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    A single grave within the heart of an arid and grassy wasteland where the foot tall, golden grass hid the abrading foundations of what once were buildings sorted in a village type of fashion. Five flowers lay at the base of the sepulchre, each gifted with different coloured wilting petals. Eight words were chipped into the stone. They read:

    Sister Amy,
    Brother Trevor,
    Sister Holly,

    The grass swayed in the placid breeze that blew through, as Tanous Kendrick Splitwings -- a blond hair, blue-eyed boy, eighteen years of age -- stood in front of the grave he had just gifted with flowers. A sigh of grief was released from the young man’s mouth. “…I miss you guys,” spoke Tanous to the stone. “Farwell…”

    Tanous -- dressed in a black long-sleeved shirt, russet leather pants with stitches on the outside and inside of the legs, a cardinal-coloured cloak hanging mostly on the left side, and brown boots wrapped with bandages near the tops -- turned to leave the foul country of Blackern. Tanous’s hair was short and naturally spiky except for a thin ponytail that was at least a foot shorter than Tanous was tall. His long hairs swayed in the light wind behind him, as he walked. Tanous suddenly looked down at his left arm which pulsated as if it were laughing. He placed his right hand upon it, his face showing a clear expression of irritation and annoyance. Tanous stood still and let the sharp and stinging pain diminish before unclenching his fist. Tanous walked over to his large ebony motorbike. The machine was the size of a small car. Tanous got himself comfortable in the bike’s seat. Suddenly, Tanous felt a rumbling within the small pouch on the back of his brown leather belt. He reached back, pulled out his black cell phone, and flipped it open. He looked at who was calling, but once he saw, he shut the phone. “Telemarketers,” Tanous shook his head. Tanous then put away his phone and fastened his goggles over his eyes before he started up his bike, and headed out of Blackern.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    The silent and vast fields of Blackern’s centre province, Cerberace, gave way to an eerie feeling that crept through the hearts of all who trek across and through the aged landscape. The knowledge that the fields of gold have been stained crimson in the fierce battles of the past would make even the most courageous nobles tremble in fear. Dead and rotting trees lay scattered amongst the tall grass, most with a frightening assortment of bones hanging from dirty ropes from the branches. Traversing over the aged theatre of war painted a good picture of the size of each battle and the time period it took place; a variety of weapons from swords to bows to guns lay on the cold and dry soil as remnants of the multiple struggles. The armour of fallen soldiers also lay hidden in the grass, bones of what the countryside scavengers did not like as leftovers of the corpses. The dead and rusting bodies of mechanical soldiers known as automations lay where they fell during the more recent skirmishes. Old, broken down catapults and ballistae could be seen sticking out of the lofty meadow, their projectiles strewn amid the battleground. Massive assault guns, still able to launch another strike, sat where they quit firing. Wooden pikes, on which human skulls were speared, were randomly strewn about, stuck in the ground. The region of Blackern’s fields were once the Walled Empire’s main source of crops, but now they hold the very site where the dark and violent up rise began hundreds of years ago. The fields are now the home to the brigand species - pale-grey skinned, needle toothed humanoid creatures that have pure malice towards the human race. The brigands came from the gloomy silhouettes of mountains that stood in the distance beyond the fields before they began their merciless rebellion against all that was free and peaceful, slaughtering villages of innocent country folk, and massacring entire armies within the crops and fields, turning Blackern into the realm now known as Hell’s Country, the main breeding ground for all kinds of vulgar creatures spawned from blood and hatred -- it truly was hell. Far in the distance, close to beyond the horizon, bolts of lighting flashed past the mountains, and the thunderclaps that followed were muted, but the storm did not seem to be getting any closer to Cerberace; the sky though, was cloudy and dark, as it always was in this forsaken country.

    Being hasty, Tanous paced his bike to avoid loss of control as he trekked over and through the sizeable meadow. Unlike the many other people populating the Walled Empire, Tanous did not tire easily; he could go for days without rest, but he did not recommend it. If Tanous had no bike, he would still be able to walk out of Blackern, but he knew that was way too dangerous. Tanous’s physical being looked as if he were weak, and in need of some meat on his bones, but the truth was that Tanous’s strength, dexterity, and vitality were almost three times that of the average man. Able to swing a sword at high speed - the claymore on his back seeming like a feather - Tanous knew he could face, and possibly overcome, almost any beast or warrior that crossed his path. Knowing that his unknown father and all of his siblings carried the same gifts, Tanous considered the fact that it may have something to do with the strange birthmark on their backs - a pair of wings; one good, one evil.

    Drawing closer to the river that marked the border between countries, Tanous sped up his bike, wanting to get out of the dreaded land in a hurry. Tanous feared that he might encounter an army of brigands readying themselves for an invasion on the rest of the Walled Empire, thus he wanted to leave speedily before any quarrel became reality. The sun had already disappeared behind the western landscape. Tanous was forced to slow down so that he may avoid losing control of his bike while riding over rocks or small nooks. Keeping the dark silhouettes of a lonely patch of trees to his right in his sights, Tanous was prepared for an imminent attack or threat.

    Suddenly, Tanous was alerted by a figure in front of him. Tanous quickly turned the handlebars to avoid a collision. As he turned a small bit, Tanous unsheathed his large sword, and blocked the figure’s rusty axe. Suddenly, Tanous heard the roars of several trucks heading for him. Tanous turned his head to see two trucks steaming towards him from behind, each had a box full of brigands. The second Tanous looked back in front of where he was going, he saw two brigands holding a rope in an attempt to knock Tanous from his bike. Little did the brigands know, Tanous’s reactions were also heightened like his other traits. Tanous leaped off his bike and over the rope. He continued to head forward with the bike as it rocketed under the rope. Tanous back flipped in the air before landing directly on his bike’s seat. Tanous then heard gunfire; he spun his bike clockwise before continuing to slide forward. Tanous could see the bullets rushing towards him; it was as if they were in slow motion. Tanous swiftly reacted and sliced the bullets from the air. The trucks caught up to Tanous as he spun his bike back around. The truck on Tanous’s rammed him with the side of his truck, knocking Tanous to the side. Tanous slowed to get somewhat behind the truck on the right. He then sped up and readied his sword. In a flash of his blade, Tanous cut straight through the lengthy of the truck. The machine exploded in flamed, and careened out of control. It came to rest on its side in the field. Tanous looked at the wreckage before speeding far ahead of the remaining truck.

    As Tanous hurried away from him assailants, he noticed the great stone bridge dividing Blackern with the free country of Adran. The bridge arched over a small drop-off leading down towards a rushing river that transported water from the Southern Sea into the Walled Empire’s Great Sea. Its guards had abandoned the bridge years ago when the up rise began. The crossing was a short distance away; Tanous went for it. He out ran the brigands, but he still had sight of them behind him. As Tanous got to the centre of the bridge, he skidded his bike to a stop.

    Why am I running? I cannot allow these creatures to enter the lands of peace. I have to stop them hear and now! After Tanous’s thoughts were worn, he stepped off his bike that he had parked sideways to serve as a barricade. Tanous turned with his blade drawn, ready to face a horde of creatures he had never actually fought before.

    The brigands were approaching fast, flailing their weapons above their heads from the box of the truck they rode in in an attempt to intimidate Tanous, but their efforts were wasted -- Tanous stood his ground and did not budge an inch until the brigands were in his face after getting out of the back of the truck.

    Leaping at the closest brigand, Tanous’s blade cut the creature down. Several others fell to Tanous’s sword within the first few seconds. Blocking and countering their attacks, Tanous let none get passed him. With his long hair waving behind his head as he clashed with the pack of brigands. His cloak was tossed all over behind Tanous as he moved in an array of movements. Tanous remained untouched as his metal rang valiantly as it blocked the rusty blades of the brigands whose numbers decreased swiftly.

    At the end of the battle, the last remaining brigand charged. It thrust its sword at Tanous, but the young warrior swiftly shirked. Tanous moved to the left of the blade to evade. The sword’s tip cut into Tanous’s right sleeve. Tanous looked at his arm for a quick second before raising his sword into the brigands chest.

    The bodies of the brigands nearly covered the rarely used bridge. Tanous sheathed his large sword back into its small leather loop belted onto his back as he got back onto his bike. He drove into Adran’s lush landscape of fertile farmland known as the province of Yuntelly. A small village could be seen in the distance, firelight flickering from the house windows.

    Halfway to the village, Tanous began to feel dizzy and exhausted as he drove through a farmer’s field. Then he felt the sharp pain shoot through his right arm. His arm ached badly as he stopped his bike to examine it. After having his eyes catching the colour of red on his hand, Tanous grabbed the cut in his sleeve and tore the whole thing off his shirt. A gushing gash oozed blood from his arm. Blood loss was the reason for the dizziness. Tanous had a limited time to react, so he simply wrapped the wound up with his ripped off sleeve to apply pressure on it. He continued to drive towards the village when suddenly all that Tanous saw became nothing but a black screen.