Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    Under the Ethereal Knife

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    Fear
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Fear on Tue Dec 01, 2015 5:18 pm

    Think as you might and wish as you may, there will be no judging these two rookie Judges tonight. Your path lied beyond, as it had within the city's deplorable limits. The golden thread held betwixt your monstrous claws faintly chimed and shimmered in the ominous dark. It was time, Judge Mortis, to return to your roots.

    Muddy earth transformed into hardened stone, the open sky and its menacing crows devolving into the cold, sterile architecture befitting of men and their windowless prisons. Here the colour faded unto nothingness. Grey was declared law, the vibrancy of life squeezed from these dreary halls like blood from a weeping stone. It was astonishingly barren, devoid of humanity and meticulously polished. You had a creeping suspicion that none of the Judges patrolling these stern halls were responsible for the building's immaculate upkeep. Leaving the iron gate far behind and ignoring the dozens of rifles currently stationed high above, you were allowed to maneuver freely. Shined boots dully echoed in the gloom as Judges marched to and fro, posters of "motivation" and "inspiration" plastered wherever you looked. Brainwashing at its finest, you reasoned.

    Fitting.

    Further in, you reached a courtyard - it was similar to ones commonly seen in castles, fortified by walls of stone and coveted from the outside world. Such areas were at times bustling with life or brimming with luscious gardens; this one had merely been turned into a common ground, with sterile seats and tables for persons to mingle. There was no enjoyment here.

    Beyond the courtyard and tucked away from the soft moonlight was yet another building, equally bereft of personality and drained of hospitality. The familiar scents of food, if it could be called as such, wafted into your bony nostrils. Ahh... the mess hall. Though it was empty now, faint murmurs of chatter and the plodding of heels filled your skull. However, your path was not here, not yet. Again your lustrous guide urged you forward, this time snaking around a stony corner and up a flight of hewn stairs. What could be up here? Offices, most likely. Classrooms, even. You didn't stop to really entertain your curiosity as you obeyed, your unseemly footsteps struggling to maintain balance. Hmm, no handrails...

    The second story was as bleak as the first; expect little pricks of light danced before your eyes, countless life signatures glaring. Alas! Stay your hand, Judge Mortis. You could not purge these slumbering juveniles even if you had given it your all. Past yet another patrol of Judges, their chrome as bright as day and their uniforms as black as night, you weaved around them and rounded yet another corner. Where you going... All these doors appeared the same, faceless and without identification aside from a bland metal number above their frames. One... Two... Three...

    ...Creeeeeak!

    Up ahead, no more than fifty paces from your snout, opened a door. Light shone into the hallway, cutting through the gloom with a silvery blade. Was someone escaping? In those tense few moments you waited, patiently expecting a young boy or girl to come creeping forward. None came. Ah well... you moved forward and shambled, fingertips wrapping themselves around battered wood as you peered inside the dingy room with eyes aglow.

    It wasn't... much of anything, honestly. Nothing but cots, a few personal belongings at the foot of each bed for the children, and a few windows to give them the semblance of freedom. Grey, spartan, and lacking affection - just like their souls, should they succeed in becoming a Judge. Look at them all, sleeping... their precious heads weary from yet another hard day's work. Eleven little boys, no doubt cold from a winter draft and given only a single sheet to comfort them through the harsh night. It would make them stronger, bitter. Ah, but wait... eleven little boys and yet... twelve beds? Curious, you approached, a claw outstretched. Upon removing the coarse wool sheet and peering downward, it was as you had thought: this bed was surprisingly empty. Had it been the runner's? Hmm... no, surely it had not. The sheets were strikingly cold and there was no evidence to support the theory that someone had previously been sleeping here. If it was not the runner's and every other head had been accounted for...

    Well, best get tucked in, then. It was going to be a while before morning.
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Mortis on Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:03 am

    Gold shimmered and took on a rainbow of colors against his talons, and a tone just as ethereal rang from its wispy length. He had to keep moving, through the fog and unto the building ahead. The Dark Judge's clawed feet sloshed through the mud, leaving the two rookies behind to disappear into the surrounding mist like a pair of wayward ghosts. Funny, given he was the one haunting their grounds. Something told him to look up once more, and his empty sockets scanned the windows as if thinking to catch a tiny peeking face off guard.

    Alas, like last time, there was nothing... No curious eyes peering from the shadows, no tiny noses pressed against the glass to try and blot out the glare from the searchlights. All were sound asleep, or so it seemed.

    Mortis gave a thoughtful hiss and turned his gaze forward, towards his guide's ever constant tugging. Stone met his weathered soles as he passed further onto the school grounds, and grew into a set of steps that lead to the entrance. Gothic, sterile architecture towered above him all around as his gnarled fingers pressed against the door. Wood brushed against his rotted flesh and the glowing red pinpricks within his empty sockets traveled up to witness an engraving above in stone. Old, the building was likely erected a little after the war had ravaged Deadworld, and thus it carried some things with it that managed to survive the struggle.

    A dead language, funny enough. Nonetheless, Mortis recognized the wording, his skeletal jaw mouthing them as he passed underneath:

    "...iussstitia in misssericordia nulli."

    Justice for all, mercy for none.

    At once something flitted through his mind, and stirred within his breast. the vague memory of being lead through these very same doors, but far smaller in stature. Tension writhed in the hollow where his heart used to sit, it's name coming to rest in his throat as it lightly constricted despite him not needing a single breath. Anxiety, was its name, he learned. The anxious muttering of juves in identical uniforms, and the merciless crack of a daystick upon the heads of those that did not have the sense to keep quiet when the presiding Judge looked their way. One such fool had unwisely spoken up, he remembered, curious about the words overhead.

    "It means shut up or I'll break in your head, scrote!" The Judge had snarled, the shined surface of the titanium core- weapon raising above his head. The boy and the ones surrounding him flinched, then worried no longer about what the engraving was supposed to say or mean.

    The segments of his bony tail pulled the door closed behind him with an echoing thud. Grey met him, grey for as long as his eye sockets could see. His talons clicked harshly against the floor's polished grey surface, uncaring of the grime he brought in from outside. There were far more pressing concerns regarding this building, why it was so foreign to him and yet so familiar. Naturally, his skull swiveled about, scanning the walls, the posts up above that held ever vigilant marksmen... Although by now he figured them to be just hungry, ravenous to fix their sights on anything that was deemed fit for execution. Just like the two rookies outside on patrol, just like the cadets on their hunts, and everyone else who was taken into this place of law, of learning.

    The sound of boots echoed in his senses long before he drew his attention to the approaching life signatures, the heartbeats that thudded in his skull and the glimmer of vitality that glistened in whatever served as his eyes. Someone was approaching, a couple of someones, in fact.

    Out of reflex he moved aside as a few Judges passed him by, dressed in black and red, their uniforms were kept just as meticulously clean and orderly as the immaculate shine that this hall possessed.

    If not for their presence, the ghoul would have wondered if anyone truly lived here, aside from the obvious signatures of vitality he could detect wandering behind closed doors and the stink the living left wherever they roamed. A few posters added a splash of color with their restricted palettes, mirroring the same colors that the patrolling Judges wore upon their uniforms. Black, red, and white. Motivation, that was the intent, be all that you could be as a Judge. Bring justice to the lawless and criminal wherever they may hide. the memory of large, dark green eyes flicking up to look at them as they passed came to mind, only to quickly return his gaze forward with the rest when their guide turned to look over the group.

    He paused for a small moment before one of them, featuring a Judge on a darkened background, scowling at the viewer from underneath his polished helmet. THE LAW IS ALWAYS WATCHING, said the text beneath it, painted in red and outlined in white. Another next to it clashed with the severity of the first, illustrating the necessity of brotherhood as a line of Judges seemed to be charging forward towards some unseen enemy. One on a lawmaster, one on foot with a rifle, one holding some sort of torture device, and the last holding... a lab flask? This one read; TOGETHER WE CAN FIGHT THE WAR ON CRIME. Brainwashing tactics, his thoughts humbly reminded him, though another side of him thought it to be rather convincing despite how obviously ham-fisted they were in their execution...

    chime! chime!

    No matter, it was time to move on. The clicking of his talons echoed off the stone and plaster surroundings as he shambled forward, every so often looking down at the Judges that passed by, seemingly unaware of his presence. Some part of him found it tempting to snatch the helmets right off their heads as he passed by, but thought better of it. Sinners though they might be, they also held the same cause within their hearts, the same devotion and drive towards justice... Or at least, most of them. There were a few he swore were only in it for the sadism and bloodshed, the ability to do whatever they pleased within a corrupted system.

    So long as they were smart about it, of course.

    His footing faltered for a moment, uncertain as to how he came to that conclusion before giving his long skull a small shake to either side. Questions that would be answered later on, when his guide brought him to where he needed to be. Leathery feet carried him to what looked to be a courtyard, paved over with cement. He would have thought it to be another chamber within the hall, if not for the fact that a chilly breeze passed through the holes in his uniform to caress his bones, and above was nothing but the dismal view of an overcast night sky. Though as he looked on at the meeting place, furnished with sterile metal seating and tables for cadets to sit... His skull tilted slightly and a pensive hiss escaped from between his teeth.

    Did he hear... voices? muffled chatter whispered in the pits of his ears, and the ghoul considered stepping into the courtyard for a brief moment. However, just as the breeze died down, so too did the hallucination. It was nothing, he told himself, yet at the back of his mind he swore it was something more. A clue within this ever expanding, ever intricately woven mystery... He would need to return, but for now, his guide required him elsewhere.

    Slowly, he turned away from the darkened courtyard and the shadows the passing clouds played over it. His snout pointed forward, a building awaiting him at the other end of the paved expanse. The wind once again shifted, and he could not help but give a few small sniffs, drinking in the aroma that carried upon it. Something meaty and greasy, yet hinting to a bland, barely palatable flavor. Whatever was in there he decided was better off remaining a mystery for now, but at the back of his mind, another tingle of familiarity tickled him. Though he knew not the memory of food or drink, something of a flavor prickled against his rotted tongue.

    A very familiar flavor.

    He hissed reflexively, seeming to wretch and spit as if having been given poison. What was this disgusting filth?! It tasted horrible; the memory sat like slime within his mouth, turning to a gritty paste upon his tongue. And the taste, oh, the taste... If anything it was worse than the texture. Yet, it was as he entered the source of the unappetizing aroma that full realization hit him. It was, oddly enough, the taste of food. Food, and something else... Something flitted about at the back of his mind, teasing the Dark Judge just outside of his reach. Chatter, footsteps... Something about them seemed so familiar to him and yet...

    The most he was allowed was a brief touch of his talons upon the tabletop of one of the seats, before the thread urged him forward again. His skull swiveled back around to look at the chamber, bone creaking and crackling as the movement defied the natural range of movement that the neck usually allowed. Empty sockets glanced around, between the tables, to the food counter and the sneeze-shields that were cleaned to the point of being nearly imperceptible until the light hit them just so and reflected off their surfaces. The walls were plastered with posters, this time detailing the importance of a balanced diet and a full belly to dispense justice on.

    Funny, most of those food groups he never remembered seeing, nor tasted, in the deplorable mash he remembered earlier.

    Chime! Chime!

    Yes, yes...

    He had to keep moving. Even if he wished to linger here, he would simply be whisked back onto the path.

    Upstairs, it beckoned. Polished flooring gave way to the hard edges of a flight of stairs, no rails in sight as they traveled up to another floor. Judge Mortis' talons clicked as he ascended, dragging on the stone steps and leaving a rotted pooling of maggots in his wake. However, this place was not kind to his undead state, a lack of hand rails on either side made it difficult to keep balance, forcing him to plant a putrid palm upon the wall to steady himself. Up and up he went... The scent of food left his nasal cavity, and another sensation invited itself into his senses.

    Life, it teemed behind the walls, down the hall. No classes could be held at this hour, he reasoned. No offices would he lined so neatly, packed so tightly with so many bodies. If they were, he doubted they would be lying down on the job as his senses had informed. No, this place was suited for another purpose. Empty sockets glanced to the numbers above each door, and then beyond... Tiny sinners, all tucked soundly to sleep. How effortlessly could he sneak into their bunk rooms, still every beating heart within their tiny chests. They needed to be purged, dozens upon dozens of youthful hearts thudded in his head, droning as he passed by them all. it was too much, too grating upon his senses! His talons creaked and popped as he flexed them, and Mortis' tail thrashed like a whip at the temptation of sentencing them all. Perhaps just one room, what was a dozen sinners less to his guide, eh?

    Yet, as he attempted to go his own way, the thread only tugged him along. A frustrated hiss escaped him, talons lashing out and dragging deep ruts into the wood of one of the doors as they passed. Let him purge just one room! One infested chamber of sinful iniquity-!

    ...Creeeeeak!

    He paused, flustered thrashing ceasing for the moment as he whipped his skull about to witness one of the doors slowly opening. With it, his guide paused. For what? Immediately his thoughts turned to the recent memory of the runner he had witnessed, and his posture shifted. Talons flexed, his spine curled, and the lawman's tail swayed slowly from side to side. Every rotted tendon and remnant of muscle tensed in his host, prepared to pounce upon whatever poor fool decided to sneak out of the door. Girl or boy, trim or rotund, tall or short; it did not matter.

    A sinner was a sinner, and they deserved death no matter what age.

    Alas... seconds turned to minutes, and with no patrols stalking the hallway, if it were indeed a runner they would have taken their chance by now. All he saw, the same as it was moments before, was that same sliver of light stabbing into the depths of the darkened room. Slowly his posture straightened, and curiosity took the better of him. Leathery soles padded quietly against the stone floor as he crept into the doorway, his lawful silhouette stretching down to where the light was unable to reach and his talons grasping the door frame like some beast that stalked the edges of a nightmare. In the dark, the usually dim glow within the depths of his eye sockets seemed to stand out all the more, dull red coals staring endlessly into the room.

    Flanking the way inside were tiny beds, each filled with an equally tiny body. Those same dull coals flared into an intense crimson at the sight, so many sinners, so ready and ripe for purging. Rotted talons slid away from the worn wood frame and he made his way inside, the bony segments of his tail quietly slipping around the door handle to pull their only escape closed with a soft creak. Now it was completely dark, and the ghoul's towering form lurked about the chamber, eyes aglow and peering down the many hapless, unwitting victims at his disposal. Among their numbers his gaze settled upon one juve in particular, not due to anything special or outstanding features, but more a certain luck of the draw. Spidery fingers drew close to his precious face, talons just barely scraping his cheek before his tiny face scrunched up and he rolled over with a shiver, tucking the thin blanket tighter around himself. An effort to stave off the biting chill that permeated the room, only exacerbated by Judge Mortis' own aura.

    "Sssss..." He leaned forward, claws poised to dissolve the tiny mortal into mulch, merely a hair's breadth away from his skin before--!

    chime! chime!

    Fog filled his vision and at once he found himself back where he started, at the entrance of the room with the door closed behind him. Really, sometimes this little trip through time could be so vexing... Yet, it also meant his purpose was not to purge the tiny sinners, at least not yet, anyway. His gaze traveled about the room, taking an amount of willpower to tear itself away from the glaring vitality within the chamber and scan the rest of its contents with a judicial eye.

    Cots, sparse blankets... fairly spartan, he decided. At least until he noticed what sat at the edge of the tiny beds. A locker for their clothing, and on top of that, a few choice possessions. Things that were acceptable according to law school standards. No toys, no books to detract from their focus on becoming a future judge, not a single true distraction to be found. Although... Mortis silently counted each of the tiny forms, quickly racking up a total of eleven children.

    Odd, why did that seem off... Crimson pinpricks died down to a duller shade as he pondered this, the Dark Judge's earlier interest in an easy hunt quelled by his curiosity. One, two, three, four... Eleven children, he counted again. Yet, as he mulled over the number, it still seemed off, uneven. it was quickly figured out however as he noticed one bed that looked bizarrely empty. Ancient joints creaked and the ghoul stepped forward, pondering if perhaps this had been the bed of the runner he had witnessed earlier. Yet, as his talons gripped the sheet and pulled it back, he found...

    He found nothing.

    Mortis' tail flicked once and his skull tilted thoughtfully. There was no steadily departing heat from the mattress beneath, nor was there any indent to suggest that this bed belonged to anyone. Curious... He looked about the edge, attempting to discern if there were any belongings that could be drawn back to a possible owner. His talons deftly unlatched the locker and peered inside, only to find a law-school standard cadet uniform and badge inside. No pictures of family, friends, nothing else. Quietly he closed the lid and glanced back to the bed. If everyone else was accounted for and this one bed was left unused... Rusted cogs gave a grating turn, the pieces slowly but surely clicking together. He had been brought here for a reason, lead to this very bunk. For a few moments more the ghoul found himself staring at it, the tip of his tail twitching to and fro as he pondered it. "Ssss..."

    This... This couldn't have been his bunk, could it?

    He glanced to the door once more, as if expecting a sleepy juve to come stumbling in at any moment to claim it. like before, no one came, no one peered into the doorway and slunk back in after an evening of doing who-knew-what. Just the sleepy breaths of the slumbering children around him, and the occasional dreaming mutters. Yet, the more he pondered it, the more sense it made. If he was indeed a cadet here at some point, he would need to have a cot of his own, right?

    He glanced to the string, yet it did not chime or tug at the hand which held it. It only sat there, shimmering in the darkness.

    Pulling the sheet back all the way, the Judge regarded the tiny, child-sized cot for a brief moment more, before he attempted to clamber into it himself. As he had expected, such a feat was easier said than done. Long, gangly legs spilled out over the edge of the cot, and in his grip the would be blanket was more like a ragged bath towel. he shifted, metal springs creaking as the mattress sank beneath his weight, obviously intended for someone far smaller than he. Mortis twisted, turned, abandoning his usual corpse-like resting posture to curl his limbs in on himself and rest on his side. His tail ending up resting on the floor while his knees protruded uncomfortably from the edge of the cot, the difference in weight tempting the structure to flip.

    A few more creaks, and the ghoul rested his back against the wall, knees tucked up feet planted on the mattress. A flutter of threadbare fabric, and the undead successfully draped the paltry blanket over his knees and held the edge up against his chest with long, yellowed talons. Now the cot did not threaten to flip, but it certainly was not what he would call a resting position. Another hiss and some more creaking springs, soon after the ghoul was close to where he started off, with his legs dangling over the end and feet left to rest on the cold floor.

    Not that he minded, being dead and all.

    He shifted his shoulders and tucked the blanket up over him as best he could, attempting to mirror the other cadets as his tail laid limply on the locker. Mortis' skull laid itself on the flat excuse for a pillow, left to stare at the ceiling until daylight made its way in through the window, or someone came in and gave the whole room a wake-up call.

    Hopefully a violent one, pondered.
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    Fear
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Fear on Tue Jan 05, 2016 7:55 am

    "WAKE UP, YOU GOOD FOR NOTHING SCROTES. WAKE UP, WAKE UP, WAKE UP."

    You awoke to the sound of startled cries and rustled sheets, tiny feet promptly slapping against hardened tile. Polished heels sharply clicked and clacked as a new presence forced his way into your hazy life. Dressed like all the others, this Judge had all the trimmings of a cruel, ruthless tyrant. He took one curt glance around the room, leather switch wedged beneath an arm, and eyed you miserable lot with a disgusted sneer. This Judge was not a kind soul. This Judge was not a friend. This Judge was your unit instructor, and he was here to make your life a living hell. "You call this pigsty a dormitory!?" he barked angrily. Several of the children jumped in their skin, frantically trying to keep still. Fortunately for them, the Judge paid little heed and spared them a severe thrashing. That was only because your instructor set his furious sights upon a cadet unlucky enough to be caught nodding off.

    "YOU!" he snapped, whipping his switch at the young child with a bone-chilling snap! The dormitory grew deathly still, and the little boy was completely unaware of what fate awaited him in the very near future.

    Timid, he softly answered, "M-Me, sir...?"

    Most unwise.

    At once your instructor tore off, his heels storming as if the Devil himself was hot on his trail, and soon that vicious switch came crashing down. SLAP, SLAP, SLAP! "Who told you to speak, boy!?" SLAP, SLAP! "Did I tell you to speak!?" SLAP! "WELL, DID I!?"

    For three grueling minutes you stood there, at perfect attention, as your instructor brutally made yet another example. Blood coated his switch and only then, when the child's left leg was as red as a cooked ham, did he stop. Satisfied, he roughly shoved the boy onto the floor and firmly pressed his switch's wet braids into the teary youth's chin. "For not being alert for the morning bell and for speaking when you were not asked, ten demerits." Eyes all around the room bulged at the death sentence. "As punishment, you are to go without breakfast and, instead, will have the high honours of cleaning this place from top to bottom until the lunch bell is rung. A toothbrush and your spit ought to suffice nicely." And so it was decreed, by Judge's orders. Pivoting upon his heels with a snap, your instructor then bellowed, "AND WHAT ARE YOU ALL GAWKING AT, HUH!? GET THIS PLACE NICE AND TIDY, QUICKLY, QUICKLY, QUICKLY!" The children at once leaped at the task of making their beds and dressing into their uniforms as swiftly and as properly as they could, lest they shared the same fate of their sobbing, whipped comrade.

    And so it was every morning while at Law School.
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    Mortis
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    Re: Under the Ethereal Knife

    Post by Mortis on Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:50 am

    At some point during the night, Judge Mortis had managed to nod off - although completely unaware he had done so- to him, it was as if he had blinked, the first thing to meet his ears was a sudden shout of a very angry instructor and the shuffling of sheets and pillows as the cadets around him quickly got out of bed. He was among them, swiftly tossing off the sheets and instinctively standing at attention with the rest. Though, for some reason the Judge that had stormed into their dormitory was taller than he remembered them being.

    In fact, just about everything seemed to have changed in size. As he kept his sights ahead, the Dark Judge came to the realization that a lot of things were larger than they used to be. His bed for one, had fit him, and the child that was standing across the room from his bed was around his height, if they were standing next to each other. For a moment Judge Mortis thought to chance glancing down at the rest of himself to see what exactly had happened, but there were far more pressing matters to keep his focus.

    "You call this pigsty a dormitory!?"

    Several children jumped, and the Dark Judge -no- cadet found himself doing the same involuntarily. Something thudded rapidly in his chest, and an anxious awareness spread itself through his tiny form like ice. Although it was hard to discern whether the sensation stemmed from the instructor’s perturbed shouts or the realization that something was beating within his chest that should be silent.

    Long silent.

    Suddenly the instructor set his sights upon one of the boys in his dorm and barked. To the cadet’s fortune -or perhaps misfortune- the boy in question was one that was within the range of his gaze that remained snapped forward. He could see the leather switch in his hand, and Cadet Mortis remembered swiftly just what it meant when it was snapped in the boy’s direction. It was never good when the switch was pointed in anyone’s direction. Making sense of his new and strange form was forgotten for the moment, attention fixed upon the scene as well as he could while keeping in perfect attention.

    There was no other way of attention that spared a cadet from that hellish leather whip.

    The child spoke, and at that very moment Mortis knew the child was doomed. Although, if he were being completely honest, he would say the child was doomed the moment he started nodding off while an instructor was in the room. Speaking out of turn just was another step into his grave.

    For three minutes he watched as the fellow cadet was whipped until the switch was red with the blood of his calf.

    For three minutes he could not help but find the whole display pleasing, though he was wise to keep it from showing as he continued to observe from the corner of his eye. Sadism blossomed young in Cadet Mortis, willing away the voice that said the whipped cadet could be him if he was not careful. The nervous sensation that jittered through his tiny form however, was not so easy to ignore. Only after the child had been knocked to the floor did the instructor cease making an example, the rest of his punishment being ten demerits, along with no food until lunch and scrubbing the dorm with only his spittle and a toothbrush.

    The room jumped as the instructor set his sights back on the rest of the group, demanding that everything be tidied post-haste. Like the others, Mortis quickly went to work making his bed before retrieving his uniform and slipping into it. All the while, he stole brief studies at his form, and in the same motion, attempted to stifle his horror at what he beheld.

    Skin. Pale, supple, living skin. It covered his legs and arms, his tiny tummy and chest.

    His limbs were small and gangly, child-like in their proportions. That explained why he was suddenly so short. Needless to say, the sight disgusted him, and it only encouraged Cadet Mortis to put his uniform on all the more swiftly. He refused to take the time to study his attire closely save for ensuring his appearance was tidy and kept, the silver cadet badge glossed over without taking time to read the name upon it.

    Aside from perhaps one or two other cadets, Mortis was one of the first to be fully clothed.

      Current date/time is Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:37 am