Background story: the Rise of Zimlya 3

In the fourteenth year, late December, a man of god entered the metro.

His mother had been an unimportant employee of the Russian embassy to the British isles. From his mother, he received a strong mind and good education, wide cheekbones, and a name sworn to the lord. From his father, he was given a slender face, curious eyes, energy abundant, and a need for god. And the lord gave him loss, a love for man, and the resolve to travel East.

Continue reading

Background story: the Rise of Zimlya 2

After the bombs fell, people cowered and ran. Most stayed above ground, some for reasons of paranoia, claustrophobia, scotophobia. But most stayed above simply because there was no room below. Radiation was mostly mild, and the panicked throngs of the cities were largely annhilated, so those in the countryside had few to contest with. Aside from a change in lifestyle, and occasionally harsh weather, it should’ve been a simple transition and reconstruction. But the clouds blot the sun wholly for a time, and left the sky a mosaic of grey for years. The rain was tainted and consumed those who thirsted for life. These are a few of the hundred plagues that consumed mankind.

A mere third of human kind was destroyed by the disaster, but only a twentieth survived the aftermath.

Continue reading

A Finicky Universe background story, The Rise of Zimlya

All societies suffer periods of collapse and renewal.

A power will rise to prominence, -family, king, or egalitarian society- and order the people and things under its control. This government is composed of the wisest, most powerful, and most caring people, for these are the kind that set about creating nations. And so, though the people may yet suffer from wrongs that cannot be so easily forgotten, the entire nation goes about working towards a better future, for themselves, and for their children.

Continue reading

‘chapter’ 2

///On the trip to America, Morai was noticed to be somewhat anxious and withdrawn, keeping within groups, but never giving much notice.  As of yet, no one has bothered to find out why, nor does anyone particularly care. Indeed, it is a minor thing, and even a moderate liability-Morai has broken more than a nose in response to a younger agent’s questioning. It can be assumed then, that Morai was sent under more complex a situation than he ever let on, though I’ve always imagined it was a family curse or some such thing.

///On the new continent, ‘Brennan’ was found ordinary enough to remain unchanged. It must’ve been a rough transition, but I doubt he ever admitted that to anyone -he was where he wanted to be, and probably forced himself to enjoy it. It was an exciting time, and perhaps this is what forced our young man’s agitation.

///The war hadn’t yet developed, but few really doubted it would come. No, that’s not right. There were still hopes for a peaceful secession; a quiet split into two countries. Then-president Lincoln -best known for being “born in a log cabin ‘he made himself” and training himself as a lawyer, aside from his accomplishments as national leader- refused to see a split in the union, and so invaded. I can’t say if that was right, since it only worsened the problem of slavery -the cause, besides simple independence, that the secessionists fought for- for centuries. It seems that he was regarded as a hero for as long as his union remained, his reputation flickering slightly based on the party in power.

///The war hadn’t begun, for a year or so, and Morai travelled the small country. It’s hard to say what he did during this time, his checking account being the one sure indication, that, sadly, was scarcely used. I assume he stayed more toward the countryside than anything, because he seemed to understand the land he later fought in. Someday, maybe, someone will care enough to find out. Maybe… If I ever find the money?

///Ад предательская мысль. Я думаю, мне нужно убедиться, что никто не считает, что это. Эй, если вы читаете эту статью, вы можете просто сжечь ее, что ли? Может быть, бросить его в океан, или, может быть черная дыра. Blackhole было бы хорошо. Не так, как вы можете прочитать любом случае …

///————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————

///Да … Я просто вырвать эту страницу позже. Сделай это еще раз позже.

///Morai magically reappeared a few months into the war. It was either providence or calculation that brought him into the Union army, but he has always taken credit for the choice. He said that, in addition to some sore of ancestral will, (this is why I think superstition sent him across the sea) he simply wanted to. A new country was being born, he said, and he wanted to be there as it happened. Glory and women must have been high on the list as well, but it was rude to point out at the time. From what I’ve heard, he performed admirably in all respects listed.

///On an execution mission, one of our guys had a close call, courtesy of our favorite Irishman. Adrian -I met him a few times, seemed like a good guy, and knew the best coffee in town- didn’t have to bother guffing his way into a military unit. He simply pulled a Confederate uniform, and waited on a steep hill, waiting to ambush some unimportant bastard below.

///Always made me think, that. If it’s flattering to have someone want to kill you, that really has to be an honor of a lifetime for for someone as insignificant as a bachelor soldier. It’s also pretty damn sick. It’s not like we’re murderers, but I always had to take some time alone before one of those missions.

///Well, Adrian was waiting there, enjoying the sort of view that wants to be shared. He had his overhauled rifle with him, that’s important. In front of him, the hill lowers steeply, and is pretty rocky besides, so trees only grow in a few spots. It faced out West, so the view -and I’ve been told that, even in a forest as thick as this one, someone could see for a dozen miles from up there- must’ve been spectacular during the sunset he spent waiting. The other side of the hill rises gently, so, except for a few rough spots, it’s covered in oak, birch, and ash trees, with a single cherry tree bordering a small clearing. It was a very useful and easy to find hill. It seems that Morai had been there.

///He probably came to survey the area ahead of his unit. Odd considering his position. I imagine was looking about the area, turned back, then noticed Adrian a couple yards to his side. This went unnoticed by the overconfident sniper, who was alone, since it was such a low risk job.

///The way he put it, the first thing noticed was a shadow. Morai already had his pistol loaded, and was now pointing it at Adrian. Luckily, they both froze up. A minute or two went by, and their heads are running on a mixture of silence, emptiness, and funk metal. Morai told him to stay still. Told him that he wasn’t planning to shoot him, as a favor to the both of them. Ordered him to surrender the weapon, it’d go on a mantle back home, and you can go home too.

///Adrian says, and I’m pretty sure this is bullshit, that he was still hoping for a successful mission -plus, he’d be chewed out for losing the gun- so he got ready for a fight. As he was reaching for his knife, a salvo went off, a mile off and within sight. Morai got spooked, grabbed the rifle, and ran back down the hill.

///Morai had a similar story, but with a few details that honored him. Last time we met, Adrian told me the story, he coughed enough to make me worry when I pointed out all the little inconsistencies. If someone catches a shark, if he was the only one there, and if he comes back hands smooth and empty, he didn’t even catch a carp.

///I’m told that they later made up, and that the rifle was treated as a gift. I’m also told that Morai stands a half-head taller than Adrian, which would seem to set the tone for any of their dealings.

A soldier’s childhood

A Soldier’s Childhood

///It is strange, yet perfectly natural that heretics are made to leave indomitable marks on the society that strikes them down; little things, astrology for instance. It has likely been said that people, having eaten of knowledge, became ashamed at their own image, and set out to clothe their innocence with lies. In so doing, they also proceed to turn their back from truth, running from those gentle glades which receive the burning-blue light, and give to the silent animals a gentle-green shade. However, these people never quite forget this time, and bury small pleasures behind the demented mask of society.

///Of course, I think that’s bullshit, an attempt at thinking our lives unpleasant whilst producing a clear enemy to hate, everyone. The only word that truly need be spoken in regards to this matter is ‘war.’

///However these small things come about, it was sometimes said that Morai Brennan was born under a lucky star. A cheap round would have been poured, and bored faces curved round a cheap table. One face (a friend of the family, or a proud servant perhaps) must have stood out against that bunch with a gleeful smile, boasting about a child too young to walk. “Aye”, it was muttered, “he’s a lucky ‘un, born under the star o’ Michael he was.” Passing interest would have been shown to this newcomer, he might have something good to say, eventually. “Why, I saw it meself, the stars, all of them, were just gleaming, and you louts just weren’t meant to be witness to m’lords first glory.” “It’s a pity,” at least one of them thought, and perhaps spoke aloud to the rhythm of a coin jumping on wood, “that this boy is too sober for quiet.”

///But to those who were there that night – Morai having been born to a busy mother in a small carriage –  it was a moment that words struggled to carry. Everything about the occasion seemed blessed: the labor was quick (the third of six) and the mother felt so little pain as to smile the whole way through; a bright star broke through thin clouds just at the moment of his birth, and directly overhead. A star so bright, it seemed, that the ground around the carriage was lit from its power alone; a name was selected, just then, that any sane man knew, but could not share; and everyone present later recounted the small voice that spoke the newborn’s name. Even the father, who had only a trimmed selection of pleasant memories, remembered the occasion for a dozen rich acres secured in a barely-caught bargain. It was a pleasant night for everyone involved (except the child, who kicked and spat as though possessed; the surest mark of a healthy boy).

///If Owen Brennan was ever found in a tavern, it was not as a bored spectator, and it wasn’t as a boastful drinker. Instead, he was found to be an aloof businessman, who happened to be a very strong and perceptive drinker. There was a story, said to be true, soon devised into a song, spread as far as Brittany, later placed upon paper, compiled into the “Most Memorable Drinking Stories Collection,” and used as inspiration for a college film project which warned against the dangers of geese, boating, shoelessness, and angering a drunk Irishman. Owen, despite the surprisingly positive representation, denied any participation in the events, claiming that his ‘yearly’ binge happened to coincide with the burning of the Baron’s bessie – both events taking place over a long holiday. ///More to the point, he was a man lacking emotion. Being short on care and compassion, however, failed to destroy what was otherwise a capable and decent human being, by the expectations of his position at least. I suppose that there was withing his frame a strong system of morals, these including politeness, fairness, care for family and clan, a regard for image, health, wealth, and status, as well as a subtle hint of noblesse oblige. Just as easily, it could be said that he was a man cunning and evil, who’s personal goals happened to align with those around him. Regardless of his true nature, those he knew tended to side with him, and sometimes let slip a few words about his inordinately high odds for kingship.

/// Sarrah Brennan, on the other hand, needs far less words to describe. She was a good example of a mother figure: gentle, attentive, caring, and docile. She achieved few things in life, the greatest being her smooth marriage and healthy family.

///Morai, being born to the landed family described was blessed through his childhood, and became a clever and cheery boy early on. He felt the virtues his society extolled, and followed them, but with little regard for posture. He would later become a very pragmatic man, but as a child he was simply hedonistic. He was tall and thin as he aged, lacking the lopsided development that comes and goes in bursts. He was something like a Russian doll, growing in size, but changing very little.

///He was given a tutor of particular talent; a man who had learned as many things innately as he had learned, but believed more thoroughly in the latter. As such, he encouraged the young boy all through his childhood, leading him through the countryside, forest, village, and into regular conversation with the family servants, merchants, peasants, and the nobleman with time and interest to spare. Many of these became good friends, who missed Morai, first as they left, then as he did.

///It wasn’t unexpected then that the young man was struck with a powerful sickness, because good luck is a trait rarely developed in Eire, and is burnt in the span of years, often enough. The parasitic fire that burned in his heart was a lack of complacency. This being the time of a wide hunger, and having been for some time (and lasting a good century more), people fled, mostly to America. Morai, having seen several good friends travel under desperate conditions, and having a good understanding of English, he became ‘curious,’ and soon departed on the journey that would “last only as long as I felt like it.”