This is a prompt piece I did for my friend Dario. He gave me this prompt by jung min seub.
Yes, finally a piece without dragons… or is it? >:D (Joke :P)
Dorian bowed his head as the ashes were scattered off The Edge, upon the closing of the prayer. He clutched the peculiar necklace around his neck, the one he’d been told to wear at all times. It was his most treasured possession, as he associated it with the deceased.
Matthias. His father. Gone. The one who took him in. Looked after him. Cared for Dorian for his whole life, after his biological parents had abandoned him. Dead. Body found in an alley beside the factory in which he worked. Heart failure.
The few people who cared enough to come offered Dorian condolences. They wanted to comfort the broken boy, but despondently knew their words to be useless. Dorian looked off The Edge, dark thoughts crossing his mind.
He had been given the customary three days off of factory work, in lieu of the death of a loved one. Then he’d have to return back to back-breaking factory work, as with almost every denizen of The Bridge. They supported the rich scientists of Selkirk, and the powerful war masters of Kilsyth. In return, the Bridgians were fed and protected from the hostile Wilderness and those living beyond the cities. Those of The Bridge were under-appreciated, but they knew that all three groups had to work together to survive in these tough times.
Deep in thought, Dorian arrived at the small apartment that he’d known his whole life. He had recently reached legal age, so it was now his apartment. He stuck his key into the lock and turned it. But it wouldn’t turn. The door was already unlocked. This jerked Dorian out of his thoughts, as he slowly opened the door and peered in. There, upon the small, worn couch, sat a shadowy figure.
“Come in, Dorian,” called a female voice, “Or should I say Kinross – as you were named before you were stolen.”
“Who are you?” Dorian asked, bewildered. “Actually, just get out of my house. Now! Or I’m calling the Adamant Guards!”
“No, you’re not.” The woman waved her hand, and the door slammed shut – knocking Dorian, who had still been in the doorway, down to his hands and knees. “I am Alloa, of Kintore. That traitor, Matthias stole you from us.”
Dorian got up and walked to Matthias desk. Edging there would be more suspicious than walking.
“Oh, don’t worry, I have it.” The figure brandished Matthias’ alarm device as if it was the only thing posing a threat to her. “Tell me, have you ever heard of your birth city? Or any other cities besides these pathetic cesspits of corruption?”
“Other cities are merely old wives’ tales. It wilderness and uncivilised tribes out there. I have never heard of this ‘Kintore’.” He needed to keep her talking while he figured out a way to get this lunatic out of his house. “What are you? Some Selkirkian criminal who has miraculously managed to evade the Truth Seekers and Adamant Guards, and let their power get to their head? Or are you a barbarian who somehow scaled the walls and stole magitech?”
“Oh, no – I’m certainly neither of those. I have not yet lied to you.”
“Nor have you told me the whole truth.”
“Very well. I am from the city of Kintore. We have abilities. We are born with them, unlike the miserable imitations that are the Selkirkians’ ‘advanced’ technology. Matthias was once one of us too, but he was captured in a skirmish. We don’t know what they did to him, but he ‘escaped’ and returned to us. He seemed his normal self, until you were born. He stole you when you were a year old. You are one of us. A Kintoran. A particularly special Kintoran, at that. You are destined to make Kintore great again, and crush these corrupt cities.”
“Oh, sure. And what would you have me do, if I were to believe this nonsense? You have no way of proving you are not merely a madwoman with magitech, unless you want to open yourself up.”
“Come with me. To your home. Away from the lies and deceit. As for proof, take off that suppressor you’ve been forced to wear around your neck if you want to see what you’re capable of. Though I wouldn’t recommend it now. You are untrained and your aura will attract Truth Seekers. You might also cause some… damage… to the neighbourhood, if you can’t control yourself.”
Dorian stood there, thinking for some time. Was his entire life a lie, or was this woman lying to him? Trying to turn him against the great cities. And the Bridge. The only home he knew. But he had always wondered why he was told so little…
Just then, Dorian’s door burst open. “Don’t go with her, Dorian!” Whirling around, he saw Dryce – the one Selkirkian who had been kind to Matthias and Dorian – sprint into the room. In the corner of his eye, Dorian spotted the woman thrusting out her hand. Dryce swung his hand downwards as if swatting a fly. A two-centimetre hole appeared in the floor. An instant later, Dryce then waved his hand sideways, sending the woman flying off the ragged couch, and onto the rickety bed. Grabbing at thin air, Dryce seemed to put invisible restraints on her.
“If it isn’t Dryce, snooping around as usual,” Alloa hissed.
Dryce looked unperturbed, “I am sparing you now, Alloa, for Matthias. Even though you killed him, he would still want you spared. Next time we encounter each other, you will not survive.”
Dorian saw his opportunity, and leaped for the alarm device, hitting the button. The piercing wail of a siren emitted from it.
“I did to his heart what he did to mine – all while he begged for forgiveness like the coward he is! He stole my nephew, to be used as a weapon by you vile scientists!”
Dryce smashed the alarm device. “No, Matthias and I hid him. You magicians wished to use him as a weapon, too. As corrupt as the system may be, do you not see that mere skirmishes are far better than the bloodshed of full-out war? Come, Dorian. You should not have pressed that alarm. We must be going, before the Adamant Guard arrives.” The tall scientist held out his hand to the young adult.
Dorian paused and looked at Alloa. Take off the suppressor. Discover what you are capable of, her eyes told him. He then turned, took Dryce’s hand, and allowed himself to be hurriedly led out the apartment, down the staircase, and into the streets.
The pair turned a corner and ran into a squad of Adamant Guards.
“Truth Seeker Intellectual Dryce, sir! Why are you fleeing the location of your personal alarm?” One of the Guards asked, saluting.
“A Kintoran infiltrated the city and was going to kidnap this Bridgian. I restrained her, but you best move fast. She has likely escaped already.”
“Understood, Sir. By protocol, you and the citizen will have to be escorted to questioning.” Two of the squad members stepped forward.
“Yes. Lead on.”
Without protest, the pair followed the guards. Briefly walking on the tips of his toes, Dorian whispered, “Is what she said true?”
Dryce whispered back, “Yes. Keep quiet now, and follow my lead. Both sides of this war wish to use you as a weapon – if they get their hands on you.”
Conflicted, Dorian fingered the device around his neck. Dare he take it off? What would happen? He glanced up at Dryce, who shook his head. Dorian lowered his hand, and silently marched on.