The Voice

Innoviah, 2319

He will drink the cup of humility
He will bow to his own people
He will unite with the persecutors
He will hear the holy song
He will fight with the stiff blade
He will spark the tongues’ flame
He will fight for the new flesh

Max Verges placed a hand on Todd’s thin shoulder as a great fanfare echoed within the hollowed shell of a once beautiful cathedral. Both of the men wore long coats that seemed to fit perfectly over pressed pants bedecked with a single stripe going down the sides of the legs. Todd’s uniform, however, had more of a military appeal to it. Still, they appeared to be the same age.

“Alas, it appears the world has met its prophet,” Max smiled with a chuckle.

“Yes, m’liege,” the young adult fox replied as he gazed out to the words etched in stone hundreds of years ago. He seemed to be completely unresponsive to the repetitive sounds of grinding machinery in the background as he placed his hands on a large staff. Instead, all of his attention was placed solely on the large words before them, almost as if he was analyzing each syllable.

“It’s our manifest destiny to expand. I’ve done quite enough bowing and ass-kissing to get to where I am now. I fought with the stiff blades of merciless justice and burned the tongues of every single person who dared oppose me. Now this police state is finally ready to begin reign upon the entire continent!”

“It is indeed a good day,” Todd replied.

Max laughed again as he shook the vulpine’s shoulder. As he shook his shoulder, dozens of medals clinked with it. “Brothers we are, and brothers we shall always be. Still I find it amazing how life can be so unfortunate for one, yet so privileged for another. Isn’t that right, commodore?”

Todd bit his lip as he turned away slightly.

“It’s a shame you’re not as strong as your sibling is. We live in a kill or be killed world. Everyone wants you only if they can use you to benefit their own standing. And the moment they have sucked all the resources from you, well, you’re tossed by the wayside.” He paused as he turned to his brother. “Executed for your lack of importance, for we cannot simply let them go. No, they know too much.”

The small pebbles on the ground began to dance with the approaching clamor. “People may die, but dreams cannot be killed so long as they are passed on.”

He laughed again, this time more closer into Todd’s right ear bedecked in piercings and tacks. “Brothers are expendable, of course. What do you know about leading the people anyway? It’s why father trained you to be a fighter and I a leader!”

“And why he had to abandon me and not you?”

A sneer appeared over the dark-furred hyena. “My army awaits me outside this horrid display of the past.” He glanced up at the stone edifice, paying close attention to the reminents of the roof. “The prophecy is complete - I am the successor, and I will lead Innoviah into a new golden age! You? Still the commodore of my eastern army group.” He quickly polished a medal on Todd’s military coat, to which he jerked away quickly. Max quickly gripped his sibling’s collar. “At least try to act the part.”

As the two brothers stepped away from the old prophecy, they moved out to an open platform, at least more open than the crumbling walls of the stoned cathedral could offer. There, down below them, was a grand site: the army of Innoviah. Stretching for miles on end, the great war machine cascaded down the darkened boulevard in a well-trained manner, goose-stepping on the cobblestoned pathway flattened by tanks and heavy craft that moved in front of them.

Max bowed with a smile. “Always appease the prophets of the past, right?”

((Feel free to add characters here. Any species, positions, alliances are allowed, so don’t worry. Just join in. And, as with most of my RP’s, they’re OOC. It might help to post a pic of your character too, lol)).
Max (copyright © Coffinberry)
Todd (copyright © Kusari ^^)

“Bow to his own people, yes?”

Todd sat begrudgingly in a pew that was horribly lopsided due to a collapsed right endpost. Burying his face in his grimy hands, he gripped is parted black hair in rage. “This is not what the prophets had in mind. Hundreds of years ago this nation was great. I don’t see any greatness emanating from military parades or leaking our forces onto our neighbors.” Looking up, the words on the old tablet stung his eyes once again. He quickly flinched. “Bastards. They knew nothing of today.”

“My ears are still ringing from all the singing!”

Todd turned to his left and spotted a vixen in casual wear. Hours ago she would’ve worn full military attire, but now that the festivities were over, it seemed pointless to dress in that fashion. After all, she had the entire campaign to play war. “Hello Ankya.”

She smiled. “Simply amazing what our nation can do when we all join hands! I feel like we’re finally going to flex our muscles and expand our boarders across the continent!” She pounded a fist into her hand as she finished her last syllable.

Todd huffed as he turned back toward the stone tablet.

“What?” she stepped forward until she was behind his shoulders. “Aren’t you proud? In weeks we should be massing our troops along our borders. Soon we will pour onto our enemies! It’ll be like watching a coffee stain grow across the map!”

“That’s Max talking for you. Spoiled brat.”

“You’re still cross at your parents abandoning you for him, aren’t you?”

“They didn’t abandon me! I was more important… it was best to keep me hidden from the authorities at that time.”

“Which is why he lived in luxury and you in and out of orphanages?”

“I learned humility. I’d take that lesson over a warm house and soft bed any day.”

She paused to look around the former cathedral. “Is this why you hold onto the ideals of the past? Because it was harder, you’re more familiar with life being hard. Why can’t you just accept our greatness? You’ve spent your entire life living frugal - why not splurge? Show some pride?”

Todd sighed. “Because I can’t. Max killed a lot of people to move himself into power.”

Ankya laughed. “There will always be opposition, Todd. The more opposition we kill, the more safe we make it for those who believe in the same dreams we do. We’re protecting our children and our children’s children by expanding boarders.” She paused. “It’s a shame you don’t see things the way we do. It’s a kill…”

“… or be killed world. I know. But it doesn’t make sense. Why? Why would the prophets have us commit genocide on our neighbors? Does that make them unholy? It’s all a lie! Max is a lie, our military is a lie, and our ideals are all lies. And the worst part about it is those who can make a difference believe in those lies!”

She reached around and loosely hugged the vulpine fighter. “I worry about you, Todd. You know what the new order does with those who oppose it. You can’t hide behind the bloodline you share with Max forever. Everyone is starting to notice you causing some friction. If you keep going down that path, you will be eradicated. You know the consequences of being disloyal… I’d hate to see that happen to you. You’re a good man who overcame mountains to get where you are today. Doesn’t that show you the prophets are on your side? Our side?” She waited for Todd to respond, but the longer she waited, the more her grip loosened. “Please take care of yourself. We’re on the verge of something great, and I’d love for you to be with us when we achieve it.”

She stepped back and walked away from the pew. Her footsteps grew dull as she quickly left the rotting structure, leaving Todd alone. Propping his head upon his hands, he continued to stare blankly at the words in front of him.
Ankya (copyright © Dashster)

“Like a flowing coffee stain…”

Max peered over the map of the continent, surrounded by both him and his array of generals and commodores, minus Todd. Decked out in full military garb, he clicked his boots together as he leaned over the large table, picked up a piece representing ten thousand battle-ready soldiers, and moved it around the map as if he was playing a game.

“Sir,” an aging general huffed, “That piece was marked in its position. We will need to re-set up the coordinates for that location!”

“That’s not our jobs,” he quickly countered. He grabbed a handful of pieces and moved them across the map. “North Rembald! Uppsala! Osterich! Svesaland! Great Verdon!” He paused. “Two weeks. The order is to take every single nation I named within two weeks.”

His team of generals nervously eyed each other. “It is suicidal to stretch our resources so soon from the onset of war! We will need time to secure pockets of resistance. The natives will resist and they will fight back if we do not subdue them in the necessary time!”

“Three months, at least.”

“Three months? Preposterous! Uppsala was invaded one hundred years ago and failed miserable due to their strategic defensive tactics! The nation’s a fortress!”

“A strain on our army cannot be easily overcome!”

Max rubbed his temples. “I don’t think you autistic babies heard a damn word I said. Two weeks!” He pounded the table as the pieces jumped. “Burn every single town your commands march upon. Kill every single person in the town. Shoot the healthy, step on the heads of the young or hang their bodies for use in knife combat to keep our men fresh. Leave the old and sickly to go mad and kill each other. Kill their young. Make them completely forget any sense of pride or self-worth. For they are worth nothing to me.”

A sudden hush fell upon the crowd. “This cannot be done. We will be in violation of the 2232 peace accord! Every nation will declare war on us!”

“If they don’t see it, how will they know?” Max raised an eyebrow. “Once again the student teaches the teacher, right General Kardasa?”

General Kardasa furrowed his brow. “Your brother has more sense than you do anymore,” he muttered.

“Ah yes,” Max replied, “Todd. He will be given a chance to prove himself loyal. My eastern front will invade Uppsala.”

“It’s a dangerous mission. And he won’t stand a chance… out of all of your commodores, he’s the softest.”

“So we will see how well he can do, yes?”

General Kardasa looked away.

Max sat alone at a desk inside his bedchamber. Although it had a past world’s appeal to it, the scenery reminded him of home. True home. A home that was lost long ago, but still fresh in his memory.

Pausing, he gripped a picture frame containing his mother. His fingers flowed down the golden frame as his eyes paid close attention to hers. They followed down to her face and the elegant dress she wore - white with blue and green jewels. His attention was swayed to his young hands, which seemed to be reaching toward a past he could never touch. With a heavy sigh, he brought the picture to his chest.

“Everything I do, I do for you,” he whispered amidst a slight tear. “Those bastards had no right to take you away from me. They didn’t help you, and for that they will pay with their lives.” His eyebrows quickly moved to form a scowl. “They’ll know. They’ll all know the error in their ways.” Wiping his nose with an elegant sleeve, he set the picture back onto his desk. “They broke your heart, so I will break their souls!”

Standing from a high-backboard chair, he stepped over to a globe resting in a circular wooden frame. With his left hand, he rotated the orb using his two main digits in a walking motion. “One day.” He gripped the globe with clawed fingers and scratched the marbled surface, forming deep canyons in the stone. “I’ll return to you one day!”

“Max, m’liege?”

He quickly turned around. “Yes, Ankya?”

She stepped up to him and glanced at the scarred globe behind him. The room, lit with candles, seemed to bring out the shadows even more, making the chamber seem large and cold. “General Kardasa has spoke to me. He has told me you’re sending Todd on a death mission to Uppsala. Is this true?”

Max smiled. “He’s my only surviving relative. Do you honestly think I would kill him?” He waited for her response, but nothing came. Disappointment crawled over his face. “Oh come now. Todd is my brother. Different species, different integrity, but still my brother. Therefore, if he is my brother, he will survive out there in Uppsala. Some of my father’s wit had to rub off of him - I couldn’t have gotten all of it.”

“You fear him.”

“I don’t fear beggars and vagrants!” Max quickly retorted.

“He moved mountains to get to the position he is at today! You were given everything on a silver plate! Doesn’t that tell you anything?”

“Fate can be cruel sometimes, I suppose,” Max replied. “The flames that burn the brightest are the ones that burn their wicks the fastest. Let’s just see how long his wick is, yes?”

“You’re looking for an excuse to remove him then?”

“Not an excuse,” Max said as he sat back down at his desk. “Proof. And once I find that proof, his brother I will be no more.”

((Feel free to jump right in! I’m not picky with my RPs, so we’ll see where this one goes. If you want, you may create a bio for your character, but you don’t need to. Just begin posting!))

IMHO, it looks like this thread might be better placed in the actual RP forum, given the style of thread, but then as I’m not the RP admin, it’s not up to me.

The moonlight cast an eerie shadow upon the destroyed cathedral below. Arches with nothing to support vaulted above the floor below of smashed cobblestone and torn carpet. Statues of the prophets of old gazed with shameful humiliation toward the congregation below, again heavily damaged from the coup just weeks ago. More moonlight poured through the windowless holes on what remained of the walls of the great structure. Even now, roughly a month after the bitter fight in the capital, sounds of falling rubble could be heard echoing throughout the shelter devoid of any sort of hope.

Todd still sat within the structure, though he moved to a sturdier pew in front of some lost prophet. His clothes hung loose against his thin frame, covering the scars of past contests despite his age. He always despised war. The thought of killing someone once drove him to the brink of insanity, but, after years of experiencing combat and tactical warfare, he was nearly desensitized to the whole ordeal. Still, as his eyes gazed over his shades, there was some sheds of a more comforting nature. Moreover, his head was riddled with thoughts he hadn’t pondered in years. As his gaze sunk to his hands, he started to remember how many people he killed with just two palms. Finally it seeped through to the memories of a much brighter past.

He gritted his teeth in rage as he took out a field knife and began to cut at his hands, starting with the smallest finger on his right.

“Don’t do that. We’ll need them for later.”

Todd looked up and spotted General Kardasa sitting on the opposite end of the pew. “Oh. Terribly sorry, general.”

The aging hyena chuckled as his medals clinked with each shake. “You outrank me now, Todd. Remember? All those years you trained under me mean nothing.” He paused. “What’s eating you?”

Todd shook his head. “It’s different. Something isn’t right.”

Again the general laughed. “You were the greatest soldier I ever trained, Todd. Taught to kill. Now that you’ve been taught to think you’re starting to question what is right and wrong. It’s a natural process, we all do at some point.”

Todd shook his head. “I’ve been educated. I know about the prophets and Innovia’s past. I know the people - I lived among the poorest of them my entire life. We’re freeing ourselves but enslaving the people. Life will only get worse for them, especially when they find out the empty promises we gave them will never come true. They don’t want this. And no amount of weaponry or burning desire to ignite a conflict will ever sway that within me.”

“Mmn, so you have been thinking quite a bit.”

“It’s only natural.”

General Kardasa leaned back with a sigh. “You’re right to worry. I’m twice as old as you two are. I worry about our campaigns, while at the same time monitor the power of your brother. In a few days, Todd, we will be advancing across the lands of our neighbors. It’s best to follow the plan and keep going though. Perhaps reform will happen in due time, but for now, work toward a common goal. For your days appear to be numbered.”

Todd nodded. “I know. But it can’t be this way.”

“Then what are you going to do? You control one third of this entire army.”

The young fox paused. “I don’t know. That’s why I can’t sleep.”