|I work on the small portrait of a woman. I am growing rather fond of it...|
This is a work of fanon, constructed by Arcemz.
- "All things must come to an end. All things must die, and be born again. As the sky darkens, it heralds the rise of a new dawn. But it is up to us to decide what that will bring."
- ―Mahkah, c.2155.
Prologue - The Beginning of the EndEdit
- "Knowledge is what keeps us going. It has shaped the past, which now shapes the future. What matters is what knowledge we choose to believe"
- ―Guiding principle of humanity
The year is 2145.Earth has finally recovered, its trees have grown strongly, grass and hills have been rejuvenated and now cover the surface of our planet, marking a total renewal. Within society humans live freely under guidance of a small yet advanced organization of people. They are beings of the First Civilization, a species now reborn on Earth, not only with their long lost characteristics, but the belief that freedom can allow any individual to forge peace within themselves.
But civilization is tough, humans have battled the difficulties in understanding that have with their elders. Grasping and understanding advanced knowledge as easily as they do, is incredibly difficult for humanity. The reborn, Avedeam, granted humanity an opportunity to develop a sense of knowledge, allowing them to create individual peace, but it cannot match them to the advanced minds of the ancients. They can advance science and technology better than humans, leaving humanity feeling like lesser beings. I know this, because I have experienced it myself.
My name is Mahkah, and I am born of both races, one of the few people of hybrid origin. My DNA is mixed with traces of both species, leaving me torn between two worlds. I do not know what the future holds, but I know that a new dawn is emerging, and I will prepare myself for whatever it brings.
Truth swirled in my mind as I stepped away from the ancient cave, feeling the presence of Avedeam within my thoughts. I knew her words would stay with me forever, always guiding, always helping. The sun glowed beautifully over the horizon, immersing the land in an array of golden light. I left the glowing white artifact in the temple, knowing that it would only create divisions between humanity. After I had left the white room it had projected, along with Avedeam's figure, I had found myself standing in the darkness of the cave, feeling a strange sense of peace and acceptance at what I had learnt. Avedeam's legacy lived on within her mind, tand I realized then and there why she had reached for that artifact in her last moments. I walked across the thick and thriving grass as it rustled and blowed with the wind, feeling its tips against my feet. I breathed in the pure air, taking in the grace of the reborn Earth.
And then my mind suddenly began to throb as I saw strange visions around me. I shook them off and looked around. There was nothing there - everything was normal. It looked like people were running around me in freezing winds and snowy lands. But it was summer, and the sun shone brightly. There was no snow or ice anywhere. So I kept going, making my way back to the hidden Sanctuary. Then my mind throbbed again, harder, forcing me onto my knees as I my vision dimmed and the same revelations appeared around me. I shook them off again and began to move faster towards the Sanctuary. My head throbbed rapidly, impairing my vision and slowing my movement. I continued to see glowing silhouettes of people, strange shapes and environments full of blowing winds and ice shafts. I finally reached the Sanctuary, the visions lasting longer and longer. I kicked open the doors and stumbled in, alerting my dearest friend and companion, Avis, and the man, Darren, who had earlier supervised my sessions in the Animus
"Mahkah! What's happening?" Avis said, leaping to her feet and grabbing hold of me as I lost my footing.
My vision began to fade as the revelations intensified and took over my mind.
Darren ran forward and helped steady me as I began to lose consciousness. "It's the Bleeding Effect. The hallucinations are taking over. We won't know how long they'll last, but I know that they will go to a specific memory. Normally we don't have bleeding effect cases like this, but prolonged exposure to an ancestor's memory often allows the ancestor to project the person to a specific memory they have chosen, provided they can synch. But only Avedeam could do this, given her sense of kn......"
That was all I heard before my mind lapsed into subconsciousness.
Part 1 - RemembranceEdit
Chapter 1 - FrostEdit
75000 BC, Iodone Ice Shelf, the North Pole.
Freezing blizzards pounded our bodies relentlessly, impairing our vision and slowing our movement as we traversed across the sub-zero glaciers. Icy winds swirled through the air, with collosal icebergs and mountains looming overheard. My frosty armour clung to my body, the fur tips blowing against the force of the wind. I held my glowing bow close to my back, feeling its warmth pulsate against my body. An advanced projectile weapon, this bow used the power of illusions from loading a single arrow into its string, which, once fired, would shoot out a number of powerful illusions, each representing that of a regular arrow, and is capable of doing more damage than a normal arrow being fired manually. I turned to my companions. "How much further?"
The leader, Evar, turned back, raising his arm against the blowing wind.
"We received the distress call from the centre of the ice shelf, about a kilometre away. I have no idea what's in there, but a group of hybrids were attacked by a large team of First Civilization soldiers. We are going to have to pull them out of there if we are overpowered."
Evar shook his head. "I don't know, Aora. All I know is they've been here for awhile, building some sort of complex. It was attacked by the gods as a high priority operation, so whatever's in there is important to them."
I breathed deep and continued on against the iclement weather. For ten years this war has raged, our species fighting for its freedom, and our creators, fighting for control of us. They are more powerful and better equiped than us, but we are many. Conflict has been waged across the planet in all areas, as the civilization we were born into changes hands rapidly, its cities sieged, destroyed and rebuilt. No side has the upper hand, no race able to prevail. I see no victor in sight, no end to the fighting, and so I do not know how this will war will reach its end. But I will fight for freedom, as long as I live. I know my companions will do so aswell. Soon we reached the centre of the ice shelf, and found ourselves deep inside the heart of the frozen shaft, with a giant ice roof stretching hundreds of metres out to the edge of the shelf, creating an enormous snowy cavern. As we pushed on through the blizzard, we managed to enter the cavern, which prevented the freezing winds from dominating the area, finally allowing us to witness what was contained within the massive ice shelf.
What I saw took my breath away. "What the....?"
Chapter 2 - DeitiesEditBuilt deep into the core of the frozen ice shelf stood a glowing, ancient city. Suspended across the crevasses of the ice shelf and half-submerged by the surrounding frozen walls, the city was a small complex made of old stone and ancient brickwork. This means it could not of been built by the gods, but rather - humans.
"What is this place?" I breathed, staring up at the vast city in awe. "And who built it?"
Evar stepped forward and made his way into the city. "More like why."
One of the other companions, Manet, stepped forward aswell, and nudged me as he went past. "Come on, Aora. We're going to find out."
I took a deep breath and followed the rest of my companions into the ancient city. The sounds of battle reached our ears as we ventured further into the subterranean city. The heavy pulsing of the artifacts hung in the air, the clanking of swords and the thump of bullets shooting back and forth across the city buildings.
"To the left!" Evar said, and began to scale a nearby wall adjacent to the closest building.
We all turned to the left and climbed the sloped wall, inching closer to the resonating sounds of warfare. As we threw ourselves over the wall and landed on the frosty ice ground below, we saw the battle being waged just ahead. Five gods were advancing on a team of hybrid soldiers with an assortment of artifacts, including a glowing Apple of Eden, a Staff and a powerful sidearm, seemingly built from the same substance as the other artifacts, and fired fast powerful rounds of golden objects, instantly downing whoever it hit. As we advanced towards the gods, they turned simultaneously and flashed the artifacts towards us, forcing us onto our knees and causing our minds to throb rapidly.
"Resist! Force yourself onwards!" Evar shouted, violently shaking free of the effects and drawing his sword.
I broke free and looked up as Evar leapt forward towards one of the gods wielding a Staff, and drew my bow as Evar spun and ducked under the god's swipe of the artifact, and loaded an arrow as he jammed his sword against the god's Staff. The arrow hit the being in his upper chest, lodging itself in his advanced armour. Evar sensed the opportunity and as the god pulled back from the arrow's force, he tore his sword free and drove it down against the god's stomach, but the being yanked his Staff down, blocking Evar's swipe and kicking him back onto the icy floor.
"Little help here!" he grunted as he climbed back to his feet.
I sprinted forward and jumped into the air above Evar and let another illusion arrow fly, this time with dead aim as the arrow impaled itself in the god's chest, imploding instantly and engulfing the being. I quicly drew a short sword at my side and drove it into his neck, closing my eyes in prayer and moving on. The other three gods had quickly moved towards the hybrids' position, and had killed three of the five there after overpowering their position with the Apple and finishing them off with the second Staff. The fourth hybrid had leapt onto god wielding the glowing sidearm, and kicked away the gun from his hands. He swooped down to pick it up as Manet engaged the god with combat involving the Staff from the god we had just eliminated, and managed to knock the being onto his back. The god quickly seized hold of the Staff and used its power to force Manet backwards, causing him to fall to the ground. The hybrid, now wielding the god's sidearm, had moved forward and aimed the gun at the god, but the being moved with incredible speed and knocked the hybrid's arm sideways, causing the gun to fall loose and the god grabbed it and shot the hybrid twice, sending him flying backwards as the glowing rounds slammed into his chest.
The final hybrid came forward aswell, wielding an Apple, but the effects did no harm to god and he turned fast and shot the hybrid once in the chest with deadly aim. One of the other of my companions, in a cry of anger, leapt towards the god as I launched another arrow which was deflected by the god's Staff. The companion, Iser, had taken out another god with Evar, and had acquired a powerful rifle. She fired rapidly at the god with the Staff, but the powerful bullets were deflected again by the Staff, and so she sprinted up to him and swung the rifle, but the god spun and kicked her back down onto the ground, causing Iser to drop the firearm and allowing the god to swing the Staff to the last god and catch the falling rifle. He aimed it at Iser, but didn't fire.
Instead he spoke.
Chapter 3 - CollaborationEdit
All of my companions, including me, stared in shock as the being of the First Civilization lowered the rifle and swung it over his back. Iser didn't move - she was transfixed. Then, the god turned to rest of us and continued to speak. "This war has been waged for many years now, and we know that we have been your enemies since before the war even began. But you must listen, and hear us out."
Evar charged forward. "He's lying! Deceitful beings!"
The god quickly drew the powerful rifle and aimed at Evar, who stopped short.
"Hold. Hear us out. We do not wish to fight or kill you."
Iser scrambled to her feet. "What?! You just killed all of the hybrids, shot two of them dead!"
The god turned to her. "But I did not shoot you. Nor do I intend to."
Evar drew his sword again and circled the being, eyes narrowed. Manet backed him up along with the last of our companions, Saron.
I stepped forward slowly and held back the other companions. "Let him speak."
Evar turned to me angrily. "Aora, I am the leader of this team, and my word is law. Do not believe anything this being says. We cannot trust them."
The being of the First Civilization turned now to me, his eyes staring intently at me. "You contain our DNA within you. You possess more potential for understanding than regular humans. You know."
I nodded. "I know. Speak, and we will listen."
The god lowered the rifle and spoke. "This city began its construction when the war erupted over five decades ago. Built by your kind, here, in the frozen Arctic cold. Isolated from the world, and from the conflict raging across the Earth. Only now have our intelligence discovered it, and we were sent to investigate. Why are hybrids here, in the Iodone Ice Shelf, building a city? Why are they not leading your species to freedom on the battlefields? It is because they do not want a world where humanity lives in freedom, because they know like we do that your species is not capable of a world of peaceful freedom. They want order, control. A world where the human race is under their watch, to make sure they never step out of line. They have taken our views of you, our creations, and developed it into their own concept. We will not stand for this, and so we have to eliminate them."
I exhaled deeply. "Why do you spare us then? Why not kill all the hybrids here and be done with it?"
The god sighed. "They are more powerful than we had anticipated. Ever since the times of humanity's control they have been acquiring knowledge about the artifacts, and once war broke out, the began to build this city as a sanctuary for their birth and further advancement. They have artifacts, weapons, tools. We are not immortal, we can be killed, just like you. As for why we have not killed you, that is simply because you are not our enemies in this city. In the war, you are. But here the enemies are they, the humans who believe in order. And they will kill you on sight, because they strongly believe in preserving this secret and are against any who strive for a world in which freedom lives."
I shook my head. "If this is true, then how do we know you will not kill us afterwards? This will not stop the war. The only thing that can stop the war is the triumph of one side, which we both know is not possible, or the surrender of one side, be it god in origin or human."
The god's face was expressionless. "There may not be an afterwards, due to the power of these hybrids. But if you aid us, we will allow you to return to the cities run by the humans. As do we wish that you give us the same freedom," he smiled at that.
"You may choose not to believe us, and walk away, or try to kill us, but we ask that you take my words and consider them. It is your choose - freedom, or order."
I looked at the god and said firmly. "Freedom." The other companions all looked at the god and echoed the word around the ancient, frozen city.
Chapter 4 - ForerunnersEdit
We moved onwards through the city, and were wary of the gods but we held our weapons at bay.
The god turned to another being, a goddess wielding a glowing sword. "The wind is picking up. I cannot seem to make any bearings now. The ice shelf's entrance is now blocked by a wall of inclement weather. How far north are we?"
"Twenty-five kilometres from the drop zone. This city is roughly around thirteen kilometres from the North Pole, and we dropped in about twelve south of the Pole."
The god's eyebrows furrowed, concern crossing his face. "What time is it?"
Evar turned to him, impatient. "Does it matter? Our priority is to find and eliminate the hybrids."
The god ignored him. "Salus?"
Salus turned back to him.
"It's midday, Saturn. We do not have long."
Saturn breathed deep and continued on, Salus and the third god close behind. The companions and I quickly moved after them, ascending further into the city. As w made our way through the ancient buildings, the wind had picked up and now began to immerse the cavern in an icy blizzard. Our vision was impaired, causing us to move slower. The blizzard only intensified.
The third god suddenly started sprinting as we neared the centre of the city. "There's the bridge! No sign of any your kind or ours."
Salus moved forward to halt him. "Hold, Summanus. We do not know what is there."
Summanus slowed his advancement and edged towards the bridge, and found the remnants of the battle.
He sighed. "They are gone from this world."
Saturn ran forward, quickly backed by myself and the rest of my companions.
"This was not too long ago, the Forerunners are still here."
"Forerunners?" I questioned, looking up at the god.
"Forerunners, Forefathers, Founders, Antecendants. It is all the same. These people have given birth to a human order of our philosophy," he said, and then suddenly his expression changed.
"Salus, you said we were thirteen kilometres from the North Pole."
"Yes, what is the proble.......," she trailed off. "Asa."
Saturn nodded. "Asa."
Salus exhaled deeply as Summanus looked up in awe.
Evar stepped up to Saturn. "Asa?"
Saturn turned to him, his face a mix of concern and astonishment. "Not enough time to explain. We need to keep moving to the top of the city."
The three deities continued onwards through the buildings, gradually making their way up to the huge ceiling that spanned the icy cavern. I kept close to them, along with the other companions. As we neared the tallest buildings of the city, the gods increased their pace without warning, and so Evar turned and halted their advance.
"Alright, that is enough," he said, as the companions and I backed him up. "We want answers. What is Asa? Why are you so anxious to reach it? Where are these so called "Forerunners"?
Summanus stepped forward and drew his glowing sword, but Saturn motioned for him to sheath it and step back." No, they deserve answers. Pledging allegiance to their enemies was not an easy thing to do. But we do not have time to stop and talk. We must continue on. I will explain as best I can."
Evar stepped back behind them. "You better."
As we continued to traverse the high buildings towards the city's apex, Saturn spoke hurriedly. "Asa is, or was, an ancient city built by our ancestors almost three hundred years ago. It lies just beyond this ice shelf. Unfortunately for the citizens of the city, the land it was built upon was unstable, and urban activity eventually caused the surrounding ice shelves to collapse in on the city. Its isolated location prevented us from knowing what had occurred. We cleared away the ice and snow, but there it was too late. About halfway through the war we ventured to the city in hopes of researching and confirming suspicions about an oncoming astrological threat. What we discovered was far worse."
I stepped forward, and motioned for him to stop. "Hold on. You knew about all this? You said you knew next to nothing about this place! And an astrological threat? What are you talking about?"
Saturn's face was motionless. "This information is not something you share with your enemies. But I suppose it does not matter all that much anymore. As for the threat, we unearthed an oncoming disaster of catastrophic scale. This Earth does not have long. That is why we must continue on to Asa. It is our only hope. I now understand why the Forerunners built this small complex into the ice shelf. They needed what is inside Asa."
"And what is inside Asa?"
"A temple. After realizing that the catastrophic is far too powerful to stop, we set about creating safe havens that could resist its effects. This is what the Forerunners have discovered. How and when, I am not sure. But they know."
I breathed deep, processing everything the god had told me. "You're saying these Forerunners know about the threat and the temple you built here, and so they are attempting to enter this temple to survive the threat?"
Saturn nodded. "Yes."
"Then what is the point of this city? Why not go straight to Asa?"
Salus interjected. "The Forerunners do not want access to the temple simply because they want to live, but rather, they need to live in order for their philosophy to survive. This whole city is their headquarters. An entire enterprise for their order."
Suddenly Saturn stopped, sensing something. "They are here."
As if on cue, a number of glowing rounds slammed into the surrounding buildings, piercing the harsh sounds of the blizzard with powerful thuds.
Saturn dove behind cover as the rest of us moved to a safe distance. "It is the Forerunners!"
I looked out from the side of a building and saw thirteen figures firing on our position. But they were continually moving, making their way up to the top of the cavern. Salus drew a sword and Summanus moved forward with the Staff as Saturn drew the powerful firearm from his back. I quickly drew my bow and loaded an arrow as Evar, Manet, Iser and Saron drew their weapons. We moved steadily towards the Forerunners, and I fired a volley of arrows at them as they reached the very top of the ice shelf.
Saturn began to sprint towards them, as one of the Forerunners shot the ice-covered ceiling multiple times, causing the surface to crack and cave in. "No!" he yelled, opening fire.
Salus moved forward and with immense force managed to propell her sword towards the Forerunners as they climbed out onto the top of cavern. Her artifact impaled itself in the cracked wall just behind the last hybrid as they climbed out of the hole. "We do not have long before this whole shelf comes down on top of us! Keep moving!"
Saturn reached the hole first and helped Summanus and the companions up and out of it as Salus grapsed her sword handle and yanked the weapon free. She climbed the wall and pulled herself out of the hole as Saturn followed suit, pausing only to help me up out onto the top of the ice shelf. The sight that I was met with was unlike anything I have ever seen.
"Asa....." I breathed.
Chapter 5 - InfernoEdit
Asa stood proud, amidst the inclements winds of the fierce blizzard, covering a vast expanse of the icy plain. Built from ancient stone, the city was desolate, long abadoned. I heard thunder clap overhead and looked up into dark clouds forming in the sky, joined by wisps of fire and smoke.
Saturn glanced up momentarily. "The firestorm is brewing. We do not have long."
I spotted the Forerunners move across the city's rooftops and fired another volley of arrows. They hammered the walls of the buildings, missing the hybrids by inches. Salus moved forward with incredible speed, firing three rounds from a glowing sidearm as Evar and the other companions advanced forward. Saturn drew his rifle and fired rapidly at the hybrids, flanked by Summanus.
My companions and I drew our weapons and moved with the gods as Summanus reached the Forerunners. He attacked with his firearm but the hybrids reacted surprisingly fast, using an Apple to forge illusions out of thin air. The illusions attacked Summanus simultaneously, overwhelming him and ripping the sidearm from his grasp. Salus moves towards them and slashes through the illusions with her sword, dispelling them. She turns to Summanus but is pinned back by gunfire, forcing her to deflect it with her sword. One of the hybrids drew another glowing sword and leaps through the mist of the Apple's illusions, driving his blade into Summanus and sending him from this world. Salus' face cripples with pain and grief as the hybrids are forced to reload, allowing her to attack Summanus' killer, but he manages to block her swipe with his sword.
Evar and Manet engage combat with the Forerunners firing at Salus, temporarily distracting them. Iser advances forward, but is met with gunfire from above Evar and Manet, forcing her to try to block the bullets with her sword. The bullets rip through her blade's metal, stabbing into her chest and taking her out in a second. Saron leaps across a number of rooftops as makes his way to the Forerunner wielding the Apple, but is overpowered by the Apple's effects, causing him to lose his grip on the building and fall to the ground below. Saturn and I moved with haste across the rooftops, blocking gunfire and battling illusions. Most of these illusions were mere re-creations of the hybrids' figure, but despite being easy to defeat they attacked a lot faster. I fired two arrows quickly into two of the illusions, instantly dispelling them before ducking under the swipe of a third and coming up with a swipe of my short sword. The Forerunners used the illusions' distractions to move onwards, aiming for a building adjacent to the city's tower.
"They are moving towards the temple!" Saturn yelled amidst the storms rolling overhead. "That Apple will grant them access!"
Salus pulls her sword free from an illusion and turns to the hybrids, aiming and then propelling her sword with immense power towards their position. The Forerunners react quickly and respond by throwing another sword towards Salus'. The two artifacts collide in mid-air, exploding instantaneously and sending out a wave of unbelievable force. I threw myself to the ground as the force knocked Evar and Manet from the rooftops, sending them hurtling over the edge. They disappeared into the raging blizzard.
"No!" I shouted, climbing to my feet and sending a barrage of arrows at the hybrids in a surge of anger.
Saturn looks up quickly as more thunder sounds above, and notices it dim and form a vast aurora across the skies. And then, suddenly, the most incredible boom erupts across the Earth, resonating throughout the atmosphere. An immense storm begins to form, sending out cracks of thunder across the city, accompanied by blazing firestorms.
"It has begun," Saturn says, staring up at the explosions rippling across the burning skies. I turn to him, yelling above the sound of the storms. "What has begun?"
Before he could respond, the buildings nearby and hit with numerous lightning strikes, forcing us to move onwards. The Forerunners continue moving towards the temple, and soon disappear in the midst of the storm, causing us to lose sight of them. But we continue on, shielding our faces against the blizzard. Suddenly Saturn senses something and throws himself in front of us, taking the hit of multiple glowing rounds that materialize out of the firestorm. He shakes off the hits, ignores the damage done to his body and sprints forward into the blazing inferno. Salus and I bolt after him, jumping across the city's rooftops. The weather clears momentarily, allowing us to perceive the buildings ahead. The hybrids reached the temple building and had begun to use the Apple's effects to open the vault. Saturn nears them, and in a desperate attempt, throws himself towards the Apple as the entire building slides downwards, revealing a hidden entrance on the side of the tower. Saturns knocks the Apple straight into the temple itself, causing it to explode and send a shockwave of energy across the city. Saturn disappears in the explosion, and the Forerunners are nowhere to be seen. But as the explosions clears, the temple becoms visible, and shows only the sealed door.
Salus' face stays expressionless, but she motions to the tower above. "There may be a way inside from there. But we do not have long, as the fires come."
I nod and begin to scale the tower with Salus close behind. Debris pound the tower walls, forcing me to dodge rapidly.
"Keep going!" Salus shouts above the noise. "There is not much more time!"
I reach the top of the tower and pull Salus up behind me. She quickly moves to the centre of the tower and looks around, but there is no way in. We were isolated.
Salus turned to me, her face distant, but her eyes sincere. "I am sorry. They have survived. And they will survive these flames too. There is no way into that temple. We will both be lost within these flames."
Her words hit me hard, as the realization struck.
She looked at me hard. "But there will always be hope, as long as we live. And even if we die, that hope lives on. We ensured that this would be the case. We built you to remember, record and relive. Within each of us lies a truth that can never be changed. You, today, have witnessed the very truth of humanity. It will discovered, no matter what. Nothing will be true until you realize it. No-one can change that truth, because you are the truth. And whatever you do, know that you are permitted to do the things that you choose to do, because everything you do, is permitted. You yourself may not live on past this day, but these words will. If people rise to fight for order, so too will people rise to fight for freedom. It is the way of your species, and of life. Remember this, for it will guide your kind forever."
Suddenly, as Salus spoke those final words, she sensed something and threw herself towards me, knocking me to the ground as a debris slammed into the tower powerfully, smashing into Salus and she shielded me from the blasts. But it was too much, and she lost her grip, and fell from the tower. I sprant to my feet but it was too late, and she disappeared in the midst of the blazing firestorm. I stepped back from the edge and stared out into the world around me. The skies were lit up with rippling thunder and raging firestorms that tore across the Earth. Buildings were destroyed in seconds, struck ruthlessly by flaming thunder. Debris flew through the air, large chunks of stone thrown around effortlessly, demolishing everything it touched. The ground shook unbelievably, struck with relentless force again and again, before it became too much and the very surface cracked open, revealing seas of lava below. Buildings were swallowed whole as the flames tore through the city, burning everything in its path. The ground ruptured and exploded outwards, billowing out fiery infernos with unimaginable force. I looked on in total shock and awe as every single thing came down around me, the very Earth itself being shook to the very core. And then the blazing inferno reached the tower and I was lost in its fire. Everything went dark. As Aora's memory faded away, I felt words form in my mind, spoken from a familiar voice.
"Remember, in Asa."
Part 2 - SubversionEdit
Chapter 1 - Shock and AweEdit
May 5th, 2145, New Eden, capital of Earth, located in front of Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, East Africa.
My mind throbbed rapidly as it began to pull itself back into consciousness. My ears rang, my vision blurred and my whole body felt numb. A distant voice reached my ears. "Mahkah?! Mahkah! Wake up! Now!"
Iforced my eyes open. The first thing I saw was Avis' anxious face, staring down at me with worry as she shook me awake.
Then suddenly she glanced behind her as the sound of rippling explosions reached our ears.
"Mahkah! Get up! Now! We have to go!"
I sensed the seriousness in her voice, and so I pulled myself to my feet as my vision stabilized and feeling returned to my body. Avis kicked open the door as light flooded the room. I stared upward in shock as multiple fighter jets screamed across the skies, pounding the city with relentless barrages of firepower. Buildings were either flaming or lay in ruins, hammered with artillery fire. Gunfire resonated across the streets, accompanied by numerous explosions that sounded off simultaneously.
"Come on! We need to go!" Avis yelled, sprinting forward amidst the total disarray.
I took a deep breath and followed her as we traversed across the flaming wreckages of buildings and dodged falling debris. Avis sensed something ahead and pulled a advanced sidearm from her waist and flipped over the front of a nearby vehicle, landing on her feet with her arm raised as she fired multiple rounds towards oncoming civilians, taking each of them out instantaneously. As she landed, Avis rolled forward and drove herself up into the direct path of the final person, striking them in the chest with a concealed blade before slamming them back into the ground. Avis reached down and grapped a powerful rifle from the dead civilian and threw it over to me.
I caught the gun, but stared hard at Avis. "What are you doing?! They are civilians!"
Avis shook her head. "Not anymore. Whoever is attacking is doing this for the people. No civilians have been targeted by them, and the people themselves are on the side of the attackers."
My gaze did not fall. "That does not make sense. Why would civilians side with invaders?"
Avis exhaled deeply. "I do not know, Mahkah. All I know is they're against us. Only us, and the elders."
I tried to speak but she held up her hand. "No time. We need to go. They've been paving the way to the Tree, which means that their top priority is taking out the elders. We cannot let that happen."
"We're outnumbered and outgunned, Avis. How can we make a difference?"
"The city's defences were activated not long ago. They can provide a decent amount of cover. But the city itself is already lost. We cannot withstand these attackers. But we need to get the elders out. They're our only hope."
Multiple advanced aeroplanes soared past us, heading for the centre of the city.
"They isn't much left to take out before they reach the Tree," Avis said, heading for the nearest building. "We need to go, now." I nodded and followed her up the wall of the building, making our way to the rooftops and heading in the direction of the Tree. We sprinted across the rooftops of New Eden, amidst total chaos as unending explosions cause the very buildings to fall to pieces around us. Firefights raged across the streets below us, and aircraft screamed across the skies, scanning the city below. It wasn't long until they found us.
Avis pulled a glowing sword from her waist and threw it to me. "Use this wisely, Mahkah. For they come."
I caught the glowing sword and ran it through my hands, feeling its material move through the palm of my hand. Avis quickly glanced up into the sky as the sound of aeroplanes reached our eyes. A single craft, black as night, soared above us as we moved across the rooftops. Avis whipped out her sidearm with incredible speed and fired rapidly toward the plane, forcing it veer to the side in an attempt to dodge the pulsing, golden bullets. Once it regained balance, it fired. A thousand bullets rained down on the rooftops around us, tearing the very stone to shreds and causing us to dive away from the line of fire and continue on with enhanced speed, away from the firing aircraft. The jet-black plane chased after us, pounding the buildings with firepower. I quickly grasped the hilt of the glowing sword and raised it against the aircraft, deflecting the hailstorm of bullets back towards the plane. The dark craft shifted right to avoid the returning fire, but continued to shoot rapidly towards me. I blocked its line of fire, but the sword couldn't hold much longer.
Suddenly Avis called out. "Mahkah! In here!"
I deflected the final line of bullets away as the aircraft ran out of ammo and quickly reloaded, allowing me just enough time to turn towards my companion. She was pointing towards an opening up ahead, where a solid building had an open window that would provide enough cover. Then, I heard a click, before the rain of fire continued. I lowered my sword and sprinted forward with Avis by my side, and we both bolted away from the plane towards the open window, taking a mighty leap into the building as the storm of bullets wrecked the very ground we had just dove off of.
Avis and I landed with a thud inside the building, quickly rolled and jumped over a desk before landing on the window ledge and propelling ourselves forward. But the dark plane had flown around the building and fired a volley a missiles towards the building in front of us, causing it to explode outwards violently and crumble beneath our feet as we landed on its cracked brickwork. Dust clouded my vision and the floor beneath my feet fell to pieces, causing me to plunge towards the ground below as the building groaned and began to collapse. I struck the ground hard and narrowly avoided an oncoming assault of debris. I still had room to maneouvre and so I leapt to my feet and dashed forward as the remnants of the building came crashing down behind me. I was knocked forward onto my chest by the force of the explosions, but I was out of the danger zone. I coughed and wiped dust from my eyes as Avis slid out next to me amidst the crashing remains of the stone building. She shook dirt and grime from her shoulders and looked up into the burning sky as the black craft located us once more and aimed its mounted weaponry towards us. I pulled my sword and raised it against the plane.
But the bullets never came.
Instead, an enormous explosion resonated throughout the air as I lowered the sword, seeing the black craft spin out of control with its exterior flaming and in ruins. More golden missiles pounded the burning craft, sending it hurtling down towards the ground as Avis and I climbed to our feet and sprinted foward. The black plane slammed into the ground and whole vicinity was lit up with a blazing inferno that sent an unbelievable shockwave racing across the city streets. I raised the pulsing sword against the flames, allowing it to absorb the damage long enough for the shockwave to cease. "
Up ahead!" Avis called out, drawing her sidearm.
I glanced up, seeing a line of armed soldiers blocking our path. I sheathed the sword and pulled out the rifle strapped to my back, aimed it towards the soldiers and readied myself for combat. Avis dashed forward, avoiding the line of fire before reaching a downed cinderblock barricade and taking cover behind it as I moved with speed towards the firing soldiers. Avis pulled out her sidearm and leapt out from cover as I made my through the flaming streets, dodging falling debris and jumping over jagged craters in the tarmac covering the streets. Avis moved incredibly fast through the lines of fire and took quick aim at two soldiers, taking each one out with a single shot before sliding down to cover, against waves of gunfire that increased near her position.
This allowed me to move up. Closer.
Running through the chaos erupting around me, I leapt forward and slid over the front of a wrecked car, before landing on the ground and rolling forward. Two jet-black aeroplanes dove low above me, hammering the nearby buildings with a range of explosive missiles, causing a row of building on both sides to explode outwards simultaneously, sending thousands of debris flying into the air as the buildings collapse and fall forward towards each other, directly over the city streets as I sprinted through them.
The sky above me dimmed and I looked up into the towering structures as they collided above the streets and both come crashing down towards me. My mind went into overdrive and began to power my legs faster and faster as I bolted forward below the collapsing buildings. I glanced forward and saw the line of soldiers just ahead. I raised my rifle and fired multiple shots, downing two soldiers and ripping into the body armor of a third. He staggered backwards but didn't fall, instead he grabbed a large mounted machine gun and aimed it towards me. He didn't hesitate to pull the trigger and a volley of bullets came speeding towards me.
But I was no longer there.
The bullets collided with the stone remnants of the buildings that had just collided in mid air and smashed into the city streets below, crushing everything beneath it. Enormous clouds of dust came billowing out, obscuring all sight of the scene. I pulled myself free from the debris and felt something warm pulse againt my waist. The golden glow reached my eyes and so I unsheathed the powerful sword and sprinted forward into the gigantic clouds of dust, throwing my sword straight forward, watching it pierce the grey smoke and spiral outwards.
As the sword left my hand, I ran forward and leapt with it through the huge dust clouds as the sight of burning buildings, collosal skyscrapers, screaming jets and blazing infernos that raged across the city greeted me once more. The sword was spinning just in front of me and so I reached out to it. As I looked down, I saw the heavily armored soldiers stare up in shock as I grasped the sword and drove it powerfully down into his armored chest.
The whole area was lit up in an array of golden waves as the sword stabbed into the soldier's chest. I felt its power touch my fingers softly, pulsing smoothly. Then, I receeded slowly and yanked the sword free.
I turned to see Avis running towards me, and so I nodded and pointed in the direction of the Tree. She nodded too, and we made once again for the rooftops. As we found our way to the top of the nearby buildings, the mighty Tree came into sight. The Tree's name is symbolic, coming from the historic tree that Adam and Eve stole the Apple of Eden from all those years ago in Eden.
Located at the centre of the building, the Tree is a modern and beautiful skyscraper, reaching incredibly high and wide, decorated with protective pure white casing along its sides and reflective blue glass along its centre. Lush gardens adorn its balconies, full of rich green grass, small indoor trees and a range of exotic plants and flowers. Inside, it is comprised of numerous different levels, each consisting of modern offices, hallways and rooms. But its most prominent activites are conducted at the apex of the skyscraper, where the First Civilization governs humanity in its peaceful world, finding ever prosperous solutions to problems that face modern society.
However, today, it was the exact opposite. Shattered windows and jagged holes covered the entire building as gunfire pounded its exterior from all areas. A team of fighter jets screamed by every few seconds, firing missile after missile at the building, creating multiple explosions throughout the skyscraper. The area at its base had been completely destroyed, leaving only devastation below. The entire structure stood flaming and smoke seeped across its windows as the Tree groaned and creaked under immense pressure.
It would not hold much longer. Avis and moved quickly over the line of buildings. We knew it would not be long until the team of attacking planes found us. And it wasn't. As we ran across the rooftops and leapt over the gaps between each structure, we heard the deep growl of the planes' engines become louder, resonating throughout the sky. They didn't hesitate to fire. A volley of missiles went flying straight in front of us, annihilating the building ahead as we leapt towards it. The stone blew outwards in cloud of smoke, as flaming remnants rained down around us. I landed on the crumbling building, feeling its structure break apart beneath my feet.
Running forward, arm raised againt the billowing cloud of dust, I leapt from the collapsing building and landed on the adjacent structure. Avis landed next to me, and quickly spun around with her pistol raised, firing rapidly at the jets as they soared away. A single bullet struck one of the jets in its tail, spinning it around. As the jet spun around, a gleaming white plane materialized out of nowhere and fired a volley of glowing missile weaponry towards it, striking the aircraft repeatedly and sending the wreckage spiralling away in a blazing inferno. It collided mid-air with another dark jet as it screamed by, lighting up the skies as a huge fireball erupted in the atmosphere. The white plane shot straight the smoke and flew away, being tailed by multiple black jets.
But it wasn't fast enough. The black planes opened fire and a storm of bullets pounded the white jet, ripping the plane to shreds and crippling its engines. The white plane, now alight with flames, plummeted straight out the sky as the black planes sped away.
"It's coming straight for us! Go!" I yelled, pushing Avis forward as the blazing wreckage hurtled towards us.
It slammed into the ground just before us, forcing us to leap straight over the flaming aircraft as it exploded. I felt the shockwave past straight over us, and then we were flying through the billowing smoke and landing hard on the adjacent building. Avis and I didn't hesitate and continued on, dodging the falling debris as the jets circled back around, aiming and firing again at us. Each shot they fired took down a building, swallowing it whole in its fire. The line of fire inched closer and closer to us as we sprinted amidst the storms of fire, leaping across the gaps between each building and never stopping as we raced towards the Tree.
Every building came down around us, engulfing us in an enormous cloud of dust and smoke, impairing our vision. But we pushed on. Soon, I began to feel the stone beneath my feet fall away as I jumped across to the next structure. As I ran, I looked up and saw the final building before the Tree come into sight. With renwed vigour, Avis and I increased our speed and sprinted for the final building. But then, the line of fire ceased. I glanced up into the sky in shock the black aeroplanes pulled back and move higher into the sky.
"What are they doing?!" Avis shouted, scanning the planes' ascent.
And then, as the planes massed together, it hit me.
"Go, Avis! NOW!"
She didn't need to be told twice, and with me close behind, she bolted forward. Then, in complete unison, the planes each fired a single shot. Not to us, but towards the last standing skyscraper besides the Tree. Each missile slammed into the building's foundations, sending a huge blaze of fire upwards that seeped across the skyscraper's windows, instantly shattering again. And then they fired again. The skyscraper groaned and creaked as it began to become undone, and so the jets fired once more. That was all it took. In a last moan of structural pain, the skyscraper fell. Avis and moved with unbelievable speed as the collosal structure plunged sideways, directly into our path. Shattered pieces of glass and debris rained down around us as the skyscraper neared, and then, just as we reached the final building, the skyscraper fell straight in front us. We had no other choice but to go forward.
In a final burst of speed Avis and I sprinted forward and leap straight into the plunging skyscraper. Time seemed to slow down us, and everything went into slow motion. I landed on the smashed floor amdist the raging storm of debris inside the falling building, feeling the floor beneath my feet begin to move vertically upwards, and so I sprinted forward through the dark and destroyed wreck of the skyscraper. Shrapnel flew around me, and a broken desk came flying forward, slamming into the ruined floor and forcing me to jump up and slide over the smashed desk and it flew past me. I landed on the now almost vertical floor and ran forward, shielding my eyes against the shattered glass and shrapnel. Suddenly I sensed something land directly in front of me and I instinctively jumped, feeling a crushed piece of debris pass underneath me as I dived over it, before landing on the sloping floor and rolling forward. As I scrambled to my feet, I saw light form up ahead, and so I pushed on towards it.
As soon as I reached the light I took an almighty leap of faith and threw myself out of the crumbling skyscraper and flew through the air. I looked up and saw the collosal Tree directly in front of me, and so I quickly yanked out my sword and drove it straight into the white outer casing of the skyscraper, feeling the artifact lodge itself strongly in the structure. Then, I felt someone else near me, and I threw out my hand. Avis grabbed it just as the skyscraper hit the ground and was lost in a total devastation. I quickly glanced at Avis and motioned to the shattered windows of the skyscraper. She nodded, and so I swung her sideways, watching her land in the darkened interior of the building. I then followed suite, swinging myself towards the windows of the Tree and pulling my sword free. I landed softly inside the Tree, and quickly followed Avis and she moved towards the building's apex.
But as I moved forward, something happened.
A hallucination formed in my mind, and I spun around to see another reality overlap my own. Two figures, glowing and shifting slightly in shape, ran across the interior of the building. It was a man and a woman, wearing some sort of translucent body suit. My head began to throb and I fell to my knees, grasping my head in my hands. These figures were running through something different than what Avis was. It was smaller, and light emanated inwards from the outside. Then they disappeared into the darkness and the vision ceased. Avis turned to see me struggle to my feet. "
Mahkah?! Are you okay?"
I nodded, shaking off the vision and moving forward with her as we ascended upwards to the apex of the Tree. Avis and I moved carefully through the darkness, feeling the settled debris beneath our hands and feet as we ascended through the levels of the skyscraper, climbing over collapsed floors and wading through the damaged caused by the attacks. Every few seconds a loud and deep boom would resonated through across the walls as more firepower struck the Tree. Soon we reached a floor where the ceiling had completely caved in, blocking our way up. We had no other option but continue up the outside of the building. As I ran forward towards the glass windows, the visions took hold again and forced me to my knees. I grimaced and glanced up as the same reality overlapped my own.
The figures moved faster now, jumping across platforms before reaching a window and smashing it open and climbing out onto it. I shook my head and the hallucination ceased temporarily. Reality came back and I heard Avis' voice reach my eyes.
"Mahkah?! Come on! We have to go!" she yelled, pulling me to my feet.
I regained my footing and ran forward to the window and smashed it open with my elbow. Avis leapt out and grabbed hold of the window ledge, pulling herself up as I followed her onto the ledge. Once secured on the ledge, I turned and looked out over the city. The black and fiery remnants of the city's buildings stood upon piles of ash, dark smoke hung in the air and destruction raged eveywhere. I stared out, motionless, speechless, expressionless. Avis tugged at my arm.
"Come on Mahkah," she said.
I turned to her, seeing her sad and weary face, and nodded. We began to climb up the collosal skyscraper, two tiny figures situated on the final vestige of hope amidst the sea of devastation that was New Eden. I felt the shards of glass stab into my palms as I traversed upwards along the broken structure of the skyscraper, gritting my teeth against the pain. My body ached, but my mind stayed strong.
Until the vision struck again. Suddenly the Tree was smaller, intact and unbroken. The windows were not shattered, and the area around it was clean, beautiful and modern. The two figures from the vision moved upwards along the building with incredible speed and agility. Then, they stopped momentarily to peer into the windows, as hammering was heard inside. Then they proceeded upwards and disappeared from sight. My head pulsed painfully and I almost lost my grip on the window ledge. Avis voiced her concern, but I shook off the hallucinations once more and pushed onwards. Soon, we reached the top of the skyscraper and climbed onto the surface of the roof. And then they struck again.
More visions, stronger this time. The city was clean, bright and completely undamaged. No siege was taking place. The sun shone brightly over the city as the two figures reached the top of the building. Their reality continued to merge with mine, and I witnessed the clashes between each. I heard voices from both worlds. "Mahkah!"
It was Avis.
Then the woman spoke as she spun around with a glowing object in her hand. "Adam, I have it!"
"Avis?" I said, turning around. The man turned and spoke to the woman. "Eve..."
Then, Avis and the woman both spoke the same words, their voices merging together from two different realities. "Look out!"
Suddenly the vision ceased and my senses were yanked straight back into my own reality as a jet-black plane screamed so low that Avis knocked me to the ground and narrowly avoided being swept off our feet as the aircraft past straight over us.
Avis pulled herself to her feet. "Come on Mahkah! We need to get in! That jet won't miss again."
I nodded and climbed to my feet. Avis pulled the sidearm from her waist and shot the ground, splintering the glass and opening a hole for us to slide into. Avis and I landed softly inside the apex of the building, scanning the dark exterior for the elders. There they were. Situated at the back of long hallway, the elders were defending themselves against the black planes that flew around the top of the Tree and continuously hammered the skyscraper with artillery fire. I sprinted forward, racing towards the elders as gunfire penetrated the windows and roared through from both sides, but I took no notice of it and pushed on to the elders. And then, just as I neared their position, a deepening boom went off.
The floor fell away beneath me. One second I was running, and then I was falling. I watched desperately as the elders disappeared from my sight as I plunged to the ground. I fell hard onto the next level, feeling the smashed floor underneath me as the sounds of warfare intensified. T
hen, the entire structure blew outwards in unbelievable force that I was thrown upwards into the air with effortless force, sending me flying away. Away from the Tree, from the elders, from Avis. I fell through the air, a tiny dot in the burning city of New Eden. The wind whistled past my body, and as I fell, I looked towards the Tree and saw the mighty skyscraper finally give way to the punishment it had endured. The apex of the Tree collapsed, slamming into the lower levels as the bottom half of the building crumbled under its own pressure. The collosal Tree, once the crown jewel of New Eden, fell.
I watched it go as I myself went falling to the ground below, and I felt every single emotion past through my mind before I hit the ground and everything began to go dark. Flickers of another reality appeared again in my vision, and I saw the burning city of New Eden change form to a smaller and undamaged city. Through the flickering visions, I saw in my own reality a gigantic storm of billowing dust and smoke sweep through the city, and then I was lost.
Chapter 2 - City of AshEdit
May 1st, 2145, New Eden, Tanzania, East Africa.
Nothingness. My senses were completely numb. Couldn't render anything. Couldn't feel anything. Couldn't see anything, smell or taste anything. Just blackness, all around me. And then it all came flooding back. My eyes opened, the ground around me dug into my body, I tasted the damp, bland dust in my mouth. The smell of burning and ash filled my nostrils and my ears began to render sound again. A ringing, loud noise resonated in my eardrums as I struggled to my feet. Then my vision focused, and my mind took hold once more. The sound in my ears snapped back to normal hearing and I climbed steadily to my feet as I looked around. Black clouds of dust covered everything. Amidst the clouds I could see remnants of buildings, small fires burning in the distance. I coughed and wheezed, covering my mouth and pushing forth against the storm. My first impulse was to find Mahkah. Make sure he's alive. But I was totally lost in this darkness, stumbling around blindly. Then a sound, deep and loud, reached my ears. The mechanical roar of an engine. It became louder and louder, but I couldn't see it through the dark grey clouds that held me captive.
But then I heard something else. A short, sharp, precise beep. Then again, and again. Spearing through the clouds of dust were smoking missiles, each colliding simultaneously with the ground. Flame exploded out instantly and sent a fiery inferno racing outwards, accompanied by a instantaneous shockwave that surged towards me, sweeping me off my feet and slamming me into the ground. I raised my arm to shield myself from the blast, as the smoke clouds began to dissipate, clearing my vision. I was met with a devastating familiar sight. The flaming and destroyed city of New Eden. But materializing in its red sky was a single black dot, speeding directly at me. My shattered body wouldn't move. My limbs refused the commands my mind gave them, and I was helpless as the black shadow sped towards me. It inched closer and closer, never stopping. I could only watch in utter shock as the shadowy aircraft screamed closer.
And then, out of nowhere, a dark figure suddenly appeared, flying through the sky towards the aircraft. It slammed into the aircraft as it sped past, punching straight through the glass cockpit and taking out the pilot. The aircraft, now unmanned, spiralling uncontrollably to the side as the figure held on strongly. Then, just before it collided with the ground, the figure dived off, and rolled through along the ground amidst the burning wreckage of the craft, ignoring the wisps of smoke conversing behind them. They sprinted towards me, pausing only to grap my arm and hoist me onto their back. I tried to speak but my lips wouldn't move. My vision slowly began fade away to blackness as the figure carried me away, my mind slowly slipping into unconsciousness once more.
May 5th, 2145, New Eden, Tanzania, East Africa.
Hazy visions swirled in my mind as I forced my eyes open, seeing nothing but blurring shapes. Then they began to focus and I looked around, struggling to my feet.
Wait," a voice said. "Let me help you. You have been through quite a lot. I guess we all have."
I felt hands lift me up and steady me on my feet. I turned to see a tall woman looking kindly yet wearily at me.
"Who...are...you?" I managed to utter, feeling my voice slowly return.
"My name is Eos. One of the elders."
My mind struggled to remember the previous events. "But..the Tree....Mahkah...the plane...."
"Slow down. Let your body and mind connect once more. Then sit, and I tell me what you remember."
I took a deep breath and sat down. "I remember the siege, and then the Tree falling, then I found myself plummeting to the ground amidst the remnants of the building. I awoke, and manage to stumble through the dust cloud before a number of missiles shot nearby, clearing my vision. All I saw was a plane, a figure, and then I fell unconscious."
We were lucky.......?" she said, with a questioning look on her face.
"Avis." I said.
"We were lucky, Avis. That plane almost took you out."
I furrowed my brow. "That was you?"
"Yes," she nodded. "I was...the only one that survived the Tree's collapse. Saw the plane heading straight to you, and as it passed beneath me, I leapt."
"The elders....."I fell silent.
It couldn't be. Our leaders....gone. In an instant.
Eos closed her eyes and we sat there in total silence, total shock at what had transpired. I looked around, staring silently at the colossal crater that the Tree once stood on, then at the ruined fragments of the once great skyscraper that lined its borders.
Eos opened her eyes. "What's done is done. There is nothing more we can do for them. But we need to get out of this city. Fast. Before the cleansing."
I turned around. "The cleansing?"
"They did not attack with the intention of seizing control of the city and claiming it themselves. Their only aim was to eliminate the elders, by any means necessary. So they burnt New Eden to the ground."
She turned and swept her arm across, motioning to the burning ruins of the city.
"They do not want anyone who is not sided with them alive in this city. No vestiges of my people. They have now begun to regroup and to consolidate. When they do so, they will run multiple strafing runs across the city, effectively destroying anything else that still remains that should not. Complete eradication. Of everything, and everyone."
"How much time do we have?" "
"I wish I knew, Avis. But it will not be long. We need to go. Now."
I climbed to my feet and nodded. But as I gained my footing, it hit me.
"Mahkah!?" I yelled, whirling around and desperately scanning the streets.
Eos was silent.
"Do you know where he is?! You must!"
She shook her head. "There was no sign of anyone apart from you."
I stood there motionless.
"Avis. We need to go."
"NO!" I shouted.
"I am not leaving him behind!"
Eos grabbed me. "
There is nothing we can do for him, Avis. Every moment we delay, the enemy is one step ahead. You must let him go."
"NO!" I cried, feeling tears form at my eyes. "He is out there somewhere, I know."
"Even if he is, we do not have time to find him. And if he is already gone, then...."
"Do not say such things!" I yelled, still not wanting to accept.
"I am not leaving without him. I..I can't."
"You must. It is the only way."
"Even if he is still alive, the cleansing will surely....." I couldn't finish.
Eos did not respond. I looked at her desperately, tears streaming down my face. Then I sprinted away from her, sifting through the remnants scattered across the streets, calling his name hopelessly. I felt the tears drip down my arms and onto the ground as I search for my lost friend. Suddenly a hand gripped my from behind and spun me around.
Eos stared at me hard. "Avis. You will not help Mahkah by letting yourself be killed too. He would of wanted you to continue the search for truth, as he and so many others have done."
I closed my soaked eyes and stood there silently, feeling every emotion pour through my mind. I opened my eyes and stared up at Eos, finally accepting what she had told me. Then I took a deep breath and nodded. She remained expressionless and moved off, heading for the darkened streets. I looked around one last time, and then I hurried off after her, squeezing my eyes shut in tears.
Eos and I moved silently like ghosts through the blackened city as the sky began to darken. The last flickers of yellow ochre dipped below the horizon, signally the setting of the sun. All that lit up the sky now was the artificial lighting and silhouettes of black planes as they soared over the city, eyeing the wreckages that dominated the city streets. Eos was solemn as she made her way through the debris, watching every corner of the city. Soon she halted and held up a hand to motion for me to stop.
"They are still here," she said, scanning the vicinity warily.
"Who? The soldiers?" I asked, coming up next to her.
She nodded. "They haven't evacuated the city yet."
"We still have time them, we have to get out!"
She nodded again but didn't move.
"Eos! Come on! We need to g-"
I stopped short as Eos suddenly spun around and yanked out a sidearm from her waist, firing a single shot that whistled past my ear and impaled itself in a figure behind me. I whirled around and stared in shock as the figure fell to the ground with a glowing mark pulsing their chest. Eos looked at me but didn't say anything. Instead she pointed further behind me towards a large group of advancing soldiers before sprinting off into the darkness. I quickly moved off after her, readying my own weapons for combat.
We dashed through the cold night air, leaping over wrecked cars and broken pieces of debris. I sensed another presence though, smelled the artificial engines, heard the rumbling mechanics, tasted the polluted air. And then came the beeps, two long, resonating beeps. As if on cue, two flaming missiles speared into the ground on either side of us, throwing us violently forwards. Eos and I crashed into the ground as cloud of smoke billowed towards us and debris rained down around us. I felt the cold stone slam against my face as dirt blew outwards around me. I spun around onto my back and raised my arm against the raging clouds as glowing rounds pierced the smoking mist as multiple jets thundered by. Eos and I dove for cover as the soldiers advanced through the smoke.
"Get those planes, now!" Eos shouted at me. "I will take care of the others. Go!"
I nodded and sprinted off to the side, aiming for a nearby building as the planes neared our position again. I jumped up onto the side of the building and propelled myself sideways, soaring through the air as the black planes swooped low towards the ground. I reached out and grabbed hold of the metal tail at the back of the aircraft, tightening my grip on the plane as it powered away. With my left hand I grasped my sidearm and fired multiple shots towards the cockpit, smashing the glass and taking out the pilot. As the plane lost command, it spiralled out of control and veered dangerously to the side as I swung myself up onto the sloping aircraft and sprinted across the black surface towards the adjacent plane, leaping off the disabled jet as it collided with the nearby plane in an instantaneous explosion. But I was already flying through the air towards the ground, landing softly on the concrete surface and rolling away from the blazing wreckages. I looked up and saw Eos take out the final soldier and so I ran towards her, quickly analysing the scene for any last dangers.
There wasn't any. But there would be.
Eos didn't hesitate and quickly beckoned for me to follow as we sprinted away into the cover of the streets, losing ourselves in the darkness and making our way towards any exit from this burnt and ruined city. We were now known to our enemy. It would not be long until they found us. Darkness shrouded us as we moved like ghosts through the night. Everything around us was derelict, abandoned. We run softly along the cold and burnt tarmac, sifting through mounds of debris. Soon we heard thumping in the distance, becoming louder and louder. Helicopters. As if on cue, multiple spotlights materialized nearby and swept towards us, scanning the streets for any signs of movement.
"Get down, now!" Eos hissed, dropping to the ground.
I followed suite and slowly lowered myself to the ground as the helicopters' beams neared our position. I held my breath anxiously as the flashlight move over uss, the loud thumping resonating across the street.
Eos stared at me, silently mouthing the words, "Do not move."
Soon the helicopters passed and continued their search, and so Eos and I climbed slowly to our feet and continued on through the darkness.
"In here," Eos whisphered, montioning to a destroyed hotel on the right. "The way ahead is blocked off. We'll have to find another way around."
Eos stepped through the smashed doorway and slowly made her way through the wrecked interior, avoiding debris and cracked and broken walls. I stayed close behind her, stepping carefully across the damaged floor. Eos reached the window and jumped through the shattered glass, landing softly on the grass below. I followed her, quickly leaping out the window and landing next to her. We moved forward towards an adjacent building, which had collapsed onto a hill overlooking a plaza. Eos and I climbed onto the ruins of the building, making our way to the edge to look down over the plaza. Eos motioned for me to stop, and we both began to watch the scene unfold beneath us. Lights, unlike the rest of the city, adorned the street as waves of civilians moved through the area. Large armored vehicles poured through the roads, accompanied by aircraft dominating the darkened skies overhead.
"There," I said, pointing to a figure down below in front of the building on the other side of the street. "He's the leader."
I began to move off the collapsed building and towards the street.
Eos grabbed my shoulder and held me back. "No, Avis. It is too dangerous."
"We need to know!"
Eos looked at me, but didn't say anything.
"You want to know as well. Why they came, why they attacked your people."
She sighed and nodded.
"Then let us question him. Head around the power station to the right. Shut off the lights in a minute or so after I've entered the area. Through the cover of darkness I can make it to him."
"Alright. But once the cleansing is initiated I do not want to be here."
I nodded and slid down the hill as Eos made her way towards the power station. Time for answers. I crept along the pathway, the stone pavement cold beneath my feet as I crouched in the darkness, immersed in the shadows. I surveyed the area, marking out a route forward. The crowd of civilians who had refused to take up arms was scattered and irregular. The leading figure stood on the hill across the street, yelling orders and directing his forces through the area. I reached down to my waist and pulled out a small glowing dagger. Built with the technology of the elders, it was a fitting weapon. I held the blade in my hands, twirling it slowly through my fingers as I waited for Eos. Soon I saw a figure drop down near the power station, and in a few seconds the lights shut off suddenly and the whole area was plunged into pitch-black darkness.
I sprinted forward as cries went up, shoving my way through the bustling and panicking citizens. I sensed the hill was near and leapt up, landing on the grassy slope and bolting up towards the figure. He turned as I slammed into him, sending him flying backwards into the wall of the adjacent building. Before he could get up I pinned him to the wall with my arm and held the glowing dagger to his throat with my other. The pulsing glow from the dagger illuminated his face, allowing me to see through the darkness.
"Who are you?!" I growled, eyes flaring.
He calmly replied, "You know us all too well."
"Why are you doing this? To kill these people, destroy their city?!"
"Look around you. These people are fighting with us. They know it is the right cause. We are doing this for the betterment of humanity."
"The betterment?! Our world was thriving, freedom flourished everywhere. The elders kept our utopia going, the world had reached true peace. And now you've killed them."
"A utopia for them, maybe. But not for the people. They struggled against the advanced intellectual capabilites of their leaders. Too much under-appreciation. They were about to rebel, anyway. Eradicate the elders and claim the world as their own."
His words hit me hard. "No...."
"They knew they would be plunged into anarchy, so we came. To assume leadership. To restore the onlything of capable of bringing peace. Order."
The figure shoved me backwards, sending me stumbling away as the lights snapped on and the whole area was lit up instantly. Ten soldiers stood in a row, aiming torch-mounted rifles at me. The leader turned and looked at me, his face expressionless.
"And now, the elders are gone. All of them."
I stared up at him, the dagger firmly in my grasp as I noticed a tall figure move towards us. "No. Not all."
Suddenly Eos appeared out of nowhere, leaping down from above and landing directly in front of the leader and his soldiers, giving them a full look at her before the lights shut off again and we were sprinting away into the darkness, the shadows absorbing us and allowing us to vanish completely from sight. As we ran, we heard the leader shout out.
"Lock down the city! Form a perimeter around the city and block off all exists, then bring in the final planes! We'll trap them in the city and the cleansing will take care of them."
We didn't speak. Just kept running through the freezing, shadowy night. I looked up and saw a colossal shape looming ahead, and I realized we were heading towards Mount Kilimanjaro.
"Perimeter is sealed! Make your way to the city's borders and surrender!"
We ignored and continued moving through the darkness.
"You've no way. We are forced to cleanse you, and this city."
Eos and I dashed forward, faster. I saw the last stretch of buildings appear, marking the border of New Eden, and I saw the perimeter of soldiers move away. But as we neared the edge, dark and ominous objects appeared in the sky, heading towards the city.
"Go, Avis!" Eos yelled as the planes came closer and closer.
I sprinted forward, harder than I had ever run in my life. Soon I felt the ground beneath my feet turn to grass and then we were running through the fields beyond the city as simultaneous explosions erupted behind us, the deafening noise resonating towards us as fiery shockwaves raced out from the city, again and again, slamming into us and sending us hurtling into the ground. My face hit the ground, dirt spraying up everywhere as flaming debris rained down around me.
As I staggered to my feet, I saw ash flying through air, and I turned to see a blazing wall of fire surging towards us. Then I was being pulled forward and I was running again, my back feeling the scorching flames inch closer. We neared the mountain. Flames danced all around me, the trees were burning and devastation rampaged through the land. Smoke billowed out around us, the white ash flying around us as we ran. Suddenly another array of loud booms went off behind us, and the flames shot forward in a burst of speed.
And then, we reached Mount Kilimanjaro and Eos was throwing me up onto the mountain where we desperately scaled the rocky terrain, trying to avoid the unforgiving flames. I dug my dagger in and out of the mountain surface, climbing up as the fiery storms raced past the mountain, barely missing my feet as I felt its blistering heat go by. More deep booms erupted in the city as the planes made another way, sending the surging flames faster and higher. We climbed quicker and quicker, narrowly avoiding the bursts of flame as we scaled the gigantic mountain. After a long period of time the explosions began to cease, and Eos motioned for me to stop, and so we took up position on a small ledge in the mountain surface. She looked around the base of the mountain and then gestured me to continue upwards.
"They will be looking for us, we must go higher."
After long hours of climbing, we reached a high position on the mountain. I took a deep breath as Eos crouched down and surveyed the scene below. I moved up next to and stared down over New Eden. Nothing was there. All that was left was blackness. No buildings, no houses, not anything. The entire city had been burnt until naught remained but ash.
And then it dawned on me.
He was gone.
I collapsed and my vision began to go hazy, fading in and out as my ears rung. I felt myself screaming, crying in utter emotion as tears streamed down my face. Hands slid under my arms and lifted tme up, a voice shouting at me. I slipped in and out of consciousness, seeing the burnt city fade in and out, along with an army of figures charging towards the mountain, bullets flying past us as they stormed towards us. Soon I found myself sliding down the other side of the mountain, a figure next to me. We hit the ground and she picked me up, carrying me with her as she sprinted away from the mountain, into the dark forest ahead.
The last thing I heard was her voice.
"Avis, can you hear me? It's time to find out the truth. We're going to Asa."
Chapter 3 - Arctic CoreEdit
June 5th, 2145, Asa, Etaba Glacier (formely known as the Iodone Ice Shelf), the North Pole.
I placed my foot down and sunk a metre in the snow, struggling to hold my footing. The ice gripped my leg and I forced it through the heavy snow, shielding my eyes against the freezing winds that billowed overhead. "The First Civilization constructed this city over 77,000 years ago. But soon after its completion, its living conditions were rendered impossible due to major ice shifts and avalanches that wrecked the city."
I turned to Eos and shook my head in confusion.
"How did the First Civilization overlook that?"
"The landscape they built on was fine. No signs of unstable terrain of any sorts. But an earthquake erupted underwater, off the shore of the island the city was located on."
"And yet they did not see it coming?"
"No, because it should not have happened. The earthquake happened far from any tectonic plate border. There isn't a natural reason for it, or else the First Civilization would have predicted it."
I looked at her carefully.
Eos looked back at me, her face expressionless. "Someone caused the earthquake."
Soon we managed to find our way through the blizzard to a huge glacier, bordered by high, icy cliffs. Upon scaling them, we stared down over the kilometre long glacier, being met with a sight unlike anything I had ever seen. Thousands of years this city has sat, hidden from the world, unknown to society for millenia. It is one of the final remnants of a once great civilisation that now lies in ruins, encased in its cold, icy tomb.
Eos and I slid down the cliff face, warily making our way into the city. As we made our way through the dark streets, I began to take in what this city was really like.
The roads that weaved throughout its walls were cracked and frozen with ice. Buildings were nothing but ruins, broken and destroyed, fused together by clumps of frost. Craters of ice lined the city's streets, accompanied by giant crevasses that led to dark holes stretching deep into the ice. Blizzards raged throughout, impairing our vision and forcing us to shield our eyes from the snowstorm. Chunks of ice that clung to the sides of buildings cracked and smashed into streets below. The cold, hard snow covered almost every road, gripping to our feet like a web. The slower you went, the more energy it drained. Yet the faster you went, the more unstable the ice became.
This smallest nudge can bring an avalanche of unproportional scale. Asa could collapse at any moment.
Eos stared in awe at the frozen city as she trudged through the snow. "Look at this place.... Fifty-thousand people used to live here. Now it's a ghost town. I've never seen anything like it."
I turned to her. "It was them, wasn't it? The Templars?
She nodded. "Yes."
"Where do they operate from?"
"A small complex, built into a ice shelf nearby."
"Do you know where it is?"
"No. But I know how to find out, " she said, pointing to a colossal tower nearby.
I placed my hand on the cold, hard stone of the building and began to climb. The structure itself was coated in cracked ice, barely making climbing possible. Eos came up beside me and motioned to the tower's peak.
Most of the building was not intact - fissures stretched across its walls, creating giant cracks in the stone. The ice dominated the structure, forming gigantic shards stuck to the exterior of the building. As I looked around, I noticed this was not rare. The majority of the city was just the same.
Suddenly I heard a crack, and glanced up to see a giant pillar of ice break away from the tower and plummet towards me. Immediately my instinct kicked in and thrust myself against the surface of the building, narrowly avoiding the frozen ice as it brushed past me before smashing into the ground below, disintegrating into tiny shards. I caught my breath and carried on.
I placed my foot on a clump of ice, gradually moving up as I tested my weight. It was slippery, frosty, and extremely cold. Then, out of nowhere, the ice snapped apart and collapsed beneath my foot. My leg fell downwards and yanked on my arm, almost causing me to lose my grip.
I breathed deep and readjusted my hold on the building. Suddenly the ice my hand was clinging to cracked into pieces without warning, and I plunged down to the side of the tower, desperately trying to grab hold of something. I felt the sword glow rapidly on my back, and so I grabbed hold of it and drove it into the tower, penetrating the ice and bringing me to an abrupt halt. I panted, my breath forming white clouds in front of my face.
Suddenly the ice began to crack again, the area around my pulsing sword breaking apart. The sword began to come free, slowly dislodging itself from the wall. And then, as the ice finally came apart, the sword broke away the tower and was yanked from my hand, spiralling down to the icy ground below.
I felt myself falling, and then I was stopped. Looking up, I saw Eos, her hand gripping mine as she clung to the side of the tower. She cocked her head to the side and thrust me forward, allowing me to grasp a handhold and continue my ascent up the tower.
Soon we reached the summit, and looked out over the city of Asa. Eos stepped up to the ledge and scanned the area.
"There," she said, pointing to a mountain of ice on the other side of the city. "Do you see the glow emanating from it?"
I nodded. "Yes."
"There is a tunnel that leads there. We need to get there before the blizzard hits in full, " Eos said, now pointing to a dark cloud approaching from outside the city.
"We'd best be going then," I said.
"Jump!" Eos said, running forward and leaping off the side of the tower.
I sprinted forward and soared off the tower, aiming for the water below.
Chapter 4 - Endless ColdEdit
I hit the water and was instantly greeted by a wave of freezing liquid, feeling its icy grip clasp onto me. I pulled away and surfaced, seeing Eos climb out of the water onto the frozen streets of Asa. As she did so, however, the ice beneath her feet began to crack.
I looked on as it began a chain reaction, sending fissures straight towards the base of the tower. The frozen water that covered it broke apart, unbalancing the structure as its foundation smashed to pieces. A huge chunk of rock and ice suddenly appeared out of the mist. I leapt out of the water as it slammed down inches away from me. I threw myself onto the cold, hard ground as more pillars came flying down around me. I fell back onto the ground, then rolled to the side as a massive shard struck the ground beside me.
As the mist began to clear, I saw the whole tower itself begin to fall.
I scrambled to my feet as Eos grabbed my arm, pulling me away from the destruction as we sprinted away from the collapsing tower. Debris rained down around us as the whole building came apart, sending chunks of stone hammering down throughout the city streets. I turned around, seeing the tower plunging towards us. I moved faster and faster, feeling the massive vibration as the tower began to hit the ground. In a final, desperate attempt, I threw myself forward, landing on the ground as the final stones of the building struck the ground nearby. I breathed deep, looking over to see Eos climb to her feet.
"Brace yourself. The Templars will not let that go easily. This is their most sacred place on Earth, " Eos said as she looked at the collapsed tower behind us. "I will head straight to the tunnel into the Templar city, draw away as much off them as possible. Distract them so you can enter the city. But do not kill every one of those you encounter - it will raise too much suspicion from the city itself."
I nodded to her, and we both moved off into the night.
As I sneaked through the dark, cold city, fighting freezing winds and an incoming snowstorm, I noticed a number of Templar Forerunners emerge from the darkness, making their way through the city. One of them neared my position, so I stepped up behind a wall as he came by. I watched him as he walked past, taking in the basic attire of the Templars. But there were items that glowed from them. They were not regular people. Far from it.My ears pricked up as the sound of footsteps in the snow sounded nearby. I slowly lay myself down in the snow, camoflauging my body and holding my breath as the footsteps came closer. Light reached my eyes and I felt them pass by. I shook with anticipation, sensing the Templars searching through the streets. But they moved on, allowing me to carefully rise up from the snowy ground and disappear into the dim streets.
As I padded cautiously through the city, avoiding the investigating Templars, I saw a glow coming from within the ground. I stepped up to and peered down, seeing the glow intensify with my presence. Upon digging through the snow, I found a pulsing bow, lying next to a quiver of a single arrow. I picked up the bow, studying it, and realized it was from the time of the First Civilization. Its design had the markings of the original elders, not from those of modern times.
I placed the bow over my back along with the quiver and continued on, intrigued by the ancient history of this long forgotten city.
I scaled a nearby building to get a layout of the city, and realized that Eos was close to the tunnel that led to the Templar city. Following the long line of tight buildings, I freeran across the rooftops, evading Templar patrols. None of them bothered to look up. I leapt over a street dominated by multiple Templars, landing in a broken window frame and silently rolling through the room before leaping out the other side.
I dropped down and landed on the thick snow, quickly scanning the area for Templars. I realized I was near the outskirts of the city, next to the icy cliffs that surrounded Asa. Nearby, I saw Eos moving towards the glowing mountain, with multiple Templars investigating her position. I moved up behind them, noticing that Eos was coming into close proximity of a single Templar, who had flanked her.
I ran through the darkness, unsheathing a small dagger from my side and coming up behind him. I grabbed hold of him and brought the short sword down onto his chest, but it was deflected by an invisible forcefield. My arm was flung backwards and I stumbled backwards. The Forerunner turned and I saw a glowing ring glimmer on his finger.
The blizzard suddenly hit in full force and my vision became impaired by the inclement weather. I saw within the swirling mists a dark shadow move around to face me, and then the Templar leapt through the raging clouds towards me. In one quick movement, I pulled out my newly acquired bow and shot the single arrow at his chest. It struck him with such force that he staggered backwards, but did not fall. He came at me again, however, I found myself firing another arrow from the bow. And another, and another. As if they had appeared out of thin air.
The Templar was finally defeated, and I ran forward to retrieve the ring from his finger.
As I studied the ring, it became apparent to me that this was something from the first elders aswell. Something we had not seen for centuries.
"This is not from our time. I must find out who these people really are," I whispered to myself.
Chapter 5 - Red ShimmerEdit
I sprinted forward through the darkness, making my way to the remaining Templars before they could attack Eos.
Suddenly dark shadows formed around me in the blizzard, closing in fast, powerful glows emitted from their beings.
They had found me before I had found them.
I scanned the area, seeing the pulsing red hue throb from the figures. And then one of them held his arm up, sending rays of light piercing through the icy winds.
But there was nothing for its effect to find within me.
I charged forward to the Templar, knocking him to the ground and finishing him off quickly with my short sword.
I grabbed the object from his hand, realizing it was an Apple of Eden. But with strange designs, unfamiliar even to the elders of modern times. I raised the Apple as the others came forward. The closest one to me was hit by the artifact's effects and fell to his knees. The others kept coming, but the Apple dimmed. I was shocked, until, the pulsing light in the first Templar's head suddenly shot out, connecting to the others and forcing them to their knees.
It dawned on me that it had created a link between the neurotransmitters within their brains. This Apple needed a second to send its influence one individual, and then to all within its near and far proximity, through connecting the neurotransmitters.
"How on earth did they acquire this? And who built it? How long ago?" I said, staring in awe at the dimmed artifact.
Suddenly the Templars managed to break free of the artifact's influence and came at me, forming a circle to attack at once. I prepared myself for close quarter combat, but instead they did something else.
Two on either side of me pulled out advanced sidearms and fired multiple rounds. In quick response, I used the Apple to conjure a double wall on either side of me, blocking the bullets and absorbing the damage.
The last two came towards, and I rolled away from the first, then rolled again the evade the second. As I turned to face them, I saw that they had both come up in front of me, with their backs to a tall building. As they came forward, I held up the Apple, causing two glowing, golden figures to appear on the building's rooftop. As the Templar came towards me, the two illusions leapt down and took them out, before dissolving into thin air.
The Apple darkened again and I caught my breath. I scanned around me again, seeing the red hue evaporate from the Templars' bodies.
But there was still a glow coming from somewhere. I turned to see a final Templar fire at me through the darkness. I braced myself, but the bullet never reached me. It veered way off course and slammed into a nearby building. I felt the ring I had picked up earlier throb at my side as it did so. I looked back at the Templar through the mist, seeing his red glow come closer. But then, something blue appeared behind him. And then he was gone.
Eos stepped over the fallen Templar and nodded at me, before motioning to the tunnel leading to the Templar complex.
We made our way silently through the streets of Asa and into the tunnel, notcing the strange transition from rocky ice to smooth, advanced metal. Soon we reached the end, and we were met with a sight unlike any other.
The Templar city.
It was time for answers.
Part 3 - KnowledgeEdit
- "Like all the knowledge of our world, all will be revealed. Revealed when people are brave enough to search for it."
Chapter 1 - Just Like Old TimesEdit
June 12th, 2145, Headquarters of the Templar Forerunners, Etaba Glacier, North Pole
I crouched next to Eos in a dark alley, watching the activity stir on one of the many bridges that branched off the ice wall and into the city.
"There!" Eos whisphered, pointing to a prominent figure move through the crowds of people. "He is their leader."
"That is the same man who led the attack on New Eden, " I replied, trying to get a better look.
"If we can remove one of the Templars' most powerful figures so early on in their 'hidden crusade', it will deal a massive blow to their plans for the world."
"What do you propose?"
"It has been decades since we did such a thing."
"In modern day, assassinations are difficult. But sometimes old ways still work. A thousand years ago your ancestors would assassinate targets successfully because they knew everything about them. They would interrogate those who spoke out, steal documents leading to the target, share information amongst each other, and listen in on what the people said. And it worked. Every time."
I looked at her and nodded. "Alright. Where do we begin?"
"I will locate people who have an object to share about their leader, and find and speak to those who reject Templar authority. They may have something to share. As for you, I would suggest seeking out puppets of the Templars who fill the streets with propaganda about their masters. See what you can find out."
With that, she was off.
I moved out of the alleyway and headed for public areas, investigating the people there and listening out for preachers. It seemed mostly general banter, the majority of people talking about regular matters. But then I heard a name.
I turned my head to see a man move up behind a railing, addressing the crowd. I stepped forward and began to listen.
"He is our leader! The man will lead us to a better future, free of those 'elders'! Too long have we dealt with the superiority of our so called leaders. The Templars are not your enemy. They are your saviours!"
I held back my anger as the crowds move forward to listen to what the man was saying.
"Tomorrow at dusk, Senom will address the world, bringing about change and glory for not just our city, but the world. It is time for us live a new life! It is time for the new world order!"
"Is that all you know?" I whispered under my breath, before moving up to the man as he walked off.I followed him quietly as he moved through the crowds, keeping a stable distance from him to avoid suspicion. After a while, he turned and headed down a narrow street. I went after him, waiting until we were out of sight before striking. He turned as I kicked him in the chest, causing him to stumble backwards. He swung at me with his fist, so I quickly raised my arm to block his hand. He tried to hit me again with his other hand, but I ducked underneath his swing and grabbed him by the waist, picking him up and slamming him into the wall. He crumpled down onto the ground in pain.
"What do you want?" he said, grimacing.
I picked him back up and held him against the wall. "Tell me about the Templars. Where did they come from? What do they plan?"
He groaned. "Most of them come from your time - people who were sick of life under the elders. But the leaders of the Order are direct descendants of hybrids who lived here during the time of the first elders."
"What?! How is that possible?"
"I don't know, but this city has evolved over tens of thousands of years. They've kept their existence here secret."
"And what about the Templars we defeated in 2045?"
"They thought that these people were just a legend. They knew of their story, but did not believe it. But the Templars here emerged when the others failed. They revived their world vision of peace."
"How long has this gone on?"
"And the one you call Senom?"
"He is the Templar Grand Master. The one who oversaw the siege on New Eden. He is one of the most powerful Templars in the world. He comes from the founding members of the Templars. A direct descendent. And he is a hybrid."
"His ancestors were hybrids who fought in the ancient war. They have been here since."
"And these?" I held up the strange Apple and the glimmering ring.
"Artifacts. Original ones. Directly from the First Civilization. They possess even the most advanced objects that the gods owned, ones that surpass the so-called Pieces of Eden that you destroyed so long ago."
"Thank you. Now, there is one last thing I need."
With that, I drove my short sword into his chest and he was gone.
Someone dropped down beside me and I turned to see Eos.
"What did he have to say?" she asked.
"These Templars come from the time of the first elders - possessing the gods' most advanced artifacts. However, most of them are from our time, and were converted to the Templars' ideology. Senom is their leader, a direct descendent of the founding Templars."
"The informant I spoke to said that the Templars are currently undertaking an operation to wipe 'clean' the cities of the world by tapping into Templar civilians planted there and gaining control of the city from the outside. And it is working. Much of the world is falling to their influence."
"How..." I sighed, frustrated at the reach of the Templars.
"I also managed to take this from someone within the crowds - a letter addressed to Senom himself."
She pulled out a document, unfolded it and handed it to me.
I began to read:
Grand Master Senom
Your reach has expanded throughout much of the world's cities, and our large numbers of faithful citizens has allowed us to take strong control over the government.
Although the majority of the world's people are neutral, they can be manipulated easily. As we had done in the 1900s and 2000s, we can influence media flow to people so their minds can think in a way that supports our cause, without them realizing. Keep them all in the same mindset and they will be no trouble.
However, we have encountered a serious problem. There are those who are aware of our presence, but do not share our motives. Ones who were actually supportive of those damn elders. Believers in freedom of choice. I fear they may be inclined to the ways that this world suffered through for so many years. You must get rid of them, or the people will realize there is a choice in how to live, and our plans to show them the true ways of the world will be lost.
May the Father of Understanding guide us.
I looked over at Eos, and handed her back the letter.
"We must remove Senom, Avis, " she said. "Or else the people will lost hope."
"The man I interrogated said he will appear tomorrow at dusk."
"Good. See if you can listen in on the people's conversations. They might reveal the location."
I nodded and departed, making my way to a crowded area.
I scanned the crowd, analysing the people there. Nobody stood out, except for two people near a fountain. A shiny, white hue pulsed from them, so I moved to a bench nearby and sat down, straining my ears to hear what they said.
"The Templars have made good progress over the past few weeks, liberating the cities from elder influence."
"But not all of the citizens share our beliefs. Some refuse."
"They are in the minority. The Templars will oppress them into accepting our ways."
"And those who did not pick a side?"
"They will deal with our system just the same. After all, it is necessary for peace."
"What does Senom say in response to this?"
"He will address our society at the east bridge, tomorrow evening. He has always had a plan. The eyes of the world will be on him."
"We had best prepare then."
With that, they were off. I stood up from the bench and made my way through the crowd, eyeing the east bridge into the city. If Senom planned the address the populace, then I would be there.
Chapter 2 - An Assassin's BladeEdit
The crowds were huge as the massed in front of the east bridge, waiting for the speech of Senom. I clung the the icy cliffs below the bridge, gradually making my way up from the deep crevasse below. As I moved towards the east bridge, I heard cheers erupt and turned to see a tall figure stride out.
"My brothers and sisters! The time is now at hand to change the world. Change it for the better."
I shook my head in utter distaste.
"Our influence has stretched across the world. Those who follow us spread our message to all, allowing us to take control of governments and bring about this change. But there are men and women in the world who do not think as we do."
There were cries of outrage as he said this.
"But fear not! For they will be saved from their ignorance."
I glanced up and saw Eos crouched a rooftop nearby, watching the scene before her. She turned and nodded at me, a silent message passing between us. She would keep the Templars away while I made my way to Senom.
"They may support the idea of freedom!" He spat at the word, then continued. "But they will be reminded of the true ways of the world. Because their precious elders are gone, and with them the false idea of free will."
I inched my way across the treacherous icy cliffs towards Senom. It was tough, and the ice pricked deep into the palms of my hands. But I moved closer and closer to the bridge.
"As of the coming weeks, our new government will enforce laws to prevent this disobedience. Soon all the world will be cleansed."
I reached the top of the cliff and began to manoeuvre my way towards the east bridge. I grabbed hold the railings and brought my feet up.
"Our ideology is one of order, a necessity to preserving life and preventing conflict. When the elders came about, they gave people freedom, but it lead to unrest within civilization. And this caused us to take action."
"What are you talking about, Senom?" I said quietly to myself.
"We did not invade and conquer the world against its will. We listened to the people's cries for balance, and stepped in to help them in their quest for equality. To be rid of those 'gods' who claimed to be their leaders, just as we did so many years ago!"
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It can't be true.
"The people were about to revolt themselves. Rebel against their masters who saw themselves as superior. Intellectuately 'better'. We only gave them what they needed to accomplish this."
"We, the Templar Order, have come forth as your saviors, to rid the world of the ignorant and naive, and save it from itself!"
I gritted my teeth, swung myself across to the centre of the bridge where Senom stood. He had his back to me, addressing the crowd.
"And so, with humanity behind us, we will usher in the dawn of a new world order!" he cried triumphantly as the crowd roared its approval.
I slid over the railing, came up behind Senom and stabbed him through the back with my short sword, instantly silencing him.
Chapter 3 - Words of a TemplarEdit
The crowd fell dead silent as Senom buckled to his knees and collapsed. Everything else fazed out as I held the dying Templar, hearing his last words.
"Ahh, the defiant one returns."
I stayed silent.
"Why do you do this?" he croaked.
"You speak of salvation, but you were condemning them to oppression."
"Is that not for the better? Humanity would run free, damaging the world and each other if we did not enforce control."
"People should be able to think as they believe. You cannot punish someone just because they do not think as you do."
"And then when the world falls to pieces, and its people damned to a society that cannot be repaired, can you truly think that?"
I did not speak.
"Humanity is an unstable species, " he said. "It is who we are."
I shook my head. "No. We are what we choose to be."
"Listen to you. Such naivety. Do you not see what the elders have done? They gave people freedom, but it caused only imbalance. You know that humanity dislike the rule of the elders. You knew for a long time. And only now has it begun to take form. We simply gave them the means, the resources, the support."
"You say that you wanted to eliminate superiority, and yet you act as though you are superior to the elders."
"In this time, in these matters, in this situation, that is the truth."
"More an opinion than the truth!"
"Better we spread our opinion than another!"
"No! Your opinion should be not enforced! All should believe what they wish!"
"And there we are, back at the core of our ancient conflict. We think that the risks from freedom overpowers the risk of losing freedom. And you think that the threat of losing freedom overpowers the risks from it."
"Then I will fight you until you respect humanity's right to freedom of choice."
"You cannot defeat us. We will rise again. All we need is someone to light the flame, and our ideology is reborn. We will take control of Earth. We will eradicate the legacy of the elders and its followers. And then we will have our new world."
"No. And so long as my brothers and sisters and I breathe, you will fail."
"We'll see about that," he said, before finally passing on.
I stood up and faced the crowd, still in shocked silence as their leader lay dead at my feet. I stepped onto the railing and stared out over the populace. And then, as the Templars charged towards me, and the world screamed its total disapproval at me, I raised my hood to my head and dove off the edge.
Chapter 4 - Forgotten RefugeEdit
I splashed down into the water below and swam quickly to the side, climbing out of the lake and sprinting off into the dark city. The Templars surged throughout, blocking streets and herding the panicked crowds together. As I navigated through the tight alleywalls, I saw Eos waiting for me at the rooftops.
I turned a corner and was met with a huge blockade of Templars aiming firearms at me. They yelled out commands of retreat and surrender, but I was beyond such things. I walked forward and activated the Apple for a split second, sending a spark into one Templar, which then shot out all at once, immediately placing the others under its effect. All the Templars fell to their knees in anguish and I stepped past, continuing on my way.
I saw the massive crowds up ahead, everyone bustling and shoving amidst the chaos. I slipped into the fray and let myself be absorbed by the environment. My sight could not see beyond the crowds of people, so I scanned through them to find a blue path lighting up. I followed it through the crowd, eventually leading me to Eos' position.
She jumped down and yelled to me above the crowd's uproar. "We need to get out of this city! Back to Asa! The blizzard will mask us enough so that we can escape. There is a structure there, ancient and old, but still active. Follow me!"
I sprinted alongside Eos as we tried to shake off Templar guards, racing across the slippery, icy bridges that stretched from the ice shelf into the city. The Templars fired at us, forcing me to use the Apple to conjure temporary shields against them. We reached the edge, ducking as multiple bullets slammed into the ice above us. We were showered in shards of ice as the wall blew outwards from the force of the bullets.
Eos attempted to smash the ice as I used the Apple to fend off the Templars. I managed to create an illusion of a pillar of ice that I used to smash through the bridge and separate us from the Templars. But they still fired at us, so I forged another illusion, that of copies of myself that spawned on the other side of us, pushing the Templars back.
"I am through! Avis, come on!" Eos suddenly shouted, breaking through the ice.
I thrust the Apple in the air and caused golden illusions of shards of ice to rain down over the Templars, distracting them so we can escape through the makeshift tunnel of ice.
Eos and I stepped out into Asa once more, being met with full force of the blizzards that raged throughout the ancient city.
I followed Eos through the swirling winds, fighting against the snowstorm and avoiding the ever advancing Templars.
"There! Half-submerged in the snow beneath that tower!" she shouted.
I looked to see a building, round in shape and built of strange stone with ancient carvings. As we neared it, they began to glow, sending a teal glow light up along its exterior.
"Is that....one of the temples?" I asked her as we neared the building.
"Yes. It is the reason these Templar Forerunners still live."
Eos stopped in front of the building and cleared away the snow. As she did so, I snapped into my sixth sense and scanned the area. Through the dark blizzard, I saw red figures advancing, seeking us through the inclement winds.
I turned back to the temple to see the final layer of snow disappear. Eos glowed a dark blue hue, and the temple itself throbbed a deep golden colour. I snapped out of my extra sense and stepped up to the temple door.
I placed my hand on the door, and immediately it glowed in response, lighting up to form a Pythagorean triangle. With that, it gradually began to rise up, exposing the interior of the temple. Eos and I hurried inside and the door dropped down shut behind us, blocking out the raging winds and the vengeful Templars.
I walked down the pathway that lined the temple, looking around at the vast and advanced architecture of the First Civilization. This temple was lined with walls covered in prophetic messages, depicting scenes from the war they waged with early humans, their efforts to solve the catastrophe, and the history of their civilization.
The temple was divided into three rooms, two on the side of the main pathway, and one central room at the back. The walls on the side were empty, only containing dimmed pedestals. The central room too, however, there was something there that glowed, brighter and different from the general glow of the temple.
I made my way along the pathway and picked up the glowing object, turning it over in my hands. It was round, like a disc, but very thin and covered in strange symbols.
"It is a memory seal. Used to record memories directly from the individual, " Eos said.
I began to speak, but I was overwhelmed by a flash of light and then a wave of golden energy as I was transported to another reality.
Chapter 5 - Frozen TruthEdit
75000 BC, Asa, Iodone Ice Shelf, the North Pole.
The Templar Forerunner ran across the rooftops, using the Apple fend back the advancing gods and their human allies. His Templar brothers did the same, conjuring dangerous illusions with their own artifacts to fight back their attackers. He looked up to the sky and saw fiery clouds forming above. Thunderclaps rolled across the sky, an aurora glimmering over the horizon, accompanied by roars of fire as the world began to shake uncontrollably.
He looked back at one of companions, seeing him nod towards a solid structure, pulsing with light and standing untouched as everything else around it fell to pieces.
They reached the temple and quickly began to open the door, using the effects of the Apple while battling flaming debris. As the door slid open, one of the gods leapt forward and landed in front of them, fighting off the Templars. He knocked the Apple from the Templar's hand and sent it flying into the temple where it exploded. A shockwave rippled through, but most of the Templars evaded the blast. The god vanished within the explosion, but as the blazing firestorm burnt its way through the city towards them, the Templars' only focus was getting inside the temple. They dove inside the temple walls and and climbed to their feet as the heat around them intesified.
And then, just as the fires surged directly at the temple, the door shut and the Templars were plunged into darkness. The sound of fire blaring past them sounded outside, the walls of the temple holding out against the devastation.
There eleven of them, equipped with the most advanced weaponry taken from the First Civilization. Pieces of Eden, they were called, but unlike the most commonly known ones. They were modified, designed to effect even those that had no neurotransmitter, through creating a illusional effect of a neurotransmitter from someone else.
The leader spoke. "The Templars themselves will see our ideology brought upon the world. And although our existence will be fazed out in time as a myth, we will always be here. To revive our Order should it ever fail."
The others nodded in agreement.
"We may be of human blood, but we do not see things the same way they do. Freedom is not for the betterment. Their so called war for justice will only condemn them to a world of conflict and unrest. And so that is why we are here, today. That is why we founded this order. Humans and their gods cannot live together in peace, lest one controls the other. For we are the Forerunners of the Templar Order, and we know the truth."
The Templars raised their weapons and formed an equal armed cross on the floor of the temple. And then everything dissolved.
June 12th, 2145, Asa, Etaba Glacier, North Pole.
The vision ended abruptly and I found myself standing back in the temple, with Eos watching me carefully.
"They are more powerful than the world thinks," I said.
Eos nodded. "This seal holds evidence to their existence. You must keep it safe."
"Then we should go. Back to society. Those who still are not controlled by the Templars must see this!"
Eos sighed and turned away. "Then go."
"The Templars might be cruel and oppressive, but there is truth to their words."
"What do you mean?"
"'Humans and their gods cannot live together in peace, lest one controls the other'," she said, looking back at me.
I stared at her, beginning to shake my head.
"Unless my kind rules yours as slaves, there is no place for us here. I will leave. It is for the best."
"No! Do not say such things," I yelled back.
I didn't want to accept what she was saying.
"Head back to civilization and confront the Templars. You know that not everyone in the world will believe what they do."
I sighed angrily, but nodded my head. She was right.
Eos placed her hand on my shoulder and nodded, smiling.
"Safety and peace be upon you, Avis," she said, and walked off down the path.
She opened the temple door and vanished into the snowstorm.
I was alone in the temple, hearing nothing but the quiet, gentle hum of the building and the powerful winds swirling outside.
Part 4 - MemoryEdit
- "I will go to where my ancestors lived, and died. The places where our Order achieved its most powerful victories, and dealt with its most devastating defeats. Maybe they will show me the way. Pave a path forward through the darkness, so that I might come closer to the light."
- ―Avis, during her journey back from Asa.
Chapter 1 - Mentor's TombEdit
January 11th, 2146, Masyaf, Orontes Valley, Syria.
I walked silently through the empty village, looking up at the giant fortress of the Assassins.
It was here that our Order first became public, expanding its influence across the Holy Land. Here it was reborn, shaped into the organization that survived countless decades of the Templars' relentless pursuit. And all of this was possible, due to the wisdom and guidance left behind by the great Altaïr.
As I stepped through the overgrown grass, making my way through the small village houses to the historic castle, I felt my mind begin to see the world in a different way. My vision snapped into an advanced form, and I saw the history of Masyaf unfold before me. Visions and voices appeared, showing me the memories that this place holds.
Fighting raged throughout the village, and it was now sunny and bright. A man struggled against to soldiers, but was saved by a hooded person who rode in on horse. The hooded person helped the man over to a bench.
"What is your name, brother?"
"Altaïr. Son of Umar."
I turned around and saw the sky darken as night fell. A fire burned nearby, with a few men sitting around it as an old man with dark brown robes came up to them.
"He is our Mentor! And unlike Al Mualim or Altaïr, he never betrayed us!"
"Nonsense! Altaïr was no traitor. He was driven out. Unjustly."
"Is it....is it you? I heard the rumours, but I did not believe them."
"I wonder if I might speak to Abbas myself. It has been a long time."
I turned away and continued moving up towards the castle, passing by a tall tower. I saw light glowing powerfully from it, and many people lying in anguish on the ground as a single man scaled the tower.
"Have you anything to teach us? Or would you lead us all to ruin?"
I made my way into the castle courtyard and into the main keep. Much of the interior was gone, but the memories were not. I saw a hooded figure step forward into the keep, with the entire Order behind him. His enemy yelled at him, by the figure did not stand down.
"You corrupted everything we stand for, and lost everything we gained. All of it, sacrificed on the altar of your own spite."
"And you, you have wasted your life staring into that Apple, dreaming of your own glory."
"That is true, Abbas. I learned many things from the Apple. Of life and death, of the past and the future. Let me show you..."
Suddenly there was a bang and cloud of smoke, and then the vision ended.
I looked up the stairway and saw the same hooded figure, a younger man this time, meet with his master.
"Before you go, I have a question for you."
"What is the truth?"
"We place faith in ourselves. We see the world the way it really is, and hope that one day all mankind might see the same."
"What is the world, then?"
"An illusion. One that we can either submit to, as most do, or transcend."
"What is it to transcend?"
"To recognize nothing is true and everything is permitted. That laws arise not from divinity but reason. I understand now that our Creed does not command us to be free. It commands us to be wise."
I glanced around the castle, seeing a hole broken through the left wall. Intrigued, I followed it down to the castle chambers, and into a large open area. There, I found another hole, seemingly created via an explosion.
But as I used my sixth sense to see into the area's history, I saw an ancient door materialize. With it, an old man and his aging son.
"It must stay hidden, Darim! Far from eager hands. At least until it has passed on the secret it contains."
"Go, son. Go be with your family. And live well."
"All that is good in me, began with you, father."
The old man embraced his son and then shuffled back behind the door as it closed. His son raised his left arm up across his chest, and then departed.
I stepped through the broken hole and made my way down into Altaïr's library.
I saw him, as an old man, carry a box through the library as he extinguished the torches lighting the underground structure. With it, I heard voices from his past.
"In much wisdom is much grief. And he that increaseth knowledge, increaseth sorrow."
"What does it tell you? What do you see?"
"Strange visions and messages. Of ones who came before, of their rise, and their fall."
"But what happens to us, Altaïr? To our family! What does the Apple say?"
"Who were the ones who came before? What brought them here? How long ago?"
"Get rid of that thing!"
"This is my duty, Maria! Maria? Where...where are you? Where is she?!"
"Gone, father. You do not remember? She's gone!"
"If you are asked, say that I sent the Apple away. Tell them I sent it to Cyprus or Cipango or that I dropped it into the sea. Tell them anything to keep men away from this place. This Apple must not be found, not until the time right."
I turned and saw an aging man in grey robes walk towards the middle of the library.
"No books....no wisdom....Just you, fratello mio. Requiescat in pace, Altaïr."
As this vision ended, the library darkened and I found myself standing alone, in front of the chair that once sat, for one final time, the leader of the Assassins.
I crouched down and placed my left arm across my chest. "Rest in peace, Mentor."
Chapter 2 - Italian EagleEdit
June 24th, 2146, Florence, Italy.
It's been almost seven months since the siege.
Every city, every country, every continent has oame under the government of the Templars.
An order we thought we had defeated, yet they rise again.
They changed everything, they way we live, the way we are. Brought a world shaped in an image more pleasing to them.
People are identical figures in a Templar workforce that oppresses them day by day.
The worst part is that they do nothing.
They aided these Templars when they first took over, and now accept this New World without question. Gladly giving away freedom. Any resistance is met swiftly with forceful submission.
Their power comes not from an enhanced satellite, or tracking chips, but the original artifacts used by the First Civilization many thousands of years ago.
The Assassins gradually disbanded following the war that ended in 2045. All of the people who fought were civilians, and when victory was achieved, they went back to their normal lives. The Assassins no longer exist.
It was only Mahkah and myself, and now he is gone.
I am all that is left.
But the Templars cannot rewrite history, for it flows through us. We are history.
So I have traveled to Florence, the place of birth, and of death, of the great Mentor Ezio Auditore.
I reached a piaza and looked around, seeing the world forming into a different reality.
Three people were standing, with nooses around their necks as the crowd roared, a lone man in hood struggling desperately as the executioner yelling out their crimes.
Then they dropped.
The lone man cried out and rushed forward.
But he was grabbed by guards and held back.
"I'll kill you for what you've done!"
The vision ended, but another one appeared nearby. I noticed a bright white light pulse from a Renaissance style courtyard nearby. I moved towards it, seeing the world around me change. The cars and roads disappeared, replaced by different people and more buildings.
I saw the hooded figure make his way through the crowds, lock onto a man in the centre and sprint up to him, stabbing him multiple times in the chest."The Auditore are not dead. I'm still here. ME! Ezio! Ezio Auditore!"
The vision dissolved and I was back in modern times.
I turned back to the piaza and saw the hooded figure, now an older man, make his way through the crowd towards a man in robes tied to a flaming post. The hooded man leapt up and stabbed him, ending his life before the flames could deliver a worse death. He jumped down and addressed the crowd, who were in uproar.
"Twenty-two years ago I stood where I stand now, and watched my loved ones die. Betrayed by those I had called friend. Vengeance clouded my mind. It would has consumed me, were it not for the wisdom of a few strangers, who taught me to look past my instincts. They never preached answers, but guided me to learn for myself."
He placed his right arm across his chest as he said this, and then spoke again.
"We don't need anyone to tell us what to do. Not Savanarola, not the Medici. We are free to follow our own path. There are those who will take that freedom from us, and too many of you gladly give it. But it is our ability to choose, whatever you think is true, that makes us human. There is no book or teacher to give your the answers, to show you the path. Choose your own way. Do not follow me, or anyone else."
With that, he jumped down off the pyre and made his way through the crowd, who parted as he walked past.
The vision changed to a bright sunny day, with the hooded man now old and retired. He coughed as he walked with his wife and daughter to a market. His wife helped him sit down on a bench, the man knowing he was in his final moments.
"You should have stayed at home," his wife said.
"I am home," he smiled.
Chapter 3 - A Scratched LifeEdit
August 12th, 2146. Davenport Homestead, Massachusetts, United States.
The sun shone brightly over the forest as I made my way through the trees. The sky was clear and there was no sign of civilization. Except for a crumbling building that stood abandoned on top of a hill nearby.
I headed towards it, following an overgrown path that had not been walked for decades. The trees began to clear as I walked up the hill, coming to a stop in front of manor itself.
The home of Ratonhnhaké:ton, the lone Assassin who took down the entire Templar Order in America. He aided a revolution, but lost his people in the process. From his experience, I now realize now that nothing is ever completely true or right or fair. There is always two sides to every story.
The manor was constructed from crimson red bricks and wood and plaster painted white outlining the structure. As I moved through the tall grass and onto the path, I felt the history began to flow. I activated my extra sense and saw the visions begin to form.
A young man dressed in Native American attire walked up to the manor. He knocked on the door and waited. An old man yanked it opened and growled at him.
"Um..I...I was told you could train me," the young boy said.
"No," the old man said, slamming the door shut in his face.
The young boy did not give up and knocked again.
"Go away!" the old man yelled.
"I'm not leaving!"
Rain began to pour down, forcing the young boy to take shelter in the stables nearby. Suddenly the vision sped up, and soon it was daytime again. I followed the vision of the young boy to the back of the manor, seeing him knock on the back door and be sent away by the old man again.
"I'm coming up!" he said, climbing up to the manor's balcony. "Just hear me out! What are you so afraid of?"
The old man swung open the door and walked up behind the young boy, tripping him up with his walking stick and telling him of the fate to befall him should he stay the course he was on.
"The world's moved on, boy. Best you do too."
But the young boy was defiant.
"I will not leave! Do you hear me? I am NEVER leaving!"
The memory dissolved and I was back at the broken down manor, the sun shing through the cracks and holes in the walls. I explored the building and found stairs that led to a basement beneath the house. I scanned the area, seeing history begin to appear again.
The young boy accompanied the old man down the stairs and to the centre of the basement. He slid on the wite and blue robes placed there, as the old man placed his hand proudly on the boy's shoulder.
"You've your tools and training. Your targets and goals. And now you have your title. Welcome to the Brotherhood, Connor."
The vision faded away, but I sensed it forming again. I hurried up the stairs to see the young boy, now a man, walk over to the front door and open it. A man, dressed in an outfit from the Kanien'kehá:ka was there.
The two men spoke, discussing the presence of colonists on their people's land. The man wearing the white robes grew angry as his friend told him of their situation. The old man came up to them as the man's friend handed him an axe. The man in white took the axe and buried it in one of the manor's posts out front.
"What have you done?!" the old man said.
The man in the white robes turned to him and spoke. "When my people go to war, a hatchet is buried in a post to signify its start. When the threat has ended, the hatchet is removed."
The three men disappeared and the vision changed, moving towards a room nearby. I followed it, stepping into the room. I saw the man in white walk in, seeing the old man sitting still in a chair with a rolled up note in his hand.
The old man did not move.
"Achilles," he said, shaking him slightly.
But the old man still did not move. The man in white took the note from his mentor's hand, reading what was written. And then and there, it dawned upon him that the old man had passed on.
The vision dissolved into streaks of colour and light that sped away through the manor's windows, towards the cliffside where three tombstones stood. I followed them, seeing the man in white standing there, digging as the final words of his mentor echoed in his memory.
The visions changed again, and I saw the world around me morph to a dark, rainy day as a group of people stood around the newly dug grave, as a final statement was made about the old man. The people there all dropped a flower into the grave and left, but the man in white remained. He stepped up to the grave and dropped a feather, which drifted down into the grave.
"I will make you proud old man."
The vision swirled and changed once more, the sun now shining brightly as the man in white dug a hole nearby. He clutched his side as he took out a ring-shaped amulet. He held it over the hole and let go, watching it fall into the ground, not to be seen again for centuries.
The memory began to dissipate, moving towards the manor before it took form again. I hurried after it, watching it move down the stairs and back into the basement. I looked on as the man in the white robes gathered up portraits of men from the wall nearby and head towards the stairs. Before he went up, however, he paused, looking around at the basement. Then he turned back and made his way up the stairs. I followed him up, seeing him walk to the fireplace and drop the paintings inside.
He tended to the fire quietly as he stood and watched the portraits burn.
The man then moved over the front door and stepped outside. He turned and saw the hatchet, still buried in the post. He grabbed hold of it, stopping for a moment as he looked around at the beautiful environment around him, the sun shining brightly over the forests, the world full of life. Then he turned back to the post and pulled the hatchet free. He stood, looking around one last time before letting the hatchet go. It dropped onto the ground as the man in white walked off down the path.
And then vision vanished and I was pulled back to reality. The manor, abandoned and broken, stood behind me as I began walking off down the hill.
However, as I made my way down into the forest, I saw a flagpole next to the manor. Atop it was a old flag, made of white, blue and green, with golden stars arranged in a circle.
It flew proudly above the homestead.
Chapter 4 - A Bird's Grand MeadowEdit
October 10th, 2146. Saint Louis Cathedral, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.
The moon shone brightly over the darkened city as I made my way to the cathedral.
Now over a year since the siege, the world had handed itself over to the Templars.
But my beliefs are not lost. Here, I have come to remember a lone Assassin, who eradicated the entire Templar Order singlehandedly.
As I stepped up to the cathedral doors, I sensed the history began to appear, and so I snapped into my sixth sense and looked around. The world changed rapidly, its buildings devolving back into 18th century architecture, cars disappearing as different people began to walk the streets.
A woman, dressed in dark robes with a beaked hat pulled over her head stepped up to the cathedral and opened the doors. She slipped inside as I quickly followed her.
I walked into the cathedral, seeing groups of soldiers standing watch as the woman stepped up to a person dressed in black and red garb. I moved up to them, watching carefully. The woman held up a necklace. "I have done as you asked. He is dead."
"And the disk?"
The woman reached down and pulled out a strange artifact, rounded with ancient symbols depicted on it. She handed the disk to the person, who took it and placed in on an altar. Then she turned back to the woman in dark robes and spoke.
"Do you swear to uphold the principles of our order and all that for which we stand?"
"To never share our secrets nor divulge in the true nature of our work?"
"And to do so from now until death, whatever the cost?"
The woman in black and red spread her arms wide. "Then I welcome you into our arms, sister. Together we will usher in the dawn of a New World. One in which our hands will ensure that all things find their proper place."
She stepped forward to the woman in dark robes. "My daughter, you are one of us now... May the father of understanding guide us."
The woman repeated the words. "May the father of understanding guide us."
The woman in the black and red attire stepped up to the altar and gazed into the disk. But the messages it displayed were scrambled and blurred. The ligh emanating from the disk flashed on and off as jumbled up voices were heard from within. The woman, angry and frustrated, slammed her fist into the artifact.
"It does not work! Why can't I understand? It cannot be. I refuse to believe it! All these wasted years..A lifetime of sacrifice and-- We have all the pieces, I am certain of it. Unless..."
She turned around as the woman in dark robes flicked out her hidden blades.
Suddenly the vision disintergrated into swirls of colour and shot out towards the balcony, before forming again as I chased after it. The woman wearing the beaked hat assassinated the other woman, who now lay against the railing.
"Why?" she asked.
The other woman looked down at her. "You can blame Chichen Itza on de Ferrer, but I see through you."
""Daughter."" she said, laughing, before her face grew serious. "Only two people can call me that. You banished one, and sacrificed the other."
She reached down, and then suddenly stood back up. "Foxglove. You killed my father with your "care" and your tonic. Why? Because he never truly loved you? And Jeanne, my mother. You stole her child, sent her away. You kept her enslaved even after my father had freed her. And now you attempt to return me to that fate."
"In the service of humanity!" the other woman replied. "In Work, the purpose for which you were created. We were created! The highest purpose."
But the woman in the dark robes was defiant. "I. Will. Not. Serve. You."
"No!" the woman cried as the Assassin's blade was driven into her chest.
The vision dissolved slowly and moved back down towards the altar, changing one last time. I leapt off the railing and watched as the woman in dark robes stepped up to the disk and connected a locket to the centre of the artifact.
The blue light from within flowed out, as holographic figures appeared above the altar, accompanied by voices, their message now clear.
"Eve will lead us through the war of generations."
"There will be great sacrifice, great sorrow, to end the enslavement of the human race."
The Assassin watched intently, confused but intrigued.
"Now is the time to claim our freedom. Are you with us?"
"Eve will lead us."
"Eve will lead us."
The disk glowed powerfully one last time, then the message ended and it darkened.
And with it, so too went the vision of the woman in dark robes.
Her story gone but not forgotten.
Chapter 5 - Modern AssassinEdit
December 21st, 2146, Grand Temple, Turin, New York, USA
We all live today because of one man. His sacrifice is the reason that life goes on. And so, he is the last Assassin I have come to remember.
I walked across the grassy plains, the trees swaying gently in the breeze as the sun shone brightly over the land. Ahead of me was a large cave, with a deep, dark entrance looming above me.
My sixth sense kicked in and I snapped into my secondary vision, scanning the area and taking in its knowledge and history. I felt the world move back in time, slowly stopping after a hundred years or so.
A white van parked nearby, and four people jumped out. An aging man with a small beard dressed in a brown coat, a woman with black hair and dressed in computing attire, another man wearing glasses and a sweater, and last of all, a dark-haired man wearing a white hooded jumper. They gathered up equipment and made their way towards the cave. I followed them from a distance, watching the pulsing vision of the people move into the depths of the cave.
Soon, they reached a large, half-buried door lodged into the cave. It was ancient and covered in a mix of advanced text, cave paintings and modern graffiti. The man in the white jumper walked up to it and pulled out a glowing Apple, placing it in a small keyhole. The door lit up and began to slid open as the man wearing glasses began to speak
"In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again."
The four people made their way into the temple, the man in the white jumper leading the way. They navigated through narrow tunnels as I silently followed the vision. I followed them all the way to the main area, the enormous cavern abandoned and empty, dotted by ancient machinery and devices. The man in white looked down and picked up a glowing artifact, seeing where it was to go, and placed it within a small slot. It instantly reacted, sending flowing amounts of power throughout the temple, lighting up advanced mechanisms and created an interior glow that pulsed throughout the temple, finally linking to a tall archway and forming a glowing holographic door with a blinking circle contaning Pythagorean triangle in its centre.
Then the vision I saw before me began to speed up, and I watched intently as the world played around me. Everyone but the man in white explored the temple and worked on devices, as he himself was inside an Animus, leaving every now and then, returning with two more power sources. And then, I realized the man in the brown coat was no longer there, and the memory began to slow down and focus on one area. I moved over to it, seeing the woman with black hair turn around.
"Something's happened Desmond... Abstergo has your dad."
"Italy, " The man wearing glasses said. "Same place they were holding you."
The man in the white jumper hopped off the Animus and immediately headed for the exit.
"What are you two waiting for? Let's go."
The black-haired woman spoke. "There's more."
The man in white moved over to the computer, watching a message play, his face growing more serious as he saw it. When it was finished, he left. I watched the memory fast-forward, and then suddenly the people were back, this time with the man in the brown coat. He talked to the man in white briefly, before the man in white climbed back into the Animus.
After this, the vision dissolved into a single streak, which slowly glided through the air towards another area of the temple. I hurried after it, ducking under a low doorway and following it up broken stairs and onto a small landing. It stopped and reformed, the man in white appearing again as he watched his own vision. He looked on, puzzled and growing angry. As the person from his revelation finished speaking, the man in the brown coat was heard from below.
But the man in white was frustrated. "I'm tired of it. All the cryptic warnings. The threats. Just tell us what you want!"
"But they are..." the man in the brown coat said. ""We saw the Nephilim there. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them." Imagine trying to explain all of this to a two year old. To a grasshopper. When they said the will of the gods was unknownable - they meant it. Literally."
The man in white looked down. "I killed her, you know. I killed Lucy."
"It was the Apple, son. It was Juno."
"I saw what she was. What would happen if I let her live. I could have stopped myself. I mean...there was a force there. But I didn't have to. I chose to."
"Lucy was going to betray us and take the Apple back to Abstergo. I saw the satellite launch. I saw them turn it on. And then.... it failed..."
He turned and pointed in the direction of door in the main cavern. "Whatever's on the other side of that door - it benefits Juno. We need to be careful."
The visioned moved again, and I followed it back to the main cavern. The black-haired woman looked at her computer screen, confused.
"I'm telling you, there's something down here..."
"Don't be daft, " said the man wearing glasses.
"I don't know... Maybe they were sleeping or something and we woke them. Some kind of...cryogenics. Or hibernation. I mean, how the hell do we know what they were doing down here?"
The man in white walked up. "They were working on a bunch of different solutions. But nothing worked. Just went from one to the next. And then I don't know. They must have left at some point. After the end."
"I wonder what the world would be like if they'd succeeded."
"I'm more concernered about what it will be like if we don't," the man wearing glasses said.
Suddenly a voice was heard. "..salvation..they found a way...too late for them...but not for you...sealed..to protect it..though now it bars your way...find the key...the past will tell..."
The vision changed one last time, as the four people, led by the man in white who now wore an amulet around his neck, walked up to the temple door. He opened it and they headed for the inner sanctum.
Confronted by spirits from the past, the man in white was torn between two paths. He learnt of both, and then made the decision that changed the world forever.
"It's done, Minerva. The decision's made."
The man turned to his friends and spoke. "You need to go. All of you. Now. Get as far away from here as you can."
The man in the brown coat laid his hand on his shoulder. "Come with us. We'll find another way."
"There isn't time."
"You know it's true. It's already started. I need to do this now. So go! GO!"
The spirits began to disappear as the man in white stepped up to the pedestal. He pressed his hand to the glowing device situated there, which sparked instantly and sent volleys of electricity pulsing throughout the man's body as the pulses of light flew out across the temple. And then, the man fell to the ground.
The world began to shake, the intensity growing and growing, and then, it stopped.
The vision ended and I found myself standing alone in the dim, dark temple.
I turned around and walked through the main cavern and towards the exit, stepping out into the bright world outside.
The time had come.
All these Assassins, leaders of orders, defenders of the people, protectors of life, had fought and died for centuries. Their sacrifices will not go in vain.
For though the world may now have transferred to the mindset of the Templars, I have not.
I am still here.
I must revive the Brotherhood. I will stop the Templars.
I am Avis, and I am an Assassin.
Part 5 - OriginsEdit
Chapter 1 - LiberationEdit
January 1st, 75030 B.C., Eden.
What is the world but an illusion, created and compelled to be followed? And its people, no more than just tools of manipulation? I wonder, is there more to our purpose here? Does Eve wonder too?
"All you need to know about the purpose of your existence lies here, in this place." Jupiter said. "Do no venture beyond its walls. Ever."
I looked over the railing, down at the city streets below. Thousands of men and women dressed in simple robes walked between the tall buildings, carrying out small, meager tasks. Advanced beings weilded glowing objects as the people were directed by beams of light.
"And the people down there?"
"They are..." Jupiter began.
"...slightly different people than yourself, who need to be guided along life's path. They do not develop senses as heightened as yours," a woman said, coming up behind us.
It was Minerva.
"It is due to the way we created them, Adam," she said.
Jupiter came up towards us. "Their minds needed to be exposed to allow us to exhibit control."
I turned around and looked up at the eight foot tall being. "And us? Who are we?"
"It is not who are you, but rather, who you will be."
Eve stepped up next to me. "And what is that?"
"A legacy," he said, before turning around and leaving, closely followed by Minerva.
Eve and I stood there on the balcony as we watched life continue on the streets below.
"It is not right, " I said. "No-one should own or control another person."
"One day, Adam," Eve said. "One day we will free them from all this."
December 21st, 75010 B.C., Eden.
"Today," I said, moving towards the edge. "Freedom reigns."
Eve nodded as we placed our hands across our chests.
Then she turned and moved towards the railing, climbing over and helping me down as we quickly descended down the side of the building. We landed on the roof of a tall building as a loud bang was heard from above. We looked up to see three gods glance down over the railing, their faces expressionless as they drew pulsing objects from their robes and begin to give chase.
"They know we are here. We must hurry, " I said, sprinting towards the edge of the building and jumping off.
Eve and I continued across the tall rooftops as a a colossal structure came into view. Tall and wide, it was constructed from white casing and reflective blue material.
We jumped down off one of the rooftops and landed on a large glass pathway, lined with white material and dotted with small lush gardens. Without a second's hesitation, we raced towards the skyscraper. The floor beneath us ended and we jumped across the gap to land on another structure.
We continued sprinting forward as I glanced behind us at the advancing gods. I turned back as the building ended and we had to jump down into a courtyard in front of the base of the skyscraper.
We reached the door and I quickly swiped my hand over the panel, opening the doors and allowing us to enter. It was dim inside as we climbed up a series of platforms and headed to the huge glass window. Reaching it, I smashed my elbow through the glass as Eve leapt out onto the side of the building. I climbed out after her, following her up the building. We reached a ledge and stood up, glancing into the building. I caught a glimpse of human slaves laboring away as a tall god held an object in their hand. Then we continued up, finding the roof and pulling ourselves up.
Eve moved forward before turning to around face me.
"Adam, I have it, " she said, holding a glowing object in her hand.
"Eve..." I began.
She suddenly glanced behind me and saw something. "Look out!"
Jupiter landed on the roof, swinging his giant Staff towards us as he charged forward. Light emanating from the Staff pierced our temples and disabled our movement. But there was nothing for it to grab hold of, and we broke free of its effects and climbed to our feet as gods landed ontop of the roof, surrounding us as they drew Staves. Together, they sent multiple volleys of light spiralling towards us, forcing us to our knees again, but Eve managed to deflect the attack with her own illusions.
The gods looked on as Eve climbed back to her feet and stared up at them.
"The bonds will be broken," she said, and thrust the Apple into the air.
Arcs of light shot out from the Apple, weaving throughout each other as they connected together, encompassing the entire city in an incredible pattern of glowing visions. And then, Eve pulled the artifact towards her and the light vanished.
In that moment, the world fell silent and nothing happened.
Then, a man climbed to the top of the roof and joined Eve and I. He was followed by a woman, then another man, and then another woman. And then they began to come in the thousands, massing behind us on the roof. Eve and I looked around at the other skyscrapers, seeing more and more humans materialize on the rooftops around us. Then, we turned back to face the gods, who stood motionless before us. Eve held the Apple up one last time, and humanity surged forward.
The gods sent powerful volleys of pulsating light as we charged towards them. But their artifacts had no effect. The people slammed into their former slave masters and many gods went plummeting off the rooftop as their control was overthrown.
Rebellion flared everywhere around us as Eve and I aimed straight for Jupiter, who stared in stunned awe as he saw the chaos erupting around him. He turned towards us as Eve and I smashed into him and we all went flying of the rooftop, slamming into the ground below. I climbed to my feet as Eve picked up the Apple. Jupiter leapt to his feet and I saw him lock eyes with Eve. She stared back, placed her arm to her chest and raised the Apple high in the air, sending streaks of light throughout the city, freeing and protecting humanity as they revolted against their former masters.
As we vanished into the crowds of warring humans and gods, heading for edge of the city, Eve turned to me and spoke.
"Today," she said, "Freedom reigned."
Chapter 2 - Angels of DeathEdit
September 17th, 75,003 B.C., the jungles surrounding the city of Sena (modern day Amazon)
I sprinted through the tree tops, leaping from branch to branch as the chaotic battle raged beneath me in the jungles. The advanced city of Sena loomed ahead, partially hidden by the colossal jungle trees and draped with hanging vines. Its tallest buildings stood high above the canopy and its shortest buildings stood low throughout the understory.
Woven throughout the surrounding jungle were heavily armed gods, using advanced devices to force its human opponenets to their knees in servitude. But I knew it would not be that way for long.
When this war begun, we did not stand a chance by using primitive weapons and tools. We realised that we needed to fight fire with fire.
I looked over to the other side of the clearing, seeing Eve appear from within the trees. She glanced at me and I nodded, signalling for her to activate it.
She dropped to the ground behind our forces and pulled out the Apple. It gave a low pulse, before quickening and beginning to throb rapidly as it propelled a single ray of light at one of the humans. Suddenly hundreds of streaks of light shot out at once and an electrical force lit up the sky. And then the gods lost all power over the humans and their former slaves surged towards them, overwhelming the gods and breaking through their ranks.
But my purpose here was not to fight on the frontlines. It was to infiltrate the ranks of First Civilization troops and assassinate my target: Quirinus, military commander of the First Civilization.
There is a simple truth about war, and it is that the elimination a key figure can have more of an impact than a battle ever could. Thousands of soldiers could fight and kill each other in countless battles but the fact is that if you remove that pivotal individual who plays that vital role it will always transform the world far more. And so that is what I seek to do.
I entered the darkness beneath the canopy and silently dropped to the forest floor, steathily making my may around the thick tree trunks towards the First Civilization army, set up at the foot of Sena on top of the giant hill overlooking the battlefield. As more troops advanced down the slope to face the new threat, the allowed me to get closer. I activated my extra sense, looking for Quirinus.
There, emitting a golden glow, was the commander. He stood at the back of the First Civilization forces, dressed in advanced battle armour and a red cape. His helmet covered the majority of his head, preventing me from seeing his face. I watched as he held a giant Staff firmly in his hand, directing the soldiers of his army.
Noiselessly, I made my way towads him, masked by the sounds of warfare. As I came close, I stopped and grabbed onto a low branch of a tree, pulling myself up and jumping across to a reach a position just above Quirinus. I took a deep breath, flexed my hand and struck.
The god turned as I flew towards him, sensing my attack. The last thing I saw was a glowing cyan ring on his hand before I found myself being flung backwards, crashing into the base of a tree and slumping to the ground.
I struggled to lift my head as Quirinus marched forward, holding up the Staff. Suddenly I felt myself be gripped by an invisible force and I was being lifted into the air, fighting to escape as the god looked up at me, his expression changing as he realised who I was.
I fought back, weakening the Staff's hold and breaking free, much to Quirinus' immediate shock. I rolled away and pulled out my bow, firing multiple arrows towards the commander.
They all came close before halting and spiralling off in the opposite direction. I couldn't believe it. It was like he was invincible.
Quirinus came forward and I charged at him, before I was swept off my feet by a blast of power from the Staff, flailing helplessly in mid air before slamming back into the ground. I struggled to get to my feet as Quirinus strode forward, the Staff crackling in his hand with electrical force as he swung upwards, smacking me in the face and knocking me onto my back.
He placed the Staff onto his back and pulled out a short sword from a sheath on his leg, moving forward to stand over me. I looked up in desperation at the eight foot tall being, heavily clad in armored gear and advanced weaponry. He drove the sword downwards, about to impale me in the chest.
And then I shoved my hand up and stabbed him in the neck.
Quirinus' whole body went rigid as his expression changed to one of shock. The sword slipped from his grasp and clattered onto the ground as the mighty god stumbled backwards, clutching the wound at his neck. His knees began to buckle as he started to fall to the ground. I climbed back to my feet as he looked up at me.
"Adam. Why have you chosen to take my life, out of the thousands of us that walk the world?"
"Your oppression over this continent cannot continue, " I replied. "We must free this land and its people from your influence."
"And then what will you do?"
"Put pressure on the North. Force you to draw your soldiers from the West to protect your sacred land. Allowing us to capitalise on the reduction of your troops."
He coughed and gave a sad smile. "Ahh.... this strategic and rational mind you have. Do you not know where it originates from?"
I looked at him carefully.
"Our own being exists within you, Adam. And now you seek to destroy us. Do you see the irony in all this?"
I stared down at the dying god, wanting to understand him.
"Not yet it seems. But you will."
And with that, he was gone. I closed his eyes and whispered a final prayer.
"Cuoino se dama la salvata. Resaya in frenama." (May death grant you salvation. Rest in peace.)
July 18th, 75,002 B.C., the city of Matena (modern day Rome, Italy)
I stood on a rooftop in Matena looking down at the masses of people moving through the city. Somewhere amongst these people was my target: Fides. A goddess who rules this city and its people, the most prominent region that is still functioning as First Civilization society. Her work goes to the development and design of Pieces of Eden that are then forged by human slaves in Eden. And so she must be stopped.
I climbed down the side of the building and stealthily dropped to the streets. Dressed in the simple robes of a slave, I was equipped with only my blade and the Apple, which gave a low pulse every few seconds. I looked out from the alleyway I ws situated in, watching a crowd of people move past. They moved simultaneously, followed by a god directing them with another Apple.
I crept forward towards the edge of the street and allowed myself to be absorbed by the crowd, instantly blending with the human slaves and camoflaging myself within the environment. Acting as though under the Apple's effects, I moved with the slaves towards the front of the city square, at the foot of a giant monument to the gods. A statue to Fides herself.
Looking around, I noticed many more groups of people being led into the city square. I waited until one of them was close enough to move into and began moving closer to the monument. Stopping with the crowds at the foot of the steps leading up the statue, I watched as Fides made her entrance, striding out towards her monument with a large Staff of Eden in her hand. Dressed in a flowing white dress and an intricately designed silver belt, she wore an elaborate headress and had flowing dark black hair.
Fides stopped near the statue and glanced up at the dark night sky. I began to advance, swiftly moving through the crowds like a ghost. Hidden by the movement of the slaves I engaged my blade, creating a dim glow in the darkness as I moved towards Fides. As the crowds began to move, I was forced to move with them as they began to assemble in front of the steps. I bided my time, waiting until she was closer to strike.
I glanced around, noticing a rather large amount of slaves being gathered up into one area. Fides was standing at the front of the gathering, at the top of the steps, still staring intently up at the sky. She moved forward, directly in front of the statue. Fides began to raise her Staff, the object pulsing in response. Her movements brought her within range and I quickly began shoving my through the crowd towards her. I reached the edge of the crowd and burst through, leaping up the steps and into the air as I raised my blade and drove it straight down into the goddesses' chest before anyone realised what had happened.
The world seemed to slow down around us as I knelt the fallen goddess to the ground.
Fides looked up at me and gave a sad sigh. "Eve.... I knew you would come."
"Your species always does, " I replied. "And yet you cannot prevent what has transpired."
"We can see you come. But we cannot predict the time or the place, nor the means or the purpose. It is as though you are like....our own kind."
I shook my head. "In body, perhaps. But not in mind."
"Ahh... but I see the doubt in your eyes....and the truth in your hands," she said, pointing to the glowing hidden blade in on my hand. A weapon forged from the technology of the gods.
And then, she was gone.
"La shayana doma seya et atela sote. Resaya in frenama (I will make this sacrifice for the greater good. Rest in peace), " I whispered, closing the goddesses' eyes.
As I stood, I turned to see the world look at me in shock. The gods, beginning to realise what had taken place, raised their advanced tools and weapons and began turning their human slaves onto me. And then, everyone suddenly stopped. An incredible force began to descend over the Earth, not seen but felt in the beings of every person, including myself. I looked up at the dark sky to see beacons of light flicker on, brightening up the sky in an array of golden light. They began to increase in intensity as the Pieces of Eden down on Earth, held in the hands of gods and as well as my own Apple, burst in life in response and began to pulse wildly.
I watched in stunned silence as each human stared up at the array of lights in the sky and began to speak in unison.
"Make....us....," they began.
But the beacons of light up above began to flicker off. It set off a chain reaction as the lights slowly began to falter, before completely switching off before the message could be said. The trance was broken and the Pieces of Eden dimmed and shut off as the world returned to normal.
"What on earth....?" I whispered to myself, staring up at the night sky in disbelief.
Suddenly remembering where I was, I pulled my eyes away from the sky, attempting to bring myself back to reality. Retracting my hidden blade, I began to retreat into the darknes and allowed myself to vanish into the shadows. I scaled a nearby building to reach the rooftops and began making my way out of the city. As I left, I looked back to see the gods turn their attention to the assassin, but realising that she was already gone.
May 7th, 75, 008 B.C., the deserts surrounding the city of Alemin, (modern day Alexandria, Egypt)
It had only been two years since we begun the rebellion in Eden, and already the war for our freedom had erupted into a full-scale conflict. This battle, here, in the deserts surrounding Alemin, was critical to the war. And that is why I had journeyed here. For I know that to win a battle and to win a war one must seek to make the biggest impact of all: Eliminate the most influential figures. And so I have selected an assassination target: Vejovis. The god who has lead the First Civilization to expand its influence, fortify its defences against us and strengthen its civilization in the surrounding regions east, west and south of this city.
So long as he lives, we cannot hope to cripple the First Civilization's defences and make the journey north of Alemin and across the sea to the continent of Eranes, the very place where the gods' armies reside and the very core of their military power exists. If we can break this final defence and make that journey, we can challenge the gods were they are most powerful.
As I watched the brave men and women go into battle with their former masters, I could not help but admire their courage. Their desire for independence and righteous free will drives them forward in the face of adversity.
But even as I watch them fight, I know they are outmatched by the superior technology of the gods. What the First Civilization lack in numbers and manpower they make up for in advanced weapons and tools. But I can change that.
From my elevated position on a nearby cliff I scanned the battlefield, noticing the way that no human could reach the ranks of the First Civilization. The furthest anyone could make it was to a point just past halfway across the battlefield, where they entered the radius of multiple Pieces of Eden which were weilded in a straight line by several gods.
Held under the constant effects emitted by the devices, no human could penetrate this defense.
After climbing down the cliff face and joining the ranks of the human forces, I marched directly through them towards the battlefield, stopping just before I reached it. Turning around, I looked to see the people gather in front of me, hoping for guidance.
"Eve," they said, placing their arms across their chests in salute. "We are yours to command."
"No, " I replied. "You are not. A little more than a year ago, humanity elected me the leader of this rebellion. It was a task I accepted to teach people the value of freedom and the strength developed through independence. I accepted it to lead mankind in a quest to make that idea a reality. The gods may believe otherwise but we, the human race, do not believe that we should be commanded to act as slaves. We believe that we should be free men and women. You are not mine to command, you are mine to lead to freedom. Stand with me, and we will show the gods the true power of our spirit."
Met by a huge roar of approval, the people surged past me towards their former masters, empowered and with renewed vigour. I turned back to face the battlefield and joined my people, racing across the desert sands to the gods. Pulling out the Apple, I directed my will into the device and held it close to the ground as I ran, its power and influence shaking the very ground as it created a storm of billowing sand, masking humanity and shielded them from vision. As I continued on, I saw that many humans began to halt as a glowing streak of golden light grasped them and held them back. We had reached the defensive line of the gods.
But no Piece of Eden could reach into my mind, for there was nothing for it to tap into. Sprinting forward into the cloud of dust, I saw the silhouettes of the gods come into vision and I leapt into the air, piercing the sandstorm and slamming straight into the line of gods. I knocked one of them backward as I landed on my feet, before glancing up at the shocked expressions of the gods. They raised their weapons, readying for combat, but I held up the Apple in response. The artifact lit up as it created multiple copies of myself which stepped out from my own body. The illusions engaged the gods as I used the Apple to dispell the cloud of dust and bring forward the First Civilization's former slaves, who overwhelmed the stunned the gods and began to gain the upper hand.
Moving off to the right as the fight began to break out all around me, I began conjuring up another sandstorm, obscuring the vision of the gods as I made my way around the right side of the assembled army of the First Civilization.
The cloud of sand began to clear as I sprinted forward towards the gods. Knowing I was at the back of the army, I began to slow down and take up a crouched position as I moved forward. Seeing the commanders watching the battle from the very back of the First Civilization army, I stopped and began searching for Vejovis. The clouds of dust still clouded part of my vision, and so I activated my sixth sense and scanned the area, finally locking onto a golden glow nearby.
As I crept forward his figure came into vision. He stood behind the final ranks of the gods and paced occassionally back and forth. Finally, as the final couds of dust settled the scene in front of me came into full view. Vejovis, dressed in military attire, a dark blue cape and a Staff of Eden attached to his back. He wore no helmet and left his head and neck exposed. A mistake that cost him his life.
I engaged my blade, feeling the transparent blade slide out as I moved forward. I reached Vejovis and leapt onto his back, raising my blade and stabbing it straight into his exposed neck, feeling the eight-foot tall god go rigid as I muffled his cries, before jumping off and landing silently onto the ground. The silent assassination had not attracted the attention of the other commanders, and so I knelt Vejovis to the ground and listened to his final words.
"Eve....," he sighed, looking up at me. "You are brave, yet ignorant."
"No, " I said. "I am a symbol of hope to my species. A symbol of freedom and peace."
"And why do you believe this?" He asked. "You kill in the name of peace and your actions have created a full-scale conflict. Do you not see the contradiction?"
"I see no contradiction, for it is necessary. Sometimes people have to die for things to change."
"You are naive to think as such, " he said. "Destroying us will only damn your kind to anarchy and plunge the world into chaos."
"No," I replied. "It will allow our kind to develop a sense of independence. I do not deny that we are a flawed species. But there must be opportunity to solve these flaws and gain wisdom from experience."
"Wisdom.... will not be gained, " he coughed, struggling now. "Not while there are those who reject reason."
I looked at him carefully.
"Do you not see?" He smiled sadly. "Our control was not meant to hinder you....but to....protect you."
His body went still as he passed from this world.
I closed his eyes and whispered a final prayer, "Embeta arca saya, dosa ma shala. Resaya in frenama. (Do not fear the darkness, but welcome its embrace)."
I stood and vanished into the surrounding desert, regrouping with the human forces before the gods even realised I was ever there.
August 12, 75,000 B.C., the city of Masa (modern day Sydney, Australia)
I stared intently into the Apple, watching the soft golden glow quitely pulse from strange carvings and text inscribed onto its surface. It was like nothing I had ever come across before...
I heard Eve enter the room behind me, stopping next to the desk as I continued gazing into the Apple.
"Eve, what is this device?" I asked her, feeling the Apple pulling at me, willing me to learn more.
"Touch, Adam and you will know," she responded, looking down at me.
I reached forward as the Apple's glow began to increase in intensity, throbbing rapidly. And then, as I lay my hands on the device, it began to dim as the light was reabsorbed back into the object. It gradually slowed until all was still.
And then the Apple suddenly exploded outwards in a burst of light, painting the walls of the room with spectacular glowing patterns and arrays of golden textures. I stood up next to Eve as a holographic image began forming, elapsing the entire wall in front of me as it took shape.
The edges of the image flickered, and I watched in awe as the room dimmed and began to draw focus to the enigmatic hologram developing in front of me. A group of shadowy figures began appearing within the image, glowing softly. They stood motionless around a dark table, where a ball of light sat pulsing brightly. As the image took form I noticed that the figures were the gods themselves, and the ball of light was the Apple - the first one. The one that sat on the desk in front of me. There was an deep fiery glow emanating from the background, signifying the heat and flames of a forge - the basis for the artifact's creation.
Suddenly the image began zooming quickly towards the centre of the Apple, changing perceptions to a new scene. I witnessed early members of the First Civilization develop and evolve through the stages of life as large and elaborate cities began to emerge, growing more advanced as time went by. I quickly realised it was a timeline, a record of the progression of the gods throughout history. Finally, as the First Civilization reached its peak, they began the creation of the human race.
Forged through the genetic engineering of mixing the base traits of an indigenous species to the planet and the gods' own divine characteristics, our creators made us who we are and gave us life. And so humanity was born.
And then they put us to work.
Thousands of us, working, labouring, all under the control of these devices. Built specifically to react to the artifact's call, we lived as nothing more than slaves to our masters. It was how the world was.
The perception of the image began to zoom out, emerging from within the Apple. But it was no longer surrounded by gods. Instead it was held in the hands of Jupiter himself, who stood, unwavering, amidst a grand city of colossal skyscrapers and buildings, inhabited by mass crowds of people. He stared out over the world in front of him, before holding up the Apple. And then, in the blink of an eye, it was all gone.
An illusion. Nothing more.
The true power of the Apple. It was unfathomable. '"Adam...?" I heard Eve call. "Adam....?"
I was lost in this incredible world created by the Apple, the memories, the history, the knowledge. Eve gently shook me and regained my composure, taking a deep breath as I was brought back to reality.
Eve was studying my expression, looking for an answer.
"This device, it is unlike any other of its time," I explained. "Forged by the gods eons ago, even before the beginning of humankind. Its purpose is to exhibit control via manipulating brain connections. Our being was built to respond to it. The Apple also functions as an archive of sorts, storing and compiling knowledge that predates our species and records the development of the gods themselves and the shaping of society."
"What about the power it can give to the wielder?"
"The one who holds it controls the minds of whoever looks upon it, " I said, glimpsing down at the Apple that still sat on the desk. "Humans are susceptible to its influence. The Apple can conjure illusions that operate as their physical counterparts, deceiving the mind and body. This is the basis for the technology used in our own hidden blades, and the abilities you have discovered are possible through the use of the Apple."
I was about to continue, when I noticed a final image forming. Glancing up curiously, I turned to see the projection depict a close up perception of Jupiter, before panning around behind the god, where he stood looking out over the crowds and structures of the great Capital, the centre of the First Civilization. Their most sacred ground. The vision continued to pan, circling Jupiter before it returned to its position behind him. But the god was no longer standing inside the Capital city. He was standing in the ancient and all too familiar city of Eden.
The Apple was foretelling the future.
The the hologram began to flicker and shut off, and the world returned to normal as the Apple receded back into itself.
I turned to face Eve. "Jupiter will expose himself in the most unfamiliar environment. It is a chance we cannot ignore."
Eve nodded, understanding. "Let me come with you."
"No, " I said, shaking my head. "The people elected you as their leader. Your duty is to them, not to me. So go, lead humanity to the freedom they deserve."
Eve smiled, and we embraced one last time. I grabbed hold of the Apple and stashed it away beneath my robes, and then I was gone.
I had a new target.
The King of the Gods.
|Author's Notes and Hidden References (thanks to GI for the box's code)|
electromagnetic shield of a Shard of Eden. Instead it transcends the force field, making it the perfect assassination weapon against the First Civilization.