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A Tale of Companionship


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[mp3]http://pascals-website.de/dayzrp/ethan.mp3[/mp3]

He was moving in his sleep again. Mumbling, too, and sweating, not to forget.

I knew he couldn't help it, but it kept me on guard nonetheless. For all I knew, he was going to end up attracting a roamer that would leap at us from the shadows in a moment of inattention.

It were moments like these when I wondered how the hell I even ended up here. Even though it's been two years since the outbreak, I still sometimes find it difficult to grasp the full reality of the situation. Maybe it's because even after everything this apocalypse did to the world, my lifestyle hadn't really changed at all – stay within the shadows or hide in plain sight, loot everything you can, always keep moving. Back when I was busted robbing a wealthy and influential public figure in London, all I had to do was flee to this remote peninsula country that the Americans had just finished grilling. Nowadays, getting busted usually means having to deal with hordes of rotten flesh and foul breath. Good old times.

I looked up into the night sky. Some boy scout prodigy or a hardened military veteran would've probably been able to pinpoint the exact time of day just by looking at the hundreds of stars that were shining brightly over the eternally cursed terrain, but I didn't care about that. All I had to know was that it was night – and that we were resting in a small clearing deep inside the woods. It had been our camp site for a week, and we had never returned to find it looted or overrun, so we decided we would stick with it.

Technically, having a safe place to stay is elemental to surviving, but I still didn't like the idea of staying at one spot for longer than one or two days. For all of my life, for as far as I can remember back, I have always been on the move; from the day I ran away from home, to the day where I robbed my first grocery store, to the day where I first tried breaking into someone's home. I never trusted anybody, and I never slept anywhere twice. So you can see why I was puzzled at the current circumstances – I was neither alone, nor was I on the move.

The reason for this was a man I first met around half a year ago. His name is Michael, Michael Fink, and he told me that he was born and raised in Germany. Apparently, his friend was stationed near Chernarus as a Bundeswehr delegate during the initial outbreak, and that's what made him come here. Because he had nothing else left. His family died in the early days of the outbreak – as he tried to regain his composure, his former, now undead friends burst in and nearly bit him. Stripped of everything he ever loved and cared for, he latched on to the only thing that gave him any hope... his friend. He had not heard anything from him, and with him being so close to the epicenter of the outbreak, the odds were stacked against a happy reunion.

But you know what? He made it. He pulled it off. He went all the way from Germany to Chernarus in a large convoy; a journey that lasted several months. Only a fraction of travelers who left home arrived there alive, but Michael was among them. And he found his friend there, doing what everyone was now doing: Trying to survive.

And then, not a year later, he was dead. Killed in a surprise roamer attack, which Michael barely got out alive of. That was the day I met him.

On that day, I was on my way from a nearby overrun village and took a shortcut through the woods. I didn't get far before I heard this violent, agonizing scream echo through the trees. It was followed by another one, and then another one. Because I was very near to those screams and it would attract all the roamers miles around, I wasn't exactly keen on letting that bloke just carry on, so I made my way towards what looked like a clearing from far away; it wasn't hard to grasp that the screams were coming from that direction.

And I saw a man, leaning against a tree, bitter tears all over his face, trembling so heavily that he was barely able to stand. I kept my distance at first, because that is the reasonable thing to do when encountering a wildly screaming lunatic out in the open – but he seemed to calm down after a few minutes. Seemed. But he hadn't actually calmed down, as I soon found out when he picked up an axe that had been lying in the thick grass. By this time, roamers had already started shuffling towards the source of the noise, and a few single stray ones had appeared in the clearing.

He clenched the axe firmly in his hands. And then he started charging towards one of the roamers and mutilating it.

He wasn't doing this for survival. He didn't get surprised by the roamers, he attracted them. They didn't overrun him, he saw them coming for miles. He could have run, but he didn't. Instead, he chopped through every single roamer that he could find, loudly screaming while hacking off their limbs one by one. It was a gruesome sight, but I wasn't about to stop him – never upset a man with an axe, especially if he's already upset!

I didn't count how many he ended up taking down, but he easily sliced a few dozen roamers to pieces in his rage. And when it was over, he was just sobbing. Kneeling on the ground, in front of him his latest victim that now had two arms and one half of its head less. His axe was still lodged inside the late roamer's chest, but it didn't seem like he was paying any attention to anything anymore. I decided to approach him, just to learn what the hell was wrong with him.

He was still weeping to himself, his hands on, and his head facing the ground.

„That's not a very efficient way of taking care of these fellas“, I said, keeping my guard, ready to run as soon as he'd make any gesture towards that axe.

He tilted his head towards me. I couldn't see his face, as it was covered by his hair.

„Get lost“, he muttered. „I don't have anything you want. In fact, I don't think there's anything I have left at all.“

He was speaking with a thick German accent, but it was clear that he knew the English language well enough to communicate with native speakers.

At this moment, I could've just left and continued onwards to my destination, whatever that was going to end up being. But I didn't. I decided to ask him about his situation, and find out what made him into that monster that took out all those roamers in its fit of rage.

At first, I couldn't get him to properly communicate. All he'd do is tell me to get lost repeatedly, or ask me who the hell I thought I was to just randomly pop in during his private time that jeopardized the security of every survivor in a radius of several dozen miles. But I didn't let go, and eventually, he started telling me his story. That he had lost everything, that he was now all alone, that he had lost his best friend and only remaining companion to an attack just hours prior.

And it made me think. Why would anyone be so worked up about being alone? I had been alone for the entirety of my life – it had never made me go on a mass murder spree or weep like a police siren. For me, being alone was normal; it was the status quo, what I was used to. For him, it was a living nightmare. He couldn't stand knowing that everyone he ever knew and loved was now dead or a part of the horde – when I never had anyone I knew and loved.

It fascinated me. It made me think of entirely new aspects of life that I had completely overlooked before. For all of my life, I had been focussed on staying alone, not letting anyone get near me, and never caring about another person. The apocalypse took away that man's life, but for me, it seemed like there wasn't anything to take.

I realized that I had never lived my life. That I never really had a life. Because for people, their „life“ is their loved ones and friends. The people they have contact with daily. The people they can share their secrets with, instead of keeping them locked away in a cold, dark place.

In a split moment, I made a decision, driven by fascination and curiosity. And now, we are a team of two – never seen without the another.

It feels nice to have a friend. I think a friend is one of the most valuable things a human being can have, especially during times like these. But for your standard regular human being, having friends is completely normal. For me, it was something new, and something fulfilling. Something I had never experienced before. I was going to get through this apocalypse, no matter what, and I was going to make sure that Michael makes it too – just as he would watch out for me.

The sun was rising. We wouldn't get any less hungry or thirsty by just sitting through the day, so I decided to wake Michael up.

„The sun's coming up. It's time to get moving.“

And so, we were on our way.

------------------------------------------

[mp3]http://pascals-website.de/dayzrp/michael.mp3[/mp3]

It was early in the morning and the desk lamp on Michael's desk gave off a dim light, while the rest of his room was just as dark as it had been many hours ago when the sun was still nowhere to be seen.

It was when he saw the first rays of light shining through the little slits in the window shades and the many empty cups of coffee standing right next to his laptop that he realized it: He had spent the entire night just working on that project he was assigned to by his boss. But something was strange. He was not able to remember anything about the project, nor did he remember the reason why he had to pull an all-nighter for it. A sudden jolt of pain in his head stopped his efforts to try and remember the reason for all the sleepless hours that he had invested, which now seemed completly wasted. As he tried to get up from his chair, still suffering from excruciating pain in his head, his vision suddenly darkened and he fell over.

He woke up. Still very confused and feeling dizzy, he was sitting at a dining table; at least that's what he thought it to be, but he was not entirely sure. The room was clad in bright light that was shining through the windows. It was only now that he was able to notice all the colorful decoration that was hanging from the ceiling and a cake, standing on the middle of the table. There appeared something to be written on the cake with icing; it seemed like a name. Strangely enough, he was not able to read that name. It seemed to be blurry, which could be because he suffered from a head injury. As he tried to check his head for any kind of injury or maybe even a bandage that was covering up a potential wound in his head, several empty chairs caught his attention.

There were exactly 6 chairs, including his own, one of which was standing closer to the cake than the others. Michael looked at a clock that he had just noticed on the other end of the room - it seemed to be stuck at 3:04 pm. When he turned around, he just stared into what seemed to be an empty living room, but it smelled... different. Like garbage. He was not entirely sure; fact is, it smelled very gross.

"Don´t just stare into the living room, *******!"

What was that? He was sure it had been a male voice but he didn't see anybody nearby and the chairs should still be empty. And what was that last word the voice said?

"*******, you should know that a birthday is a very important event in a child's life, right?"

Again. The first word was impossible to understand.

This time it was a female voice, but he was still not able to locate the person that it belonged to, nor could he remember anybody with that kind of voice. He felt that he should be able to recognize that voice, that he somehow had to, but it was impossible to him. As he started to think about it harder, the all too familiar pain in his head started to appear again.

He turned back towards the table. Why, even, had he still been staring into the empty living room?

And that's when it his him. He had turned back to the supposedly empty chairs... just that they weren't so empty anymore.

To his left, Michael saw a woman, to his right, a man. Both were seemingly around 30 years old. Closest to the cake, he saw a small figure. He realized that it was a child. On the remaining two chairs sat another man and another woman, although they were significantly older than the others. It seemed to be a strangely happy time for those people; they all had their heads turned over to the windows as they were laughing.

Michael's head was just a huge mess. He had so many questions, but he decided to ask the first one that sprung to his mind:

"W-Who exactly are you?"

The laughing stopped.

"You can´t even remember us anymore?", a voice said.

"How could you forget us? Is it so easy for you?"

It was the female's voice again, but it didn't seem to come from these people. It felt more like an echo in his head.

He wanted to answer, but he couldn't speak anymore. His mouth moved, but his voice could not be heard.

"You can´t even remember us anymore? How could you forget us? Is it so easy for you?", it asked again, this time noticably more angry.

The people started turning towards him, but... what was that? He could not see their faces! There was literally some kind of grey shadow that was concealing their faces!

"YOU CAN´T EVEN REMEMBER US ANYMORE?! HOW COULD YOU FORGET US?! IS IT SO EASY FOR YOU?!"

The empty faces were still looking straight at him. The colorful decoration started to dwindle, and the light turned into a dim flicker. Michael frantically looked out of the window; he saw fire and shadows moving outside.

He then closed his eyes, wishing none of this would have happenned.

When he opened his eyes again, the room was back to normal. "Thank goodness", he uttered to himself, relieved.

Just at this moment, the door bell rang.

He subconsciously walked towards the door.

But how did he know exactly where it was?

Why was he so scared to open that door? Why couldn't he stop his hand from opening the door?

As the door started to open slowly, Michael heard moaning coming from behind it. It was a far too familiar sound, which inexplicably filled his heart with anger and fear at the same time.

The door opened.

There was a woman standing infront of him, her skin peeling, her body cluttered with deep wounds, partially revealing bones and ribs.

Before Michael could even utter a word, the woman's jaws opened and she bit off a big part of flesh from Michael's left shoulder with unbelievable force. When he looked at the completly disfigured shoulder, his vision immediately turned black and he fell on the floor.

---

„The sun's coming up. It's time to get moving.“

Michaels eyes started to open slowly.

He saw his good friend that he met in this nightmare of an apocalypse, one of the few people he actually wanted to remember the name of. His name was Ethan Tucker.

Still confused about that weird dream, which at the same time didn´t seem like a dream at all, Michael started to get up.

His sleeping bag, which accompanied him since he left Germany, smelled like a worn out pair of socks.

"No wonder, it's been used for a long time now", Michael mumbled to himself, as he caught a feeling of nostalgia overpowered his mind for a second. He shook his head as hard as he could to rid his mind of these thoughts, and quickly got up to get ready for another trip; a trip in a world he would not have believed to ever exist before, a cruel and nightmarish world controlled by the undead.

And so, they were on their way.

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  • Emerald

Now this is one hell of a way to make a good first impression.

Brilliant writing, simple and elegant so that it fits perfectly. A worthwhile read for me.

I'm looking forward to more.

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Hi everyone,

first off, thanks a lot for the warm welcome! We're glad the introduction to our story was met with positive response. We, of course, intend to build upon this story as we experience situations on the DayZRP server, but also to expand a little bit on the background and the general personality of our characters.

A little note: The blue part in above's story was written by me, the green part by my friend, KJoke, who is also a part of this community (and, in fact, convinced me to join it). Our characters, Ethan Tucker (blue, played by me) and Michael Fink (green, played by KJoke), have formed a friendship in a barren and forsaken landscape, and as such, they are never seen without the other - and we are going to adhere to that even in our roleplaying. This means that we'll always be moving around as two, only occasionally splitting (to loot a small village faster, for instance).

As time goes on and experiences are gathered, we will continue to write new chapters for the Tale of Companionship. Chapters will either be written by me or by KJoke, and, as you can see above, the writing style and the focus of the writing varies greatly between the two characters. This is partly because they're written by two different people (duh), but also due to the fact that Michael's chapters are written in third-person narration, while Ethan's are more like an entry in his personal diary and written in first-person. As such, Michael's chapters tend to focus more on how he is feeling about things and carry more emotion, while Ethan's chapters are written from his perspective; this means that they tend to me more analytical, witty and cold, as Ethan is not a very emotional person.

We don't know when the next chapter will be ready, but since everyone seemed to like the read, here are two snippets I wrote for my whitelist application as an introduction to explaining the NLR and KoS rules:

New Life Rule

"I woke up on the beach. That is all that I knew at that moment; a throbbing headache blurred my sight, and the sun blinded me whenever I tried to focus on anything.

What happened? How did I get to this beach? The last thing I remembered was walking through the woods with Michael; but that memory was far from perfect, and it just cut off at one point.

There is no other explanation; we must have gotten drunk. Somehow. I guess I better find Michael then..."

Kill On Sight

"It's been an exhausting day so far, and apart from a few soda cans and a single can of beans, Michael and I had not found anything useful in our usual scavengings through abandoned villages. Even worse, the last village we tried to loot was overrun by roamers while we were in it, so we had to sneak our way out. Michael is lucky I know a thing or two about staying hidden; I reckon that he wouldn't have lasted a minute on his own.

Quite suddenly, Michael poked my shoulder as we were on our way to the next village, and poined at a nearby hill. I looked up.

There were people.

Three of them, all armed. They were sitting on the top of the hill next to what looked like an unlit fireplace from afar. We were completely out in the open, as we had to cross a wide field to get to the next part of the forest; there were no patches of brush and the grass didn't grow very high, so there was no way of covering ourselves.

And suddenly, a shot hit Michael square in the stomach. A loud shot, echoing within miles.

I looked up. One of them was aiming at us. With his sniper rifle.

Another shot. It hit Michael in the face. He instantly dropped to the ground like a sack of potatoes.

I didn't have much time to grieve before another shot hit me in the chest.

My vision faded. My hearing blurred.

'N...not now...'

I lost consciousness."

Again, thanks a lot for the awesome responses!

Cheers,

ThePaSch & KJoke

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Hi everyone,

turns out that staying up late gets the creative part of my brain going, so here's a background chapter for Ethan! This has not happened on any DayZRP server and is not a "real event"; it's part of Ethan's backstory and plays a large part in him ending up with Michael.

------------------------------

It had barely been a month since the world went under. I was on my own still, and my usual day was comprised of looting, hiding, and a lot of moving around. The plague had very quickly spread throughout the entire peninsula, and a lot of my time had been spent trying to find a safe haven - not an actual safe haven with people and settlements, mind you, but just a place I could sleep and rest at without having to fear losing any limbs or organs to nearby roamers. I wasn't really clear on my objectives at that time, but I guess I did what any reasonable human being would do in a situation like this; I tried to survive.

I didn't even know why. Was there anything left to live for? Then again, what had I lived for before the outbreak? It surely wasn't because I was such a happy-go-lucky lad. I guess I just wasn't ready - still am not, in fact - to give up my life to a horde of smelly organic waste. It's not a very dignified way to die; if I'm going to die, it has to matter.

On that day, I was - you guessed it - on my way from looting a nearby village. Actually, large parts of all of my days were and are being spent on my way from looting a nearby village - makes me wonder if some day, we'll run out of villages to loot? But I am, of course, swerving; let's get back to what happened on that day.

I had already set my next target: A small gas station that looked like it hadn't been looted yet; there were no roamer corpses lying around and the door to the store still looked untouched. Naturally, a gas station is the first thing we all used to think of on Sunday nights - except, of course, when there was a 7/11 nearby - because they carry a lot of what we might need on Sunday nights, such as drinks or food. Not that I was set to get drunk, but, hey, it had been ages since I last had a beer, and all the horror and despair that constantly flowed through the air like clouds of pollen in early spring didn't exactly make things easier.

The gas station in question was located in a mountain ridge, right next to a road. It was fairly remote - the village I had just finished looting was the only one in miles around. It had been one excruciatingly long walk; sticking to remote places, however, maximizes the possibility that you find one that hasn't been found by other survivors yet, so I was willing to take the long walks as long as it meant that I'd have a can of beans to nosh by the campfire at evening.

But something was off. I had the eerie sense of being followed - of course, I am technically always being followed, but that time, it didn't feel like it was a roamer. It felt like someone was following me. A human being; an actual survivor.

I kept my eyes wide open for anything unusual, but couldn't find anything. And yet, there was this nagging sense of danger in my head, eating away at me like thermites at wood, and it made me feel extremely uneasy. Of course, I didn't know what that person was up to (if they even existed!), but experience taught me that whenever someone follows you, it is very likely that they are up to no good. Besides, if that gas station had indeed been not touched yet, having someone following me around would have been like carrying around a sign that says "Please Rob Me" in bold, red, flashing letters.

So at one point, after way too much time spent worrying and hurrying, I decided to just stand still and sit down.

And so I did. If that guy was really following me, he now had to stay still, just like me. And that gave me enough time to scan everything around me for anything out of the ordinary, which I soon found by noticing a patch of brush behind another patch of brush that was a bit too blonde to actually be a patch of brush.

I pointed at the unknown person. "I know where you are, mate.", I exclaimed in their direction. "There is no point in hiding anymore. You might as well come out now."

It took a few moments, but from behind the brush emerged something I had not expected to be there at all, something I wouldn't have thought would be following me around, much less into such a remote area of the peninsula.

It was a woman. Slim figure, blonde hair at shoulder-length, caucasian. Looked like she was in her early twenties; around the same age as me. And she was slowly moving towards me, her hands in the air.

"I don't mean to harm you!", she shouted. Right. This is absolutely not what everyone who would want to harm me would say.

"How can I be sure?", I asked, ready to immediately pull the dagger which I had always kept with me since I left London. She stopped, looking at me with an almost scared expression. "I-I... I really don't want to harm you. I... I jus-" I interrupted her rambling decisively: "So why the hell were you following me around like some bandit?"

"I... I just thought that maybe..."

"That maybe what?", I intervened once more, making absolutely clear that I was not joking around.

"That maybe I could join you...?", she asked, giving me the puppy eyes. Great.

"I don't think that'll be possible", I responded. What I meant, of course, is "who the actual living hell do you think you are, you deranged creep?!".

That didn't satisfy her. At once, she leaped closer, causing me to instantly draw my dagger and point it towards her in reflex. "Do not make me do anything that I will regret.", I warned her. Of course, I wasn't going to kill her - all I wanted was for her to leave me alone and wander around somewhere else, and I thought that, now that I had drawn my dagger, maybe intimidating her would do the trick.

She squealed and stumbled backwards, losing her balance, and ultimately landing on her bottom. I smirked, since the sight of it all was pretty amusing. I put my dagger away; by that point, I felt sorry for the girl. She was evidently harmless.

"Look, I have never exactly been a gentleman in my entire life, so excuse me if I came across as kind of a ruffian.", I began speaking. "It's just that, y'know, being followed around in a world like this is not exactly the most reassuring of situations, even if it turns out to be a pretty lass."

"I-I-I know!", she blurted out, quick to get back on her feet, throwing her hands up her face. "I'm sorry! I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to alarm you!" She paused for a moment, letting out a deep sigh. "I just wanted to speak to a human being... it's been so long since I actually met someone. And... and when I saw you, the first human being in a long time, I thought that... I thought that maybe, I don't have to be alone anymore, and that maybe I could join you and we could travel around together..."

She was just looking for company? And she did that by following a stranger around for miles, careful to stay hidden? Whatever that girl's motives were - I was definitely not looking for company, and so she had to go.

"Look.", I said, looking her straight in the eyes. "This is going to sound strange, but you sort of remind me of a cat. I mean, the way you were trailing me, staying hidden, the fact that you're a lass - I mean, cats are bloody feminine, aren't they?"

She looked at me, puzzled. I continued and got to the point.

"Anyway, you're all that, and you are also a pest and I would like you to be far, far away from me. Because I don't particularly like cats, I'm afraid."

Now she was not so happy anymore. A deep frown filled her face.

"I mean, I am, of course, glad, that you are cat. Normally, when someone follows me around, their hair's a mess, they leave trails of foul smell and rotten limbs, and they get way too clingy for comfort." She looked at me, dazzled. "Reminds me more of dogs, really", I snickered.

"W-what do you mean?", she stuttered, seemingly on the brink of tears.

"I can not have you following me around anymore. Do you think you can do that?"

She paused. She blinked. And then, she cried. Fantastic.

I didn't know what to do about the mess of a human being that stood in front of me. She was clearly scared of everything that had happened since that one, fateful day of the outbreak, and this moment was apparently just the straw to break the camel's back. She was having a nervous breakdown, and I, compassionate as I am, did not have the slightest clue on how to comfort her. So I did the first thing that sprung to mind when thinking about what people do to comfort each other:

I hugged her firmly.

She stopped crying almost immediately. She was surprised by this sudden act of sympathy; it threw her off guard. But it didn't take her long to embrace me and continue weeping on my shoulder.

She kept clinging to me for what must have been tens of minutes, and I was hesitant to push her off, because somewhere in the cold and dark place that is my heart, I felt pity for her. It was one of the first times I ever felt something like that, and it made me feel horrible.

After what seemed like way too long, I slowly started to push her away from me. She was compliant, and lifted the embrace. Her eyes were still filled with tears, but now, she was smiling. She was smiling at me, sobbing. "Thank you", she said. "Thank you. I... I really needed that."

"I had a hunch", I replied. Of course, I was lying; I didn't know what the heck to do, and that this worked is something close to a miracle. Before she would get any ideas, though, I decided to clarify my stance. "Unfortunately, this is all that I can offer to you for now. I... I hope you understand."

There was hesitation in the last part of that sentence, and realizing that made me feel incredibly uneasy, because hesitation is a word that usually might as well not exist for me. It made me feel vulnerable. I had to get rid of this girl.

Luckily (surprisingly!), she accepted! "I... I understand.", she uttered, still sobbing, but still with the smile on her face. "I... I just want to let you know that I won't forget this moment, and that I am grateful for everything you have done for me."

She paused.

"It looks like following you was the right idea."

...don't push your luck with me, lass.

"While I am not quite sure what exactly I have done for you", I truthfully began, "I am glad that I could be of assistance. I wish you the very best in your future endeavours, and bid you farewell now."

She nodded. And just like that, she ran off. She had barely made a few steps, though, before she quickly turned around and addressed me once more.

"One more thing...", she said. Sigh. If it makes you go away. "What is it?", I asked.

"What's your name?"

"Ethan. My name is Ethan."

"Thank you... Ethan."

And so, she ran off again. This time, she didn't stop; she kept running back towards the village I had just come from. I watched her for a few minutes, just to make sure she'd really leave, then I started moving towards the gas station once more.

That girl... meeting her was a very important event. It was the first time I had ever felt anything close to resembling compassion, and it had creeped me out to no end. I was feeling things I had no idea I was capable of feeling, and I was overwhelmed. If I met her again today or tomorrow, I would take her with us; but unfortunately, chances are that she is now a part of the horde that she had been dreading so much.

Just like she said she wouldn't ever forget that moment, I will never forget it, either. And in the back of my mind, even though I never learned of her name... I like to remember her as Michelle.

Edited by ThePaSch
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