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I Am Become Death

Thal Mantis

Deathless
Character
large_desert_city_dvg_by_cloudminedesign-d6bnvmx.jpg
MANAS​
Outskirts of Kafez​
Death.​
He thought it so certain, so plain to him that he was to succumb to the heat, to the unrelenting sun that he had never seen. He thought it fitting, to die a free man in a foreign land. A poetic, poignant end to his life. He thought for certain, that it would be so. He had accepted it into his heart, to fade into the ether, the long dark.

But Lady Death had not graced him with her kiss, her touch. Life clung to him like a disease, like a virus running through his veins.

It was not by his volition that he was alive. It was by the and of a distant, blurry figure. Bright blue eyes searched the room around him. Soft cloth lay under his bare chest. He heard the movement of water. He weakly touched his chest. Someone had wiped the blood from his chest. He had suffered a wound- after all. A small gash along his pectoral muscle.

An addition to the collection of scars he possessed.

Weary eyes fell upon his savior. The tanned woman, @Alm. He reached up towards her, but find her out of reach. She must've been farther away in the room than he thought. He knew only a few words in basic, enough to communicate with the handlers in the Red Tower. Bocce and Huttese were the go-to-languages he was selected to know, but he knew enough to ask for simple things.

"Water."

If only he knew how to be more polite. He tried to rise to a sitting position on his makeshift bed, but found it too blurry, too arduous.
 

Alm

Hammer Time
Character
After the battle, Thal had been drag to a nearby hut on the outskirts of the city. It was the closest shelter she could find, though the dismal state of the stone structure meant that it had been abandoned for quite some time. Indeed, housing in the city proper had become more modern and durable.

Alm had cleaned the dried blood from Thal’s chest while he was unconscious. The laceration discovered on his abdomen was too small and too shallow to have caused that much bleeding before it closed on its own. Despite being pale in comparison to her, his skin was not pallid with blood loss. Rather it had reddened from exertion and heat.

She’d returned from a nearby stream with a bucket of water in tow as he awoke.

“No, no.” She admonished sternly as he tried to rise. “Rest.”

The young woman set down the pail of water and began searching the remains of the house for something. She found a clay cup with a large chip in the side and cleaned it out with the cloth of her skirt to remove any shards and dust. Dipping it into the water, she knelt by Thal and held the cup closer to his face.

“Slavers are gone.” She murmured. “They died.” Or otherwise escaped. A handful had fled into the desert but they wouldn’t last long in the harsher parts of Manas. A team of riders had been sent out after them for good measure.

[member="Thal"]
 

Thal Mantis

Deathless
Character
Thal's pale, bulky frame slowly rose to a more upright position, thirstily reaching for the cup. For all he could've known, it might have been poison. But, Thal was to die if he did not receive the elixir of life.

It reinvigorated him with a single drop. Bright blue eyes became dilated, life breathing back into him. He breathed deeply, eyes darting around the room. His body was sore, his entire muscle-skeletal group deprived of water, causing him to be extremely sore- everywhere.

He managed to look her square in the face. Her voice was stern, like she was disciplining him. She was more than likely telling him to be still, to remain calm. Not that he would be doing what he was doing earlier anytime soon. At the Red Tower, he would've been administered an ice bath and an IV bag to re-hydrate him and prepare him for the rigors of training and the next bout.

No such luck here, in the desert...wherever he was.

Maybe he was only a half mile outside the Red Tower. No way to really know.

He looked around and gestured to the entire building. His voice was soft, betraying the muscular and somewhat intimidating persona he presented.

"Red Tower?"

He heard it many times over the announcement speakers at the Tower's many fights. He pointed towards the ground. He needed to know where he was. If he was still there, then he was intent on getting as far away as possible. He'd never seen the stars from space- that was another goal of his. He wanted to see the stars.

[member="Alm"]
 

Alm

Hammer Time
Character
“Red Tower?”

Her brows furrowed as she repeated the words, lingering for a few moments before shaking her head. Red Tower didn’t mean anything to Alm. If it was a structure on Manas then she hadn’t heard of it. Slowly, her eyes followed his gesture as he pointed to the earth beneath them.

“Manas.” She said simply before gesturing to the buildings in the distance. “City of Kafez.” She wasn’t sure if he’d know of the planet—many hadn’t unless you were very familiar with the Outer Rim. Until recently, Manas had been a very isolationist world. Parts of it still were. To further cement their location, she produced a datapad. A few slow taps and swipes later and she’d pulled up a galactic mapped, no doubt something that had been downloaded for her by someone else. Though she was still learning, Alm found modern technology very useful.

“Here. Manas. In Outer Rim.” She expanded the lower portion of the map and pointed to the tiny dot that denoted her home world.

A girl of perhaps nine or ten appeared in the door way, small clay pot in her hand. Alm waved her in, taking the jar from her with a few words in her native tongue. The girl responded, voice light and airy as she looked at the strange pale man lying on the floor.

“Why is he so pale? Is he sick?” She asked, curious eyes taking in the man’s foreign features.

“He is injured. Go, he needs rest. Alm shooed the girl away.

[member="Thal"]
 

Thal Mantis

Deathless
Character
His eyes danced across the star-covered map. So simple, the entire galaxy placed upon neat little grid squares. He could not decipher the texts that noted what each planet was, so each of them was a strange mystery to themselves. Each fill of life, wonder, and possibilities. He had found only the ugly side. He had only experienced great tragedy, great ugliness in his life. He knew all too well that beauty existed in the galaxy-

He had yet to see it, to touch it. To taste the sweet nectar of life itself. He had been surviving for so many years, that now that fate presented him a chance to live- the Deathless became overwhelmed, almost. Ice-blue eyes teared up, as he sat up fully, groaning as his body ached from the stress he had put it through.

She obviously did not understand the Red Tower. He was glad that at least someone he knew was spared it's horrors. He pointed to the tattoo sprawled across his back. It was done in the old way, a hammer and needle dipped in ink. A painstaking long process, more painful than the new ways of tattooing that he heard of. Lasers, needles- none of those luxuries were afforded to the slaves of the Red Tower. If pain was all he knew, then pain is what he worked with.

The young girl entering the room surprised him, but it was a welcome one. Their voices exchanged were sing-song and soothing. The language was beautiful. Not like the guttural mess he knew. His eyes danced across the room, and he blushed- realizing that he was slightly indecent. He imagined they discussed the nature of his appearance. His hair and skin, hair twisted in locks and pale skin- he must have looked quite the sight for a small village girl.

Thal leaned against the wall nearest him, and propped up a knee with a groan. His eyes flicked up to the ceiling, before resting back on his savior. He needed to ask why she saved him. The words were failing to form in his mind. Of all the times he heard basic over loudspeakers, he realized how much he drowned it out.

So he pointed to himself, and drew a line in the floor with his finger. He then gave a 'why' motion with his hands. He wanted to know why she had drug him here. But he knew two words in basic, knew their meanings and connotations. He had two burning questions. But one was more pressing than the other.

"Slaves, free?"

[member="Alm"]
 

Alm

Hammer Time
Character
Alm waggled her hand back and forth with a short grunt, indicating for him to stop moving about. Tattoos were not foreign to her—many of her people sported them as rites of passage—nor were the more barbaric techniques of application. Typically one was thoroughly inebriated while receiving markings or piercings. They were symbols of pride of course, not the markings of a slave.

She dipped her fingers into the jar, coating them with a brown paste that she spread across the wound on Thal’s chest. The woman did not offer an explanation of what it was, but it was rather apparent that the crude cream was a mixture of ground herbs and wild plants. “Yes.” She answered while working. “Slaves free.”

Pulling away, Alm watched his gestures carefully. Silence fell over the pair as she did her best to decipher them.

“Slaves in city.” She pointed towards the distant buildings of Kafez. “They rest.” She assumed the Coalition would take care of rehousing them.

“You have injury.” She pointed to the laceration on his chest. “You help fight.” She pointed to the hammer on her back. “So Alm help Thal.”

[member="Thal"]
 

Thal Mantis

Deathless
Character
Thal looked bewildered for a moment.

Someone helped him. He got what she meant as soon as she said it. He cringed and grit his teeth as the paste was applied to his wound- it burned. Her confirmation of the slaves being free was a comfort to him, causing him to relax considerably. So, Thal had actually accomplished something.

She helped him for doing so. For nothing more than him killing a bunch of slavers and earning his own freedom.

He wrapped his pale hand around her forearm gently. He smiled appreciatively. Thal could be good-looking when he wanted to. Maybe, not presently- covered in blood and sand and dirt. But maybe if he cleaned up a bit. He settled into the makeshift bed she made him, feeling oddly at ease, comparatively speaking.

He laid back down, laying a hand over his stomach. He looked up at his savior, with more clarity. She was beautiful, and strong. He knew she was capable, more capable than he- perhaps. He released his hand from his forearm and let it fall back to his side, groaning slightly at the movement which caused his body great harm.

He had a plethora of questions- but the present language barrier made it hard to communicate. Thal tapped his head, trying to recall the words. They always brought it out for the slaves, always...needed it.

"Translator...droid?"

[member="Alm"]
 

Alm

Hammer Time
Character
Alm stared back, no smile on her lips. She just stared. The people from the mountains were often labeled as stoic and sturdy, such was the teenager. While those in her tribe were certainly capable of positive emotion, they were only show in times of celebration. Festivals, weddings, births. Exclamation was a waste of precious energy in a hard life full of manual labor.

In response, Alm grunted quietly. Rising to her full height, the Nasvalo looked around the dilapidated hut for a few moments before picking a handful of nuts from the counter—they had hard shells and did not taste good, but they were sustenance. Foraging on the plains was difficult; most of their food was grown within villages or scattered about by nomadic tribes.

Without another word, she left.

It would be a few hours before she returned, translator droid in tow along with a loaf of bread and a few vegetables. It had taken her some time to barter for use of the droid, one of only a few in the city. The locals had been reluctant to give it up, especially given the steady stream of Basic-speaking visitors they were receiving, but Alm had promised to bring it back. If Thal wanted to journey off world, he’d have to enter the city of Kafez eventually.

Setting the food down, she ushered the droid into the makeshift home and input her native language, motioning for Thal to make any arrangements on the droid’s screen that he needed.

[member="Thal"]
 

Thal Mantis

Deathless
Character
Thal's fears that he would be left alone compounded with the minutes, then the hours that [member="Alm"] was gone. He eventually fell into a restless slumber, disturbed one and a while by curious village children, who had come to see the pale brute from beyond their sandy walls.

They were scared, surprised, and amused. He was awoken once or twice by children poking him, or speaking in poorly-voiced whispers.

Then, she returned.

And with food.

He ate all of it in under a minute. Thal was used to eating with less. He did not seem to enjoy it's taste, only it's sustenance. He collapsed against the wall. He and the droid spoke first, before the droid turned back to the woman.

"His name is Thal, he does not know his last name. He was imprisoned at the Red Tower until he was sold to the men who he just said he 'ripped apart'. Pardon me, but he seems awfully brutish. I have censored most of what he said, truth be told."
The droid and Thal spoke again for a few moments.

"He was a gladiator at the Red Tower's pits, and he was known as the Deathless. Or so he says, at the very least. I cannot confirm nor deny his claims. I am, after all, a translating droid, and not a information terminal."
The droid and Thal spoke again, with Thal sounding agitated, then somber.

"He would like to apologize for disturbing the peace in Kafez. He regrets that so many people were exposed to the violence he caused."
Thal spoke again, but locked eyes with Alm.

"He says that he has seen beautiful things in his life, but none so much as freedom. He is eternally grateful to you for your help. He also told me to tell you that..."
The droid turned and waddled in Thal's Huttese, before turning back to the girl.

"That he has met many women whom he could consider pretty. But he says he sees a different beauty in you, something that women that he has met do not possess. Tenacity and grit, he says, make a woman far more beautiful. He also says that you have wonderfully beautiful eyes."​
Thal spoke once more, lifting a single finger to indicate he wasn't quite done.

"He would also like to know if the children are afraid of him or just curious. He says he has not been exposed to children often in his life."



 

Alm

Hammer Time
Character
Alm watched the stranger gobble up the food, wondering if he’d even tasted it. Regardless, she found this normal given his situation. The man had been exhausted, and she’d seen travelers return from the resource deficient desert haggard and thin from lack of nutrition. He seemed decently muscled though, so he probably had some form of nourishment wherever he was from.

Light was shed on that thanks to the translator droid.

Neither eyebrow budged, not did her brow wrinkle at these new revelations. That was Alm’s nature, the nature of the mountain people. Sturdy and unmovable, like the mountains in many ways. Unfortunately, also not very expressive or open with communication.

She spoke softly, the droid turning to Thal in turn.

“Oh dear, the lady informs me that she is not yet of marriageable age.” He paused. “Tough luck.”

The droid cleared his vocal processor before continuing.

“She says that she is a native of this planet but left her home several years ago to travel the galaxy. At present, she works with the Outer Rim Coalition, a group of outlaws who try to keep the fringes of space free of trouble.”

Alm motioned towards the city.

“That is the city of Kafez—the people there are rather insular and aren’t used to the unusual—you should see how they reacted to me!” The droid exclaimed, adding in his own personal anecdote. “She says that she can take you there for a proper meal and some rest. The nearest spaceport is located in the capital city of Sel.”

Another string of soft, melodic speech.

“Ah, she says that the children are merely curious. The average Nasvalo man is quite tall you see, so they are used to men of large stature.”

[member="Thal"]
 

Thal Mantis

Deathless
Character
The Outer Rim Coalition? Seemed like a band of misfits, ne'er-do-wells and vagabonds rather than the people that Thal would fit in with. He grunted as he sat up, lightly clenching his teeth as the pain flared across his chest.

<"Some job they're doing of keeping the trouble at bay.">

He rotated his head and looked out the small window near him.

<"I'm unusual?">

He then realized he was six and a half feet tall, pale of skin and blue of eyes. Quite the sight for people, especially people who had never seen a man like him.

<"I don't want to overstay my welcome. I have many more people to kill.">

[member="Alm"]
 
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