In the City and surrounding areas of Sagaku the nightmare of many has come to life. The Earths final remaining survivors strive to survive in a morbid world where the dead walk the streets and the living struggle to live on...
 
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 Hardening of the Heart

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Semeron

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PostSubject: Hardening of the Heart   Tue Jun 24, 2008 12:06 am

He rode down the city streets, the rumble of his bike one of the few sounds he could hear. He slowed down as he looked down the empty streets and alleyways. This place was so different from his home. Gone were the open planes and the rising mountains. Gone were the nights under the open heavens and the fresh air. No, nothing of this place was home. And yet here he was. Here he was in once crowded streets, surrounded by tall, broken and decaying buildings who tried to block out the sky. And why was he here? On his travels, he had learned that this was the place that it all started, this was ground zero, and this was the place where he could get some answers if there was any to be had.

Still, his spirit felt ill at ease in such a place, this concrete jungle. If only it were, then at least he could be comforted by the sound of the night life as the animals came out to sing their nightly serenade. Here he could hear nothing. It was as if Mother Earth had gone mute. He could barely her her cry out in pain. No...wait, he had heard a voice. He looked around, his eyes focusing into the alleyways, the light slowly fading as the day turned to night. There, he saw her. It seemed to be a young girl and she was being chased by...oh no! She was being chased by zeds. It looked like five in all, two fast, three slow. He reved the engine and sped off, hoping to reach her in time. He was maybe 200 yards away when they started to feed on her. He yelled at them, knowing they would not stop just because he wished it.

They were however attracted to the noise and lifted their heads, their jowls dripping with her blood and pieces of flesh. He had been to late...again. He sped on as they ran towards them. Just as he closed on them, he pulled his tonfas from behind him and rode through them, taking their heads. He slid his bike to a stop and looked at the lumbering zeds start to kneel to feast on the young girls still twitching body. He kicked out the kickstand and got off the bike, walking towards those that had opted for fresher meat.

He spun his tonfas in a his graps, moving towards the lurching creatures. He knew he could kill them quickly, but his anger would not let him. He only took bits and pieces of them as he moved through them, heading towards the one how was now ripping flesh from the child. He kicked it in the face, sending it backwards, slamming into one of the alley walls. He wanted to kill it, wanted to cause it pain, but he knew it felt nothing, nothing but the hunger that drove it. He spun around and saw the other two moving back towards him. He took their hands as they reached out to him. He lifted them from their feet and pinned them to the wood that had been used to patch up the broken building. Although, he knew it wouldn't hold them long, he still went back to the one he had kick. It had managed to stumble back to it's feet. Pulling his survival knife in both hands, he slammed into the thing, taking it right between the eyes. Returning to his captured prey, he quickly pulled out the tonfas, taking a few steps and then kneeling as he left the blades pointing up and back at a slight angle. His removal of the blades had caused them to drop to the ground. The shock of the earth, sent them stumbling and crashing to the earth. As they feel, the blades slid beneath their chins, entering their brains, silencing them once and for all. Cleaning his blades, he resheathed them. All except for the large knife.

Now came the hard part of this whole messy affair. He turned back to the young girl. Tears fell from his eyes as he slowly started to chant, kneeling beside her. He was appalled at what he was about to do, but he would not have her turning into one of those abominations. He lifted the blade high in the air. Both his hands holding the deadly point facing her young torn body. He plunged it into her chest, cutting out her heart, all the while chanting as tears fell. He held her heart to the heavens, releasing her spirit. Then, to make sure she her eternal slumber would not be disturbed, he turned her around and slide the dagger into her neck, severing her spin. Maybe one day he would be able to be like them. Cold, unfeeling animals. But today was not it. He sat there, regaing his resolve. Again, he stopped the tears that fell and again he hardened his heart.
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Chazzy Algo



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PostSubject: Re: Hardening of the Heart   Tue Jun 24, 2008 4:50 pm

Wandering from the Mall across the Downtown district, Chaz had almost completely changed mentalities. Now he was the one being hunted.. but by being a hunter himself he knew how to better try and mask his movements. Covered in half of the continer of garlic he had, now the young man smelled so strongly of the herb that his own flesh was hopefully hidden. His faithful pup was only lightly sprinked where she couldn't lick too much of it off, and the husky dragged the wagon silently. She seemed unnerved by the undead, their stench and their very air seemed to affect animals. Lurking past enough of the wretched things to last him a lifetime already, he peered out of one of the intersecting alleys.. blocked on one way and the other seemed to go into a parking garage. This way lead to the street, hearing some sort of motorcycle revving down the street. Much to his dismay no sooner had he seen the small girl running by but she did trip, cry out, and soon be silenced as the foul creatures did their typical business.

Not having the slightest clue who this man was, or where he had came from the ritualized death was an admirable one. However to the favor of this man Chaz swung his bat clear and true into the temple of one of the Zeds this man had only taken moderate chunks and gashes into. Most folk considered them dead on contact, but some of the more resilient zombies needed more damage to slay outright. After all, such twisted demons they were to reanimate even if half of their brain had already been feasted, nevermind an inch laceration. Two inches would hopefully be enough for the bleeding to relieve the monstrousity from the body. His bat solved this equation well, with three to even five inch nails and screws pointing out from it. Using his foot to pry the bat from the bone and flesh he indicated with a wave of his hand for the husky to advance into the street. Not the safest place, but better to be over run and have better options to flee in an open road than a maze of alleys.

"Hey bub, good work there. Just try to keep your cool.. I know its hard to. I'm pretty upset about all the unfair death myself but its no good drowning to save a victim. That just wastes twice as many lives. I'm Chaz, where you heading?" His own attentions were set on the Tower, though the abstract path he took brought him into this Zed infested land instead of the shortcut he had planned on. Burning cars and even partially collapsed buildings blocked off some routes. Why had some of the rooms been seemingly torn from the stable building? Were some of these ghouls really that strong? He had little time to care, as he heard the rushed and shambling pace of Mid-Speed undead following the path he had came from. They must have smelled the fresh blood.. as Chaz lifted his bat horizontally his trusted Remington came down gracefully onto the bat for support. Dangerously pre-pumped, the shotgunner waited..

Patiently so, until he judged the range good enough to spew forth his chambered round of buckshot. The tiny lead pellets flew rapidly, arcing in all sort of pattern and into the brick walls of plowing through the glass windows. Anyone hiding should have been safe enough from cross-fire as the array of lead easily put enough holes in one of them to drop it. The other was hopefully equally returned to death by smaller than straw-sized holes, peppering the cranium and throat. However the one seemed to ignore the rapid blood loss, and Chaz retortd by slinging the shotgun back over his left shoulder.. his right hand thrusting the widely nailed bat into it's jaw. Snap and crumple, the jaw broke and the Zed came to a sudden halt from it's charge.. leaving Chaz to stomp down onto it's head with the butt of his shotgun on it's half-mouth to prevent a last moment strike.

Kicking the slippery goo off of his boot, hoping the busy and emotionally scarred man let him take care of the business.. Chaz himself was hardly a free spirit, but his bitter revelations so far had only disheartened him and fueled his need for whatever sour form of justice remained. "I need to bail.. I don't know about you but the Tower should still be safe. I'd rather tear into these monsters once I have some support or more ammo. For now I'm down to eleven rounds. I like the melee too don't get me wrong but I'm not up to taking on a gang of these things on my own just yet. It seems they come in all different kinds, and I did see alot of them as dogs down the block. I don't know if they share their human-K9 loving relationship anymore but the strays outnumber the bodies in some parts. If you want to blow someplace up I can try it but in the meanwhile I think we should preserve what we can. Maybe this whole thing will blow over in a few months, I haven't seen them eat eachother for survival.. yet." This was a better chance of them running their own numbers short than it was going door to door slaying the brain-chewers.

Standing defensively near the husky dragging the simple red wagon stuffed to the brim with odd supplies to say the least. Not your typical bug-out gear, the dog would back away slightly from the man should he approach.. though his own inner tuning to nature and animal perception might let him pet her more easily than most could ever hope to. Large men seemed to be more feared to this dog than the many Zeds about. And as Chaz was silently waiting, a nigh comical incident occured. From four or so stories up a ghoulish Zombie desired the fresh smells and ripe bodies below so badly, the aged and starving thing smashed the window only to plummet and splatter in the alley Chaz was ebbing away from. "'Jeez the ones locked upstairs must be hungry.. or maybe low IQ zombies have their own problems to worry about."
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Semeron

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PostSubject: Re: Hardening of the Heart   Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:51 am

He had heard the steps, but they were not the shuffling gate or the rushed foot falls of the undead. He did however look up when he heard the voice talking to him. "You don't know the half of the pain, son," he told the young man. "So, your name is Chaz, I'm Semeron but you can call me Sem. And don't worry about me drowning, I can swim," he told him trying to wave off his emotions with a joke. "I don't know where I'm heading. I need a place to stay though. I just rode into this God forsaken place. I saw her running and...and I was too late," he told her.

He got to his feet, replacing the knife in it's sheath, and started to go after the new zed that were approaching, but he saw that the young man was handling things just fine by himself. He did how ever watch how he handled himself, ready to jump in the moment anything started to go bad. He wouldn't let the kid die, he wasn't losing another one, not today. He stood their, his hands resting on the handles of his tonfas. He grinned as the Chaz stomped on the head of his last adversary.

He nodded to his comment. "Okay Chaz, you point the way to this tower, I'll drive. Just hold on to the wagon. I'll go slow and try not to hit any bumps. It will be faster this way, that is unless you want to walk all the way there," he told him. "If you ever want some support, then I'm here. I ready to go head to head with these things. And don't let the tonfa fool you, I have my long range weapon as well. Not a gun, but it will do," he told him pointing back at his bike and the bow strapped to it. "You know if we blow something up, it will only bring others and as you say, there is some discretion to valor. Pick you battles my captain used to tell me. And that is just what I do. I didn't see the harm in trying to save the girl, or to avenge her death afterwards. Remember that, if you have the chance to kill even one, take it. Lord knows they will if they ever see you," he said, looking at the dog that was with the boy.

He stared into the beasts eyes, feeling that draw in his spirit. The only time he spoke was to tell the boy, "They only like fresh meat. I've seen some things driving to this city, things that would turn your stomach, but never do they feast on each other, not as long as there is one of us alive." His attention was not on the falling zed or even the comments the boy had made about it. His focus was on the dog. He smiled, nearing it. In his mind, he spoke silently to the beast, assuring it that he was not a threat. He moved closer to it, kneeling just out of the range of it's jaws should the animal prove to be too defensive or frightened. 'Tell me your story,' he sent his thoughts out to the animal. 'Show me what you have seen.' He waited to see if the animal would trust him enough or if he would only get a blank response. It was the was with them sometimes, at others, a series of pictures would flow through the link, giving him glimpses into their worlds.
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Chazzy Algo



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PostSubject: Re: Hardening of the Heart   Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:39 am

"Well it is nice to meet'ya Sem." Chaz said as he leaned his weapons of choic onto his shoulders.. grimacing some in all actuallity. Something dawned on him that perhaps did not dawn on this fellow who seemed to have seen better days as well as himself. "Your going to let Maia run alongside us? I'll skitch if I have to but I think I can manage this much.." Petting the backend of the fluffy tailed husky, who's ice blue eyes revealed slight distrust at first. The young man rearranged things on the wagon, nodding to his statement about the explosions.

However as the empathic link began to grow on her, flash and varied flashes of recent memory would wash over his psyche. Former owners devoured by the mere sight of blod and screaming led the barking dog to flee through a doggy door. A hungry day or so later the red head was seen offering the dog some of his sandwich, coaxing her into uneasy alliance and a new sense of territory as she was walked through parts of the city. New, exciting places. The tower, the mall, even these alleyways are new sights to the pup. Flash backing momentarily to the girl leaving the mall, to the dog a strange gun/device over her shoulder slung. Then another displaced memory, peering warily at a pack of undead dogs that made even her spine chill with fear... something unnatural about all of this kept the dog's tail secured thoroughly between her legs.

As all of this moment passed Chaz carefully reloaded his shotgun with his combo package.. now holding three slugs and two buckshot out of his last 11 ammo. She seemed unnerved by the sound of gunfire but was not terrible skiddish of it, she was wise enough to realize it dropped these things, and had never had a gun turned on her. As the dog thought of that, another memory came to pass. Not the former owner but one before, the year old pup smacked and even kicked once for simple failures any animal could achieve. Proper training could have done a better job, and Chaz was trying but his timing was off to worry about what to indicate time for a walk, when such Hell had broken loose. "I've seen my fair share of this massacre Sem. I spent the first week trying to save anyone I could. A girl was nearly raped so I killed thr scumbag. The next thing I know he's up and gnawing on the poor girl so I took care of them both. Children feeding on their parents, their parents feeding on their children." Nodding to the pile of corpses they had just dealt with.

Unwrapping the leash from his dog, the boy put his dangerous baseball bat near the front of the wagon, covering it with heavier materials to prevent damage or notice. Holding onto the leash he was still trying to master keeping the husky in line when it came to walking, running and this strong leash. Choking herself was not a good option, but the dog didn't seem to mind as long as she lead the sprint. Such a strange animal for an equally strange person. Quickly hitchng things up it was only a matter of time before more of them came.

"You can basically get to the Tower from anywhere in the city. It is a circular grid system, Sagaku Tower is the central hub I guess. Let's just hope there aren't any fresh Greyhounds turned to give us a run for our money. It isn't beyond me to just blow it's legs off if need be. Do you need something to eat dude? It must have been a long trip to get here, where ever your from." Nodding as he perched as securely as he could onto the wagon, shutgun aimed the opposite side as the dog would be running on. Should soemthing arise in her direction, he could still try and make the shot. What good would his quarter of a life have been, spent on the hunt and in practice, if it didn't achieve anything now?
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Semeron

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PostSubject: Re: Hardening of the Heart   Thu Jul 03, 2008 2:00 pm

He nodded the young man's question. "So, her name is Maia, is it. Do not worry, she will be fine. I will not go so fast as to leave her behind. " He remembered telling the boy that. For now, he did not need to know what he was doing, but he would have to hell him soon enough. As his conscious melded with the animals, he began to see visions of the animal's life. Some of them were sad and others made him wonder how she had survived at all. He did notice that she had a soft spot for the red haired young man.

Chaz's actions caused the link to waver as she quickly turned her attention to the noise. Semeron focused harder, drawing her back in. He communed with the husky as the boy tied down the gear. Smiling, he broke the link and then walked over to his bike. He got on and started the engine. Looking at the young man on the wagon, he pointed to the dog and he said, "Remove the leash." Surely the young man would look at him like he was crazy. He had seen the events that seemed to happen when she walked with that strap attached to her. "You won't need it. We've talked and she understands what is expected of her. It will be up to you to remind her of this. So, reward her when she does good and listens, even if it's a few minutes to play. She's still not to trusting, but she likes you and that counts for a lot."

He heard the question and started to answer. "Yeah, it's been a real long trip. I'm from the Black Hills country in South Dakota. I grew up in a small village. If you were wondering why I could approach her and what I was doing, well you see I am a Shaman...well, I trained as one. That is why I could see her heart and mind. I showed her that we had many steps to take in order for us to get to our dens. She understands and will follow along side. She will signal me if she tires, but you shouldn't worry, her ancestors would run for hours in deep snow. She has that spirit inside her, remember that," he told Chaz. "And I think I can wait to eat," he said as he stomach growled. "Well, maybe I'll have bite if you have something to spare," he said somewhat embarrased
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PostSubject: Re: Hardening of the Heart   Thu Jul 03, 2008 5:20 pm

Making better use of his Jerry-rigging process now, Chaz used the leash to further and proprly bind the wagon to the bike with care. Listening to this Shaman as he was working, nodding to the slight details of his story. Self sufficient, he could reason with the ways one could have been taught a certain lifestyle such as that druidic fashion the Natives were accustomed to. This young man, however, was self taught in the best of descriptions. Some mentors here, a teacher there between school and obtaining permits for his own profession. Reliancy on one's own wits and guile is the best, though another person could warn of their ow ngut instincts, it is a personal feeling that effects the best way. This feeling brought about an urgency within him, the pressure only as his task was completed and he began to settle himself into the austeer position he was expected of.

Something was going to feel the burn by the end of this trip, though only a few city blocks of Hell away. The stench of death was strong here, and he knew some of the capabilities of his animal, though it was her slightly meek spirit that prevented much empathy beyind gazing into those crystal blue eyes. Something Chaz could not do so easily at a glance, but worked better off of her unique body language and tail whipping. Tossing to the older fellow some kind of nutritional bar after holding out a selection. Some folks never oculd stand a certain berry blend or granola combination. Others favored one thing above the rest, but they were all good healthy choices it seemed. Putting the rest away Maia would follow behind the machine, using Chaz as a human shield from the exhaust and fumes he would soak up on the way. What didn't kill him outright didn't matter anymore, and they would soon be on their way to the Tower.

"Well I hope that helps Sem, we can worry about real food once there is real security. I've heard the Tower has been kept clear, whether by luck or persistance on behalf of most of us. I've been there for almost a month in this city on a hunting trip I was paid for. They wrecked my truck in the looting phase while I did the mroe productive matters, but my ATV is still in storage. I was going to worry about rounding up some more gas later." Shrugging some, as it was an experimental idea. "Going house to house and car to car is risky, but worth the extra efforts few others have tried. Safety only comes in numbers we don't have so far, but maybe soon. I've seen other people keeping busy but survival is never guaranteed. I rummaged up a decent lot of low maintainance food for any long hauls." Voicing his mind all at once as the duty was resolved, he still had to admit. "I hope whatever Spirits you believe in and watch over your people haven't forgotten this city."

A chilling pause in the air as the beeze of passing time flowed through the alleys and streets, creating some whisper or groan of the dying days still rolling with the wheel. "God needs to watch out for more than just a handful of us, the dead themselves need something. What it is only He knows, and maybe I do too, but it takes more guts to continue doing it than it does to get the idea to do it. I'm ready to jet whenever you are Chief." Where he had picked up the saying was anyone's guess, maybe a video game or popular show, but Chaz knew that sorry Black Foot was a long, long ways from his home. The condition of America was still in question, as any zombie on a plane was sure to end in disaster and wreckage. But by boat even a washed up Zed could cause a world of hurt. Let the prayers be thought that no such atroscity come to be beyond this forsaken place reminiscent of Nod. Let the Tower fall only after a daring escape, with the best of dwindling hopes.
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