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The Priestess and the Soldier

 
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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Sat Mar 21, 2015 8:01 pm    Post subject: The Priestess and the Soldier Reply with quote

MARCH 15, 2015 0311 HRS LOCAL TIME

Consciousness rolled in slowly. It was like waking in a dreamy fog that had rolled in off the bay overnight, full of mystery and possibilities. But there was no danger because he was there.

As she stirred a large, lean muscular arm swept around her, drawing her in before she could get away. Not that she had wanted to get away. Never. His fingers curled at her waist and his leg fell over top of her, pinning her form to the mattress. In the dim light of morning, he was all muscle and strength and warmth. She didn’t even mind the hint of sweat that built between their limbs. He was claiming her and she would never complain about that.

“Good morning,” she heard her voice whisper, a little rough from sleep.

The fingers tightened further at her waist, digging into her skin. The voice in her ear rumbled. “You left us.”

It was all accusation and it hit deep in her gut where the guilt lived and brewed, boiled and stewed. She had to see his face. She had to see his eyes. When she twisted, he didn’t try to stop her. He let her roll over onto her back, repositioning so he was hovering overhead.

Those sharp blue eyes shone so bright in the dim light of the room. They pierced her soul. They made her want to sob with sorrow and delight. “You took over,” she accused the Wolf. “Give him back.”

“He’s not yours anymore. You left. You promised you would never leave and you left. You get no say,” the Wolf told her, his lips lifting to sneer at her.

It was the truth. He would never have left her. She had let the depression and fear overwhelm her. She had run away. It hadn’t felt like running at the time, though. It had felt like resigning herself to death. “I loved him. I love him. I’ll never not love him. He was my best friend.”

“He was the love of your life,” the Wolf retorted with a laugh. His hands wrapped around her neck, his form pinning her down once again. There was no longer anything safe about the feeling of his body on top of hers. Now it was menacing. He was going to kill her, she realized observantly.

She would not have cared. She would have let the Wolf kill her if it wasn’t for the fact that she knew that he would be in there living with it. The pressure came bearing down upon her windpipe. Hard, fast, and vicious.

Her warm brown eyes met that cold, blue gaze. Warmth to combat the chill. That was how she had learned to deal with the Wolf. And then she watched the fight. The fight as he tried to take back control even as the life slipped out of her. Would he win the inner battle before or after she was dead? She prayed it was before. For his sake, not her own. The fingers slackened on her throat just as the darkness began to take her under.

“Jay,” she coughed out.

His voice answered in a choke of a sob. “Sami.”

And then, with a start, she woke.

Wind blew through the high tree tops rustling the leaves. The dim light in her canvas tent told her nothing as to the hour of day. At this latitude on this planet the light hardly ever faded completely this time of year. She lifted her watch to catch a glimpse of the time. 3 AM local time. She had no idea what time it was on RhyDin nor even the day. Jay was so far away. Harris, Stick, Kazzy, Sissy, Joey. The life she built there just didn’t exist anymore. It was a distant memory. It teased her with its happy moments, it tortured her with its sad ones.

It took the prickling of the ink in the tattoo on her back to draw her out of her momentary pity.

Something wasn’t completely right. Her stomach sank with the realization. The longer she lingered with the sour gut feeling, the more she realized how spot on it was. She sat upright in her sleeping bag, frowning as she tried to figure out what. And then it hit. There were no birds singing. Confused by the long hours of daylight, there was hardly a time in this area of this planet that birds were not chirping this time of year. The entire squad had all complained of it as they tried to adjust to sleeping through it.

“Roberson,” Sami hissed to the figure lying in a sleeping bag beside her.

“Hm? What’s wrong?” The young woman asked in response as she too sat up, rubbing sleep from her pretty hazel eyes.

“I don’t know yet,” Sami responded as she shoved her feet into her unlaced boots, grabbing her handgun as she stumbled out of her tent. She didn’t bother to check what she was wearing before stepping out of the tent. There was hardly a point in any day now in which she wasn’t wearing Rhovnik-issued fatigues.

Adrenaline had her fully awake, her fingers tensing around the gun as she oriented herself with the campsite around her. It was just as she left it when she went to sleep after her guard shift came to a close four hours before. Four tents were arranged in a precise circle within a small clearing deep in the Stryss Forest.

The guards on duty -- Peter Dixon and Chad Taylor -- rounded back towards her when they saw her spill out of the tent with a tense expression, her gun drawn, and Shanna Roberson at her heels. “Sergeant?” Dixon asked, concern beginning to line his face as Sami’s eyes scanned the vicinity.

“Something’s wrong,” Sami murmured, turning on her heels to complete a circular loop as she examined the woods that stood on all sides. When they had first picked this place to spend the night it had seemed as if the big tall oaks and evergreens splattered with late blossoming undergrowth had been hugging them up in the full delight of summer. Now, suddenly, the forest seemed imposing and dangerous.

“Get everyone up,” Sami ordered forcefully. “Something’s coming.”
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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MARCH 15, 2015 0414 HRS LOCAL TIME

Six men and Shanna Roberson stood with her in the center of the tents, eyeing the surrounding woods with the same foreboding sense that Sami had. The light had lost that gray flimsy midnight sun look and was beginning to blossom fully in the sky as the morning light firmly took hold and the sun began its ascent rather than hovering at the horizon.

Sami lifted her radio again to speak into it in a low, commanding tone. “Ember Squad to Teguh Squad. Please state your position and condition.”

But once again the only answer from their sister squad led by their superior, Lieutenant Azad Demirjian, was radio static. With every repetition of the words into the radio and the static response, the tension in the unit grew thicker.

“They got them. They were too deep in the forest,” Caleb Baringbing whispered tensely, lifting his gun and training it on the surrounding woods as if the trees themselves may suddenly lash out at him. “We should have never split up. We knew a zombie horde was close. It’s summer. They’re roaming these hills looking for hunting groups.”

Taylor shot Baringbing a quick, irritated sideways glance. “Of course they’re roaming these hills, ****. That’s why we’re here. The Lieutenant said split up to cover more ground so we split up and we don’t question orders.”

“Not now,” Sami whispered in a calm even tone at the bickering pair. She needed all of her senses and she needed them not blocked by arguing.

Then suddenly she heard it and a second later, by the tense forms all leveling guns in the same direction, the rest of them did as well. Someone or something was running -- no, crashing -- through the woods. It sounded monstrously big but she knew with this much undergrowth that even a squirrel sounded like a deer. Silence settled over the squad. They waited and listened and watched for whatever it was to come into view.

“It’s human,” Shanna said with relief in her voice at the first sight of the figure came into view.

Taylor did not lower his weapon, his bottom jaw tensing. “Or it was,” he murmured skeptically.

“That’s a Rhovnik issue uniform. Look, Sergeant,” Shanna said, turning to Sami to appeal directly to the squad’s leader. “They have to stand down. It’s a Rhovnik issue uniform. They’re going to shoot a fellow soldier.”

Sami waited another couple seconds until she was sure the flash of camouflage was one of theirs. “Weapons down,” she said in the same nonplussed tone.

“Sergeant, just because he is wearing a Rhovnik issue uniform does not mean it’s human anymore,” Taylor advised quietly, sneaking a glance to Sami’s expression.

She was thinking just what he was. The lieutenant wasn’t answering. No one was answering. They could all be dead. Or worse. They could be turning into brain obsessed zombies. But it was one terrified soul. One figure desperately running towards them through the woods, glancing over his shoulder every handful of steps. “Lower your weapons, I said. Stand your ground,” she stated in a firmer tone as she stepped forward.

And then they were able to make out the tattered, bloody figure of Yansen Marbun. Was that his blood or someone else’s? She couldn’t tell. His face was a pale, ghostly white. It could have been from blood loss, it could have been from the trauma he had just experienced. “Sergeant!” he exclaimed as he tripped on a vine, sending him sprawling on his belly into the clearing of their camp.

Sami took a step forward, giving him a hand to help him sit up. Marbun’s fingers grabbed her arm tightly and refused to let go, clutching into her arm painfully tight. Sami nodded Dixon, the only medic-trained soldier among them, signaling for him to look Marbun over. “What happened, Yansen?” she appealed to him quietly in a gentle voice, using his given name.

His form shook with the shock of the incident while Dixon sunk down beside him to look him over for injuries. For bites. They were looking him over for bites. Yansen couldn’t recognize that now. The terror ran too deep. “I don’t know what happened to the guards. We had no warning. One moment we were sleeping and the next the camp was under attack. They’re… they’re all dead. The lieutenant, Foy, Lesmono, Barrie, Netley, Sherwood, Holdon. Dead. They’re all dead.”

The news sat heavy with Sami. She heard someone gasp in her squad gathered behind her. Roberson murmured a quiet prayer for their souls. Dixon’s eyes lifted from his position in a crouch behind Marbun, catching Sami’s gaze. She knew even before he shook his head that Marbun was a goner. She knew by the gravely somber glint in his eyes.

Sami had to see it for herself. Her fingers pried Marbun’s hand from her arm so she could shift to see what Dixon had. It was a vicious bite mark on Marbun’s upper back. Not an arm they could hack off before the infection spread. Not a claw mark that could be confused for a bite mark. There was the vicious indentation of human teeth showing beneath a rip in his t-shirt. “What? What’s wrong?” Marbun asked, fear making his voice higher pitched than it was normally. “What do you see?”

It wasn’t Sami, the Rhovnik soldier, that eased back to meet Yansen Marbun’s eyes. It was, instead, the Marharan priestess. She settled on the ground crosslegged in front of him as Dixon took a slow step back to join the squad. There was no point in patching him up. “I am so sorry, Yansen,” she whispered.

He leaned forward to wrap his arms around her, shuddering out a sob. She was careful of his wounds but she held him tight. They had time before the infection spread. Not much time but there was time for this. “Priestess,” he murmured in the gentle nickname the Rhovnik soldiers had given her when they had found out about her Marharan background. “Tell me what comes after death.”

Sami drew in a breath. She wished this was the first time she’d been asked that. But there had been a lot of battlefields in the last two years. There had been a lot of death. There were new scars on her body and even deeper scars on her soul. She whispered softly in his ear. “I do not know. I’ve never experienced any great insights into the beyond. But I read something a great man once said. Kahlil Gibran. It spoke to me. He said, 'In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond; and like the seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity. Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor. Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall not wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not mindful of his trembling?’

The squad behind her was silent as they watched and listened and mourned their friend who was not yet gone. Yansen pulled back to meet Sami’s gaze, tears and sweat and blood mixing on his face.

“And then comes my favorite part,” Sami murmured before she began quoting again, “‘For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is it to cease breathing but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered? Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.'

He huffed out a laugh in a sob, flickering a smile. He was a Rhovnik soldier, prepared to die early. But it was one thing to acknowledge the probability and another thing to accept it when it came. “That sounds beautiful.”

“Life after death is as beautiful as your dreams. That's what he was saying. Tell me, Yansen, what do your dreams say?” she asked with a gentle smile.

His body trembled in her grip as the infection spread. His voice was raw and hushed as after a moment of silence, he gifted her with his idea of heaven. “It is my childhood home, Penshaw, with the cobblestone streets and the cafes and the big snowcapped mountains that tower over our little village protectively. Mrs. Arkala in the bakery who would slip us sweet things. And my brothers and sisters run with me to the beautiful parkland where old man Mar plays his mandolin while we dance.”

Sami leaned in to press her lips against his bloody forehead before she pulled back just enough to make solid eye contact. “Share it with me in my dreams tonight. Let me dance in your heaven with you.”

“We will dance tonight. We will dance tonight,” Yansen murmured through tears as Sami rose to her feet. He knew what was coming. His arms wrapped around his legs, drawing his knees into him. Soft inaudible prayers were murmured as he buried his face into his legs, curling around them. He didn’t want to see it coming.

Taylor lifted his rifle as Sami approached the squad but she stretched a hand out to lower his rifle to the ground. “I’m taking the shot,” she murmured, accepting the weight of the guilt that would come with killing their team member, their friend, their brother.

Shanna was crying. Sami didn’t think she was the only one. Her gun was drawn and she lifted it to level it on Yansen. Dancing in the streets of Penshaw. He was humming now. Probably one of those songs that old man Mar would be playing on his mandolin.

Who was she anymore? The Wolf was probably pleased. Jay’s gentle priestess who was always quick with words of encouragement, teaching him to stay strong against the beast, had now become a killer. A killer. It didn’t matter. That was another life.

The gun blast reverberated around them, destroying the host brain before it could be infected fully. Dixon slung an arm around Shanna and the other around Baringbing.

Sami drew in a breath to fill her ragged lungs as she holstered the gun. “Let’s move out. I’m going to use the sat phone to call Sir Chase for backup. We need to tear down the campsite and get going. The horde will be on us before we know it. I want to be prepared.”
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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Tue Mar 24, 2015 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MARCH 15, 2015 545 HRS LOCAL TIME

Lt. Demirjian had never been Sami’s favorite person in the world. He was competitive and combative and overly aggressive. The mission had been to locate the zombie horde that had wandered too close to the city of Clurville on the edges of the Stryss Forest and destroy it. But Lt. Demirjian was impatient. He ignored her advice, deciding to separate the squads to locate the horder quicker.

Sir Chase had put Sami under Lt. Demirjian in the hopes that the priestess would help soothe the raging beast that rest in Lt. Demirjian’s heart. He hoped she would be the pacifist voice in the old man’s ear. Clearly, she had failed.

The lieutenant was dead. An entire squad was dead. And her squad was about to suffer the same fate if they could not hang on long enough for help to arrive.

Her watch and her body told her that it was approaching night. But, once again, the dim light told her nothing. The sun sank but would only skirt along the horizon, never dipping beneath completely beneath it as the midnight sun continued on another night. They were wrapped up in the dim lavender and gray shades. It fit the silent, morose mood that had settled over the squad.

The campsite had long since been broken down. Their packs were stuffed and their water canisters full. Although their instincts begged them to run to Clurville, they didn’t want to lead the zombie horde straight towards town. Instead, they followed the stream that would take them back to the west where there was an open enough area for a landing party. They were armed to the teeth -- handguns, rifles, machetes, swords.

The horde may have caught their brothers and sisters sleeping but they would not catch this squad asleep.

* * * *

When the horde came down upon them, trying to overtake them from the south as the squad raced to the clearing in the north, Sami was shocked by the sheer number of ragged, decaying bodies. The smell was overwhelming. It wasn’t the first time she had seen zombies. It was, however, the first time she’d see so many grouped together. They scrambled through the undergrowth, tripping over vines and running into tree trunks. They tore at each other trying to get to the front of the pack.

Sami and her squad were fresh meat.

“Pick up the pace. Now,” Sami stated firmly, patting Baringbing firmly on the shoulder. But nobody needed any encouragement. Taylor raced ahead while Sami fell to the back of the line. If they were going to need someone to create a diversion while the rest put distance between themselves and the horde, it would be her.

Death would be a gift. A gift. A way out. She was a priestess who lost her faith.

It was with that thought in mind that she heard the roar from the east. They all heard it. It wasn’t one singular large horde. It was the convergence of two separate hordes -- one that was bearing down on them from the south and the other now coming from the east. Hungry, competitive, aggressive.

“****,” Taylor murmured but whatever the next word in his string of curses were, it was buried by the sounds of choppers overhead. The cavalry was on its way to the clearing to the north. It was a joyous, beautiful clatter skating over the treetops overhead. They need only get to it.

As the choppers passed, they were left with the very real growls and grumbles and clamoring behind them. 1.5 klicks. With that second group moving in to cut off their path, they were screwed. Her eyes scanned the line of people. Mostly the newly turned. They still had all their limbs intact and were able to make better ground. The older drifted further back, slowed by decaying limbs and the destruction that had been wrought to their bodies by the rest of the horde.

At least she could see no children. Children rarely lasted long in the packs. They were competition for food and there were no protective instincts left in the zombie brain towards children.

She reached out grabbing Dixon’s arm to slow him. “How many hand grenades do you have left?”

His gaze moved on Sami, inspecting her expression for a moment before responding. “Two.”

Two. It would have to be enough to slow down the horde for a bit. “Hand them over and then take the rear.”

“Priestess,” he whispered quietly.

She shook her head firmly, stretching an arm out, palm up for the grenades. “It was an order, Dixon. Run for those choppers and don’t look back.”

His eyes lifted from Sami’s face to the line of zombies spilling through the woods. The expression on his face grew grim. They had already lost eight. How many more would they lose? Peter Dixon’s eyes found Sami’s face once more and in that brief moment, his gaze had softened. He nodded in response. “Understood, Sergeant.”
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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MARCH 15, 2015 621 HRS LOCAL TIME

The others in her squad were much more comfortable with the firearms they carried than Sami was. But Rhovnik missions encompassed a wide range of objectives and the lands those missions took them to were also varied in landscape as well as technology. Over her year and a half with them, Sami had found her comfort with a sword from her days with the Maraharan was just as important as her co-workers experience with firearms.

Never in those days as she had went through a series of feints, attacks, and defenses with a Marharan monk or Stick demanding her form be better had she counted on those skills assisting her when she went toe-to-toe with a zombie horde intent on eating her alive. But, in twenty-four years, she had never really found that her life was much about facing situations that she had counted on. The most important moments? They were never moments she had counted on.

The clearing they were all racing towards had been the sight of a massive lightning strike induced forest fire a decade before. The locals kept the chopper site clear for zombie eradication missions but the surrounding area was starting to show signs of growth once more. It was missing the great old oaks, though, as underbrush and small trees had taken hold, promising that the forest would one day replenish itself.

Sami waited until the great old trees began to thin and give way to younger ones. She needed a clear line of sight to throw the grenades. Finally, she glanced over her shoulder confirming she had it and then yanked one of the grenades free of her utility belt to toss them towards the grouping in the south. One. Two. Three. Four. The blast rattled the forest floor. A large oak crashed over, landing to rest again another old trees. The grouping in the south was slowed as the zombies with limbs still attached climbed, skittered, and stomped over their fallen brethren. They were slowed.

But the problems wasn’t the southern clumping. It was the eastern one. There was no way to lob a grenade. The distance was too short. She swept her sword up as the first came at her. It was a tall male. Newly formed. His skin had a greyish lifeless dusting, there was hunger in his pupilless eyes. A slashing cut was drawn upwards, severing the head from the neck in a sweep. His body fell and the momentum drew her around in a tight circle. She completed the spin and allowed the weight to fall into her second blow. It was a downward strike on the back of the skull of a female figure. Sami had noted her as dangerously fast upon her approach. She had to be dealt with but there was little fight.

There rarely was much fight from zombies. The problem was never the fight. It was the sheer number of them. Eventually, you made a mistake. Eventually, you fell beneath the overwhelming volume.

Sami took several quick jerky steps back as the approached, their arms reaching for her. Fingers with mud encrusted nails scraped at an arm. Her team had to be closing in on those choppers. They only needed a little longer. The last hand grenade was yanked free of her belt. She balanced sword and grenade to place her finger into the ring, pulling the pin free of the fuse. Her elbow pulled back and she went to launch the grenade deep into the grouping. She would blast a hole in the center of it before they took her under with them.

Just as her arm went to launch the grenade, an undead hand snagged her jacket sleeve, slowing the movement of her arm. The grenade was let go but the throw was off. It didn’t go nearly as far as she was hoping. It was too close. Way too close.

One. She threw a front kick into the stomach of the zombie that had grabbed at her. Two. The force of the blow doubled the mindless body and the hilt of the sword was bashed into the back of his skull. Three. She turned and ran, not for her life. The choice to die here had been made but she hadn’t taken enough of them with her. She didn’t want that blast to kill her. Four. She was still too close.

The air around her exploded. Her form was thrown with the force of it. The deafening noise rang in her ears as she was flung in a chaotic explosion of zombies and dirt and tree limbs. Her temple connected with a rock as her limp body was thrown to the forest floor. Consciousness began to fade. Darkness began to swallow her up as she lay there lifeless in the undergrowth. Her last conscious sensation was fingers scratching against the back of her neck as two strong hands grabbed her by her collar to tug her lifeless form towards them.

Maybe she would dance with Yansen. And then there was nothing but peace.

____________________________

MARCH 18, 2015 1550 HRS LOCAL TIME

“Sergeant Capistrano?”

Sergeant Sami Capistrano. That was her. Or at least the name she was going by these days. A stolen name. When the Rhovniks had given her their sales pitch, had appealed to her sense of duty to work for them, she had made only one request. Let Samiyah Zayn die. She wanted to be Sami Capistrano. They had no problem with it. As for the reasons behind the switch, she preferred not to think about it. The answers she came up with only stung.

“Sergeant?” The voice was teasing her now, trying to spur her to consciousness.

Sami groaned, tossing her arm over her face. “Go away,” she insisted. “I hurt all over.”

The statement only made Peter Dixon settle on the edge of her cot, stretching his long legs out. She pulled her arm away from her face to squint at him and her surroundings. Her head hurt, her body ached. But clearly she hadn’t been bitten. They never would have brought her back here -- the Rhovnik medical unit buried deep within the basement layers of their New Haven offices -- if she were infected. With an exhale, she gingerly began to sit herself up. He clearly wasn’t going away.

“I don’t want another zombie assignment for years,” Peter said with a shake of his head, frowning at his feet.

Sami reached up to brush back her hair, her fingers floated lightly over the goose egg just above her temple. “I’m right there with you,” she replied.

A moment of silence sat between them. Sami stared at Peter while Peter frowned down at his combat boots. Eventually, she spoke what they were both thinking. “You disobeyed my orders. You came back for me.”

“Saying ‘thanks’ works too,” Peter stated uncomfortably at the accusation. He lifted his eyes, shoving his hands into the side pocket of his zip-up hoodie. “Look, Priestess, I’ve already been debriefed and I said that the two of us chose to stay behind to buy them time. You can sell me out if you want but I did it because you’re my friend and I couldn’t let you do it.”

He lied in a debriefing and he had failed to follow a superior officer’s orders. It was enough to get him fired. Sami drank in a breath of air, leaning back against the fortified concrete block wall behind her. “I’m not going to rat you out, Pete. I’m not going to thank you either, though.”

“I know.” Peter flashed a smile, reaching out to pat her legs. He was a RhyDin native like she was. One of the few that worked for the Rhovniks despite the fact that their headquarters was now located on RhyDin, a short forty-five minute drive from the city itself. As a dueling fan, Peter was one of the few that knew the truth. He knew she wasn’t Sami Capistrano but Samiyah Zayn, adopted daughter of Harris and Stick, ex-girlfriend of Jay Capistrano, always skirting the edge of RhyDin’s rich and famous because of those connections. He kept her secret. She would keep his.

He nodded towards a magazine on the nightstand beside her table as he rose to his feet. “Got a new RhyDin Sporting News while we were deployed. There’s an article in there I thought you might be interested in.”

She couldn’t imagine an article in there she would be interested in. Cautiously, her eyes upturned on Peter. “What is it?”

“Jay Capistrano is signing with the Crew again,” Pete said quietly, his eyes searched her face watching for a reaction.

The reaction was slow coming. She was surprised first. She had read the articles shortly after he left announcing that he was leaving the Crew and going to college. The journalists hadn’t understood, the fans hadn’t understood. Why did someone in the heat of the career walk away? But Sami had always understood. He was following his dream. The dream she had always thought that she would support him through, the dream she had always thought she would be a part of. But it was his dream and she was glad he was seeking it without her.

But something must be wrong. Something had to be wrong if he was giving up on his dream and returning to the Crew. The Crew was safe, the duels were reliable. He knew his way around them. “Did it say why?”

“No. Just a lot of PR speak about how glad the Crew is to have him back,” Pete replied with a shrug of his shoulders.

“Thanks, Pete,” Sami replied, her eyes drifting to the magazine.

“Anytime, Priestess.” Pete hesitated at the door, his fingers wrapped around the door knob. “Did Yansen come to you? You asked him to come to you in your dreams. Something about dancing to a mandolin. Did you see him in your dreams?”

Sami’s brown eyes bounced back to Pete. She knew what he wanted to hear. She was their priestess and they all wanted to be reassured that there was something more to all of this, that Yansen was safe and sound and happy. But her faith was an empty well. Life had taken from it but no new water had sprung in its place. She had nothing to offer him. “No, I’m sorry, Pete.”

“It’s okay. It’s what I figured.” He shot a sheepish flash of a smile as he opened the door. “You take care of yourself. I’ll see you back around the dorms soon.”
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Samiyah Zayn
Adventurer
Adventurer


Joined: 06 Apr 2004
Posts: 29

Location: The dorms of the Ravenwyck Estate outside of Clovely, RhyDin
2,895 Silver Nobles


PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2015 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MARCH 20, 2015 1137 HRS LOCAL TIME

“Two weeks of leave, Capistrano?”

Chase leaned back in his chair at his desk within the ‘Barracks Wing’ of the Ravenwyck Estate. Although, it was called the ‘Barracks Wing’ there was not a single bed in it (unless one counted the several that were in the basement brig). It had, at one time, contained the Barracks but now the men and women that served as soldiers and guards to the Rhovnik knights lived in dorms on the Estate or in private homes in the little nearby village of Clovelly. The Barracks Wing now only held offices but it never did rid itself of its moniker as the ‘Barracks Wing’.

“I have never taken a vacation in the year and a half I have worked for the family, Sir,” Sami responded quietly, politely, but firmly. “My adopted mother and brother are only a forty-five minute drive and I haven’t seen them in well over a year.”

“Right,” Chase said, crossing his arms over the written request to find her eyes. “And if you had asked me this request a month ago, I would have been over the moon about you taking a little time off to visit your family. They're so close. But the timing has me worried. You were on a mission in which half of a team died, your Lieutenant was killed, you shot a friend in the head, you had several close encounters with the undead over the last couple of weeks. You need counseling. You need to be with us. We know how to take care of you.”

Sami’s lips pursed and she leaned forward towards Chase’s desk, setting her forearms against the edge of it as she appealed to him. “Sir Chase, respectfully, I know what I need. I need to go back home and see my family. There’s someone I need to see. I’m afraid he’s in trouble and I need to check in on him.”

Chase lifted a hand up to rub at the back of his neck reluctantly. “Fine. Fine, Sami. I’ll sign off on the request. But I want you in a counseling session at the New Haven office every other day while you’re gone.”

A grin sparked to life across Sami’s face and she quickly rose to her feet. “Thank you, Chase. Really. Thank you. I would totally hug you right now if you were not my superior officer and if you were the hugging type.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. Get out.” He waved dismissively, allowing a hint of a smile in response to her grin.

The door was pulled shut behind her as Sami spilled out into the hallway of the offices. Excitement and anxiousness swirled in the pit of her. It felt like she was skydiving, rushing straight towards the ground with no back-up plan other than a cord she hoped would blossom into her safety. It was a light, heady feeling that practically had her dizzy with its pull. She clamored down the swirl of steps back towards the first floor.

She had to pack. It was a thought that excited and terrified her.

“Sergeant,” a voice said, lingering in the doorway of a conference room.

She skittered to a stop, not realizing how quickly she was moving until she needed to stop. Her eyes turned up to meet the man addressing her even as his fingers wrapped around her arm. His free hand reached out to slip the sign beside the door from ‘Open’ to ‘In Use’ as he dragged her in with him.

“Charles,” she complained as he shut the door behind them. “I’m busy.”

Charles Winston was the head of the Rhovnik Independent Investigation Commission of Inquiry. It was a fancy name for a team of lawyers and detectives who worked for Sir Stefan conducting third party investigations into issues of various internexual/international crimes and conduct. He was also Samiyah Zayn’s bad habit. Everytime she slept with him she felt a little worse about herself. Everytime she slept with him she lost sight of the priestess a little more. Her depression was a great, deep, dark hole she could not pull herself out of and every moment spent with Charles dug that hole a little deeper.

His hands landed on her hips where her black uniform cargo pants rested low. His fingers began insinuating themselves beneath her uniform shirt to find skin as he used his weight to press her back against the wall. He hadn’t let her step far enough into the room to turn the sensor-activated lights on. What little light spilled in through the closed curtains on the far side of the room left heavy shadows across his face.

“A two week leave to RhyDin? What’s going on?”

Her eyes tipped up to take in his features. What had she found appealing about him? Maybe she hadn’t found anything at all appealing about him. Maybe that’s exactly what was appealing. There was no competition. There was only one man who owned her heart. “I’m going to see him,” she replied firmly after a moment of studying the face of the man she had been sleeping with.

His hands fell off her hips but he remained an imposing force, his weight keeping her caught up against the wall. A stunned expression settled over his face. Charles didn’t have to ask who she was going to see. He knew the truth. It was there on her expression but it had also lingered between them for the entirety of the time he had known her. “Sami, it’s been a year and a half. He’s moved on with his life. It’s time that you do the same. You and I… we’ve been together for a year. I want to meet your mother. I want to meet your brother. Take me with you.”

It caused a breathless laugh of disbelief from her. Charles and his expensive suits and his fancy degree were the antithesis of her life in RhyDin. Her hands planted themselves on his chest to push him back a step. She needed air. “Together? I told you from the beginning, Charles, that there was no ‘us’. There would never be an ‘us’. I’m using another man’s last name.”

There was no resistance. Sami pushed and Charles stumbled back a step, giving her room to breathe. He was too stunned to resist. “I was going to change that. I was going to marry you. This is not good. You’ve got to see what you’re doing. You had a bad deployment, Sami. Those happen. Let me help you through it. Don’t go running back to him. Act like an adult here.”

It was time for her to grow up. It was time for her to stop using Charles to feel something -- to feel anything -- even if all he made her feel was misery and pain. Pain. Her features twisted up in sadness and she shook her head sadly. “We’re done, Charles. I’m sorry. We’re done.”

It was the finality in those words that turned his shock and concern to anger. He stalked towards her before she could reach the door and the rage sprung free in a growl. “You’re being a stupid ****. They call you the ‘Priestess’ and treat you like you're some kind of spiritual maven but you and I know better. You are empty and you cling to that man because he makes you feel needed. He is not your savior and he’s not going to know how to get you through this. You left him because you knew he would see that you aren’t the priestess. This ridiculous serene counselor. You left because you couldn’t be what he wanted. You still can’t. He won’t want you. I want you. I can help you through what you’re going through.”

The voices of her nightmares and the critics that lived in her head pounded their fists in the air and stomped their feet in agreement. Yes! This is what they had been telling her all along. Jay would never want her. She was a phony. She had no faith anymore. She was fundamentally damaged. Now someone close to her was agreeing with those nasty voices in her head. Sami’s hands landed on his chest to give him another shove. She needed space. She needed to breathe.

Her confidence shuddered. The joy she had felt rushing down the stairs crumbled apart. “Maybe he won’t but I’m going home for a couple weeks.”

“You’ll come back to me,” Charles said confidently.

Sami twisted a look over her shoulder, her eyes sizing the man up. How had she slept with him over and over? How had she done that to herself?

“No. No, I won’t, Charles.”
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