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 Radiated Redemption (w/ Valkyrie)

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PostSubject: Radiated Redemption (w/ Valkyrie)   Sun Nov 16, 2014 1:57 am

_//: Chapter 1- Might As Well :\\_

Having followed the southern path from their village, the decimated village of Anakoro, Colton Argo and Alden Holzknecht reached the end of Anakoro Province, under an ever-milky night sky and the remnants of charred trees. Where they stood now saw the lessening of the Anakoro Bomb's harsh punishment, and the vast forest was beginning to return to its past appearance, though both boys knew this would not last. Most of the walk was beseeched in bitter silence, as neither male had entirely grasped the severity and reality of the situation they were in. Miraculously enough, neither boy had bore witness to the onslaught of Science's wrath, and had both been in a comatose during the short time period of fire and havoc, and had both come-to the skeletal and standstill aftermath. Alden swore to himself that he would overcome his grief and help Colton with his, as the older engineer had no doubt lost more than he. The Argo family had practically revolutionized Anakoro with modern technology and practices, so not only had Colton lost his immediate family and living, but the way Alden saw it, he had lost HIS city more so than anyone else had. Alden couldn't help but wonder if the souls of the perished held resentment for the son of the family who dwelt in the downfall of their homes. This was no doubt a representation of a proposition Uncle Faust had once presented to a learning Alden.

Is it better to have something and then lose it, or to never have it at all?

Alden pondered over this question the rest of the trek down the southern path, occasionally outstretching a callused-hand to entice the shoulder of his most trusted comrade.

When they stopped at a homely-looking inn located off the beaten path, the inhabitants were weeping in eachother's arms, all-too-aware of the fact that the landscape would be consumed to ash within a week's time, as the sinister radiation would eat away at nature and all that it possessed, and ultimately gnaw at the flesh of mortal men. Eyes clouded with sorrow and contempt pierced at the two, who quietly entered the inn and closed the door behind them, seating themselves at the farthest table and discussing privately what their next course of action would be. Where would they go? Where had Ane gone?

This conversation was short-lived, and was drowned out by the screaming of gunpowder followed by the boisterous ringing in his ears. Alden shifted his eyes to the right, where multiple smoldering holes seared through the thin walls and cast pale slivers of moonlight into the lamp-lit tavern area. The ringing in his ears kept Alden from becoming untenable with shock or fear as his head turned to the left and his gaze fell upon four angry-looking baddies. Immediately, the younger boy flipped their large oak table over and brought his companion down behind it with a strong grip on the shoulder. A pearly smiled danced upon Alden's face, and the boy had finally been presented with an opportunity to relieve his best friend of his sorrow.

"Alright, Colmeister, looks like we're bringin' out the old strats we trained for. You stay behind here and act as my coach, call out the shot with two actions, and expect me to follow only the first half of the command. Just in case these bozos try actin' on our plans."

"Are you sure, Al? We could just run. There are more of them than there are of us, y'know."

Alden let an expression of consideration play on his face, solely out of respect for his comrade, and not for the actual evaluation of what he argued with. The younger boy waited until the next round of shots zipped over their heads and into the thick wood. He was suddenly and forcefully flooded with emotionally-charged questions. How would he get them out of this one? What was going to happen next relied almost entirely on Al's successful initiation and execution of his sword techniques. What if he died here, and he never got to confess his feelings to the raven-haired Ane Okumura? What if she slowly withered away from radiation, fighting to survive in hopes that he and Colton would come to her rescue? Surely Colton wished to reunite with their third musketeer, and Al took it upon himself to deliver. Internally swallowing these doubts and fears behind a curtain of desperate confidence, he gave Colton the 'What kind of question is that?' smirk.

"Might as well, right?"

Alden's grip on his compact bamboo sword tightened, and with his free hand, he held out a fist for Colton to bump, a key gesture that had united the two with bonds of trust, triumph, and stalwart advancement throughout their childhood. For a split second upon impact of brotherly knuckles, in front of Alden flashed the image of Colton as a cool and collected young boy, the day they first met. Alden immediately hopped over the table with lightning speed, choking back all doubts and tempering his heart with the foresight of a bright path.

He would cast his light, as well as the lights of Colton Argo and Ane Okumura, upside the heads of these ruffians, who threatened the lives and intertwined destinies of three childhood friends.

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PostSubject: Re: Radiated Redemption (w/ Valkyrie)   Sun Nov 16, 2014 2:54 am

As Alden leaped confidently over the table, Colton began to feel a rush of adrenaline through his bones. Suddenly, everything that had once weighed heavily on his mind seemed to vanish. The pain that suffocated his heart was irrelevant. In that moment, all that he cared about was doing everything in his power to make sure his dearest friend stayed alive.

Alden rushed straight to the man on the left - a short, rotund man with a very obvious limp and various lacerations coating his face. The man was less of a threat than the livestock herded in to Anakoro every month. The fact that he knew how to hold a gun much less operate it baffled Colton entirely. Regardless, he shouted "High jab!" which instantly received Alden's response of a swipe to the man's ankles, sending him helplessly plunging to the floor below. Alden effortlessly finished him off with a quick smack to the back of his head. The strategy they had established was finally being put to use, and it was working perfectly.

Al moved in a continuous motion onto his next opponent. It was a man of average build, but it was obvious by his stance that he was also no competition. Alden, engrossed in the moment of combat, routinely disarmed him before he could even lay a hand on the trigger. He flipped the man around and grabbed both ends of his sword, pressing it harshly into his opponent's neck. The third man hastily aimed his weapon and fired, inevitably shooting his own comrade in the chest. Alden instinctively let go of his human shield, lined up his stance, and swung his weapon into the third man, hitting his skull with such blinding force the crack was heard from across the room.

Alden prepared to strike his next opponent, but he was nowhere to be found. S'pose someone became a little gun shy, he chuckled to himself. For a moment, Alden felt the taste of victory creep up on his tongue. This was quickly replaced by a searing pain to the back of his head and the sensation of the frigid ground under his fingertips. As his eyes began to focus, his formidable fourth opponent towered over him, his gun aimed point blank at his forehead. Alden sat in shock, seemingly welcoming death with open arms.

Bang.

The rough-looking gentleman that once towered over him tumbled face first into the wood panel floor, instantly losing consciousness.

Colton stood above Alden gripping a broken table leg in his hands, a look of both concern and triumph sparkling in his eyes.

"You didn't think I'd let you die that easy, did you?" Colton smirked.

Alden rolled his eyes, relief flowing through his entire body.
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PostSubject: Re: Radiated Redemption (w/ Valkyrie)   Sun Nov 16, 2014 3:39 am

Alden immediately followed up the eye-rolling with a proud grin, as his older brother-figure had perfectly executed the plan they formulated all those years ago. This triumphant stance he held, however, was immediately stained with uncool expressions of pain as an unknown force bit down on his brain and his vision doubled. The boy was successful in blocking out hesitation and doubt from his mind for the sake of the mission, but the cat was let out of the bag and a tsunami of swirling emotions whipped the boy senseless. Although the Bomb of Anakoro lingered just outside his conscience, Alden Damian Holzknecht registered facing down four grown-men with firearms with only a bamboo sword and temporary courage as his first real stroke with danger. When he came to his senses, Alden rose from his knee and examined the damage he had caused. He looked down at the men, and felt an odd tinge of guilt; although he was merely acting in defense of himself, his friend, and the wrinkled ladies huddled in the stony corners of the room, he was still the cause for someone to get shot. Alden didn't know how to check someone's pulse, so he assessed the fact that the guy took a bullet to the chest, and came to the conclusion he needed to be disposed of outside.

When Colton and he were done carrying the unconscious bodies outside and laying them beside the main dirt path, they approached the front desk in hopes of a spare room. The attendant, a frail woman of middle age, threw the key ring at Alden and immediately fled the premise in a fit of terrified sobbing.  Alden instinctively opened his mouth and caught the keyring with his teeth- the boy was feeling incredibly badass at the moment, and he was too numb with shock and exhaustion to feel the pain of taking a ring of steel to the teeth.

The two weary boys walked up the stairs leading to a narrow corridor lined with cheap tapestries and hanging lanterns, which indicated that the area did not receive electricity from Anakoro prior to the Bomb- Alden made a note to point that out to Colton with a joking tone, and continued down the hall, jiggling a key he chose at random on every door that ran down the expanse of the hallway. The key had successfully opened up a two-person room, affixed with two single-sized beds and a desk in between a-topped with a metal lantern that contained a weak flickering flame, casting a low orange glow throughout the room. Alden put the bamboo sword back in its red sleeve that he always had slung over his shoulder and laid it next to his bed, and immediately flung himself onto the cot.

"The world really has gone to Hell, huh?" Alden asked aloud, chancing that Colton was still conscious within his own bed. He didn't know if his friend had heard it, but the bartender had perched a small radio on his counter, and a woman had spoke through the static of all nations around the world ringing in frantic and dreadful reports of nuclear strikes.

"We were told it would go in a hand-basket, but that doesn't seem to be the case." He heard Colton reply.

Alden couldn't help but chuckle, despite the morbid truth behind his friend's words.

"No kidding. I can't help but wonder who we'll have to fight next, y'know?" Alden suddenly rolled over, facing the back of Colton with wide-eyed alertness.

"It's gonna be me, if you don't go to sleep already, Al." Colton responded softly, the exhaustion and gradual loss of coherence audible in his voice as he slowly trailed off into slumber.

"I sure hope not, pal," Alden responded quietly as he rolled over onto his back and folded his hands behind his head, not entirely sure if he was still talking to Colton or to himself. "I'm gonna need you now more than ever. And Ane is gonna need us both."

Alden noted to himself shortly before drifting off into unconsciousness that he needed to ask Colton where they were gonna head from here in the morning.

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PostSubject: Re: Radiated Redemption (w/ Valkyrie)   Mon Nov 17, 2014 10:54 pm

Colton shuffled restlessly in his sleep. This was the first time since the bombing that he was left alone with his malicious thoughts, and those thoughts transferred instantly into his nightmares.

In his dream, Colton was back in Anakoro. However, it was quickly inferred that it was not through his own person - it was from the view of his father. It seemed to be around 5 in the afternoon, around the time the entire Argo family would make their way home to eat dinner. His father walked through the door, smiling warmly at his wife and planting a soft kiss on her right cheek as he walked by to help set the table. Emily was next to walk through the door, throwing her bag on the floor and taking her usual spot at the table. It appeared she was saying something about Colton running a little late, but her voice was obstructed by a rumbling in the distance. His father curiously went outside to take a look, realizing the noise was coming from a pack of slim airplanes flying over the north side of town.

That's strange, his father thought to himself. Planes never fly around here. What the hell are they doing?

Just as he finished his thought, he noticed a relatively large piece of metal that plunged from the center plane. He squinted in a feeble attempt to look more closely, realizing it wasn't debris at all.

It was a bomb.

Terror instantly tore through his heart. His feet seemed glued in position as he watched the impending disaster fall closer and closer to the ground. Time seemed to slow to a crawl as he watched the cloud form, shooting up thousands of feet into the air. It didn't take long until the impact raced towards him. All at once, he and his family were gone.

Colton shot up with a gasp, his expression filled with horror. Tears instantly took their unwelcome place along his eyelids. He shut his eyes forcefully, and for a moment, he let the agonizing pain consume him.

A few moments later, he collected himself and flung his legs over the side of his bed. After sleeping for the short amount his mind allowed, it appeared that the adrenaline had finally dissipated from his system, granting him the ability to feel the full extent of his injuries. The left side of his body appeared to be burned from his shoulder all the way down to his ankle, the severity getting slightly less the further it went down. The skin of his right hand also appeared to be completely scalded. His jaw throbbed mercilessly, particularly on the left side all the way up to the bottom of his ear. The pain he felt was insufferable.

Colton struggled to his feet. He needed to find something to treat these burns. He searched vigorously around the room, looking for something to temporarily ease the torment. He finally decided that the sheets of his bed would do fine to make wraps. He ripped up the sheet and submerged each piece in water, carefully tying each around his ailments. The wraps would hold for a short amount of time - what he desperately needed was medicine. He pulled his coat carefully back over his arms, grabbed Alden's sword and slipped silently out the door.

The road appeared eerily desolate this late at night. Colton strolled at a brisk pace, making sure to keep out of direct sight. He had walked less than two miles before he encountered a pharmacy. Thankfully, it was one of the only buildings still intact in the area. The front door had already been smashed in, an obvious sign looters had already been in the area. He scurried up each aisle until he reached the pharmaceutical area in the back of the store. By some miracle, burn ointment was still plentiful. After carefully unwrapping his burns, he applied a generous amount of ointment to each area and re-wrapped with sterile bandages. A vast amount of supplies had also yet to be taken; he gathered painkillers and any food he could find to bring back. His scavenging was interrupted by a roaring buzz resonating outside.

Colton inched his way up to the front door to take a look at what he was faced with. He stared wide-eyed at the alien contraption before him.

It looks like... a flying robot?

The machine fluttered along the street, scanning various items around the debris. Colton's mind instantly went to the possible technologies he could make from this thing. There was no way he would let it escape.

He dived out the doorway and moved along any wreckage that would hide his location. He gradually closed the distance between his target until he was almost right behind the foreign entity. Gathering his strength, he leaped over the rubble and soared straight at the robot, delving his sword straight into its metal body. The contact was instantly met with sparks, and after another hit, the machine appeared to cease function.

"Well, I think it's dead" Colton said out loud. He used his weapon to pry the machine open, mesmerized by its sophisticated technology. Everything that he could carry was harvested, along with a sharp piece of metal he could no doubt create a weapon of his own out of.

As he walked back down the direction he came, he was halted in his tracks by a shadowy figure. He held out his sword, no doubt prepared for a fight, when the shadow took off back into the darkness.
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PostSubject: Re: Radiated Redemption (w/ Valkyrie)   Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:20 am

In this lucid landscape of reverie, Alden found himself perched on a cliffside high above a lush canopy of trees, the occasional patch of sakura trees would blossom- rich amaranth highlighted in the sea of greens and reds. As the young boy watched the sun, an orb of orange trying to hide behind the deep vale of leaves, the whole forest would shiver and dance with the gentle breeze that swept over the landscape like a great hand. He was standing next to Ane, the small-framed girl with silky hair that cascaded down her back like a small river of raven color and eyes of breath-taking blue that pierced through one's soul like noble daggers of stimulating ice. And to his left was Colton Argo, the man that Alden swore absolute fealty to ever since they were children, and the ingenious individual that Alden couldn't help but aspire to be. Needless to say, Colton almost always appeared in his dreams, in some inventive form or another.

They watched with adolescent wonder as a large clearing was formed from the synchronized parting of trees, and from there billowed a few pillars of quaint smoke. Alden looked up momentarily, and watched as the sky flickered cartoonishly between day and night, as if God was a rebellious youth toying with the light switch of Earth. As this bizarre backdrop persisted and the Sun and Moon circled rapidly like mad marbles in the sky, Alden witnessed the pillars of smoke increasing in number, and a few thatched roofs peeked from the treetops like curious creatures. Then, the billowing smoke ceased, and what the three soon recognized as telephone poles sailed past the thatch roofs, standing in the clearing like toothpicks. Following the telephone poles were multi-storied buildings, and the three soon identified the developing-clearing as their hometown, Anakoro.

After a long while,sky calmed its seizure, and the sun rose, heralding a glorious backdrop of rich blue with slivers of wispy white clouds that were all crawling leisurely over the valley of trees, which occupied much of the Anakoro Province. As the clouds began conjugating and forming a large cloak of puffy clouds that concealed the heavens from those below, and an ominous chill ran up Alden's spine. He had felt this unique sensation only days ago, and he soon realized with impending horror what his friends and he were going to witness. From the cloak descended a small object, which from their vantage point seemed little bigger than a pebble one would cast with great ambition for a big splash at the end of its course.

This particular pebble that God cast from the sea of clouds certainly lived up to its destined big splash, first displaying a brilliant sheet of blinding light, and proceeding to fill the entire bowl of high-peaked mountain ranges with tsunamis of debris and fire that raced through the trees ravenously. The ripples it left behind were not of beautiful undulating water droplets on the surface of the river, but were pools of sickly radiation and decay, ranging from bricks and rebar to the unsuspecting corpses of those the three friends had ever learned to love. When Alden managed to peel his eyes from the carnage, he turned around, watching the last bit of raven black hair draw back within the shadows of the forest that preceded the jutting cliff, and he had lost sight of Colton entirely, his place at the left side of Alden occupied only with a miasma of despair and danger from which two unnatural glowing spectacles of emerald observed him.

Alden shot up from his bed, drenched in cold sweat and cloaked in a sinister veil of contempt and dread, his head spinning with the sudden sensation of impending peril. His immediate instincts were proven valid when he looked over desperately at the empty bed of Colton Argo, and Alden rushed out of their little dorm, not having to look for his sword, as he felt its presence absent as well as that of his best friend. He ran down the hall with amazing speed, and leaped from the banister next to the staircase roughly 15 feet downward, tumbling right outside the unhinged oaken door that lay cracked at the side of the small porch steps.

He was immediately doused in the cool night air, as well as the soft lunar rays that washed down upon the forested area. The obscurity of danger and primal hatred resonated towards the right of his coherent spectrum like a vibrating pulse, and the boy immediately raced along the downward path. Moments later, he found himself in a small village-like area, scattered with buildings ransacked and dilapidated. He grimly noted that the affect of the bomb had already began to influence the populace of the Anakoro Province, and he had no doubts in his mind that other areas experienced the same effect, similar to the maddening scurry of frantic ants. As he turned towards what appeared to be the pharmaceutical store, Alden dropped to his knee as the impulse of sheer evil left his head suddenly, as if his presence had startled whatever it was with the brevity of an opening for predatory ambush on some unsuspecting and lonesome lamb. When his heart rate had returned to normal and his head no longer pulsed with worry, Alden continued towards the store, but what he found on the path was worth a thousand supplies of pharmaceutics.

With a disheveled heap of metal bits tucked under one arm and a long piece of jutted steel grasped like a sword in the other, Colton Argo stepped into the glow of the moon. Alden sighed with genuine relief and felt a wave of control cast over his shivering body, realizing that his fingertips were numb and his hands quivering.

"Colton!" Alden rushed for his older brother figure, when he remembered that the same figure was covered with harsh burn marks that even Alden could wager wouldn't feel pleasant if festered. Playing off his moment of stupidity, the boy reached for his wooden sword, giving it a few clean swings with the rapid flicking of his wrist before holding it pommel-first. The boy began spewing off words rapidly as he walked next to his comrade back up the path leading towards the inn. They decided that the general shape of the town was too risky to sleep in, and that the inn was far enough away and off the main road for any trouble to find them.

"I came rushing when I felt as though you were in danger, like someone was watchin' ya hungrily or somethin'. Pretty cool, huh? It's like we have telepathy or somethin', I swear." He left his dream sequence out of the conversation, as he did not want Colton to worry for his mental stability, nor did he want to get teased for his gushy feelings towards Ane. The two later arrived at the doorstep of the inn, sauntering in as if they had returned home- though the apocalypse had devastated their mortal existences and would begin to fling them down a fate of lethal trials, they were still brothers at heart, and that level of comfort allowed them to find jubilation throughout any given situation.

When the morning sun began its climb above the rapidly-dying treetops, the two young men found themselves on the main road, heading back south towards the pillaged patch of buildings where they had reunited after a brief separation. When Colton had explained that he went out for burn medicine, Alden found himself able to suffice with this alibi, though he implored Colton to take the younger one with him when he went out for nightly ventures, as Alden sensed that the world was shortly coming to Hell in a handbasket. He lied and told Colton that he was not sleeping very well anyway, and would have had no problem accompanying the Argo lad down into the town that they were currently surrounded in.

They had traveled clear through the rest-stop of a town and continued down the beaten trail clear into the broad afternoon, when the sun was a heat lamp shining unnaturally-warm rays down onto the two, given the spring season they were in. They continued traveling until they had reached a hot spring, a tiny wooden complex with high fences that secluded all within but the vast plumes of steam that blanketed the immediate atmosphere. The two agreed that they had covered a substantial amount of ground, and that a rest break was not bad, so long as it was temporary. Inside the small building, they had found a large map resting on a wooden table. Alden carried the table into a large living area located towards the back of the complex, just before the hot spring area. The room, which was surrounded by paper walls and ornate floor cushions, served as an exemplary meeting room- it had even housed a large bowl of various candies that the two shared like children as they discussed strategic travel routes and pinpointed specific areas that would be ideal for supply-gathering.

"We'll pay for it if we can," Colton began. "But if the area is abandoned,there should be no harm in simply taking only that which we strictly need."  

The older of the two had read the confused emotions within his younger comrade's face as clear as a book.

"And we'll make sure to keep our eyes peeled for our Ane, as well."

Alden got up, satisfied with their planning and Colton's coherence towards the personal drive of the younger. He decided that the two should 'hit up' the hot springs, noting that it would most likely serve Colton's burns some good, as they must have walked off the ointment by now. When they found themselves submerging in the healing liquids, which melted away the stressed aches in their traveling muscles, the two began reminiscing on their past lives together, laughing and carrying on without a care in the world. Their jovial conversation drowned out the opening of the front door, which would have been clearly audible in the otherwise silent mountainside. Fate had just put into place a thread of destiny that would set Colton and Alden's track down a winding path.

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