Eaton (my character) and Koi (Fable-Life
) drive a group of infected away from Eden. Takes place in Act 1.
Also sorry about my crappy writing haha :v Fable's is pretty good!
Dawn breaking over the entrance of Eden, Eaton made his way through the towering stalactites and out of the tunnel. He twitched, glancing down at the ground below. It wasn’t like him to wake up early, he knew, but something smelled foul. Raising his head, he sniffed at the air and immediately cringed. The stench of rotting flesh and blood filled the air, and he knew a pack of infected were nearby. He wasn’t too keen to find them, but his moral compass guided him back to the cavern and into the silent streets.
He sighed, glancing around at the towering walls.
“Is anybody awake yet?” he called.
Koi heard the echoes of the cat’s voice on the canyon walls before she saw him. She padded across the canyon floor, her head low and limbs tensed for a quick escape if something went wrong. One could never be certain in this world, especially with the scent of infected on the wind. She silently wished that she had more courage, and that someone would have her back in the inevitable fight that was to come. Instead she felt as if a looming presence was hanging over her, and couldn't help but glance over her shoulder. Nothing. She breathed a sigh of relief, but shrieked as she rounded a corner and banged into Eaton’s chest.
“Oh, sorry! Sorry!” she said hastily, biting her lip.
Eaton started, looking down at the cat before him. He grunted, annoyed, and quickly regretted it. After all, both of them hadn’t been looking where they were going.
“It’s alright,” he said, leaning down to help her up. “I didn’t notice you.”
He silently wondered if such a small cat could deal with infected. He knew he shouldn’t think like that, but he really thought her going out to fight would be suicide. But he really didn’t have a choice--it was this cat or have some infected storming right in and tearing everything apart.
“Do you smell the infected?” he asked, scrunching up his nose. He noticed, with some unease, that they were getting closer. “I was looking for someone to help me lead them away.”
Koi stared at Eaton, still slightly stunned, but shook herself and nodded. The stench was unmistakable.
“I-I’ll help,” she said, feeling her heart swoop in her chest like a caged bird trying to break out. Being so small, a mere six inches in height, Koi knew that the odds were not in her favor. But there was one advantage to it, and she knew that her skills could be put to good use. She just wished that she could be more prepared. At least she had body armor to protect herself from being bitten. “Do you have a plan?”
Of course, Stupid! He thought. You should have a plan.
He thought, reaching into the recesses of his mind and pulling at the thoughts that lay there. He could feel his hard, desperate hand raking at the silent interior, no idea shedding itself into any light. A darkness hung around, and it grew, covering up the shadows of the shadows, as he began to feel frustrated. He narrowed his eyes, the hand reaching deeper, more desperately. No, he couldn’t come up with anything, despite his urgency. His mind said nothing.
“Th-that’s what I need help with, too, “ he said. “I really don’t have armor or anything, and I’ll have to see the terrain to make a plan.”
He sighed. So he was leading himself to his death. Scenting the air, he turned to the head of the cave. “I’m going to try and see where they are. Just get ready, and if you follow my scent trail you should be able to find me. I’ll wait.”
Koi didn’t know if that was a good idea, but she didn’t say so. She began to think of a plan for him, but like him, she was also uncertain. So many variables were in play, and there was no way of figuring out what they were until such time as they were presented to the two cats. For now, Eaton’s scouting would have to be the best course of action. She nodded, then turned to the canyon wall and scrambled up onto a ledge. It gave her a small vantage, and would keep her safe from any surprises while Eaton went ahead. She sniffed the air again, the scent of infected making her sick to her stomach.
I hate those rotten creatures, she thought, closing her eyes tight, trying not to remember the past run-ins she’d had with them.
Eaton stalked nervously into the open. It seemed far too revealing without cave walls to keep him safe. His fur prickled, and it was everything he could do to keep himself from turning back.
I have to prove I’m strong enough for Eden!
He sniffed, then froze. A cold wind seemed to pass through the area. Scrambling on top of a ledge, he looked down, and nearly fell.
A group of infected.
Calm down! he scolded himself. There are just four or five of them. The most they’ll do is claw up your ear.
I don’t want my ear clawed up.
He willed himself to stay, and desperately wished for Koi to get there quickly.
The infected were, fortunately, in a small valley. He could chase them off into the mountains, but that would require splitting them up. Having more than two was hard to handle, but he dreaded the thought of being split up with Koi.
Koi waited, feeling antsy in the silence of the morning. Eaton wasn’t being attacked, or she would have heard his yowls by now, so she decided it was time to come after him. She made her way along the narrow ledge, climbing up to a newer, wider one when that one ended. Soon she could see Eaton ahead and a few feet below her, and below him, the group of infected.
Thank Eden they’re only the normal kind, Koi thought, not feeling very relieved at all. Even the thin, brittle infected could pose a threat in numbers, but Koi had the advantage of agility and speed, which had earned her the nickname “Fleet” by her father. No-one else had called her that since his death, but she still kept it in her memory. But now was not the time to think of that. She cautiously let a pebble slide down the canyon wall, which landed squarely between Eaton’s ears. It was not large enough to hurt, but she hoped it would get his attention.
Eaton grunted in surprise, irritation rising up in him. He turned, glaring, then noticed Koi.
His glare faded, and he felt slightly ashamed.
“Oh,” he said. “There are about four of them. Do you think we should split them up into groups or two or tackle them all together? There’s really no exit from the valley rather than those canyons, so we could chase them in there.”
Koi pondered the suggestion, studying the path through the canyon. A short distance away was a ridge that led up to the plateau above. She then turned her attention to the infected, who were starting to head off in that direction.
“I’ve got an idea,” she said, nodding toward the ridge. “If we can get the infected to follow us up to the plateau, then we can shove them over the edge. The fall will shatter them to pieces.”
He nodded. It certainly sounded a lot better than his idea.
“Okay, good idea. Let’s get there right away.”
Not waiting for a reply, he set off at a brisk trot toward the ridge. It would be a terrible idea to go any faster--he’d rather save his energy for climbing to the plateau.
Glancing uneasily down, every nerve told him to run. He’d rather be cleaning some kitten’s accident than be here, allowing himself to be chased by infected. He’d even rather be cleaning up another cat’s corpse.
He shook his head. Of course I wouldn’t be! I’d rather not allow the infected to kill them.
With some unease he wasn’t sure if that was true. He wasn’t even sure if Koi could trust her life with him. Each passing minute he wasted thinking, however, was getting the infected further away from her plan. He sped up slightly.
Koi skidded down to the lower ledge where Eaton had been, once again glancing at the infected. They were starting to veer away from the sloping path. She had to fix this before they got too far. Steeling herself, she leaped down to the ground, shuddering from the recoil in her paws, then darted along the wall until she was past the group, then dashed into the open.
“HEY, SMELLY MONSTERS!” she called, flinching at her less-than-intimidating voice. The infected stopped short, gurgling in confused harmony. It took only a few seconds for them to scent the kitten’s warm flesh and recover from their daze. They started to move again, tottering on their bony legs. Koi squeaked and took off, racing back to Eaton and then past him onto the path.
Eaton started. He hadn’t expected her to break away and run like that.
The infected were pushing toward them, lumbering in a fast gait that struck him with fear. He turned, running along the path, finding his old legs could hardly keep up to the kitten ahead.
“Come on you ugly things!” he shouted. “Can you really be that slow?”
There wasn’t much chance that they’d understand him, but he hoped that his tone was enough to rally them into blind pursuit.
Snarling, hideous sounds burst from the infected, and he shuddered. They were like him once.
He hadn’t any intention of letting himself or Koi turn into one.
Pounding onto the hard sand, he felt his heart slamming against his chest from fear and exhaustion.
He was exhausting himself more with his mounting fear. The plateau loomed too far ahead, the sun glared to hard, the monsters yowled too loud.
An infected lunged towards them, and he turned to strike it with his claws.
Koi heard Eaton’s frantic breathing as he ran behind her, filled with the same panic that she felt. She kept her pace, charging up the slope toward the plateau. She was halfway up when she realized that Eaton was no longer behind her. She skidded to a halt, digging her claws into the dirt to keep from sliding over the edge. Turning back, Koi saw that Eaton was several paces back, facing the infected. Her eyes widened in surprise.
“Eaton, what are you doing?!” she cried, running back toward him. “We need to get up the slope!”
Eaton stared around himself, eyes wide. As soon as he turned, they surrounded him, it looked like five, ten, twenty, one hundred, boiling around him in a twisting mass. Thunder rolled in his ears, screeches and snarling clawed at them and made them ring, and he couldn’t hear Koi or the Infected and couldn’t see anything but their hollow eyes.
There’s only a few of them, idiot! And that was the dumbest thing you’ve done in your life!
He turned. He didn’t know how much time had passed.
A soft noise as his claws slid out.
It was the only thing audible to him above the blood in his ears and his pounding heart.
Koi could tell that Eaton was terrified of the infected, and wondered just how deep that emotion was grounded. If he froze in a fight, he’d be finished, and Koi knew it. She sprang down the slope, tackling one of the infected that had lunged at Eaton, then turned and shoved against his flank to get him running.
His eyes were locked on the infected, his claws batting randomly, and he was barely aware of her beside him, pushing him along. Suddenly, the ringing flushed out of his ears, and he was back, hearing the harsh scrabble of Koi’s tiny paws against the ground.
She’s only a kitten! He was suddenly aware. You’re going to let her die!
Turning, he pulled away in a space formed by Koi’s arrival. He began to run hard up the plateau.
“I’m sorry!” he called to her. “That was stupid of me.”
He didn’t tell her about his regrets. It was better to save his breath and just apologise.
Koi followed, hearing the gurgling, half-choked snarls of the infected close behind. She felt a bit better now that Eaton was moving, but she was still worried that he wasn’t doing so well.
“It’s okay, Eaton!” she responded, panting a little between words. “We just need to keep our eyes ahead and our minds on track.”
“I don’t need help!” he snapped. After all, he was moving, wasn’t he? And he didn’t need help just because he was a bit old.
But he did feel kind of bad.
“Sorry,” he said. “It’s just, scary.” He was even more scared that a kitten was risking her own life to do things no kitten should have to do. And he was scared about being ripped into miserable shreds. All because of some d---- disease that came probably after the humans.
Glancing back, he was nervous. The ground dropped away, quicker than he would have liked, and the Infected seemed to easily scale the jutting rocks. But their determination wouldn’t let them see the ede.
Koi was running so hard beside Eaton that she almost missed the crack in the soil ahead. Acting swiftly, she threw herself toward the wall, dodging the drop by a hair’s breadth.
“Watch out for the crack!” she warned, “It might cause you to fall!”
Eaton hesitated, then, without giving himself time to think, threw himself over the crack. Some infected slipped in the crack, hissing as their companions thundered over them. They scrambled, snarling, after the two.
The larger cat pulled himself up the wall, looking for the top of the plateau.
“Isn’t far now!” he panted. “You doing okay?”
“I’m fine!” Koi gasped, hopping over a rock. “But it’ll be better after we’ve dropped these monsters off of the cliff.”
Koi could already imagine the screeching creatures plummeting from the top of the plateau, their undead skeletons smashing on the ground and rocks below. She took no pleasure in the thought, but it was a choice she was willing to make. She didn’t want to see anyone else become infected and die, like her father did, like so many others had. That was what kept her going, and she was determined not to stop until the job was done.
He nodded solemnly, staring at the edge. It approached with frustrating sluggishness, the top never quite coming close. It almost seemed as if the plateau didn’t want them to throw those creatures off the cliff.
His lungs burned, his breath scorching the sides and his limbs threatening to give up. Finally, the top rushed underneath his paws, and he leapt to the top. A small bump lining the ridge slowed his progress, and he grasped it with his claws. Scrambling, he hauled himself to the top and glanced back.
Koi sprang up after him, turning back to see how far back the infected were--too close for comfort. She backed away from the edge uneasily, tensing her shoulders for the big shove when the infected reached the top. She wasn’t about to let them get an attack in if she could help it. She just hoped that Eaton was ready to do the same.
Eaton snarled, watching the infected pound towards them. The stench of carrion slapped his senses, and he glanced at Koi.
He turned, leaping towards the edge. His breath came out in gasps, and his throat burned.
“Ready?” he called to Koi.
“Ready,” Koi replied, steeling herself for the big push.
He turned, spitting, and watched the infected rush towards them. His paws scrambled over the hard earth at the last moment, running horizontally away from the wave. Their hot, carrion-stinking breath barely missed his ear. A screech rang out as one fell over, some following.
Koi dodged an infected, slamming another in the shoulder, which sent it over the edge with a gurgling yowl. She turned, ready to send another one over, but was knocked sideways by a sudden movement beside her. Scrambling upright, she saw that a rock had fallen where she had been, and as she stared, it rolled into an infected, bowling it over and effectively crushing several of its bones. Koi tried not to retch at the sound.
Eaton skidded to the side as one bowled toward him, snarling. He slammed his claws into its face, wincing as it sank into flesh like mud, and dragged it off. He turned aside as it scrabbled at the side, and kicked it off. Watching it fall, he looked at Koi.
“I think that’s all of them,” she said, glancing around. As if to prove her wrong, one last infected pounced from the rocks, bowling her over. She yowled fiercely, shoving it off. It shrieked, clawing at her, but she managed to strike it with a headbutt to the chest, which sent it careening over the edge.
“Okay, maybe that was the last of them,” she gasped, sitting down heavily and catching her breath.
Eaton, worry clawing at him, rushed over. He bent over, sniffing her for any signs of severe wounds.
“Are you alright?” he murmured, licking at the claw marks. “That was quite the running you did.”
“I’m okay, “Koi responded. “My armor did some good against them, at least.”
She took a moment to assess her wounds. Minor scrapes and cuts were the worst of the damage, for which she was thankful. If one of those monsters had bitten her…no. Now was not the time to think of “what if’s”. She stood up, walking to the ledge and peering down. The infected were scattered across the canyon floor in various states of splat. There was something oddly satisfying to it, but inwardly, Koi was shivering at the sight of those creatures, wondering if they would suddenly spring back to life and repeat the cycle. Thankfully, the bodies remained lifeless and unmoving. She turned away, putting on a tired half-smile instead.
“Should we head back to camp?”
Eaton nodded tiredly.
“We better tell Johanna what we did, too,” he said, trotting down the canyon. “But we’d better sleep first.”
Especially since you’re a kit, he thought. As always, Eaton, you’ve gotten fond of another one. You should stop.
He felt warm despite the cold of the desert dawn.