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The Lonely Fall of Andal Brask: Part 1 (Fan Creations)

by iconicbanana, C2-H5-OH + NAD, Portland, OR, Friday, January 30, 2015, 21:46 (3400 days ago)

They were in a high scrub bluff, on the last ridge before the climbs of the glacier above. Leagues ahead of them, down the broken spines of the mountain’s roots, the city was on fire beneath its pearl. The moon hung full and cold in the sky, and what few clouds there were, hung bathed underneath in mournful red. The echoes of cannons were soft thunder on the remote where they hid, two inscrutable pairs of eyes in the dead wood and crags on the rocky slope.

“Why? Because this’ll be so much easier now that I’m around?” Cayde’s sense of humor usually made Brask grin; at the moment he found it grating.

“I should’ve brought Bray,” he muttered under his breath. Lying prone, his rifle stock sat uncomfortably against his shoulder, and he shifted his weight imperceptibly. “Shut up and look for that mark.”

Kilometers below them down the ridge, on the edge of the languid jungle that covered the Massif du Nord, they’d traced the line that Fenrik had taken into the undergrowth leading towards the ancient Citadelle Laferriere. The Kings’ Baron had decamped that morning in the icy tips of the mountains at the Bergschrund of du Nord, and it had taken the pair of guardians until evening to flank the ridge and find position above the mass of captains and vandals that had passaged down to the foothills below. In the dusky light of nightfall, they’d lost the party in the brush of the path that led to the far off castle.

“Did you spend the whole of six fronts bivouacking on a hiking trip, too? What the hell are we doing up here?” Cayde sounded off.

“It sounds like you think our time would be better spent elsewhere, and let me assure you, you’re incorrect,” Brask sniped back, not looking up from his scope. “The house of Kings likes a superior seat. They despise the other houses as much as you or me. The only way these houses will play together is by the Kings’ consent; they’re the only house with the clout and resources to put together an assault of this magnitude.” Along the eskers at the edge of the jungle brush, a shifting swathe of translucence was barely visible. “Chameleon at 11:55.”

“Rearguard.” Cayde was fussing over his scope. “I don’t see why Fenrik is such a priority. What’s one Baron against all of that?” He nodded as he spoke, toward the red glow that hung on the traveler, painted by the fires that blazed on the city’s battlements.

“Fenrik isn’t the mark,” replied Brask. “He’s just reconnaissance. He’s looking for a seat for the Kells to convene.” He paused; the air had suddenly turned to static, and he could smell the burn of ozone and taste its metallic evanescence. He broke a thin smile. “Does it hurt to always be wrong, Cayde?”

Then the boom of a subsonic entry thundered around them as the asymmetrical bulk of a ketch fell from the sky directly above; its massive width spreading until the fortified portal on its belly was just above the aged fortress. The shark-mouth of the ketch opened, its loading platform lowering to rest on the ramparts.

“Son of a bitch,” Cayde muttered, mystified and ecstatic all at once. Brask looked at him sideways, his thin smile now a wolfish grin.

“The hens have come to roost, eh friend?”

“Pardon my ignorance, wicked old fox,” Cayde purred, his delighted blue lights waxing fuzzily. “Why I ever doubt you, I’ll never understand. Must be in my programing.”

They skirted the ridge invisibly, a pair of shadows the clouds might have cast in the moonlight. Far below them, the twilight gap was a flash of blue flame: they could see the fusillades of the tanks, those tiny insects in the distance, but could only imagine the sounds of the blasts. Across the cirque that cut through the crest, tiny avalanches cantered down, spurred by the Ketch’s deafening entrance; the convenient anarchy on the heights masked their descent, and they crept into the jungle under a cloud of vaporous dust. Through the growing thick of the trees, the King’s flagship hung like a phantom, a suggestion of orange brass beyond the dark veil of the canopy that they felt more than saw. What they could see of the sky was imbued with the sanguine whisper of far-off fires.

“What exactly is your scheme, old fox?” Cayde’s question wasn’t as much a demand as it was an entreaty. Brask frequently left him in the dark until the moment of necessity; the grey-eyed Vanguard was often reticent about his plans, mulling them over until the last moments of necessity. They paused, crouching beneath a squat coffee tree. The alert eyes of Brask had shifted indiscernibly; Cayde slowly realized his mentor’s attention was elsewhere.

“There are two parts, operating simultaneously,” murmured Brask; his mind was agitated as he surveyed the brush before them urgently. There were short fronds covering the floor, and the snaking towers of vine-laden trunks arrested his view beyond fifty meters. There was a collapsed trunk, twenty meters ahead of them through the tree they were hiding under; perched on the trunk, crouching and listening, was the unmistakable obscuring of a cloaked sentry. Cayde and Brask regarded it, two pensive aspects, their eyes never leaving its apparition.

“I need you to board the Ketch and activate the emp of one of their spider tanks,” Brask resumed offhandedly. “The pulse should be enough to disable doors and lights, sufficiently limit reinforcement. It will also trap you on the Ketch. You’ll need to get creative in executing your escape.”

“That sounds like a terrible misuse of our resources,” whispered back the horned protégé. “If you’re planning to assassinate a bunch of Kells, getting all of them together in a dark control room on their ship and locking yourself in alone doesn’t seem like the most effective way to dispatch them.”

“They won’t be on the Ketch. The Kings would never let Draksis or Sneviks on their flagship. They’ll convene in the fortress.” Something else had caught Brask’s eye, past the Vandal: at the edge of his vision, in the dark foliage on the far side of the senty, a silver form was crouched in the bush. Brask slowly raised his rifle, gazing down the scope into two yellow eyes. It was a wolf; hunkered, peering down its nose at him, curiously sniffing the air. Brask lowered his rifle, meditative. “Maintain transmit after contact or encounter. You’ll need a head start on me; I’ll need time to improvise if they catch you.” He gave another sideways grin to the teal exo.

“Yeah, my ass, Brask,” Cayde snorted back, shouldering his own rifle and shifting up from his squat to crouch. “When they catch you don’t sell me out too quick.” Then he evaporated into nothing, his departure the whisper of a breeze and a soft rustle receding behind and away. Brask set his rifle against the tree and quietly took a knife from the seam of his glove. He shifted his weight, like a sprinter in the blocks; his black cloak hung over his lithe form, the crimson streak on his hood invisible in the near complete darkness.

There was a silent rush and the whistle of a blade; he closed the twenty meters in a second, leaping half way, gliding down like the silent plunging of an owl. He smashed feet first into the sentry, driving it down from its perch into the brush; he landed expertly on top of it, and in a single motion drove his knife into its throat and deftly somersaulted into the brush and to his feet, spinning as he did to face his dead adversary. The hiss of ether broke the silence, and he waited quietly for the sounds of alert or discovery that might require further viciousness. There was the snap of a twig behind him, and he turned to see the white shadow of the wolf fleeing deftly through the trees; then he was alone.

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The Lonely Fall of Andal Brask: Part 1

by CommandrCleavage @, USA-Midwest, Saturday, January 31, 2015, 07:01 (3399 days ago) @ iconicbanana

Excited about seeing the end of this story out.

Also I just realized that Bananas in Pajamas are your profile photo and I just busted out laughing as someone came up to my desk. I wasn't able to keep a straight face through the entire transaction because I was singing the song in my head.

CC

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The Lonely Fall of Andal Brask: Part 1

by Blackt1g3r @, Login is from an untrusted domain in MN, Saturday, January 31, 2015, 08:14 (3399 days ago) @ CommandrCleavage

He keeps changing his profile picture.

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I'm staggered by the proliferation of bananas in pop culture

by iconicbanana, C2-H5-OH + NAD, Portland, OR, Saturday, January 31, 2015, 08:35 (3399 days ago) @ Blackt1g3r

He keeps changing his profile picture.

There just seems to be no end to them. I don't think I'll ever run out of new options.

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