originally posted in:The Black GardenView Entire Topic
It's taken me a long while, but I've finally gotten some story to publish. This is part one of Warlock's Way: Broken Edge, the story of the warlock Kurandal. This is the first major story writing I've done in close to fourteen years, so I appreciate any feedback and suggestions from the group. I know I have a long way to go in improving my skills. Thanks in advance to anyone who reads my take on Bungie's new universe.
(posting here without the dedication for those without Google accounts) [b]Warlock’s Way: Broken Edge[/b] [i][b]Part One[/b][/i] He heard nothing but the echo of his mother’s screams, his own cries for his parents unable to rise above her final sounds in his ears. He struggled against his bonds as a raging inferno roared around him, consuming his home of eight years. His mother’s body lay sprawled and broken, face-down, blood pooling beneath her. His father was propped against a tree, crimson streaming down the bruised swollen mess that was once his face. One of the light-blue-skinned men that had attacked his family kicked him. The man’s eyes glowed a dull yellow light, sneering at the boy that lay tied in front of him. “You squeal like a shtaphing gynj, little chajo! Shtaph the going price for slaves, you’re not worth it!” The Awoken raider picked him up and threw him into the burning house. “Burn in Mephus, chajo!” Kurandal felt the fire lick his face and hands, smoke filling his eyes and lungs. The man’s eyes and face forever burned into his memory. The fire began speaking to him as it crackled. “Hey, ‘lock? You with us?” Kurandal shook his head and rubbed his eyes. Listening to the Awoken Pajin speak about raiding a Fallen camp had stirred old memories. Memories he needed to stay buried. “Hey, K, you alright?” Javier asked. “I’m fine. Just remembering…an incident. Our Awoken friend reminded me of someone,” Kurandal quietly replied. He felt his temper rising, heard his heart pounding in his ears. The burn scars on his face and arms began to itch as his body remembered the fire from a quarter century ago. “Look, ‘lock, if you’re too scared to get your Guardian hands bloody with some staphing Fallen runts-" Pajin taunted before being cut off by Javier. “Watch your mouth, Pajin. Treat Kurandal with some respect. He’s the whole reason this town exists. At least be decent enough to call him by his name.” Javier bristled at hearing the mercenary repeatedly demean his friend's station. Warlocks studied the Traveler's energies for years. Without their powers, the Guardians would have fallen long ago to Humanity's enemies. “Thanks, Javier, but I can take care of myself.” Kurandal closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to will old images from his mind. He dragged his fingers down his face, feeling the large moon-shaped scar on his left cheek as they passed. He scratched at his patchy beard before he continued. “Pajin, we don’t kill women and children. Fallen or not. My team won’t be party to wholesale slaughter of innocents.” Pajin snarled his response. “Innocents?! Innocents?! THEY'RE SHTAPHIN' FALLEN! Have you seen what their women can do!? What their children grow up to be?! What kind of chajo do they feed you Guardians in the city?” “We. Don’t. Kill. Innocent. Women. And. Children. I don’t care how low we are on supplies or how ‘easy’ you say the pickings are. We don’t need them that bad.” Kurandal’s voice rang clear and loud, anger bronzing the edge of his words. Pajin pushed his point. “Was your mother a Fallen, ‘lock? I hope someone put her out of her misery after she brought your weak heart into this world-“ Kurandal’s vision went red as his mother’s screams crescendoed in his memory. He could feel himself fly in an instant across the room, grabbing Pajin by the throat, and squeezing until the light dimmed in Pajin’s eyes. “K, you alright?” Vinda asked. She lay a hand on his arm, looking at him with concern. She knew something was wrong. It didn't take her Hunter's training and sharp eyes to see the anger in her friend's face. Kurandal looked at her, the image of him strangling Pajin dimming briefly, the rage in him ebbing ever so slightly. He blinked as he looked around the room at his friends, then at the gray-skinned mercenary that stood but ten feet away from him. No. Not now. Not in front of them, he thought. Kurandal turned, brushed Vinda’s hand away and strode out of the team’s house. As soon as he cleared the front stoop, Kurandal leapt into the air, gliding as far away as he could. He landed in a nearby clearing, thankfully devoid of witnesses. As he landed, he found he could no longer hold back. The rage in him peaked, tapping into his connection with the Traveler. A force bubble formed around him, expanding in all directions. He raised his face to the sky, screaming as his fists tightened by his side. The purple bubble crushed trees and rocks around him, the air filled with ozone as the energy of the bubble crackled through atmosphere. Then, moments later, as Kurandal’s chest heaved with deep breaths, the bubble shrunk, wavered, then dissipated. Kurandal’s Ghost, Krand, emerged unbidden from its storage pocket in Kurandal’s jacket, and floated behind him. “Feel better, son?” Kurandal’s Ghost Krand asked matter-of-factly, its tone a mix of concern and sarcasm. Kurandal fell to his knees, shaking as the anger in him passed. He hated how he felt. He hated losing his temper, losing control, always afraid of hurting someone he cared about. “Not now, Krand. I don’t want to hear it.” “Hear what? That this doesn’t do you or anyone else any good? Son, you’ve got to let it go. Move on. Don’t let your past control you," Krand said softly. Kurandal gathered himself as he stood shakily, speaking rote words in response to his Ghost. “Krand, our past is what makes us who we are. It shapes us. Our victories, defeats, pain and loss, they form the foundation of what drives us, our potential.” “That’s chajo, Kurrie, and you know it. Remember, I know who taught you that! It’s only half the truth. You learn from the past, to have a brighter future. But if you live in the past, you have no future.” “I hate when you call me that, Krand”. Kurandal wiped his brow, and pulled his hand down his face, passing the burn scars on his cheeks and chin. Krand’s personality was based on his grandfather, the man who raised him once his father became too drunk to do so. Had his grandfather been a Guardian as well? Humanity still understood so little of the magic behind the great white sphere that shepherded the remnants of Earth’s children. Kurandal had studied that magic for fifteen years as a Warlock, and had only scratched the surface. “K, you over here?” Vinda’s voice called out. She came over the ridge just past the clearing. “He’s over here, little lady.” Krand’s voice piped through the air, his drawl giving a softness to his electronic voice. Kurandal hung his head in shame, not wanting to see the look on Vinda’s face. “K, if you don’t want to work with Pajin, we don’t have to work with him. Do you know him from somewhere? You looked like you were ready to kill him before you stormed out.” "He just...reminded me of someone...brought back some bad memories." "Oh, Traveler...your parents. I'm sorry, K. Look, don't worry--" Vinda stopped in mid-sentence, suddenly taking in the devastated terrain surrounding Kurandal. Her voice dropped to a hush. "Chajo, K...Did you do this?" Krand cleared his virtual throat. "Kurrie's temper can be a sight to see, Vinnie." Krand looked at Kurandal as he stood silently, too embarrassed to speak. Vinda looked back and forth between Kurandal and Krand, not sure what to say. Kurandal broke the awkward silence. "Look, let's get back to town. I want to make sure Pajin knows he and his mercs can stay in town as long as they don't start any trouble. But we are NOT helping them attack that Fallen outpost. Krand, time to lock up." "Sure thing, son." Krand replied, as he folded into a small cube and dropped into Kurandal's open hand. "Come on, Vinda. Let's head back," Kurandal said quietly, hoping his friend couldn't hear the mortification coloring his voice. …