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Divine Descent: Prologue + Ch. 1
By
Rebellious_Soul

Divine Descent: Prologue + Ch. 1

Is this the beginning of the story or had I merely started in the middle?

This is the reworking of Rise and Fall, I hope you guys enjoy the twists and turns of this new approach and tone of my previous story.

 

Prologue

A harrowing scream of the wind gusted through the narrow twists and turns of the long winding alleyways of Ashdrift city. Where its tall dark towers loomed over the small haze of light from the streets below, encased by a hazy film of unwanted smog. Behind that still was a void, endless; empty save for the billowing black clouds that rumbled gravely across the land. Occasionally would it be illuminated by the crackling flash that Splits the sky open if for the briefest moments before disappearing leaving only the distant echo of thunder to acknowledge its existence before fading away itself. The threat of violence prevailed; at any moment a bolt of unbridled energy would crash upon the world to ensue chaos, destruction, and calamity. 

Humanity itself has gone through such lengths to ensure minimal damage, as their cities rose from dust. As time and time again calamity returned it to ash only for the prevailing humans to  dare rise from the ashes; to dare exist past the smite of gods. How feeble their attempts to ascend to heaven with each innovative skyscraper reaching to the stars only to falter and collapse into the Hell it escaped from; for even tree must have roots that reach the pits of hell in order to touch heaven. Such has been the cycle of this desolate world with its absent god and blind followers, how much has been run amok already by their freedom of choice. A freedom such that their god cannot be held accountable for their actions much like a man ditching his role as a father and not having any influence over the life of the thing he had created. This monstrous yet benign thing that has been created and allowed to grow like a festering wound upon the surface. They have only caused pain and suffering as they are filled with bitterness, loathing, and contempt as they sought control over one another. The rise to power at the expense of the many.

Such a world that can be so dangerous, so vile that it's beauty is incomparable. Nature has an odd way of showing the most beautiful as the most dangerous with brilliantly colored and patterned plants and animals that turn out to be the most lethal. 

The clouds high above welled and the onslaught of rain began its descent crashing upon the man overlooking the scene laid out before him. This world can be so much more than what it has been made into; a potential for such chaos that it breaks the foundations of Heaven and Hell and shakes the fabric of reality. The threat of violence always emanate but with the right preparation, becomes an endless tragedy. This was what he exists for, he could feel the delicate balance between the planes of existence, one small tap could shatter the fragile world before him. 

The wind howled, harmonious with the thunder and drumming of drenching rain. The path ahead was clear but the storm erased the footprints that had bounded towards the still city leaving behind a single velvet black rose in a pool of red. 

 

Ch. 1

Fatima brushed a stray lock of hair out of her face, peering down into her drink. bourbon, her poison of choice mixed with an assortment of other liquors and flavors into a fruity array. Other patrons at the almost constantly abandoned bar would snicker at the typical girl ordering the little cocktail as they get stammered on wheat juice as she calls beer. A slight glance from the corner of her eye checked to make sure no one would bother her. Not that anyone has, she couldn't recall the last time anyone at a bar heckled her. Perhaps she intimidated them, or they wanted nothing to do with the little blond that sat quietly in the corner next to the bar. 

There were more faces that she didn't recognize then the people who used to frequent the place. They've grown older as time pressed on, eluding to change her physical features. Everyone was bound to notice, but didn't care. This hole in the wall was specifically for those outside the relative box of normality. The side of the city that no one ever mentioned, Fatima knew of it, but kept to her own business, this was the only bar that she could enjoy her drink in peace.

The doorbell chimed, echoing into the mostly vacant area. The bartender came out from the backroom to see who had just walked in, a quick look at his watch to figure it was still a little too early for his regular clientele despite how dark it was outside. He eyes glazed over at the sight of the newcomer as they took a seat at the other end of the bar. 

A voice cooed out; feminine yet gruff and a hint of dangerous intent. The bartender flinched, but only slightly enough that you either have to know him or know what to look for to notice. After a pause, she called out again for his attention with a tint of annoyance this time. Fatima merely watched the bartend stammer and brought the women her drink in haste. In his rush, he knocked Fatima's drink spilling it upon her. Clothes now soaked through and going to reek like the drunk man passed out in the corner.

"Ah, sorry Fatima, I'll get you another in a moment." She brushed off the apology it was only some basic clothes she couldn't care less about. She was more concerned about how odd it was to see him with a frantic look in his eyes, but his blunder with her seemed to alleviate the tension as  a pair of eyes bore into her. 

A distant ringing cut though the space, the bartender made a moment of eye contact handing Fatima a fresh drink before quickly scurrying off to the back without a sound to answer whoever in their right mind is calling at this time of the evening. 

A quick flicker of a glance revealed a tall relatively lean build of a woman in basic black clothes her red hair boldly gleamed against. Her red hair swished to look away, concealing her face.  She sternly peered at the drink in her hand before downing it in one motion. Slamming the glass down upon the bar with a dull thud made a few heads look up briefly before turning away once again. Fatima wordlessly sipped her drink letting her mind curiously ponder about the strange woman who stood not even five feet away from where she was sitting. Another glance she couldn't infer what made the redhead strange, just that there was a certain energy about her, the way she carried herself. 

Then as quickly as she had come, she turned on her heel and left. A large case slacked upon her shoulder, Fatima didn't notice until she was already out the door. Some of the other patrons began to mutter to themselves something about, "what brings her here?" Curious, there was a slight quiver to the voices, hushed to not be overheard if she comes back. Fatima wasn't going to stick her nose into a mess that would otherwise not involve her, but some of these men weren't anyone to mess with, what kind of women can incite this reaction just by being in their proximity?

A sigh hiss from her lips, "No use moping anymore." She finished the rest of her drink before leaving the bar herself. She briskly nodded a farewell to the bartender, ignoring everyone else; not that they paid her any mind either. 

The cool air of the twilight was refreshing compared to the still air from inside, but still the wind cut through her still slightly damp clothes causing a few shivers run down her spine. The stars shine in the darkening sky behind a few wisps of black clouds. The otherwise clear skies revealed it would be a moonless night overtop of the city. If only the light pollution didn't ruin the chance to see the full night sky in all of its gleaming glory. "Foolish, they don't have a clue to how breathtaking that view can truly be until it is robbed from them." 

The walk home wasn't terribly far, though not consistently lit.  The worst of it was cutting through the park halfway. It isn't uncommon for those with malicious intentions to lurk in the thick woods waiting for the unsuspecting fool to cross in front of them. Fatima set her sights ahead and started down the pavement. The occasional car and taxi would drive pass, as tempting being driven home seemed, it wasn't worth burning a hole in her pocket. Onward she approached the iron fence and gate to the public park that was supposedly closed after dark. Streetlights dimly illuminated the winding path through the fields and tiny flower gardens before forking into multiple paths.

Fatima cut across the grass instead, she wasn't going to walk in the beacons of light as it would be easier for someone to see her then it would be for her to see anyone sneaking up to jump her. Of course to her own stupidity she turned on her phone as she was walking, hoping to find a playlist to listen to on her way. The screen glowing against her pale face and her eyes a little too focused but not too much for her to turn down the path that goes further into the woods. 

She decided a little too late that it would be better to not listen to any music at all and went to put her phone in her pocket. Turning off the screen left her eyes adjusting to the sudden darkness and her foot was snagged by a twisted root. With a slight stumble she fell into the earth. The ground was cold, yet soft with a few rocks and stones that more than likely bruised her palms. Her breath caught slightly, was that the earthy smell of  upturned dirt?

Someone was talking, but it was muffled along with the sound of shuffling and a shovel colliding into the ground. "Jacob," A male voice hissed in a hoarse whisper, "you had this coming, stop struggling. You're just making yourself look pathetic flailing around on the ground like that." There was an angry reply, an infuriated muted growl from what is assumed behind a large wad of cloth. 

Fatima reflected into herself, fairly certain her expression betrayed shock and hysteria from what she was hearing. Daring not to move for this was nothing to do with her and she most certainly didn't want to end up in a ditch in the middle of the park. She would have to move eventually or risk being discovered as she was sprawled out on the main path. Where was the root she tripped over anyways, there was nothing obstructing her way once she had looked back seeing if it was faster to go back or to continue down the unlit path. 

There was more digging and obnoxious muted shouts from who the other guy called Jacob which resulted in him calming stating, "Stop trying to draw attention, it isn't like anyone is around to help, but it is annoying. I won't object to using the shovel aga-" He was cut off with a sharp yell and a large crash into some shrubs that are scattered about between the trees. Fatima took this as an opportunity to sneak away so that her presence shall remain unknown to the strange men trying to kill each other. 

She pressed herself up tuning out the fight going on, but suddenly was blinded as a flashlight was flung out and cracked against her skull and one of the two men had tackled the other onto her. Yelping in surprise as she was suddenly crushed into the ground. "Oh shit, look at what you did Tommy, now assaulting an innocent bystander"

"Get off of me please," She huffed as her lungs could not handle the pressure that well. Her lungs that have been the only problem she consistently had, with short sharp breaths and the occasional sensation of suffocation. Of her seemingly endless life, she could not recall a time she didn't have this issue. It's been so ingrained into her life that she no longer considered it an issue despite the constant reminder that it isn't normal through the reactions of people around her being concerned for her well being.

After a moment of silence, the weight was gone and a pair of hands gripped her shoulders. Non to gently she was steadied to her feet and was assaulted by a searing blight upon her eyes as her face was illuminated by a flashlight reducing the figures from silhouettes to vague shadows. 

The garbled onslaught of dialogue from the two strangers as they tried to progressively talk over each other made it impossible for Fatima to understand what they were saying to her. Her face as though it took on an overwhelmed expression as they leered over her, causing her to attempt to stumble back a few paces. However the grip on her kept her in place as the two began to argue with each other about who was going to address this random woman who happened to be passing by. From what she could make out were along the lines of, "well you fell on her" and "If you had just let me bury you this wouldn't have happened."

Great that means that plot of land thats dug up will be my shallow grave  She cast a fretful glance to the trail just beyond them wondering if she had the endurance to outrun them, a feeble attempt already stunted from action as she was well aware she had no strength to break out of the hold on her. The two before her broke out into another fist fight and she hesitated. "Wait a minute..." Without the flashlight being shined into her face, her eyes finally started to adjust properly to the darkness and saw there was in fact a third person standing directly behind her. 

Then it clicked, "Oh, I tripped over your leg..."

"Maybe if you didn't have your phone in your face you would have seen that." The third replied rather annoyed, "then again you must be pretty dumb to be walking alone at night drunk without a doubt." a cold shiver ran up her spine as she gave him a callous glare. She could play off as drunk that might give her a better chance to survive this encounter, but also run the risk of endangering herself in other ways.

 

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