In the beginning, there was darkness. A dense horrific darkness that swept the land and imprisoned its people. A thick omnipresent darkness that swallowed the sunlight and championed the evening. It was a fatal darkness that destroyed the hope of a once indestructible force; a once impenetrable kingdom. The nation of Wu found themselves in hiding.
of the universe had been drained. The radiant sunlight had become dull over time and its warmth could no longer reach the earth; the people of the world were cursed with a nine year winter. Blistering cold winds stampeded through the small forgotten nation and frosted the avenue corners where life once flourished. A sub zero stillness fell upon the leafless trees as the dead leaves rustled across the frigid bleak land. Starved birds desperately cried from the peaks of deserted and boarded houses, which were now nothing more than decomposed brick and rubble holding on for dear life. Aerial attacks had demolished homes and murdered families; children. A nation forged by steel, was now deteriorating like rusted metal in the most disheartening circumstances. The people used the weak shelters to protect themselves and their struggling families from the terrors of the darkness. The people were wretched and viciously battled each other for access to the sparse amounts of food, water, and shelter. The civilians who went without, either perished to the harsh conditions or left to find asylum elsewhere; Those who left became nothing more than slaves to the Nation of Chu.
The nation of Chu was strong; prosperous. Greed held dominance in their kingdom. The need for more was decay to neighboring nations. Those who refused to comply with the Chu Army commands were made victims of its wrath. They infiltrated lands, raided countries of their supplies and resources, and then bombarded their people. Great nations had become nothing more than rubble; nothing more than newly claimed land for the greedy nation of Chu. They were great and superior in size and numbers. Their weaponry and technological advancements made them an undefeatable force. They annihilated everything in their path. Chu’s greed for more was destroying the universe.
The nation of Wu was the only nation Chu couldn’t claim; the only land Chu couldn’t completely infiltrate. Wu was once home to the world’s most precious resources and sacred cultures. Wu was once home to the world’s most powerful army, until Chu revealed Electronic Warfare. Their advancements not only devoured all life surrounding but they changed the universe as we know it. Chu found a way to harness absurd amounts of energy into technology, weaponry, and much more. They found a way to channel and store unworld like electric power from our universe. They were responsible for the darkness. Enough was never enough. They’ve attempted on several occasions to conquer Wu in the past, but never succeeded. Chu’s soldiers couldn’t step foot on the land. Wu defended its gate with everything the small nation had. Many lives were taken in battle. So much blood was spilled and so many families were tragically damaged. Chu’s ultimate goal was to capture the nation’s resources before destroying it. In this case, Chu was ruthless. Chu’s kingship flexed its power and delivered demolishing electronic pulses from specialized air crafts to the opposing nation. Obliterating temples, universal history and ancient secrets. So much was lost in the war.
The people were in hiding and even through the suffering, they were not broken. They seeked refuge from the disaster in what remained of their homes but they weren’t naive to the consequences of warfare. They knew the cost of protecting the nation and their way of living. They were just waiting. Every battle was just a stall. They would be just as strong as they needed to be. They had to prolong the invasion long enough; They had to resist the enemy until it was time. The prophecy would prove to be true.
Back in the 7th year of the cursed winter, the nation of Wu received three refugees at its border gate. Chu had not yet attacked at this time, but Wu anticipated and their army prepared. The three refugees were bundled with warm layers protecting them from the arctic temperatures. They were stationed out in front of the gate with their knees sunken deep into the snow as they bowed down to the kingdom. They fled from Chu’s massacre and seeked the protection of the leaders of Wu. Their presence immediately caught the attention of the border control officers. The officers were specially assigned soldiers of the Wu Army. The war was coming so the leaders assigned more soldiers to guard the border’s entries. The security cracked down on the nation’s over the border trade and traveling transactions. The troops were dressed in the country’s black combat uniform, layered with a light battle armor. The nation’s flag was stitched with a vibrant red thread deep into the burly flame-resistant fabric. The dark red steel plated armor fortified the strong warriors; covering their torso and legs in sturdy protection. The soldiers stayed warm in the frozen nature by draping a thick fur-lined cloak over top of their armor. The cloak was easy to remove and wouldn’t hinder the soldiers ability to react. A soldier stomped through the frosted precipitation towards the towering gate. His cloak concealed his sharpened sword that hung by his waist in its scabbard. He gripped it by its handle tight as he approached the gate. On the other side, the three refugees knelt. The soldier was prepared to use deadly force as this appeared to be a decoy.
“What is your business here?” The soldier called to the three drifters. They were visibly cold and shivering in their seated positions with their heads bowed to their knees. One of the hooded drifters raised his head just enough to see the soldier’s feet.
“We seek sanctuary under your great nation.” he replied to the guard. The soldier shook his head and brushed the words off instantly.
“We do not accept refugees-” the soldier began stating but the refugee spoke up and interrupted his sentence.
“We are asking you to make an acception! Chu has destroyed our home and forced us into fleeing from our land. We are what’s left of our people’s existence.” The refugee pleaded. The soldier was cold and had no empathy. He began shaking his head as the refugee spoke.
“We do not accept refugees. Remove yourselves from our border or we will take necessary actions towards disposing of you.” The soldier spoke heartlessly. The three refugees removed their hoods and revealed their faces to the soldier. They were children; brothers but more importantly, they were marked. Their skin was dark; they’d been cursed by the sun. Their blackened skin was targeted by the Chu Army, apprehended, and terminated at all costs. The search and massacres swept through every state of the world. The kidnapping and genocide of the cursed people grew stronger and more ruthless as the kingdom conquered neighboring nations. The soldier was speechless as he examined the faces of the three refugees. He took multiple deep breaths before hesitantly stepping closer to the gate.
“If you do not grant us entry, we will sit here and freeze. We will die before we give up on our journey. We have nowhere else to run. We have nowhere else to go.” The refugee told the soldier. Wu was also home to the largest population of marked people. The majority of their army and population were wrapped head to toe in the curse, which made the nation of Wu an undeniable target. The guard stood there contemplating the situation in his head. He turned his back to the gate and raised his hand signaling to the guard station. It was a small stone-built structure a few hundred feet from the gate. It was a dark, torch-lit station that carried extra ammo for its guards, operational controls for the gate, and a communications device for the guards to notify the Leaders of any unexpected complications. The screeching of the gate’s outdated functions sounded as its automated pulley system started to move. The gate slowly crept to the side and rolled through the inches of thick snow, opening for the refugees. Guards stood by on alert and analyzed their surroundings. They were prepared for the worst as the refugees stood to their feet and walked into the kingdom’s territory. The guard allowed them to step in beyond the gate but brought them to a halt and allowed the gate to shut before permitting them any further. The mighty gate slammed shut behind the children and they cringed as the locks screeched again. The soldier didn’t move. He stood there tall wrapped up in his cloak’s warmth as his calloused hand squeezed his sword’s handle. He examined the children thoroughly. He’d been trained well but he was astonished. The soldier who operated the station quickly alerted their leaders as briskly as he could manage.
“How did you survive the extermination?” The soldier asked the children as they awaited reinforcements. The children didn’t answer right away. The question ran through their minds as they reminisced. The nation of Chu was violently discriminatory to the marked ones. The King of their land was disgusted by their head to toe pigment marking and feared what he didn’t understand. All around the world there were mixed feelings and various opinionated groups. Most believed in the curse; believed that these people were damned by the most high and believed they were deserving of nothing but death, justifiable to their religions. In many parts of the world, the marked ones were hunted and mass murdered. Some believed the curse was a myth; believed these people were nothing more than ordinary people being oppressed because of their visual difference. Those who believed this still refrained from communicating or making contact with the marked ones, in fear of what they didn’t understand. A few, including the remainder of the marked population, believed the marking was a blessing. They believed their darker skin was a symbol of God’s promise; a symbol that they were destined to spectacular and unworldly feats. Those who believed this, were exiled. This faith was never shared openly amongst the people, outside of the nation of Wu.
“It wasn’t our time. The Lord still needed us here.” the youngest of the three children spoke as his teeth struggled not to chatter. The boys nodded and lifted their hoods back over their heads. Those words shook the guard where he stood. He examined the resilient boys as they waited. It wasn’t long before the leaders were visible in the distance. Three men rode along speedily on stallions as a steel plated carriage whisked behind them on the rough road. The powerful unit brought an intensity with it as it approached rapidly. The horses wore light armor constructed of steel, in a similar design to the armor that covered the soldiers. The horses slowed as they arrived at the station but continued to march towards the gate. The men on the horses wore a higher seniority combat uniform under their armor. The strong war gear was primarily red with black trim and its flag was stitched with black thread. The uniforms were ranking systems within the army. These soldiers also wore steel plated masks with their nation’s symbol branded into the medal. The soldiers who rode in were decorated generals of the army, notoriously known as the P.A.O. Assassins. The horses and carriage finally came to a stop and one of the assassins spoke to the children.
“Remove your hoods.” the soldier spoke stern and assertive as he sat upon the stallion. The children obeyed and pull their hoods off again baring their marked skin to the assassin. The soldier examined for a few seconds motionlessly and then he shifted to his side a bit. He kicked his right leg overtop of the horse, turned, and sat with his knees pointed outwards from the steed. He pushed off the horse’s mighty body and dropped down to the snow beneath. His boots trampled the snowflakes as he landed and hurriedly hiked over to the boys. He approached the youngest of the three, rested his hand down, and firmly palmed the crown of the boy’s head. He pushed the head back and tilted the boy’s face up to get a better look. The soldier examined the eyes, nose, and lips. He analyzed the skin before releasing the boy’s head and stepping towards the child at his side. The assassin grabbed a handful of the middle child’s hair, yanked the boy’s head upward, and examined the facial features. The boy let out a quick grunt of pain and scrunched his face up in displeasure as the soldier approved his characteristics. The soldier released the boy’s hair and stepped to the oldest and tallest brother. The assassin reached out for the teen’s head but the teen quickly swatted the soldier at the wrist. The guard who stood off to the side observing instantly yanked his sword from the scabbard. As the frozen blade slide from its steel rest, an alerting ringing sound roared in the area. The guard stepped forward. The assassin snickered was a sinister grin and spoke before attempting to reach for the teen’s head again.
“Easy.” the assassin stated to his guard without taking his eyes off of the teen. He reached and once again the teen hacked at the soldier’s hand but this time, the soldier was anticipating it. The assassin caught the oldest brother’s strike and yanked the boy by his arm. With a loud thud, the assassin slammed his shoulder into the teen’s ribs and used his twisting momentum to flip the brother over on to the ground. The oldest brother tumbled up over the assassin’s shoulder and slammed into the inches of snow. The assassin was quick and powerful. He continued to twist a full 360 degrees and as he turned back to the younger brothers, the middle child attacked. He raised his foot from the snow in a swift attempt to kick the assassin but his efforts were crushed. The soldier stomped the child’s foot back to ground, then lifted his same boot to kick the child in the pit of his chest. The boy fell backwards a few feet, crashed to the gate, and clenched at the pain in his chest as he struggled to regain his balance. The youngest screamed with rage as he charged the soldier. The little boy bolted a few feet towards the assassin wailing his balled fist. The soldier stepped aside, grabbed the child by his hood, and lifted him up from the ground. The boy swung his limbs frantically delivering puny hits to the assassin’s armor. The soldier chuckled to himself before tossing the boy down to the snow beside the oldest brother.
“Enough.” one of the assassins called from his seated position upon his stallion. The children struggled back to their feet with anger growing unruly in their hearts.
“Are they authentic? Are they truly marked?” The assassin asked from his horse becoming impatient.
“Seems so. They’re weak, malnourished; they’re inexperienced. They’re incapable of pulling off a heist. Nothing but refugees.” The assassin informed the others as the refugees stood to their feet and complained amongst the three of them.
“Bring them. If they are not the Enemy, then we must take them in from this harsh storm.” an assassin ordered from the horses. The assassin on foot lead the children to the steel carriage and opened its door. The interior seating was padded and lined with warm fur that invited the freezing children to rest in its comfort. The soldier ordered the children to pile in and sit; the refugees obeyed as the carriage door shut behind them. There were small barred windows on both sides of the carriage, at a height that only the oldest brother could look through while seated. As soon as the assassin was situated atop his stallion, the carriage began to move. The oldest refugee watched as the carriage turned. He watched the gate guard as he turned and took watch again. The carriage was headed deeper into the nation of Wu. At this time, the nation was still whole. It hadn’t been attacked and destroyed at all yet, but the people feared that war was in the near future. The torch lit streets were quiet. The homes were filled with busy people organizing, utilizing the resources, and preparing to defend their land. The roads were frosted and slick but rough at times due to uneven roadways and unexpected ditches. The carriage passed through civilian housing. Miles after miles before slowing and stopping at a lodge. The boys listened closely as the assassins hopped down from their armored steeds. They hiked back past the carriage. The oldest boy watched out the window as two of the assassins walked along the right side of the carriage. After a brief fidgeting with the handle, the door swung open and the blistering winds penetrated the refugees’ warmth once again.
“On your feet! Let’s move it!” a scratchy voiced assassin ordered waving them to the exit. The boys quickly stood to their feet and hopped out of the carriage down into the snowy path below.
“Do not remove your hoods until you are ordered to. Do you understand?” An assassin ordered with a deadly serious tone. The boys nodded as their faces expressed displeasure of the extreme cold. One of the three assassins closed and locked the door as the other two escorted the brothers to the main entrance of the lodge. One of the two assassins opened the front door and stood to the side allowing the refugees and remaining assassin to enter. He then closed the door behind them without entering the lodge. The lodge was a great light stone-built structure. Exquisite and indestructible architectural work inside, yet indistinguishable from the outside. The last assassin escorted them through the lodge. A guard stood from behind a messy reception desk. This guard wore the black lower-ranked battle uniform and no armor. He bowed his head briefly to the assassin as he approached with the refugees.
“Peace, Lord.” the guard spoke humbly before looking back up to the assassin.
“Peace. Follow me.” the assassin ordered and the guard scrambled from around his desk and followed alongside the decorated general. The assassin and the guard spoke at an almost whisper as they discussed stay arrangements for the refugees. The oldest of the brothers caught quick glimpses of their conversation.
“...protected. These aren’t just any other refugees.” the assassin stated from what the teen could hear.
“I understand, sir.” the guard responded before the assassin continued.
“If anything were to happen, I’m holding you solely responsible.” the assassin spoke firmly and clear. The soldier gulped hard.
“I understand, sir.” The guard replied before looking back towards the three children. He was worried. The group continued to march through the lodge before reaching the resting areas. The large rooms were nearly full and very noisy. Cots were stacked into each room side by side in messy rows. The people were loud and interacted with each other in a rough manner. These people were survivors; people across the world whose homes had been annihilated and their history stolen by the Chu soldiers. They fled their native lands and found the nation of Wu, a generous, loving, and forgiving people. Even though they were marked and therefore targeted by the rest of society, they still opened their hearts and homes to those unmarked people. The lodge was filled with refugees of all different lands but none of the people were marked, except for the children. There was a great amount of hostility towards the marked people amongst the refugees. Most held the marked people responsible for the deracination in a way.
The group walked into one of the busy rooms. The presence of the assassin alarmed a lot of the people while others continued to talk and move amongst their groups.
“Attention!” The assassin’s voice roared and echoed through the high ceiling chamber. The room quieted more, even though a few still weren’t completely attentive to his voice. A few bodies piled out of the other rooms and created an audience behind the boys at the doorway. The assassin turned to the three boys that stood behind him.
“Remove your hoods.” the assassin told them and the children obeyed. They pulled their hoods down and revealed their faces to the people. The rooms and hallway fell fatefully silent. The people stood in amazement and also disbelief in what they saw. Some battled for position to get a proper view to witness the boys. Moments of speechless awe-filled wonder quickly turned into uproar and fearful outbursts.
“They’re marked!” Some screamed.
“You cannot let them stay here!” others called out.
“I refuse to share a room with the cursed. I refuse to breath the same air as these demons!” people exclaimed.
“They’re filthy!” more added. The screams roared throughout the room as people began to create a ruckus. They pounded at the ends of their cots and stomped their feet in a rage. The assassin yanked his sword from his scabbard. The blade slid from its steel case so viciously that it's ringing sound struck fear into the people’s hearts. The room was deadly silent once again.
“The Lords of Wu have extended their unconditional protection over these three children you see here... Under no circumstances will the targeting or harming of these boys be permitted. If you are found guilty of disobeying federal order than you will be penalized to death. No prosecution. Death… that I will personally serve to you.” The assassin announced to the room but loud enough that the surrounding rooms would heed his warning.
“Do I make myself clear!?” The assassin yelled through the room. The people were quiet. Some reluctantly nodded but none spoke. The assassin stood there for a few moments in silence. He was strong and powerful, looking as if he’d take on the entire crowd by himself. The boys stood behind the assassin cowardly trembling under the pressure in the chamber. He surveyed the room with a sinister grit as he flexed his power before shoving the sword back into his scabbard. He turned and gave the guard a firm look of certainty before exiting past the boys. As he stepped through the hall, the crowd of people split and stood off to the side, allowing the assassin a thick respected path to walk.
“Everyone back to your rooms!” The guard hollered into the hallway. The people sluggishly returned to their chambers. They didn’t take their eyes off of the boys. Eyes of evil and envy plotted against the new refugees. The guard assisted them through the room in search of vacant cots.
“Okay, two of you can rest here and the other can-” the guard began but the oldest brother interrupted.
“We must stay together.” he stated simply. The guard paused for a second before responding.
“There aren’t three available cots together anywhere.” the guard informed the boy. The oldest brother was persistent.
“I’m not negotiating. I won’t leave my brothers… not even if I’m just across the room. Either tell these people to move or I will pull the third cot here myself.” the teen told the guard with a hardened tone. The guard glared back at the boy for a second. He turned to his left and addressed a man laid out on a cot neighboring the two vacant beds.
“Find yourself another cot.” the guard told the pale skinned man who cozily wrapped up in a fleece blanket.
“For them? Hell no! I’m comfortable where I am.” the man resisted.
“It wasn’t a request!” the soldier snapped in response.
“I will not move one inch for any who bare the marking.” The man argued and the guard repeated himself.
“Find yourself another cot. It is not a request!” the guard hollered. The surrounding people watched like bystanders. The man snatched his few belongings from the area and stomped off in a huff.
“Enjoy.” the guard said sarcastically before walking off and abandoning the children in the hostile environment. This room received extra security surveillance. Several guards were ordered to look after the children and protect them from hateful attacks during their stay. The tension in the room was unbearable for the three children. The disgusted stares of judgement and piercing remarks of hatred ate at their struggling spirits. They tried to mask their fear, but anyone who witnessed could see through their facade. They were terrified. An intensity filled the hours of the night that seemed infinite. The brothers sat side by side at the end of their cots. They were still bundled in the layers of thick clothing and were uneasy about revealing anymore of their darkened skin to the people in the room. A guard stood in the hallway at the intersection of each busy room. He cleared his throat before he projected his voice with an announcement.
“All refugees report to the dining hall for supper.” the guard announced. There were torches mounted in every room and hall throughout the lodge to keep the structure well lit. People began to stand from their resting areas, leave their assigned rooms, and flow down the hall to the dining area. The dining hall was nothing more than a large narrow room where the refugees are served their dinners. They’re ordered to line up one after the other and travel through an assembly line of servers. One chef provides the protein to their dish. Next a chef provides vegetables and another chef scoops a hearty side. Lastly the refugees receive a small glass of clean water to wash down the meal. The refugees return to their areas and eat at their assigned cots. During this time, some people negotiate and trade foods for favors.
“I’m hungry, Z.” the youngest of the brothers said with a whine. His name was Digi. He was a young, yet very enthusiastic child. He had seen a lot during their travels; all three of the brothers did. They experienced much destruction and disheartening tragedy along their journey. He was a troubled mind trying his hardest to make sense of the evil, unreasonable world they lived in. His body was skinny and weak. Food had been sparse during their travels and for the past few days there hadn’t been any. The brothers were extremely skeptical of any food that was offered by strangers. Many have attempted to poison and rid the world of the marked ones’ existence.
“I know… I am, too.” the oldest brother replied at low volume. His eyes surveyed the room and was on high alert. He would risk it all to protect his brothers. He’s always went to great lengths and overcome unbelievable obstacles to keep their brotherhood tight. Nothing was a bigger task than resisting the Chu army and fleeing to the only accepting nation in the world. These children were chosen for a greater purpose and Z1 was the only leadership his younger brothers knew.
“Why can’t we just go and eat?” Digi asked impatiently as he held his growling stomach.
“What’s lesson #1?” Z1 asked impatiently.
“Expect the unexpected.” Eddie and Digi answered simultaneously.
“I must weigh out every possibility. We will eat soon! It’s just too dangerous right now.” Z1 replied to his younger brother as he continued to search his surroundings. Many people exited the room and muttered to each other about the boys.
“Then when?” the middle child asked in an irritated tone. He was nervous and the mumbling of people plotting against the boys heightened his anxieties. His name was Eddie and acted as the glue between the three brothers. He was closer to Digi than he was to Z in age. He was second in command and often helped Z1 plot out their moves along the journey. He spent a lot of time trapped in his mind battling himself. Sometimes his deep thinking contributed to the cause and other times, it was a hindrance.
“How long do we have to stay here?” Digi asked quickly and uneasy as he made eye contact with some of the wicked people.
“It won’t be long, I promise.” Z1 answered to both questions. His brothers never questioned his word. He was their leader and there was never uncertainty within their chain of command. The brotherhood was all they had. There was a loud disturbance down the hall of the lodge. The loud struggle of a brawl sounded and all available guards went racing to provide assistance. The guards raced from the rooms and united down the hall where several refugees fought and battled for position in line. Deception is the greatest weapon. As the guards exited the room, one of the refugee men slammed the door shut and a few others helped barricade the doorway. Twelve men stood scattered throughout the large room. Each of the men smirked with a sinister slyness as they studied the boys.
“You boys are cursed.” one of the men spoke. It was the man who was forced to switch cots just a short time ago. His voice cracked and his heart raced as he approached. He was a red haired man and a thick rough beard. His clothing was worn out, distressed, and hung loosely over his chubby body. He moved slowly and was fearful of the marked ones. Most had never come into contact with a marked person, but had heard stories of their evil abilities. They were said to be superhuman and have demonic alien powers. Z1 stood before his brothers and acted as their guardian as the men stepped nearer.
“You don’t belong here. You are a symbol of God’s disgust and are not fit to breath the same air as us.” the man continued breaking the boys down emotionally as he approached. The man pulled a small dagger from his waistband. He held it down at his side with a strong grip and made short hesitant steps closer to the boys. The guards’ began to bang from outside the door loudly after they realized their foolishness. They pushed with all their might against the barricade, but it wouldn’t budge.
“I have no fear of Wu’s protection. I fear my God.” The evil man stated as he extended his blade to the children. The other men surrounded the brothers and cheered the attack on. The boys inched backwards until their heels met the stone wall. The man lunged at Z1 with the dagger and sliced the short blade into his layers of clothing. Z1’s spirit released. All the tension and fear built up in his soul. As the man attacked, an unbreakable force exited Z1. His eyes could barely contain the glowing energy and with a roaring bellow, the burning spirit bored through the red-haired man. Its great golden force launched the surrounding attackers. They flew backwards through the chamber before slamming against the stone walls. The impact killed a handful of them and severely injured others. Eddie and Digi covered their ears because of the overwhelming volume of the Z1’s screech. The red-haired man who attacked was now dismember and laid lifeless on the ground before the brothers. The cots and other furniture in the chamber was torched due to energy’s intense heat. Digi shut his eyes in fear but Eddie managed to peek during the supernatural outburst of energy. The room glowed and Z1’s spiritual exhaust was unfathomable. The force ripped through the large chamber before coming to a sudden end. As the beam died out, Z1’s body became weary and dropped to the stone floor. He plopped down to his knees and fell back into the arms of his younger brothers.
The men who were still conscious cried out in agony as their existence crept from their grasp. Blood spilled out tainting the stone floor’s usual gray color. The barricade finally budged and the guards muscled the door open. An extreme heat escaped the chamber as it opened. They were dumbfounded as they observed the room. The cots and other people’s belongings were engulfed in flames and tossed along the far wall of the chamber. The men were roasted and suffered severe burns over large portions of their bodies. The guards were tentative as they entered the room. The crowd of refugees gathered behind the guards waiting in astonishment.
“Get back! Get back!” the guards yelled at the refugees. Z1 was physically, mentally, and spiritually drained as his weary body dropped to the stone ground. His lungs struggled to inhale. The guards were beyond confused as they examined the scene. They inched further into the room. Z’s body involuntarily twitched and his eyes shot back open. They still glowed in a bright golden blaze. He was still unconscious but his soul reached out in efforts of retracting its energy. The observing hallway crowd escaped into the other rooms looking for safety from the marked children. The vacuum force pulled the heat and flames from the room and returned it to its natural source. As the flames extinguished and the energy restored, Z’s eyes shut again. The room was dark and the lodge was motionless. The guards looked to Eddie and Digi. They sat unharmed with their brother and didn’t speak a word.
“Notify the leaders.” one of the guards commanded. No one moved. They stood like statues in awe.
“Move! Now!” the guard screamed. A guard closest to the door turned and scrambled down the hall. None of the refugees returned to the room where the three brothers were stationed. This confirmed the people’s superstitions of the marked ones. The conversations festered in the surrounding rooms. The assumptions of their evil and demonic abilities were heightened. They were demons and capable of ungodly works.
It didn’t take long for the assassins to return to the lodge. By this time, Z1 had awakened but was still greatly fatigued and dehydrated. His brothers had helped move his worn out body to one of the cots. Digi remained at Z’s side and Eddie sat by the door watching down the hallway. The three notorious assassins arrived, but this time, all three of them entered and made their way through the lodge. As they stepped into the hallway, Eddie bolted over to the cot where Z1 laid.
“They’re here! They’re here!” he exclaimed with bone-chilling fright. They were very uncertain of what would happen next. The assassins stomped down the hall and their presence dragged in a menacing intensity with them. As they entered the room, the lodge was completely silent. They examined the damage done to the room as if they were admiring the scenery.
“You’re Lorded Out?” one of the masked assassins asked with great interest. The boys didn’t answer, but they didn’t need to.
“Show us.” that assassin ordered. The boys didn’t speak and refused to display their powers to the soldiers. The assassins began to walk towards the brothers. Eddie stood to his feet.
“Don’t come any closer! We don’t want to hurt you.” the boy stated firmly to the assassins and they halted. One of the assassin lifted his hands in a harmless motion. He raised his arms and placed his palms atop his steel plated head gear. He grabbed and removed the helmet from his head. The boys stared in disbelief. Z1 sat up and observed as the soldier as he lowered the helmet and held it to his side. He had revealed his marked skin. The assassin was scruffy with patches of gray in his beard. His eye were closed tight and as they opened his soul’s energy glowed through his pupils. The sight of this shook the brothers to their cores. The assassin controlled his spiritual power to warp the space between them and leap through it. In under a second, the Assassin stood directly in front of the boys. Eddie and Digi screamed and jumped back onto one of the cots behind them. The assassin studied Z1 and noticed a shimmer rested along the teen’s neck. The assassin grabbed the thin golden necklace and pulled its entirety from underneath the boy’s layers. The chain carried a black crystal as a medallion. The assassin knew the other two carried similar stones. He smiled before he spoke.
“There is nothing to fear. You are home.” the assassin said raising his helmet back over his head and pulling it down over his face.
“Come. Show us.” The assassin said to the boys. The brothers sat there silent for a few moments trying to pull their thoughts together.
“I can’t. I can’t just do it… it only happens when-” Z1 started explaining.
“When you lose control?” the assassin finished the sentence for him. The boys nodded in confirmation. The assassins understood. He knelt down and spoke in an almost whisper to the children.
“How did you survive the extermination?” the assassin asked with great interest. Z1 chuckled briefly.
“We lost control.” Z answered with a slight grin. The assassin chuckled within his steel plated helmet. The assassin slowly placed his palm on Z’s shoulder. He then extended his other arm towards Eddie and Digi.
“You survived… because you’ve been chosen.” the assassin stated with his arm still extended towards the boys.
“Chosen by who?” Digi asked confused.
“by what.” the assassin corrected him.
“Chosen by what?” Digi reasked.
“Grab on. You have a lot to learn.” the assassin stated to the boys. Eddie grabbed onto the wrist of the assassin’s armor and Digi placed his hand into his gloved palm. The room surrounding them visually warped as their hearts skipped a beat. Their blood boiled as the exquisite energy channeled from the assassin ran through their young bodies. The teleportation happened quicker than their eyes managed to recognize. Before the moment ended, the boys stood in the snow outside the lodge. Their knees buckled beneath them and they felt sick to their stomachs. They sweated from the heat and couldn’t feel the chill of the freezing winds yet. Their vision was still slightly warped and hearing heavily muffled. They were discombobulated. The other two assassins transported through the wall and into the snow beside the boys. Eddie doubled over and vomited into the inches of frozen precipitation. Digi pressed his palms into the sides of his temples and blinked rapidly. Z1 struggled through the light sensitivity and extreme fatigue that attacked his body.
“What’d you do to us!? What’d you do to us!?” Eddie cried out during his revolting moments between vomiting. The assassins laughed to one another.
“You’ll have to get used to that!” an assassin chuckled before they turned and walked to the carriage and horses. One of the assassins opened the carriage door and waited for the boys as the other assassins fixed themselves atop their stallions. The boys struggled up to their feet and stumbled as they moved towards the carriage. The brothers piled in and took a seat on the comfortable interior. The assassin closed the carriage behind the boys and hooked its latch.
“What’s happening?” Eddie asked nervously. The boys were still delirious. Z1 sat with his head rested against the side of the carriage wall. Eddie sat up on his knees and looked out the barred window as the horses began to trot. The carriage slowly accelerated overtime. The assassins hacked their heels at the sides of the steeds ordering the horses to go faster.
“Where are we going?” Eddie asked anxiously. Z1 lifted his head and looked out the window.
“Don’t worry so much.” He ordered. The assassins lead the carriage through the nation of Wu. During the ride, the boys watched out the windows. As they passed streets and houses, families stepped out onto their torch lit porches while others watched attentively from their home’s windows. The majority of people were wrapped in eloquent fabrics and head dresses, covering every inch of their marked skins. Even though the pigment mutation was accepted in the land of Wu, the people still didn’t accept themselves. They didn’t love themselves and felt ostracized by the fair skinned population. The word of the three brave marked children spread through the nation like wildfire and the civilians wanted to get a glimpse as the carriage moved through the streets. There was a sense of hope and praise that followed the children. The civilians were lauded by the coming of the brothers and as the story of their unique powers spread, the authenticity of the legend quickly warped. People added to the story and falsified the abilities of the children. Soon there were several distinctly different stories exchanging through households, schools, and businesses. The people were greatly intrigued and were greedy for as much information as they could receive.
The ride was long; the children fell into deep slumbers. The carriage finally arrived to its destination and the assassins slowed their horses. A small crowd of soldiers greeted the assassins as they climbed down from their stallions. The soldiers were excited and just as intrigued as the civilians.
“Peace, Lords!” The soldiers greeted as they approached the assassins. The assassins hiked through the snow, around the side of the carriage, and the soldiers followed.
“You’ve brought the refugees?” one of the soldiers asked in a concerned voice. The assassins didn’t respond. They just continued to march to the door of the carriage.
“How do we know these children… these possible infiltrators are the chosen ones?” the soldier asked.
“How can we trust them in our nation? How can we trust them in our temples with our secrets?” another soldier asked. One of the assassins rested his hand on the latch of the door but didn’t open it. The soldiers surrounded and waited impatiently for answers.
“These aren’t just any refugees. These aren’t just children. They aren’t the enemy. They aren’t infiltrators. These are descendants of Lords.” The assassin said unlatching the door.
“How can we be sure?” a soldier questioned. The assassin paused and chuckled before answering.
“Do you believe in your nation?” he asked the crowd of soldiers.
“Yes, Lord!” the soldiers immediately responded.
“Do you believe in your Leaders?” he asked.
“Yes, Lord!” the soldiers immediately responded.
“Then believe in our word… believe in the prophecy. The darkness has covered us and Chu prepares to attack. Chu wishes to take over. Chu plans to destroy life and our universe as we know it! Your only hope… our only hope rests in the prophecy. The prophecy will deliver us from the darkness. These aren’t cursed people. These are the Messengers!” the assassin announced before yanking the carriage door open and revealing the boys. The soldiers leaned in and caught their first glimpse of the universal saviours. The three brothers were sound asleep. Z sat slumped over with his head propped against the wall. Digi rested his head across Z’s lap, with one of his legs bent up in the seat and the other hanging down to the carriage’s floor. Eddie was seated on with his knees in the seat, his body scrunched up against the wall and his neck twisted down in an awkward position. The assassins laughed to each other as they examined the drooling brothers.
“These are the Messengers!” one of the assassins repeated with a loud snigger. The soldiers were briefly disheartened by the what they saw in the children. They were expecting the door to open and the boys to fly out in a blaze of glory, but in reality, all they saw were children. None complained, at least not in front of the generals. The assassins ordered the soldiers to carry the boys into the Lords’ temple. The temple was one of the many sacred structures in the Wu nation but was one of crucial importance. This temple was home to the many secrets that once made the Wu Army the greatest force in the world. It housed sacred texts and ancient godly literature passed down through generations of military genius; The complex ideologies and stratagem of a superior species of people. Many of the pivotal excerpts, bewildered receiving generations who were unsuccessful in attempts to decipher. Thousands of codes that couldn’t be interpreted; Critical knowledge lost in translation.
The soldiers paired up to help carry each of the brothers into the temple. The assassins entered the ancient structure. It was an exquisite architectural triumph that stood the test of time. The temple was created with indestructible black crystal. It was a deceiving building; the majority of its mass existed beneath the surface. Every floor concealed a secret staircase access. Most of Wu’s soldiers could only travel 2 floors deep into the massive structure. The assassins managed to travel 7 floors deep in the crystallized structure. The ranking systems of the army depended solely on this test. Every floor pushed your mental state to the edge and utilized your brainpower to its limits. The Leaders of Wu found it more important to build the minds of their soldiers before they developed the body through training. Only those who were in tune with their creator mentally and spiritually, were worthy of accessing the nation’s information. The soldier will remain on each floor as long as it takes for him to either discover access to the next floor or give in to defeat. Some have taken years to return.
The brothers each woke several hours later. The absence of the sunlight made it difficult to keep track of the days. There was no visual differences between the morning and evening. The only distinction was time. Z1 woke first. He lifted his face from the heated floor and sat up right stretching his arms overhead. His blurred eyes adjusted to the room as he surveyed the foreign surroundings. They were in a grand library within the temple. There were ceiling tall shelves along the walls of the chamber filled with ancient literature. He reached over and shook his brothers from their slumber.
“Wake up. Wake up.” he said to the younger boys as he shook their bodies. Eddie woke before Digi did. His lids struggled to open as he lifted his balled hands to his eyes and rubbed the crust from the corners. He rolled and let out a relieving grunt while fully extending his limbs in a satisfying stretch. Z1 quickly shushed Eddie and signaled with an index finger pressed against his own lips. Eddie quickly quieted and helped jar Digi from his deep rest.
“Messengers.” an assassin called from outside the chamber’s two door main entrance. The three assassins strolled into the library through one of the doors. Each of the generals were unmasked. The assassins were aged darkened skin men.
“Messengers?” Z1 asked confused as the assassins approached. The tallest of the assassins nodded before he spoke. He towered above the children.
“Yes, messengers.” the assassin replied. He was a burly, tree built figure. He was strong, settled, and was the wisest warrior of the assassins.
“What do you boys know about the war; about the darkness?” another assassin asked. He was a man who stood at an average height with a strong raspy voice. He was an overly energetic and highly explosive spirit. The boys were hesitant in answering the question.
“What did you see in your travels? What do you know about Chu’s military; what’re they doing?” the last assassin asked. He stood at an average height; he was a calm, laid back warrior. He displayed a collected demeanor to mask the blood, sweat, and tears that poured into his craft. Z1 examined the assassins thoroughly before speaking.
“Their troops have weapons unlike anything we’ve ever seen. The power they have… they’re evil. They’re relentless.” Z1 explained.
“They want everything. They won’t stop until they eliminate our people and there’s no one left to resist their rule.” Eddie added.
“They want the world domination. They want universal control.” Digi finished.
“The universe is failing us. The darkness will be end of life.” Z1 said as the assassins stood overtop of the children listening closely.
“What do you know of the prophecy of the Wu Vs. Chu war?” The tallest of the assassins asked. The boys looked to each other but didn’t speak right away.
“Not much.” Eddie stated. Digi nodded.
“It prophesied that the marked people were destined to protect the universe.” Z1 added.
“The prophecy details a time when greed will overthrow all nations. The prophecy speaks of a time where humans will exhaust the world’s resources. A time where the humans have no remorse for the environment and have no limitations of their destructive reach. It details the human’s demolition of our planet’s atmospheric needs and universal surroundings. The nation of Wu is the only hope for the world. The Lords of Wu are the only hope for the future.” the tallest assassin began to teach.
“The marked people have been blessed by the sun and the stars. We have the ability to naturally channel and recycle the forces of the universe. We have been blessed with the power to absorb the godly forces; the same power the Chu army attempts to manipulate and control for their military. They have failed to retract and recycle the universal power which has directly been linked to the slow destruction of life as we know it.” the laid back assassin stated.
“Our people… our army has lost their power. The ancient knowledge and secretive techniques have been lost. Our soldiers have never been taught the art of channeling their spiritual energy. Our soldiers have never even seen the complexity of their ability. Here in this building, we hold the key to saving the universe but we cannot decipher far enough-” the energetic assassin informed before Z1 interrupted.
“Why do you need us? We can’t even control the power.” Z1 argued.
“The prophecy speaks of three messengers. They will be able to decode the information and will possess the ability to harness the power.” the laid back assassin told them.
“How do you know we’re the messengers?” Z1 asked with a doubtful tone.
“We don’t. We put all our hope in the chance that you are. You’ve proven that you have the powers-” the energetic assassin started before the boy interrupted.
“But we’ve seen you teleport. You have powers! What makes us so special?” Eddie began.
“It is a different form of the power. We’ve learned over years of training how to teleport through space. You’re raw ability to connect to the universe and conduct your soul’s force outward in the form of fiery energy is proof, even if you can’t control it yet. That ability hasn’t been seen here since the nine masters once walked this land. You may not be the messengers… but we have to be certain.” The wisest assassin answered.
“How?” Eddie asked nervously.
“God Hour. You will indulge yourself mentally and spiritually in the codes. If you can translate the information… then you are the prophesied messengers. If not, then you will return to the refugee lodge. Simple.” the wisest assassin explained. The room fell quiet. The brothers looked to each other in a speechless exchange of visual chemistry. The assassins waited for the boy’s response.
“Can we eat first?” Digi asked desperately. The assassins laughed.
The magnificent library was silent with the exception of the malnourished brothers’ noisy gnaws as they sat on the black crystal floor near the grand fireplace. The children’s dirtied fingers were wrapped around large pieces of fluffy wheat as their pearly teeth sank into the soft bread. Their young bodies indulged in the gusts of heat that flowed from the hearth’s generous inferno. The boys huddled closely together and shared the small amounts of food the Assassins provided. Z1 portioned a loaf of bread, a hunk of foul scented cheese, and a juicy peeled fruit evenly amongst the three of them. This was the first meal they’ve enjoyed in some time. Once the attacks began, resources became sparse and people were reasonably ruthless to protect the little they had. The brothers had nothing and it wasn’t logical for marked people to accept food from the others because of the risk of poison. It’s been a treacherous journey.
The assassins were absent from the room but the boys knew they lurked near. The decorated generals couldn’t be heard but the brothers felt their powerful presence; they knew the assassins were still watching from the vast shadows. The opposite side of the colossal chamber, where the hearth’s fiery shine could not reach, was pitch-black. The boys feared the darkness but not for childish reasons. For years, the brothers have struggled to escape its clutch and the nightmares that skulked with murderous intentions. They’ve battled to rebel against the overwhelming takeover and have traveled blindly through their disorienting expedition. Many of their people have perished. Many of those who were marked, were hunted and tortured. Very few were captured, dissected, and experimented on by the Chu Army. During the early years of the endless winter, the great minds and scientists of Chu requested the nation’s soldiers to seize marked people for educational experiments. The scientists operated with the goal of learning more of the natural abilities these people possessed. They studied their anatomy, energy conduction, and used the darker species like lab rats to further advance their weaponry and technology. The power the marked ones possessed was not solely physical and although there were recognizable melanated differences between the two species of people, there was nothing that could be used to help the Army’s advancements. After many tests and extensive experiments, the scientists abandoned their assimilation of the marked ones and continued to artificially emulate the power. The remaining test subjects were locked away in cells and enslaved by the nation. A miniscule population who survived did so through migration and hiding. There was no other choice. The people didn’t trust each other enough to unite and fight back. They weren’t strong enough.
Z1 finished eating before his brothers did. He nibbled on the small piece of fruit that remained from his meal. He bit into the sweetness; its juices spilled from his lips and ran down his hairy chin. He wiped the citrus liquid from his skin using his worn out cloak sleeve and swallowed the chewed fruit in his mouth. He observed his brothers as they innocently chomped on the fresh foods. Digi sat with his legs crossed and rested his meal on his lap. His back was hunched over in protection of the foods as he slowly enjoyed the flavors. Eddie’s cheeks were fat with the meal. He took bites from each ingredient and combined all the distinct flavors in his mouth. Z1 chuckled to himself as he watched. He loved his brothers and their connection more than anything in the world. His love for them replenished his aching body and weary spirit. His love and desire to keep them safe was more than enough motivation during the journey. All the heartache and tragedy was worth it. He was willing to do anything and everything to protect his brothers.
Z stood to his feet and made his way through the enormous selection of the literature that blessed the many shelves of the library. He ran his fingertips along the spines of the books as his busy eyes scanned and his lips muttered the titles. When the boys received the food earlier, the assassins ordered them to meet downstairs when they were finished. Z1 passed the time by satisfying his hunger for knowledge. The bookshelves seemed to have an energy; like a magnetic force that pulled Z1’s interest. As he walked along the bookshelves, it grew stronger and more attractive. He ran his fingers along the titles but he didn’t stop to study any of the books closer. He hadn’t found what he was looking for; he wasn’t sure what it was that he searched for but he kept looking. His feet energetically marched and his interest pulled him deeper into the room. The undeniable pull captured his attention and lead him to the far end of the room where the light from the luminous fireplace failed to reach. As he stepped deeper into the darkness, his eyes continued to blindly search the shelves and his fingers felt for titles. His heart pounded against his ribcage with excitement as his feet came to an involuntary halt. Z stood there for a few highly anticipated seconds with his fingers rested on the spine of a hardback book. The book was slim and was squeezed in between two thick novels. His spirit jumped with celebration and his mouth watered with desire. His uneasy fingers shook anxiously as they attempted to pry the book from its assigned position on the shelf.
A solid grip wrapped its span around Z’s pubescent throat and with a swift effortless motion, Z1’s booted soles were lifted from the black floor. Z1 immediately grabbed ahold of the wrist trying to pry it from his airways. He slammed his forearm down in a hacking strike to break the clench but was unsuccessful. He gasped for air as the grip around his throat tightened. His legs and feet flailed as his attacker refused to release. The darkness hidden assailant pulled Z’s body closer to himself in attempts of gaining momentum. The powerful aggressor launched Z’s body airborne back across the room. The forceful vault heaved the boy from the darkness of the shadows and back into the hearth’s brilliance. He viciously slammed stomach down to the crystal library floor near his brothers and tumbled over onto his back. Eddie and Digi looked to each other with confusion as they chewed the breakfast that stuffed their cheeks; then they turned and looked to Z as he laid there shifting in pain.
“What the hell are you doing?” naive Eddie asked with a full mouth, spitting specks of food with a chuckle. Z1 wheezed for a quick moment and before he could speak, the masked assassin teleported across the great library. The mighty soldier landed on top of Z; his left boot crunched Z’s right wrist and his right boot pinned Z’s chest beneath his weight. Z1 strained underneath the dominate assassin. He hacked at the soldier’s ankle with his left forearm, bent his legs up, and used his every bit of strength to topple the burly soldier. He did not succeed. Eddie and Digi stood to their feet as fast as they could. As they approached to defend their older brother, the assassin ripped his sword from the steel scabbard and held it out horizontally towards the two boys.
“Stop!” Z1 strained to scream from underneath the crushing weight. His brothers refused to listen and as they bolted towards the assassin, their young eyes became engulfed in the fiery spiritual glow. Eddie leapt from his feet and Digi dashed towards the assassin’s lower body. The assassin yanked his sword up over his head and down with great speed in a slicing motion but he failed to stop the boys’ attack. Digi head bunted the outside of the assassin’s right knee and Eddie slammed into his right external oblique. The assassin’s lower body buckled and the incredible force of the children’s impact slammed the soldier into the ceiling high bookshelf on the right side of the room. The shelves behind his body demolished; a collection of the literature and the assassin’s tough body fell to the slick floor below. The pages of the thick books covered his muscular frame. Z1 coughed harshly as he turned over and his brothers helped him up. The assassin placed his gloved hands beneath his chest and pushed his body up from the ground. As he stood, the mountain of books fell from his back. He recovered back to his feet and brushed the shoulders of his armor in a nonchalant manner. The dangerous assassin channeled the fiery energy as he stood across the room preparing to retaliate. His eyes glowed from underneath his steel mask.
“Be ready.” Z1 told his younger brothers as they anticipated the attack. Z1 closed his eyes for a quick moment and when his lids opened, his eyeballs glowed like a heavenly body. He bolted forward as the younger brothers spaced out in opposite directions creating a triangle formation. The assassin darted towards the brothers with his sword in his grip. As Z1 and the assassin got closer to each other, the assassin teleported past him; he suddenly reappeared stomping Digi to the floor. Digi’s skinny frame slammed against the indestructible crystal. He immediately jumped, zigzagged between dimensions, and when he returned, he hacked at Eddie with a savage sword chop. The blade sliced through his layers of clothing but would not pierce the skin of the boy’s chest. Before his feet touched the floor, the assassin teleported behind Z. The assassin moved with extreme speed; his attacks happened within moments. By this time, Z had just recognized the assassin teleported past him. He quickly halted and turned to dart back in the opposite direction. Instead, the assassin met him as soon as he turned around and attempted to stab his sword through the teen’s gut. The steel blade slit through his layers with ease but it would not pierce his skin. Digi jumped to his feet and darted at the assassin; Eddie followed. Z1 palmed the end of the assassin’s sword and yanked it away from the soldier with his left hand. The assassin instantly balled his fist and crashed his armored knuckles into the right side of his opponent’s ribs. That was the beginning of a masterly combination. The assassin flowed with the movements of his enemy. He fought with fluid techniques; a style that appears effortless but was extremely powerful and difficult to master. Z1 shifted his abdomen to the right in reaction to the body shot. The skillful assassin met him with an armored elbow to the bridge of his nose. Z stumbled back a few feet. By this time, Digi arrived moments before Eddie. The assassin anticipated and without looking, he kicked his right leg backwards and his combat boot stomped into the pit of Digi’s young chest. He slid back a few yards, somehow managing to stay on his feet. Z stepped back towards the soldier to attack. The assassin swung that leg forward, dropped his body lower to the floor in a swift motion, he used his momentum and great strength to sweep Z off of his feet. The assassin reached and speedily caught the boy by each of his ankles before the body could land against the library floor. Eddie charged in but the assassin was smooth. He placed his right foot back to the ground solidifying his base, swung Z across his body like a sledgehammer, and crashed the teen into Eddie’s young torso. Digi attacked again. The assassin threw the body and the force of the impact sent both, Z and Eddie, flying across the room. The boys came to a destructive stop against the bookshelf wall. This collision knocked more of the collection of literature from the shelves. As Digi came darting in, the assassin hopped from his feet in a spinning motion. Digi miscalculated his attack and the assassin planted the sole of his boot at the back of the child’s neck. As the assassin landed, his weight crushed Digi to the durable black floor. He was face down and pinned to the indestructible flooring as the assassin stood with his right boot on the top of the boy’s spine.
“You are not prepared for this battle. You need to understand this and show some respect.” The assassin said extending his hand out towards his sword that laid on the black floor abandoned. His energetic current channeled through the blade and under its owner’s command, the sword lifted into the air and retreated to the brawny soldier’s grasp. The assassin slid the sword back into its scabbard. There was no use for it in this battle. The boys were stubborn. Z and Eddie recovered back to their feet with a pained grunt and slowly approached the assassin again. The remaining two assassins joined the battle. They each teleported into the great library before the approaching brothers. Z and Eddie stopped in their tracks. Those two assassins aggressively closed in on the boys.
“Blade, what’s the math?” the tallest assassin asked as he stood in front of Z1.
“Demonic Mind State!” Blade began as he dug his weight in at the back of Digi’s neck. The wise assassin yanked the sword from his scabbard but Blade interjected.
“Swords are ineffective. Only the power can harm them. They aren’t very skilled but they’ve been trained to protect themselves and understand the basic abilities of their powers.” Blade explained. The tallest assassin replaced his sword into its scabbard. Eddie and Z looked to each other quickly then back to their mighty opponents.
“We don’t want to hurt you! We’re just-” Eddie began but the assassin that stood before him quickly interrupted.
“That should be the least of your worries! What’s the infraction?” the scratchy voice assassin interrupted with a chuckle then asked his fellow warrior.
“They came for knowledge!” Blade answered.
“You don’t understand!” Z attempted to explain but the assassins weren’t prepared to hearken.
“We don’t have time for these trivial matters.” The wise assassin stated to his soldiers.
“Sniph,” Blade called to the scratchy voice assassin.
“Dirt,” Blade called to the wise assassin before continuing his statement.
“Let’s make this short and sweet!” He finished and the other two assassins attacked the boys. Sniph was strong, quick, and his movements were explosive. He fought with vicious techniques; a ferocious style that was risky to attempt if not mastered. The assassin kicked his booted foot at Eddie’s head but the boy avoided the vicious blow. Eddie ducked the kick and the assassin’s momentum rotated his body to his left. After the missed attack, the assassin redirected his leg before his foot planted back to ground and stomped Eddie in the chest with a side kick. The force knocked the boy back a few feet. He doubled over and found himself rested in a kneeling position with his head hung over. Sniph immediately stepped, rotated, and flipped his body overhead with his right leg extended. As the assassin front flipped, the back of his right heel crashed into the rear of Eddie’s skull and drove his young face into the black floor. The assassin landed with amazing balance and grace; one foot was sturdy holding his acrobatic body above the ground’s surface and the other leg extended before him with his heel rested on the back of Eddie’s head. The assassin quickly stood up with his right foot still extended before his body. Once the assassin stood tall, he swung his right leg backwards to build momentum. Sniph flipped forward again, this time landing both of his steel toe boots onto the child’s back. Eddie cried out in agony underneath the weight of the assassin.
At the same time, Dirt stepped in towards Z with his arms rested behind his back. Z1 swung his balled fist but the assassin was too quick. Dirt leaned back slightly and watched as the tightened hand whizzed past his masked face. The assassin stepped in closer as the boy swung his other fist to the same conclusion. The assassin ducked underneath the swing and lodged his shoulder against the boy’s ribs. He quickly pounded his armored knuckles against Z’s side for two devastating close range blows. As Z1’s body reacted and he attended to his weakened side, the assassin ducked from under Z’s arm and struck again. He slammed his armored hand into the teen’s exposed throat. Z1 doubled over and the assassin brutally lifted his steel plated knee to the brother’s face. The impact forced Z1 to stand up straight and clench at his pain. The assassin knelt down and landed a conquering strike to the teen’s gut. The punch flung Z1 backwards until his lean frame crashed to and slid across the slick black floor. Dirt stood back to his feet untouched. He fought with the tranquil techniques; a serene style that took great amounts of skill and patience to perfect.
Blade stood pinning Digi to the floor. The young boy scrambled underneath the assassin’s boot, flailing his limbs and screaming obscenities. His soul began to overcharge as the youngest brother’s emotions built up.
“Finish this!” Blade yelled to his fellow assassins. Dirt quickly approached his opponent. Z1 rebounded to his feet. The oldest brother was furious and dangerously determined to protect his brothers. Dirt stepped in closer to the teen and jabbed for his face. Z1 dodged the quick swing and rammed his bare knuckles into the chin of the assassin’s steel plated mask. The uppercut launched the assassin and sent him airborne until Dirt’s body collided against the elegant ceiling of the chamber. Z1 quickly turned and sprinted towards Sniph and Eddie. Sniph stepped down from Eddie’s back and watched as Z1 raced closer.
“Let’s see what you’re made of.” Sniph called out to the teen as he approached. The assassin cupped his hand over his balled fist and squeezed down until his knuckles crunched underneath the armor. He took a few sturdy steps towards Z1. The teen darted in swiftly but as their energized figures collided, the impact sent both of them into opposite directions. The violent force slammed their bodies like ragdolls into the far sides of the amazing library. Sniph laid motionless on the durable floor as he dealt with the pain; Z1 was unconscious due to the amount of energy squandered. Dirt fell from the ceiling and landed on the soles of his combat boots unfazed by the attack. Eddie recovered to his feet with both his hands stretched backwards holding his lower back in excruciating pain. The boy panted with weariness and groaned through his discomfort. Eddie attempted to get himself together but happened to make eye contact with the ferocious assassin. Dirt snickered underneath his steel mask as he approached Eddie.
“Fuck.” Eddie muttered to himself as he slowly retreated away from the soldier. The assassin steadily closed in on the boy. An extremely loud, bright, and disorienting disperse of energy exploded from the youngest brother’s chest as he laid pinned down to the floor. Digi’s soulful exhaust released from underneath Blade’s boot. The dismantling explosion demolished the room. His potent energy, at direct contact, cracked the supposed unbreakable floor. His powerful vent vaulted Blade and himself towards ceiling and shattered the indestructible crystal. The spiritual outlet slammed the other assassins and brothers to the far walls and sacred bookshelves along with all other furniture in the room. The battle was temporarily ended. A gaping crater crackled through the floor of the once magnificent library. Their battle wrecked the beautiful chamber and their superior energy torched many of the historical artifacts.
Digi and Blade’s limp bodies fell senselessly through the vast hole in the floor to the lobby in the lower level below. Eddie, Sniph, and Dirt were still awake and conscious along the walls of the great library. The injured opponents rolled around the slick floor in agonizing suffering. The fatigued warriors laid feeble amongst the burning furniture. Eddie rolled over to a seated position on his knees and looked over to the assassin before him as he sat up straight. Eddie and Sniph looked to each other in an intense exchange of exhausted anticipation. The assassin raised his worn out hand and waved the boy away in disinterest.
“Chill, bro.” Sniph ordered with a scratchy toned pant. The aged assassin floundered to his feet and Eddie sat enduring the war-weariness. Dirt laid stomach down studying the immense excavation. The assassin stumbled up to his feet and limped closer to the gaping hole. The floor surrounding the crater was cracked and weakened. Dirt looked down to the floor below. He examined the two inert bodies and the large pile of debris. A thick dark soot aimlessly floated through the air and rested on the unconscious opponents. Large sections of the floor was now nothing more than rubble that buried the child and assassin in the lobby. Sniph joined Dirt at his side and overlooked the enormous hole.
“How?” Sniph asked in an almost whisper. Dirt shook his head in disagreement and disbelief.
“Impossible.” the assassin was dumbfounded by the children’s inconceivable power. Even without the proper training and mastery of their abilities, the brothers were extraordinarily dangerous. Unfortunately, they didn’t know how to reserve or retract their energy; this meant they lacked stamina and were easily weakened whenever using the power. Eddie was incapacitated and his body was too weakened to stand. His eyes no longer glowed with the energy but they struggled to focus on the two assassins. His vision drifted in and out of the blur as he strained to keep consciousness. Dirt and Sniph spoke to each other but Eddie could only perceive their words as noise. The boy toppled over and sprawled out on the black floor. He watched as Sniph turned from Dirt’s side and approached his powerless body. Eddie blacked out.
“Messengers!” the three assassins barked. As their voices echoed through the lobby of the Lords’ temple, the three brothers jolted from their unexpected slumbers. The boys’ bodies were sore and ached from the vigorous battle; Digi was especially injured. Their eyes eased open and they attempted to stretch their limbs, but they were restrained. Chains and shackles locked their arms behind their backs and secured their wrists to their ankles. The boys laid uncomfortably in the large pile of debris from the explosion. Their torn and worn out clothing was dirtied by the thick soot. They looked to each other with worry as they struggled to shift to a seated position. Dirt and Sniph stepped in and yanked the boys up to rest on their knees before the assassins. The brothers didn’t speak yet, but they listened very closely.
“Where are you from?” Dirt interrogated. The boys continued to stare up at the assassins as Z started to speak.
“We did not want to harm you or your nation. That’s not what we came for.” Z1 began.
“Answer the question!” Sniph snapped as the assassin towered over the seated brothers. A few moments passed before Z replied. He took a deep breath.
“We are from the land of Hazelwood.” Z1 answered raising his head proudly.
“Hazelwood? Impossible. That land was vanquished in the first year of the winter. There’s no way you survived this long.” Blade argued but Dirt interjected.
“Do not assume what’s possible or what isn’t.” Dirt stated.
“We aren’t the last of our kind. There are more survivors out there.” Z1 informed the soldiers.
“Others who are Lorded Out?” Sniph questioned. The boys looked to each other with confusion. The assassin shook their heads in disappointment.
“Others with powers?” Sniph translated. Z nodded.
“Not many… but yes.” Eddie answered.
“We did not come to harm you or your nation. We are not the messengers you seek and we do not wish to fulfill your prophecy. No disrespect but we have only one objective.” Z1 announced.
“And what is that?” Dirt asked with great interest.
“To find our family… by any means necessary.” Digi answered back.
“We’ve been separated from our bloodline. They were captured in the first year of the invasion as slaves to the Chu nation.” Eddie added.
“How do you know they’re still alive?” Blade asked in a concerned tone.
“I can still feel them. It’s difficult to explain… but our energy is connected. I can still sense their distant pulse. I know they’re still out there… but everyday it weakens. Everyday it fades. We don’t have time to waste.” Z answered.
“Then why are you here? Why have you come to our nation?” Dirt questioned. The boys paused for a few moments before answering.
“We seek a book. Before the invasion, we were in training. Our parents and guardians prepared and taught us the vast capabilities of our energy. We were very early in training when the Chu soldiers swarmed and began Waging War. They destroyed everything. They ripped apart our families and captured the talented spirits. Our people sacrificed themselves to protect us. They sent us on a worldwide search for the book. Our family and selected others were kidnapped by Chu for experimental observation. The others were exterminated. We escaped Chu’s destructive path and managed to stay just a step ahead of their army. We’ve traveled to every nation in search of it but everywhere we’ve visited soon became victims of the demolition.” Z1 explained.
“It’s like they’re following us.” Digi added.
“The book is here... In the library. I felt it.” Z1 explained.
“What book?” Dirt asked with attentiveness.
“We’re not sure, but I can feel its pull. It’s calling me to it; directing me like a compass since we arrived.” Z1 told them.
“Our parents told us that when we found it and studied its contents we would be able to rescue and deliver our people from the darkness ” Eddie added. The assassins looked to each other and nodded.
“So what? You think you’ll read a book and be able to take on an entire army?” Sniph doubtfully asked. The brothers looked to each other but didn’t answer.
“It’s forsaken to go to war without preparation! You have unbelievable abilities but you are weak; mentally and in combat. You have very little control of your powers which makes you dangerous… to yourselves.” Blade explained.
“Your lack of control and understanding of the energy that charges your body makes you a hazard to each other and our universe.” Dirt said before pausing and looking up to the enormous hole above them.
“What if I told you, you weren’t here for a book?” Dirt asked.
“We are not interested in-” Z snapped but Sniph quickly interrupted.
“Shut your mouth and listen!” he hollered as he stepped towards the boys. Z1 quieted and looked to Sniph as Dirt continued.
“Whether you know it or not, this war is much bigger than Wu Vs. Chu. This war is much bigger than your family and your selfish reasons. Your purpose… your destiny depends on this moment. Your future… our future depends on the decision you make right now. You aren’t here for a book. You are here to save the world; to save the universe. You are here to deliver our people from the darkness.” Dirt elucidated.
“We are not soldiers.” Eddie informed.
“Not yet.” Blade told the boys before Dirt continued.
“We can train you. We can help you unlock your true potential and help you become more powerful than you ever believed… more powerful than us. The truth is we need you. The power you possess is in all of us marked people. Most of those who still exist do not know how to access their energy. You have been blessed by God and once you learn your full capabilities, you will be able to lead our army, rescue your family, and save the world from the evil takeover.” Dirt finished.
“We don’t want to fight your war!” Z1 argued.
“The truth is… this is your war! The Chu army knows the only thing that can end their reign is the messengers. Your journey has not been a mistake. Chu invaded Hazelwood to find you. Your parents sent you into running because the army wished to destroy you. Their ruthless soldiers destroyed every nation following in your footsteps because they know your strength. They know you are destined to protect the universe and the truth. No matter where you run the war will follow you.” Blade told them. The brothers looked to each other in amazement of the information. They contemplated in their young minds if it was all true. They were uneasy to give in to the knowledge but they believed what they were told.
“You are the messengers!” Sniph announced.
“Complete the training, and we will give you the book you seek. Deal?” Dirt offered. The boys nodded with acceptance. The assassin removed their masks as they stood before the chained brothers. They displayed their aged faces as they placed their steel plated helmets to the cluttered floor.
“Unchain them.” Dirt ordered but his soldiers were hesitant. They looked to each other to with confusion.
“Unchain them!” Dirt repeated.
“We can’t trust them, yet.” Blade said but Dirt believed otherwise.
“You don’t have to trust them. Unchain them!” Dirt ordered and the assassins complied. Blade and Sniph approached the seated brothers.
“Now, when we let you go, don’t do none of this again.” Blade began to the boys pointing towards the pile of debris and then up to the gigantic hole in the ceiling.
“Or we’ll cut your dirty balls off and feed ‘em to you!” Sniph finished with a sinister grit to his words. The assassins unlatched the metal chains from the boys’ wrists and ankles. Digi rubbed at his skin where the restraints dug into his young flesh. Eddie shifted from his knees and sat his bottom on the rough rubble. Z stretched his weary arms overhead and let out a tired grunt as his bones flexed. The boys finally gave into the dominance of the assassins who mentally and physically imposed their will. The clever boys dropped all underlying agendas and humbled themselves before the assassins Each of the exhausted brothers settled and focused on their new leaders.
“Welcome to Assassin University!” The assassins announced simultaneously to the young messengers.
Over a week’s time the temple’s structure gradually repaired itself. The black crystal acted as a hyperactive conductor and when the mutating crystal absorbs the Lords’ energy, it becomes indestructible to all forces. The structure had gone decades without interacting with the incredible energy so during the explosion, the sudden overcharge of power forced the crystal to shatter. The aged crystal utilized the small amount of energy it absorbed during the explosion to grow and multiply its cells. The large pile of debris and black residue remained in the lobby of the great temple. The crystal cells fused together, solidified, and attached itself to the floor creating a mountain in the middle of the lobby. Training for the young messengers had commenced and the boys watched the wreckage transform over time. The restoration of the temple gave them insight.
The assassins were strict and uncompromising with their teachings and standards of the messengers. They were very demanding and each day was a testament to the boys’ mental capacity. The first days were just prep. The assassins had no intentions of wasting anymore time with the children. They planned to put the boys through the ultimate test. They needed to be certain.
The brothers showed the assassins the utmost respect since their battle. The boys have quickly conformed to the soldiers’ leadership and have learned how to adapt to the superior order. The messengers studied hard to retain as much information as they could from the assassins. The mysterious soldiers spoke quickly but their words were potent. They were incredibly wise and translated complex ideologies into simpler lessons for the pupils. The brothers were mentally advanced for their young ages and didn’t need much assistance with comprehension. They absorbed the information with ease. The more that they learned, the more knowledge they craved to receive. This pleased the assassins.
The brothers from the land of Hazelwood showed exceptional promise, although they hadn’t been tested thoroughly yet. The assassins worked to prepare the boys for the lower levels of the Lords’ temple. Once they were equipped with enough information to survive in the structure beneath, the messengers would be sent down without any further guidance. The assassins weren’t teachers. They were assassins; hence the name. They were assigned to lead the messengers because of their trailblazing success in the nation’s legendary temple. Their abilities far superseded the power of the soldiers in the army and were normally used for warfare and protection. The three brothers were a phenomenon the strong nation of Wu had never seen. Their astonishing capabilities to release explosive amounts of energy at once was unachievable by any of their current soldiers. In fact, the nation hadn’t seen the Lords’ power in any at such young ages. The assassins were called to oversee the brothers because of their potential danger above everything else. The assassins now knew it wouldn’t be long before they weren’t able to contain the messengers if there were ever rebellion. The brothers knew this as well.
“This structure was built decades ago by our 9 masters.” Blade began as the messengers sat at the black crystal vault door. The brothers sat with their legs crossed at the feet of the assassins.
“It is the ultimate test to your mind, body, and soul. Essentially inhumane for children to endure the testing. There’s not much we can warn of. The temple’s experience varies.” Blade finished. He paced back and forth scratching at his stubbled cheeks.
“The crystals will alter your perception of time as well as your vision. It may feel like you’re only in there for hours but in reality you could be in there for years. You must learn to adapt over and over again as you enter each level in the structure or you will surely perish to its harsh conditioning.” Dirt explained. He stood tall and still with his hands intertwined behind his back.
“When you enter the vault there will be nothing. The temple requires your Lorded Out energy to operate. Once you tap into the Lord's’ energy beyond this door, it will drain you of your power to fuel its operations. You will have to learn your first lesson very quickly,” Dirt finished. The messengers sat and listened attentively. Blade turned the handles of the enormous vault and pulled the door open. Dirt ordered the boys to their feet and directed them to enter. The room behind the door was empty, pitch black, and cold. The boys were fearful of what lurked in the darkness. Their imaginations ran wild.
“What’s the first lesson we must learn?” Digi asked nervously as the boys approached the desolated chamber. Blade nodded to the boys as they stepped into the inky black crystal room.
“How to reprocess your power and replenish your souls.” Sniph answered.
“And what if we don’t figure it out?” Eddie asked rushingly before the soldiers closed the vault door.
“You will die, rather quickly.” Sniph answered before the giant vault slammed shut behind the boys. The brothers stood next to one another in shock. They were all terrified of the magnitude of energy that the temple would require from the three of them. The assassins’ briefing gave them much needed information but it also left the boys petrified.
“This is some bullshit!” Eddie’s voice echoed through the empty chamber.
“We’re going to die! They never told us we can die in here!” Digi screamed banging his young fist against the crystal door. As the younger brothers complained, Z1 stood there silent for a moment before interrupting his brothers’ whines.
“We won’t die.” Z1 said simply. His brothers quieted. The dark room fell deathly noiseless and the messengers huddled together in the darkness.
“Losing” Z1 began and his brothers answered.
“Is not an option!” Eddie and Digi finished simultaneously. The brothers closed their eyes together. The boys reached for their souls’ deepest and purest passion. The energy fueled their bodies and young muscles. The fiery spirit electrified their nerves and boiled their blood. The thirsty temple waited patiently. As the boys opened their eyes, the incredible energy violently ripped from their vulnerable bodies. The blazing current was sucked from their eyes away into the vast darkness. The temple extracted the energy from the brothers in great amounts. The power drained from their frail bodies as the room began to illuminate. As the temple exploited the boys’ powers, they cried out in agony struggling to exist. Their feet lifted from the floor as the chamber utilized the outlet. The godly force began to devour their bodies in the process. Their surroundings began to altar as it reflected their spirits. Their energy fueled the projections that began to appear around them but the messengers were unable to adapt. Their senses were numbed and they were quickly becoming blind. Their bodies were exhausted from the overexertion of energy and soon became futile. The brothers muscles clenched and strained as every joule of power escaped their being. They were defenseless. Their skin and muscles deteriorated as their bodies could no longer limit their spirits. Their limbs eroded under the energy’s great force. The temple absorbed the messengers’ energy and the powerful suction continued to disintegrate the boys’ physical forms.
“Let go.” a pleasant voice whispered through their heads. Her words were soft, calm, and clear. Her vocals captured the brothers’ hearts. Her sounds comforted the young boys like a mother’s embrace as her syllables cradled their war-wearied corpses. Their bodies were limp and held on to the unanticipated beat of their dreary hearts.
“Let go.” the consoling voice instructed to the young brothers again. The familiar voice pierced through the darkness and excruciating pain. It echoed through their eardrums and gained the last trace of their consciousness that remained. The boys wrestled with death as they reached for the intriguing sound. The voice captured their souls’ attention and deepest passion as it resounded through the spacious chamber.
“Let go, my sweet children. Let go.” the precious voice ordered to the brothers. A spirit appeared before the three bodies that floated in the now illuminating chamber. Its existence was pure light and energy; no flesh nor bone. The beam of unworldly light altered and shifted itself into a spiritual incarnation. The beams of brilliance shaped into a woman’s figure with her arms outstretched towards the boys. Its welcoming hands pulled the troubled corpses in for a regenerating hug. The spirit flickered as it connected to their dying power and used its power to rejuvenate the weakened brothers. The spirit struggled for consistency as it offered itself to the temples’ bottomless thirst for energy.
“Listen to my voice. You have to let go and allow the current to flow. Stop fighting the energy. It will destroy you if you don’t let go of all your inhibitions and allow the power to flow through you. Release yourself to the universe. Receive and release the power in a revolving cycle. No resistance, just let go.” the brilliant spiritual embodiment pressed her energized lips against the center of the young boys’ foreheads. The kiss renewed and restored the boy’s bodies. Unfortunately, the brothers’ physical forms continued to resist the temple’s extraction and the struggle began to gradually break them down again. The great structure continued to draw the power as the spirit assisted the boys. The spiritual projection danced with time struggling to provide aid.
“Let go!” she yelled to the boys. Her voice glitched as her presence flickered. The brothers were obstinate but couldn’t battle the power any longer. The three messengers finally surrendered their power to the temple and the extraction proceeded to pulverize the boys. The marvelous structure absorbed the glorious energy with no regard for the brothers’ condition. The shepherding spirit wrapped its nourishing rays around their bodies.
“Freedom, my children; mentally, physically, and spiritually is a beautiful state that was stolen from our people a long time ago. You are free because of your young age. Your youthful naivety allows you to channel the energy as well as you do. Within each of your bodies lays the ungovernable potential to liberate our people; our family. Each of your growing minds harnesses the irrepressible ability to extricate the universe… but you have to accept the power and assume its responsibilities. Do not fear death, my children. There is no limit to your spiritual reach. There is no end to your spiritual life. Be free” the remarkable voice spoke as she revitalized the young brothers. Her words sunk deep into the messengers’ brains. Her sentences were filled with knowledge, inspiration and it strengthened the boys’ spirits. Their indomitable souls detached from their weary corpses and carried their beings deeper into the temple as the last of the operations’ charge was conducted. The brothers strained to see as the incredible spirit supported them. Once their eyes adjusted and focused, they studied the psyche. The familiar woman was scintillating and her energy was scorching. The boys recognized the brilliant projection. The nurturing spirit that healed their wounds and sacrificed her energy to support the boys was too familiar. The compassionate soul cared and loved the messengers unconditionally. The spirit was an energy projection of their long lost mother.
“There you go, my children. Let the energy flow through you. Be free. Control the power; don’t let it control you.” she expressed carefully to the boys. Her children listened but couldn’t respond to her words. Their recognition of her presence brought the boys peace in very troubling times. The weary messengers obeyed the spirit and relaxed their bodies even more. The boys eased their beings and allowed the invigorating energy to storm through them. The boys focused on their beautiful guardian as they strived to understand their innerselves. Their physical form was no longer a necessity or concern for the brothers at the moment. Their powerful souls were lifted from their restricted bodies. The four intangible forms journeyed further into the temple’s inscrutable depths. Their surroundings were completely redesigned and the simulation altered their discernment. Their mother’s spirit connected the brothers as one and accompanied them until the brothers were able to support themselves. The messengers still lacked the understanding of how to regenerate the magnificent energy and would be dead without their mother’s assistance.
“It is your God given right to be as beautiful as you possibly can be. It is your God given right to be as intelligent as you possibly can be. You have been created in the saintly image and were meant to be worshipped as such. You were not created to be limited mentally or spiritually. You’re not to be restricted to the confines of this world, universe, or dimension.” the spirit explained. As these words left her lovely lips, the boys’ figures illuminated. Their melanated skin glowed with a fiery golden shine and an aura surrounded the three of them. The energy charged and transferred through each of their cells quickly. As the enlightened brothers began to grasp the paramount lesson of naturally rejuvenating themselves, the returning energy resuscitated their souls. Their senses steadily restored and were reinforced. The mothering spirit started to retract the energy as it gradually became more nonessential. Their limbs were motionless but their bodies rapidly traveled through space at unworldly speeds. Their speed made them an anomaly to time and ubiquitous, but at the same time, made them virtually nonexistent.
“I’ve missed you, my boys. I pray that the universe will bring you to my arms again, but I will always be with you. I am forever connected to your hearts. Until I see you again-” their mother told them as she was interrupted and completely disconnected from her sons. The messengers had recovered but didn’t fully understand how it was possible. The knowledge of their power would grow with more experience. As soon as their mother released the brothers from her nurturing current, she disappeared. The room suddenly was completely illuminated. Their surroundings were brilliantly radiant and the crystal walls of the chamber had disappeared. The bordering area was white and infinite. Their unconscious bodies laid against the snow white floor. As soon as their mother’s projection ended, their luminous souls fell from the air. Their empty corpses longed for the energy and as their souls fell through the chamber, their abandoned cores absorbed their precious assets. The potent forces pierced into the boys’ chests without slicing their supple skin. With exuberant gasps, the boys woke from their near death slumbers. The brothers’ heavy eyelids shot open; they panicked, flailed their limbs, and jolted up to an agitated seated position on the snow white ground. The younger boys sat on opposite sides of Z. Digi began to cough harshly and Eddie was wide eyed as he felt his chest for his heartbeat. Z1 sat motionless attempting to take deep controlled breaths to calm his overzealous emotions.
The brothers were not alone in the chamber. A burly man stood towering over the three brothers. His skin was dark. His face was rough and bearded. He was hooded and draped in many white layers of the finest fabrics in the universe. His marked fingers and wrists were jeweled with diamonds and golds. The soles of his white boots were inches from the boys’ bodies. His face was tilted to the ground; the concealing brim of his hat was low and anything above the man’s upper lip was hidden. The brothers looked to one another with freight still dazed by the previous astonishing events. The unknown man lifted the toe of his right foot and tapped it against the floor. The brothers felt the overwhelming rumble underneath them. The power of his effortless toe tap vibrated the chamber and alerted the brothers of his strength. The man lifted his entire right boot from the white floor and held it a couple feet above the ground. A sinister grin cracked across his aged face as he stomped his durable footwear to the ground. The impact of the stomp bounced the boys airborne. The man was fast and powerful with swift movements. He extended his arms and balled fists towards the younger brothers. He opened his hands and stretched his thick fingers to their widest span. A charging wind-like force whisked from his palms and drove Eddie and Digi back through the never ending chamber before Z1 could land. The man then aimed his right palm at Z1 but clenched his hand back to a fist. As he did this, his gust caught the teen in mid-air and held him paralyzed in the middle of chamber. The unknown man stood and analyzed the oldest brother.
“How does that feel?” The man asked Z. He started to steadily pace with his hand still balled into a tight fist. He walked in a tight circle around Z’s body as he floated in the air. Z’s body was stiff and his power was useless. He strained with all his might to break free from the invisible bondage.
“How does it feel to be helpless?” The man asked with amusement. Z1 panted and grunted as he flexed to escape. His attempts were unsuccessful. Eddie and Digi stood to their feet and raced back towards their older brother. They witnessed a power they’ve never seen before.
“How does it feel to be alone?” the man pried. Z1 closed his eyes.
“I encourage you to try it. Not even that will save you.” The faceless man said with a sinister chuckle urging Z to channel his energy. Eddie and Digi came darting in towards the unknown man. The heavily clothed man lifted his left arm and waved his palm across the path of the younger brothers. As the brothers approached, they were unexpectedly halted in their tracks. They slammed into the invisible force that acted as a brick wall. Eddie and Digi slammed face first into the undetectable boundary. The impact bounced them backwards. Eddie was disoriented and stumbled back a few feet. Digi fell down on to his back and rubbed at the bridge of his nose. Z1’s troubled exhaust built up in the unknown man’s grip.
“That’s it.” the man insisted. Z1 channeled his fiery energy in an explosive amount but as he opened his eyes, the faceless man was prepared. The brilliant power erupted from his soul and quickly extended through the chamber. The unknown man was unfazed. He raised his left arm and his wide palm stopped the incredible power. The unknown man was too gifted. He commanded Z’s force to pause. Z1 began to scream through the excruciating experience. Eddie and Digi pounded against the invisible force field as they examined Z’s cloud of stagnant power. The burly man began to curl his fingertips. As his hands gradually balled, his superior power forced Z’s energy to retreat back into his body. Z1 could no longer scream. The torturous pain was too compelling. His body began to involuntarily twitch in reaction to the agonous abuse. His brothers screamed out.
“Let him go! Let him go!” Digi screamed slamming his fist against the unbreakable force.
“Don’t fight your energy, Z! Let it flow through you!” Eddie recited the words of hi mother as he watched his older brother in distress. They couldn’t tell if Z could even hear their hollers. Their eyes began to tear as they failed to help their brother. Z1 struggled to relax himself and absorb the piercing energy. The man balled his hand to a tight fist and dropped his arm down to his side. Z1 panted and took several deep breaths to calm his overactive body.
“How does it feel knowing that you can’t escape?” the man asked with his right hand still balled holding Z captive.
“You only remain physically hostage because you are mentally chained. You are only physically limited because you are mentally weak. The revolution does not start on the battlefield… it starts in your minds.” The man stated. The boys contemplated his words. Z1’s pupils turned his attention to his isolated younger brothers.
“They can’t help you now!” The man said but he was surely incorrect. Z1 took a deep breath and searched himself more extensively than ever before. He closed his eyelids gently and felt the extraordinary power fill every inch of his physical form. His hair raised and his skin textured with millions of goosebumps as the power electrified every cell in his body. A cool breeze brisked through his hair and suddenly the soles of his worn out boots landed against the white ground. His eyes opened immediately. He stood next to his younger brothers on the other side of the man’s field. The brothers were shocked.
“What happened?” Z1 asked as his voice trembled with terror.
“You- You just teleported!” Digi replied with his eyes wide and filled with amazement.
“How’d you do that!?” Eddie asked in disbelief.
“I don’t know.” Z1 explained before doubling over to vomit on the white floor. The man clapped his hands in celebration of Z’s achievement.
“You seem to work better under great pressure. Most don’t learn the teleportation lesson until the 5th level. In that situation, most just surrender.” He informed.
“Who are you!?” Digi called out to the unknown man. The man lifted his hands overhead and slowly pulled the white hood from the crown of his head. Once it was removed, he grabbed his hat by the brim and pulled it from his head. He revealed the rest of his marked face. His eyes were completely colorless and lacked pupils. He waved his palm and dropped the field from between him and the brothers. As he approached the boys, they retreated deeper into the chamber.
“I am the Holy Ghost. Good luck, messengers.” the ghostface soldier informed them. As the brothers walked backwards the ground disappeared from underneath their feet and instead, there were stairs. The boys tumbled down a flight of steps into a lower level in the Lords’ temple. Their bodies crashed into each other and bounced against the cold sturdy stairs. Z1 slammed to the ground beneath first and his younger brothers tumbled down moments after. They landed on their brother’s back and then simultaneously groaned through the pain. The messengers had advanced one of the levels in the Lords’ Temple, but their journey had just began.
Life outside the temple and simulation went on. Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months. The blistering cold climate continued to torment the civilians of the great nation and only worsened over time. The darkness only grew thicker as the years passed and the hostilities between armies festered. Word of the messengers’ arrival spread like wildfire through the nation of Wu and quickly bled into the territory of Chu. The further the information traveled, the more the people altered and added to the tale. Before long, the leaders of the Chu Army were warned of the natural abilities of the young children. The stories of the messengers’ power put fear in the hearts of the soldiers and forced the leaders to prepare for preemptive attacks.
As time passed, the indestructible temple began to glow with a faint reddish hue. The structure pulsed with the Lord’s energy and radiated heat to the area that surrounded it. Inches of snowfall that had accumulated over time on the few feet of land that surrounded the temple began to melt away. The reddish glow of the temple wasn't bright, but in the thick darkness, it was enough to be seen for miles. The civilians of the falling nation watched it grow brighter each day. The people of Wu traveled to the sacred temple with disbelief to witness the forsaken snow disappear. They extended their weary arms and prayed to feel the warmth that the Lords’ temple emit. The presence of the messengers gave the impoverished believers hope.
The temple’s glow attracted more than the interest of the town’s people. Before long, the leadership of Chu arranged a small fleet of its troops to travel to the gate that bordered the small nation of Wu. Chu’s leadership was ruthless and usually didn’t look to resolve matters peacefully, but on this day, 1,000 mighty Chu soldiers approached the gate with an offer. The nation of Chu’s military was known as the I Army. I Army was incredibly powerful but it was a power built from evil, murder, and thievery. They’ve stolen land, cultures, precious diamonds, and gold; and they’ve enslaved and killed millions of people in the process. The Chu reign has been building for hundreds of years. Chu realized in the beginning, The nation of Wu was too powerful to defeat. The marked people’s natural abilities were far beyond any weapon of any other militaries on the planet. So the I Army devised the ultimate scheme; their only chance to defeat their opponent, was to break the marked people mentally. By removing the marked people's knowledge of self, they erased the knowledge of their history and power. At the same time, the I Army constructed what would be known as Electronic Warfare, where they modeled unworld-like weaponry after the abilities of the marked people. They quickly took over, gained territory and resources with ease. They were great in numbers.
A specially designed suit was built for each of the I Army’s soldiers. The suit acted as impenetrable armor and upgraded the soldiers frame and abilities. The suits made the soldiers stronger and faster to not only compete with the marked in combat, but to dominate. A large weapon attached itself to a torso sized battery on the back of each suit. I Army’s weaponry harnessed raw energy from the universe and was stronger than any who still possessed the Lords’ power. Each suit was navy blue and had white head gear, which was transparent enough to faintly see the soldier’s face. Each soldier bared a bald head, and amongst those who have seen a soldier and lived to tell about it, they refer to the troops as the Skinheads. The nation of Chu was an unruly civilization, its people were savage like animals. The I Army was the worst of the worst.
Now into the 9th year of the cursed winter and 2 years since the Messenger’s arrival, A fleet of 1,000 machine enhanced I Army soldiers crowded Wu’s gate. They were an aggressive and impatient people. Many grabbed and kicked at the bars, hollering to the control tower. The soldiers inside hurried to alert the military and assassins. The assassins quickly arrived with eleven other troops to speak with the I Army’s representatives. The three mighty soldiers rode on the backs of their armored steeds as 4 noisy military trucks followed a good distance behind. As the representatives of Wu’s power became visible in the distance, the I Army quieted and calmed their behavior. The I Army was always perceived as fearless, but they weren’t as confident nor bold when interacting with the Lords of Wu. They now presented a demeanor of passiveness and vulnerability as the symbol of Wu’s force raced towards the gate. None of the skinheads in the small fleet held any decorated positions or titles of importance; they were actually selected for this mission due to their lack of. The assassins were notorious, and the legends of their warfare spread throughout all civilizations’ rise and fall. The nation of Chu was very familiar with the assassins and knew that approaching the soldiers in such a way could have immediate negative consequences. Any soldier that stood before the Lords now, were merely a sacrifice of their reckless nation.
The three horsemen slowed their stallions as they quickly approached the gate. The four trucks that followed, pulled out from behind the assassins and parked side by side closer to the entrance. As each of the noisy engines were quieted with a simple twist of a key in the ignition, the doors on all sides were opened and the eleven troops hurried out. The soldiers closed the doors behind them and approached the gate but the assassins remained seated atop of their armored steeds. The soldiers stomped their way through inches of piled up snowfall before addressing the opposing troops. The Wu soldiers stopped next to each other in a single filed line while one of the soldiers stood before them. The assassins watched carefully from a distance.
“What is your business here?” the Wu soldier stated loud and stern. His voice traveled through the bars, over the boundaries that separated the feuding nations, and was met with a unexpected reply. The Skinhead closest to the gate listened with a sinister grin cracked across his wrinkled face.
“We are I Army; Soldiers from the magnificen-” The soldier began but was quickly interrupted.
“We know who you are!” The Wu soldier informed impatiently and the Skinhead immediately snapped back in a harsh tone.
“Then you know our reputation & how we do things! We come to you as peaceful and as giving as we ever will. This is as nice as it’ll get!” the soldier informed with an evil grit to his statements.
“What is your business here?” the Wu soldier repeated with an annoyed tone.
“The magnificent leadership of our nation has extended its overwhelming grace and generosity to your people. We come before you today as 1,000 peaceful messengers delivering an offer from our King.” the Skinhead informed. The soldiers scanned the large fleet of Skinheads on the opposite side of the gate.
“What type of message requires 1,000 troops to be delivered? Are you here in the name of Peace or War?” the Wu soldier asked with much doubt. The Skinhead chuckled.
“I believe that is up to you.” he answered taking a step even closer to the gate. The Wu soldiers each took a quick stomp forward, implanting their boots’ footprint in the snow before them.
“What is your message?” Dirt’s assertive voice sounded from behind his Lords headgear. His voice quieted the area and shook the hearts of 1,000 I Army soldiers. A few moments passed before an uneasy soldier replied.
“Our King and the leaders of the I Army demand that you surrender the three marked children to us and in return we will not wage war against you and your nation. By denying our proposal, you are inflicting devastation among your people.” the soldier said from within his heavy machinery.
“So that’s the type of message you send 1,000 troops to deliver.” Benz Blade replied with a chuckle.
“We accept many refugees each and every day. What marked children do you speak of?” Dirt asked as he kicked his booted foot over the top of his horse before hopping down to the frozen land beneath. Blade and Sniph did the same.
“Do not play fool! You know damn well what marked children we speak of! I don’t think you understand what you’re dealing with!” an enraged Skinhead hollered as he charged his weapon. Many of his fellow soldiers followed his lead.
“No! We fully understand who you are and we are prepared to write your conclusion however you decide to react. We will not surrender a single refugee, especially one blessed by the Lord’s sun! We’re not threatened by your noisy weapons. I will rip each of your frail, feeble bodies from your fancy suits and show you what true power is. You have seen our nation’s gate but unfortunately it will not open. You’re welcome to travel back and return to where you came.” Dirt said as the assassins approached the gate stepping between their 11 troops. Tensions started to boil in the small area as the assassins intimidated the opposing fleet as their flaming pupils illuminated through their head gear.
“Do not be prideful and foolish. Declining this offer will surely-” the Skinhead began but was quickly interrupted by the uninterested.
“We fully understand who you are and we are prepared to write your conclusion however you decide to react.” Blade repeated Dirt’s words in a stern tone. The I Army fleet were highly disrespected and many others charged their incredibly dangerous weaponry. The assassins yanked their swords from their scabbards as the intense standoff continued. The I Army Skinheads were not looking to retreat and the Lords refused to back down. The assassins scanned back and forth slowly peering through each soldier’s suit to study their eyes. Some of the Skinheads were certain; they were ready to kill and be killed in battle. Others were terrified but were trained well. Dirt stood with Blade and Sniph by his sides as he examined their opponents. He locked eye contact with a troop for a few moments. The man stared back to the assassin with a menacing grin as he raised his charged weapon from his side and aimed it to the gate. Dirt immediately transported through the gate and when he landed, he slammed his frosted sword against his opponent’s suit. The impact forced the soldier to stumble backwards as he pulled his trigger with panic. The deafening weapon sounded as it released an explosive beam of power into the assassin’s armored torso. The unruly power struck like lightning into the pit of DIrt’s chest with untamed force that overpowered the mighty soldier. The incredible power lifted the assassin’s soles from the ground and he quickly crashed into the nation’s gate. The evil Skinhead held his trigger down and waved its destruction back & forth across the Wu gate. His fellow soldiers stood by and awaited results. Many were uncertain about the Lords’ power; the I Army wanted to see what they were truly made of. The incredible current that the soldier’s weapon released was brilliant. The Skinheads began to cheer. With an evil grin the soldier released his trigger & halted his attack. His body regained its balance and then he stepped forward
The gate was unfazed by the attack. Dirt’s limp unconscious body fell from the gate that stood to the ground beneath. The I Army cheered and stomped their feet in brief celebration. The gate’s metals were infused with Wu’s sacred crystals making it powerful enough to protect its nation. The other troops and assassins stood unharmed on the protected side of their gate. They weren’t worried or afraid; they were ready. Without hesitation, the two assassins jumped into battle. The two soldiers wielded a keen sword and with great speed, the assassins transported, jumped through the crowd, and picked off handfuls of the I Army’s front line in a matter of moments. The assassins appeared and swiftly sliced through the energy pack mounted on each of the Skinheads’ back. The batteries that harnessed the incredible energy explode when punctured and would take out seven or eight surrounding troops. The assassins move so fast that by the time the batteries reacted to the strike, they were in a completely different location. After just 3 seconds, the Chu Army had suffered over a hundred casualties and were petrified. The assassins had stopped and retrieved their fellow assassin before returning to their protected side of the great gate. They laid his body into the control structure before returning back to their troops aid at the front. The I Army was stunned but not yet defeated. One of the many troops used his suit’s communications device and radioed back to his leadership. The call for reinforcements was brief but the soldier was sure to alert the sovereign of their suits shortcomings. The I Army retreated a bit. They left the other deceased to rest where the war finished them. The wounded were as good as dead to them.
It wasn’t long before the troops started to approach the gate again. They were nervous to protect their weakness from their opponents, but they refused to return to their nation alive unless through victory. They’d rather die in battle than to return to their leaders with the weight of defeat hanging over them. They realized in this battle they were outmatched but now they didn’t battle to win. They were there to make a statement. Their weapons were charged but they didn’t fire. They just waited. In the distance, the soldiers began to hear a low rumble. They sound grew louder quickly as the unknown object approached. The Wu soldiers and assassins look to the sky as their eyes attempted to study past the treetops. The object was a huge hunk of metal that quickly crept overhead. Its presence brought security for the I Army and terror for Wu as its great mass flew above the small nation. The aircraft was unlike anything the nation had seen and the assassins knew the devastating damage the aircraft would bring. The overwhelming fact was soon known across the land. The Wu V. Chu war has begun!
Blood was abundant on the battlefield. It sank deep into the soil turning dirt into a thick, dark mud; some areas, especially around the Wu gate, collected puddles. Lifeless corpses and machines laid like logs everywhere there had been war. The Wu people were exhausted and war-wearied, but they weren’t defeated. They weren’t going to back down. Years had passed and the small nation was crumbling but would not break. The I Army was relentless. Surprise attacks and vicious attempts to invade the nation were constant and quickly became expected. Aerial attacks were more random and staggered but delivered devastating damages and high death tolls. The Lords of Wu protected and defended with everything they had. They weren’t in position to fight or take the offensive so they waited. The resisted as long as they could in hopes that their aid would come to their rescue. Many families were destroyed, separated, and homes demolished. Sacred buildings, including the Lords’ Temple, stood tall despite the destructive aerial domination. The godly crystal was energized and its red glow grew brighter and brighter over the years. The crystal was hot and emitted great heat and light far beyond its gate. Its energy was connected to the other sacred buildings in Wu and those buildings also gave off the same heat and light. As the rest of their nation was falling before the marked people’s very eyes, the messengers energy kept them strong. The prophecy of the messengers gave them hope.
The opposing army continued to torment the small nation with hopes of overwhelming the Lords and forcing them to surrender to the suppressing military. The leaders of Chu were merciless and persistent, but more importantly they were nervous and pressured. Even though they’ve held the upper hand in battle to this point, the messengers’ growing power kept them terrified. The prophecy of the messengers made it impossible to relax or be content with the barbaric goals accomplished through their villainous onslaughts of destruction. The great nation of Chu couldn’t ease up or show mercy in anyway. They needed to reduce Wu to nothing. They needed to diminish their enemy to crumbles and in doing so, would make the messengers’ return futile and ineffective. They planned to overcome the prophecy and prevent the messengers reign by constantly plaguing the small nation. They destroyed their means for transportation, including their military vehicles. Besides the vicious attacks, Wu was famished. Their food supplies not only declined quickly through the years, but it was targeted by the invading army. The Skinheads poisoned their food and water supplies bringing great sickness and death in most cases. Fresh, safe food had been a serious issue for the nation, and all nations except Chu, since the beginning of the winter. They knew once the messengers exited their temple, any marked ones that survived the extermination would be enlightened and freed from their mental bondage, making them powerful beyond Chu’s imaginations. The I Army feared the revolt, so they exhausted their military power and ammunition into a one sided battle. They sacrificed thousands of their soldiers to a small nation that just wouldn’t break. A war that they should’ve, but just couldn’t win. The Assassins and their small fleet of soldiers displayed unbreakable defense and bloody viciousness to protect their people. Through casualties and battle fatigue, the nation of Wu remained.
B Sniph hurried to the Lords’ Temple. He quickly stomped his sore booted feet into the snow before him. He took heavy breaths but they were controlled as he ran. His armor clinked together as he bounced from foot to foot during his sprint. The darkness didn’t trouble the Assassin. His lorded out energy gave him enhanced vision so his eyes glowed as he trucked along. His mask’s metal was scratched and scraped up from battle. He had been wounded some years back but he had soldiered through. His knee was still wrapped underneath his armor for extra support. His sword sat in its scabbard patiently waiting. It was a time of rest between attacks and invasions. As he approached the Lords’ temple, the soldier pulled the helmet from his face. The assassin tucked it under his arm and released his Lorded Out energy as he turned into the great temple. His fellow assassins had already arrived. There was an alarm notifying the Wu military that the simulation had concluded and the vault door was ready to be opened.
As Sniph entered the temple, he was greeted by a hall filled with fellow Wu soldiers. They’re eyes celebrated as the small group of 23 soldiers humbly greeted the assassin. They wanted to celebrate that the prophecy had come true, but there was still a war to be fought. They crowded outside of the vault’s chamber and as Sniph approached they created a respected path through the doorway. Sniph entered the great room, where the two assassins stood before the closed vault.
“It’s time!” Sniph said as he clapped his hands together a couple times stepping towards the assassins. They nodded with a smile but there was a sense of uncertainty in the room. They weren’t sure what to expect coming from the other side of the vault door.
“It has been a long time. We’ve waited and we’ve fought for this day!” Benz Blade agreed with excitement.
“No reason to wait any longer.” Dirt said as he stepped towards the gate. He grabbed the handle and immediately felt an electric charge sting his fingertips. He jerked back and paused a bit before grabbing a hold again. The energy was powerful as Dirt turned the door, so powerful that Dirt entered his Lorded Out state automatically for self preservation. By the time the vault door was open, Dirt’s pupils were in a blazing glow while he pushed the heavy crystal door aside. The light from the chamber was blinding, so the other two assassins channeled their energy as well. Two of the three messengers had returned. It had been over 16 years since the simulation began but the messengers had only aged 7 years inside the temple. The had grown into strong, athletic, young men. The simulation had shaped them and prepared them with unique individual experiences and tests. The assassins were dumbfounded as the young men stumbled out of the vault. The assassins were taught not to touch any soldier that exited the simulation until some time after, so they provided no physical aid to the messengers. Their bodies were charged in a protective field that wraps the soldier’s being during the simulation. Once the soldier has adapted back into the world, the field will be withdrawn. The assassins watched currents of energy flow over the brothers’ skin and young muscles.
“Where’s the third? Where’s Z?” Sniph asked as he began to walk around the messengers.
“Don’t!” Eddie warned.
“Just close it. He isn’t ready yet.” Eddie ordered.
“He’ll let himself out.” Digi informed. Both the brothers were Lorded Out, but seemed disoriented. Sniph continued past them, closed the vault door, twisted the lock, and stepped away.
“How do you feel? What do you need?” Dirt asked with concern knowing the demand from the simulation. The two brothers looked to each other before answering simultaneously.
“Give us the book.” They answered clear and simple. Sniph and Blade looked to Dirt. Dirt nodded in approval and allowed the assassins to retrieve the piece of literature. Sniph and Blade exited the room and Dirt stayed with the brothers. The two passed by the soldiers that stood in the hall as they hustled to the historic library.
“What have you learned? What is your message? What must we do?” Dirt asked with wonderment and impatience. The messengers rejected his questions.
“We must soul search first. We must read our book, study and plan. We will deliver your message when it is time.” Eddie answered sternly. A few moments of uninterrupted silence passed before Digi spoke.
“There are 9 levels in the Lords’ simulation.” He answered. “Each level contains knowledge from a new master.” Digi answered.
The assassins returned quickly with the much anticipated book and handed it to the brothers. The boys slowly studied the front cover. Their eyes traced every letter as they took in their long awaited prize. After a few short moments of amazement, the messengers looked up from the book.
“We must leave.” Digi spoke boldly.
“You can’t leave us now! Are you insane!?” Blade yelled with rage and annoyance. He took a step in towards the boy. Eddie raised his hand to halt Blade in his tracks.
“We’re not abandoning you in battle. We must reconnect with nature & soul search with the new knowledge. Continue guarding your nation.” Eddie informed and instructed.
“We have been enlightened of our obligation to our people. Don’t worry; victory will be ours.” Digi finished.
“We have to read this book, immediately.” Eddie added. The assassins hesitated for a moment before nodding with approval and escorting the two brothers to the hallway. The soldiers that crowded the hallway got their first looks at their supposed salvation as their energized bodies slowly stepped out into the temple’s hall. They were filled with questions but remained silent as they hurried to make room for the messengers. A few of them spoke proudly.
“Peace Lords!” they greeted. Most wondered where the third brother was. Others wondered why they were still so young. All were thankful and hoped they were everything their nation needed. The two brothers struggled to operate their bodies’ functions. They had to quickly adapt back into their skin after leaving to live beyond this realm in a spiritual world for over 16 years. They had to figure it out without any physical aid from any other because of their hyperactive energy. Touching the messengers’ glowing skin would fry any counterpart instantly. The soldiers stepped quickly leaving a respected ring around the messengers as they exited through the grand hall of the temple. The protective layer that wrapped the brothers’ skin was luminous and shined brilliantly in the darkness. Their shine could be seen for miles; impossible not to notice. The small fleet of men moved quickly. It wouldn’t be long before the I Army scum attacked. The brothers hollered out directions as if they had previously known the land. They could feel the earth and were tuned in to a deeper connection with the planet and the universe, but most importantly, universes and dimensions beyond ours. The fleet of men marched deep into the wild, wooded area near Wu’s east gate. They slowly moved between trees allowing the messengers to walk comfortably. The soldiers were nervous, even the assassins. They knew they were a burning target waiting to be ambushed by the enemy. Underneath the pressure, there was some excitement to see what the brothers could do after nine levels in the legendary temple.
“How much further? I can feel the enemy lurking!” Blade hollered out to the boys.
“Not far. Don’t worry.” Eddie answered. How could the soldiers not worry? The Skinheads were near. Their army had made several modifications to their weapons and suits since the first battle. They developed several new suits to harness the energy without a battery pack. The new suit is also lighter, slimmer for speed and more powerful to enhance the soldiers’ combat skills. The Chu engineers even removed their external guns and created weapons in the hands and arms of their suits. They also modified the headgear to mask the soldiers’ face so their fear wouldn’t be visible. Now at the peak of their technological and military success, the messengers have returned. The brothers started to slow down and the assassins and soldiers did the same. The brothers seemed troubled.
“They’re close. There are many.”
“Keep moving!” Dirt demanded. The soldiers picked up their pace and the messengers did the same but were worried about the enemy approaching. Eddie kept looking over his shoulder as he tapped into his spirit to provide directions. His eyes glowed as he looked back over his shoulder. The brothers finally regained a decent balance and coordination as they trucked along. As Eddie looked over his shoulder, he realized that the assassins had disappeared into the darkness. He turned ahead and kept moving as Dirt had instructed. The messengers were not in condition to battle.
“Stay straight ahead!” Eddie called out to his soldiers. After a few feet, the group could hear battle not far behind them. The assassins preemptively attacked the incoming ambush, giving the messengers enough time to reach their destination. The soldiers were nervous and moved frantically as the charges of energy sounded in the near distance. A misfired ray of raw power struck one of the soldier at the top of his back. It melted through the soldier’s armored and seared his spine. The unconscious soldier dropped to the snow behind the messengers. A couple of his fellow soldiers stopped to assist him; the messengers and the others kept moving. Their pace picked up even more as the other soldiers dragged the wounded Lord to safety. The group sprinted across the land and distanced themselves from the battle.
“Right here!” Eddie called out to the group. The soldiers slowed to a stop and looked around impatiently. They stood at the forest line and the crowns of the trees towered over them. The brothers slowly walked past their guards as they examined the wildlife. Nine large stones were arranged in a large circle in the middle of the wooded area. They stepped into the center of the stones. Their eyes burned through the darkness and as their energized bodies stepped between the burly boulders, the messengers’ protective fields began to stretch. The energy reached for the earth and wildlife, and connected itself to the planet’s raw resources. The soldiers stayed a few moments, examining the messengers, before turning back to aid the assassins. The brothers walked further and their energy reached for as many sources as it could. The brothers even connected rays to each other’s energy. Their rays immediately began to thicken and connect to other rays, creating a giant orb of the Lord’s energy. The other soldiers watched in awe, and once the orb was created, they turned and hustled to the battle. The orb’s heat quickly roasted the surrounding wooded area that surrounded it. The orb included the nine stones as it formed. Flames ignited against the tree’s bark and the wildfire quickly spread through the frost bitten forest. The bright orb was an indestructible box of flame and energy that absorbed the nearby resources as the messengers safely soul searched, studied the literature, and meditated with the information.
The intense war between armies continued with gory battles far worse than before. The incredibly strong enemy began to use their advantage in numbers to effectively invade and ravish the Wu nation. Their troops overpowered the outdated security systems at the gate and the Wu soldiers were unable to hold them any longer. The small nation was in a state of emergency lock down. All sacred temples, libraries, halls, lodges, and other ancient buildings of high importance were boarded and solidified; they were also put under heavy surveillance by the assassins. The soldiers quickly alerted their civilians to evacuate their homes and seek shelter at the few refugee lodges in the small nation. The Wu Soldiers were unable to protect their people and were forced underneath the mercy of the Chu leaders. The Skinheads invaded homes, kidnapped and raped women and children, and killed thousands of marked people. Troops surrounded the messengers orb waiting for their Soul Search session to end. As far as Chu understood, all three messengers were together in the box of flames. The I Army, over a few months time, quickly overthrew the small nation. The people of Wu were in a state of devastation and mourning.
A desperate and fearful mother’s hand covered her daughter’s mouth and squeezed as she attempted to silence the young girl’s petrified trembles. The mother pulled her child’s body close and wrapped her protection around the little girl, even though she knew it wouldn’t be enough to save her daughter. She tried to keep her silent as they hid from the I Army; she kept their movements to a minimum. Rays of light entered between the cracks in the boards. The mother carefully pressed her face against the board and slowly lined her eye up with the crack. She continued to cover her daughter’s mouth as she peered through looking for the soldiers. It was hard to see much of the room through the crack, but from what she could tell, the room was empty. She still didn’t believe the soldiers were gone, yet. She leaned back and laid into her original position. Her movements were snail-like to avoid making any alerting sounds. Tears ran down the mother’s face, as fear slowly enslaved her mind. Her daughter was scared, but her young age and naivety protected her to a certain extent. The child was not foolish though. She understood the war, the invasion, the risk of the situation, and the importance of remaining hidden.
The house had found a very short period of peace during the chaos that the Skinheads caused in the family’s home. The house remained silent, but the mother wasn’t convinced. Her daughter began to fidget and become annoyed with the secrecy, but the woman quickly tightened her suppressive clamp on the child’s mouth. She leaned her tear dampened face down beside the young girl’s ear but waited a few uneasy moments before making a sound. She was very hesitant with great reason. Her eyes studied the uninterrupted rays of light that made its way through into the small hideout. She waited and allowed a few more uncertain moments to pass before she pursed her lip together. She let out a soft hush into her daughter’s ear, attempting to quiet her and inform her that the soldiers weren’t gone. Through the mother’s grip, the little girl let out a small whimper before the house fell completely silent again. The mother’s heart skipped as the worst scenarios played over in her mind. She clenched onto the only thing she had left in this world. She desperately attempted to protect her only daughter from the devastating war. The mother knew that her daughter’s cry was enough to keep the soldiers in their house. It was enough for them to know that the house wasn’t empty and that their search wasn’t complete. The ruckus and destruction of the home began again.
“Somebody’s here! Look everywhere! Find them!” one of the enemy soldiers ordered. The petrified mother’s soul sank deep into her hollow body as the sounds of demolition erupted once again. Several soldiers worked together to completely gut out the home and quickly made their way into the room where the family seeked refuge. The soldiers began wrecking the room. The woman’s eyes studied what she could see through the thin crack. She could feel the vibrations and rumbles from the soldier’s raid but she still couldn’t see the soldiers. The I Army scum spread out in the room. The mother and her daughter could feel their steps. The soldiers’ suits were heavy and powerful. They collected anything of value and destroyed everything left in sight. One of the soldiers picked up a framed family portrait and began to stroll through the room. It was a picture of the woman and her daughter with a Wu soldier in combat gear. The soldier was a father to the young girl and a husband to the woman. His body was left to rot on the battlefield during an attempted invasion years ago. News of his horrific passing hadn’t even made its way to the family. The soldier studied the picture with a demonic grin cracked across his pale face. He slowly paced towards the center of the room and when he stopped, the wood creaked under his suit’s weight. He pulled the frame closer to his face and after a moment study, he dropped the family portrait like it was garbage. The wooden frame dropped and its glass cracked right before the mother and daughter’s eyes; they were beneath the floorboards, squeezed in between the studs of the house. The family had made preparations for war and survival, especially for if the father couldn’t return. The soldier lifted his heavy boot and stomped the frame, shattering the glass. At the same time beneath the floorboards, the tension was overwhelming. The mother squeezed even tighter and the uncomfortable crawl space felt even smaller under the pressure to remain hidden. Tears began to escape the corners of the woman’s eyes at a quicker rate. As she laid on her back, the tears raced to the cartilage of her ears. Memories of her husband and prayers for his timely return filled her head as fear filled her heart. She tried her hardest to silence her cries; she covered her own mouth with her other hand. Her breathing was frantic and she wheezed uncontrollably as the mighty soldier stood right before their eyes. The sounds of destruction rumbled the room as the soldiers continued wrecking the home.
“Wait! Wait!” The soldier that stood over the family called to the others. The other I Army scum in the room continued with no acknowledgment of the soldier’s call. The sounds of destruction made it hard to hear anything said, but the soldier heard something abnormal. He stomped his foot and yelled to the fleet of savages.
“Stop! Silence!” the soldier yelled again. He lifted his hands to the sides of his face and waved them by his automated headgear. The pitch black visor-like mask retracted into its helmet exposing the soldier’s pale aged face. The man coughed briefly as he took a breath of the tainted oxygen. The soldiers slowed their movements to halts and after a few moments the house was silent. The woman closed her eyes and tried to escape reality. Her breathing was still in a state of panic, and no matter how hard she tried she couldn’t completely calm herself. It didn’t take long for the soldiers to pinpoint the source of the cries. The small echoey space amplified the almost unnoticeable sounds to the soldiers. The investigating skinhead kicked the crushed frame aside and dropped his knees to the sturdy wooden floorboards. He tilted his head and pressed his ear to the crack between the boards. The woman and girl were face to face with certain death. The I Army soldier turn his head, shoved his pasty pink nose to the floor, and inhaled the human odor deep. The soldier raised his face from the ground and sat up on his knees with his hand rested on his hips. He looked up to his fleet of soldiers.
“Pull up the floor.” He said calmly before standing his suited body upright. He waved his hands beside his helmet and his face mask returned. Two of the soldiers stepped over the family and began to pry at the wood. The woman watched as the hope drained from her soul. Her daughter began to panic and cling to her mother, but the woman couldn’t protect her now. Her mother couldn’t save her. This reality became very real to the woman as she uncovered her daughter’s mouth and tried to find the words to tell her. She shifted to her side and faced her daughter.
“Look at me, honey.” The mother said softly as tears raced her face and emotion choked her from delivering the truth. The soldiers anxiously worked to get to the family. Every sound made the girl jump and her terrified eyes flooded.
“Baby, look at me! I - I” The woman began to explain but a loud bang interrupted her words. The little girl screamed and was immediately answered with another bang. The soldiers began stomping the wooden floor with their robotic suits’ advanced power. After two stomps the wood split and splintered above the woman’s head. The merciless soldier lifted his heavy foot and slammed it through the damaged wood. The floorboard cracked and the heavy skinhead fell into the shallow hideaway. He landed on top of the family and quickly pulled himself up to the floor above. He reached in and pulled the weakened wood from the hideout beneath the room. The soldier yanked the chunks of floorboards and tossed them aside carelessly. The other soldiers took multiple steps forward and peered down at the frail marked family. The small fleet of soldiers stood anxiously examining their dark skin as they awaited orders. The little girl turned and buried her head in the pit of her mother’s chest as the woman sat petrified staring up at the mighty troops. She wrapped her arms around her daughter tighter and closed her eyes shut. She began to pray to her God. She asked for his protection and salvation, but in this moment, her God had appear to forsaken the family. The merciless soldier began to chuckle as he noticed the mumbles of the woman’s prayer.
“There’s nothing you can do now.” the soldier said with sinister grin cracked across his dirty pale face. The woman attempted to continue praying as the evil man spoke.
“You can scream… but no one will hear you. You can pray... but no one will save you. In this moment, there is no savior. In this moment, I am God and I control your fate. You can fight… but you will never win.” the heartless soldier said with a snicker before nodding to his men. He signaled the tsavage men to retrieve the ladies from the hideout in the floor. Two of the soldiers stepped forward, dropped their knees down to the wood, and leaned over reaching into the shallow hole. The woman kept her eyes closed and gently placed her hand over her child’s curly hair. The soldiers attempted to grab at the woman and she quickly twisted and turned from their grip. She began to softly sing a sweet song to her daughter. Her voice was cracking and shaking as she tried to take her daughter’s mind away. The little girl’s eyes were open and she studied as the soldiers closed in on them. The child panicked as the one of the soldiers clinched a handful of the woman’s worn out sleeve. The woman tried to pull herself free from the soldier’s grip, but he was far too strong. He dragged the woman and girl a couple feet into his reach. Another soldier stepped into the brief struggle to separate the woman from her child. He pressed his palms together and attempted to shove his hands into the middle of the mother’s protective embrace.
“Mommy!” The girl screamed as her arms began to part due to the soldiers’ dividing force. The mother kept her eyes closed as tears escaped her tightly shut lids. The wetness ran down her melaninated cheeks and collected at the base of her chin. The heartless Skinheads snickered and joked to each other at the expense of the shattered family’s tragic separations. One of the I Army scum reached out his robotically enhanced arm with his fingers extended. He placed the frosted metal on top of the young girls skull and grabbed a large handful of the girl’s curly locs. As the other soldiers pulled and broke up the mother’s hold, he yanked the child backwards by her coiled hair. Her body slammed to the wooden floorboards and was quickly slid across the room. The heartbroken woman frantically waved her arms and reached for her daughter as she listened to her hopeless screams fade further and further away. The soldier ripped the young girl up into his arms; he used one arm to secure her against his abdomen and used the other to quiet her screams. He then carried the girl off out the room and two of the soldiers followed behind.
The soldiers of Chu were savage monsters who participated in the disgusting acts of pedophilia. The soldiers hauled the girl away into a secluded area of the vacant house. The young girl was badly beaten and stripped of her tattered clothing. The I Army scum exposed her marked skin and pinned her weakened body to the floorboards. As they prepared to rob the beautiful child of her innocence and purity, the soldiers exited their mechanical exoskeletons revealing their pale feeble bodies. The girl could no longer scream or cry for help. She struggled to remain conscious as blood leaked from her wounds and her core ached. One of the three soldiers mounted himself atop the young girl but before he could penetrate her, the overwhelming pain and fear caused her to pass out into the deepest of slumbers; a rest she unknowingly would never wake from. The girl’s sudden condition didn’t stop the savage soldiers, of course. The disgusting men proceeded to rape the young child. They took turns relieving themselves inside the defenseless girl who offered no resistance in her unconscious state. One by one, each soldiers fell back into their armor and returned to the room where the mother was held. The mother was forced to her knees as she listened to the faint motions in the nearby room. She didn’t have to see; She just knew. The soldiers began to joke to each other as the last soldier took his time with the battered corpse.
“Sloppy seconds!” one of the vile I Army scum called with a snicker.
“Sloppy thirds!” another corrected with disgusting laughter. The mother was traumatised and sick to her stomach. She hated that she couldn’t save her daughter or even help in the slightest. As she sat devastated before the mighty soldiers, she wished death upon herself, and knew it wouldn’t be long before her wish was granted.
“Kill me.” she muttered as her shaky voice managed to escape her sunken face. She sat in shock as the soldiers boastfully bragged about the women they’d taken advantage of and the families they’d shattered during the invasion. The room was loud but one of the commanding soldiers heard the mother’s soft voice.
“Quiet! Quiet!” He yelled as he raised his hand to the soldiers and approached the spiritually defeated woman. She rested on her knees with her chin sank deep into the pit of her chest. The man stepped forward slowly before stopping inches from her body.
“You dare speak, peasant!?” The soldier said showing off for his fellow soldiers in a way. The woman didn’t reply. After a few brief moments passed, the angry soldier palmed the top of the mother’s head and snatched a hand full of the her brown locs yanking her face up towards him. She let out a pained yelp and then groaned as her pupils pierced into her attackers soul.
“What did you-” the soldier began but before he could finish, the mother’s screams interrupted.
“Kill me! Just kill me!” she screamed as tears raced her cheeks. The soldiers in the room watched attentively.
“That’s right. Beg for it, bitch!” the soldier yelled with an evil chuckle as he stood over the weakened mother.
“You took everything from me! What more do you want, you fucking cowards!? You’re scum! Scum! You’ve killed my heart! You can kill my body, but you will never kill my soul! Never! You’ve taken my everything! Set my soul free! Kill me! Kill me, now!” She screamed, cried and pleaded but the soldiers just watched with amusement. The fellow soldiers busted out with laughter as the woman carried on. She no longer feared death. She no longer held on to anything which unleashed something in her body. She had nothing but her soul. The soldier who stood before her turned to his fellow warriors and joined in with their laughter as the woman begged for death.
“We’re gonna have fun with this bitch!” he told his men but moments after, the laughter came to a tragic end. The woman’s cries halted, and the room fell silent. The smiling expressions on his fellow soldiers’ faces were replaced with ones of worry and fear. The commanding soldier quickly studied each of the troops’ eyes and then quickly turned his attention back to the woman. Her eyes were filled with a fiery glow. Her hands balled with rage as the Lords’ energy now channeled through her body. She slowly rose from her seated position and stood before the soldiers. Her assertive and powerful soul was now in complete control of her body. The cowardly soldiers slowly retreated; the power and advantage they previously had, was useless compared against her Lorded out energy. Her glowing pupils peered through the commanding soldier. He was terrified. He had never been face to face with the marked power. The woman snickered as she stepped towards him and his soldiers.
“I’m gonna have fun with this bitch.” she said to herself with a sinister grin inspired by revenge. Before her opponents could do anything, she leaped to attack. She lead an unstoppable onslaught throughout the small room, tearing through each of the soldiers’ defenses. She initially traded blows with the small fleet before the battle showed to be one sided. She cracked through the advanced armor, ripped their pasty bodies from their false strength, and then effectively castrated and dismembered them one by one. She left behind a collection of machine and randomized body parts that soaked in pools of blood. She was drenched in the thick red substance that dripped from her tattered clothes and slowly leaked through the wood flooring. The slaughter was quick and just. The newly discovered energy still charged through her every muscle. Her eyes continued to glow with the power as she walked past the lifeless corpses. She exited the room and stood in the doorway for a few moments looking at the horrific scene in the next room.
Her daughter laid face up and sprawled out along the floorboards; her clothing was ripped from her bruised and bloodied skin. Her daughter had struggled for her life alone and had died dreaming her mother or father would come to her aid and rescue. The woman walked into the room and slowly approached her daughter’s lifeless body. She was surrounded by the blood that once pumped through her energetic body. The mother dropped to her knees before the young girl. The puddle that used to help fuel her daughter’s lifeline now wicked through the worn out fabric of her pants. She lifted her right hand to her own mouth as tears began to pour from her glowing eyes. She extended her left arm and brushed her messy hair back away from her face. As she did, the gentle motion exposed the damage the merciless soldiers had inflicted to the child. The overwhelmed mother quickly looked away as she tried her best to hold back her emotional outbursts.
“My sweet baby,” she said softly as she turned her head back and examined the tortured corpse. She then reached down and wrapped up the body in both her arms. She pulled the child’s heavy torso to rest on her thighs. The body was still warm but it obvious the soul was missing.
“Find your way back to me,” She placed her left hand on the crown of the girl’s skull. She held her right hand against her own chest where her heart beat against her ribcage. She took several deep breaths as she prepared to channel the incredible energy. She then lifted her right hand and extended her arm as high as possible before slamming it down against the child’s chest. The burning power flowed through the flesh, muscle, and bone. Every cell jolted and woke with electric influence. The power traveled deeper than the physical and managed to reconnect to the escaping spirit. The impact of the mother’s blow was immediately effective. The girl gasped for breath frantically and coughed viciously spitting out blood. The daughter’s eyelids lifted slightly; despite her bruised and swollen condition, she was able to make eye contact with her mother. She stared deep into the woman’s burning pupils before passing back out. The mother kept her hand over the child’s chest providing energy to help her daughter heal and regain strength. She knew she had to carry her daughter to receive fresher air.
Outside the family’s devastated household, the war had taken a disastrous toll on the beautiful nation of Wu. The woman and her daughter were lucky to have survived this incident; Others were less fortunate. Invasions were inevitable during this stage of the war. The small nation was almost completely destroyed. Large numbers of the Wu army had made the ultimate sacrifice to defend against the seemingly never ending war. The opposing army was relentless and their great numbers flooded the soldiers cursing the nation with an extremely high death toll. Survivors resorted to retreating into secrecy to protect the last of their families and loved ones. Death plagued the once beautiful land. The smell of rotting flesh carried through the breeze along with the iron like stench of blood. The snow was stained with the mortifying substance that no longer supported its bright red color. The blood had frosted over and adapted a darker red tone. In other areas, it had turned brown due to becoming completely dry against the cracked ground and trunks of burly trees. The harsh weather conditions had only gotten worse. No energy or electric power generated through the small nation. Any fires that were set for warmth, to cook food, or boil drinking water was often a give away to the enemy. The soldiers followed the smoke and light to its source and attacked. The soldiers set out to eliminate any and every chance there was for survival.
There was a large fleet of Chu soldiers that were assigned to surround the hot box where the messengers were last seen. There were multiple I Army camps set up in the vicinity in anticipation of the messengers’ return. Several attempts to crack the luminous orb were made but each failed miserably. Those who attempted were severely injured. The orb utilized the Lord’s energy as protection and as a powerful defense on the outside. Any weapons used to slice through the thick field resulted in controlled explosions where ever the blades attempted to pierce through. Any object used to bluntly slam into the orb’s walls only damaged the object. Any man who touched the orb directly, whether armored or not, was met with the wrath of the Lord’s energy throughout every cell in his body. The I Army scum wasn’t sure when the messengers would return so with great fear, the opposing army prepared tirelessly. The orb had only grown brighter and brighter overtime. Smoke had begun to rise from its surface and swirl off towards the crowns of the naked trees before disappearing into the thick darkness.
The civilians that were forced into hiding often found a way to examine the sun like light and the thick smoke that seeped from the hot box from a great distance. The surviving soldiers of Wu studied the orb from afar as well. The Lords of Wu could not overpower the Chu soldiers in hand to hand combat; their great numbers and manipulated energy was too consistently powerful. The great minds of the Wu army worked on stratagem to effectively pick apart the many Chu camps set up across their land. They were not foolish and wouldn’t approach the enemy where he’s strong, unless there was no way around it. As they awaited their calvary, they moved cautiously into small battles with the opposing army. Each battle brought new deaths and setbacks to the already devastated nation. Every step that Wu took forward, they were forced to take two steps back. Every battle ultimately pushed the wounded nation closer to losing the war.
Blade fell down on his side with exhaustion as he let out an agnious grunt of pain. He quickly rolled over onto his back and stared straight up into the midnight sky. His breathing was unstable and he panicked to find the source of the torchorous pain. He shifted around in his armor and frantically worked to remove the metal sections. His warm dark blood began to leak out from underneath his battle wearied armor and soak into the many inches of snow that surrounded him. He was suffering from a deep stab wound from one of the I Army’s many weaponry advancements. The leaders of Chu studied the current war and analyzed the many faults of their soldiers’ armor and combat shortcomings. The quickly made adjustments throughout the checkpoints of battle. They made their soldiers faster, lighter, stronger, and smarter. The leaders equipped their Skinheads with the ultimate tactics and gadgets to survive the worst scenarios as they ultimately worked to electronically recreate the Lords of Wu and the Lords’ power. Every weakness the Wu soldiers found in their opponents’ combat, power, armor and abilities were immediately analyzed and corrected. The leaders used these small battles to prepare their troops for the messengers return.
Dirt quickly raced to Blade’s aid. He dropped his knees into frozen layers of precipitation and immediately began removing the armor and tapered clothing from Blade’s upper body. Blade’s initial reaction to Dirt’s contact was defensive. He tried to pull himself away from his fellow assassin. Dirt put a secure hold at the middle of Blade’s chest pinning him down and wrapped his hand round at his wrist.
“I know it hurts, Lord. You just need to-” Dirt began but Blade continued to fight the assistance.
“Fuck that! Get off of me!” Blade hollered as he shoved Dirt backwards and then rolled the opposite way. The rest of their fleet, including Sniph, sat back and watched as the two assassins struggled with each other. One of his hands pushed against the wound and caressed the severed weapon that protruded from the puncture. Blade scrambled away from the group of soldiers on his other hand and knees.
“Quit bitching, man! Just pull it out.” Sniph said as he squatted down and rested on a tree stump. He pulled a glass bottle from his satchel. It had been cracked during battle and as he revealed it from his bag he realized a majority of his spirits had drained into the satchel. He used his gloved hand and hacked at the top of the bottle to remove the shattered pieces. After a quick examination, he cautiously placed his lips against the dullest place of the bottle and take a long gulp of the liquor. Blade gathered to his feet and attempted to take a deep breath in. He couldn’t inhale deeply, with every attempt he was met with an excruciating pain. Blade prepared himself to remove the weapon. His opponent had shoved a long spike like blade between his ribs and broken it off deep in his abdomen. The leaders of Chu had mimicked the Lords’ crystal and finally created a weapon that could pierce their marked skin while in the Lorded Out state. He had struggled his way through the rest of battle until soldiering back to hiding at their rest area.
“Shut the hell up!” Blade yelled back at his fellow assassin. Sniph snickered as he finished up his drink and wiped his cold lips dry. Everyone understood the pain that Blade was in but took great amusement in watching the vast differences between the assassins collide. Sniph laughed to himself and shook his head slightly. Dirt stood back to his feet and quickly brushed the snowflakes from his clothing. He approached Blade and tried to calm him down.
“You need to release your anger and channel your power.” Dirt instructed him as he stepped closer and attempted to tend to his wound. Blade quickly stepped away as he applied pressure around his own wound. It was in between his higher ribs and was placed near his right armpit. He couldn’t relax or calm down.
“Don’t touch me!” Blade ordered with a vicious growl. Blood began to foam up in his mouth and as he panted, the thick blood pushed between his teeth and collected at the base of his gums. Enduring the inescapable pain was extremely tiring and any contact to the wound only made it worse. Dirt was patient with his fellow assassin. He slowly approached him again.
“I’m not gonna touch you. You need to clear your mind and channel your energy. It’s going to hurt either way, but it’ll be more tolerable when you’re Lorded Out. Either way it has to come out or you’ll die.” Dirt informed the injured soldier. Blade listened carefully and tried to mentally prepare himself as he arrived at the realization. Dirt looked to him with concern and Blade nodded to him before making his way over to a nearby stump to rest. Dirt turned to his fleet of soldiers and ordered them to start a small fire. Blade attempted to sit but the pain forced him to readjust before he could fully sit down. With a loud groan, he sat back on the stump and contorted his upper body to his left in effort to relieve the pain. The soldiers quickly gathered the needed components to start the flame and sparked it to existence. He shut his eyes, raised his arm up, and took multiple quick breaths before channeling his energy. As the Lorded out energy rampaged through his every cell, Sniph stood from his tree stump and tossed his damaged bottle aside before yanking his sword from his scabbard. He walked to the lower ranked soldiers by the fire and handed them his sword. They placed the steel blade deep into the flame and allowed it to rest in the fire. Sniph then started making his way over to his fellow assassins. Dirt and Sniph made eye contact with each other and Sniph nodded as he approached. The other soldiers watched carefully and awaited orders. The slick assassin moved quickly. Sniph reached and grabbed a hold of the end of the spike like blade and carefully pulled it from Blade’s torso. Blade screamed through the punishing experience and blood began to drip from his mouth down his chin. His wound gaped open and as the spike slid out, a river of his blood poured down his side. Sniph stepped backwards and Dirt gently pushed Blade to lean over on his opposite side. Blade attempted to resist, but the pain was too agonizing.
“Bring the sword and compress! Hurry!” Dirt yelled to his soldiers. A few hurried with a thick white cloth and fresh water to help aid Blade’s wound. Another soldier pulled Sniph’s sword from the fire and carried it with great caution over to the stump. Other soldiers quickly put out the fire to keep from bringing unnecessary attention to their whereabouts. They draped a large cloak over the fire pit and suffocated the flames. Sniph distanced himself from the operation but Blade’s screams and grunts followed. Dirt hurried to rip a piece of the fabric off and tied a hard knot in its middle.
“Bite down on this. We need to remain as silent as possible.” Dirt instructed Blade. Blade nodded his head in agreement before taking the knotted cloth and sinking his bloodied teeth into the white fabric. Dirt then turned to one of his soldiers and was handed Sniph’s sword. The steel blade glowed orange from the steaming heat. Blade spit the cloth out of his mouth and into his hand.
“Wait! Wait! No!” Blade hollered in panic but Dirt immediately reassured him.
“This is the only way. We need to cauterize the wound or you will surely bleed out or die from infection. The pain will be worth it, my brother.” Dirt spoke calmly trying to reason with him. Blade took a pained gulp before shoving the knot back between his teeth and shutting his eyelids tight. Dirt took a deep breath. Sniph walked further in the distance with his back turned to the operation. He examined the spike like blade that he had been pulled from the injured assassin’s ribcage. Three lower ranked soldiers stood on both sides of Blade and helped hold him down. They knew his reaction wouldn’t be calm at all. Blade didn’t revolt. Dirt firmly pressed the hot metal against the open wound and the steel sizzled against his flesh. The sound was loud and haunting. Blade immediately fought against the soldiers’ restraint. His cries were muffled as he attempted to rise up from the stump with all his might and shake the wicked suffering. Dirt held the blade against the damned wound until the cauterization was complete. The terrible experience drained Blade of all of his energy. His eyes quickly became dull as his consciousness slipped from his grasp. By the time Dirt lifted the sword from Blade’s body, Blade had passed out from the gruesome torture. At last, the excessive bleeding had come to a halt. Dirt ordered his men to carefully clean and dress Blade’s wound before he walked away from the stump. He approached Sniph and joined him in isolation. As he arrived by the assassin’s side, he returned his sword to him. Sniph grabbed the steel weapon, examined it for a few moments before sliding it back to rest in its rightful scabbard.
“This war has brought too many casualties. When will they come back? When will this end?” Sniph asked impatiently.
“This war has only begun. Once the messengers return, the true wrath of our opponent will be unleashed. Believe it or not, this is the easy part.” Dirt explained. Sniph shook his head with anger.
“I don’t want to see my brothers suffer and die at the hands of the enemy. I don’t want to hold on to a false hope only to be met with disappointment and death. Do you really believe these children will be our people’s salvation?” Sniph asked. Dirt waited a few moments before answering. As Dirt attempted to answer his fellow assassin, a beastly explosion sounded in the far distance and its impact rumbled the land miles and miles from its source. The dark sky lit up from the sudden combustion before it died out again. Dirt and Sniph’s heads snapped towards each other as the two locked in a frightened and concerned eye contact. The two assassins exchanged a silent communications and within moments they each turned and sprinted back through the Wu soldiers’ campsite. The lower ranked soldiers were completely shook by the unworldly echo and immediately looked to their leaders for direction. They sprang to their feet and prepared to leap into battle following the assassins. Dirt and Sniph darted to the edge of the treeline to get a clear sight of their nation. As the two assassins came to a halt side by side, they both came to a common realization.
“What do you see, Lord?” one of the lower ranked soldiers called out to the assassins. A few seconds passed before an answer was returned. The soldiers waited as anticipation filled their eager bodies and fear poisoned the pits of their hearts.
“It’s time!” Dirt turned and called out to his men. At the peak of the orb, a large crack broke across the ceiling of the vibrant shield and an eruption of the lord’s energy shot like a ray high into the thick darkness. The beam was blinding as it sparked against the dense film that held the globe captive. The consistent burst of energy slammed into the dark dome and sluggishly eroded at the evil resistance. The hundreds of Skinhead soldiers studied the anomaly as they were met with the overwhelming heat that radiated from the orb’s exhaust. The fleet quickly retreated but several rows of I Army soldiers that stood closest when the orb cracked, died immediately on contact; either their machines malfunctioned horribly or their feeble frames melted along with their suits. The Wu soldiers quickly rallied together to aid the messengers but there was no sign of the two young men once the orb cracked.
“What’s the game plan?” One of Wu soldiers called out to the assassins. There was no gameplan, at least not formally. There was only one objective; retrieve the messengers before the I Army scum could and bring them to safety but there appeared to be no way to do so.
“We need to fight!” one of the soldiers answered, but that wasn’t the answer.
“We can’t engage them in battle, they’re too strong!” another soldier answered.
“That’s coward talk!” another argued but was quickly shot down.
“No! That’s wisdom! You don’t attack your enemy where he is strongest, especially if you know you can not overpower him; that’s suicidal. The I Army is ready for battle. They’re on high alert, as you can see.” Sniph informed his men.
“They think the messengers will exit their Soul Search chamber any second now. They’re afraid and their fear makes them dangerous.” Dirt added.
“Their fear?” one of the soldiers questioned as the argument continued.
“Yes! Not the fear itself, but the preparation and force they use to hide their fear.” Sniph answered.
“This is only the tip of the iceberg. We’ve only seen their experimental soldiers. They’ve been testing their strength. Sacrificing their lower ranked skinheads and studying their faults to help prepare their army for the real war. We have yet to see the entirety of our enemy but with the messengers’ return, I am sure it won’t be long before we do. We cannot hang with the lower ranked soldiers in battle now… I don’t want to be in the line of fire when the generals of their army get here.” Dirt explained to his fleet. The argument died down as each of them trembled with uncertainty as they accepted the facts delivered by their leader. They imagined the worst of the Chu Nation and began to fully understand the severity of the battle that was to come.
“My god… then how do we attack!?” another soldier replied with fear obviously present in his voice. A few moments went past before anyone spoke again. The constant sound of the energy’s rumble in the distance kept the silence from overtaking the area.
“We don’t.” a soldier replied simply. The controversial answer shook the fleet to their cores but no one rebelled nor objected. None of them felt good about the obvious conclusion but they knew that nothing else could be done. Sniph walked further from the edge of their campsite and stepped up onto a boulder to watch how the nation reacted to the orb’s release. Dirt turned back to his men and it was obvious he was uneasy about the decision himself. There was an overwhelming sense of uncertainty among the group of warriors.
“There must be another way.” One of the soldiers muttered with fleeting hope. Dirt heard but didn't acknowledge the soldiers as they started to converse amongst themselves. He slowly made his way back through their camp and returned at Blade’s side. He removed a canteen from his side satchel. It was wrapped in a red cloth and a black thread sealed it closed. He fidgeted with the knot and then unwrapped the red fabric. He lifted the bottle to his lips and bit his jagged teeth into the soft cork before pulling it out with a twisting motion. The canteen carried a sacred healing potion; a formula crafted to enhance the healing process for the injured Wu soldiers. He then slid his hand underneath the base of Blade’s head and lifted it from the frosted stump. With his other hand he tipped the canteen and poured the potion to Blade’s lips.
Sniph watched as I Army soldiers across the small broken nation left their many campsites and shelters they had invaded. The Chu soldiers prepared to march towards the orb to help in the attack on the returning messengers. If there were any surviving Wu civilians, they were ordered to evacuate from their households and relocate their families to the secure refugee lodges before the wake of the I Army invasion. As Sniph examined the nation, he noticed something out of the ordinary. He immediately unlatched his satchel, reached in, shuffled his hand through the items. He pulled a pair of binoculars from the bag and twisted the caps for the eye cups. He lifted the binoculars to his face and peered through focusing lenses. He adjusted the rusted settings until he could get a closer look at two figures on a rooftop.
“There’s a woman! A woman and a young girl!” Sniph yelled back to the fleet.
“Where?” a soldier asked with disbelief.
“Down there! They're stranded… covered in blood. They look like they're hurt.” Sniph reported before capping his binoculars back up and shoving it back into his satchel. He turned around and jumped down from the large boulder. He marched back into the heart of the Lords’ camp. He approached the stump where Dirt sat by Blade’s side.
“I need 3 soldiers to accompany me.” Sniph informed the assassin.
“Do you believe that's the best thing to do at this moment? We're already suffering the absence of an assassin.” Dirt questioned as he signaled to Blade as he laid unconscious.
“We have to do something, now! If we're not going to help the messengers, we need to help our nation’s people.” Sniph answered.
“It isn’t the best time to split up.” another soldier added but Sniph became annoyed with the conversation.
“I’m very much aware of our current situation and I did not ask for anybody’s two cents! This isn’t a discussion or negotiation. I’ve seen too many of our people slaughtered as they hoped and prayed for the messengers and this nation’s military to step in. I will not continue to sit back and watch as-” Sniph announced before Dirt interjected.
“Your anger and impatience will only get you hurt and jeopardize our end goal.” Dirt tried to reason with him but it only made him more aggravated. He kneeled down on his healthy knee and began tightening the bandage around his injured knee. He hurried to rewrap it and prepare himself for the quick voyage.
“Something has to be done. All the I Army soldiers are headed to the help on the attack on the messengers. I’m not going to sit here with my dick in my hand.” Sniph began as he stood back up to his feet and tightened the strap to his satchel. He turned and began to walk back through the camp. Dirt watched as he walked a few yards away, while his mind was in heavy contemplation. He stood from Blade’s side and began to march after Sniph. He directed the soldiers to keep guard of the camp and assist Blade by any means necessary. The Assassin called two of the lower ranked soldiers to accompany Sniph and himself on the trip. He also directed a guard to stand watch over the four soldiers with a pair of binoculars and to send reinforcements if necessary. The four men traveled light. They didn’t bring nothing more than their weapons, and a light travel bags equipped with fresh water, medical materials, and other essentials.
The four soldiers left immediately. The house wasn’t far from the secret Wu campsite but they had to move strategically and with a lot of stealth. They were very observant of all their surroundings. They moved as a tight unit, frequently stopping every few yards to take cover and make sure their path was clear. It was very dangerous for them to travel through the nation, especially while almost every soldier was being called to battle. There was no way to know for sure when and where all of the I Army was expected to be. Dirt sprinted through an empty road way. His knees were bent as he rushed by trying to remain as low as possible. The assassin was swift and precise; he was soundless and didn’t waste a step as he traveled. He darted across to the base of a tree several yards in. He dropped down and slid across the snow on the other side of the trunk laying with his back against the tree. He quickly surveyed the area before poking his head out from around the bark. He extended his arm and signaled the soldiers from the last checkpoint. The two soldiers darted side by side, full speed to the roadway. Sniph waited behind to keep watch as the last line of defense. Sniph was in the Lorded out state and because of his injury, he utilized his ability to teleport. As the soldiers cleared the roadway, Sniph jumped and transported across the road alongside the other three soldiers at the new checkpoint. Dirt lead his soldiers cautiously through the residential areas of the nation. The sound of the I Army soldiers was loud in the distance. The soldiers continued to move strategically as they made their way to their destination.
The door to the house was kicked in and broken from the hendges. The inside of the home was obviously destroyed and ravaged. The soldiers quickly lined up on both sides of the front door before Dirt slowly entered through the splintered doorway. He quickly searched the house and studied the damage that lay in eye’s view. He noticed blood and the bodies of fallen Chu soldiers in one of the far rooms. Sniph used his energy to teleport to the roof as his fellow assassin and soldiers checked out the house. The mother laid with her exhausted daughter across her lap. She used a dampened cloth to wipe the blood from her marked skin. She santised and dressed her wounds. They hadn’t noticed the assassin’s presence. The daughter began to cough up small amounts of blood. Her mother quickly wiped it from her chin with an expression of concern. The young girl struggled to calm herself and speak to her mother. Her mother leaned in close and gave her daughter her ear and attention.
“Water.” the young child finally spoke as her pained whisper escaped her troubled body. The mother quickly shifted with urgency. She prepared to retrieve her daughter’s request.
“Here.” Sniph offered calmly but his deep raspy voice scared the woman. She quickly channelled her energy and prepared for battle. She pulled herself from underneath her daughter and jumped to her feet ready to defend her family once again. She quickly snapped her head around towards the supposed threat. As her worried eyes met the assassin, she stood frozen in place. The soldier had removed his masked as a sign of a peace.
“Peace, Queens.” the assassin spoke as softly as he could manage. The woman was still extremely hesitant and protective. She didn’t respond right away.
“What are you doing in my house?” the woman questioned as she sized the assassin up. He remained in the Lorded out state, but not for protection from the woman. He used the energy to cope with his injured leg but the woman perceived it as a threat.
“We’ve come to-” the assassin began to explain but the woman quickly interrupted.
“We?” The woman questioned as she took a step forward.
“We are the Lords of Wu. I bring water and medical supplies.” Sniph answered as he began to sense the hostility growing. The woman slowly began to make her way towards the assassin.
“My name is Sniph. I am a decorated soldier of the Wu Army. I am one of the three assassins.” Sniph explained to soothe the woman’s uneasiness.
“Assassins?” the woman questioned again. The woman began to approach Sniph.
“Yes, but have no fear. I come in peace.” He assured her and she replied with a small snicker before releasing her energy.
“I’m not afraid. I just wonder why they would send an assassin to deliver water and medication.” She answered as she reached to take water from his offering hand. She quickly returned to her daughter’s side and provided her with the water. Sniph shook his head with a small chuckle to himself.
“What is your name?” Sniph asked. The woman assisted her daughter in taking a few sips of the water. She coughed a bit before taking multiple gulps of the water.
“Michelle.” she answered simply.
“What happened? Why are you on the roof?” Sniph asked, but before he could receive an answer, Dirt appeared on the roof. His eyes blazed with the energy but he quickly retracted the power.
“When did you discover the Lords’ energy?” Dirt asked with great concern and wonderment. Sniph was surprised by the question. Michelle continued to attend to her daughter before answering the men.
“How do you know?” Sniph asked Dirt.
“There’s a blood bath downstairs. There’s no other way she could have survived the ambush.” Dirt answered as he approached Michelle and her child. He unlatched his satchel and pulled the potion bottle from the worn out bag. He kneeled down beside the woman and her daughter before he offered the bottle to her.
“This will help her wounds heal much faster. It also helps to numb her pain.” Dirt explained as he extended the bottle out to the woman. She examined the bottle a few moments before she hesitantly took it from the assassin’s hand. Sniph teleported down through the ceiling of the house to examine the aftermath of the slaughter. His boots landed into a thick puddle of blood as he stood in the room where Michelle and her daughter had seeked refuge in the floorboards. The other two soldiers stood nearby. There lied severed limbs and mangled body parts and discarded suits.
“This is sick.” one of the soldiers stated as they strolled through the mess. Sniph took a strong interest in the disastrous scene. He took a close look at the Chu soldiers’ suits and the technology that powered them. A couple of the machines had been seriously damaged in battle but the other five were still obviously functional. A deafening rumble sounded overhead. The soldiers quickly snapped their attention to each other before rushing to the front door. The trembling echo stemmed from enormous enemy aircrafts passing over Wu. The nation of Chu had sent reinforcements to overpower the messengers’ return. Three intimidating military ships soared through the darkened sky and blanketed the nation. Sniph ran out into the street and looked up at the aircraft as uneasiness sank deep into his spirit. He knew that it was only a matter of a time before the battle began and they still hadn’t come up with a strategy to assist the messengers.
“We have to get back to our base.” Dirt announced from the roof as he stepped to the edge.
“We need to help the messengers!” Sniph answered with impatience as he gestured to the military ships overhead. Dirt respected his passion but was annoyed with his ignorance of the consequences.
“There’s nothing we can do! Do you have a plan?” Dirt answered back immediately. Michelle stood from her daughter’s side and walked to edge of roof next to where the assassin stood.
“I have an idea, but I need to assure my daughter’s safety first!” She announced. The skeptical assassins quickly turned their attention to Michelle as she began to explain.
The menacing aircrafts hovered above the bleak nation and led the way for the traveling I Army scum. The machine enhanced soldiers marched to the isolated woods where the burning orb protruded from the earth and the starving flames engulfed the dying wildlife. The ships avoided the powerful beam that continuously blasted into the sky. The aircrafts cleared the large area where the Skinhead soldiers gathered and decreased their altitudes significantly until they were directly above the crowns of the trees. The soldiers were like unorganized chaos. They surrounded the hot box and as the aircrafts arrived, the Skinheads began to scream and cheer. Newly arriving soldiers quickly joined in on the celebration as they flowed with the swarm of anxious warriors. The Chu soldiers stomped their feet and roughly shoved each other for appropriate personal space. The aircrafts began to open on the far back and underneath the ships. The soldiers on the ships began dropping multiple crate chests to the thick snow beneath. The large boxes were filled with weapon enhancements, armor upgrades, and other useful additions to the lower ranked Chu soldiers. Many of the soldiers on foot rushed to the boxes and fought for the care packages. The savage soldiers ripped the box latches open and pulled the materials from the case and began making adjustments to their armors and weapons. The ships remained above the trees as the last of the large containers landed to the ground. The I Army scum worked like scavengers to clean out the containers. It was on a first come first served basis and because of this, the soldiers viciously fought for the supplies. As the last of the new supplies were claimed, the soldiers backed away from underneath the aircrafts. They quickly became antsy and one after another, they started to stomp their feet and beat against their armor. A chant quickly started along with the drums of the mighty soldiers. Each of the soldiers began to scream “I” until each had joined in and the roar traveled across the nation. They repeatedly chanted the letter I up to the aircrafts that hovered in place above the large fleet of soldiers.
“I Army!” a reigning voice yelled from the largest aircraft. His voice echoed through the trees and the I Army scum cheered with excitement. They raised their hands in the air and screamed as they waited for instruction from the aircraft above. A large figure, stepped to the edge of the ship’s open doorway. The soldier was suited in a distinctively modified suit. The soldier was significantly greater in size. His helmet was retracted and his head was exposed to the freezing climate. Two colossal swords were mounted upon his back, intersected like crossroads.
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for! This is the moment where we write history! You all have made your nation proud! We have successfully crumbled an entire army, but now it is time to demolish the last piece of hope they have. This orb is the last sign of strength these cursed people desperately cling on to. It is time to rip the heart from this broken nation and take what is rightfully ours! It is our time!” The soldier announced to his people. The motivational speech ignited a fire in their soldiers’ hearts. The soldiers began to stomp, pound, and chant again but now even louder than before. They jumped and waved their arms high in the sky as they screamed towards the ships. In the midst of the chaotic celebration, five of the suited soldiers weren’t as enthusiastic as the rest. They didn’t join in on the celebration of their fellow soldiers. The five soldiers pushed their way through the rowdy crowd and made their way deep into the middle of the gathering. They marched through the celebration and worked their way as close to the orb as possible. The immense heat forced the soldiers to keep their distance from the hotbox. The surrounding soldiers began to notice the five suited men who appeared to not be interested in the arrival of the generals and military leaders.
“You! You there! Retract your helmets!” one of the soldiers began to holler at the rebellious soldiers. This ordering caught the attention of other surrounding soldiers and they turned their attention to the five rebels. The five of them stood statue-like under the soldiers’ investigation.
“Retract your helmets, now!” one of the persistent soldiers ordered. A small group of the soldiers were turned towards the five rebels and began to walk down on them. The hostile group approached them with aggression as the five soldiers refused to comply. The I Army soldiers now knew there was something wrong about the five standouts. One of the Skinheads turned to alert the others but before he could announce the intruders, the five soldiers attacked. Three of the five soldiers charged the weapons that are built into the arms of the suits and began firing the rapidly. The machine’s charge was fast and brief and the powerful barrel ejected from the side of the soldiers’ wrist. The manipulated energy blasted from the chamber in quick dominant spurts. The suits were able to withstand reasonable amounts of damage but their armor didn’t protect their bodies fully so they were still slightly affected from the attacks. The other two rebellious soldiers revealed their suits’ spike-like blade and began teleporting between each of the enemy soldiers. As they appeared in front of new opponents, they used advanced hand to hand combat to temporarily defeat them. The suits’ armor was thick and heavily built; even with supreme strength, the blade couldn’t penetrate the suits. The only way to easily kill the soldiers was to remove their suits or to overcharge the suits’ system. The battle caught the attention of all of the soldiers in the area, including the generals on the aircrafts overhead.
“I Army! Attack!” The mighty general ordered from the largest ship above the trees. The I Army scum immediately complied and attempted to charge the five soldiers. The five undercover soldiers fought viciously as they were attacked from all angles. When their opponents became too much, the two teleporting soldiers appeared between the three others and placed a hand on each of them before disappearing again. Due to the soldiers’ appearance, once they all teleported to another spot in the crowd, it would be impossible to identify them until they attacked again. The five repeated this multiple time before the general accessed an understanding of the rebels gameplan.
“I Army, we have Lords among us! Remove your headgear. That is the only way we can distinguish ourselves.” the general ordered his men but didn’t realize the awful mistake he had made. As his soldiers obeyed his simple instructions, they foolishly made themselves dangerously vulnerable. The two assassins, two lower ranked soldiers, and the mother had disguised themselves in the enemy’s armor and mechanical suits to blend into the army’s large fleet. The soldiers were counting on the army to reveal themselves and expose their weakness. Due to the Lords inability to produce enough of the Lorded out energy to overcharge their suits, they were forced to create another opportunity to penetrate the army’s strength. As the Skinheads complied with the orders, the assassins increased in their transportation attacks.
Sniph went on a brief rampage. As his physical came to be again, the soles of his mechanical boots landed into the trampled inches of snow. He rushed the crowd with his blades drawn. He jumped into the air and landed both of his feet on the chest of a Chu soldier. The impact of the assassin’s launch slammed the soldier to the frozen ground but Sniph remained upright on his enemy’s body. Sniph cocked his arm backwards and at the speed light, he drove the spike through the soldier’s head. The spike broke through both sides of the pale skin soldier’s skull, and stabbed inches into the hard ground. The assassin quickly stomped down on his neck to hold the body in place before pulling his blade back though the soldiers’ brain. He quickly leaped from that lifeless corpse before the gallons of blood could drain. He swung his arms with an aimless spin and swiftly removed several of the visible heads. He was surgical with the blade and with an effortless motion, he teleported from the area before the decapitated heads and deceased bodies could fall to rest. Dirt zigzagged across the crowd, dedicating seconds to eliminating the Skinheads one by one. The five Wu soldiers were greatly outnumbered and outmatched, but their superior strategy gave them the upper hand. Within minutes, large sections of the soldiers’ gathering had been slain. Their blood painted the blank snow. The general watched with disgust and disapproval. He then stepped off the the edge of the hovering aircraft. The gigantic warrior bent his knees up into his chest as he curled into a ball preparing for impact. His war machine suit plummeted to the soil as the assassins continued their extermination. The other soldiers continued to fire their machines and hold off the other soldiers as long as they could while the assassins quickly worked their magic. The woman and lower ranked soldiers also executed handfuls of soldiers on their own. Those Wu warriors endured a great amount of damage in battle because of their lack of energy control. As the general landed to the ground, it created a crater and shook the ground like a mild earthquake. The assassins and their soldiers regrouped with their back closest to the orb. Their attack had devastated the I Army’s fleet and flexed their ability, but the majority of the soldiers still remained. The general climbed from the crater his landing had created. The crowd of Skinhead soldiers parted and allowed the general a path. Several similar soldiers launched themselves from the aircrafts above. The reinforcements were here. He took both arms, reached over his head, and pulled both swords from his back scabbards. He held them down by his side and charged his suit and sent the energy down through the massive blades as he walked towards the five soldiers. As he approached, the other high ranked soldiers landed one after another behind him.
“What now?” Michelle asked anxiously. The assassins didn’t answer. As the enemy positioned themselves before the small group of Lords. Each step the general and his soldiers took sent a rumble through the soil. His strength was visible. The currents of energy flowed over his physical as he charged the manipulated energy.
“I been waiting for this moment. We’ll assassinate the assassins before we squeeze the life from the messengers and their pathetic nation. As the general approached, he twirled his swords and flexed his might. The orb began to shake and flicker. The sound of the dispersing beam heightened. The sound was loud and alerted the enemy as their hearts filled with fearful wonder. The general stopped in his tracks. The five soldiers refused to turn around, instead they stood with strength while staring down the much larger army. The general began to chuckle before he took another step. Dirt warned him.
“You don’t want to do that!” Dirt suggested to the general. The general paused for a moment and then chuckled even more.
“I will bring death to your nation and all marked people on this planet!” the general spoke boldly, before a godly voice completely drowned out the area. The voice overwhelmed the crowd and froze their movements in time. The voice echoed through the broken nation and caused the soldiers to tremble. They knew the source of the godly voice and knew what the major statement symbolized. The general listened closely as he gripped his swords tight and stared past the five soldiers. The godly warning reverberated from the sparking hotbox.
“I wish a muthafuka would try and fuck with us. We go superhero on that ass, Superman style, and beat the fuck out of you. Then tell a story about it, like this is what happens when you hit a fly with a sledgehammer.” the messengers announced. That was the last warning before their official return. The Lords of Wu felt security and hope. The I Army scum was fearful, but backing down was not an option. The general smirked as he took another step. Two blinding figures appeared between the five soldiers and the I Army fleet. Every soldier in the area was forced to immediately look away from their godly brilliance. Their magnificent energy was unlike anything seen before as it charged like a heavenly body. The messengers had returned and the true war had begun.
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