DESOLATIONBy Clarence Jennings THIS VERSION IS FROM THE READING PLEASURE OF PEOPLE IN THE SHOUTBOX WHO ARE INTERESTED this is not the real story but the beginning five pages of a novel I am writing for My History class. I may not upload the rest. The man smiled as he trundled down the empty street. He knew that most of the population would be enjoying themselves at the fair, nodding and declaring their approval for the mayor’s work, while a few others would be protesting. Rumors were flying around about the last city of Ivory, one of the few remaining cities that stood after the massacre — some including tales of the Treads, the street guards who wielded crossbows and spears, “silencing” people who shouted out their disapproval. The territories outside of Ivory were dangerous and wild. Most of the brave adventurers who escaped the city and returned came back mad, injured, or…. Infected. Each of the Treads possessed notifiers alerting them if a Plagued or a pre-Plagued was near. The notifiers were invented by the late Victor Ianeje, who was stoned to death by the Basilisks. The few lucky Explorers who left the city and managed to return would often spread tales of their terrifying experience in the outside. These stories spread through the city like wildfire, and usually lasted longer than the storytellers themselves, who were always mysteriously removed from the streets. No one would notice for days. Ianeje was a notorious inventor who had been secretly supplying the highest tier of soldiers in Ivory: the Governors and the enforcers. One of his more potent weapons was the auto-hydraulic crossbow, which defended the wall around Ivory from the Plague. Occasionally, a few Governors visited each district of the city, holding their immense weapons ready for use. Victor Ianeje was seen talking to one, and was immediately assassinated as he walked away. The governors did not notice the Basilisks flinging rocks at his face, killing him. The news spread through the Basilisk smugglers, who traveled through the walls into the separate districts of Ivory. The walls around each city were secondary barriers, because the primary one was a massive iron wall with three gates that stood 100 feet tall. The wall was built to stop the various hordes of defiled humans who suffered from the plague. The disease made them cannibalistic, elongated their teeth, and made them vicious. The metamorphosis from human to Plagued creatures lasted twelve hours. The wall was armed with Ianeje’s hydraulic crossbows, ready to kill the beasts that were once human. This district, which the smiling man had grown quite attached to, was called Torian. It was one of the few outer districts that were near the wall. They did have a smaller wall guarding them, but 500 yards away from the edge was the main wrought-iron gate, holding out the Plagued. The hydraulic weaponry, which featured an auto-targeting system, quickly destroyed them with electrified bolts. As he walked slowly towards the procession, the man thought again of why he was doing this. It needed to be done, he reckoned, even if the Basilisks were being corrupted. Then he smiled. Basilisks. Rebels and revolts that had their family executed or cast out eventually came in touch with a Basilisk member, asking them what they could do to end this tyrant government. He knew the reply was always: “Sacrifice.” Meaning kill or be killed. The true Basilisks were deadly men made up of five classes—the inventors, the snakes (deathly assassins), the smugglers, the spreaders (the men who told others to cause havoc), and the dreaded. The dreaded were a new factor that had just been arrived into the Basilisk cult, and the original members of the Basilisks did not approve. That was not their way, having tyrants (or at least quite close) ruling them. They were one, and their goal was to finish the corrupt government and to allow the people outside in. How could they achieve that while being slowly corrupted of their own? Today was a special day. The mayor was coming out of his “hiding place”, and was finally going to address the people. The city was 14 by 14 miles wide, being quite big, and the only way to travel was to pay for a carriage driven by wired horses (given a shock whenever slowed) or walking. Yet still all of Torian was going to be there. All the better, the man thought. More people to see our head inventor’s best creation yet. The Basilisks had inventors that constantly were creating new items of destruction. After the lead inventor’s men (and him) being locked up in a room for 20 years, they came up with two items: a rectangle of a raw material made of varied chemicals (which exploded and could rip through a yard of iron when exposed to heated temperature) and a two part “Cower”, they were calling it, which created a weapon stronger than the new hand crossbow that the Treads carried. The shots were of a material (much lighter) similar to the one in the other inventions, but were incased in light iron. The weapon itself was made of hard, cold black steel. The noise was suppressed and light, and just a slight cocking noise, quick and easy when reloading. They would never see it coming, the man realized as he had when it was first shown to him. Each of the 19 cities across the whole walled city of Ivory were having this ceremony, and none of the snakes had succeeded in killing the mayor of their. They had to cause havoc before the next city, because it was said that it when they would begin the process of Hellraising. The mission of Hellraising was to release a counter virus against the one that roamed the air currently. In the city, the spreaders known as the Plagued were obliterated, and even if the air was disease-stricken, only one person had mysteriously got it and had sank his teeth into another being. The Basilisks knew that the Hellraising operation would fail, and could even kill all in the perimeters and safety of the wall. That chance could not be taken, and the people deserved a chance at being free to do what they wanted. They would have to survive against the Plagued though, and that could be a way to push back the deformed creatures who had suffered through the disease. That was the true goal of the Basilisks. Recently, the snake had not been sure. He had heard that the new dreaded treat people like they were below them, like dirt. He himself had never, but then again, they only worked at the main headquarters, a city closer to the heart of ebony, a large castle made of solid steel where the Governors and enforcers came from. They were trained there, and that is also where the anonymous president of Ivory lived. Not many had ever seen him, but those who had said his face was burned, by an acid of some sort. No one knew for sure, but the stories had traveled to Basilisk smugglers. One heard main point was that the president had taken his position by force, and was an ex-enforcer. The man had arrived to the area where the mayor was to sign the document allowing the spread of a new virus. The two guards stood at the gate of a small open-roofed building with short, wooden walls. Nowhere as near to the size of the pentagonal wall of Ivory, or even the secondary wall of Torian. The couple of guards stared, entranced at a boring old man proclaiming a written speech. As he stepped off, the snake’s trained eyes spotted a group of 9 enforcers led by what seemed to be a high level Governor. Each one had crossbows that seemed to emit electricity from the three placed bolts. The Governor had the standard bow as well as the silver wrist palette with a slight increase on the top, ready to fire a loaded bolt, obviously hydraulic with so much power it could break through the wall of wood easily. That was a problem—he had been told there would be three low-ranked enforcers. Maybe, because this could be the deciding vote, there was more security. Or maybe because he got his orders from a dreaded. The two guards noticed him, finally, a few yards away. They motioned to invisible forces, and as they both walked towards the snake, the other appeared guards paid attention to the old man who had given the finished speech, walking off the stage. The unknown man was right on time, then. The man reached into his slick leather coat and brought out the new weapon what was going to be used to assassinate the mayor to delay the signing of the document. Realizing that the two pieces were connected (which made them look more suspicious then if they were separate), the smiling person shoved it back into his coat. The Treads noticed this action and stepped in front of him. “Take it out!” one of them boomed. The man looked unfazed. The second street guard put his hand on the back of his shoulder, “What you plunged in your coat. I suggest you show it to us—“ The man put his finger to his lips, glancing at the other guards, who were watching the current man introducing the mayor. Then he turned forward. Reaching into his coat, he did not bring out the weapon, but a different kind. A few clean slices and stabs later, the silver knife was cleaned of blood and returned to the coat. The bodies were cleared of the area. The snake advanced towards the two guards, who noticed him again, and motioned him to pass. Then one stopped him. “Where are the others?” The man frowned. The mayor was giving his opening speech, and then the people would cheer as he signed the document. It was too late. Looking for others that could see him, he noticed none. The enforcers were enthralled by the mayor, and… The Governor was staring right at him. The man froze, then realized: there was no way he could unsling his immense crossbow in time to stop what was happening. Then he realized—the Governor was letting his eyes drift over the audience. He had already passed the man. The guards checked his coat pockets quickly, as they were for everyone. He had stashed the knife in one of the late guards’ body, so they couldn’t find that, but they did come across the two parts of the weapon. “Yeah, what’s this, eh?” The man looked at what he was looking at, and at the same moment figured out that the mayor was about to touch the ink pen to the paper. He snatched the pieces, clicked them together, pulled the top backward (giving off a slight cocking noise) and raised the “gun” and fired two shots, killing the mayor and injuring an enforcer. The Governor flicked his eyes towards him, and the smiling man shot the guards next to him. As the mayor fell forward, spilling ink over the original document, people began to panic. The Governor acted the quickest. He raised his fist, and the man realized he forgot the wrist-gun which was hydraulic powered. The bolt ripped through his stomach, and he knew he would be dead within the minute. He emptied his clip at the enforcers. He was wrong. Because of the flying bolts from the men surrounding him, he died within 20 seconds.