Metal Age: Prologue
So I started writing the prologue of a story that I’ve had rolling around in my head for the past, lets say, five years or more. This story was thought up way before the recent post apocalyptic craze going through the media market today. Sadly if I had started writing this earlier, I would have had it done and ready to go when the craze first hit, but maybe I can get something written before the trend fades away (like the vampire craze has). My idea may not seem unique at first glance, but hopefully as you read a few chapters (that I’ll post as soon as I’m satisfied with the revisions) you’ll realize how unique of a story it is going to be. I most likely wouldn’t have started writing it, if I had found anything out there remotely close to what I’ve got stewing in my head. I have even purchased a few books that sounded similar, just to make sure my story is original. This character in the prologue is a “secondary main” character that will be featured in the prologue and throughout the story from others perspectives. The rest of the book will follow three other characters, who you’ll be introduced to in the first three chapters. This has only been self edited, so please leave any comments or corrections if you feel the need, and I can make the edit within the post. As always feedback is welcome, and I’d love to see what you all think of my story, and if you want more let me know! Enjoy.
She was running just about as fast as her legs could carry her. They’re going to kill him! She thought. If I don’t get to him before they cross the border, they will find and kill my son! And so she ran. A lifetime of treading upon sticks, stones and bits of metal from the ruins that lie half buried in the ground, has made the bottom of her feet so tough that she can run top speed without having to worry about dodging sharp objects on the ground. Even with how tough her feet have become, she could still feel the burn from the hot muddy ground she was running on.
The sun was burning up in the clear grey sky, drying and heating everything it touched, causing it to be rock hard and painfully hot. Although she was female, she had run enough during her childhood and free time, that she could keep a fast pace without having to slow for quite some distance. The men could have reached her son in half the time it would take her to, but they wouldn’t help her when she begged them. Not her. Not some low caste female, crying that her son wasn’t going to survive his first scavenging. They’d seen it all before. “If he doesn’t survive, then it’s the will of God.” They always say. “Survival of the strongest, this is the way of our people.” But her son wasn’t ready for the type of outing that he happened to be on.
Foraging and finding food was the job of the young boys. They were trained from a very early age to go deep into the broken lands to find any food they could find and any scraps of metal that looked useful. With only one month of defensive combat training, they were just kids with spears sent out into the dangerous world, where all sorts of mysterious dangers were scrounging around in the deepest darkest corners for food. Survival of the strongest. It is the way of all life now, and it was a hard life indeed.
But, T’zara was strong. She was born into a medium caste by parents who barely raised her. They were too busy during the wars and were trying to make something of themselves. They thought nothing could get in their way to rising up into a higher caste, where people would respect them for all the things they’ve accomplished, but then T’zara was born. She was a mistake, and they never let her forget it.
The moment she came out of her mother, her parents hated her. They just looked her over with disgust as they saw her two scrawny arms and legs, perfectly shaped face with two bright blue eyes, and it sickened them. They would have tried to kill her right then and there, but it was already too late. Once the authorities reported the birth to the elders, her parents dreams were crushed, and they were forced into a lower caste life. She probably would have died if it wasn’t for her Uncle L’roco.
He was treated horribly his whole life by higher caste families and never aspired to rise to their ranks like his brother and T’zara’s father: L’mak. So L’roco kept T’zara alive, but he knew she would have a tough life like he had. He snuck her food when her parents refused to give her any. He gave her medicine when she was sick. He also trained her to survive the best he could. And so she did survive. By the time she was seven, T’zara was doing things that most fifteen year old girls would never dream of. She would go into the broken lands alone, with a spear she made herself, and jump from ruin to ruin until her wiry muscles ached from exhaustion. She did this every day until she was just as fast and strong as the boys her age. But when she turned eight, everything changed. In her society, the women cooked, cleaned and tended to the children, while the men went out to hunt or battle. T’zara had always hoped she could change the rules, and become a hunter or explorer. Nevertheless, she was given the role of a cleaning wench, a typical calling for a low caste female, and she had no choice in the matter. She was forced to clean floors fourteen hours a day, with two hours for food and prayer, and 8 hours for sleep. That would be the schedule for the rest of her life. As long as she worked, she got a small share of the food and supplies the young scavengers would bring back. Six days a week she cleaned, and on the seventh she had extra free time that was supposed to be used for extra prayer. Instead she used it for training her body and her mind, to become something else than a lowly floor scrubber. In her mind she liked to pretend that she was a warrior, and she could quit her menial life and go out into the world like the men.
Most of the women were too scared to leave the underground sprawl their people lived in, but not T’zara. She wanted to go out on her own and escape her dull world, but instead, like most women her age, she ended up pregnant.
Most pregnancies amongst her people weren’t planned. One night ten years ago, as she walked home from daily prayer, some random high caste male forced her into an alleyway and ordered her to bend over. “Stay quiet and pretend to enjoy it. I’ll be quick.” he had told her. Bored high caste men don’t care who it is; the lower caste is there for them to abuse. If they are feeling restless, they’ll do what they want with who they want; man or woman doesn’t make a difference. Those in the lower castes can be severely punished for disobeying their betters, so T’zara just cried silently while he had his way with her. When he was done he didn’t say a single word. He just carried on with his business, and left her there shaking and exposed. That’s the way the low caste population has grown in her culture for generations. It is accepted amongst her people as the natural order of things, so she couldn’t do a thing about it. Six months later she gave birth to her son. Most of the babies born to lower caste women had no fathers, so this was nothing new. She raised him all by herself and loved him with all the heart she had left. He gave her a new purpose in life. She fed him plenty and nursed him when he got sick. She watched him grow older and tried to make his life better than hers could ever be. And so she ran harder.
It had begun just like any other day, until a scout rode in with a distant threat report. There was a small enemy force headed into roughly the same area of the broken land that her son was going to be scavenging. He ran off this morning with twenty other boys his age, armed with only their makeshift spears. There was no hope that they could handle any enemy soldiers, let alone a whole party of them. Neither could T’zara, but she could attempt to find her son and get him out of the area before they found him and slaughtered him.
Their enemy, which her people call The Unblessed, is a race of murderous monsters and thieves. Wearing metal armor and wielding massive blades, they used to come into the broken lands killing everything in sight, and were a real force to be reckoned with. T’zara had never seen one up close; he only had seen one over a long distance when she was younger, but she heard how the reports and stories described them. Her people had been at war with the Unblessed for half of her life. When T’zara was thirteen, the two factions came to a very shaky and untrustworthy truce. A truce that wasn’t even signed or spoken, yet understood by both sides. It was made after both sides had lost more soldiers and supplies than they could bear. In this day and age, supplies of any kind were treasured. When both sides of the war began running low on food and soldiers, they began risking too much. The two massive forces just stared across a battlefield littered with corpses, waiting for the other side to initiate the next attack, but it never came. Both sides grew tired, hungry and eventually started to retreat back to where they came from. Ever since that day, it is rare to see any Unblessed in the lands of her people. Today was one of those rare days.
T’zara stumbled on a large bit of wood sticking out of the ground, but she quickly regained her footing. She climbed onto a large pillar of rock; leaning slanted against an old ruined structure, and ran all the way up until she reached the top. I need to climb higher. she told herself. If I can figure out where he is, I can find him before they do. She looked around at the ruin she was on and saw some rusted metal bars running up one of the walls and decided to give it a shot. The ruins in the broken lands have been there for hundreds of years. Fading shadows of what they must have been, now they just sit there slowly crumbling away. The broken lands used to be a massive area of giant metal buildings that T’zara’s ancestors used to live in. Stretching on for as far as the eye can see. It was a place millions of people must have lived in. Now her ancestors were all gone and their structures of metal and stone lay broken in a thousand pieces slowly sinking into the earth. Now the whole place looked like a muddy desert wasteland filled with large piles of rubble scattered all over the place. To her people, it was their historical ruins. They would comb over the parts of the buildings they could access for clues to their past, or hints of why their ancestors had abandoned their homeland. Rumors are that the Unblessed drove them out and destroyed everything in sight. For as far back as anyone can remember, her people have always been underground. Little sun, barely any wind, and deep dark crevices, carved naturally into the earth for miles and miles. T’zara always dreamed of running away and finding a ruin that looked sturdy enough to live in. Unlike the one she was now climbing.
She reached the top of the wall and stood on the corner of the building. She was now at least thirty feet up from the ground. From up here she had a good field of view of everything around her. She could see a mountain of rubble to the west. Most of that place had been cleared of salvage long before she was born. Her son wouldn’t be there. So she turned a bit to the east and scanned more hills of metal and rock. She saw a faint movement coming from the top of one of the hills. That looks like someone’s head! she thought. Then she saw a young boy climbing up to the top of the hill from the opposite side of her. The boy stood there for a second, then turned like he was talking with someone down behind him, and ten seconds later he was running back down the hill. They must be in his group. He has to be nearby. She scanned one more time in the area for any sign of more boys, but saw no one. What she did see, was a faint glimmer of light coming far in the distance. Unblessed. she knew. Their metal clothing reflects the sun, and she could have seen them from a mile away. T’zara swooped around and began to climb down the structure, trying to not let the panic of seeing the Unblessed soldiers consume her.
She reached the ground and began running towards the hill of scrap and stone that she had seen the boy on top of. Her muscles were aching by the time she reached it, but she scaled all the way to the top where the boy had been standing. She kneeled down and looked around for footprints. She found tracks from the boy descending down the other side of the hill and she began to follow them. Slowly running while focusing on the footprints left in the mud by the boy, she wound her way through the ruins and piles of rubble. At first she was following one set of tracks, then they became three, then five, all running the same way. They’re all heading towards the Unblessed, those stupid children! she screamed in her head. One of the boys must have spotted the strange glimmer in the distance and went to tell all of the others. Being naive young boys, they had only been told stories of the Unblessed, and didn’t realize the danger that was heading their way. She began to sprint. I need to turn them around. They have no clue what they’re heading towards. And then she heard it.
A scream came from a short distance straight ahead of her. It sounded like it came from a young boy. She couldn’t tell if it was a scream of pain or a high pitched battle cry, but either way it wasn’t good. T’zara reached a fork in the tracks where the boys had split into two groups. She could have gone left or right, but instead she decided to climb the pile of rocks the boys had apparently ran around. By the time she reached the top, she heard some clanking of metal and a low grumbling noise from down below her. She crouched low and held her breath. There were eight of the Unblessed monsters standing around twelve of the boys with their blades drawn. T’zara panicked when she saw three dead boys near the group lying in pools of dark red blood. Oh God please don’t let one of them be him. T’zara thought as she tried to get a better look at the slain children. They looked familiar to her, but all three were far too large to have been her son. She saw one of the Unblessed turn his head up to scan the surrounding area, so she ducked as he turned towards the hill she was on. She realized she was trembling in fear, and took a deep breath. You are a warrior. She told herself. I need to find a way to draw them away from the boys and run. I’m a lot quicker than they are. So she steadied herself, grabbed a medium sized stone and made a fist around it. She lifted her head up and saw the Unblessed prodding the kids with the points of their blades, moving them towards the direction they rode in on. That’s when she saw him.
Her son and four other boys were on an overhang of ruins above the group of Unblessed. Silently signaling each other and readying their spears like they were going to jump down on them. “No!” T’zara yelled. Suddenly she realized everyone down below was turning to look at her. Her son and his companions stopped what they were planning and crouched down hiding from the alerted soldiers. The Unblessed leader growled something to one of his partners and immediately one of them began towards T’zara. She flung the rock at his head, and took another look at where her son had been. He was gone. She scanned the area quickly and saw no sign of him, then stood up and ran. She ran down the slope the way she came, and begun to panic. I need to make sure he gets away! she screamed at herself. I can’t just leave hoping he is safe. She turned to a path on her right that looked like it headed around the rubble the soldiers were climbing up, so she started down it as fast as she could.
If I can get to the ruins they were climbing on, maybe I can find him and get him out of there. The second she turned the corner she saw two Unblessed soldiers heading straight for her. She turned a hard left and began to scale a mound of rubble. When she reached the top she heard the sound of an arrow zipping past her head. She screamed out of surprise and turned around to see the soldier who had been sent after her first notching a new arrow onto a bow. The other two soldiers began climbing the hill. In the distance she could see the boys being led away by the remaining soldiers. They were heading north towards where the Unblessed had originally come from. She jumped down the opposite side of the mound that the soldiers were on, and heard another arrow zip overhead. Chase me all you want, it just means my son has more time to get away. She thought as she reached the ground. She began to run once more towards the ruins she’d seen her son on, making a right and running a wide arc around the mound the three soldiers would be on. She ran and jumped over a few larger stones in her path, but when she tried to hop over some wiry metal scrap, her foot got tangled up throwing her hard to the ground. An arrow zipped through the air where she would have been running if she had not fallen and she heard it thump against the nearby ruin. She heard a low grumbling coming from the Unblessed soldiers behind her. She sat up and tried to untangle her foot and began to panic by pulling hard with her leg. The wiry scrap seemed to tighten around her ankle.
T’zara tried to calm herself and fumbled around with the metal once more. Suddenly she was free, managing to get out of the metal mess right as the Unblessed soldiers closed in on her. Quickly hopping back up to her feet, she began to run. She could see the ruins her son had been on up ahead. Putting all of her will into her legs, she ran towards the ruins.
If he’s not up there then I’ll know he got away. She thought. She reached the ruins and began to climb the side. She put one hand up and grabbed the ledge, then suddenly lost all feeling in her arm. She lost her grip and fell, hitting the ground hard, and realized an arrow was sticking out of her left shoulder blade. She tried to get back up and a large metal boot kicked her hard in her side, sending a jolt of pain ripping through her body. They knocked her back flat on the ground. Another kick came at her other side and it felt like it would shatter everything inside her. Finally she looked up into the blinding sunlight and saw the dark outline of a figure clad in metal standing over her. He raised his fist up and threw a punch right at her face. Everything went black.
She would have thought her life was flashing before her eyes, but all that she saw was a vision of her scrubbing a floor covered in blood. She thought she was dead, she had to be. God had forsaken her when she was born without his blessing and now she was in hell. For a brief second she thought she saw a flash of light. Darkness fought back the light and this time she saw a vision of her parents. Growing up, she couldn’t remember them looking directly at her, but now they were staring at her with all the hatred she figured they held for her. Another flash of light came, but this time it grew larger. She then started to see something in the flashes. One flash showed the grey sky and the sun. The next showed her arms and legs being bound by rope. The next showed her being thrown onto the back of a horse. As darkness began to swallow back up the light, one last flash of light showed the ruins her son had been at. He was there on the edge looking towards her, dropping his spear as he fell to his knees. Tears were rolling down his face as the other four kids pulled him once again from her sight. She was moving farther and farther away. No! You’re going the wrong way. She wanted to say. Then everything went black again, and this time there were no flashes of light that came, only darkness.
This entry was posted on May 17, 2013 by everettharn. It was filed under Metal Age Fantasy Fiction and was tagged with Apocolypse, Armor, book, Chapter, Darkness, Epic, Everett, Everwritten, Fantasy, Fiction, future, Genre, Human, magic, Man, Medieval, Mutant, novel, Post, prologue, Sword, war, world.