Vol. 116: The Rescue of Braunon lll

Vol. 116: The Rescue of Braunon lll

For a moment the vision Raine was sharing with the crew was blurry. But it cleared up slowly. The twin aboard the foreign ship, Oslo, moved cautiously along and empty hallway. His twin brother, Norsan, remained focused on his brother's mind. As Oslo rounded the first corner all who were sharing this vision were seeing quite clearly. 


The ship was was incredibly dark. At least as evidenced by what they saw on the bridge and in this hallway. Luckily as a vampire, Oslo had no problem seeing at all. He continues to look around the ship. And then the first startling thing happened. Something none of them were prepared for. A Trementian of some kind was moving toward him in the darkness. But this was like no Trementian ANYONE had ever seen. It was stark white. Black rings swallowed its sunken eyes. Its entire body seemed stretched, longer than a regular Trementian. Its limbs too seemed longer. It was extra startling because Trementians were known for the bright colors of their skin. Visiting a Trementian city was a rainbow of bright skinned beings fluttering about. Bright eyed and full of life. This poor soul they saw before them seemed to be barely alive. A shell of a Trementian, its colored bleached away, its eyes free from light. Olso almost gasped despite himself. 


"What the fuck is that?" One of the O-Boy triplets said. 

"That is... facinating..." the porcupine dragon mused, stroking his spiky hair in human form. 


After this bizarre looking Trementian passed, Olso was urged to move onward. Over the next few hours Oslo began to methodically search the ship. It was slow work. The ship was large. And many of the doors could not be opened by him so he had to wait for Trementains to come by. Seeing these ghost like Trementians still had not lost its shock. Their alabaster bodies and sickly gray limbs were quite disturbing. About 3 hours in the saw their first Xerxes. A trio of them meandered down the corridor talking amongst themselves. When they came upon a group of these sickly white Trementians, the Trementians bowed and averted their eyes. The Xerxes didn’t seem to even notice they were there.


The day dragged on. Aboard the Acro various members of the crew broke off the psionic connection to do various things like eat, drink, and piss. Raine himself took a break about 10 hours in. He told them he needed a few hours to recharge. Likewise, the twins had to take a break eventually. Oslo found a storage hanger to hide in and drank from a canteen of blood he had brought with him. They would all restart in a little while. 


Their rest went longer than they had planned but they were all expending a great amount of energy to maintain this elaborate form of communication. It was the morning of the second day by time they were all together in the vision again. Oslo had done some more exploring on his own. He had gotten a lead to where the prisoners were but had not gone yet. He was waiting for everyone to reenter the vision before he went there. Now they were ready. 


Oslo moved into the bowels of the ship. A few white Tremenetian guards stood astride to massive metal doors to what looked to be a gigantic room. They began to wonder how they would get in but luckily soon after he got there the doors slid open. A Xerexes rolled out and seemed to give some commands to the white Trementians who bowed and never made eye contact. Now was Oslo's chance. With the stealth of a cat, he sprinted forward and jumped forward into the crack of the doors as it was closing. He could feel the doors sealing behind him. He had barely made it. Norsan tensed up greatly for a moment fearing his brother had been crushed. The vision shuttered but then fell back to normal when he realized his brother had made it. 


But they all were astonished again at what they saw when they finally were able to see where they were. To say the room was massive was not a suitable adjective. It looked like they had modified this entire area of the ship by combining 2 huge cargo bays and 2 shuttle bays into one ginormous room. Once the shock of the size of the room was taken in what was in the room was equally jarring. Cages. Wall to wall, floor to ceiling. The middle was also filled with STACKS of cages. All of them occupied. There had to be several 1000 prisoners here! Every race imaginable. Centaurs, Swaft, Proper Trementians, Elves, they even saw a few O-Boys and CFOB! How was this possible?!


They had been discussing this for some time. It all seemed literally impossible. An offshoot race of Trementians that NO ONE had ever seen? And this many prisoners... how was it possible? How many ships were there like this? How were they getting this many people unnoticed? There were so many questions and all too few answers. It was time to start getting some. 


Oslo wandered around letting them all take it all in for a few minutes, but it was soon decided that he should attempt to speak to some of these captives. Near the center of the room was a cage unlike the others. It was large and covered in bizarre red glyphs and runes. They recognized these symbols. They were Xerxes marking, associated with their bizarre magic. As Oslo approached it became obvious why these prisoners were separated from the others.

Most vampires can see the auras of others. This allows them to know the strength of those they are up against. All the prisoners in this cage were obviously very powerful, at least it looked that way from their auras. A few of them appeared to still be wearing magical armor and robes. Perhaps they were so powerful the Xerxes were unable to strip them of it. They stood in stark contrast to the prisoners in the cages around them who were barely clothed and appeared frightened and defeated. 


There were not many in this cage. They all stood defiantly looking out around them as if waiting for a moment to strike. The exception was there appeared to be a gravely wounded Swaft laying on the floor of the cage. Two humans were attending her, attempting to heal her, but it looked like they were losing the battle. The Swaft's body poured fog from her wounds and her breath sent ragged puffs of smoke into the air. Her aura was very weak. Oslo could tell she was dying. 


These were obviously leaders. Or at least powerful adventurers. If anyone knew what was going on here they did. This is who they needed to speak to. Oslo made to lower his invisibility and approach them but at that exact moment he could hear the gigantic doors opening again. He moved quickly to one of the corridors of cages so he could see who or what was coming through. Silhouetted in the dim light coming from the open doors appeared what seemed to be 2 of these white Trementians. But it soon became apparent they were also different somehow. 


They walked with an air of confidence they had not seen in any of these Trementians yet. They wore spiked bracelets on their wrists and ankles and a spiked band around each of their lobes. As they moved into the room and eyes fell on them panic began to sweep the room. Cries of terror rose from the prisoners. Many broke into tears. The only ones who seem unmoved were the powerful prisoners in the central cage. Oslo looked back at them and saw no fear, only defiance. 


"Silence!" one of these spiked white Trementians bellowed. His voice reverberated around the massive room. Much to Oslo’s surprise most of the prisoners acquiesced. Only a few muffled sobs could be heard peppered around the room. 


"Its time for another session." The other Trementian spoke. A few more cries began but a stern glance from the spike wearing Trementians brought them again to silence. 


"Stop this!" One of the centaurs shouted from the central cage. "You can see they are terrified. What more do you bastards want?"


One of the white Trementians made to step in that direction looking angry but his partnered touched his arm and he stopped. 


"To fear us is not enough." the white Trementian said flatly. "The Xerxes demand you abandon all hope." His gaze swept the room. Then for a moment he almost looked compassionate as he spoke again. "Believe me. It’s better for you in the long run this way. There is no hope where you are going." 


A few small cries went up around the prison, but the white Trementians seemed not to notice. They began adjusting the spiked bands on their bodies. 


An elf from the central cage shouted, "You will never get away with this! When the senate hears about this-!" but she was cut off by one of the white Trementians.


"We have heard these threats for more lifetimes than you can fathom. None escape. None." The white Trementian met her gaze with what seemed like almost boredom. 


Another elf spoke up, "At least give us help for this Swaft! She is going to die without help!" 


"She should not have resisted. And as you can see, we have plenty more Swaft here to choose from." a slight grin broke on the white Trementian’s face. 


The elf snarled in fury and made as if to cast a spell but as soon as he began the incantation the glyphs on their cage lit up brightly and red lightning filled the cage not only hurting him but the other occupants inside as well. 


A human warrior still wearing some kind of enchanted black armor spat. "You moron! Stop it! You know that shit doesn't work." She spat again and crossed her arms and looked out at the other prisoners. The spiked Trementians seemed to be laughing silently. 


Then silence followed. A few moments later the white Trementians were standing at opposite sides of the room. 


"Let this session begin now fellow slaves! Give up hope! And embrace DESPAIR!" with this they both raised their arms and pure magical darkness filled the room. Even Oslo had a hard time seeing through it. And what followed was pain...and fear.


Dark energy crackled over every surface. A cacophony of screams, wails, and cries blotted every sense. Utter hopelessness filled the souls of everyone present. Including Oslo.


This depair rebounded back through Norsan. He screamed. From him it ricocheted through Raine and then to the rest of the crew. A sort of psionic feedback loop began and soon they were all screaming in agony. All hope, all joy. seemed to be being pulled from them. The connection to Oslo was lost.


Huddled by the central cage Oslo curled into a ball taking not only the power of the white Trementians full force but also the psionic feedback from his brother. His invisibility flickered and then dissolved.  And then writhing on the ground, fully visible, he made eye contact with the 2 elves in the cage. And it was hard to tell who of the 3 was most surprised.


About the Illustrations: Here we have a study in red of a Trementian, Snish, a robot, and some other alien creatures! And a dude with a spray can and a lightbulb head!


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