Chapter 34: And There Will Be Blood
I'm never relaxed
even when I say I am
I'm always on the alert
looking for the problem
I am all of these things
I am this and more
you don't scare me at all
It’s hell above the water
Hell Above The Water
The day withered by as the frozen lake near Plantire fell into the shadow of the overcast sky. Clouds could be seen from the west, gathering together in the distance as the lookout from the watchtower carefully peered towards the inevitable snowstorm coming their way.
Standing in the tower, watching over the snow covered plains, Gil, a Stranded henchman, stood and waited for a sign, anything that may reveal a potential infiltration, but the only thing that they could see festering was the dark horizon. It has been five hours and no sign of anyone coming to reclaim the Feral they took prisoner earlier that morning.
He knew that Morose was borderline anxious, waiting patiently for Sigma squad to come and take back what was theirs, now in his possession, and he relished in it. But Gil, on the other hand, was skeptical. He knew that the Feral allowed herself to be captured to aid in Sigma's escape, hell, they must be near the Block by now; they have to if they are to survive this oncoming storm, especially during nightfall. The sun was still hanging above the mountains in the mid evening afterglow through the overcast sky. It normally won't be dark for another four hours, but the storm may hasten the darkness.
Gil could suddenly hear the heavy footsteps of Gear boots, marching up the stairs into the lookout tower. He turned around to find Hogaus, a stocky caucasian man with short blonde hair, spiked up from the dry cold air, approaching him.
"Morose wants the word," Hogaus snorted as he glared at Gil with his pale eyes, "…he demands an update."
Gil didn't think to question Hogaus since the guy dwarfed him with his height and husky build. He knew that Hogaus was a man of few words with a short temper, but his allegiance with Morose was inseparable. Along with the other "Gears," Hogaus had the Gear armor strapped on, somewhat customized to accommodate his build. His massive arms hung out freely, using "arm socks," to protect them from the cold, while his fatigues were patched in some places from previous encounters.
Gil started to make his way around the large man, slowly going down the steps while Hogaus stayed in the lookout tower. Getting to the bottom of the stairs, Gil pulled up his shotgun over his shoulder as he walked through the crowd of people gathering as they were quickly going through their routines, making preparations.
Gil looked out and noticed Morose standing near the barracks entrance, looking out at the commotion while standing back, waiting for Gil to make his way over to him.
"Anything?" Morose demanded.
"N…nothing, as of yet. We haven't seen anything or anyone coming near the camp."
"…and Pellin's scouting party?"
"They haven't returned yet. No flares, no smoke signal, nothing."
Gil could tell that Morose was getting irritated. Without warning, Morose, turned around and opened the door into the factory office, storming in as Gil follows behind Morose, going down a hallway into a closed room, where Morose shoved the door open.
Gil peered in to see the Feral still strapped to her chair, slumped and shaken from Morose's sudden entrance. Raven lifts her head in horror as Morose quickly grabs her chair, turning it around while gripping her arms as he pulls her in, directly into his face.
"Alright…where did you tell them to go?" Morose sneered, leaving Raven speechless from his sudden change in demeanor. His bright eyes pierced into hers, as if he already knew the answer from just looking into them. His head tilted slightly as Raven sat frozen in her seat, speechless.
The expression in his face turned sour as his patience with her was wearing thin. Raven has been a thorn in his side for too long and with her now in his possession, he intended to make the most of her.
Raven turned her glare away from his face, knowing that it would inferiorate him, hoping that he would kill her like he did the others when they tested his patience. But Morose found her too valuable to just throw away to the side, so he decided to move on to the next best thing he could use to his advantage.
He stood up as he glared at her looking away from him, somewhat amused at her defiance, but time was pressing for him as he finally walked around her, pulling out her "bowie" knife that he had confiscated after her capture. Raven froze as she closed her eyes, waiting for him to slit her throat, letting the blood spill from her body, releasing her soul from this cold, bitter world that abandoned her to the darkest of fates, but death was not present, nor did death make an entrance as Morose grabbed her hands from behind the chair to cut her bonds, releasing her aching wrists from the ziptie that was strangling her joints.
As soon as her arms were released, a great sense of relief swelled in her shoulders as she nearly topples over from the tension from being tied up. Morose catches her by her arm before she hits the ground, slowly letting her go down to the ground as he leans over and cuts the ziptie wrapped around her boot and the leg of the chair.
"Wait…what the hell
, you're just going to let her go?" Gil protested before Morose stood up, putting away the knife, giving Gil a sour glare.
, Gil…she's not going too far on a broken ankle," he sneered as he quickly pulled her up and threw her over his shoulder.
The whole thing startled Raven, not realizing how strong Morose was until he whipped her over his shoulder and walked out of the room. Her heart rate shot up as her stomach turned into knots and contortions she never experienced before, and it scared her. Morose turned to face Gil,
"Get the boys over here…we're going to have a little soap opera…" Morose ordered, "…and you be sure to bring the prodigal daughter as well."
Morose's men gathered near the building entrance as they waited for others to make the gathering. Hogaus was the last to join them as he dragged their Feral informant to the crowd, making sure she was standing to the front as they waited for Morose to join them.
The door opened as Morose carefully dragged Raven outside of the building in the blistering cold. He held on to Raven tightly by her arm, bracing her from a sight she never thought to ever see as she peered out into group of Stranded and disgruntled Gears, only to find among the crowd a familiar face, one that she has known before the destruction of her clan. Raven glared at the Feral informant as Raven's eyes widened, putting all the pieces together that she has gathered for the past three days. The Feral sunk back while Hogaus kept her in place, making sure she didn't leave as he pushed her forward into the menagerie.
The Feral informant was hesitant, feeling Raven's cold, blue eyes meet hers, a deep hazel that was sunken in from the warpaint. Her dirty blonde hair was course from the wind, pushing her long strands to the front of her petrified face. The fury swelled into Raven like hives, itching from the malice pulsing in her brain, while the Feral before her, glared in fear as Raven summoned her last bit of strength to yank herself from Morose's grip and dashes over to the Feral girl. It wasn't long before Raven struck the other Feral, knocking her sideways as Raven fell with her, stumbling over her broken ankle, but her anger rerouted the pain form her leg as she landed on the girl and started to bludgeon her with her tight fists.
Morose stood back and watched the drama unfold, chuckling as Raven screamed at the girl, beating her repeatedly, slurring in a sequence of profanities in the Feral language as she shouted at the top of her lungs.
"YOU TREACHEROUS B****…DAMN YOU, HAGAR…"
Raven snarled while Hagar tried to wear through Raven's outburst as best as she could, "…YOU SET US UP…WHY?"
By now, Hagar was bleeding profusely from the nose, attempting to shield her face from Raven's clinched fists, bashing in fury. The other Stranded watched in awe and shock while some of the Gears laughed at the girl fight, exchanging wagers amongst themselves.
"WHY…TELL ME WHY, DAMNIT!"
Raven continued to scream at the top of her lungs.
Morose looked over to his men, gesturing to them to break it up. Hogaus and Sanders moved quickly as they grabbed Raven's flailing arms, pulling her off of Hagar, dragging the furious Raven away from their skirmish. Struggling against the two men, she continued to scream in the Feral language, squirming and kicking with her good leg.
Mills," Sanders blurted out as he tries to keep Raven in his grasp, but her thrashing was loosening his grip as he attempts to tighten his hold. Morose pulls out his Snub pistol and shoots it in the air. The shot rings out, silencing everyone around, including Raven, startling her tantrum.
Hagar was still on the ground bleeding and whimpering from the assault, looking up at Morose as he glared at her, giving her a sour look.
"Well, I guess you had it coming," he sneered and then turned his attention to Raven, "…and as for you, let's just say this whole set up has been nothing more than a disappointment…"
"I told you
, asshole…they're not coming, so why don't you do yourself a favor and just kill me now," Raven snapped as she tensed her arms under the Gears' hold. Morose was for the most part, poised, tilting his head as he knelt down in front of Raven.
"This one has spunk," Morose scoffed while Hogaus and Sanders snickered, "…I would have expected such charisma from a Harpie...not from a remnant of Anetha," he derides, glaring at her with same intimidating look. Raven slumped back trying to keep a distance between her and Morose, but it didn't make her any less nervous.
Morose looked down for a moment, rummaging through the denizens of his head as his subliminal tendencies would peer through the darkness with glowing eyes, like a lion, stalking it's prey. He looked back up as he grabbed Raven by her chin, making sure she was looking directly at him as he muttered softly,
"Would you like to know what really happened to your clan?"
The question yanked her like a leash on a tight collar, leaving her speechless as she gasped for air. Morose peered into her, as her eyes met with his, while the words continued to tighten her chest,
"…should I tell you, before your…conversion?"
"Don't bother…there's nothing you can say that will conform me to your sick sport," Raven scoffed, hoping that it would end his little mind game, but it had only just begun.
Morose let out a light chuckle, amused at Raven's insolence while catching himself becoming fascinated with her resilience, killing her would be such a waste.
"Your courage is commendable, Feral, but your ignorance will betray you…just as it betrayed your clan," Morose continued as Raven's eyes widened from the revelation, "…they made the mistake of joining forces with the COG…the same one's who exploited the Indie settlements, subjecting their citizens to inhumane experiments…they did the same to the Feral clans that inhabited the area."
Raven choked as the noose started to tighten even more.
girl…" Morose continued, pushing the envelope even further as he sees her tensing up, "…the COG was desperate, trying to expand their military resources…their scientists were bold enough to use human components to test the mutagenic properties of Imulsion...but these scientists claimed they needed live, human DNA to get the results they needed, so they used those who were disposable. They knew that no one would question their disappearance, which is why they used the Indies and the Feral."
Raven sneered as her face scowled, "…the clans would have known about it!"
Morose's eyes suddenly burned into fury as he tightened his grip on her chin, pulling her forward while Hogaus and Sanders held onto her arms,
"I know that I am a man of many things, but I am not a liar,"
he hissed as his jaw clenched, watching Raven grimace in his grip, "…do not
call me that, again."
He suddenly released his hold on her chin as she gasped from the pain. He leaned back, watching her compose herself again as he spoke,
"…but you are right…some of the clans did know about it...but Tamar had them silenced, and has since then waited for vengeance."
Raven shook her head, finding the strength to snap back,"…and why would she do that?"
Hagar carefully picked herself up as she wiped the blood from her mouth and nose. She stood in between action and hesitation, knowing full well the conversation being carried between Morose and Raven. As Hagar stood on her two feet again, Raven turned her gaze to Hagar, letting the malice that festered in Raven's brain, stir the water as the ripples clouded rationality.
"Why…" Raven scoffed, snapping at Hagar, "…why did you betray us?"
Morose grabbed Raven by her chin again, directing her gaze back to him,
"It was your clan
and the neighboring clans among you that betrayed the Feral," Morose sneered, "…your reverend mother, Poroux wanted to reestablish ties with the COG."
"She did it so we could survive…" Raven answered back, "…we were losing our lands to the Locusts!"
"NO…" Morose barked back as Raven jumped from the sudden change in his voice, "…you were losing the land to the COG. They were taking anyone and everyone to amass their armies, strengthen their power…they conquered and then they destroyed, settlement after settlement with their confiscated weapon of mass destruction! I've seen it…I was there."
His eyes where burning with rage, his brow scowling as he peered into Raven, closing in.
"I watched as they destroyed my home, my land, and my men, all who were in the crossfire, trying to hold the Locusts back so the citizen's could get to Jacinto. They...we
, were branded, expendable
. I watched from a distance as they were burned, alive…"
Morose mouth quivered in disgust as the words seethed from his lips, "…Chairman Prescott broke the fundamental law of the Octus Canon
…to protect the citizens of the COG alliance. Instead, they were sacrifices to the alter for the sake of protecting humanity…our f***ing humanity
…a sick joke that the COG uses to unite the world for their victory over the Locusts."
Raven just sat there, trembling in Morose' presence as he ranted some more,
"After they unlocked the Hammer's key components, they unleashed it's power over the face of Sera to destroy the Locusts, but they set it off too early, before we could relocate the citizens back to Jacinto…they knew this, but they did it anyway, because we were f***ing expendable for their welfare
...few of us managed to survive the onslaught, and since then, we vowed to serve justice to the coward, Prescott and the others whom were responsible...starting with that old f***, Hoffman."
Raven's gaze fell into Morose' trap, listening attentively as he continued,
"Paroux knew this...she knew what they have done...even you knew this, how they destroyed our lands and the people that were still in them…and now, you have allied yourselves with the "pigs," the true enemies of the Coalition, Chairman Prescott and his dogs of war
. They will be held accountable for their crimes…"
"And you justify this by killing the innocent?" Raven snapped back, "...you killed Stranded for your own amusement, don't bulls*** me
...and you killed the Gears...and then turned it all around and blamed it all on the Feral, you son of a b****!"
"The Gears were given a choice before I executed them…and they chose the side of the "pigs." And as for the Stranded, well…" Morose looked deeply into Raven's scorned eyes, "they're like dogs
. Some are obedient, and can be trained...others are just a hindrance and must be removed…the Feral, on the other hand…"
The grip that Morose had on her gaze quickly tightened, "…they were becoming a threat...they have always been a threat, so Tamar did what was necessary…the Harpies scouts led us to their camp,"
Raven started to tremble as the words seeped from Morose's mouth,
"…and we ambushed them…"
You unimaginable bastard.
"…and we destroyed all that we could find…and as I said before," he said as he flashed a condescending grin, "…they are much more pleasurable when they are forced."
Without warning, Raven whipped her head to the side and sinks her teeth into Sanders leg.
"Ah, F***," Sanders bellowed as he loosens his grip on her wrist, allowing Raven to pull out from his hold so she could take a swipe at Morose. Realizing what she was trying to do, Morose quickly countered Raven, suddenly grabbing her wrist and drops her to the ground while holding her facedown. With Hogaus still clutching her other arm, Raven was for the most part, immobilized.
Sanders continued to growl, clutching the inside of his thigh where Raven bit him.
"Gah…that f***ing c*nt
, bit me," he protested as Morose and Hogaus started to laugh. Sanders finally looked up from clutching his leg as he blasts out,
"Smack that b****, Mills," Sanders sneered as Morose and Hogaus refrained from laughing any further. Hogaus still held on to Raven, his hand clenching her arm tightly to keep her from turning around.
Gil for the most part stood behind the commotion, not wanting to take any delight in Morose's "entertainment." He knew Morose to be brutal, especially with Gear prisoners. He couldn't imagine what Morose would intend for their captive Feral, especially if Sigma would never come back for her.
Morose pulls out his pistol, loading it up while Hagar watched in fear, her eyes widening. Morose grabs Raven by her armor, pulling her up. With malice still fresh in her head, she thrashes at Morose, getting a shot in as her palm mashes into his face, but the hit didn't faze Morose at all, as he just turned and glared at her. Blood was seeping from his mouth as Raven watched in horror, suddenly realizing his true intentions as he smirked,
"I hope there's more where that came from," he sneered. Without warning, he slaps her across the face, coercing a response from Raven as she fell to the ground, whimpering from the stinging sweltering the side of her cheek from the contact. The ritual was enticing to him as he leans down and pulls Raven back on her feet, hoping that she would fight back some more. He proceeds to drag her back to the quarters when Hagar suddenly blurts out,
"NO…STOP…do not kill her," Hagar yelled out. Morose turned and looked at her, stopping in his tracks as the vicinity became still around them.
"I don't intend to kill her," Morose sneered as he continued to drag Raven over to the door before Hagar called out again.
"Tamar's Pandora must be spared and unspoiled…" Hagar finally revealed as Morose stopped in his tracks. His demeanor shifted into a state of astonishment as he turned to Raven with her arm still in his grip while he pulled her up and snatches her chin with his hand, looking at her carefully.
…isn't that just f***ing
dandy…" he mused as he looks her over, admiring his prize, "…so this is Tamar's lost daughter...you're more profitable than I have ever imagined"
Raven trembled in his brace, breathing heavily as the palpitations in her heart skipped several beats from the anxiety. Raven's eyes widened to the news of her true identity, something she never knew and was not willing to accept as her mind shifted in many moods, from confusion, to despair, intertwined with betrayal. Tamar is not my mother…she is a traitor!
A sudden flux of questions hit her brain all at once, pushing her into anguish…everything that I thought I knew, everything that I was told was a ****ing lie! NO…it's not true!
And then the revelation hit her, was that why the Harpies didn't kill us?
It was too much to take in. Raven began to shut down and Morose could see it. His head tilted, peering into her pale eyes, looking through the glass lens and seeing the truth in her expression. He moved closer towards her frozen face,
"You didn't know about this, did you…" he commented, looking at her as his brow hung heavily over his sharp blue eyes, "…you have been ignorant all along. They never told you what really happened to your parents, did they…Eloise McNight..."
How does he know my name
, Raven pondered. Morose grinned, amused that he was dissecting her from the inside out. The sound of her name, flowing from his lips caused a rift from reality as her mind went into a daze. Just shoot me now…get it over with! There's nothing left for me here now.
Morose could tell that Raven's demeanor slumped as the tension in her body laxed. She stopped struggling against him, submitting to whatever fate awaited her, and it started to irritate him.
"No…no…you're giving up way too easily," he sneered as he yanks her and throws Raven up over his shoulder,
"C'mon on, girl," Morose said as he made his way back into the building while Sanders and Gil followed them from behind. He turned over his shoulder as he yelled out to Hogaus,
"…and bring that Feral b**** as well."