Jereks story (Warning: it is a bit extreme)
The holders of the Amarr Empire are those who dictate policy, control systems and influence the ways of the worlds within Eve. Some are strict, some are cruel, some benevolent and some merely vagabonds whom have managed to earn respectability. This they have achieved via the “grace of God” and a few other means besides…
Ereth Laz was one such benevolent holder, a man much progressed in years and valued for his counsel within the system. A shrewd businessman and a progressive, he saw the need to expand and secure markets. One of his best known sayings was “Once you’ve seen a bandwagon, it’s too late”. Although perceived as something of a liberal, he was a staunch supporter of the Church and the traditions of the Amarr Empire. While he saw why the Reclamation had to be curbed, part of him wished it could continue, if only to bring enlightenment and peace to all. And this was possibly his only real flaw: his faith in the good of humanity and its purity of purpose.
Ereth Laz dwelt upon a farming planet within the Kor-Azor system, the home of one of the Imperial heirs. His colony, however, was something of a fringe world, relatively untouched by traders or the fast-paced ways of the spacing culture. It was his recluse after he withdrew from public life. Here he dwelt with his wife, Ariadne and his two children, Jerek and Amalla. Theirs was a happy life, on a spacious estate, with many acres of farmland and pastures. Ereth continued to dabble in politics and trade, via his offices. While a traditionalist, he embraced technology and the way it made infinite distance minute. A caring, peaceful man, he was never cruel to his slaves, treating them almost as feudal servants; they had more freedoms, while still being tied to the family. His loyal retainer, Malaric, had been with him for years and was entrusted with some secrets that Ereth wouldn’t even speak of to other holders. He was also one of the few who were there with the family as Ariadne passed away. After this, Ereth resolved not to waste a day of his life, pouring his energies into his business and the care of his children.
Jerek’s life, along with that of Amalla was an idyllic one, with freedom to roam, a multitude of friends, among the slaves and servants. Life seemed perfect. However, all good things must end, or at least be put aside for a time. As soon as Jerek came of age, his father decided that he should see the world, to gain experience and understanding. He knew that to survive, one had to have an understanding of the ways of the world and so he dispatched his son to the University on Amarr Prime, to study the scriptures, modern sciences, economics and so forth. Amalla, who was already showing a great sense of business awareness, he assigned to his offices, where she became invaluable as his assistant, and much needed for her company.
Jerek found life on Amarr astounding, quite different from his rural childhood. This new, cosmopolitan life, of conservatism and seriousness was a serious shock, but he managed quite well, settling into the life of a student. Unlike many of his class, he did not adopt the heavily conservative ways, becoming more of a thinker than a fundamentalist. While being far from liberal, he had a tendency to look down upon the fanatical rantings of his fellows. Instead, he preferred to study, to cultivate knowledge and experience before passing complete judgement. While at University, he was recruited by the Holy Inquisition. After he finished his allotted period of study, Jerek began his introduction to the seminary. After only a year he became Brother Jerek and was allowed to return home before taking up active duty.
It was during this visit home that he saw the first signs of rot that was slowly eating into the core foundations of Amarr society…
Jerek had docked his ship at the station in orbit around his home planet, and taking a passenger shuttle to the surface. He was wearing his Inquisitorial robes, so attracted some rather disconcerted stares from the other passengers: slaves and holder alike. He had been away from home for a long time, some 10 years, and was looking forwards to seeing his father and sister once more. His last correspondence with her had been about 6 months ago. He hadn’t worried about the lack of messages; they were both busy people. Absently, he patted the head of his slaver hound. It had been his for about 5 years, a creature he had always found admirable in its tenacity and loyalty. This one he had had since it was a mere pup. It growled appreciatively and nuzzled his hand, before dropping its huge head to the floor again, closing its eyes.
His first inkling that something was awry came when he disembarked from the shuttle at the star port, located in the town twenty miles from his home. The place, usually abuzz with Amarran traders, Ni-Kunni craftsmen, slaves and serfs walking the streets, seemed almost deserted. It appeared as if some decay had set in. Buildings were shuttered, shops closed. Those few that were open had people looking out of doors fearfully. But worst of all, the local Church seemed to have fallen into disrepair, its grand tower looking skeletal against the blue sky, holes in its roof visible. The 30-year-old Jerek clenched his fists at his sides, his mind searching for reasons as to why this Holy symbol of the Empire had been allowed to fall into such a state.
However he put it from his mind; he would query his father as to how this had happened. He knew there must be an important reason, for his family would have been the first to enquire or offer to repair such damage. He found a local vehicle shop and rented a vehicle for the day. He’d have one of the servants drop it back for him. His hound leapt into the vehicle behind him and off through the rolling fields they went. This was his second signal. The fields looked different. Not just different crops: overgrowing crops, unevenly sown, sporadically harvested. He could see the telltale marks; some parts of a field had lower density of plants, whilst other areas were choked, huge weeds growing in and around them.
The sun was beginning to set, casting a red afterglow across the land. Jerek slowed his vehicle as he approached the farm, stopping at the bottom of the road. The lights were on at his father’s house, but he could hear something: the sound of music. Not Amarran music. He growled, a noise echoed by his hound. While his father had been kind to their servants, they had never been allowed to use their music and old traditions in such a brazen manner. Especially as they should be at prayer at this time…
Calmly, he left his vehicle, his huge pet following. His hand trailed down to beneath his robe, clutching at his Inquisitorial dagger. A second noise interrupted his musings: the sound of footsteps. Quickly he withdrew into the undergrowth, beckoning his beast to follow. The large animal was astounding in its ability to conceal itself. It scrabbled up a nearby tree as if it were a mere step. Watching from his hiding place, Jerek observed two men approaching from the house. He recognised them instantly: Malinor and Jaco, two of their Brutor slaves. However, they wore not their slave garments, but traditional Minmatar battle-dress… and slung over their shoulders were weapons! His father had never permitted weaponry in their household, save the odd knife or relic. The “slaves” spoke, in Matar rather than Amarran, for a few seconds. Jerek made out the words “Knew” and “Vehicle”. The two Brutors glanced about them… then they said something that made his blood boil. Their sentences could be crudely described as:
‘Why are we here? We should get back to mounting that Amarr bitch-girl…’
‘Why are we on guard; Malaric will have had all the fun with her!’
Jerek gripped his knife hilt and rose from his hiding spot. Jaco blinked and starred, causing Malinor to turn. The two slaves smiled, and not nicely. They spoke, in Amarran this time.
‘The little boy’s come back… hello slaver. Ready to “repent”?’
He heard the sound of rifles charging as the two slaves brought them up. He began citing his last rites under his breath, ready to embrace oblivion with dignity… At that point, a louder snarl caught their attention. Jaco half turned just in time to see the hound emerge from the cover of the tree branches, moving with deadly speed. He raised an arm instinctively and the beasts’ jaws clamped down, snapping the bone with ease.
As Malinor stumbled backwards, Jerek took his chance, darting forwards, unsheathing his knife as he moved. With one smooth movement he slashed the back of Malinors wrist, tracing the blade up the man's arm, causing him to loose grip on the rifle. The young Amarran spun, lowering the blade to slice along the Brutor’s ribs. The Minmatar, taken by surprise doubled over, allowing Jerek to sink the knife into the base of his skull.
Meanwhile, the Slaver hound was holding the other slave securely. Jerek calmly wiped the blood from his knife before approaching the Brutor. He squatted beside him, a thin smile on his face.
‘Care to relate… or should my little pet here decide to actually put some effort in?’
Due respect to the Minmatar traitor, he managed to maintain a steady, albeit nervous look. The sight of Jerek, viewing him as if viewing cattle for slaughter was chilling. This had been the boy he’d taught how to hunt rabbits… and gut them.
‘…We…we did what we were told. Malaric organised for some… people to come by the farm. They… they took your father. And your sister…’
‘What sort of friends?’
Jerek twitched. Minmatar terrorists in his house, but doing what?
‘I... I don’t know the full deal. But we were smuggling slaves away. Used your house as a safe house until we could sneak them off planet, pretending they were being shipped elsewhere. Some Amarr from the town and the servants were willing to help the cause, pretending to be holders or slave owners… they were paid well…’
Jerek sneered, his eyes cold.
‘Where are my family…’
He saw the Minmatar swallow and his stomach went cold. A nasty, feeling began to spread across his whole form. He gripped his knife, before clicking his tongue. The Hounds jaws unclenched and the Minmatar breathed a sigh of relief, which turned into a shocked gurgle as the beast then went for his throat. A second later and it was all over. Jerek looked up at the farmhouse. His senses were telling him to think… but his heart took control. He ran as fast as he could towards the building.
As he neared the house, his common sense kicked in, forcing him into the shadows. The music was from within the house, but other, lower noises reached his ears from the barn. Slowly, he crept around to the front of the squat building, sliding through the gap in the door like a shadow. The hound remained outside, in the darkness.
Peering from behind a piece of machinery, Jerek saw two things that made his blood run cold and brought tears to his eyes. In the middle of the barn, a cross had been erected and on it was nailed his father. The man whom he had looked up to and had been a respected, gentle contributor and supporter of many liberal movements was now a victim of his own trusting nature.
The second thing was just beyond the cross. In a caged-off portion of the barn, reserved for quarantined animals, strange muffled cries could be heard. Slowly, he approached, his hand absently trailing across farm tools, gripping the handle of an especially wicked one. His face was streaked with tears as he viewed the atrocity before him. A Matar was standing in the cage, buckling his trousers, whilst another watched. What tribe he couldn’t be sure. The watcher spoke:
‘Think ya broke her… shame, she was such a nice piece of tickle…’
The larger man grunted then chuckled. He spat on the floor. Then turned… to have a piece of farm equipment connect with his skull. The man's face splintered as bone shattered and mixed with brain. The watcher leapt to his feet and found himself cornered. Jerek regarded him for a moment… before slamming the tip if the tool into the man's chest, pinning him to the wall like some macabre butterfly.
These two didn’t look like freedom fighters. They had the demeanour of hired help. On closer inspection ,the smaller man closer resembled a Caldari, but Jerek’s dull gaze didn’t register. He sank to his knees next to the lifeless form of his sister. He clutched her head to his breast, tears staining his cheeks again. Her clothes were torn, her form defiled, but at least her soul was free. After a few moments, Jerek reached up and closed her eyes, whispering the last rites under his breath. Standing, as if in a daze, he left the cage, carrying his sibling’s body. He laid it reverently at the feet of the cross, before finding a ladder. He scaled up, removing the nails from his fathers wrists and feet, before lowering him to the ground, where he laid the dead man by his beloved daughter.
The once calm demeanour of Jerek Laz was cracked, one thing on his mind. He reached to his belt, pressing a panic button, which theoretically should summon every security force within range… but they’d take their time. Dropping the beacon in the barn, he swivelled and exited.
He made his way back to his vehicle, seeing no sign of any other guards. Entering he drove calmly to the town, and parked before entering a store at random. He smiled at the nervy looking trader, before reaching across the counter and grabbing the man by the throat, slamming him to the wooden surface.
‘I think you can guess why I’m here. I won’t ask you to explain, I’ll just give you an ultimatum: gather as many men with weapons as possible, or I’ll see to it every single man, woman and child in this town is accused of heresy and put to the flame. Starting with your own.’
The shopkeeper gibbered a response before Jerek released him, watching the man scuttle away, before exiting the building. He approached the local police centre, entering it and fixing the duty sergeant with a look that would cause ice to feel uncomfortable. The man tried to return the stare before he noticed the robes, which caused him to leap to his feet, his pale face becoming damp with sweat. Jerek’s voice was a whisper.
‘Gather your men. We have a lynching to attend to. Get me weapons…now.’
The man swallowed and nodded vigorously, before hitting his emergency comm.-panel, summoning all officers. Within an hour, the entire town was ready, and they set off in all manner of vehicles towards the Laz estate. Controlled by fear and guilt, they were led by the cold, unmerciful gaze of Jerek.
Once they reached the estate, their orders were to fan out and surround it. Shoot to kill anyone who tried to leave. Jerek and a few officials approached the house, sticking to the shadows. As they neared the door, it burst open as a drunken slave stumbled out, giggling with a slave-girl who was draped on his arm. They froze as they spied the burning torches that glimmered in the night, stretching around the villa. Their eyes took in the visage of Jerek as he raised his pulse-pistols. Two retorts and the pair dropped, neat, cauterised wounds in their foreheads.
‘Secure the foyer and the perimeter. Let no one leave. I expect the Security forces to be here soon, but that’s no reason for us to be lax about this. I have some items to collect.’
He strode across the foyer of what was once his home, his robes billowing behind him. Another slave appeared in a doorway, pausing momentarily before the shot caught him between the eyes. The noise of the round echoed through the house and the laughing was replaced by cries of alarm. Calmly, Jerek ascended the stairs in the Foyer, headed for his father’s room. He entered and approached his father’s desk, reverently picking up his fathers bible. Oddly, the place had been left untouched. He saw a picture on the desk; one of himself standing behind his father, his sister to their fathers side and their mother to her husbands left, a picture taken just before her death. He thanked God that she hadn’t lived to see this day. He picked it up and placed it in his pocket.
After leaving his fathers room he next went to his sisters. This room was not in such a good state; it seemed to have been converted into some sort of accommodation. One or two women were asleep in here, though roused by his sudden entry. They soon returned to sleep however; the timeless rest of death. Jerek saw no women, nor men. He only saw murderers and conspirators. Targets moving through his vision. He paused at his sister’s dressing table and placed one pistol on the top. He reached into a drawer and clicked open a secret panel, revealing a locket he had given her a long time ago. It contained a picture of her and himself, playing on a swing... happier times. With care he lifted it and folded the chain before sliding it into his robes. He picked up the pistol and turned to find two Minmatar men staring dumbly at the corpses of the women. They turned their gaze upon him, their expressions a mixture of confusion, hate and resentment. Jerek observed them, before they suddenly lunged across the room at him. Not quickly enough. The bodies of the men joined those their mates on the floor.
As he exited the room shots pinged off of the doorframe. Jerek ducked back in, growling with frustration. He peered round to see a group of terrorists slowly advancing down a second flight of stairs from a slightly raised landing. Instincts kicking in, Jerek emerged from the doorway, pistols raised. He released a barrage of fire at the terrorists, causing some to dive for cover. Given the limited space for movement, however, two went down immediately, whilst a third was incapacitated. Jerek turned and leapt down the stairs, holstering one pistol, as panicked slaves and servants swarmed through the foyer, their screams of shock filling the air. At that moment another group emerged from a hallway. Time seemed to slow as Jerek reached out, grabbing a passing child. He swivelled, planting the gun against the boy’s head.
‘STOP! For the love of Matar, stop!’
The voice was familiar: that of Malaric. Jerek looked up into the panicked eyes of his fathers “trusted” advisor. Realisation slowly dawned.
‘Your boy, eh, Malaric? How does it feel to have something you cherish being threatened then?’
Malaric stiffened, glaring at Jerek.
‘We’ve had our liberty threatened… and I warn you… harm a hair on his head, whoever you are, and I’ll…’
‘Do what you did to my father… or to my sister?’
Jerek’s icy gaze seemed to pierce Malaric’s very soul. The Minmatar balked, his face paling.
‘Oh no… by the gods…’
‘What, you thought I’d never come back? You thought you could murder my father and rape my sister and get away with it? You arrogant, stupid creature. We treated you fairly, we were kind, we never did anything to harm…’
‘You never gave us freedom!’
‘So you kill and rape in the name of justice? You slaughter and intimidate to secure your goals?’
‘It wasn’t me! It was… them… those pirates! They said they were here to free slaves!’
The terrorists were still training their weapons on Jerek. One of them sneered.
‘We are… those Amarr were just collateral damage. Anyway, all you lot are slaver scum; we were just putting another couple of dogs down…’
Jerek tensed, but exhaled. He looked impassively up at Malaric, standing on the landing above them.
‘Greta thing about blame, eh? Always someone else’s fault; always another cause. Well, Malaric, all it takes for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing. And in payment for the debt you owe me, I shall take something you value… in fact, I shall take two. Your life… and your son.’
Jerek’s arm gripped the boy by the waist, lifting him. At that same moment, he fired three times, the shots slamming into Malaric, sending him backwards, crippled but alive. The terrorists opened fire, barely missing the rapidly withdrawing Amarran. At that moment, the main doors burst open , revealing Amarr security troopers. The terrorists cursed as the heavy beam fire slashed into the room. Several were felled, whilst others retreated. The troopers made ready to enter the building but Jerek waved them off.
As he strode down the steps of the villa, he handed the struggling boy to a waiting trooper. The child was crying, but Jerek felt numb, no sympathy at all.
‘Have him sanctioned for work on one of the mines. Deep. Dark. Away from here.’
The trooper paused, before saluting and heading to a waiting transport, holding the struggling boy under one arm. A second soldier waited patiently for Jerek to address him.
‘Sir, we can storm the building. However, we predict a 15% potential casualty rating on our part should we do so… I recommend we try and negoti-‘
‘No… block off the exits. Set fuel around the building. Pump gas into the cellars. We set these heretics and traitors to the flame… now.’
‘But sir, those are valuable slaves in there! Their owners may want them back.. and the building we can salvage.’
‘Do you question my judgement, as bestowed upon me by our Emperors Holy inquisition? Anyway, I can compensate their owners…’
‘Sir, no sir.’
‘Have any escaped?’
‘A few tried to make a break for it, apparently. We arrived in time to set the townsfolk essentially lynching a few. It was as if they couldn’t do it quickly enough. Some apparently made it through, but we released the hounds to bring them down.’
‘Excellent… carry on.’
Within half an hour, the stage was set. Jerek himself hefted a energy lance, levelling it at a large pile of fuel at the front door. Cries of protestation from within had turned to defiant yells, then to fearful pleading. Jerek was deaf to their pleas. He pulled the trigger, sending a searing hot bolt into the kindling and fuel.
He watched the flames burn the entire house to the ground, forced himself to listen to the screams. Forced his mind and soul to accept his actions and to justify them to himself. His mind was a hole, devoid of emotion or care. He felt something wet nuzzle his hand and he looked down to find his faithful hound whining at his side. He stroked it huge head and smiled sadly. He felt at peace, yet also guilty. He hadn’t been here… he should have died with his family. Yet by Gods will he had survived. To bring retribution and redemption to those responsible.
Some slaves had been captured trying to flee. They had been shot that morning. Jerek didn’t care. He just watched as his family were buried: the Inquisition had already ordered gravestones. But the truth of this event was being kept quiet. The fact that such a terrorist cell had been able to operate so far within Amarr space would be seen as a triumph for their cause, and these deaths as martyrs and justification for the continued fight against the Amarr Empire.
Instead, it had been labelled a slave revolt that had resulted in the deaths of an Amarr holder and his family. Jerek’s fist clenched around his sister’s locket. He breathed and forced himself to relax his grip. He looked down at the freshly turned earth, and a tear trickled down his cheek and he turned away. Surveying the still-smoking villa he forced himself to take in the magnitude of his decision. Was it worth it? Yes. No.
Looking down, he saw the Inquisitors symbol on his robes. He blinked, before shaking his head. He had attacked and killed. He had become no better than they. Yet he had found and punished the guilty. Was such sacrifice worthy of the end result? He did not hate the Minmatar. He only hated those who sought to destroy his way of life and that of his people. These people had died this day as a result of his anger, his quickness of temper and a desire for vengeance.
‘To slaughter in the name of “justice” makes me one of them. Yet to defend and bring retribution… to absolve them of their sins in defence of my way of life, the way of life of Amarr, to protect the innocent from those who see them as nothing more than “collateral” to prove a point… that is my only goal in life. And I will not fail you again…’
Jerek removed the picture from his pocket. He stood, looking for a good while, before returning it to his robes. Turning neatly, he walked down the road, away from this, his past towards his future.
:shock: amazing that is one greate story was glude to the story all the way, excellent work.
wish i had just 2 % of your writing skills
Thanks guys! I appreciate the feedback.
With any luck, I'll put a few more stories up, more PIE than self related, perhaps just the old general tale.. I hope they all deserve such praise!
Methinks I could do better with this one, certain aspects just don't seem to gel for me. But again, thanks.
Anyway, i want to read other peoples! Don't be shy!