Science Fiction The Severed World
#1
Hi, I’m Lana. I’m more of a writer than an RPG-er, so I’m not sure how much I’ll use the interface (probably loosely), but I decided to give this a shot.


I started by generating some random ideas and picking the ones I wanted to use for this story:


Get Quest:
Prevent genocide at the strategically important labyrinth.


Get Started:
The setting is cyborg road involving narcotics and disease-ridden empty room. Your quest is to purchase a anti-gravity pod at the church.

NPCs (to use for my characters).
Quixotic mechanic — Kazeir, goes by Kaze — the main character

Deceitful altered human — Alexir, a cyborg

Affectionate storyteller — Maxtom


I got most character and place names from fantasynamegenerators.com.


I’ve thought out a few ideas on where I want this story to go, but I’ll probably use the questions for the details of the scenes.


Without further ado, enjoy The Severed World:



Table of Contents:
Chapter One -- To Save
Chapter Two -- Scars
Chapter Three -- The Church of the Severance
Chapter Four -- A Childish Dream
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#2
Chapter One — To Save


Kazeir pushed through the long branches and overgrowth that covered the road as he strode forward.


Is there significantly faster ground transportation for the general public in this world than we have? (L)


(Likely | 6[d10]) Yes, but...


Not individually. The faster transportation is used for public transportation & high-ranking officials.


It was hardly a road, really. The concrete that had once paved the road was now cracked and filled in the growth. After the Nexus had been built, normal roads had fallen into disuse. It was just so much faster to use one of the Nexus trains to get around.


That is, unless you were trying to find something that should have been forgotten. Or, rather, someone.


Shacks and shanties stood tucked between trees and rocks as if hiding from even the unused road. Kazeir occasionally came across a few people standing outside, washing or hanging clothes, but they scuttled inside as soon as he saw them. The Jakamant were notoriously afraid of humans, and for good reason, too.


Kazeir gave a Jakamant child a smile. The humanoid alien smiled back, his already abnormally wide mouth stretching even wider across his face before his mother pulled him into their house. She watched him through the window for a few seconds, with wide, terrified eyes, before drawing the curtains shut.


Kazeir sighed. I’m sorry, he thought as he looked at the curtains the Jakamant woman had drawn. I’m sorry for what you will go through.


A mile or so down the desolate road, the shacks became buildings. The buildings were mostly made of wood; sometimes, stone or bricks. A great contrast to the humans’ cities of metal and glass in central Giabromar.


From the outside, most of the buildings looked deserted, but Kazeir knew otherwise. The Jakamant kept their buildings just dilapidated enough that they wouldn’t draw the attention of any Giabromar officials that inspected the area. When the coast was clear, this place would be a bustling hub for the Jakamant that lived nearby.


That was one thing Maxtom had taught him—the Jakamant might be primitive, but they were nowhere near as unintelligent as most humans made them out to be.


Kazeir stopped at a small building built with light brown bricks. The roof looked like it was falling apart, but he suspected it would still keep out the rain. The front of the building sported a small window, a wooden door, and a faded wooden sign.


Can Kazeir read Jakamant?


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


The sign was written in Jakamant, but in accordance with an order by the Giabromar Board of Relations, a translation had been penned underneath.


Cyborg Prosthetics Clinic
Tash Nyco


Was the translation made before Maxtom came there? (L)


(Likely | 5[d10]) No, but...


Has Maxtom been there for more than a few months?


(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes


Over a year?


(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


Tash Nyco, the original doctor, was gone now, as was the cyborg clinic. A little less than a year ago, rumors had begun of a human living with the Jakamant civilization outside of the city of Scav Grar. Kazeir had suspected it was Maxtom then, but once he heard that the human had opened a place of respite for Jakamant children with the plague, he’d been certain. Only Maxtom would risk both his reputation and his life to comfort others.


Kazeir knocked on the door.


Does Maxtom answer? (SU)


(Somewhat Unlikely | 5[d10]) No


There was silence on the other side of the door, so after a few seconds Kazeir tried the handle on the door.


Is it locked? (SL)


(Somewhat Likely | 9[d10]) Yes


“I know you’re in there, Max,” Kazeir called out. “It’s Kazeir.”


Does Maxtom answer now that he knows it's Kazeir? (U)


(Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes


Surprisingly, a few seconds later, the door opened.


Kazeir smiled at his old friend. Maxtom was at least six feet and large, like an impenetrable tower. Kazeir couldn’t imagine what it would be like for the Jakamant, who were usually smaller in stature than humans. At least beneath all of that size, Kazeir knew that Maxtom was tenderhearted. Usually.


“Hello, Max,” he said.


“Kaze,” replied Maxtom by way of greeting, leaning against the door.


Kazeir sighed. He’d figured Maxtom wouldn’t be happy to see him, but he’d expected at least a hello. “Are you going to let me inside?”


Does Maxtom let him inside?


(50/50 | 7[d10]) Yes


“I suppose I have to,” Maxtom grumbled, moving his large frame from the doorway and allowing Kazeir to follow him inside. “Blasted Jakamant propriety.”


The entryway was bare aside from several pairs of sandals by the door. Kazeir took off his shoes and followed Maxtom into a sitting room of sorts, where children’s scrawled pictures hung on the walls. “I didn’t know you considered yourself of one of them now,” Kazeir commented.


“Live among them long enough, you start to feel that way.” Maxtom eyed Kazeir as he sat down on a chair. “Makes it seem like a human is an invader.”


Kazeir laughed. “You’ve missed me, then?”


“Hardly,” muttered Maxtom, crossing his hands over his chest.


Kazeir eyed the child-drawn portraits on the walls. Though some were just scribbles, he was sure several of them were meant to depict Maxtom. “Nice place you’ve got here.”


The big man grunted in response.


“I’m surprised you have the time to visit with me.”


Is Maxtom angry?


(50/50 | 3[d10]) No


Maxtom’s eyes grew somber and he sighed. “Just tell me why you’re here.”


Kazeir swallowed. He had to get Maxtom’s support or this would never work. But how best to go about it? “I need your help.”


“I figured that much already.”


Kazeir leaned forward. “Act 3017.”


Maxtom’s mouth twisted into a frown. Act 3017, pushed through legislation by the Giabromar Board of Relations, wasn’t spoken of aloud, only in whispers.


Act 3017 sentenced all Jakamant to be gathered to the Sever. And there, they would be killed.


In a twisted sort of way, the genocide made sense—for the humans, at least. The plague, termed the darkrest, that had recently afflicted Giabromar couldn’t infect humans directly. But if a human came in contact with a Jakamant who had contracted the darkrest, it could then be transferred to the humans. By killing all Jakamant on Giabromar, the humans would be safe from the plague.


“What about it?” asked Maxtom.


“It’s going to be put into effect in one month’s time,” replied Kazeir. “For certain.”


Maxtom rubbed his face. “That’s what they said months ago.”


“This time it’s true. I promise you,” said Kazeir. If Maxtom didn’t believe him...then there would be no way to fix everything. No way to stop Giabromar officials from carrying out Act 3017.


Maxtom leaned back in his chair and ran a hand through his blond hair. Though it only reached just past his shoulders, he wore it pulled back in the Jakamant fashion. “And what, you think you can stop them?” He shook his head. “There’s no way to stop the government from carrying this one out. Even if we delayed the genocide—and that’s a huge if, Kaze—we’d be executed. Then they’d just kill them all later.”


“There is a way to save them, Max.” Kaze dropped his voice to a whisper. “I have a bridge.”


Maxtom stared at him. “A bridge long enough to cross the Sever? Rift and rent, Kaze! How did you even find it?”


Kazeir shook his head. “That doesn’t matter. The point is, if we can get the bridge there and hold off the genocide long enough, the Jakamant will already be there. They can cross the bridge and get to safety.”


The Sever separated the two halves of the broken planet, a huge rift through the entire planet. The Council of Giabromar controlled the eastern half of the planet, but the western half was controlled by Obror. And while the Obrorian people might not be happy about the influx of Jakamant into their side of the world, they at least would not kill them.


“They’ll be safe, Maxtom,” said Kazeir. “But I need your help. You’ve travelled to more places than I’ve ever been. You know what the Sever’s like. And more than that, the Jakamant trust you. They’ve heard of you all the way in Dregor. If you tell them to cross that bridge, they will do it. I need you there. They need you.”


Is Maxtom convinced?


(50/50 | 2[d10]) No


Maxtom shook his head. “I don’t know. It’s not that I don’t want to help, but...I have a place here. People I have to take care of. They’ve learned to rely on me. I can’t just break that trust and go off on one of your fool plans.”


“They rely on you. That’s exactly why you need to go! Can’t you see—”


A low cry broke the silence. Then, suddenly, a scream.


Maxtom jumped to his feet, cursing and muttering to himself as he walked toward the hallway. “Morphine’s wearing off. Should’ve been there.”


Kazeir followed Maxtom out of the sitting room and into another, larger room, illuminated by light streaming through windows. Beds lined the walls, around twenty or so, but only one was filled.


A Jakamant girl lay in the bed, writhing in pain and screaming.


“It’s all right, Krish,” said Maxtom, loud enough to be heard over her screams, as he rifled through boxes and bins on a shelf on the side of the room. “The pain will go away, I promise. I promise.”


Maxtom pulled out a box labeled “Narcotics” and lifted the lid. Pulling out a syringe, he walked with quick strides to the girl’s bed. He inserted the syringe into the Jakamant girl’s thigh, then picked her up and cradled her in his arms. He rocked her as her screams slowly died away.


“Would you like me to tell you a story?” he asked her. Without waiting for a response, Maxtom began speaking softly to her in Jakamant.


Kazeir kept his distance as he inspected the child. The late stages of the plague were obvious upon her features, skin turned dark and purplish. She wore only a linen shift, and her legs and arms were so thin, she hardly looked like more than a skeleton. And yet, she smiled up at Maxtom, an adoring look in her eyes.


The Jakamant really did love Maxtom. And he obviously reciprocated that. Then...why wouldn’t he help?


Kazeir walked to the shelf, looking at the various bins and boxes, labeled with medicinal terms. He bent down, looking, searching for something and...there.


He pulled out a leather journal that was tucked away between two boxes. Pages had been scribbled on in Maxtom’s untidy handwriting. Pages about the darkrest and its effects. Research on the effects of different medicine and treatments, theories of how it was spread and contracted.


Kazeir turned around. Maxtom had laid the girl on the bed and was tucking the blankets around her now. He pulled her long, white hair away from her face, then gently kissed her plagued forehead.


Maxtom straightened, caught Kazeir watching, and folded his arms. “She’s the last one,” he said. “I did all I could, but...I lost them all.” Pain shone in his eyes. “She’ll die tonight, if not this afternoon. All I can do is ease their pain, at the end.”


And then Kazeir knew what was holding Maxtom back.


He took the leather journal and pressed it into Maxtom’s hands. Then Kazeir looked into his eyes, holding his gaze. “When they cross that bridge,” he whispered, “you can cross with them.”


Maxtom’s hands tightened around the journal.


“Giabromar won’t be after you there. You can care for those who have the plague. Find out how to stop it. You can save them, Max. You just need to get them to Obrar.”


Maxtom swallowed, looked over at the Jakamant girl, then nodded. His face carried lines of sadness; yet when he looked at Kazeir, hope was in his eyes. “Yes. I’ll do whatever it takes.”


He set his jaw. “Call me crazy, Kaze, but I’ll save them. Once we get there, I’ll save them all.”
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#3
This one's a little shorter:


Chapter Two — Scars


Get Setting:
Setting is store involving below average ammo (darts) and mutated shuttle bay.


Are spaceships widespread?


(50/50 | 4[d10]) No


That makes sense considering that there isn't a lot of fast personal ground transportation.


Were spaceships widespread at some point in the past? (SU)


(Somewhat Unlikely | 7[d10]) Yes, but...


Most of them were confiscated by Giabromaran law.


Kazeir tapped his foot impatiently as he waited for Alexir to acknowledge him. She was working with a customer, but Kazeir doubted that was the only reason she was ignoring him. He wasn’t even sure if she’d let him talk long enough to propose his plan.


Rifts, Kazeir thought, shaking his head. What did I do to turn both my friends against me?


He knew the answer to that, of course. He’d destroyed Maxtom’s prospects. Broken Alexir’s trust. Hurt both of them.


He pushed those thoughts away.


In front of him, a short man with a scraggly gray beard was haggling with Alexir over the price of some red darts. Hardly worth the time it would take to wear Alexir down.


Alexir’s store of contraband items was located in an old spaceship that had crashed into the south end of the city Ithyke. The spaceship had sat abandoned for a long time in the shadier part of town until Alexir had fixed it up and converted one of the ship’s shuttle bays into a black market storefront.


Of course, she didn’t sell anything that could get her killed if Giabromar found out, but sometimes Kazeir still worried.


Is Alexir still occupied?


(50/50 | 9[d10]) Yes


It didn’t look like Alexir was going to be done with the bearded man anytime soon, so Kazeir took the time to inspect the different goods she had on display. A few small guns, some of them with bullets and others with lasers, as well as other various weapons.


Then, there was Alexir’s specialty, set on small pedestals and illuminated with light: weapons that attached to cyborg parts, allowing those with the prosthetics a greater array of combat skills than they could have had before they lost their limbs.


Leaning against the wall, Kazeir studied Alexir as she argued with her customer. She’d been burned on most of the left side of her body after an electrical accident when she was young. She’d lost both her left arm and her leg then but hadn’t gotten cyborg prosthetics until she was much older.


The scars from those burns so long ago still ridged the left side of her face and neck. Along with her prosthetics, the scars gave her a dangerous look that allowed her to survive in Ithyke’s dark underbelly.


Alexir’s black hair was pulled back in a ponytail, though a few strands had escaped and hung around her neck. She wore cargo pants and a black tank top to show off her cyborg arm to prospective customers. And, Kazeir guessed, to warn against any unwanted attention.


Is she done now? (L)


(Likely | 10[d10]) Yes, and...


She notices Kazeir staring at her.


Alexir caught Kazeir’s eyes before he could look away and cast suspicious glances at him while taking the money from the man. After he walked outside, Alexir turned toward Kazeir and put her hands on her hips. “I hope you’re here to buy something.”


Kazeir held out a hand with a few coins in it. “Some of your time?”


Alexir rolled her eyes but held out her human hand for the money. “Fine. Start talking.”


He sighed. “I already know you’re not going to listen to me.”


“Then why did you come?” she asked, depositing the money in a safebox behind the counter.


Kazeir looked down at his hands. They seemed so...helpless. “Because I couldn’t think of anyone else to go to.”


Alexir folded her arms. “You’re not going to convince me to join another crazy scheme.”


“I’m not asking you to trust me—”


“Yes,” she said flatly. “You are. If you’re asking me to help you, you are.”


Fine. He was asking for her trust. He needed her to trust him, and yet that felt like an impossibility. Why had he even thought it was possible?


Because Kazeir knew her. Better than he knew Maxtom. Maybe even better than he knew himself. He could use that knowledge to get her trust...and hope he didn’t hurt her again in the process.


“You’re right,” he said. “But at least hear what I have to say.”


Alexir raised her eyebrows but settled back against the counter, waiting.


“I’m going to stop Act 3017,” said Kazeir. “Save the Jakamant.”


Alexir started laughing, the motion throwing her ponytail over her shoulder.


He narrowed his eyes. “What’s so funny?”


“You want to know what’s funny?” she said. “Most people would think you’re joking. But I know you’re actually serious. That’s what’s funny.”


Kazeir copied her position, folding his arms. “I’m going to do it, Lex. Whether you help me or not.”


Her blue eyes darkened. “Don’t call me that.”


“Why not?”


“It may have been ten years, Kazeir, but I haven’t forgotten.”


Ten years. Had it really been that long?


Alexir’s eyes softened slightly. “Look. It’s not that I think you’re a bad person. I know you have good intentions. I know you believe in a better world. But, Kazeir, that world isn’t to be. It can’t exist, not alongside so much corruption.”


She shook her head. “There are plenty of other idealistic people out there willing to make a move against the government. I’ll recommend a few if you want.”


Kazeir shook his head. They wouldn’t be her. Ten years ago, she, Kazeir, and Maxtom had worked as a team, been able to support each other with their individual strengths. How would he find anyone like her out there, practical, determined, persistent, smart?


She was one of a kind.


“No,” he said. “I still think I can convince you. I still have a little more time, anyway. I have business in Ithyke.”


“Business?”


Kazeir flashed her a smile. “I thought I’d go to church.”


Alexir raised an eyebrow. “Somehow I doubt you’ve suddenly picked up any religious convictions.”


“No,” he agreed. “There’s something I need to buy.”
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#4
Wow Lana, this is really good! Top notch writing, and I love how you use the prompts to create such a vivid interesting setting and characters. I hope to see more. Keep it up!
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#5
Thanks, Jingo! Hopefully I don't get too busy to keep working on this; I'm really enjoying myself!
--

Chapter Three — The Church of the Severance


The Church of the Severance worshipped the Severant, the man, being, or god who had severed the world. They prayed to him. They broke rocks weekly in memorial of the Severance. And they believed he had severed the planet as an act of benevolence toward his people.


Kazeir didn’t know what or who had caused the Severance—no one did—but he couldn’t bring himself to believe it was the work of a god. The Sever did have a certain sort of grandeur to it, but it was a dangerous grandeur. In Kazeir’s estimation, a person who could split an entire planet in half was not likely to be benevolent.


The faction of the Church of the Severance local to Ithyke had constructed an expensive building to worship in. Two pillars of building stood next to each other, a slight alley between them meant to represent the Sever. The sides of the building that faced the fabricated Sever were made entirely of glass.


Directly in the center of it all stood a glass dome, about fifteen feet tall and thirty feet wide. Inside, an enormous boulder floated, supported by an anti-gravity pod. The pod glowed blue, giving the entire dome a tint of the color.


Maxtom, next to Kazeir, whistled. “Impressive.”


“Yes, it does look rather heavy, doesn’t it?” Kazeir said with a smile.


Get UNE:
Insightful and prejudiced preacher who is slightly weaker than you and whose motivation is to comprehend discrimination and is focused on your last action.


I actually generated this a couple days ago, but I saved it for this scene because I felt it would fit.


“I see you’ve found our remnant,” said a middle-aged man, walking around the other side of the dome toward Kazeir. He wore a suit and had an easy smile to accompany his casual stride. Pale blue eyes were framed by short-cropped light brown hair.


“Your remnant?” asked Kazeir.


The man’s smile never left his face. “Yes, a remnant from the most astounding act in all history: the Severance. We found this boulder several decades ago in orbit around the planet. Its makeup seems to suggest it was once part of the planet’s surface.”


“I see,” said Kazeir.


“I’m Kold Zimon, head of operations at this branch of the Church of the Severance. It’s surprising that you new seekers of truth happened to approach just as I was walking to the other side of the building. That seems to suggest that the Severant wanted us to meet.”


Kazeir laughed. “I’ll take that, since you’re just the man I needed to talk to. I’m Kazeir Dameron and this is Maxtom Jefrye.”


“I will remember your name,” said Maxtom.


Zimon’s smile faltered for a second at Maxtom’s Jakamant greeting, but it grew again as he turned back to Kazeir. “Indeed? If that’s not a sign of the Severant himself, I don’t know what is.”


“Perhaps the Sever itself?” said Maxtom.


Kazeir had to struggle not to laugh, but Maxtom kept a completely straight face.


“Well, yes,” said Zimon. “That’s true.” He cleared his throat. “Have the two of you heard much about the Church of the Severance?”


“Yes,” said Kazeir, motioning to the dome in front of them. “I heard that you are in possession of the biggest anti-gravity pod in Central Giabromar.”


Zimon nodded, smiling proudly at the display in front of them. “Yes, but the greatest wonder of all is not the mechanism itself but the remnant which it holds. Imagine—this rock has been in space, where no wind nor water can touch it to erode it. It lies in exactly the same state it did at the time of the Severance. Looking at it is like seeing the hand of God.”


“In that case, that should make my job easier,” said Kazeir. “I’ve come to buy the anti-gravity pod from you.”


The preacher stared at him. “You want to buy the anti-gravity pod? It’s not for sale! It’s here to preserve the beauty of the Severant’s work, not to be bought.”


“We’re transporting a very heavy cargo,” said Maxtom. “The anti-gravity pod would serve a useful purpose with us.”


How does Zimon react?


Abandon / Pleasures


Or rather, he will abandon his pleasurable-ness.


Zimon’s eyes narrowed as he peered at Maxtom. The smile that had been constant on his face drifted away. “I know what you’re doing. I should have known from your ponytail and your greeting. You’re Jakamant sympathizers, aren’t you? And you were planning on using the pod to transport Jakamants to a secret location where they can survive the genocide. Admit it!”


Kazeir smiled slightly. “That’s really not a bad idea. I’ll keep it in mind.” Annoying the man probably wasn’t the best idea, but he didn’t have much self-control at the moment. Not after his failed talk with Alexir.


Zimon frowned, his eyes blazing. “The Jakamant are unholy creatures. They defiled the earth. They mock the Severant and his chosen people by living on this world.”


Maxtom stepped toward Zimon until they were only a foot apart. Maxtom towered over him by at least six inches. “Most of the Jakamant live next to the Sever. That would make them more holy than you just by proximity, wouldn’t you say?”


“I’m going to report you to Giabromar,” said Zimon, sticking his chin out defiantly. “They’ll execute you along with the Jakamant, I’m sure. You look enough like one already.”


“Oh really?” said Maxtom. “I thought it was the Church of the Severance that looked more like Jakamant.”


Zimon stiffened.


“And I would take that as a compliment, if I were you.”


Kazeir stepped forward. As much fun as it was to see Maxtom make jabs at Zimon, it was time to see if he could get the anti-gravity pod. “Zimon,” he said.


The man turned toward him, but before he could say anything, Kazeir cut him off.


“I’m offering 30,000 reiks for the pod.”


Zimon closed his mouth, his eyes wide. “How—?”


“And another thousand for keeping things quiet.”


Zimon just stared at Kazeir for a long moment.


Does the lure of money outweigh Zimon's religious convictions? (U)


(Unlikely | 4[d10]) No


Zimon straightened his shoulders. His voice was quieter now. “I don’t think it would be wise to accept an offer from you.”


Kazeir shrugged. “You might be right. But keep the offer in mind.”


Zimon only nodded, and Kazeir motioned to Maxtom. “Come on, let’s go.”


Reluctantly, Maxtom followed him, but he looked back to glare at Zimon and the church several times. “There are some things I’d like to say to that man.”


“I think you already said them.” Kazier smiled as he thought back to the conversation. “What did you mean when you said the Church of the Severant looked like the Jakamant? It seemed to shake him up.”


Maxtom looked over at him. “You didn’t hear about this? It happened about a year and a half ago; there was a big uproar about it. Apparently, someone compiled headshots of all the members of the church in Ithyke into one face that looked significantly more Jakamant than the average human.”


He shrugged. “It was all proved false, of course. Just a fluke of chance based on the sample, since it never worked on any other of their branches. But it caused a fallout in the church here in Ithyke that they’re still trying to recover from.” Maxtom frowned. “No one wanted to be seen as a Jakamant.”


Kazeir put a hand on his shoulder. “Not to worry, Maxtom. We’ll figure everything out soon.” Hopefully.


They walked in silence for a moment, then Maxtom said, “30,000 reiks is quite the sum. Where did you get it?”


Kazeir sighed. “Where do you think?”


Maxtom nodded slowly. “I’m surprised he didn’t accept it.”


“He’s smarter than he looks. 30,000 reiks isn’t worth the repercussions it will have on the church when we use their anti-gravity pod to stop Act 3017.”


Maxtom grinned. “But it might be some consolation if we’re going to get it from them anyway.”


Kazeir smiled as well, though inwardly he had no idea how they were going to get the anti-gravity pod from the church. “That’s the spirit, Max.”
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#6
Chapter Four — A Childish Dream


What does Kazeir decide to do?


Move / Energy


Kazeir paced back and forth in his room, trying to figure out what to do. The fact that the room was not quite six nor seven steps across, but somewhere in between, only served to frustrate him more.


He hadn’t gotten the anti-gravity pod. He hadn’t gotten Alexir to help him. And tomorrow, he would have to have some sort of plan in place or he would lose Maxtom, too. He trusted Kazeir to come up with something.


Kazeir paused his pacing to look through the tiny window in his tiny hotel room. It was dark outside, aside from pools of white light where street lights shone. Only a few tiny stars were visible.


Once, Kazeir had sat at the edge of the Sever, and looked up to the sky, where he had seen a million glowing lights. He’d wondered what it would be like, up there, surrounded for eternity by that kind of beauty.


He had been a child, then. There was no way to get to the stars, not unless one received a very special order from the Giabromaran government.


And yet, at that moment, trying to rescue the Jakamant from their death sentence seemed just as ridiculous.


Kazeir cursed, turning back to his pacing. There had to be a way to save them. There just had to be.


Fifteen minutes later, he still had no solution. He stood at the window, looking out into the darkness. Opening the window would set off an alarm, as it was only meant for emergencies, but Kazeir longed for a breath of fresh air. Something to distract him from the turmoil he felt.


A figure walked beneath one of the street lights. For a second, Kazeir watched disinterestedly, then noticed the odd gait of the person, as if one leg was slightly different than the other.


Could it be Alexir?


Kazeir opened his door and darted down the stairs, exiting out of the front of the hotel and nearly running to catch up with the figure in front of him.


She turned, and in a brief glimpse illuminated by the harsh white light above, Kazeir saw Alexir’s scarred face. Shaking her head, she turned forward and started walking faster.


Kazeir lengthened his stride and caught up with her. “Where are you going? It’s dangerous to be out at night alone.”


Alexir laughed, a derisive tone present in the sound. “I can take care of myself.”


“Ithyke is dangerous at night,” Kazeir persisted. When she didn’t respond, he said, “What’s so important that you’ll go at night to do it?”


Does Alexir tell him what she's doing? (U)


(Unlikely | 9[d10]) Yes


What is she doing?


Violate / The intellectual


She sighed. “I’m going on an errand.”


Kazeir narrowed his eyes. Any kind of errand that had to be done at night couldn’t be a good one. What had Alexir gotten herself into? “What kind of errand?” he asked.


“A personal one,” she said, with a pointed look.


Kazeir didn’t stop following her. He knew all too well how complex the darker side of any city could be. How entangling. “Are you in trouble, Lex?” he asked. “I can—”


Alexir stopped walking. “I told you not to call me that,” she said, folding her arms.


A moment of silence passed, then Alexir let out a breath. Her voice was quieter now. “It really is a personal errand,” she said. “There’s something I’m going to steal. For myself. That’s all.”


“If you get caught…” Kazeir drifted off. Depending on the significance of the item, being caught could mean death. It was a far cry better than the vicious cycle of gangs and other inner city politics, but still. “Why? What do you need? I could buy it—”


“No,” she said vehemently.


Kazeir took a step closer. “Why not?” He looked her in the eyes, studying her, trying to understand why she was risking herself this way. “Then you would be safe.”


Alexir’s eyes searched his for a moment before she whirled around and started walking again. “I can’t.”


“Can’t what?”


Alexir was silent for so long that Kazeir thought she’d decided not to answer his question. Then she said, “I can’t rely on you. I have to be my own person, take care of myself… You’d only fail me again.”


Kazeir’s pace slowed, and he walked behind Alexir, not wanting her to see his reaction. The words didn’t seem to have cost her anything, but they had torn a piece out of his heart.


What if she was right? He believed that he would help her, do what was right, but maybe when it came down to it, he would betray her again, hurt her again.


Maybe he was just a man of empty promises.


They had walked into the more polite sector of Ithyke, and Alexir stopped in front of a house. It was tall and thin, stylized with large glass windows and metal panels.


Kazeir watched from the shadows as Alexir began to scale the side of the house. He wasn’t sure how she did it—a normal person shouldn’t have been able to do it, let alone someone with a prosthetic leg.


Then again, maybe she had crafted some sort of piece for her leg that allowed her to do it. Some sort of claw or something that stuck against the wall, maybe. Would she tell him how she’d done it, if he asked? Somehow, he doubted it.


Alexir paused at one of the windows, but Kazeir couldn’t tell what she was doing in the darkness. A few minutes later, the window started to open.


Kazeir tensed, but no alarm sounded. Somehow, Alexir had been able to disarm the window’s alarm, but how?


At every noise, Kazeir expected Giabromaran officials to jump out from behind the buildings and arrest both of them, but the minutes that passed were uneventful, and Alexir soon returned, descending down the wall with something in hand.


Kazeir rejoined her and looked at the object in her hands. It was a book.


Actual physical books were hard to come by, but with Alexir’s lack of status, it would probably be easier for her to steal a physical one than to try to get a pirated electronic copy. Still, it had to be something special if she was going to risk being caught to get it.


When she didn’t immediately tuck it away, Kazeir held out his hand, and, though Alexir seemed reluctant, she handed it over to him.


He turned the book around in his hands, looking at the title and flipping through the pages. It looked like...a novel.


Kazeir handed it back to her, confused. “A novel?” he asked. “You went out in the middle of the night to steal a novel? Not a book about prosthetics or mechanics or the universe but...a novel?”


Alexir glared at him. “Yes.”


“I...don’t understand.”


She rolled her eyes. “I didn’t expect you to.”


“I want to understand, but it just doesn’t make sense. Why would you risk your life for a simple story?”


Alexir turned toward him. “All my life, Kazeir, all my life I dreamed of one thing, but I never got it. I never lived it, I never experienced it myself, so the only way I can even begin to experience it is through ‘simple stories’ like this. You can think it’s ridiculous if you want to, but for the love of the Sever, don’t say anything about it to me.”


She held his eyes for a second before dropping her gaze and walking back the way they’d come.


Kazeir let out a long breath. The one thing Alexir had always wanted, the one thing he had been unable to grant her was her family. Her parents.


Looking at her now, clinging to the book in her hands, he saw for a moment the old Lex, the one he had known long ago.


“It’s not ridiculous,” he said, not having anything else to say. He didn’t know how to talk to her.


Alexir darted a glance at him. “It is ridiculous,” she said. “I’m acting like a child.”


Kazeir chose his words carefully. “Maybe you deserve to act like a child,” he said. “After your childhood was taken from you.”


She sighed. “My childhood wasn’t taken from me. It just wasn’t the childhood I wanted.” Alexir pulled her arms around herself as she walked. “For the record, I wasn’t really mad at you because you didn’t find them. It was...a childish dream. It wouldn’t have changed anything.”


She looked up at the sky, at the few tiny stars. “What hurt the most was that you never really tried.”


Kazeir took a breath to protest, but before he could speak, Alexir had continued talking. “You had all these big ideas to help people. You wanted to be the hero, to save the entire world, that I guess the rest of us kind of got lost in the shuffle.”


Kazeir swallowed. Alexir said the words so unaffectedly, but there had to be years of pain behind the words. She was right. He had been too distracted, always chasing after dreams. He’d forgotten about the promise he had made.


Alexir glanced over at him. “It’s okay, Kazeir,” she said. “I forgave you a long time ago.”


“But forgiveness doesn’t include giving me another chance?” he whispered.


She didn’t answer.


There had to be something he could do, but he couldn’t bring himself to say the words. Instead, he said, “I’m going to have to steal the anti-gravity pod.”


Alexir laughed. “And you were accusing me of being unnecessarily dangerous.”


“That was unnecessarily dangerous. But this is necessary. The church isn’t going to sell it to me, and I need the pod in order to transport the bridge.”


“Even if you do manage to steal the pod without getting killed, don’t you think you’ll be a little conspicuous? You know, travelling across Giabromar with a giant bridge on an giant anti-gravity pod?”


Kazeir frowned. “Maxtom has connections to the Jakamant. They’ll be able to hide us sometimes.”


“Hmm.”


He levelled a look at her. “Do you have a better idea?”


Alexir tilted her head. “The better idea is to let Act 3017 continue as it is. You can’t fix everything. This is just one of the things you’ll have to let go if you want to survive.”


Kazeir grabbed her by the shoulder. “I don’t care about my survival anymore. I don’t care if I die trying to fix it. At least my life is worth something if I do this. At least I’ll have tried.”


She stared at him. After a long pause, she said, “I guess you’ll have to steal it, then.”


He nodded slowly.


When they arrived at the hotel, Alexir paused along with Kazeir. She seemed to be trying to think of what to say. “Be safe,” she said finally.


“I will,” he said, though inwardly he wondered if maybe this was just another empty promise. Another promise he would break.


Alexir turned to go, but Kazeir reached out his hand and touched her arm.


She turned back to look at him, waiting.


“If finding your parents was a childish dream, then...what is it that you want?”


The street light flickered above them as Kazeir waited for her to respond


“I don’t know, Kaze,” she said finally. “I really don’t know.”


Then she turned around and walked away, melting into the night.
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