1-12: Aside 3: Waterfall

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1-12: Aside 3: Waterfall

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It was a strange thing. That sound of a child crying for the first time as it was a very strange thing. Difficult to describe, but Lukina's half ears would hear it. A Taianese woman was groaning as she pushed, but the birthing was easy. The drugs, skills of the medics, and biology of the Taianese body all coalesced to make for an easy birth with in the Azalea camp. It was then Lukina would hear that strange, squealing cry as a new life was born onto Piyapon.

Creature was wandering outside of the camp, likely fishing or laying on the river. There was truly no telling where the others were. Of course there were other children running around the camp. They were mostly apprentices and pages helping and learning the trade of war at what could only be called Piyapon's hardest and best Military Trade School.

The exhausted mom said panting. Lukina had been as of late watching Patches and his relationship with this woman. That toothy smile, and quilled mane stood out making the relationship noticeable.

Patches typically stuck to him self. He did not care for fighting, nor was he really good at it. But what he was good at was fixing things. Patches had even developed a way to shape the more difficult metal scrap for use among the camp A week ago he had figured out a way to force rounds for the show stopper rifles some members of the company had. But, this baby was his latest and most significant creation. When the woman drew Pregnant, Patches had distanced himself from the camp, and continued his work miles away, knowing that if he was near the woman he'd likely go into a blood rage and try to take her, and murder the child.

Lukina heard the cries and stalked the camp hidden from view as was her custom in her stealth suit. She approached and saw the thing. The thing her Lord had told her to terminate. She tried to get a better look, how was this child different from any other? Was the child truly the Vekimen's? Her Lord's orders were absolute but.. she had to make sure. She moved closer to investigate.

"You just hold him, and change his diapers." The mother said. "Oh...I'll try to do that." Patches said awkwardly handing the newborn back to its mother. "I uh. Have to go make sure my latest batch of bullets are finished shaping. I'll be back." The wiry Vekiman said as it backed out of the medical tent.

The child, for the most part looked normal. Nor significant difference then a regular child from the look of it. The baby had normal soft pink skin, a head of black hair. five fingers and toes. It had halted crying when the mother placed the child against her body and shut her eyes relaxing.

Lukina watched the mother with the child. Was it really the Vekimen's? She stared in silence as the mother and child interacted. She knew how long it would take to suffocate the child. The mother would intervene and she too, would have to die. It was all too messy. A small movement in the corner of the tent caught her eye, and she saw her opportunity. Her movements were light as she carefully guided the venomous spider on to her well-protected and gloved hand. The creature disappeared from view as it as cupped in her hands. She waited for the right moment.

The mother and child remain dormant as Lukina, stealthily crept up on them with the spider in her hand. She could feel the small animal against her gloved hand pattering about, trying to escape. It was growing fearful and desperate as it moved around. Likely when it touched the babe.

But then it rang in hear ears. The stuff she had told Creature about being a knight. Honor, duty. Was this it? Murdering an infant even if her lord commanded it? The medical staff were all on the other side of the tent, outside laughing and enjoying cigarettes proud of the work they had done.

At her core, Lukina knew her true place in the scheme of things. There was a reason for everything that her Lord commanded. She did not understand the reason why. She had lectured Creature on honor and responsibility. What horrible thing would happen if this Vekimen half breed were to live? What would the future hold?

Was she a knight or an assassin? She dropped the spider on the infant and moved back away, mindful of her position in the tent. All of hopes for her future of being something more than a Bloodtree rested on the spider. Her heart was ice as she waited, there was no joy in this task nor her part in it.

Just a nip and it would be done. She knew the camp had no antivenom for this native creature yet. There had been no time to gather it from the capital. An adult could survive but a child this young...

The spider, frightened, and desperate landed on the baby. With little hesitation, the little animal sank it's fangs into the flesh of the babe. Lukina would see the child jump, and then his face wrinkled up. The child's mouth opened and it let out a pained screech of agony. The little spider dashed away to safety, never to be seen or heard from again.

The half-elf waited in shadow for the medics to come running in before she slid out of the tent. She lingered outside, waiting.

The baby's crying began growing tired, and the Medics indeed wasted no time rushing in to help the child. But it was too late. The child's cries became softer, and quieter, until the venom did its work, and the baby simply stopped. The screams of the mother soon turned to wails and cries as she begged.

Lukina left the camp and headed towards the river, walking quickly for the treeline. Taking care to dodge the others in camp and the guards.

As she walked she eventually came on a waterfall a few miles up river, where the terrain started to get a little more hilly, Lukina would find a free falling waterfall. The sound of the river slowly pushing water was more like a loud misty trickle than the thunderous pouring of the river. The night air was cooling and the Piyapon sky was taking old as the rings of the world danced with the nebula above. The bioluminescent flora and fauna aided in giving the night time waterfall a teal, otherworldly glow. To the half elf looking at her new home, the vision would seem sublime.

Lukina sent her Lord a short transmission, "The first was found and terminated." She stripped off all of her gear after deactivating the shroud. She threw it all in an unceremonious heap on a dry patch of ground. She looked up at the colors above her and stood on the edge of the rocks holding her arms up to the Gods of the old world and new. She had no right to cry. She had done a horrible thing.

Her nimble feet found purchase on slick rocks beside the waterfall. She was naked save for her scars.

Lukina got no response. She merely received a simple click of confirmation that the transmission was heard. The water, was surprisingly warm. The steam from the summer sun was curling up out of the water; though still apart of the river, but rapidly fading as Winter was starting to awaken from its slumber. Under the flowing water, Lukina could see the water around this fall had a nice healthy teal glow pushing up, likely from the bioluminescent algae that came out in the night to bask in the star light.

The rush of the water was soothing as she let herself fall off the rocks and dive into the water below. She let herself sink beneath the surface of the water, staring up at the glow and the ominous shadows above.

Lukina swam and as she swam under the water, she'd eventually surface. But and that was when she saw it. A silhouette on top of the waterfall. Squatting on the rock motionless. Smoking a cigarette and bobbing his head. She had found Sir Creature who this time had not wandered off aimlessly on a binge.

He noticed she noticed him. He merely peered down. "Sorry. I didn't want to uhhh upset you. I started coming here a few days ago. Place is fucking awesome." Creature said. Lukina could see in his good hand he held a thick heavy book titled "Being a Knight."

"But if you wanted to bathe I can go. My people don't mind nudity but others fucking do."

She stared up at him. "Going to come in or are you just going to stare?"

"N-no I wasn't." Creature said growing shy. He closed his book and hopped down from his perch landing near Lukina's gear. He stripped off his boots and Brigand, armor. Soon he was down to his shirt and pants. The pants soon came off as well, and Creature simply gently went into the water. He secured his Kiffeyeh.

"To stare or come in?"

"I guess I will." He said as he made his way over to the waterfall after a brief swim. Lukina who was observant could see it. Something in him she had not seen before. He was being rather shy about his form. The navy blue shirt he wore was stuck to his flesh as he bobbed through the water and closed into the slick rocks under the fall. She could see that the left side of his torso, and arm was covered in thick corpulent lumpy skin, where was the right side of his torso was lean wiry muscled flesh under smooth blue Gartagen skin.

"You were right." Creature said. "Took me a bit to get my shit together on it. But that shit you said to me, you had it right." He said as he pulled himself up and let the water from the fall slap on him like a natural shower. 'Fuck I haven't done this in months...." he grumbled.

The half-elf wrinkled her nose. "Bathed?" She watched him curiously as he moved into the pool.

'Bathed in water." Creature corrected. "usually we take dirt baths...we uhhhh, don't sweat? So we bathe in dirt to get all the bad stuff off us. Plus a good oil scrape does the trick too." Creature added. "My world is a dry fucked up shit hole and I am like 100% sure you probably think my people are nasty ass dirt lizards. Which is the truth so you are right again!" He said as he flicked water off of his skin and sat down at the base of the fall straddling a rock.

He had seen her, and the way she behaved. But he opted to not bring it up. Some things were better to just be left alone. Plus Creature knew he had no room to talk to anybody about anything. If she was upset...well she came here to be alone.

Lukina felt drained. Why did I do that? Why did my Lord order me to do that? "Ah, that makes more sense. Stay or go, I don't care." She floated in the teal glow, sighing. "Things are much more complicated than the books say."

Creature nodded. "Uh. Well I was here because I wanted to be. But if you want some privacy I get it."

Creature tilted his head at what she had just said. About things being more complicated. "Well. Yeah. Because that's the universe. Terrible shit is going to happen. But." He then silenced himself. "I guess I am just glad it has good people like you standing watch. Helping make shit a little better. I'd have walked the fuck away if it wasn't for you. I'm not fucking strong. Not particularly smart either. I'm just some fucking alien guy. People like you are better than I am."

'..good people like you.' The compliment dug fangs into her. There was no honor or glory in being an executioner, you just swung the axe. Her purpose was only half noble. "No, you are just more honest about your intentions. You are better than me in that sense." Her eyes searched the luminescence around him, it painted his skin a turquoise shade of blue. "Why are you ashamed of your scars?"

He looked down at them. "Uh, well they are hideous for one fucking thing. Plus like, I got shunned for them when I tried to go home, so that fucked me up. But mostly they remind me of the evil shit I had to see during the Xeno blitz of the sector." He said simplifying it. The truth was they reminded him of what the universe had made him. "But I state what I want, because nobody else is going to. Gotta earn every day we have I guess." He shifted slightly to his right growing uncomfortable.

"Xenos used a genebomb. I knocked one of my kith mates away it got me. The liquid was painless. Then my flesh reacted to it a few hours later. Ate through my skin, bones. Rewrote the genetic structure on that side of my body. Now my people gave me a Nanite colony organ...so my body responded. The slow death was halted, but the nanites could not quite repair the genetic scarring...neither could the doctors. When they tried to add fucking transplants, the stuff from the bomb eventually seeped in and scarred what ever new was placed."

"Some days it hurts bad. So that's why you see me getting fucked up from injecting shit or taking pills. Makes me not feel anything." Creature then shifted his Amber eye back to Lukina. "But the bomb was tossed by some Xeno kid. I murdered the fuck out of the brat and her buddies. So whatever is bothering you… you didn't just kill some kids and sleep like a kitten."

Lukina looked at him oddly, his statement was worded oddly. "You have nightmares about killing the Xeno hybrid?" She swam a touch closer, keeping some distance still but was closer to the rocks. Her red hair flowed around her as she moved in the warm water, the glow giving it a purple hue.

He shook his head no. "What fucked me up, was I enjoyed it. The looks on their faces as I took them down. When they got desperate. I don't think I understood what was happening when my people joined the war. But I fucking knew I was just as much a monster as the Xeno were when it ended...so when I got the chance, I ran. I didn't want to be that fucking thing any more." Creature said, his tail dipping into the water and curling.

"War makes monsters of us all... all we can control is who we destroy in our rampage," Lukina commented softly, pulling herself up onto the rocks along the pool's edge. She let her feet dangle in the water. Her torso was covered with criss-crossing scars, any place that was normally covered by clothing was marked. Her arms and legs were free of marks.

"Yea." Creature said rising to his feet. "But this knight shit kind of helped me come to terms with it. Honor, and protecting the innocent and the weak. Valeriane taught me that these are things to aspire too. You showed me how to live up to it. And that's why you are better than me, Lukina. You are a knight, I'm just some fucked up wanna be." He said moving away from the waterfall and hopping back into the water. "Personally, I wish I was half the knight you were. Then this new country would be fucking set."

"Also, sorry for asking you to fuck me so much. I just get a little messed up and it's what I do." He added as he pushed through the water slowly, heading over to his gear.

She closed her eyes as he moved away. I'm no better. "Keep fighting and helping these people and you will be more than me." Was this all a part of her Lord's plan too? Her hands were not ever going to be clean, she should have felt sick but she was just cold. She folded her arms across her chest and opened her eyes again to look at his back. "You are a good... man."

"Fuck no, I’m not." Creature responded as he left the river. "But maybe I can make the universe a little better? If not then at least somebody tried."

Lukina watched him go. Once she was certain he was gone, she drew a small blade and cut a thin line across her side. Droplets of ruby yielding against pale flesh. There would never be enough pain to serve as penance for the evil things she had done but this was a start.
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