Friday, June 3, 3542
Unknown Location, Skeleton City, Planet Anton
Nodric was about to die. Why? He had no idea.
He said a short prayer and lifted his head to look around. His hands and legs were tied. He was tempted to scream but was scared that he would be gagged to death by his captors. He was at their mercy.
Nodric looked at the masked men standing near him, “Who are you guys? Let me go!” he squirmed to release himself. His request met with a sharp kick to his abdomen, “Not so soon. The city hasn’t judged you yet”. The men scoffed and laughed at him.
He hated the city. The Great Revolt of Synods in the year 3042 resulted in hordes of people leaving the city overnight. Left behind were few puritans and remnants of time gone by. Skeleton City was home to one of Anton’s most powerful political party, Puritan House of Synods (PHS). PHS claimed absolute right over the city after the revolt.
Nodric’s ancestors lived in Skeleton City but they were forced to leave everything behind and take refuge in foreign land. PHS allowed no one but only synods to live in the city. Nodric was a 50 year old archaeologist. His passion for history forced him to enter the city illegally. He hitch-hiked a ride in a truck that was carrying paraffin into the city.
Two men lifted him up from the floor, “Get up princess! The sheriff is here to see you”. He could barely open his eyes now. It had been two days that he had been tied up without food and water. One of the men slapped Nodric real hard in order to gain his attention. He saw a middle-aged man standing in front of him. The sheriff was holding a walking stick in his left hand. It had a crystal orb encrusted on it and had a sharp and shiny brass tip. The tip was too sharp to lend any support.
“Nodric!” the sheriff didn’t even flinch a muscle on his face, “You dug up our land without our permission. You thought we will not notice your little excavation”.
“Let me go!” Nodric struggled to let himself free of two men holding him. He wasn’t co-operating with them. The men pushed him to the floor. He hit the floor with his face down and crack!! He broke his nose. He wailed in excruciating pain.
The sheriff walked towards Nodric and stabbed his back with tip of his walking stick, “You think you can enter our holy land and dig it up”. “We asked you politely to pack your bags and leave” he pushed the stick further into his back. Nodric screamed in pain as the brass tip penetrated his flesh and reached his spine. Lack of food and loss of blood, Nodric passed out.
“Useless!” a disappointed sheriff looked at his men. The men dragged Nodric by his legs but stopped in between when they heard gunshots. They were coming from outside. The sheriff asked his men to go out and check. Few round of gunshots flew here and there and the night went silent.
The sheriff drew his gun out and scanned the door for any movement. The door opened. Bang!! Two Gunshots!!
Few hours later…
Nodric was still unconscious as the car sped through the forest. His head hit the window glass hard as it took a sharp turn. He opened his eyes and was confused to see himself in a car, “What! Where am I?”
“Duck your head!” she screamed as a bullet shattered the windshield of the car. A cavalry of armed men were chasing them on motorbikes. She drove as fast as she could.
Nodric looked clueless, “Who are you?”
She handed him a box of tissues “Hi, I am Amaya. How do you feel now?”
Nodric pulled few tissues out and wiped his nose, “It hurts”. The car jerked violently as she manoeuvred it. He clung to the car door like a monkey, not letting go. She drove like a maniac.
She stopped the car down a hill, “I think we lost them”. “Come on! Get out. We are on foot from here”, she didn’t want to waste any time, “Hurry up”.
He stepped out with one hand at his back and the other on his nose, “Do I know you?”
Not responding to his question, “A boat is waiting for us at the river down the hill. Walk faster”.
He did not ask any further questions and followed her like a lost child. After what seemed like an hour or so, they reached the shore.
“Oh! Thank God” Nodric laughed with joy. There were men waiting for them with a boat.
“Quick start the engine” a man on the boat shouted as they saw Amaya and Nodric approaching.
Amaya stopped when she heard something apart from the boat engine. The motorbikes re-emerged from the trees. “Run!” she looked at him and screamed with all she had.
The bikers began shooting at them. The sound of the gunshots filled the air like thundering bolt. The men on the boat were prepared for a situation like this. They began firing back with equal zeal to kill.
Nodric struggled as the injury to his spine forbade him from running fast. It is when he saw a man on the boat holding a bazooka, “Good Lord! Is that a bazooka? Who are these people?”
The projectile from the bazooka hit the bikers. The explosion lit up the night sky in all shades of orange, red and yellow.
Nodric and Amaya reached the boat unharmed. The engines were already running. The boat began racing. He felt the rocks scraping the bottom of the hull. Soon they were deep in water.
Nodric turned and looked at the shore. All he could see was fire and body parts.
“Mr. Nodric, Are you alright?” asked a man with a gun in his hand. For once he was glad that it was not pointed at him, “Yes! Yes. I had been better”.
The man who seemed to be the leader of the boat greeted him, “Mr. Nodric, I am Drake”. Nodric smiled and shook his hands. Drake seemed genuinely concerned, “Do you have any idea what you have got yourself into?”
Nodric was about to answer his question when he noticed the tattoo on his neck, “Wait! I have seen this before”.
“Of course you have!” Drake pulled the collar of his shirt down for a closer look.
Nodric looked closely, “Yes, it is the same” and he noticed that everyone on the boat had the tattoo. “Who are you guys?” he had grown bored of the question now. Not his fault, the last two days were the worst ever.
“We are the Order of the Red Fire”, one could easily feel the pride in Amaya’s voice as she spoke the words.
“No Way! Did you just say Order of the Red Fire!? This doesn’t make any sense. Aren’t they all dead? ” Nodric threw his hands in air.
Drake handed Nodric a bottle of water, “Amaya had been waiting for you a long time”.
“Why?” Nodric opened the bottle and began gulping the water down his throat.
Drake and Amaya exchanged an affirmative look, “Well mostly because she is your daughter”.
Nodric choked on water, “Fuck!! Anton!”. He had no clue what just happened.