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Contest Entry: Out on Patrol
Prompt 3: Shade Blade's Origin Story
Thomas lay on his deathbed, his breath rattling from his lungs. Every second alive was pain and suffering. But he was the son of James, and he the son of Grigor himself. He would be damned before he let a whimper escape past his lips.
The woman that came in to get him water and clean him up made her hourly visit. His body was so frail and light that she had no problem moving him about as she needed to. She would cluck at him as he grit his teeth, holding back the pain, teasing him for refusing to make a noise. He never even knew her name.
The nights were cold and harsh in the highlands. He felt the chill deep in his bones, the furs wrapped around him doing nothing to stop them. Maybe it wasn’t the cold that he shivered from. He couldn’t tell anymore if it was the disease or the night air.
A soft noise, like a man humming crept into his ears. But instead of a melody, this humming was monotone, one single long note. It grew louder, and as it did so, the shutters began to rattle. A bright white light shone from outside through the cracks of the wood. Suddenly, Thomas was no longer alone.
The figure stood at the foot of his bed, staring at Thomas with a mostly human face. Knowing that this must be a demon or faerie, Thomas let out a battle cry meant to send the monster running. But all that escaped him was a feeble high-pitched wheeze.
The figure cocked his head to the side as he watched the dying man. After some decision was finally made in its head, the figure approached Thomas and sat on the bed next to him. Its clothing was unnatural, materials unlike any that Thomas had ever seen. It shined in the darkness, small lights flicked across it occasionally, convincing Thomas all the more that a Fae had come to visit him.
“Good evening, young Thomas”, the figure intoned. Its voice was neither male nor female. It was not human at all, but it spoke words he understood. “I am a visitor. I have an offer for you. The world you live in will be in danger. There are those known as Legion, and they will be coming to your planet.”
The visitor made little sense to Thomas. Planets and legions and danger. Clearly Thomas was having a fever dream. Well, at least the hallucinations meant the end was coming soon. Perhaps he had a day left…
The visitor interrupted his trailing thoughts. “Young man, there is an army coming, one that your people can not fight. They will be destroyed. Unless…” the pause hung in the stale air, “Unless you would help your people. But it will be hard. It will be difficult, and it may eventually kill you”.
Thomas smirked and attempted to gesture at his weak and failing body.
“Yes, you are going to die anyway, without my intervention. But understand Thomas, what I ask of you is greater than your clan, than your highlands, than your country. We are talking about protecting all peoples across the whole of your world, beyond the seas. Don’t look so skeptical, Thomas. I am here to offer you life, in exchange for your promise to help defeat Legion.”
Deals with the Fae always came with a price. But this one was asking him to fight a foe. This one wanted him to do what he always had done his whole life. Defend his people. Apparently, that would mean a lot more than just his Clan now. In exchange, the visitor would make him whole. Looking directly into the visitors slightly inhuman eyes, Thomas nodded.
The Blade opened their eyes as the capsule lid rose up, allowing them to awaken as it it had been for 700 years. Sleep, dream, evolve, awaken. Each new iteration of their form was different. They had been male, female, animal, rock. They never knew what new form they would be in when they awoke. This time, as they opened their eyes and looked down, a female form greeted them. Fine, ‘she’ it is this time.
As she stood up out of the capsule, The Blade checked over her body for differences and additions. Once she had awakened to four arms. Today, there were only the normal two. Her hair was short, close cropped. The Blade had learned that this often meant physical fighting was in her future.
She looked to the door as a familiar figure walked in, smiling at her. “Ahhh, my favorite Shade is up!” he said with his odd way of speaking, the inflections just off a tad.
“Yes, Visitor” she replied. The name had always stuck, despite how many times they had tried to program it out of her. She was stubborn, it seemed. “I see I am female again. And this body feels like it is programmed to fight. Is this training or a mission?”
“This time it is a mission. It appears Legion has sent some spies to your planet for data harvesting. They may also be attempting to veer your planet towards one outcome or another, rather than allowing your people to grow on their own.”
“Like you do?” Blade stood looking at Visitor, a slight raise to her eyebrow, a hint at defiance.
The Visitor looked at her sharply and exhaled dramatically. The Blade had learned long ago he did not require air or breathing at all. He had been watching humans for so long he had taken on some of their mannerisms himself. The Blade often wondered if he was even aware he did it.
“No Blade - not like I do. I do not interfere with your growth and development; I interfere with Legion. You know this.” His cadence of speech always faltered more as he became irritated and annoyed. She decided to get down to business.
“Fine, Visitor.” She replied. “What is my mission? Where am I going next?”
“To a continent a group of your people are starting to colonize. There are wars and fights breaking out, but that is not our concern. What IS our concern is the group of Legion spies that are now infiltrating the armies of the British colonizers. They are working to convince the British to leave the colonies and go back to England.” He paused and let her brain catch up to his words. “It stands to reason, that if Legion wants England to leave, then we should want them to stay.”
“England can piss off!”, she spat, earning her another dramatic sigh.
“You weren’t even awake when the Kings of England claimed your country. You only know about it secondhand. “
“I know that my original people were persecuted under them. So why should I help them persecute another region? Are there humans on this new continent?”
“Well, there you go, Visitor!”, she exclaimed. “I am not keen on helping them commit more atrocities.”
“Regardless,“ he interrupted. ”The people of your world must be allowed to make their own mistakes and their own atrocities. I have shown you worlds that Legion has interfered with and they are barren wastelands. It doesn’t matter which humans survive; it only matters that some humans survive.”
The Blade let his statement stand for a few moments. She knew the rules and she knew the way things had to be. It didn’t matter what she thought.
“I would think it matters to the humans that don’t get to be there in the end, doesn’t it?” She turned and stormed away, determined to do her duty, but not pleased about it.
“I can not believe you didn’t wake me when the Legion arrived!” Shade Blade roared at Visitor. “They have been here for years, and you just NOW awaken me?”
The room was as it always was. Apparently, the Visitor did not believe in spending time or resources on anything so simple as luxury or even art. The room was stark white, almost too painful to bare. The Visitor stood as the large male raged at him, nonplussed and unperturbed.
“As I said Blade –“
“Yes, as I said Shade Blade, you were not needed during their initial attacks, but now you are.”
“So, I am finally going to smash Legion? I finally get to pick them apart and destroy them?” He flexed his large muscles, swinging his arms in anticipation of the violence he could unleash with this new physical form.
“No”. The single syllable stopped Shade Blade in his tracks.
“What do you mean, ‘No’?”
Visitor sighed and gestured to the view panel. “Your planet was ready for them when they arrived. They battled, they fought, and eventually, Legion left with their tails between their legs – literally.”
Shade Blade slumped at the news that his quarry of nearly 1200 years had escaped his wrath.
“But,” he continued, “the world still needs you, now more than ever. Legion has unleashed Morphon Particles across your globe. They have infected random individuals of both good and evil natures. They were not controlled or calculated like they were with you. The people of your world need you now, because you are able to control your Morphon abilities. You will need to start a team of people that you can work with. And you will fight back against those that try to use the Morphons for their own selfish gains.”
Shade Blade stared at the screen, watching as people had been turned into all manners of different super-powered people. Some took on the mantle of the Hero, placing themselves between every day citizens and the evils that tried to hurt them. Others just wanted to be rich. Some wanted power.
“So what specifically is my mission?” he asked, confused.
“To Live, Thomas. Go live among your people again. You will find your way, and find a mission – several, I am sure. It is time I leave you to live your life.”
Shade Blade could not even react to hearing his original name before the room flashed a white light and he found himself standing in a metal room, electronics and technology surrounding him. A large view screen on one wall showed the earth below the space station as it orbited.
He turned at the sound of people reacting to his sudden appearance, guns slipping from holsters. A man stood in the center of the room staring at Shade Blade. He motioned for the guards to lower their weapons and offered his hand to the new arrival.
“Welcome to B.A.D.G.E. I am Director Nova”
"The Shade Blade"
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