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Outlaw Souls: The Memoirs of Ryan Dark and Victor Kutchkoff
Posted: Tue Sep 10, 2013 1:23 pm
Have you ever heard people talk about having come back from the brink of death? You know, those stories about people being clinically dead or their hearts were stopped but doctors or EMTs or whatever brought them back. And a lot of them talk about the white light of heaven at the end of a tunnel with all their loved ones. Well for those of you who believe in that, it gives me create pleasure to disappoint you. Now in my case, there was indeed a dark tunnel with a light at the end, and there is indeed a heaven, hell, and what many refer to as purgatory, but it’s not as simple as walking down a tunnel to reach ‘salvation’. Sorry, I have to laugh anytime I refer to heaven as ‘salvation’, but I digress. Let me start at the beginning…or well the end…well it’s the end of one part of my existence and the start of another.
My previous professional was a ‘financial advisor and collector’, I had didn’t necessarily have a boss, I was more on a few payrolls and was more freelance. It was my job to ‘advise’ individuals to pay what was owed, to whom it was owed to, and if they couldn’t pay I would collect collateral. Collateral in my work may not be what you might think as it’s not always material belongings, sometimes I collect fear, and sometimes I collect pain, just whatever motivated the individual to pay up.
Now I know what you’re thinking, I’m a goon, a hired thug, though for some reason somewhat articulate. Well let me tell you, I didn’t grow up in the back streets of some ghetto where this was the only life I could look forward to. I actually had a fully functioning, loving family, and no tragic backstory about gruesome deaths or sexual abuse, and in fact I went to a pretty good college as well, it’s just that this is what I enjoyed and it allowed me to make a living in which I was satisfied. Although, all good things come to an end. This is where I saw that bright light at the end of a long dark tunnel.
It seemed that my reputation grew fast, so fast that I could barely keep up with the job requests, to the point that I began accepting jobs without looking at what the assignments were before accepting them. The important thing was not what the job was, or who gave it to me. The important thing is when you happen to collect one too many times from certain organizations; you tend to become a target.
I never expected one day, that as I walked through the front door of my apartment, I wasn’t greeted by my girlfriend, Alyssa, jumping on me half-naked as I was used to. Instead I received the butt of a shotgun that broke my nose and knocked out a tooth or two. The scuffle that followed did result me in shooting one thug and breaking the arm of another, but the other three or four within the room managed to beat me unconscious before tying me up. When I came to, I was lying on the floor, hands and feet bound and a gag in my mouth, and my vision was still blurry as hands grabbed me and pulled me to my knees. I felt like I had been hit by a truck, but I became cognoscente of my surroundings. I was still in my living room, the thugs standing around me, two standing in the corner, with Alyssa, bound as well, bruised and a little bloody also.
“Mr. Fergusen. You don’t know who I am, but we do know you.” One of them finally spoke, he bent down next to me grabbing my head so that I was facing him. “Now I’m suppose to kill you, and had it been up to me, I would have just blown off your head the second you walked through the door, but it was very important to our employer that you know who it was that did this.” He stood up and walked towards Alyssa, pulling out a pistol as he did. “You made quite a mistake a few weeks ago. A job you selected happened to be for some of our rival businesses. And our competitors had you target some people under our protection.” He put the gun to Alyssa’s head. “Do you remember a job that took you to the South Bend? I’m sure you do, I mean with the amount of man hours it took you to eliminate all those guards you had to get past, the recon, the cost of ammunition and explosives, having to repair your vehicle. I’m sure you at least have some recollection.” Of course I knew exactly the job to which he was referring. “Well, we didn’t appreciate your work.” He pulled the trigger. Alyssa’s lifeless body slumped to the floor. A few of the thugs held on, as I let out a muffled yell and attempted to get to my feet. “You see Mr. Fergusen, someone else’s death can cause you pain. Pain like you caused our employer.” He bent down so that he was next to my ear. “You don’t mess with The Horseman.” Had I known then what I know now, even with the emotion swirling in my head from everything that had just happened, I would have laughed at the irony. As he stood up, another raised a shotgun to my face, a long single-barreled tunnel, and as he pulled the trigger, a light at the end.
This is where my life ended, and for lack of better term my death began. Remember, I said getting into heaven wasn't as easy as walking a tunnel and there’s absolutely no guarantee when you get there that your loved ones are waiting. You see, what you do in life has absolutely zero impact on where you go when you die, for every single person, fate rolls a die, on one of the six sides in heaven and on another hell, then three of the sides are purgatory in which the die continues to be rolled until you get sent to one of the prior two mentioned. And then there's that sixth side. That one where while you end up in purgatory, you fall through the cracks and become masters of your own destiny. I rolled a six. And let me tell you, after you die, that's when stuff gets a whole lot more interesting.
Outlaw Souls: The Memoirs of Ryan Dark and Victor Kutchkoff
Posted: Wed Sep 25, 2013 3:09 pm
Adjusts his hat, takes a puff from his cig and lets the smoke linger in the air
*Translated from Russian
* It was the fall, crisp cold air, much as it always was around the year but, it was exceedingly still in those days. We stood behind the wall looking out over the grand alliance that had arrayed itself against our city and failed each and every time to bombard us into oblivion. They had brought some one hundred and twenty odd guns to fire upon us and we retaliated with almost three times as many. They were but a cough in the cold wind opposing a roar that shattered the ice fields. They, their silly 'Light Brigade' charging upon a thin red line into the jaws of death. So honorable and noble they must have thought it all. We cared not that we were outnumbered. Sevastopol was our city and it would not fall.
We had lost Nakhimov that summer, and Admiral Kornilov the year before, but we would not go quietly. They would know the strength of this lands sons. They charged on that day and Fate charged with them. Sixty-thousand men came on and we fired upon them. At Redan we obliterated the Bristish so I was told, but I was against the forces led by the Duke of Magenta as we fought at Malakoff.
It was noon. The fighting was of the most desperate kind: every casemate and every traverse was taken and retaken time after time as each side attacked and counterattacked. Even on the far left, at the opposite flagstaff and central bastions, there was severe hand-to-hand fighting. I gave the command to fire at point blank into the mass, then drew my Kindjal and charged into the fray. Very soon my hands grew slick with blood of my enemies and my fury was not quickly spent. Several men fell to my blade and skill, taking up anothers blade, I drove into my enemy and the men under me followed with the same tenacity. This was ours and they would not have it.
Bullets flew, cannons roared. Around us the air grew thick with screams and death. I struck on and we retook the traverse. We shouted and roared our victories and spat at the back of our enemies. Then it was quiet. So quiet. I did not recall falling to my knees but that is where I found myself. There was no sound but, I could see just fine. There was no pain, but I knew all the same how much I should hurt. I was alone on that field and the smoke cleared to show my enemy before me, charging back up the slope. I blinked and...and that was it. *
Takes a swig from a bottle marked Death's Door and sighs.
* English, heavy Russian accent.
* So, there you have it. I was simply a soldier doing a soldiers job in a time when being a soldier was still an easy and upright thing to do. Now you have heavy politics and movements and acquisition of underhanded backwash and blah blah blah. So my life ended with a flash and bang of cannon fire and chest and gut full of tiny metal bits. Ah yes and a wicked, wicked scar that makes for good conversation of a particular sort. And when you die, Fate rolls that six sided chance cube and you wonder and wait and sometimes you pray. For me I watched and smiled for I was always lucky at dice and cards and knew before it stopped that I would roll that hard six. And so I did, and here we are.
Where I ended up and what happened after that well...that comes another time.
Re: Outlaw Souls: The Memoirs of Ryan Dark and Victor Kutchk
Posted: Mon Sep 30, 2013 12:34 am
So, from this point in order for you to really understand what happened next, I gotta take a step back and give you a little history lesson. Keep in mind, when I continue retelling my personal journey, I was not yet privy to the information I'm about to share, but it really requires you know this for it to make any real sense. You're really just going to have to bare with me, until we get to my 'rebirth' as we'll call it.
So some hundred-thousand-million years ago, really whenever it was before time actually existed, well there was God, and yes there is a God, well God created the his angels, God created man, God and the an angel (the Devil, yes there is a devil) had a falling out, God banished the Devil to Hell along with a few other angels. And yes it did happen in that order. You see, the falling out between God and the Devil, well we won't go into the why as of right now, because it's not relevent, but let it be known that God was fair and just and in banishing the Devil to Hell, that wasn't the Devil's punishment, that was God giving the Devil the chance to defend the accusations. Basically, Hell was created under the Devil's defense that God's creations are actually victims to their own desires. God on the other hand, claimed that all his creations had complete control over themselves. God created Hell to give the Devil a chance to challenge God's assertion, and they'd do so using mankind. The challenge would be, after man ceased to exist in the living realm, who would possess more souls, heaven or hell. The rules were simple, neither was allowed to directly influence the living realm, but when a human died, depending upon the life he lead, he'd either go to heaven or hell. And God and the Devil would simply sit back and watch it happen.
We fast forward a while as mankind we introduced to the concept of death, you see originally God created man with an almost infinite lifespan, however he cut that drastically for the interest of the challenge and gave them souls, a presense that would cross over from the living realm once their physical self expired for whatever reason. So while humans began dying off and filling heaven and hell. Now in accordance to the devil's defense that creations are all victims to their own desires, of course the Devil was not simply going to sit back and let fate decide the challenge. It was about this time that the First Great Conflict occurred. To make an extremely long story short, souls from hell led raids and attacks on heaven to eliminate souls and diminish the numbers that God had accumulated for the challenge. Yes, they're already dead, but when a soul dies, it disappears into a black oblivion, it is erased from existence. Now of course, the Devil claimed to have no influence in this action, and that it was just further proof of these souls being victims of their own desires. So rather than cause my souls to throw themselves away, God created the Great Buffer, another realm that existed between heaven and hell, that only allowed souls to travel in one direction, once a human would die, the soul would go to the buffer and from there, a one way road to either heaven or hell as set by the earlier parameters. In later years, this great buffer would come to be known as Purgatory.
However, the solution of one problem, gives way to another problem altogether. Since the souls now entered purgatory when their physical self died, rather than directly entering heaven or hell, some souls first decided to drag their feet, then others who simply wished not to follow that one-way road that led to their final destination. More and more souls began coming through only not to proceed any further than Purgatory simply because they didn't want to go to the pre-destined destination. Now right now, you may be thinking that most of those souls were probably the ones destined for hell, right? Keep in mind that at this point of humanity, theology itself simply did not yet exist, so it really came down to those who wished to be masters of their own destinies, or those who were really just too lazy to make the one-way trek. This led to what became known as, The Soulless Rebellion. Neither God, nor the Devil felt it appropriate for souls to refuse to make their way to heaven or hell, so God authorized angels from both sides, though by this point the angels in hell had already become a twisted sort, both physically and mentally, so to reflect an easy understanding for you, I'll refer to them as demons. So God allowed angels and demons to puncture the great barrier in order to retrieve souls. While some souls went quietly without hassle, a strong majority of these souls were willing to be eliminated from existence than allow the angels or demons to take them. Again, God refused to allow such a huge number of souls simply throw away their existence. So he recalled the angels and demons, and allowed the souls to remain in Purgatory, until new rules for the challenge could be drawn.
Re: Outlaw Souls: The Memoirs of Ryan Dark and Victor Kutchk
Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2013 10:42 pm
For the time, I shall return to my own story. Yes I could continue on with the history lesson, as I have yet to even touch on how the chaotic, lifeless plain of purgatory turned into the thriving, civilized one in which we currently reside. Rest assured those answers shall be answered in due time, though for now, I simply give what I feel is required to understand my personal journey as it unfolds.
I don’t know how much time had passed, or if it even mattered, but after the muzzle flash, all I saw was darkness. It didn’t feel as though I had been asleep so I won’t say I woke up, but in that next moment, almost instantaneously, I opened my eyes and around me was darkness, not nothingness though. Just darkness, like the lights were turned off. I was lying flat now; I could feel a cold, hard slab against my back. While I can easily describe my physical surroundings, looking back it’s difficult to find the words to describe what was going through my head; best I can come up with is complete chaos. It was as if every thought I ever had, every memory, every sensation, every experience was swimming around in my mind, but I couldn’t focus on any of them. This continued for I don’t know how long, but it didn’t even register until later that while I was lying there, there was someone else there speaking to me. So when I inherently commented aloud about how dark it was, the other individual, not exactly the brightest bulb as I’d soon realize, took my ramblings as replies to his questions. I wouldn’t find out about this until moments later, as the figure left my cell before I regained full control of my senses.
I say my cell, since I became to notice the darkness fade somewhat as my eyes adjusted and realize that I was in a small room, just big enough to stand up in, and nearly just as wide. Against one wall, the stone slab on which I had rested and opposite that, a small doorway cut in the stone. Slowly the light from somewhere beyond the doorway grew and with it so did the noise. I thought it was the sound of rushing water at first, but as it drew me to the doorway, it became cleared, it was the sounds of a cheering crowd.
The change from dark to light was blinding, like I lived in complete darkness for years only to suddenly be staring straight into the heart of the sun. I stepped through the doorway and this light and noise surrounded me. I was standing in a large dry pool. It was square, probably about twenty by thirty feet, with concrete walls stretching up for another ten. There was a layer of rocks and sand beneath my feet and above me stretching as far as I could see, columns of rock holding up a cavernous roof. In-between the columns and I can only imagine going outwards were thousands of people, or at least humanish figures. The sudden rush of everything still left that part in a bit of a blur, and I can’t recall for sure that some of the faces and figures I saw in the crowd were entirely human. Though of course, I can say now that looking back, it’s extremely likely that only about fifty percent of the spectators actually resembled their human forms. Taking it all in though was no easy task, and made more difficult when a fist the size of a Christmas ham, caught me square in the right side of the face and knocked me off my feet.
Once again, flat on my back, I looked up to see what I could best describe as a body builder with an intense case of elephantitis. He was hairless, pale white skin, wearing a pair of baggy shorts only. His left foot, stomach, and right arm from neck and shoulder down to finger tips were swollen to nearly three times the size of the normal muscular counter limb of his body. Fists thrust in the air, my assailant stood there facing the crowds, cheering and taunting and not even paying any attention to me. Whether he thought he knocked me out with that hit, or simply did not consider me a threat, he was wrong on either account. As he turned in a circle and came back to face me, I saw my opportunity. I pushed myself off the ground, leaping to my feet and bringing my closed fist up into his jaw.
The chin remained exactly where it had been and pain rang through my hand. As I gripped it, I saw him still just standing there; my punch wouldn’t have had less effect had I slapped his chin with a feather. I can’t say whether I failed to react because of the pain or still gaining my bearings from waking up here, but in a matter of seconds, he brought his club hand down on my head, smashing my face into the sand, and I was once again, on the ground. I only lifted my head, when the blade of an axe impaled itself inches from my face. At first I thought it was the monster I was fighting, toying with me before he cut off my head, but then I noticed the crowd throwing all sorts of weapons into the pool.
I rolled as far from my opponent as I could before getting to my feet, by sheer luck avoiding the rain of assorted blades and clubs. He came charging at me, a large stone hammer trailing him. The clubbing of his fist was bad enough; putting that kind of power behind the hammer would kill me. Without switching my gaze I scrambled to comb the sand for the first solid object my hands fell on. The only thing I had on my mind was hopefully grabbing something to defend myself. At the time, as best as I knew, my life was in the balance. Closing in on me, I found something and I whipped it out in front of me as fast as I could. The war hammer was already coming down when I saw what I held out in front of me: a small black rock, a little bigger than the palm of my hand. Accepting my fate, I waiting for the finishing blow…and continued waiting.
My opponent was still standing there, warhammer in hand, but panic spread across his face. He let the hammer fall to his side and fell to his knees. Eyes and mouth wide open he clutched his throat, looking as though he was trying to yell at the top of his lungs, yet there was only silence. Then he simply froze and his color began to darken, as if being engulfed in a shadow. Then all at once, the sound of his scream that should have been going on for several moments rang out in a split second as the figure that stood before me was sucked into the black stone in my hand, and I was alone in that arena.
Only a moment or so later, a loud echoing voice broke out “Ladies and Gentlemen, this matches winner, newcomer Dark!” And cheers louder than anything I ever heard before and after that moment split my ears.
Re: Outlaw Souls: The Memoirs of Ryan Dark and Victor Kutchk
Posted: Thu Oct 24, 2013 3:06 pm
* English, heavy Russian accent
There is much I could speak upon about my past...
The falling through that rabbit hole, my time spent in the RedLine, the Motherlands militant arm here in Purgatory. Cutting through the red tape and my current position but...well we can catch up on that another time. I will save the history lessons for my comrade here. So his story...my part in it was one of an observer at this point...
The Pitt was a common amusement here in Purgatory. Plenty of fools willing to throw their lives away for a grasp at glory, lowlifes that fell through on a deal, or punishment for crimes committed against the free market. Due to my years of service, the contacts I had made and my current line of work, I was oft invited to such amusements. The seats overlooked the the vast hole in the ground that made the blood grounds. Connected to this was a series of cells and moving platforms that would bring in fresh fighters, beasts, or even temporary buildings or hazards. My particular booth was on an upper ring that provided an excellent view of the arena without any of the lesser trash getting in the way. The service was much better than the current series of bouts I had been forced to waste time watching. So as two new fighters entered I hardly paid it any mind as my attention was focused more upon the drink in my hand, the smoke I had in my teeth and the woman on my lap. As per custom, weapons were thrown into the Pitt to 'encourage' the fighters into greater acts of savagery. So, finding myself weary of the usual bashing, stabbing, spiking, I had brought something special to add to the bout.
Shooing the eye candy off of my lap and into a nearby chair, I stood and opened a small case I had brought with me. Finishing my drink and taking a puff from the cig, I picked up the small object in my now free hand and with a small grin tossed the smooth black rock into the arena with a flick of my wrist. So you could say that in that single twist of Fate, our futures were then set.
Re: Outlaw Souls: The Memoirs of Ryan Dark and Victor Kutchk
Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 3:26 pm
Immediately after the announcer sent the crowd into a roaring frenzy, four men in suits entered the arena. I was enraged, confused, scared, and a mix of other emotions I can’t identify, though I allowed them to shackle me and lead me from the arena. This was after I attempted to recreate the same actions I had just taken with the blackstone, though this time to no avail. So seeing as I realized I was outmanned and outgunned, I went along with them; two of them putting shackles on my wrists and ankles, made of some unknown material, extremely light and white in color with an almost grayish glow about them, though of course know I know that was my first exposure to soul-welded alloys. A third put the nose of some sort of firearm against my back and gave me a good shove. I may talk about it with relative ease now, but during that time I was a mess of confusion, and my mind had still be unable to land on any one particular thought. A million questions or more swirled through my head. Where was I? Who are these people? How did I get here? Where was Alyssa? What was that black stone? Why are these people cheering for me? Where am I going? Why am I in shackles? Only a fraction of the questions I can still even remember I had.
I was walked out of the arena, through a series of tunnels and stairways, eventually emerging amongst a throng of people, high above the pool of sand and weapons I had just been standing in. They pushed aside several gawking patrons and eventually brought me to a table that I thought looked like a generic upscale dance club VIP section. The table came up only to knee height and was made of glass though you could have sworn it was a liquid, the way streams of color seemed to float around the tabletop. Then about three feet from the table going all the way around it were booth like seating sections with several breaks in between them. I was shoved into a and noticed two other individuals sat around it as well. The man who had the barrel of his firearm planted him my back sat down as well and I saw what looked like, to me at the time, to be a steam-powered shotgun with three brass barrels. Again, another first exposure to this world around us.
Ryan Dark makes a slow, shaky motion with his hand waving it, to show off the surroundings of the room, in which the three of them sat. It was his first movement since the start of his story, though even with this act, his aged, worn, and heavily scarred face never leaves the gaze from the circular coin like object his other hand was rolling in its palm.
I think now though would be the ideal point for another history lesson.
When Purgatory was first established, it was just a never-ending black void on some sort of ground, that while keeping you leveled with all other souls, had no feel to the touch. After decades of wandering around a world of emptiness, it begins taking a toll on the mind, even the soul. Only rather than going crazy, they start to break down entirely. Pieces begin to crack and chip off, like old paint peeling from a wall. These deteriorating souls then had nowhere to go, they were already dead. So when they fell apart completely, they simply existed as a free flowing force, and they began spreading the infection.
Seeing the threat, God once again, interferes in order to save the souls from oblivion. Saving what souls had not been infected, he cast Purgatory into the abyss, along with any tainted souls, and created a new one, for lack of an actual name difference for it, I’ll call it New Purgatory for this particular instance. Just as God created light and matter from dark and nothingness in the physical realm, so did he in making New Purgatory. A new world, with sights, sounds, smells, touch. Of course, this led later to more problems, but for the time being, it settled the problem at hand. And led to the creation of Purgatory as we know it.