Collection: Ages of Youth, the Halleaux/Submissions
Chronicled by Ren
the Gathering Storm
Ren woke early that morning and sat up in his sleeping bag. He rose and went to the sink where he fixed himself something to drink. He poured a dark red juice from a flask into a goblet then mixed it with mint oil and dragonberries. He frowned at the bag full of dragonberries, remembering that they were his last.
He would have to plant some more when he got a chance. He drained the goblet in one gulp, then placing the goblet in the basin he used for sink; he walked over to his table and lit an oil lamp. As the fire of the lamp blazed to life he strolled over to his closet and opened the door. Inside was a single outfit shielded by a glass panel. The outfit consisted of a hooded trench coat, long black trousers, a sleeveless shirt, and several belts and harnesses made to hold various bladed weapons, grenades, and handguns. In front of the glass panel was a metal trunk with reinforced sides, it was quite heavy but Ren managed to lift it up and on to the bed.
He opened the trunk revealing a mess of weapons, all piled upon each other. He fished around and withdrew an ornate rapier and main gauche dagger. Then he reached along the sides and pulled out the false bottom in the trunk. It revealed a beautiful rifle that was quite obviously custom built and checked to make sure it was in working order, and then placed it gently on the bed. He also withdrew some bundles of rolled up cloth and set them aside.
He walked over to the glass panel and opened it, removing the outfit from it’s' glass case. Ren smiled, remembering the last time he wore this outfit. He hustled to the bathroom and put it on. He eyed himself in the mirror for a few moments when he heard the clattering of weapons being moved followed by a soft thump. He turned and to his surprise saw Petra sitting on his bed.
"Shouldn't you be resting in the hospital wing?" he asked her nonchalantly.
"Shouldn't you be doing something other than looking at yourself in the mirror?" Petra retorted
"I should but it takes my mind off of what is to come" he replied. Petra looked thoroughly confused.
"Yesterday you singlehandedly slew half an army, but today you fear killing a lone man?" she clarified
“That was battle, this is a duel. Duels are one on one, you see the fear in their eyes, you think about every blow you land, every wound you cause. Duels are more personal" He explained
"Well, if I were in any fit state to fight, I would take on that scum myself for that cheap shot he took at me" She said bitterly
"Actually, I have a job for you"
"Say what now?" she asked
Ren picked up the rifle from the bed and handed it to Petra.
"Do you know what this is?"
"Um... It's a rifle" she said hesitantly
"Not just any rifle! You are holding a custom built, solar powered, semi-automatic charge rifle." He explained enthusiastically.
"So it's a big rifle" She asked. Ren huffed exasperatedly.
"It's solar powered. It absorbs energy from the sun and converts it into ammunition. That rifle is powerful enough to blow a hole in someone, so watch where you point it" he clarified, clearly put-off that she did not appreciate the scientific beauty of his homemade ultimate killing machine. After all though, she wasn't Mech, or even Marius.
"So what do you want me to do with this?" she asked, moving on.
"I don't trust the commander. So at the beginning of the duel I am going to hand this to you and if he tries to cheat in any way, I want you to put a hole in him. Capisce?" he stated
"Sounds good" she replied. She handed it back to him and left the room.
"See you in two hours" he said as she left.
After she was gone, Ren use the series of belts and harnesses to attach the never ending list of weapons to his back and sides. Then, unrolling the bundles of rolled up cloth he removed the several throwing knives within them. He slid them into hidden pockets on the inside of the trench coat. All the weapons added a great deal of extra weight, but Ren felt it was worth it. He went back to the closet and pulled out one more weapon. It was a staff made of solid silver, about five feet tall with a point at each end and two switches along the shaft. He spun it around his head then brought it back down to his side. With the staff in his left hand he picked up the rifle with his right and set off.
He walked the corridors, following the signs pointing towards the cafeteria. As he entered he scanned the room for the commanders, whom he found sitting in the far corner of the room at a rectangular table. He walked over and greeted everyone, then dropped his staff and rifle off at the table, and managed to surprise everyone by walking over to the buffet line where the recruits stood, filling their trays with food. He grabbed a tray from the top of a large stack and walked along the line, loading it with everything available. Carefully balancing his mountain of food on the tray he managed to pour himself a cup of coffee and get back to the table without dropping a thing.
"Not hungry, are you?" asked Marius when he sat down, "I thought you don't eat with us regular people"
"Well, considering today could be my last, I said why not" Ren replied tartly. Marius picked up Ren's rifle from its position on the table and flicked the on switch.
" No way, is this a custom built, solar powered, semi-automatic charge rifle?" He asked, waving it around, causing everyone in the vicinity to duck.
"Yes" Ren said, "And be very careful because it doesn't-" Too late, there was a boom and a flash of light as the rifle went off. The shot flew across the room leaving a trail of smoke behind it and hit the wall, just inches away from one recruit's face.
"Have a safety" Ren finished
Ren stood up and took the rifle from Marius. He picked up his staff and looked at Petra.
"I should get moving it's almost time" he said. Then he walked through the door and out of the base. Outside was a makeshift arena made from sharpened staves that pointed towards the center of the arena. Such precautions were taken to keep the combatants from fleeing. The commander stood on the other side of the arena, directly opposite to Ren. An army gathered behind him making it quite obvious that reinforcements had come in the dead of night. Petra emerged from the base behind him, Mech and Marius on either side of her. Ren handed the rifle to Petra as the commander gently climbed over the staves and into the arena. As he entered, a mighty yell went up from his army and they pounded their weapons against their shields and the ground. More and more haven fighters trickled out of the base to stand behind Ren and by the time the commander had climbed over the arena wall, there was not a soul left in the base.
Ren approached the wall and the haven fighters began to cheer. Ren raised his hand for quiet and backed up. Ten feet away he took a running start and somersaulted beautifully over the wall. As he stuck the landing a ring of dust rose and the haven fighters yelled like madmen. Ren spun his staff in front of him and looked at his opponent. Slowly with his free hand he reached up and lifted his hood so it shielded his face from the harsh sun.
"Well then, let's begin" He said. The commander drew his sword and charged.
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