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The Vitae Art

By Tusjecht All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi

The Art of Life

-This is the end.

We have been surrounded by twenty of the pale-skins, with their iron witchcraft instruments clutched in their tiny hands. They have chased us deep into the forest on their steeds from Hell itself. We number twelve, and stare death in the face on a moonless night. Sooner or later, we will die. But as Clan Leader, Jarben clenched his twin jaws and growls, signalling his adamant refusal to die a meaningless death.  He looked up at the towering heights of the sacred mountain, a black monolith in the darkness of night, and closed his eyes in prayer.

"Brothers and sisters," he intoned, "I will prepare the rites. I humbly request from you one final thing: defend our bloodline to the end."

Eleven heads bowed in unison. We arranged ourselves in a protective circle around Jarben and withdrew our double-pronged battle spears, still scarlet in the pale-skins blood.


"Charlie to Headcutter, Charlie to Headcutter. We have the targets in position and ready to fire," the radio operator whispered. No one replied over comms, lest their positions be given away. No one understood why, but the extrasensory abilities these aliens possessed allowed them to accurately triangulate and locate any unsecured radio transmission. It probably had something to do with their enlarged, pod-like heads and the extra organs within - boffins back at base wanted intact specimens to study them. Naturally, these aliens did not share the same enthusiasm for scientific research, and so Charlie Squad had been contracted to kill aliens and cut heads.

At least twenty of the natives had been found in a village back arbitrary South. Hunting the survivors that had disappeared into the forest, Charlie Squad had cleared the way for the scientific team to bring in their gear and equipment to set up their clean labs. This clearing they had driven the rest of the split-jaws into was the perfect spot - flat land, a nearby pond, and the natural shelter provided by the enormous mountain of onyx and granite was to become their gravestone. There was the possibility that there might be an underground network of some sort, but that wasn't Charlie's job today.

A tiny light on the radio operator's wristpad winked in quick succession - the pre-arranged signal had come through. He hit a button and twenty identical lights on every other man's personal comm kit lit up as well. Their lights were slaved to his, and he flashed his red, amber, and green lights to countdown towards the end of their job.

On red, every man thumbed their rifles to 'fire,' releasing the safeties of prototype weapons being field-tested by squads like Charlie.

On orange, Sergeant Lister, who had been examining the circle of aliens with his night vision gear, glanced towards the radio operator. A look of worry was written all over his face, and his mouth opened as though to cancel the order. But before he could say anything, the green light lit up.

-BLAMBLAMBLAM-

Nineteen assault weapons opened up in a lethal chorus, spraying bullets at the aliens, riddling their spines with multiple doses of deadly neurotoxin, and toppling them over like so many dominoes. Seven fell immediately.

But as the young radio operator looked on at the carnage, it was immediately apparent that something was very wrong. The remaining aliens had formed some kind of a protective circle, and a strange blue light had begun to glow from within-

"Charlie, pull back!" Sergeant Lister yelled over comms, "Maintain suppression fire, pull back from current position! What the hell is going on there-"


But his order was too late. Just as the men of Charlie Squad had emptied their magazines, an alien scream pierced the air.

-The Deity! He calls to me!

Jarben's four remaining brethren only remained standing out of a combination of force of will and utter amazement. They had heard about it as younglings, but no one had ever seen the Art been evoked before in their short lives. No one had ever seen their companion be seized by invisible forces, stretching his hands out to either side while he writhed in pain. Jarben opened his jaws to scream, but no sound came out. All around his body, the tattoos that marked him as Clan Leader had begun to boil with an unearthly blue light.

Bullets found their marks and drove their way into their spines, eventually forcing them to collapse to the ground. But by some miracle, none found Jarben as he floated in midair - the Deity had come for Jarben to fulfil the task he was born and bred for.

As Jarben shuddered, he curled his hands into fists of blue light. He spoke, but his voice was no longer his own - it was magnificent and terrible, holding the might of a mountain behind his words, concealing the rage of a windstorm. Jarben's dying brothers and sisters felt rather than heard his words:

"Bone of the progeny, willingly given, you will uphold your vow!"

A wave of ethereal energy was emitted and knocked back every pale-skin surrounding Jarben. His own eyes had begun to glow blue like his tattoos, every transformation bringing him closer and closer to their murals of the Deity.

"Dust of the earth, unknowingly sacrificed, return to your primordial state!"

Jarben shrieked. His flesh seemed to burn for a fraction of a second - and then he disintegrated into a blue-white entity, neither solid nor ethereal. His shoulders elongated and lengthened over his head, resembling the armour that all Clan Leaders wore. The entity that was Jarben looked over the clearing - the human invaders were scattered, searching for shelter and protection as they should be when presented with the Deity's wrath.

"Demons," He proclaimed, "Begone!"

A reply of gunfire had absolutely no effect on Him. The Deity leaned forwards and leered at the nearest human, who panicked and turned white in fear.

"Then I shall smite you."

The Deity glowed with starlight. As the lifeblood flowed from His fallen children, He seemed to shake his head as though in regret. He raised a hand and clenched-

Dark night turned to day. Yells, screams, and pleas broke the peace of the forest, and then all was silent. 

The Deity's work was done, and he departed Jarben's body, leaving it in a dignified position and placing his arms over his chest. All around him, the smoking outlines of human invaders were all that remained.

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