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The Nephalim Chronicles: Footfalls in a Dead World

More than just the other worlds of Utopia--the other realities. These are visions into what Utopia could have been, given the opportunity; alternate universes with no correlation, real worlds in chaos, fake worlds in peace.

The Nephalim Chronicles: Footfalls in a Dead World

Postby Herald_of_Fate on Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:06 pm

They stole her from me...

And I could do nothing about it...

I was a normal man then, weak, soft, and pathetic. It's been neraly seven years since then. Seven year of long, hard days and longer, harder nights. Seven years of pain, of scars, of healing, and, of death. I've learned to be hard, to be swift, to be cold, to strike without hesistation, to kill without remorse. I learned of a power lying dormant inside myself since the day of my birth, a power that I'd never dreamed of. Learned how to claim that power, to use that power against those who would force the same fate upon others as they forced upon me. A wise man in the ancient past, on a world far removed from this one, once said not to battle with monsters lest you become a monster yourself. Good advice. I only wish now that I'd heard it soon enough to make a difference. Maybe if the invaders who crippled this planet had heeded such advice, this world wouldn't be so fucked up.

I was raised within the Tribe of the Children of Seth. Though now, there aren't enough of us left to call a tribe. When the invaders came 200 years ago, we barely understood what happened. They looked like us, spoke like us. We, long used to fighting out an existence on this world, thought them pampered with their devices and technology. They used machines to defend themselves, great engines of war to carry them from the stars they came from. They settled well enough, living in peace in their settlements. But it seems that was a ruse. Ten years passed before the first bomb fell, a streak of light like a hammer of the Gods striking our world. We died by the millions...burned to ashes by weapons that made us seem powerless. These bombs did worse than cause death. They twisted the world, from the trees to the creatures. Abominations emerged from the depths of the world, never before seen. Demeter, our world, became a hell uncharted and unimagined. The invaders rounded what few of us were left, forced us into camps and detention centers, experimented on us. My parents were among the few who didn't die. They forced into them tiny, living, bug-machines. Nanomites, they called them. They gave my parents the strength to escape with a small group, to hide until my mother gave birth to me, to raise their son to the age of 15 until they found us again. They killed my parents and tore her away from me. And she knew it would happen. She always knew things. That's why we called her Seeress.

Then, the strangest thing of all happened. The invaders vanished. Their cities abandoned, their machine soliders left free to roam. No bodies, their sky-ships docked. But I don't care about that. I don't care about them. I just want one thing and one thing only: to find her. And I'll tear this world apart to do it.

My name is Vander of Ulfrek Sethi. They called Cerberus, the Hellhound. This is my story.

To be continued....
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The Nephalim Chronicles: The Builder

Postby Herald_of_Fate on Thu Feb 25, 2010 6:55 pm

I've been on the road for three days. I left my last paying gig in the small western settlement of Myopan. Scrapper town, where the people gather mostly to forage what little living than can from what little land isn't too poisoned to grow food or provide game. They needed a Cleaner. Not scrubbing floors or anything. This world's crawling with creatures that would find your worst nightmares playgrounds and the average person on Demeter hasn't got the skill or desire to fight them off. So they hire Cleaners like me to deal with them. I love my job and I'm one of the best there is. Myopan had a bad Gnarlixid infestation. Picture a cockroach crossed with a monkey with bat wings and a real bad dispostion. Took me a week but I managed to run them off. They paid me in supplies, like most do. These outlying villages rarely have money. And besides, on my journey, money isn't quite as useful. My D-Class gravi-bike hasn't been giving me problems for once; having it looked over by the builder in that town turned out to be a good idea after all. Builder, shit! They were crazy for the most part, studying whatever the invaders had left behind, hoping to discover the secret behind their star travel and become able to leave this world. And the last one was no exception. Her name was Raza. She walked around in one of the invaders' armored suits, toting a rail-rifle like she's some kind of badass. She wanted to come with me. Wait, what the...guess I spoke too soon about the bike. Damn it!

Two hours later and I'm no closer to figuring out what's wrong with this damned thing. I'm a good 800 miles from Myopan and 60 or 70 miles from any other town. There was Nodil, the abandoned Invader city about 10 miles south but it was risky. I could find a functional gravi-bike there maybe, if I could dodge and/or destroy all the Sentien machines and Reavers in the streets. Hmm, something's coming up the road. Left hand to my plasma pistol, right to one of my vibrainium blades, take cover and see who it is. A troop carrier? The door opens, I take aim. Raza?

"What the hell are you doing out here, Builder? You did something to my bike, didn't you?"

Gods, do I want to shoot this one...

"Well, how's that for gratitude? It looks like you're stopped. I stop to help and you say I sabotaged your bike. I could hop back in my carrier and leave you here."

Good point, but I've got one better.

"I could put two in your head, take the carrier, and leave you for the worms, Raza."

She shrugs non-chalantly.

"Won't start with my eye. Runs on a retinal-scan OS. I'm headed for Nodil. Old maps say there's a port there, all kinds of ships...."

I laugh at the notion of her facing down a Sentien or a Reaver.

"And you'd be dead in 5 minutes with all the machines crawling over that place. Not to mention even if you got a ship started, no one in the world knows how to fly one."

Now she's pissed.

"I do, asshole! Now you can either come with me and play bodyguard till we reach that port and I'll fly you anywhere you want to go. Or I leave you here, stranded, Cleaner. If you're the Cerberus everyone's been talking about, this should be a walk in the park for you."

Jesus, was she crazy? Was she stupid? I didn't have a whole lot of options. I holster my pistol. Fine, I'll do it. Not like I had too much else going on.

A voice rang in my head. "Stick with this one, Vander...through her, you'll come closer to me."

Seeress? Selenia? It was her voice....but how?

Looks like I'm headed to Nodil. Hopefully we don't get killed.

To be continued...
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Re: The Nephalim Chronicles: Heavy Metal

Postby Herald_of_Fate on Sat Feb 27, 2010 7:47 pm


A grave of a world and time long dead, now rotting under a blistering sun. It is not a place for living. It's a kingdom of the dead, of cold, unfeeling, monstorous machines with no tolerance for anything that breathes air. And we were driving an armored troop carrier into its maw. As we neared the city, I could not deny a sense of apprehension. It was not fear. It's like this whenever I have to enter any of the old Invader settlements. It reminds me of what I am, what they made me. My senses settled into a state of hyper-awareness, extended beyond what others could comprehend. The nanomites that lived within helped put me into this state, picking up on the most minute of data from all I perceived. A sudden change in air pressure, the tiny change in the almost immeasurable magnetic fields given off by all living things and anything electronic, any of these could launch me into battle mode.

"Stop here."

She turns in the driver's seat, her hazel eyes giving me a skeptical look. She runs a hand through her unkempt nest of auburn hair.

"We're still a mile outside the city. Wouldn't we be better off in the carrier? It's armored."

I checked my weapons. Pistols loaded. Six blades tight in their harness. Ion bow clipped to my left side.

"It'd be good against a Reaver. They're man-sized. A Sentien stand 17 meters on the average and weighs nearly 9 tons. It utilizes a payload of high-explosive weapons that account for nearly 2 tons of that weight. And solar lasers that could cut this thing open like an aluminium can."

She blinks, looks a little surprised.

"I guess we're walking then. Any other useful tidbits to offer, Cleaner?"

I walk out of the door, looking around cautiously. My senses tell me its clear.

"Reavers have some organic elements. The Invaders harvested the dead to build them. Hit them in the chest or head; anywhere else and they keep coming. Reavers are heavily armored but they're not too smart. Kill their camera eyes or any of the exposed arm joints when they open fire and you usually can buy enough time to get away. If you've got to kill one, take the head. You're not packing the firepower to get at their power source."

She jumps out of the carrier, checks her rail rifle and ammo.

"And you do?"

I raise my left hand from under my ankle length leather cloak. The nanomites are swarming over it, looking like a quicksilver glove. They could form nearly any metallic shape, even form simple mechanisms if my concentration held. Coupled with the nearly superhuman strength and speed they gave me, they were perhaps my most formidible weapon.

"Yeah. You could say that."

She circled me, stopping in front of me.

"Just what...wait, you're one of them, aren't you? The Nano-cells, right? I thought they were just a rumor. You guys are like supermen. Killing machines..."

"Get moving. They heard us coming and will be coming to investigate. I'm hoping we'll draw them far enough from the city to sneak in without getting...."

Fuck, too late. I tackle her to the ground as the first of the Reaver's pulse rounds whiz overhead. On us already? This was a crappy run of luck. I stared up at the treeline, spotting the Reaver fireteam just breaching into the clearing we'd parked in. Vaguely they resembled humanoids in the torso and head regions. From the waist down, they balanced on a tripod of metallic insect-like legs which they tended to employ as stabbing weapons at close range. A quartet of arms, two sporting high-velocity pulse cannons, the other two utilizing Rpgs, completed the package. Just four though.

"Take cover and hit the one on the far left. See his antenna. He's the leader. You have to take him out before he calls in a Sentien and we're really screwed. Go now."

She scrambled behind the carrier, readying the shot with her rifle. Time to go to work. I ran at the closest of them, zig-zagging sporadically to throw out it's targeting system. Jump between two, draw one of my pistols and fire twice once at either one. A plasma pistol is a nasty weapon. The rounds build kinetic force till they reach the point of impact and expand out, leaving big holes and one hell of a lot of heat and static discharge. Two of the Reavers went down immediately. I turned to face the other two. Down alreadly...guess Raza could shoot after all.

"C'mon, we need to..."

The sound of a Sentien moving is unmistakeable. It's like a frieght train that breathes fire. The Builder came running toward me right before we were both knocked down by the explosion of the carrier. What a shitty start...we're not even in the city yet.

To be continued...
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The Nephalim Chronicles: Slaying the Dragon

Postby Herald_of_Fate on Fri Mar 05, 2010 4:28 pm

I rose to my feet, pulling Raza up with me, seeing the shadow of the Sentien closing in.

"Are you alright? Are you hit?"

She'd gone ash grey, both of us covered with dirt and grass. Her hand clutched her midsection, thin trickles of blood ozzing between her fingers. It looked like a sharpnel wound but I couldn't tell and couldn't take the time to treat it with the monster bearing down on us. She seemed to be standing on her own. I hoped silently that she could run.

"Shit...that hurt like hell...I'm alright..."

She hissed against the pain, her eyes full of defiant fire. Good. We'd need that.

"Run for the treeline and take some cover...I'm going to have a chat with our friend."

She stumbled as she ran, regained herself, and made for the treeline as I spun to face the machine, extending my Ion bow reflexively and drawing one of my blades. It took aim and fired but I was far from that spot when the rounds came. I streamed toward the Sentien's right leg, moving at top speed which would make me a blur to human eyes, firing my bow more to get it's attention that cause damage. The blade in my right hand was composed of vibranium, a metal that fed on a living body's magnetic field and vibrated on an atomic level, breaking the molecular bonds of what it was trying to cut. It meant that they'd cut through just about anything. I swept between its legs, slashing at the hydralics that powered the feet of the monstrousity.

One problem: If you cut down a tree, it's best not to stand in its shadow.

Which incidentally is where I happened to be.

When the damn thing fell on me.

My strength and the nanomites were enough to keep me upright, albeit sinking up to my chest in the soft churned earth. Working another of my blades free, I cut into the Sentien's armored carapace, hacking and tearing and climbing my way up through the machine's chest, destroying components as I went. I could hear Raza screaming as I cut my way out of its back, drenched in oil and hydralic fluid. She stopped. Must have thought I was dead. The Sentien squirmed beneath me, shorting, trying to get back to its feet after the hell I'd caused inside. I leapt into the air, bringing both my blades down on its neck, severing its head with one clean stroke.

Then I ran like hell. I reached the treeline inside of 2 minutes, had Raza hustling toward Nodil inside of 3.

I normally don't kill Sentiens. Not that it's against my code or anything.

They just have this tricky self destruct sequence that detonates their entire payload.

2 tons of high explosives, plus whatever flammable liquid is inside.

The explosion sent us hurtling even from the distance we'd managed to cover. At least we were closer to Nodil.
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Re: The Nephalim Chronicles: Into the Maw

Postby Herald_of_Fate on Tue Nov 02, 2010 4:25 pm

Raza was very nearly unconscious by the time we reached the outskirts of Nodil, whether from blood loss or shock, I didn't know. I was half carrying her, feeling her body going more and more slack as we covered ground.

"You still with me, Builder? We've got to get you a med-kit and get you patched up."

She grimaced visibly, coughed.

"Yeah, I'm...here....into that building. There should..be supplies..."

I kicked in the door with little effort, dragged her inside. It looked to be a shop of some sort, looted to a large degree but there was still plenty of stock strewn upon the shelves and on the floors. I sat her up on one of the counters, hastily began digging through shelves for bandages and other medical impliments. I found an unopened first aid kit and brought it back to her, tearing it open as I went. She was paler than before when I returned, struggling to stay conscious. I gingerly moved her hands away from the wound, surveying the damage for the first time. A shard of metal, perhaps 2 inches long, protruded from her stomach.It wasn't as bad as I had thought. Most of her reaction was probably shock.

"I need you to hold still...this is going to hurt. Try not to scream. If you do, they'll be on us and we won't stand a chance in Hell." I whispered softly.

Rather than answer, she picked up a roll of bandages, putting it in her mouth and biting down. She was a bit tougher than I thought. Hopefully she'd stay that way once I started. I pulled the sliver from her flesh, using gauze to staunch the flow of blood that trickled out. From the smell and color of the blood, I was fairly certain that the major organs had been spared. A pained moan, stifled by the bandages, made me look up from what I was doing. Raza's face was a tear-stained mask of pain...but there was a note of thankfulness in her look that made me look back down as I began to stitch the wound closed.

"Going to leave a nasty scar...shame that." I whispered to her. "If not for your surly disposition, you'd be a catch."

It was the truth, I suppose. Outside the armor, it was certainly easy to see the womanly curves on her. Hell, in the armor, with the elfin features she bore, she seemed little more than a child. Out of it, she was clearly a woman of some maturity. Not enough to not slap me for the comment. But enough for her to kiss me immediately after and say thank you.

"I suppose we'll have to bed down here for the night. I don't want to run the risk of sneaking around with the machines on high alert and you injured, " I said, scanning the empty street from the shop window. "I'll keep watch. Get some rest."

"Stay close...I'm cold."

It was such an odd request coming from Raza, I complied without thinking about it. She laid her head on my chest and threw an arm over me. I kept watch as best as I could with her tiny movements distracting till I too drifted off just before dawn.

To be continued...
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