southernisms: (Asseylum)
[personal profile] southernisms
LONDON
EUROPEAN DEAD ZONE, EARTH


The first thing she saw when she came to was that she held the hand of a skeleton. Frightened, she let it go, but as the bones fell to the ground, she couldn't help but feel a horrible sense of loss, as if this was a loved one or someone she knew. She couldn't comprehend why, but it just felt that way.

It took several minutes for her to calm down. Even more for her understand and comprehend the strange device that had approached her like another being and had told her that whatever she was in the past, she was now a Guardian, a wielder of light and Light. There has to be a difference in the way the rather cute robot with the chipper voice said that.

But the robot – a ghost, the robot had described herself as – urged her forward, pushing her on, stating there was danger otherwise. And if there was something that Asseylum Vers Allusia had discerned since the moment she opened her eyes, was that this was a dangerous world she'd come back to...and that danger was likely an understatement.

Now, as she moved through ruined cobblestone streets with tall grasses growing up through the cracks and venues lined with fire-scored ancient brick and stone buildings of varying styles of architecture overgrown with ivy under a grey sky, she wondered what had happened to this world. She couldn't remember much, but what she could remember were laughing children and friendly folk, not and rusted overturned vehicles dotted with the bleached skeletons of those long gone. In the previous setting, Asseylum would never have imagined herself fighting for her life.

In truth, she wanted no part in the taking of blood; surely there was some way to talk to these alien soldiers, persuade them that there was some way to negotiate acceptable terms? Even without the guidance of memories, the green-eyed young woman felt an underlying need to mediate, to find some form of common ground in order to reach a peaceful solution. She hated fighting and war; if she knew nothing else about herself, she knew that much. The results of these were all around her, justifying her core beliefs, the skeletons of victims scattered around her which made her heart feel as if it was being twisted inside her chest. So much wanton death, she thought sorrowfully.

Alas, not only did the alien language elude her understanding – rendering diplomacy impossible – but the Fallen in question didn't seem interested in mediation. Not a single one so much as hesitated before screaming in alarm and firing at her, though perhaps all they knew of the world was the law of kill or be killed. She was obviously an enemy to them, and there was no way to persuade them otherwise – she had to wonder if they even understood the concept of peace. In the end, she had no choice but to prioritise her own self-preservation, especially given that her Ghost had revived her to save humanity.

Moreover, the Ghost-machine was likewise insistent that they weren't especially interested in talks with a human, much less a Guardian. "We don't really know much about the Fallen...or any of the other aliens fighting the human remnant, for that matter. But whatever the case might be, they're not here to talk. And we don't have much time. So the best way would be to find a ship, clear a path to it, and get to the City."

Reluctantly, Asseylum agreed even as she ducked behind a crumbling stone wall covered in moss, rifle in hand. She wanted to focus on the sky for some reason; when the rain-heavy clouds broke, the inviting and strangely warm azure which threatened to pull her in. Why was that? "You're right," she agreed, reluctantly focusing on her dire situation. "And...I don't want to kill any more than I have to. What should I do?"

The Ghost appeared to consider something for a moment. "This would probably be a good time to learn how to use your Light."

"My Light?"

The Ghost seemed pleased. "It's the power of the Traveller..." the Ghost hastily added, "I'll explain about that later. The important thing is that you have a special ability which you can use it against the Darkness. Think about how you might fight if you didn't have a weapon. Think about an absolute and relentless evil, and then how to fight it."

If I didn't have a weapon? At first, the question didn't bring anything to mind; she didn't want to fight in the first place. Maybe this whole conflict was a misunderstanding, or the Fallen were desperate for some reason? Maybe they were somehow running out of the Ether that their machine gods provided? There were countless possible reasons for their attacks; nothing could be absolutely evil. "I can't fight them like that, thinking that they're evil."

A mechanical chirp answered her. "It isn't the Fallen who are evil, although they're a bit...well, insane. It's the Darkness controlling them. Unfortunately, we don't know enough about them yet to help them, so the only thing we can do is to put them out of their misery."

That certainly didn't sit right with her. The aliens were victims? Why hasn't anyone attempted to free them, if they understood that much? Regretfully, at the moment she was in no position to simply ask, and it was entirely possible that this avenue had already been tried. It was more than a little arrogant to think she alone had considered peace.

Peace. It was that concept that, strangely, drew out a peculiar warmth within her. It was as if the sun hanging overhead in that impossibly blue sky reached out to her, its arms of heat encircling her in an embrace, then filling her whole being with its heat. Heat...and power. A purifying power to fight that ‘absolute evil' which threatened to destroy and consume everything. Maybe, she considered, there really are true malevolent forces which only want to annihilate everything we think of as good.

In this dreamlike trance, her body seemed to move on its own as she suddenly came out from behind her cover, and she could feel her entire body filled with warmth. The alien screams of alarm filled her ears as they were made aware of her presence, but all too late. Her upraised right hand was engulfed in blazing, red-tinged golden light as she threw an orb of burning Light into the mob, incinerating them in a mere matter of seconds. As regretful as the loss of life was, it was at the same time a quick and therefore perhaps merciful death. Strangely, the fires the grenade caused left the surrounding area intact. Whatever had set the ruined city ablaze centuries ago, it wasn't with a power similar to hers.

"That! That's...surprising," the Ghost exclaimed. "Usually, Warlocks aren't Sunsingers inherently. Ikora will be fascinated."

Asseylum blinked owlishly. "Sunsingers?" And who was Ikora, for that matter?

The flustered floating machine was rather cute, she decided, as it twitched while it hovered beside her. "You're better off asking the Warlocks once we get to the City. Speaking of which..."

Seeming to disappear into a wall, it reappeared shortly at the entrance to a corridor through at the back of the bay. "I'm detecting that ship we need. Let's hope it's still in one piece."




Note: I'll flesh this out later before I start the next chapter, but I wanted to have something out there. I'm fairly confident I've established enough of Asseylum's character to forge ahead. Also, she'll get a much bigger segment next time.
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