Garabe Riders: Part I

The Blue Refugee stalked among the open aired temple, his gait heavy and defiant of the local cowards employed by the ruler of this empire of mortuus. They were the dead that would be alive, bastards of spiritual and biological tampering.

The linen around him blew softly in the tiny island’s trade winds, bright white in the excessive sunlight. His eyes were tight, sensitive irises closing to the world.

“You’re defying Her by having me meet you here, in secret. Mark, you’re a foolish, foolish man. What if She were to discover my little jaunt? We’d both be on Her altar by sunrise, regardless.”

Mark’s predator head, honed after millions of years of human evolution swiveled with his body. The man’s instinct yelled to grab a gladius that was simply not there. He was a snake without its bite, so to speak. It was both humiliating and terrifying at the same time.

Kyle had materialized behind him, and instantly he recognized his pupil, his best friend. On occasion, maybe the young man was a little more. However, such things were not to be brought up. It was not proper.

“Servus..”

The Blue Refugee stated his voice soft and hollow. If the student had heard him, he showed no sign.

“You claim to fight under our banner, but you show little respect to Her cause.”

Kyle, his face as hard as the claymore on his hip, began to pace around The Blue Refugee. Their eyes remained synced; two pairs matching one another in more ways either could count.

His predator’s senses began to overwhelm him. Time slowed to a barely perceptible crawl, causing his counter part’s words to stretch into what seemed like minutes. He restrained himself.

“You’re dangerous, we all know that. That’s why we’ve kept you here all by your lonesome, your precious short sword locked away in her data sphere.

The havoc you could cause.”

He clenched his fists, the wind rustling his shortly cropped blue hair.

“So, Headmaster, why have you sent the dangerous word to meet you here, in your little island cage? Do you think you’ll convince me to pass the word along you’ve been “rehabilitated?”

Kyle smirked, a thing he had learned so very well.

“I wanted you to pass along something, yes. My allegiance is not the subject at hand, however.”

His soft Roman accent was humble. This man did not take humiliation and isolation well.

“Then what?”

His pacing continued, but his light, playful gait was faltering.

“My allegiance is as strong as it was when you beat me fair and square. The question is, is yours?”

He detected a flash of fear shimmering behind his steely, artificial eyes. His mind instantly calculated twenty-five separate methods of attack, factoring in aspects his unconscious deemed worthy of processing power.

There was a heartbeat.

“Maybe you mean well, but we both know the truth behind Her little plan. She’s not merely looking to dominate; Her plans are far grander than that, aren’t they? Sure, it‘s great that she recovered her old stomping grounds, but her sights are on The Little Red Prince.”

There was a silence that stretched on for a lifetime. A wave crashed on the ancient beach, pummeling the grand angelic statues that stared ever outward.

Slowly, the lesser mortuus shifted toward the duo on half legs and broken fingers. Their undead ears unfurling like shiny satellite dishes.

“We don’t speak of it. But why else would she bend me to her will, Teacher? Why else would she capture you? It’d be far easier to have had me put you out of your misery.”

His agitation shone like a lighthouse, this meeting was supposed to be secret. Her servants, while mostly not possessing lips, would certainly talk of his treachery. Slowly, Mark’s simple plan was becoming evident.

“Yes, but she doesn’t know is that it’s going to be a slaughter.”

“Of course it’s going to be.”

“That’s not what I meant and you know it.”

The Blue Refugee began to stalk him in turn. Suddenly his dimensions increased ten fold; he had never before noticed in his adulthood how big the man was.

“You locked me away here, convinced her she needed to let me crumble on my own accord. That I’d be far easier to bend after a stay in this dismal, sandy place.

You assumed my plans were not in league with yours and hers. That I was a traitor whom would gladly watch as she marched those.. soulless things into Sjet’s maw.”

He smiled widely. Kyle had stopped moving.

“My allegiance is of convenience, of course. You’ve known me far too long to know I don’t see the big picture, Kyle.”

“You don’t care. You just want her to march right over whatever he’s got. Mark, why not have them be equals here? Let them take each other down, and anyone else in the crossfire. Isn’t that the better plan?”

Kyle’s eyes softened. The man whom he had known for the most of his adult life had lost it.

“Don’t you see? We can rebuild after they run out of cannon fodder. She needs us to kill herself in this great epic She’s scheming.”

Granted they were enemies now, but he could not help but feel a horrible sense of guilt wash over him.

“You don’t understand, Kyle.

I don’t care. Altima is only a tool to me, and while the three of us share the same objective; The death of The Little Red Prince, there are differences.

She wants to live afterward, you‘d prefer to see her alongside him, and I don’t care. If my goal of his demise is met, I’ve served my purpose. Let Her reign supreme in his power vacuum.

She, sadly, is more likely to find me a bit more trustworthy now, isn’t she?”

He stopped circling. Behind him, an army of pathetic soldiers congealed into a single, disgusting mass. Their heavily decayed bodies, little more than gritty trampled flesh and broken bone climbed over one another. They fused in many ways, their life force echoes forming some bastard intellect of a thousand lesser things.

“You planned it, both of you.”

He dropped to his knees, staring at the man before him. The ground shook as the Bastard Behemoth neared, its immense sledgehammer fists dripping garbage water.

The Blue Refugee just stared at him, hard and stolid. He refused to speak.

“… why, Mark? We could have had peace in the wake of their personal war.”

The man stood there, the mass of undead flesh approaching from behind for a moment. He thought it over.

“Tu decipio ego.”

He uttered at last as the mortuus creation blocked out the sandy sun wash.

“You betrayed me.”

Kyle shut his eyes.

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