back on his old routine. For a long while the ghoul sat still, not a twitch nor hissing sigh escaping his host as he let himself gradually fall back into his mind and merely float...

    Anticipation and anxiety shed themselves like many thin layers, slowly peeling away one by one until the ghoul felt something akin to a sense of calm. Or at least the closest thing he could get to it. Either way, he was beginning to feel like he was ready.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Fear on Sun Oct 04, 2015 4:09 pm

    Better, brother, better. Now... stifle your disquiet and openly let go.

    The transition between conscious reality and subconscious dream was never as discordant as believed; it was rather... seamless, in fact. After all, what greater trickster was there than the beautiful mind? A bitter frost shivered up Judge Mortis' spine. Do you feel it, brother? Do you feel what clung stubbornly to your damaged soul? As he sat there in silent contemplation, struggling with his task, a creeping chill radiated outwardly from his person. It gradually consumed all it touched, from the crumbling headstones to the abandoned chapel over yonder. It ate and it ate and it ate, until... nothing but an impenetrable sea of white stretched for as far as the eye could see. There were no stars... There was no hushed wind... There was only... nothing. Nothing, save for the shadowy contour of his guide, Judge Fear undulating as if he were a figment of Judge Mortis' estranged imagination. Slowly, a wispy finger beckoned at the hunched fiend.

    No words were uttered, no commands given. The helmeted Dark Judge merely kept urging his brother to obey an unspoken request. Was this... was this part of the procedure? Had he already gone under without realizing? Should the skull-wearing ghoul think to glance over his broad shoulders and inspect his surroundings a second time, he would find no alteration in this bleak, void landscape. Still astonishingly empty... but why? And where had everything gone?

    Perhaps this was...
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Mortis on Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:29 pm

    Ever deceiving in its nature, Mortis nearly never knew when he broke away completely from the world and when the contact between himself and his brother began. Only when the world started to melt away and turn to a vast grey void did he start to realize something was amiss aside from the bitter frost that crept its way up his spine. His tail twitched once more at the feeling then lay still, more out of reflex than any anxiety. Away went the tombstones, the chapel, even the rolling fields that surrounded them both and encompassed everything unto the horizon.

    His world was encompassed in absolute silence, and as he glanced around the void, he found his brother's form standing before him, ever shifting as a mass of shadows. A hand could be discerned from the undulating dark, his single clawed finger beckoning to the other to come forth. For a moment, but very brief, he hesitated at the wordless command. Though, he nonetheless rose to his feet and made his way over his brother, shambling across the great white expanse. For a moment he pondered whether or not he would fall through the grey fog, to fall forever into limbo should Fear's concentration be broken.

    Though, if they were in his own mind, should it not be fuller? Perhaps, he thought, as he continued on, but so much had been lost, cast to the flames that he had constructed out of rashness. The entire void must be the emptiness that was left in its wake, Mortis decided silently.

    "Where do we begin?" He gravelled upon coming to stand before the fellow Dark Judge. Everything was so vast, so expansive... Was this how much he had actually taken away from himself?
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Fear on Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:10 pm

    "Where do we begin?"

    Where does every tale begin, Judge Mortis?

    At the beginning.

    It was time, dear brother, for a new age; a world bereft of the abysmal white and nothingness that gnawed in the deepest recesses of your shattered mind. Judge Fear exhaled and upon his fetid breath, colour. Greys, blacks, browns and faded blues; do you remember this worn palette, Judge Mortis? No, perhaps not. Foundations sprawled around your rotted feet, roads and copper piping slithering outward as if possessed - alive, like some deranged beast. Brick beget brick, stone unto stone. Patience, patience... Cities were not, after all, built in a single day.

    Sound. Glorious, all encompassing sound. Dejected footsteps ran within the hollow catacombs of your bleached skull, listless faces taking shape from amorphous putty. Shapes transitioned into bodies, bodies into people; to sculpt the human body required such a meticulous touch. But still your helmeted brother worked and he worked and he worked, breathing life into this bleak world with every stroke of an artist's brush. The endless grey became a cloudy sky, the blacks born of shadow from a heavy sun, the browns and the blues... ah, dilapidated buildings and a common motif embraced by the nameless denizens of this surreal dream. Barren... neglected... hopeless... Despair lay thickly in the stagnant air. It was a sorry sight for an equally sorry peoples, but their destiny was not your own. Pity them not, for they were long, long dead; ghosts and echoes of a bygone era.

    Diligent fingers wove thread after thread - memory after memory - until a single, tangible string was formed, held gingerly betwixt two bulbous knuckles. It was but one of many, the first of several lifetimes. Should we start here, dear brother? Should we amend what had been unraveled? Yes, we shall. Thunder boomed high overhead and it began to rain, this dreary world somehow overcoming the impossible.

    The first rains brought with them the soothing aroma of wet asphalt and dirt, your bony nostrils suddenly overtaken by experiences you thought long extinguished. A thought stirred in the darkness...

    Deadworld.

    Welcome home, Judge Mortis.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Mortis on Wed Oct 21, 2015 10:47 pm

    Silence.

    Not a single gesture nor familiar thrum of his brother's deep bass voice hinted at the answer. There was only a deep exhale, and with it color spilled forth into the white void like an unrestrained river. The ghoul braced for what he thought was going to be a forceful tide, gnarled talons curling and raising defensively while his legs braced against what he could only hope was what passed for the ground. Unfamiliar sights filled his senses, his skull swiveling this way and that to keep up with the flood's erratic patterns. Roads ran beneath his feet, black asphalt meeting his leathery soles. He hissed at the strange sensation, unfelt but knowing that something had essentially grown beneath his feet.

    Following it were buildings, piping, towering up into a dismal sky.

    What was this place? Nothing about it was familiar, yet Fear had deduced this place was necessary.

    Tap, tap, tap!

    "SSsss!" His claws flexed and Mortis' body swiveled to face the strange sound. Footsteps, life... One divided into tens, hundreds, until the Judge's skull was on a constant swivel to keep track of the masses that trudged on, the pits of his eye sockets flaring with a glimmer of murderous intent, but all too aware that this place was not as it seemed. This was the mindscape, the people here, as lifelike and well rendered as they were did not exist. His claws lowered and Mortis stood idly while the rest of the dream was painted in by his brother's diligent hand... Speaking of the ghoul, where was he?

    Mortis glanced about, trying to find a sight of his helm's flared wings, or the familiar glint of a polished mantrap. Among the walking pedestrians, he saw nothing, not a sign of him in the streets or the buildings, not in the shadows of the alleyways. But what his sockets did manage to glimpse at was a single golden thread tapering into nothingness.

    How peculiar...

    KA-KOOOOM!

    In a flash of lightning and a roar of thunder overhead, Mortis found his snout was a little less dry than it was before. Rain dripped onto bleached bone as he looked once more down the busy street, as if on cue the residents of this world pulled out what they could to shield themselves from the rain; umbrellas were a popular choice, but some opted to simply raise the newspaper they had been carrying up over their heads. Strange... This place seemed so familiar and yet...

    Bustling streets, a dismal air, derelict buildings that carried the markings of a war that occurred not to long ago...

    Home.

    But why? His home was deadworld, vast, silent necropolis. This place was nothing like the dead silent expanse that lingered within the shredded remains of his memory. It vexed and irritated, the ghoul raising a clawed hand to scratch at his head, looking down at the pavement before returning his gaze to the dangling gold thread. Perhaps if he followed it he would get some more answers.

    Leathery soles splished against wet asphalt as the ghoul started forward, turning to step up onto the sidewalk. His emaciated form towered above the mortal denizens, and while he was tempted to reach down and snag a few up from the pavement to distract himself with, it was but a small itch compared to the pressing concern at the forefront of his rived mind. His sights remained on the thread before him, floating and yet unseen by those around it. How strange, he thought...

    Though even stranger was the form that came lumbering up the street, the heavy clomping of thick boots catching the sheep-skulled Judge's attention. Clad in form-fitting black leathers, accented with red elbow and knee pads, and an equally red utility belt. For a moment the ghoul's stride slowed as he looked at this striking oddity among the masses, pushing aside any who were not swift enough to move out of his way.

    A Judge?

    "Move it, scrote!" He snarled, thudding an unfortunate man over the head with his daystick before overtaking Mortis' lanky form to press onward. He gave a surprised hiss as he noticed something especially intriguing on the Judge's helmet. Though he only saw a glimpse of it, Mortis swore he saw something familiar glinting on its polished surface. It reminded him of what Fear had on the forefront of his helm, but he had to see for sure.

    Leathery soles worked themselves into a jogging pace, and Mortis took pursuit of his curiosity.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Fear on Thu Oct 29, 2015 1:10 am

    Discipline, brother, discipline. A haze overcame your senses and within the blink of an eye... nothing but slick asphalt and murky faces stretched before you. The eerie sensation of deja vu crept up your ridged spine. Somehow, you had returned to your ambiguous origins and the Judge had seemingly vanished out of sight. Before you dangled the golden thread, bobbling delicately within the air. Its message was as evident as its shimmering body: your paths were not to cross. Now... take the string, brother, and embark on what is to be a fantastic journey into the depths of your rotted mind.

    The journey through these wretched streets was an odyssey into despair; little good came from aimless wandering, yet your destiny required it. Nameless citizens shambled to their homes and workplaces with nary a smile on their faces nor a song in their hearts. All were awash in grey, all were drowning in their own individual miseries. None bothered to look up - their eyes were plastered to the ground, a symbol of their subservience to a higher authority. Up above, windows remained boarded up and closed steadfast. There were no accents or personalized trappings of one's abode; no potted plants, no vibrant colours, nothing. Rain continued to pitter and patter upon your head as the golden thread weaved itself around a boulevard, its path momentarily obscured from your vision. Not a moment too soon...

    BANG!

    Panic settled into the humdrum crowd in one seamless wave, startled cries and alarmed gasps quickly replacing the monotonous bustle. One individual broke out into a frightened sprint, and when there was one pebble rolling down a mountainside... there was soon the rest of them. Like cattle, the rest of them plunged into a chaotic stampede. There must have been dozens of them, citizens running for their dreary lives, through the gloomy square. From what were they running from, you may wonder?

    BANG! BANG BANG!

    Engines roared to life and you counted not one, not two, but three Judges racing down the avenue. Their guns were drawn, daysticks raised, and then... Crack! And then came the senseless, brutal beatings. Crimson streaks painted this somber world in a new light - a colour that would excite any starving predator. Shined boots violently crashed against hapless skulls; motorcycles, polished and chrome, heartlessly ran stragglers over; and last but not least, carefully-timed bullets pierced the thundering hearts of several unfortunate bystanders. All causalities would be later tallied to a job well done. Just what had these citizens done to merit such a vicious and explosive display of law enforcement savagery? It was rather simple: the crime was loitering, the sentence was a thorough, and gratifying, thrashing. You would not, however, be around to see the aftermath. Ever present, your guide continued past the maddening scene and further still, down several seedy city blocks and, eventually, at the urban edge. There was surprisingly no hint of suburbia, though you could make out the beginnings of an ominous and dark forest. Surely you were not to head within, were you? Past those arched, gnarled trees and down what appeared to be a foreboding road?

    Ahh... but you were, you were. For down a little ways, where cracked concrete formed a shaky union with infertile soil, you could make out the beginnings of a badly rusted sign. Directions were upon it, though several of the names were in striking disrepair. Only one stood out to you; only one that would hold any meaning in your eyes.

    Law School 75km.

    It was going to be a long walk ahead, and the sun was already beginning to set...
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Mortis on Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:27 pm

    Pat! Pat! Pat!

    Quickly Judge Mortis was gaining upon the odd street Judge, his skull tilting downward to get a better look at his helmet. Silver lined the edge of his visor and trailed down the edges of the headgear's glossy finish, while sitting right above his brow was indeed a--!

    Just as swiftly as he managed to get a look, the haze overtook him and swallowed up the fellow man in uniform. A surprised hiss escaped from his teeth and his skull swiveled from side to side, trying to figure where he went and what exactly had happened to himself in the process. There was nothing but grey and then... Then he was back on the street, flanked by dreary expressions as the sinners of this world went about their business. He glanced about the crowd for a moment, wondering if perhaps the Judge had been placed back here as well, but with no avail. Whatever this place was, apparently the ghoul held little choice in where he was allowed to roam. Here he had thought that maybe the Judge he was chasing after would yield some answers, perhaps enlighten him to where exactly he was. Instead, the sheep-skulled ghoul turned his gaze back to the path ahead and saw that same golden string.

    Floating.

    Waiting.

    With a sighing hiss, he approached the string and rigidly grasped it in his talons, holding it neither too tightly nor too loosely. As if pulled along by some unknown force, Mortis was beckoned forward and down the street. Leathery, rotted soles splashed in the slowly growing rain puddles that grew ever more numerous as the drizzle persisted, his uniform by now taking on a wet sheen, and his corpse likely smelled ten times as worse than it would if it were merely an overcast, dry afternoon. Following his mysterious guide, his snout turned in the direction of the passers by, studying their faces, looking for anything that managed to be familiar enough to draw an epiphany out of him. Empty sockets observed as they all kept their gazes plastered to the ground, and their thoughts... The Judge did not need to read them to know they held nothing but misery, the perfect lambs to be shepherded to a righteous slaughter.

    His talons twitched as he regarded each one, knowing deep down, they would likely beg for their brand of salvation should it be offered... Even if at the current moment they may not realize it. His sightless gaze went upward, the ghoul's study turning to the buildings. Interestingly enough, all of them were as dull and bleak as the people who lived in them. No decorations, no plants, not even a single pane left open to take in the air. "Sssss..." A free hand reached up to cup the back of his neck, idly scratching an itch that he could not feel. This place was home and yet it was not...

    Diligently Mortis went into scrutinizing it, every face he passed, every storefront and closed window. Yet, try as he might to understand it all, something kept the realization on the tip of his tongue. Something about this picture was lacking in just enough detail that it escaped him... But what? The dark Judge's towering, emaciated form mindlessly followed the thread around a corner while his thoughts were busy trying to puzzle together the scene he was wandering through. Partially he was gently tugged in the direction to go, but not all. His feet carried him the rest of the way, knowing where and when to turn on this mysterious journey through a foggy cityscape... It was almost as if he had been here before.

    No, that could not be it. He decided, he had never seen this place in his unlife--!

    BANG!

    Immediately the Judge was snapped out of his thoughts and his skull swiveled in the direction of the gunshot, along with the sounds of panic starting to make its way through the crowd. Apparently they were not so ready to receive judgement after all. A lone stone against a tide of rushing bodies, Judge Mortis' form looked as if he were wading through a dreary, screaming sea that came up to his ribs. Even with his advantage over their surging numbers however, the source of their panic remained unseen... Hm, what could have fired off that shot and sent the populace into a panicked frenzy? Initially, the Judge wondered if perhaps the shooter decided to make himself scarce within the crowd, using the panic to their advantage.

    Three more echoing shots and the roar of lawmaster engines told otherwise, however. Three Judges raced down the road astride their metallic steeds, sparing none who got in their way. Blood splattered from cracked skulls and newly torn bullet wounds, the Dark Judge finding something starting to stir within him. Something that drew him towards the chaos instead of the path that the string guided him along. Something that made his earlier suspicions click.

    Home... This was home.

    He had been here before, when this land was still alive and teeming with the iniquitous. A savage land, a cruel land, a city that knew no mercy and in turn offered none. Though its real name, the name it held prior to being called Deadworld, still escaped him oddly enough...

    Still, his feet followed the string, though his skull turned to keep a socket on the carnage as long as he was able, almost like a child stalling at a candy shop's window. Those three looked as if they were enjoying themselves, reveling in their duties, ah to feel that same gratifying sensation of a skull cracking beneath his heel, relishing flesh melting from bone in gangrenous clumps and fluids curdling beneath his touch. For once in a long while, his tail gave a small, but ever wistful flick at the thought. When the scene was too far away for him to witness it any further, the ghoul's sights turned ahead to the path laid before him.

    Derelict urban streets stretched ever on, though up ahead Judge Mortis could swear there was a change to scenery, along with a definite familiarity to where exactly they were going. He had taken this route before, a long while back, when he was younger, smaller. For a moment something flickered in his thoughts; a woman driving and him sitting in the back seat of a car, barely tall enough to see over the dashboard. Past that however, the details were too fuzzy to make sense of.

    Still, that did not keep him from trying to puzzle it all out.

    His gaze turned to the asphalt for a moment, studying how the surrounding flora made its quiet and slow way eating away at it. Gnarled trees grew at either side, thickly packed and cloistered to the point of blotting out the dreary sky overhead. Combined with the rainy weather, the forest seemed to be as dark as night inside. However, he was unperturbed by the dark and foreboding appearance, walking further still even as the road was enveloped by its shade. Up ahead there was a sign, and the Dark Judge's interest piqued at its appearance.

    Much like the city, it too looked to be in a state of disrepair. Rusted to the point of near illegibility, only one name stuck out that he could really make out.

    Law School.

    He quietly mouthed the words written in peeling paint, his skeletal jaw clicking and teeth clacking softly. So that was their destination? Silently he pressed on, keeping at the pace ordained by his cryptic, shimmering guide. Seventy-five kilometers or a hundred, he would keep to his journey. Though he would by lying to himself if he denied that the coming evening did not make him wary of what was to come. The days here he remembered were crime-riddled and ruthless.

    But the nights...Oh, the nights. That was when the true monsters of this land came out to wander and stalk about the city streets. The soft clap of leathery soles on concrete exchanged themselves for a soft crunch of hard soil as he kept walking, and his empty sockets began to look about the twisted trunks of the surrounding trees for anything that may think to stalk just out of his sight.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Fear on Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:14 pm

    It was, as it were, a simple walk.

    Desolate, bereft of outstanding colour, and eerily quiet; just a few things the dreary countryside shared with the city of wretches you had left far behind. The muted crunching of barren soil and dry root beneath your fetid heels was the only sound for miles. Not even the wind droned through these lifeless trees, this landscape of harsh, perpetual winter. In another time and place, if Mother Nature had not been forced to slumber out of overwhelming sorrow, it could have been scenic route... Your place in things was not to pine for the forgotten beauty in things, however. After an hour of plodding through layers of thick mud and observing little more than these forsaken woods, you came upon something quite exciting.

    Tire tracks - and, judging by their size, these did not belong to ordinary civilian vehicles. Your expert judicial training revealed that there were several automobiles in question, most likely transports or supply wagons. Prisoners, perhaps... or fresh cadets taken from the city to replenish the lives of those lost. Either way, you were to follow them.

    And follow them you did, shadows overstretching the trail as the bloated orange sun at last sank beneath the horizon.

    Darkness overtook the land and a bitter chill suffocated what little warmth graced this endless forest. A thousand eyes gleamed from the shadows and the baying of wolves could be hard far, far away. Unsettling, at best. Yet your chest held not fear, and the shimmering thread of your mysterious guide led you ever further into the menacing abyss. Owls shrieked overhead and a great many things skittered about in the gloom; little deterred your lanky gait, although... Although you noticed a murder of chatty crows, not too far yonder about a good ten meters away.  What were those noisy birds doing... As you approached and shooed the creatures away, their pointed beaks doing nothing in the way of harm, it became all the more apparent as to why they congregated.

    At your taloned feet lay a body - it was not fresh, and had already been the meal of several hungry mouths. Curiouser and curioser... Its height and weight was that of a young boy; roughly between the ages of five and seven, if you had to chance an educated guess. Was not the grey uniform familiar, as tattered as it was? Perhaps and perhaps not. The flies buzzed away from your bleached snout and the crows were getting restless. It was best to leave your discovery behind and continue down the forest trail he had tried to valiantly to flee from.

    Let the birds have their feast and the flies their nesting grounds. You had a path to follow.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Mortis on Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:59 pm

    crnch crunch crnch...

    One hand wrapped firmly around his thread-thin guide, the other was left to dangle lifelessly at his side as Mortis was lead through the forest, his empty sockets roaming about to take in the scenery. If one could call it that. Nothing but dull grasses and dead trees surrounded the Judge for miles, not a single sigh of a breeze to be heard or felt. Yet, as he trekked on, he could not help but find this place to be somewhat... Soothing, familiar in a way. The image of being in the back seat of a vehicle returned to his mind, but it started to shift. The fuzzy imagery of a woman and the car's dashboard turned to something more industrial.

    The tire tracks he happened upon only solidified it, as the vague memory of a transport's rumbling engine resonated within his skull. Thick tires for a heavy vehicle, complete with chunky treads to dig into the muddy terrain of this particular trail and many others like it. Supplies, prisoners, maybe... But the Dark Judge recollected something else within the ravaged remains of his memory. Quiet muttering from many tiny forms, all strapped into dual rows of dully colored seats, as grey as the metal that surrounded them. Boys, girls, an assortment of all kinds of children were seated along for the bumpy ride, whispering what rumors they heard to each other or opting to stay quiet along the trip.

    For the best, for anyone too loud or rowdy was quickly reprimanded for their poor behavior with a shout and a crack over the head with a daystick.

    Ah, such a fond memory...

    Steadily the sun continued to sink below the horizon and finally had completely retreated from Deadworld's dreary skies. The forest cast in darkness at last, no light save for what reflected in the glimmering eyes of the forest denizens could be seen, and nothing but bitter cold could be felt against his bones. In the distance wolves howled in the abysmal dark, and Mortis turned his head in the direction of the sound for a brief moment.

    Brief, because of a familiar, alluring aroma that passed over his senses ahead. Death, decay... These were the first things the ghoul noticed, before the chatter of crows even registered in his mind. The carrion birds' plummage shined dully in the dark, glistening eyes briefly registering the approaching undead as he decided to take a closer look at what they were all gathered around. "Ssss!" Rotted talons shooed away the birds, flapping into the night with a disturbed squawk, and Mortis found himself with a peculiar sight...

    A dead body, but not of a mere animal. It was a child. He stopped low to get a better look at the carcass, his talons reaching to gingerly examine the grey uniform that had long since been torn to tatters by hungry beasts. A flicker of familiarity danced within his eye sockets, and his skull tilted as he attempted to register why. A thoughtful hiss escaped the undead lawman's hollow chest, the image of something familiar coming to mind, numerous young forms like this one in the same uniform. Perhaps... Curiosity spurred his suspicions onward, and that same investigating set of talons grasped the edge of the partially eaten corpse, flipping it over with a wet, heavy thud.

    Something glinted on the boy's chest, and his talons sought to adjust it for himself to see.

    Trainee Judge was inscribed upon the dirty metal, though the name itself had been rent unreadable from the amount of dirt and grime that covered it. Mortis' usual hiss turned to a pondering hum. Yes, he was starting to remember now... Trainee Judges, cadets. The long grey shirts they wore complete with sewn in shoulder and elbow pads, equally grey knee length cutoffs and boots to match. He too had been one once, the memory of having to fiddle around with the belt to make his pants manage to fit on his scrawny hips returning to mind, along with many others.

    Though they too were still incredibly fuzzy, the most the ghoul could make out was the vague reference of being surrounded by a group around the same age as that child in the same uniform, not as a target, but as one of them. Though he was nowhere near the elevated height he was now...

    tug! tug!

    The thread in his hand beckoned him, and Mortis rose to his feet. It was time to move on, the journey ahead still long from being finished. He stepped away from the body and moved onward, guided by the ever shimmering golden string.

    "Ssss..." A clawed hand raised itself to his head and the Judge began to ponder. The tire tracks, the child's corpse... They were linked somehow, and they were familiar enough to draw up imagery he had not once considered being there before. Could he have been...? No, he could not have been a human at one point, could he?

    Yet the signs were pointing to an affirmation the more he pieced it together. A shudder ran down his spine, but it was not from the evening's biting chill.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Fear on Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:35 pm

    You were right to fear, dear brother... You were right to fear.

    Well into the gloomy night you traveled, your footsteps... your thoughts... the memory of your very breath... all but distant sounds keeping you company in the still dark. What was the purpose of this journey, you thought? Why had you received fuzzy, largely incomplete images of a sinful era long since purged? Were you to feel remorse, pity? No... No, it was surely none of these things. You were to feel joy, a greater sense of accomplishment. Strange, then, that you had not. The children and their frightened faces shall have to be a mystery solved for another time; something else caught your diligent eyes not far up ahead.

    "Caw, caw, caw!"

    Crows.

    Always with the crows.

    The ravenous creatures had found yet another body - a child, female, and no older than seven years of ripe, youthful age. She, like the other boy you had found hours ago, wore the same uniform and badge. Her corpse was no older than three days. Had she fallen off the transport? Maybe, maybe... But as you cast your gaze ever forward, letting the crows have their feast, your hypothesis was quickly shelved.

    Another body lay prone and lifeless five meters ahead, and another at twenty, thirty-five, fifty... You stopped counting after seven. The crows did as well. There must have been dozens of dead children in your field of vision alone... Stepping forward, you were fortunate enough to locate a body yet to be ravaged by the elements and hungry beasts. Perhaps now, you could better understand as to why there just so many youths left to rot underneath the lukewarm sun and provide nourishment for the wolves... One of your sickly claws brushed against something telling - a tattered hole, placed directly between the third and fifth coastal cartilages on the left-hand side... You didn't need to be a medical examiner to know the telling signs of a sniper's well-placed mark.

    This child had been shot to death, his heart pierced. A creeping suspicion told you that this was most likely the case for all the others. Why...?

    After half an hour of studying the dead and being a subject of increasing curiosity for the crows, you left the morbid scene behind. There will be more bodies, rest assured. Simply follow the crows and the chilling howls of insatiable wolves...

    Ring! Ring! Ring!

    And, of course, the harrowing toll of a feverish bell.

    Lights shone off in the hazy distance, where the midnight fog lay thick and solid. Voices echoed from deeper within the forest, their cries carried on an ill wind. Hurry, there was a commotion that could use judicial insight!

    But try as you might and run as you could, you were powerless to stop what was next to come. As your unseemly feet splashed noisily against wet earth and pockets of mud, the rattling of your bones and the twisting of your rotten flesh a sound for the grave itself, your unblinking eyes caught the scene of a crime just in time. A young boy, near identical to the countless souls you had seen left to fester on the open road, scampered over an iron-wrought fence taller than any human man and crashed messily onto the hardened ground below. He sniffed once, biting back his tears, and immediately tore for your direction. Never shall you forget the look of sheer horror on his pallid face...

    A gruff shout drew your attention back onto the compound behind the gate, two able-bodied men tearing through the shadows and effortlessly kicking the barrier back with a heavy polished boot.

    "Oi, don't let the lil' blighter get away!" one snarled.

    The other promptly dropped onto one knee and drew his high-powered rifle, an eye pressed against its scope. "Aye! Execution shot, engaged!" All it took was the squeeze of his finger and -

    KRA-KOOOOW!

    "Ahh...!"

    - and it was over... The boy released a yelp of pain and instantly dropped, writhing in the mud before your gangrenous feet, moaning and groaning as he futilely clutched his side. Poor sod wasn't going to make it, come morning...

    "Bah, what a lousy shot." The taller of the men removed his helmet and lightly swatted at his stockier comrade. "Even a first year could do better, mate! Keep shooting like that and you'll be the one explaining to the principal why we've got so many ruffians littering the road up yonder."

    The other blew him off. "Eh... they's kids are faster than they look, give me a break," he grumbled. "And put yer helmet back on; yer breaking uniform."

    Finished with their bickering, they marched forward through the fog and were soon standing above the very kid they had sought to kill. There was hardly an inch of care or empathy on their clean-shaven faces, but such was to be expected from a pair of rookie Judges scheduled for the night watch.

    "Look at him... to think, mate, we were once a little scrote like that."

    "Sure, but we certainly didn't go runnin' off through the night, thinking we's could escape from right under the establishment's noses, ha ha! Hey, think we should, y'know, leave him be? To let him freeze his little toesies off in the night?"

    "Ehhh... as tempting as that idea is, we've got a job to do. The principal would have our heads if he heard about us leaving one of his students to be a meal hardly fit for the wolves. Besides, he'll just bleed all over the place and leave a royal mess for the work crew in the morrow."

    "Blimey, you're no fun... Hey, you hear that, kid? Today's your lucky day."

    "N-No, please! I... I won't tell anyone, I pr-promi - !"

    FWIP!

    Silence.

    The boy didn't fuss after that, his body growing lax as blood trickled freely from the fresh hole in his young skull.

    "Boy, I'm beat..." yawned one of the Judges. He stretched his arms and cracked his spine, rifle dangling from its strap off his shoulder. "Alright, this job's done. Let's get back to our posts and watch for the others. These kids are getting more uppity by the day."

    The other agreed, subtly shaking his head. "Ungrateful vermin... They should be delighted to have food, shelter, and a good beating to rear them right. Why d'you think they're getting restless, you reckon?"

    "I don't know... Perhaps it's something in the food?"

    At that, the men laughed and marched away, filling the night air with empty talk and camaraderie. And as for the boy left at your feet, the cold embrace of death settling within his tired bones... only the crows would keep him company now, their hungry eyes and beaks ever determined to make the most of what humanity and all its cruelty had to offer.

    Such was the horrifying reality of Law School.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Mortis on Sat Nov 07, 2015 9:37 pm

    Curiosity, a sense of mystery tingled within the Judge's mind as he traveled further onward, not fully aware of his past and yet growing all the more cognizant with each long stride. He had been a cadet like the one that had fallen, he realized, something that was just as curious to him as it was unnerving. Unnerving in how he recollected at one point he was human, imperfect, and sinful. Until this point he had considered that perhaps he had always been undead, an eternal force of nature that had always been, is, and will be.

    To know his being was artificially immortal...It was enough to drown out all sense of joy and accomplishment at a sinner well purged. How had this come to pass? Certainly there had to be some logic or explanation behind how he held the memory of being a child beginning law school and being undead.

    The sound of crows were a mutter at the back of his mind as he followed his guide, his eye sockets seeking anything that could jog his memory further. Further ahead he could make out the shadow of another body, the same size as the boy he had happened upon earlier. Though he still held the golden thread firmly in one hand, his feet moved swiftly, threatening to overtake his guide as he sought to examine this newer carcass. No more than three days, from what he could tell from the stage of decay her form was set in. Like the last, she too wore the uniform of a trainee, her sliver badge glinting in what little light penetrated the night-cast forest.

    However, like the last one, this child too had been feasted upon by the crows, and thus little evidence of how exactly she died could be discerned. With the presence of her body, however, the dark Judge was quickly figuring the last child was not a standalone case, but one among many others. as he passed, he pondered if perhaps the child had indeed fallen off the transport, but in his mind there was a niggling sensation that something far more sinister, far more lawful, was behind the fate of the boy and girl. No one simply fell off a transport, see. Perhaps the supervising Judge on the vehicle decided to make an example to the others about any ruffians, back-talkers, troublemakers. After all, what was one kid compared to the twenty, thirty or so per transport?

    Trivial, really.

    But after one example was made, there would be no reason to make another, no one was so foolish as to follow in the stead of the first kid who was deemed unfit for training. So why were there three, four, five... seven at least? The ghoul's claws flexed at the sight, a pleased hiss escaping his ribs despite his morbid curiosity. Obviously unfit for training, these tiny sinners had been laid to peaceful rest, accomplishing in death what they failed in life. However, as he looked on, he could not help but find something familiar about all of this, a sensation that tugged at his mental facilities much like the gold thread he held tugged at his hand. Before him dozens of small carcasses were laid out, growing fresher and fresher by the body.

    Ah, this one... He paused and stooped low to examine one of the tiny bodies, a little fresher than the others, but still weathered and showing the beginnings of being nibbled away at by carrion insects. Yet, not eaten away enough to remove any vital clues as to their demise. Kneeling down, Mortis leaned close and inspected a rather conspicuous tear on the child's uniform. Left breast, straight through where the heart would be... As he had thought regarding the other children, this one had been lawfully sentenced to death by a judge. It was too clean, too precise to be made by a group of trainees off on a hunt. A less experienced cadet would have riddled the body with a few more holes before they hit the right mark. If it were a group there would not be a body left in their frenzy.

    And if this one had been shot down, then likely the rest had befallen the same fate...

    Another tingle crept its way into Mortis' thoughts; something about this was familiar, chills ran up his spine despite the good work he was witnessing. The string beckoned him forward and he followed, his sockets turning to focus on the path ahead instead of try and examine each and every face that lay scattered at the side of the road. They were too numerous to count, all of their bodies sporting the same bullet hole, in the same place. This mass grave grew ever more fresh the further Mortis traveled up the road, though the gears churning within his empty skull came to a final click as he heard three haunting, fearful tones.

    Not the howl of wolves or screeching of crows, but something else...

    Ring! Ring! Ring!

    A bell.

    Lights flashed ahead through a thick fog bank, the first true light the ghoul had seen through the entire trek. echoing cries could be heard ahead and Mortis could immediately detect a familiar stink... Life. Not the baying wolves and circling crows, but that of sinners. Two of them. "Sssss!" His talons curled, and the sound of sinew snapping and crackling could be heard as his tail gave an eager whip to either side. There was a crime up ahead, and it demanded his presence!

    For the briefest of moments, his mystery was placed aside, judicial instincts taking over as he rushed towards the source of the noise as quickly as his guide allowed.

    His haste, albeit restrained, was rewarded with an intriguing scene. One he swore he had seen before. A boy, dressed in the same uniform as the numerous carcasses he saw littering the road, came running through the mists and scrambled his way up the wrought iron fence. For a moment he paused, pondering for a split second if the boy, and perhaps his pursuers could see him. However, the scene in the city prior was evidence enough that he was but a ghost among relics of the past, and the child's continued determination to keep running in his direction after his rough landing despite his rotted form looming close by set aside any doubts. A pity, for he would not have minded laying him to rest with the others by his just claws.

    "Oi, don't let the lil' blighter get away!"
    "Aye! Execution shot, engaged!"

    Not that he needed to, for with one shot, his work was just about done for him, the child's horrified look wrenched itself into a twisted cry of pain as the bullet tore through him and sent him falling to the ground. Mortis paused in his strides as the boy landed at his feet, his skull tilting as he regarded his final moments. Although it was neither his suffering nor the last tantalizing breaths that shuddered from his tiny chest that had him transfixed.

    He had seen this before...

    But not from this angle. Higher, he had been higher up and from inside the complex... Yes. He remembered now, tiny feet quietly pattering across the cold concrete floor of a dorm, roused to restlessness from the teeming, quiet whispers of others around his same age. Cadets, less than a handful, slipping out of bed during lights out in order to spy out the window. Oh, but never too close never standing in plain view. That would draw attention for sure if one of the guards happened a glance up in their direction. Or even worse, if one of them that were making their rounds to check on the rooms managed to sneak up on them. Quietly they asked each other, trying to make out a familiar face in the dark as they watched hopeful escapees run for the fence. Who would run this evening? Which one would make it?

    ...Did they ever?

    His own pale complexion among their tiny faces, wide green eyes reflecting in the cool glass as he tried to get a glimpse at one just like the boy he had just witnessed. Eyes on the chase, an ear to the hallway, feet ready to leap back into bed should anyone come around. A name, there was a name they called them... What were they called again? The name sat at the tip of his festering tongue before the gears started turning again. "A runner..." Mortis whispered, realization striking him.

    The two guards made their way over, and Mortis' thoughts soon turned to their approaching footsteps and conversation. The numerous bodies of children littering the road, these two had been the ones responsible for the mess. Unable to get a good shot in before they scaled the fence, the bodies were left to fester outside the complex, and thus out of sight and out of mind. At least until someone reported it. Soon the duo were standing before the Dark Judge, his own emaciated carcass standing a good number of heads taller than the two rookies that came to finish off their kill. His own talons twitched, if only out of a desire to remove these two fools from the school's roster for their incompetence, along with the trainee they now needed a second shot to finish off.

    The second shot they were now discussing whether or not they should even administer. "Sssss..!" His congealed blood started to boil at the thought of leaving their duties half finished, his righteous claws restrained only by the knowledge that his touch would do nothing here. They would become like the mists that enshrouded this place should he lash out, and the scene would continue as it was intended. He could only stand by while the two talked further, the taller one seeming the more responsible of the two, even if it was only out of interest to keep from getting in trouble with the principal. As for the cretin that had decided to escape the school? He should have known better.

    FWIP!

    A silenced shot was fired, and the child fussed no more over his predicament. With his final breath, the ghouls' own tension started to ease. He had been judged, the sentence was death, he would transgress no longer. That left two living souls alone in the night, with a ghost watching their every move with interest. Playing the part of spectator in plain sight, he listened to the rest of their conversation, empty sockets traveling upward to the building that was barely visible through the thick fogbank.

    "Boy, I'm beat...Alright, this job's done. Let's get back to our posts and watch for the others. These kids are getting more uppity by the day."
    "Ungrateful vermin... They should be delighted to have food, shelter, and a good beating to rear them right. Why d'you think they're getting restless, you reckon?"
    "I don't know... Perhaps it's something in the food?"

    As they holstered their firearms and began to walk back through the kicked open gate, the ghoul found his clawed feet starting to follow them. Not out of an interest to see who they would shoot down next, but more that he could not help but notice that the gate was left wide open. A horrifying, transfixing place lay ahead, and within it, possibly some answers to his questions. After all, if he was one of those tiny trainees at some point, likely there had to be something inside that would tip him off to further clues in this mystery.

      Current date/time is Fri Aug 18, 2017 2:06 pm