WORLD OF ANGORA
This is an excerpt from an unfinished version of "Creations"
World of Angora will be coming to Purrett.com in comic form in fall 2015.
This is an excerpt from an unfinished version of "Creations"
World of Angora will be coming to Purrett.com in comic form in fall 2015.
A red sun crested above the horizon, a dawning Commander Jared Giddeon did not welcome. It was already 90⁰ in this hellish jungle. The sun was only a reminder that today was going to be as desperate and painful as the past two weeks spent meandering about searching out their enemy had already been.
He took a gulp of water from his bladder pack, savoring each drop, before replacing it at his side. The water was warm as it slid down his throat, but managed to quench his thirst for the moment. His clothes stuck to his skin from the sweat. He was miserable, but no one would have ever known.
Giddeon was a soldier of the Shiravian Deluge, the most honorable fighting force in all of Angora, and he had always relished the thought of defending his country. Now, he was getting that opportunity in the sweltering heat on an island that was supposed to be their ally.
“Civil War?” muttered another member of the Deluge following behind Commander Giddeon. His name was Kentley Torrez. “What a joke!”
Giddeon didn’t respond.
“Why do they call it a Civil War, Gid?” The younger soldier asked speaking to his superior officer as the friend he was instead of with the respect of a higher ranking member of the Deluge.
“I am really not sure, Kent.” Giddeon wiped a bead of sweat from his forehead and replaced his deep red brimmed helmet upon his head. It glowed brightly against the sunlight, which was streaming in between the vines and tree canopies.
Commander Giddeon loaded a charged cartridge into his Reaon Blaster, the weapon of choice for the Deluge Soldier. The Commander stowed it away in his holster and stood.
“General Adar,” Giddeon saluted.
Kentley stumbled to his feet a moment later and saluted with the rest of the soldiers. There were only twenty in this Deluge, which was named for the torrential rains their home city of Medatroy commonly received throughout the summer and fall months.
General Thomas Adar, returned their salute, and then removed his helmet revealing his soaked head. He wiped his brow with his forearm leaving a large sweat stain behind.
“What are our directions, General?” Commander Giddeon asked.
General Adar hesitated. He seemed unusually perturbed. His normal demeanor could have been classified as unique for a man in such a high ranking military position as he was more jovial and energetic than anyone Commander Giddeon had ever served under.
The General took a deep breath, appearing to struggle against the heat. He wasn’t as young as the men under his command, which was evident in the grey hairs peeking out from his head, and the tremendous heat was beginning to affect him greatly.
“Sir?” Giddeon said as he placed a steadying arm upon his leader’s shoulder. “Come over under the shade of the palms, sir.” He led General Adar to the heavily shaded area at the back of their camp. Kentley walked directly behind them like a shadow.
“Thank you, Commander. I just need a few moments.” General Adar glanced upward. We cannot afford to remain in this jungle for much longer. He struggled to even reveal his fears to Commander Giddeon, whom he trusted implicitly. It had been hard enough wondering the jungle unable to locate their enemy, but it was glaringly apparent that the heat had become their greatest foe.
“Torrez!” Giddeon shouted. He turned to realize Kentley was standing directly behind him. “Mother Angora, Kent! What are you doing? Go fetch the General some water, and get out of my pocket!” He barked.
“Sure, Gid.” Kentley replied, but then corrected himself noticing that other soldiers were watching him speaking improperly to a superior officer. “Ah…Yes, Sir, Commander!”
Kentley and Commander Giddeon had been good friends since childhood despite the four year difference in age. Giddeon had been closer friends with the older Torrez son, Willeth. After entering the Shiravian Deluge, both Willeth Torrez and Jared Giddeon remained friends, but eventually had been separated as they rose through the ranks. Giddeon to ‘Commander’ in the Deluge, and Willeth as ‘Captain’ of a Special Forces unit called the Troin. For this reason, when Kentley entered the Deluge he was placed with Commander Giddeon. Giddeon swore to Willeth, he’d protect the young and somewhat naïve Torrez boy during the war. So far, he had managed to keep his promise.
General Adar gladly accepted the warm water and quickly swallowed in large gulps, spilling some onto his pants and boots.
Don’t waste it, Giddeon thought to himself. We need every drop we can spare.
“Sir, do we have our orders from the Elite?” The Commander asked.
“Yes, we do, Commander.” The General, however, didn’t answer directly returning to gulp further from the bladder pack. A trickle of water escaped from the side of his mouth running down his prickly chin.
Giddeon grew irritated. His patience waned, mostly due to the extreme heat, but no one, including General Adar would have ever noticed from his outwardly appearance.
The General gathered himself handing the bladder pack, now empty, back to Kentley.
Commander Giddeon gave the young man a stern glance. You are not supposed to be here. This is a meeting for the leadership of this force. He thought. Kentley was his friend, however, Giddeon was diligent about regulations.
“Thank you, Torrez. You can join the others now.” Giddeon commanded.
Kentley’s expression changed from originally offended to slightly abashed, after again realizing he had over stepped his bounds within the unit. He belonged with the others.
General Adar did as he had throughout their time in the jungle when his commander had to reprimand or discipline his friend…remained uninvolved.
“We are to fall back to Bren and join the larger forces there. The Elite fear we are exposed out here in the jungle…too susceptible to attack from these horrid creatures of Dormi.” He angrily tossed the empty bladder pack aside.
“Agreed,” Giddeon responded.
The General’s head shot up in a disapproving stare. “Well, I’m glad that you approve, Commander. It’ll make my orders easier to accept. Gather the supplies and be ready to depart in thirty minutes,” he snapped. The General pulled himself to his feet and walked away.
What the hell was that about? Giddeon turned to the soldiers milling about the clearing they had called home for the past three days. “Gather your effects quickly. We depart for Bren in thirty minutes…with haste!” Giddeon turned back to find General Adar as the soldiers scurried about. They had as much respect for Commander Giddeon as they did the General.
He approached his friend. “Make sure they are ready to go.”
General Adar was slamming his effects into his backpack and mumbling under his breath.
“Excuse me, General.”
“Why aren’t you packing, Commander?”
“I am already prepared…Sir!” Giddeon sternly replied. “I’ve been packed since this morning.” I have never seen him like this. We have lingered here far too long.
Neither spoke for a brief moment, each gathering their thoughts. The jungle began to stir sensing the tension gathering in the clearing. Above them, a large, beautiful, multi-colored bird squawked, causing two replicas of the first to spread their wings and lift higher into the tree tops to evacuate.
“Forgive me, Commander. It’s this blasted unrelenting heat. This god forsaken jungle. I’m going a bit…”
“Daft, Sir?” Giddeon replied
A sly smile appeared on the weathered and wet face of General Adar. “I believe that is a fair assessment, Commander Giddeon.”
“I will make certain the men are ready to depart on schedule, Sir.”
The Isle of Dormi was the southernmost landmass of Angora. Here it was always summer and the heat was oppressive as usual on this morning. It entered every pour of the soldiers’ bodies, sucking out all the moisture and leaving them dry and welted, like meat left too long in the oven. The tall trees fanned out high above their heads covering the soldiers like umbrellas from the suns direct attack. Yet, the Shiravian Deluge had grown weak and vulnerable, and General Adar knew it was time to move on to join the others stationed on the nearby island, Bren.
The Deluge had valiantly fought just surviving this jungle, and the perils it wrought. Now, it was time to retreat before they were discovered by the Dormeath, a brutal group of warriors that lead the rebellion against Shirah.
“Okay, boys…it’s time,” General Adar called to action. He didn’t waste any time, leaving the rear to Commander Giddeon.
Giddeon gripped his Reaon Blaster, watching the shadows of the jungle. It had been too long without an attack from the aggressive Dormeath Warriors. For three weeks this Deluge force had wandered the jungle searching for their enemy, but to no avail.
Where were these Dormeath? They had started this war, but now were conveniently absent. Why won’t they show themselves? Giddeon wondered as he scanned the area for motion.
The Deluge moved slowly through the tangles of the brush. It grabbed and clawed at their feet and ankles. Many soldiers crashed to the moist dirt, and sprawling greenery scattered along their toes. The land was uneven and treacherous. Movement was arduous, yet they persisted.
These soldiers obviously didn’t belong here, not just on the Isle of Dormi, but in any jungle. They weren’t well equipped to battle outside the city of Medatroy. The Deluge wore dark red gear that contrasted poorly with the lands. They were as easy to spot as the horned-beaked birds flying over head, which placed them at a distinct disadvantage, Giddeon believed.
General Adar led them through a narrow passageway between entangled trees, over a small stream, and back out into another small clearing using a small black device called a compass. He was somewhat familiar with its use, but because the Dormeans were blocking all communication on the island he was unable to utilize more sophisticated digital devices he was more accustomed too.
Here, in the clearing, General Adar placed his backpack down to rest on a rock. The Deluge soldiers filed in one by one, until the last two entered; Kentley Torrez and Commander Giddeon.
Kentley joined the others, as he sat in the shade. Sweat glistened on his neck and upper chest. His breathing was labored as the super-heated air scorched his lungs. It was well over 100⁰ by now, and the soldiers’ attire visibly showed those affects with heavy black circles around their chests and underarms.
Reaching desperately, Kentley fumbled with the clip holding his bladder pack to his belt. This damned thing. He yanked on it in frustration.
The heat was doing more than causing their bodies to sweat profusely. It did things to their minds. General Adar observed his men carefully. There had once been vigor in their movements, but recently that step had vanished, replaced with sluggish attempts at coordination.
I don’t think we can survive the final week. The General’s Deluge had been assigned to search the jungle for a month in hope of learning more about the Dormeath…possible a weakness. General Adar had a worrying though. Maybe we haven’t seen the Dormeath, because they are waiting for the heat to weaken us? Make us easier to defeat.
Giddeon had remained standing, focused on something in the shadows to the North. No one else seemed to notice, but that was why Giddeon was the youngest to attain ‘Commander’ rank in the history of the Shiravian Deluge. He noticed things that others ignored or dismissed. He had a uniquely heightened range of senses, and it had served him well.
Someone is following us. Giddeon knew something was there. His ears lifted imperceptibly as though they honed in on a source. The Commander closed his eyes. Sight is deceiving. He had learned during his training. Listen. Just listen. Giddeon reminded himself.
“Hey, Gid?” Kentley blurted out while searching through his pack. He hadn’t noticed his friend’s attentiveness.
Giddeon ignored him.
“You have any more water. I think I’m all out,” Kentley continued.
“Shut it, Torrez.” His voice demonstrative gaining the attention of all in the clearing.
General Adar perked up. He reached for his Reaon Blaster watching Giddeon. “Commander?” He called in a halted voice.
Giddeon raised his hand to pause. Everyone held their breath.
Kentley joined his friend frantically searching the trees. Giddeon firmly planted his against Kentley’s chest. The amped soldier calmed.
“Your heart sounds like a rushing Tramrail. Be still.”
Giddeon’s focus was tremendous. He could hear his friend’s heart pounding with excitement next to him. A soldier’s fingernail scrapped against the handle of his Reaon Blaster. Wind bending the waif-like branches in the trees high above. Yet, he was unable to detect the sound for which he hunting.
He sighed deeply. Eyes now open. Could I have imagined it? The heat is affecting me too much. His Reaon Blaster returned to his side. He and General Adar met at a glance. Giddeon nodded, and calm was restored to the group.
Across the clearing, two soldiers began a conversation.
Giddeon’s head snapped in their direction. What was that? A guttural sound emerged between dull voices. He raised his weapon, but before he could warn the men it was too late.
From the trees, leapt a beast…a hunter. It landed between them and struck with brutal force. With one swing of its muscular arms it tossed the first soldier clear across the opening and head long into a tree snapping his neck. Then, with a swat of his club-like hand the second soldier collapsed. His ear was torn clean from his scalp.
Giddeon ran to their aid, but was too slow. Raising his blaster, he fired. It missed. He fired again, but the assailant dodged.
Quick, for something so large, Giddeon thought. He fired again and again. Impossible. Giddeon slid to a stop a short distance from the strange manlike creature as it unsheathed a long arched sword. It can’t be, Giddeon was shocked.
Within its meaty palms the Dormeath Warrior held a weapon known as a Stunard. The long-angled blade shined against the streaming sunlight piercing through the canopies. It was like a sword, yet held a shocking charge of electricity that could be discharged into your enemy’s blade upon contact. Giddeon himself had helped create it no less than a year earlier.
He must have stolen it from someone he killed. Giddeon feared for the lives of everyone in the Deluge, except himself. He never had the time to fear for his own life.
Two more soldiers bravely flanked the Dormeath Warrior.
General Adar had been correct. This deadly warrior had managed to track them during their time on the island waiting for the soldier to show signs of fatigue, then it attacked with brute force.
The Dormeath dwarfed them in girth. Muscles rippled from places not seen in Shirah, yet the impressively strong specimen only stood to their mid-chest. It blasted them with a venomous roar, before lurching forward with a stab. The joist was deflected as the Dormeath was prepared for that and twisted his body around, turning like a corkscrew. Its leg muscles exploded with power. His Stunard arched in the sky before swinging through like a pendulum landing in one soldier’s gut. A horrific scream vented from the depths of his body, followed by a stream of red blood through his mouth. The Dormeath Warrior’s blade had cut so deeply, he had to plant his foot on the still upright soldier and pry it free, before turning to his next victim.
Giddeon fired again at the hell bent blood covered beast. The stunning flash landed against its chest, but had little more than an agitating effect. That would have stopped most anyone in Medatroy. Giddeon was horrified, but continued to fire.
Soon, he was joined by General Adar, and other soldiers. An array of bright blue bolts zoomed though the steaming air and pierced the Dormeath’s body as he struggled to reach the second soldier. Enough blasts hit their target to cause the Dormeath to fall to his knee, body twitching against the stunning power of the Reaon Blasters.
“Drop the weapon!” Giddeon demanded. His voice uncharacteristically trembled. He studied his enemy’s black eyes, pupils encompassing the iris which was no more than a colorless rim at the edges. He is too strong. Giddeon had heard of their strength, yet had difficulty believing it until now.
A smile emerged from the Dormeath as it turned his blood-shot gaze upon The Commander.
“Drop the Stunard! NOW!” Giddeon shouted attempting to sound as authoritative as possible.
Giddeon trained the sight of his blaster directly between the Dormeath’s hateful black eyes, as sweat dripped from his nose.“Fear,” The Dormeath grunted. He burst forth, pulled back the Stunard and accepted one final flash in the face from Giddeon’s Reaon Blaster, before crashing backward to the ground.
Written by: Christopher M. Purrett