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


    The Lesser of Two Evils

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    Mortis
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    Posts : 899
    Join date : 2014-03-22
    Location : Deadworld
    Level : 60

    Character Sheet
    Defense Bar:
    65/65  (65/65)
    Health Bar:
    650/650  (650/650)
    Stamina Bar:
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    The Lesser of Two Evils

    Post by Mortis on Sat Jan 09, 2016 2:46 am

    Time: Sunset
    Date: January 20th, 0006

    Silence had reigned once again across their mental link, the Dark Judge secreting his thoughts away once his notice had been sent to his brother. He had not heard a response or pressing at the block he had placed up, but Judge Mortis remembered Fear had not been one to pry or push to begin with whenever he decided to go off on his own. He was a respectful undead, a trait that Judge Mortis found himself thankful for as he continued his trek.

    His journey brought him past houses and farms alike, his talons dutifully laying each occupant to rest. Then like a passing breeze he drifted on, a conundrum echoing within his head that did not befit the empty skull of a sheep. It bounced back and forth, interrupted only by the lawless denizens of this planet he happened across, their beating hearts and muttering thoughts drawing his attention and sated his appetite for justice.

    Until he happened across the next iniquitous being, he reminded himself. A Judge’s job was never truly finished, even when they thought they had done all they could. His aimless wander took a different route; rotten, ice-covered limbs crunching through deep snow to a place he had been to before. A quiet place, a peaceful place. Far removed from society and undisturbed by the iniquity of the living, the Dark Judge knew it to be a safe-haven in which he could entertain and soothe his troubled thoughts... Or so he hoped. A few days of endless walking brought him to the remains of a snowy ruin, hardly recognizable under the layers of snow that had accumulated upon it. Judge Mortis’ shambling gait brought him to a row of odd lumps sticking out in the valley of a rolling hillock, dusting off the icy powder to reveal cracked, worn granite and the barely recognizable remains of a name and a date. A tombstone, albeit an old one was what he uncovered; one among many that lay undisturbed and unvisited by anyone who could have been considered kin of the deceased or criminals who thought to see what riches the dead took with them to their graves.

    A shudder traveled down his spine, the memory of how and why he was familiar with this place still fresh within his mind. He could still remember his brother’s rumbling voice, the odd sensation of ward being put in place, and finally the spell that his mind had been put under to weave a lifetime and beyond before him. Perhaps before, that event and everything that lead up to it would have been enough of an argument to turn in his badge, to turn his back upon their leader and never even consider picking up the mantle of Judge again. Yet, he carried on all the same. His bony shoulders still bore the perforated shoulder guard and skeletal bird, and a chain still hitched itself fast to his neck and badge.

    It would have been fitting to hang up his uniform then and there, deciding that his job was not worth the suffering he placed upon himself and his brother. Despite it, he carried on all the same, even when Fear had turned in his badge for the Dark Judge to keep. He had to, for no one else was going to step up and do something about the rampant criminality that festered upon the surface of Portal Breach.

    He could not abandon his duties when there was so much work to be done, so much that required his presence.

    Judge Mortis’ talons brushed gently over the gravemarkers as he continued on, seeking out the graveyard’s center. Glowing pinpricks dimmed and the Dark Judge attempted to chase away the nervous energy that shivered within his psyche. Clawed feet found their destination and the undead lawman knelt down into the snow, taking out his pack of cigarettes and a lighter. One was retrieved from the paper packet and the Dark Judge brought to his teeth to light. A few puffs of smoke curled from nasal cavity and the undead let himself lay back in the snow, resting his hands upon his chest in a corpse-like fashion.

    He took another drag, watching the smoke plume from between his teeth and disperse upon a chilly breeze. Not a sound could be heard, neither a sinner’s thoughts nor the maddening beat of a pulsing heart was around. All was quiet, all was calm. Yet, serenity was far from his mind, and it would not come to embrace him for a long, long time.

    Days passed, the Dark Judge’s cigarette snuffed itself out within the first, the butt left to turn icy between his teeth as it was forgotten among his inner debate. Overhead the sun and moon chased each other through a thick blanket of clouds, and time was once again lost to Judge Mortis’ immortal mind in favor of contemplation.

    If he relinquished his badge, the Judge would become a lawless monster. He would be a killer without morals, without purpose behind his actions. Murder would be his crime, driven by an insatiable desire to rid his vicinity of every trace of life, brought to madness by the ever constant beating of their hearts within his skull like a drum. The thoughts of the living, their iniquitous intents, the evil that lay within the hearts of each and every one spurring him, goading the use of his talons to lay them to rest. If not to spare themselves from their own sins, then to spare others from their insidious natures.

    How could he rightfully retire on a world that called to his judicial instincts, that begged for justice to be meted out upon its surface? Their laws were the cure to a plague that ate away at the hearts and minds of every living being they came across. There were very few who could claim to be fully purified and still retain their mortal coil. One within a sea of billions, as Judge Death had found.

    Yet, if he were to keep his badge, things would be just as complicated. He still had yet to devise just how to deal with the rampant criminality that existed upon this planet. Multiple death sentences would become tedious to carry out, and the perpetrators may simply go back to their old ways as they were wont no matter how many times they were sent to their deaths. There had to be a lasting answer to this conundrum, but he could not seem to find it...

    There was yet another quandary that rose to meet the Dark Judge’s two options, when it did, it managed to drown out his ability to figure what exactly to do with this endless sea of criminality.

    It started with a conversation, days before he had decided to wander out into the snowy fields. Two brothers had been sitting outside on a chilly December evening, in the hand of one was a bottle of vodka, his nerves alight with anxiety. The other held a cigarette between his teeth, calm and cold as the grave.  The Dark Judge had made a crucial mistake at the time, though he had not been aware of it. In that single talk, a conversation between to rotted hearts, he had managed to instill faith, wordlessly promise to relinquish his badge.
    For the sake of freedom, of choice.

    To spit in the face of the undead they had once called Chief Judge.

    For their bond as brothers, he would retire and explore what this world had to offer without the lingering responsibility of his career hovering over his shoulder.

    If he were to go back upon it, his brother’s heart would surely be broken. Already their bond had been stretched thin with the Dark Judge’s actions over the course of a single year. To have continuously pondered aloud the possibility of retirement only to throw back in Fear’s face may be too much for the undead to bear. The undead had always been a passionate soul, a textbook example of an empath if he had ever seen one. It would bring him no greater joy than to know that his brother had decided to join him in retirement -or so the Dark Judge thought. It was hard to tell with Fear at times, just as passions were flexible and changeable, it made for a mystery of a man to work with. Regardless, he knew the ex-Judge would appreciate the gesture, especially given his outlook on their occupation.

    He remembered the distaste in his tone when Judge Death managed to sneak his way into their discussions. He remembered how Fear questioned his place in their close-knit group when he managed to escape containment once. Undervalued, unappreciated, uncertain if being a Judge was the correct move to make. When given the chance, he opted to retreat home and regain their lost strength. Overall it could be said that Judge Fear had been secretly unsatisfied with his position ever since they made the journey to Mega City One. He had been ready to retire and their Chief’s adventure robbed him of his deserved rest.

    Was it any wonder that Fear questioned his place, harbored a tinge of bitterness in his outlook of being a Dark Judge? To know he was not the only one who shared the sentiment would be a reprieve.

    A sigh pushed its way through Judge Mortis’ teeth and disturbed the snow that began to accumulate upon his snout over the days.

    The Dark Judge had dangled the possibility in front of Fear’s ever-grinning face, and he would ruthlessly snatch it away if he kept his badge. It would leave his brother empty, pained, alone. Judge Mortis had told himself that Kev was cushioning his retirement, that he was offering support when his brother needed it. But in the end, what did the scaly, green sinner know of being a Judge? What did he understand of justice and devoting oneself to a righteous cause? He had not purged alongside them for centuries, he had not been through the training they had, been contained in a crystal for centuries and attempted plot after plot to destroy the same city. Much like someone who accepted a veteran after a war, they could only attempt to understand, try and fail to picture and empathize with what they had gone through and managed to survive.

    It would be valuable for his brother to have someone like him, at his side to explore the unknown that lay beyond their roles. Fear would likely appreciate it more than anything he could think to have gotten him for a holiday gift.

    Judge Mortis still remained in his shall grave of snow. What point was there to retirement if he did not do so in earnest? His heart still yearned to carry out justice upon the guilty, to sentence the iniquitous to their eternal doom. It still would even if his badge was gone, to the point where he wondered if it would pain him to let a criminal pass him by without granting just retribution for their sinful nature. He would still have the mind-set of a Judge even if he were to give up the badge, dutifully racking up the charges of every iniquitous soul he happened upon, his talons twitching as he restrained himself from pouncing upon the hapless fool who thought to linger in his presence.

    If he did not retire in earnest, who was to say that it would not simply twist a more painful dagger into his brother’s heart? The Dark Judge could certainly act the part of a polite and tolerant soul if he so wished, but acting could only go so far. Sooner or later he would want to return to his old ways to the point where it would eat him from the inside, it would be torture for the sheep-skulled undead to remain idle when so many hearts and minds called out to him, begging for justice. His brother would surely feel it, he would know that his resignation was not done in complete honesty.

    He could not find peace in an ocean of sin.

    Even when he had spent time with Lunette, Judge Mortis could not deny there was a part of him that desperately wished to snuff out her heart and silence her thoughts once and for all. For all of her kindness he could still see the sin that stained her soul. The only thing that kept him from following through with the attempt was the knowledge that he would be contained just as swiftly as he did so, and the way she managed to sympathize with their duties despite what he had told her. Part of him wished to spare her out of the sheer unconditional understanding she managed to have, unwilling to part with such a rare, genuine mind-set. He wanted to believe that perhaps her unusual family history made her something less iniquitous than the average sinner despite what he saw beyond the fluffy exterior.

    He should know better, he told himself. Sooner or later she would do something to break away from wanting to be around them, around him. Understanding could just as easily translate to fascination, and a Dark Judge, above all, tended to be very fascinating. Why else would a cult have sprung up to aid their cause? What would have driven a historian to regularly visit their leader to know more about Necropolis, or a Dimensional Studies researcher to ask more about their world and how they as undeads functioned?

    Not only were they un-living proof of life after death, but they were nigh omnipotent to boot when they were able. All four of them were an embodiment of what a mortal craved; immortality and power. If people were not drawn by their unarguable philosophy, it was the possible promise of a share of their blessings should they give them aid.

    Much like a sinner was wont to do, when their fascination no longer intrigued them or proved to be far from what they were expecting, they quickly ran off. It happened with those who thought they would be getting a taste of their immortality, it happened with the historian when she found out she was not exempt from their righteous purges, and it happened with the researcher who got more than she bargained for upon seeing deadworld firsthand. In time, Lunette and anyone else who had some sort of fascination in them would do the same. A Dark Judge was not a creature people looked at through rose-tinted glasses, and any who did soon learned the hard way why they should not; regardless of intent.

    Therein, the only logical outcome he could come to was to remain as he was. Judge Mortis knew that his brother would not appreciate it. He could see him on his return, seething at the decision to keep his badge and essentially leave him alone in his retirement. the Dark Judge could already hear the scathing remarks about how let him down, watch as a man’s dreams were dashed and his expectations shattered with a single statement. But to lie to Fear, to pretend that he was fine with turning in his badge on a planet rife with crime and abandoning their quest for justice for the sake of something so temporary and fleeting, it was something he could not bring himself to do.

    It would hurt them both further down the line, and it would sting far more than any amount of shame brought about by the truth. When he did return, it would be wise to use tact in his explanation to be sure. His talons flexed slightly beneath the snow, crackling from the ice that had set into his joints and tendons. Hours and days were carefully counted and plotted, though the amount he figured seemed far less than they would should he be returning the same way he set out.

    Ice groaned and crackled as the undead lawman rigidly sat up, rupturing the small snowbank that had built itself upon his form There were a set of sharp snaps as he violently unlocked his frozen arms from being crossed over his chest and the frozen remains of his cigarette from days ago was gnashed into icy shards in his teeth. Around him the undead could see the final rays of sunlight as winter’s evening set in, the sky just as overcast as it tended to be this time of year, but from what he could tell as his snout tilted up to gaze upon it in full, there did not seem to be a threat of a blizzard to hamper his travels or set him back any further than he needed to be. Judge Mortis stood up from his place in the snow-covered graveyard, although by now it looked like a series of neatly arranged lumps placed smack-dab in the middle of nowhere, if not for the slouching presence of the abandoned church just a short way off to hint what could actually be hidden under the thick snow.

    Willing himself to his feet, the Dark Judge resumed his towering stature while shedding a few shards of ice that managed to accumulate on his overcoat. The sheep-skull that sat stop his shoulders swiveled, as if attempting to get his bearings as to where exactly he was. Then, he turned, his snout facing the flat plains to the south. Two fingers rose to his mouth, wedging themselves where his cheeks would be should his face have held more flesh upon it, and blew.

    The resulting sound echoed hauntingly across the evening landscape, a shrill whistle that was sure to send ice racing up the spine of anyone who may have been around to hear it. The Dark Judge’s summon carried itself unnaturally across the landscape, leaving the air deathly silent upon its passing.

    Minutes passed, and after a half an hour, the air began to grow a heavy, uneasy sensation. It stifled the crisp January chill, and soon a thick fog began to roll in, strangling the clarity from what could have been considered a relatively clear evening. Then, came the heavy, thudding of large hooves, swiftly approaching. At once there was an unsettling, detached sound that resembled a horse’s neigh, but far more shrill.

    ”Come to me, Ssssamhain.” the Dark Judge hissed, beckoning with a talon.

    From the mist emerged a towering form, it’s silhouette unmistakably that of a powerful horse. the beast stood an imposing twenty-four hands at the shoulder, and upon coming to stand before her master, it was evident just how far from normal it truly was. Blackened flesh stretched taught over the rotted remains of muscle and bone, webbing between its exposed ribs and stringing itself thin over what it could of the undead animal’s neck. It’s empty sockets were focused expectantly upon the Dark Judge, what remained of the thin skin of its face had been pulled back from its incisors in an off-putting rictus grin while decay had eaten holes out of her cheeks to expose Samhain’s molars.

    Judge Mortis gave the animal’s nose a fond pat as he walked around to her side, the undead horse had arrived fully tacked, complete with a silvery sigil of Deadworld’s justice department situated at the center of the breast collar. He pulled himself into the saddle, taking up the reins and willing her forward to a swift trot, the master needing only to command her through thought alone to get the animal to move.

    As quickly as they came, both horse and rider disappeared into the mist, which quickly dispersed soon after. The only signs that the animal had been there was a set of hoof-prints seeming to materialize out of the snow a few meters away from the graveyard, and trailed a few more meters out before fading into nothing despite the snow easily being a few feet deep.




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