Parts 1-4 All in One Place!
The Stormwriter (Parts 1-4)
Written by Arpinicl
Warning: Some people may find some of the content graphic due to its violent and bloody nature. Reader discretion is advised.
Hope was lost on this desolate land many years ago, ever since the UAF fell to Kurtz’s army. Now with free reign over this country, Kurtz and his minions rampaged over cities, toppling the foundations of society and sending it into what is now called The Bleak Age. This story takes place during the Bleak Age and follows a man named Duvall Temmens, an innocent farmer who lives on the outskirts of the city with his wife and daughter. Now, with backstory out of the way, on to the story….
“Hey Honey! Did you put the chicken legs on the grill yet?”
“Yeah I did, like 10 minutes ago, why?”
“Well there is black smoke coming from the grill.”
Duvall sat up quickly in his reclining chair and because of that, his coffee cup spilled in his lap. Cursing under his breath, he ran through the house and to the grill. Just as his wife had mentioned, black smoke was pouring out from the vent in the grill. Duvall prepared his tongs and flung open the grill door. The smoke flew right into his face, causing him to cough and making his eyes water. The black smoke rose up into the air and floated off with the clouds and now all that was left was too blackened bones with meat on them. Duvall sighed and placed the chicken legs on the plate and brought them inside. His family was sitting down at the dinner table already, helping themselves to the green beans and mashed potatoes that lay on the table before them.
Duvall looked back down at his chicken legs and the food in front of him and turned around to go back outside.
“Dad, where are you going? Food is ready.” His daughter called from the dining room.
“Dad has to make sure the pigs get fed as well as us,” Duvall told his daughter before making his way over to the pig enclosure.
Duvall threw the burnt chicken over the fence and the pigs snatched it up right away, eating the bones and everything. He walked back to the table and was finally able to sit down. Duvall looked at his family and smiled and just enjoyed this moment. However, this moment soon became interrupted by a knock on the door. Duvall and his wife, Linda, froze while his daughter, Stephanie held a confused look on her face.
“Are you expecting anyone to come?” Linda nervously asked Duvall.
Duvall shook his head and got up from the table, "Just as we practiced Steph, now go hide in the cellar with mom and don’t come out till I say so, got it?”
“Yes Dad,” Stephanie said and pulled open a hatch beneath the table to reveal steps leading down to a basement.
“Will I ever see you again?” Linda asked Duvall with tears in the corners of her eyes.
“I don’t know, now go!” Duvall closed the door and locked it.
Duvall grabbed his shotgun hanging from the wall and cautiously made his way to the door. He slowly opened the door to reveal his friend Mandrake from the rebellion. He went to greet him but Mandrake’s face was still. His body fell to the ground and Duvall yelled in terror as he realized he was not alive and had been shot. Behind Mandrake was one of Kurtz’s commanders and two soldiers stood next to him. A helicopter and two trucks were parked outside of his house. The two soldiers threw Duvall to the ground and handcuffed him and began to drag him away from the house. Other soldiers walked around the premises with gas cans and explosives.
“Hey let me go! I’m an innocent farmer!” Duvall kicked and yelled as he tried to escape from the soldiers.
They threw him into the helicopter and closed the door. Duvall looked back at his house and a terrible wave of nausea hit him as he realized what the soldiers were doing. At last the final soldier emptied his gas can and made a trail outside of the house. He lit the fuel and the whole house erupted into flames, also triggering the explosives, which caused the house to topple to the ground. Duvall began to scream and cry as they flew away from his house and towards the city. A few minutes later, his tears stopped and his sadness turned to anger. Duvall moved himself so he was sitting on the side of the chair and kicked one of the guards in the face, sending him into the window, breaking it. He then maneuvered to put his handcuffs in-front of him and began to choke out the soldier flying the helicopter. The aircraft began to spill and soon the pilot lost consciousness and control, sending the helicopter straight towards the ground. Before he made an impact and became human purée,
Duvall unlocked his handcuffs and prepared for the crash landing. The helicopter slammed into the ground, breaking on impact and began to catch on fire as gases leaked out of the cockpit. Soon, it exploded and sent Duvall’s body out of the fire and into a grassy field. His body was covered in burns and scrapes which caused him to not look human anymore. Duvall barely retained consciousness and was able to see a man place him in his car and drive away from the crash site….
Duvall awoke to see some man standing over him, changing Duvall’s bandages. His body was parched and there was an immense pain in his side. A bag of fluid hanging from a stand dripped slowly into an IV that fed into his arm. The man had finished replacing the bandages and began to walk away.
“Excuse me sir, may I get a glass of water?” Duvall croaked and attempted to sit up in bed which only caused him more pain.
The man turned around and nodded before walking into another room. After waiting a few minutes, he returned with a plastic bottle full of water. Duvall thanked him and drank the cool water which coated his throat and brought life back to his body. After finishing the bottle and handing it back to the man, Duvall had many questions on his mind. He chose however, to only ask two of them.
“I have two questions,” Duvall asked the man, “1.Who are you? And 2. Where are we?”
The man leaned forward in his chair and spoke, "My name is Pierce and you are currently at my house deep within the city.”
“Why did you save me?” Duvall questioned Pierce.
“That’s three questions. You said you had two questions.” Pierce sternly told Duvall.
“Yes but,” Duvall began to say but Pierce interrupted him.
“No excuses. As soon as you get better I’m kicking you out of my house, and that’s final.” Pierce stood up. “As for your third question, I cannot say.”
Pierce left Duvall alone in his bed for him to think and walked off to the kitchen. As Duvall sat in silence, alone with his thoughts, he overheard Pierce talking on the phone with someone. He was able to pick out a few words, including “Mandrake, missing, Starfield, custody, him” Curious as to find out more, he climbed out of bed despite the pain and tore off the tubes hooked up to him. He crept away across the floor and stayed close to the wall until he came to the corner that fed into the kitchen. Duvall peered around the corner and saw Pierce standing with the phone in hand still talking. Duvall looked back at his bed and glanced back at where Pierce had been standing, but to his surprise, all that was there was the telephone hanging from the wall. Nervous, Duvall turned around to sneak back to his bed but was greeted by Pierce holding a gun to his head.
“What did you hear?” Pierce growled at Duvall.
“Nothing much just a fe-“ Duvall’s hands began to sweat and his heart rate increased.
“WHAT DID YOU HEAR?!” Pierce screamed in Duvall’s face, causing spittle to fly onto him.
Duvall backed away from Pierce and ran into a table, making him stumble.
“I knew I should have killed you instead of waiting for Starfield to show up to turn you in.” Pierce grinned like a mad man and fetched a sledgehammer from the kitchen.
“I don’t understand. I don’t have a bounty on my head. Why am I being taken?” Duvall began to sob.
“It’s your blood, Duvall. It’s what we are all after! And I’m going to have you for myself!” Pierce charged at Duvall with the sledgehammer held high above his head.
Duvall rolled out of the way in the nick of time just as where he had been sitting moments before was now a giant hole in the floor.
“You’re a quick one aren’t you! Not quick enough to escape from me though!” Pierce’s smile stretched across his face as he brought the sledgehammer up high again.
Duvall was now cornered against the wall with no escape. Is this how I am going to die? By the hands of a madman all for my blood? Duvall thought and brought his hands up to shield himself. Just as Pierce swung down the hammer, a gunshot rang through the house. The hammer fell to the ground in front of Duvall, and Pierce’s eyes went cold as his corpse fell to the ground and began to pool blood. A rough hand reached out to Duvall and helped him up.
Tears began to roll down Duvall’s eyes and he cried with joy, "Mandrake, you’re alive!”
Mandrake helped up Duvall, with tears still streaming down his eyes.
“How did you survive? I saw you die.” Duvall wiped the tears away from his eyes.
“You really thought I would die from those wounds? I’m Mandrake after all! No one as weak as them could ever stop me!” Mandrake laughed and put his arm around Duvall. “Now come on, Jailbird and Pharaoh are waiting for us.”
“Wait,” Duvall stepped back. “Aren’t Pharaoh and Jailbird mortal enemies? They are in opposing factions so why would they be waiting for us?”
Mandrake turned around to face Duvall, “In desperate times like these, we throw away our feelings for the greater good. Now hurry or they will leave us.”
Mandrake and Duvall raced outside and met Jailbird and Pharaoh there. Duvall noticed they stood a great distance apart and had their trigger hand right next to their weapon at all times. Jailbird was leaning against a tree and Pharaoh sat down on the ground, meditating. Mandrake’s grip on Duvall’s arm got tighter and Duvall tried to pry his hand off but it wouldn’t budge. As they stood there in the tense silence, the bushes behind Jailbird and Pharaoh began to move. Jailbird jumped away and reached for his gun but four Terracotta warriors appeared behind him and held him still. Pharaoh leapt to his feet and upholstered his gun. Blades suddenly shot out from the brush and hit Pharaoh in the arms and legs, causing him to fall to the ground. Hideo stepped out and stepped onto Pharaoh for good measure, pinning him. At last, a final man stepped out from behind them and placed his rifle to Mandrake’s head.
“I thought we had a deal Caine,” Mandrake sternly spoke, “But it appears Kurtz’s soldiers only have true loyalty to him and not to deals.”
“So you finally figured us out, didn’t you Mandrake?” Caine grinned and shoved Mandrake to the ground with the gun. “But, it looks like for you time is up. You managed to escape us once but you won’t again.”
Caine pressed the rifle even harder into Mandrake’s head. Mandrake looked back over at Duvall and smiled.
“What are you smiling at him for? Are you happy to die?” Caine lifted the rifle into the air and slammed the butt of it onto Mandrake’s head, causing it to bleed.
“No,” Mandrake grinned. “It’s because this won’t become so one-sided anymore.”
Caine held a look of confusion and placed the rifle back onto his head, “You are very funny Mandrake, but the show is over.”
Just as Caine fired the rifle, Mandrake disappeared. Caine spun around and it seemed as if a ghost was fighting him. Caine and Xianjiu began to fire at will all around the place. Duvall was struck by a stray bullet and collapsed to the ground. He crawled over to a tree and leaned against the back of it and watched the fight. An axe appeared out of nowhere and flew towards Caine. The axe impaled him in the head, spurting blood everywhere. Xianjiu then was hit by a shotgun blast and flew back and hit a tree and his body slowly slid to the ground. Mandrake became visible again and Hideo jumped at him and knocked him to the ground. Just as he was about to execute Mandrake, Jailbird sprung from the ground with his fist held high in the air and brought it crashing down on Hideo’s chest, and even going through it. Jailbird pushed Hideo’s corpse off of his arm and threw his body towards the trees. Jailbird helped Mandrake up and they walked over to Pharaoh and withdrew the blades from his arms and legs.
“Well that was awfully easier then I thought it would be.” Jailbird laughed and gave Pharaoh some of his mystery candy.
Pharaoh stayed silent as he ate the candy and healed. Jailbird tossed Duvall a few pieces of candy as well which Duvall ate with relish. After Pharaoh and Duvall had recovered, Pharaoh stomped over towards Mandrake and slugged him in the face, knocking him down. Duvall went to stop Pharaoh but Jailbird held him back.
“What were you thinking about making a deal with Kurtz about giving us away! We almost got killed because of your betrayal!” Pharaoh yelled in Mandrake’s face and punched him again.
“My plan was to lure them out here so we could eliminate some early on. Of course I knew they wouldn’t uphold the deal, which is why I was ready for that. If anything you should be thanking me.” Mandrake pushed Pharaoh off. “Now, let’s move on and make our way towards the others to prepare for the war.”
“War? Others? What’s going on?” Duvall dusted off his pants. “I just want to get revenge for my family, I’m not involving myself in some war.”
Mandrake and the others turned around and looked at Duvall, “Listen, there are many things you don’t know of and some you will learn along the way but by winning this war, we will get revenge for your family.”
“And you will get money too!” Jailbird chuckled.
The sun began to set and Duvall followed Mandrake, Jailbird and Pharaoh to wherever they were going. Whatever they do, I will follow. I owe my life to them and I need to find a way to pay them back. Duvall thought as the moon came across the night sky, flooding them with darkness and moonlight and bringing out the stars.
The group made their way through the deserted streets, climbing over crashed cars and occasionally seeing travelers rushing back to their hideout. Light poles had fallen across the road and destroyed military vehicles and barricades were some of the common sights. The further they got into the city however, the more recent the destruction had been and multiple times they had to take cover behind a building to avoid being spotted by a Kurtz military transport convoy.
After hours of walking, Duvall stopped and collapsed to the ground, “I can’t go anymore. I can’t go, I’m sorry.”
Mandrake walked over and bent down to pick up Duvall and threw him on his shoulders, “We can’t abandon you Duvall, after all, you’re our friend.”
As they were doing this, a Kurtz military vehicle passed by and stopped right in front of them.
“We’ve been spotted! We need to get out of here now!” Pharaoh yelled and ran to take cover behind an overturned car.
Mandrake carried Duvall and threw him behind a collapsed barricade, “Stay there Duvall! We will get you at the end of this battle!”
The tank began to fire upon the others, sending debris flying everywhere. Jailbird and then began to fight back but had a hard time piercing its armor. As the battle went on, more military personnel and vehicles joined. As Duvall lay there, drones flew and would crash into nearby covers and dirt and rocks were constantly falling onto his face. Soon, a large armored truck pulled up to the scene and numerous soldiers piled out of the truck followed by a woman in a red suit and dark brown hair. She held a red gun and had a golden pair of rocket launchers on her back.
“Let’s flush them out and take them down at last!” The lady barked at the soldiers.
“Yes Cinder!” The soldiers called back and began to shower Mandrake, Pharaoh and Jailbird with bullets.
Cinder stepped up and began to fire off green rockets that showered acid onto Mandrake and them. Then she threw a bomb right in Duvall’s direction, which landed right in his lap and exploded, spraying him with acid. Duvall screamed in agony as his skin slowly melted away and began to reveal his bones. Duvall faintly heard Mandrake and Jailbird arguing but most of the sound was drowned out by the gunfire. A rocket hit a nearby building and set a large piece of stone falling onto Duvall. He blacked out for a few minutes before waking back up to the sight of Mandrake and Jailbird arguing.
“We need to get him!” Mandrake yelled at Jailbird.
“It’s too late! If we don’t leave now, we’ll all be dead!” Jailbird shot back at the soldiers. “Let’s leave now!”
Mandrake turned around and got one last look of Duvall before running off with Jailbird and Pharaoh. They soon disappeared behind the rubble in the alleyways and were out of sight in a matter of seconds. As they left, the bullet storms stopped and Duvall could hear again.
“Search for any survivors! If you find any able to fight back, kill them! And remember, anyone who can’t fight back we need for Project: Stormwriter.” Cinder walked back into the truck.
The soldiers picked up the rubble and tossed it away. Duvall reached its bloodied hand out from beneath the stone and groaned while he tried to lift off the stone.
“I found one!” One of the soldier’s called out to the others once he spotted Duvall’s hand.
Along with the help of the other Kurtz soldiers, they lifted the stone off of Duvall and stood in horror at the state he was in. One turned around to vomit while the others stood there speechless.
“What’s with not reporting this?” Cinder walked over and when she saw Duvall’s body, she too had to turn around. “Clean this up. If he is alive, take him otherwise dispose of his corpse.”
The soldiers looked back at their task and it took them a few minutes just to mentally prepare themselves for their job. Almost every ounce of skin on his body had suffered 4th degree burns and his face was almost unrecognizable as a human. His bones were showing in multiple parts of his body and he had suffered many breaks in his ribs and arms. Blood was pouring out of all his wounds. One of the soldiers leaned forward to listen for a heartbeat. It was faintly there, and Duvall was barely breathing with only ragged gasps for air coming out. They carried out a stretcher and carried his body across the battlefield into the armored truck where they began to stop the bleeding and placed an oxygen mask over his head. Numerous IVs were injected into him and Duvall was constantly going in and out of consciousness.
When Duvall woke back up his body was floating in a glass tube of water with many tubes leading into his body and he was not able to move at all. His eyes scanned this new environment and he saw another person in a glass tube a few meters away from him. An empty black tube was in the middle and multiple pipes lead from both of their tubes into the single black tube. Doctors and scientists stood all around in that room and Duvall recognized the women from the battlefield standing next to a man dressed in a black doctor’s outfit, giving Duvall the impression that he was the head of this operation.
“It looks like our patient is awake. I know you may be disoriented and cannot move your body but I know you can hear me. I am Doctor Navalle, and the woman who picked you up was the amazing Cinder.” Doctor Navalle walked around the room with his hands behind his back. “What you are about to undergo is the first test of our experiment to merge two humans with one being the brains and the other having the brawn. In this case, you are the brains. You both will be merged into one human in an armored suit that supports your life. This suit will be your life-support and if you leave this suit or it is broken then both of you will die, so make sure to keep this suit intact.”
One of the assistants began to talk to Doctor Navalle and nodded before him and the other assistants began to press various buttons on the electronics.
“It appears I have run out of time. I will explain the rest of the details to you once the neuro-transfer and the-” Doctor Navalle spoke but Duvall’s body slipped back into unconsciousness before he could hear the rest of what the doctor said.