Chapter 1 – Sandstorm

Part 1

The dry red sand was blown across the landscape and even with glasses it was hard to even see her feet. Her heavy synthetic cotton coat, a remnant of a bygone parent and a bygone age, was battered by the harsh winds. The coat was always too large for her. Its tail dragged when she walked and its hood covered her whole face. In the weather she was walking through, it could be described as the ideal outfit. Its green colour, that seemed ill-matched with her bronze tanned skin, marked it as military, or at least trying to seem military, and the durability of the fabric would give credit to any maker. It was a good coat and she loved it both for the memories of its previous owner and for its services to her.

Her heavy lace up boots sank into the sand as she placed one foot blindly in front of the last. The sinking made each next step progressively harder to take. She knew that if she were to stay out in the sandstorm she would be buried, and no-one would be around to dig her out. Her only available option for shelter was one that made her feel like risking the storm, a glass tower; a place that was synonymous with death.

The glass towers were the remnants of the cities before the cataclysm, in a time when oceans had water and cities didn’t lay three stories below the red sand. They shined brightly it the day, like blue sales floating across the red, but there wasn’t a soul on earth who didn’t know that they were black to the core. Her father had told her that the towers were once normal buildings, houses and offices, but few though that that was likely. Each and every tower was filled with treasures beyond compare and enough danger to make that not worth the risk. It didn’t make sense to her that people would live in a place that was surrounded by that much wealth and danger.

Her father had justified it by saying that the dangers used to be able to discern who to attack and who not to. That also didn’t make sense. She had never seen a spell or a gun that could pick what they shot. She had heard a trader boast about an energy weapon that wouldn’t shoot anyone that was wearing the necklace that came with it, but it hadn’t ever seen another necklace like that one so that weapon was probably too rare to be the normal. In all likelihood, her father had simply been mad. Even with the long lifespan of an elf, the years were rarely kind to the mind. It had been nearly a hundred years since the fall, when the shock of it was added to it, that he had a working mind at all when he past might have been a blessing from Arawn.

As she trudged forward and reminisced a powerful gust picked up and nearly pushed her from her feet. If the weather continued to worsen, she wouldn’t be able to even chance waiting it out. With a cold dread filling her, she knew that she had to enter the glass tower.  With a deep sigh and a silent cursing towards Daghdha, she moved towards the tower. With some luck she was able to find an unlocked window fairly quickly. Taking one last chance, knowing that her radio wouldn’t work once she was inside, she let out an emergency broadcast. No-one who heard it would be able to respond or help her; instead it was a tradition amongst people who raided the towers. It was a will of sorts, a message on the off chance anyone came looking.

“This is Louise Zeeb, War-Maiden of Enoksen. With the blessing of Morrigan and Nuada, I will now enter the glass tower of Springhill and Locke. Over and signal out.”

With her static filled message broadcasted, she pulled a revolver from her oversized pocket and tried to calm her heart. All her instincts told her the storm was safer. After all, the sandstorm could only kill her. The revolver wasn’t likely to be of much use against anything, both in the tower an out of it, but having it in her hands calmed her. It was her Ladysmith .38 special revolver, and the cold feeling of it in her hands helped Louise steel herself.

Sliding open the large window, she crawled through and fell about a meter to the ground. Franticly looking around the strange room she didn’t see any immediate danger. She turned around and shut the window, not wanting the room to fill if the storm got too strong. Placing her pistol down on a nearby cubical desk, she flicked her hood back and opened her heavy coat. Underneath the coat she wore sturdy black pants with plenty of pockets and plain dark green polo shirt that she wore to balance out the heat her coat trapped. Her shoulder length bouncy black hair had been slightly dishevelled by her hood so she took a moment to straighten it out. The cord for the earpiece plugged into the bulky radio on her belt was tangled through her glossy hair and was a pain to unknot.

As she made herself comfortable and presentable, she hear a slight sound from somewhere in the room and without even a trace of hesitation picked up her gun and crouched facing the cubical entrance. In the dark of the room, illuminated only by the red light that passed through the raging store, a deeper red passed her vision for a single moment.

The far wall was decorated with slashes and an oaken conference table in the centre of the room had been cracked in two. As she crouched, waiting for motion to pass by the narrow gap, she started to wonder, what was the wall beside her made of? Could it stop the claws that cut to pieces that far wall?

Thinking that, she jumped to the side with sword like claws piercing the space she had been. As she jumped, her Ladysmith slipped from her hands. She scrambled to pick it up again. With the cold metal in her hands she looked up.

Meeting her gaze was a pair of large glowing red eyes.

The glow of the eye outlined a shadowy, vaguely human figure. It was like heat-haze personified and the glow revealed no sweet intent.

As the claws swept down, she kicked where she thought the creatures legs would be. Making contact and pushing the creature off balance, it fell on top of her with its massive claws stuck in the floor on both sides of her head. While it was still disorientated, she placed he trusty silver revolver in the creature’s mouth and squeezed the trigger. As the back of the beast’s head burst open a strange blue box filled the lower left corner of her vision. It was opaque enough that she could read the message but still transparent enough to not block her vision.

System Message
Welcome to Glass Tower management System. The system will now personalise your Stats Sheet.

 

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