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Author Topic: Divine Intervention  (Read 131 times)

Divine Intervention
« on: February 01, 2020, 04:45:01 AM »
A day south of Shiganshina, beyond Wall Maria

The convoy scattered as a pair of Titans smashed into a cart -- the one carrying the wounded. Bodies flew; horses grabbed and slung. Screams. Flashes of green cloaks scattering like leaves in the strong wind as the expedition struggled to hold its shape, revert to defensive maneuvers.

Jaroslaw’s hair whipped his eyes as his head snapped around -- he saw Gergritch, his squad leader, disappear shrieking into a Titan’s mouth. More Titans came. More. Orders were being hollered but the chaos was too much, and Jaroslaw struggled to know what to do -- they were in the empty space between their last rest point and the next, Wall Maria over a day away, and there was little cover or anchor-points. They’d thought the setting sun would make things easier.

The truest terror he’d ever felt in his life consumed his entire body as he wrestled his horse this way and that, dodging swipes and veering away from fleshy walls trying to close him in. Broken wails tumbled then soared out of his mouth. He fled blindly away from the convoy, vaguely in the direction of the setting sun. What did it matter now, if they were all going to die out here anyway?

“Coward! Coward!” someone screamed after him. A third repetition was abruptly silenced.

Flashes of dark. Or flashes of his surroundings? Darkness and landscape, horseflesh, throbbed in his vision like his heartbeat now controlled the world. Everything a nauseous yellow-pink.

Running. He was still running. The horse was galloping, frothing at the mouth, snorting loud -- Jaroslaw felt the sound hit him over and over like a pounding on his chest. The icy grip of fear had contracted all his muscles. Where was he? Where was he going? He was vaguely aware that he was still screaming. Even with the horse he felt horribly alone.

The sun, like a bloody knife. Every line of the landscape fleeing beneath him, like a knife. His body, like a knife. The smaller the sliver of the sun at the horizon, the more it hurt. How to make it stop? When would it stop?

The horse tripped, buckled. Jaroslaw was thrown and struck the ground violently.


Jaroslaw stirred. Was it over? Was it over at last? Had it all just...stopped?


He didn’t recognize the voice. His tried to open his eyes but wasn’t sure if he was doing so -- everything was hazy, as though seen through gauze. His skull thrubbed and he remembered the throbbing of his fractured vision as he fled, and why.

“Wake -- you have yet to fulfil your purpose.”

Jaroslaw realized he was looking at grass in front of him, wild onion. Further out, a muted form of an unmoving horse in twilight. He tried to move, squinting even with the slightest turn. Who was with him? Speaking to him? His maneuvering gear clunked and rattled underneath him as he righted himself.

He was alone on the plain. The wind tousled his hair, which was half-loose from the tie he kept it in. Tacky blood had coated one side of his face and the cut on his head stung, but he could feel nothing broken. His horse was dead, and farther away still were the eerie monoliths of Titans stilled against the star-pricked sky.

Jaroslaw recalled fully, then, what had happened and what he’d done. Hot tears of fear sprung in his eyes and he whimpered, trying to get to his feet. He vomited.

“You must not fear.”

Jaroslaw whirled and, unbalanced, fell backward. He looked around wildly but there was still no one, and nowhere for anyone to hide. Yet the voice had been clear as the dirt beneath him. He squeezed his eyes shut, the panic surging.

“You must not fear.”

Strangely the fear subsided, like the sun drying water on stone. He opened his eyes again, feeling the pain retreat from him and every muscle relax.

“We want you to live. You must walk.”

Walk? Walk where? Who…?


He did so, compelled by a sudden warmth in his chest that radiated through his left arm to his fingertips. That arm rose, pulling him forward.

“You must walk. You must return to us. We will guide you -- for we are merciful.”

The world narrowed. His consciousness was consumed with that blissful warmth.

He was startled by a violent lurch -- for a second he thought he was being thrown from the horse again. Only this time he kept rising in the air. Where was he? There were shapes around him he didn’t recognize -- the steep, glistening cut of a wall in the sunshine, brown leather, strong arms around him. He smiled to himself, euphoric, as the sky grew closer.

Yes! Yes! You are merciful! At last it’s over! I --

“You’re a fine one to be grinning at a time like this!”

The voice near his ear brought Jaroslaw crashing into reality. The warmth that had been in his chest left him. He realized he was being hauled up Wall Maria by a lone Garrison soldier, and that it was daytime. His gear and practically all else of his uniform were gone. He turned his head to stare over the fields -- when did he cross them? How? Try as he might he could remember nothing -- nothing, except for the voice that had woken him and guided him.

“Were you with the expedition? How in the hell did you get back here?”

Shock gripped him hard, and then released. “I don’t remember,” he lied to the blazing blue sky. It wasn’t wholly a lie -- of course he remembered he’d been with the Scouting Legion out on expedition, but that felt so very far away now and irrelevant. It didn’t frighten him as much as he thought it would that he couldn’t remember how he’d got here, exactly.

“What’s your name?”

He hesitated. The lip of the wall came into sight -- the tracks for the cannon were some ways away, he noticed, meaning they were a decent distance from the gate, from prying eyes.

“What’s your name?” the soldier pressed.

His mind became clear and still. “I don’t remember,” he lied.

“Good. You must leave it behind. You must be empty in order to serve.” 

He found his footing, let the soldier release him. He turned to the city below and then beyond it, where the curve of the great Walls embraced humanity. I understand. They were the most beautiful thing he had ever seen. « Last Edit: February 15, 2020, 10:33:52 PM by Siegfried Justica »


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