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The Nights of reflection... (Arman Tunzer)

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The sound of crickets was the only thing to break the silence of the quiet evening.

   A puff of breath escapes Armans cracked lips, as the young man lays on his back atop a small forested hill. An open tent is nearby, a dead campfire in front of it with hardly a ghost of coals left to breathe life into. The man doesn't seem to mind as he looks up at the starry sky through a gap in the trees. A hand dips to his waist, reaching carefully into a badly sewn pouch on the inside of his undergarments. A small golden locket is removed, with a fine gold chain attached. The warm metal object is brought to his chest, and carefully opened. He brings it above his eyes and examines the faded picture inside. Its a small color picture of a woman with golden blonde hair, and a younger and less weary of Arman standing with his arm slung about her.

A ghost of a fond smile forms on the weary mans lips, and he soon carefully settles the locket on his chest, with the picture looking up into the open sky. After a short time, he begins to speak softly. Its the gentle relaxed croon of a lovers voice, sharing bed-stories with a fond companion. "It happened again today, Celeste." He murmurs. His eyes fix on a star, and turn distant as he talks. "I ran across a few of those men with the white armbands. The Brotherhood. Got into the middle of some shit it seemed, and some people died. They took me briefly, but then let me go. I got lucky. I don't know how many times I'm going to be able to keep getting lucky." He says with a little shake of his head. His fingers quietly trail on the golden chain on his chest, treating it perhaps as the golden locks of the woman in his memories he is talking to.

"A half dozen of my friends got gunned down in a warehouse. It wasn't my fight, but I was keeping lookout. I had a clear shot. I even had the scope on one of them. But... I don't know. I couldn't pull the trigger. I've not killed yet. They were already dead, the fight was over." He heaves a heavy sigh, "... And I don't really blame them. They were just trying to save their friends, I think. Or maybe avenge them. They had their reasons. I know what you always said... Eye for an eye leaves the world blind, but that is how it seems to be now." He whispers, his eyes closing as he grimaces slightly. "... It is what it is. Maybe next time, I'll have to shoot. I think I might just try to stay arms length. Keep an eye out. Pass word of threats. Who knows, it might keep me alive."

There is a longer silence. Not awkward, not to Arman. Its a quiet and comfortable silence. Eventually, he speaks again in a soft whisper. "Mr. K found me again. I was on my way back here when he did. He took me, and a trader I'd run into. I hope he got out okay, it seemed that someone else bartered for the safety of the trader." Arman shakes his head, "I might have to go further south. It seems Mr. K and his boys operate in the north. I don't know how many times I'm going to get 'lucky' in my encounters with him. Its been luck and chance that someone didn't get cut up both times I ran into him before."

His fingers curl around the golden chain, as if drawing comfort from it as he shakes his head. His mouth opens to speak again, but there is a soft crack nearby. He stirs sharply, sitting up. His head cocks so that he can listen. Another crack. Then another. Something is shuffling nearby. Arman sighs quietly, and tucks the locket back into its hidden pocket before getting to his feet as he draws out his silenced pistol. The nights quiet reflection was over, and it was back to surviving.

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Nice piece. Keep it up :)

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His bleary eyes blink open, fighting through the crust of the nights tears. The sound of a rooster could be heard nearby. Normally a comforting sound for Arman, a memory of his old home. But with the sound comes an ice-pick of pain lodged into his head. It feels like his face is on fire, his temples throb with agony of a headache, and his hand was dipped in molten iron. What happened?

He takes in the room, confused and dazed by the pain of his wounds. His arms are frozen from spending the night tied behind his back. The stench of melted flesh, blood, and urine fills his nostrils as he grimaces. Even that hurts, his tongue probing and finding a hunk of flesh missing from inside his mouth where he bit the inside of his cheeks. Its all coming back now. The sick depraved laughter, the jovial demeanor of the impish woman with her knives, the maniacal threats of the man with a chainsaw. Arman shudders, remembering the 'doctor' with his 'tools' of the trade, and what they had inflicted on Pubert.

He heaves his way to his knees, struggling against his bonds as he barely manages to right himself without toppling over. Just that small bit of movement brought agony. His head felt like bowling balls were rolling around and smashing together inside. Its all he can do to just sit there, gritting his teeth and waiting for the worst of it to subside. In time, he starts to work his hands slowly back and forth, flexing his fingers and wiggling his digits to encourage the blood to flow. Its an hour that felt like a month before he manages to slide one raw, reddened wrist free of the confines of the rope they'd tied him with. Once that is done his fingers dive immediately into a pocket.

It was there. The syringe that the one girl, the quiet girl, had slipped into his pocket. There isn't any hesitation before the morphine is jabbed unprofessionally into his thigh, Arman driving the plunger down to force it into him. He holds still, not moving until the agony in his head subsides enough he feels he can look around the room without vomiting. Once the pain has been dropped to a level he can work with, he brings his hand slowly up to inspect the injury. His entire pinky finger is missing, the ragged and jagged cutting edges of the chainsaw having done their amputation in a rather messy way. His ring finger is cut and lacerated, but luckily it would remain. The only reason he hadn't bled out was that they'd 'helped' him by cauterizing the wound shut. It was swollen, angry, leaking pus and oozing a small amount of blood. It was likely infected, if the dull ache shooting up his arm with each pounding beat of his heart was any indication.

Next, his good hand very gingerly moved to touch his cheeks. He hisses under his breath as his calloused digits trace out the sigils that were carved there. A pair of 'J's, one in each cheek. Minor wounds, considering his missing finger, but... scarring. Those would be with him for life, no matter how well they were treated. His good hand moves to the wall, bracing himself as he staggers his way to his feet and takes stock of the room. The abode smells like the inside of a charnel house. He moves towards the window to push it upwards, inhaling a fresh breath of the clear air outside. It helps clear the fog from his mind, and he begins to take stock. Injuries? Pinky and face. Splitting headache. Otherwise manageable. Supplies? No weapons, no tools. Left with food, and his camping gear. No knife, but he could make do. He finds his canteen and Arman greedily drains the warm water out of it, his thirst barely slaked by the litre of water he puts back.

He swallows, and begins to gather his things. His movements are lethargic and careful, trying not to disturb his injuries or cause his headache to be any worse. As he begins the process of getting his worldly possessions back together, he reflects on the day. Where had he gone wrong...?

He'd taken up residence near a quiet little fishing hole inside of Stary Sobors northern border. He'd put up a campfire, chopped extra wood, and was cooking chicken and fish for a crowd of a half dozen. He'd spent nearly an hour there, having friendly campsite conversations with a great number of people. But one face was remembered... Or more specifically, one helmet. Pubert. He'd been there, chatting with Arman and the others. As the night turned to day, the crowd dispersed from Armans' fire. Arman packed away his things, caught himself a full meal of fish for later, and started to head south towards Novy Sobor when he ran into Pubert on the road again...

"Pubert." Arman mutters under his breath, his voice raspy from his screams of pain the night before. They had wanted Pubert. The bitch Jessica, the maniac Austin Maverick, and the crazed doctor Wushii. They hadn't wanted him. Hell, Austin had even said he felt 'bad' for the innocent bystander that Arman was, but that didn't spare him. It didn't spare him having to choose between watching them kill Pubert, or cutting off his pinky. But it wasn't really a choice. A finger, or a mans life? Arman had made it with barely any hesitation... But he didn't have the fingers to always be so generous.

Arman reaches up to rub his forehead, forgetting his pinky's absence as he barks out a gasp of pain and tucks his hand under his other arm. That hurt. But as the pain leaves, he remembers the morphine. And the quiet girl. The one that had stayed at his side, the one who didn't want to be named. But they spoke her name. They spoke it while they tortured Pubert. The spoke it when they asked her to come over and carve into Armans' face. She had declined. She even gave him morphine. "Mia." He murmurs under his breath. Those names were burned into his memory now, and Arman would not be forgetting them.

With his things gathered he begins to set towards the door. His mind is reeling from the events of the night before. Unarmed, injured, and in a haze he sets off into the treacherous Chenarussian landscape to piece his life back together.

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