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Thread: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 26/03/18)

  1. #1

    Default Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 26/03/18)

    In this thread, the story of Tyler Braedan and his crew of mercenaries aboard the Centurion continues, in the next iteration of the award-winning Titanium Core saga. Everything relating to the story, including a table of contents (with corresponding hyperlinks) will be provided for easier navigation, including a short synopsis of each update. I proudly present to you...

    Chapter Index Chapter 1 - Change: Braedan comes across a mysterious being, who could provide insight on the artifact on his ship.
    Chapter 2 - Encounter: Everyone is introduced to the newest member of the group
    Chapter 3 - Awakening: Talia awakens from the horrifying events on Tartan Minor that placed her in a coma
    Chapter 4 - Downtime: Edhen decides to take the group on a trip to a cultural landmark
    Chapter 5 - Resolution: An old adversary emerges from the shadows.
    Chapter 6 - Shadow: While safe from the threat of the war, a new enemy emerges nonetheless
    Chapter 7 - Insight: Part 1: Braedan begins the investigation into the failed break-ins
    Chapter 8 - Insight: Part 2: The team's venture into the lower districts bears fruit...and possibly a new ally
    Chapter 9 - Intel: The interrogation of Jameson reveals vital information
    Chapter 10 - First Steps: Braedan and Edhen resolve their issues, while Anders plans his next move
    Chapter 11 - Intrigue: Edhen and Braedan discuss a plan to get him back to Jameson, while an enemy closes in to silence the captive
    Chapter 12 - Histories: Part 1: The history of Domitian Aemilianus, Edhen's father, is profiled ahead of her meeting with him
    Chapter 13 - Histories: Part 2: Edhen and Domitian discuss his possible support in Braedan's quest to find Anders
    Chapter 14 - Intentions: The Praetor and Braedan have their fateful meeting
    Chapter 15 - Subversion: An Alliance transmission has been uncovered, but its true meaning has yet to deciphered
    Chapter 16 - Diversion: Part 1: Braedan discovers the information regarding the Alliance, and an unfortunate event befalls Edhen
    Chapter 17 - Diversion: Part 2: A calamitous event occurs as Braedan seeks to gain information from Jameson
    Chapter 18 - Reverence: Part 1: Edhen discusses with Braedan the response she wants to send the Alliance
    Chapter 19 - Reverence: Part 2: A memorial service is held and Edhen confronts her mother
    Chapter 20 - Oracle: Part 1: Uneasy dreams setup a meeting with the Oracle
    Chapter 21 - Oracle: Part 2: Tyler and Edhen venture to the temple of the Oracle
    Cast of Characters
    Tyler Braedan


    Age: 27
    Height: 6'1 / 185 cm
    Weight: 190 lbs / 86 kg
    Hair: Dirty blond, short
    Eyes: Greenish-blue
    Nationality: American
    Homeworld: Earth / Tartan Minor
    Race: Human
    Occupation: Mercenary leader
    Affiliations: Titan Company, Xelanite Dominion
    Daniela Ferreira


    Age: 25
    Height: 5'3 / 160 cm
    Weight: 115 lbs / 52 kg
    Hair: Black, long
    Eyes: Brown
    Bust: Small - Moderate
    Nationality: Brazilian
    Homeworld: Earth
    Race: Human
    Occupation: Pilot, mercenary
    Affiliations: Titan Company, Xelanite Dominion
    Natalia Sterling


    Age: 22
    Height: 5'6 / 167 cm
    Weight: 126 lbs / 57 kg
    Hair: Blonde, shoulder-length
    Eyes: Light green
    Bust: Moderate
    Nationality: English
    Homeworld: New Manchester
    Race: Human
    Occupation: Mercenary
    Affiliations: Titan Company, Xelanite Dominion
    Nakamura Masaki


    Age: 26
    Height: 5'5 / 165 cm
    Weight: 140 lbs / 63 kg
    Hair: Black. scruffy, short
    Eyes: Brown
    Nationality: Japanese
    Homeworld: Earth
    Race: Human
    Occupation: Tech specialist, mercenary
    Affiliations: Titan Company, Xelanite Dominion
    Edhen Aemiliana Braedana


    Age: 25
    Height: 5'9 / 175 cm
    Weight: 133 lbs / 60 kg
    Hair: Dark brown, shoulder-length
    Eyes: Hazel
    Bust: Small - Medium
    Homeworld: Xeltana
    Race: Xelanite
    Occupation: Courtesan
    Affiliations: Titan Company, Xelanite Dominion
    Alyssa Stevens


    Age: 23
    Height: 5'3 1/4 / 160 cm
    Weight: 115 lbs / 53 kg
    Hair: Brown, shoulder-length
    Eyes: Light Green
    Bust: Moderate
    Nationality: American
    Homeworld: Earth
    Race: Human
    Occupation: Operative
    Affiliations: United Earth Alliance. Bureau of Strategic Intelligence
    Tamilana


    Age: 20
    Height: 5'4 / 162 cm
    Weight: 116 lbs / 52 kg
    Hair: Black / gray, shoulder length w/ gold highlights
    Eyes: Yellow
    Bust: Small - moderate
    Race: Luxri
    Homeworld: ???
    Occupation: Dancer / Entertainer
    Affiliations: ???
    Colin Jameson


    Age: 26 (deceased)
    Height: 5'11 / 180 cm
    Weight: 165 lbs / 74 kg
    Hair: Ginger, scruffy, short
    Eyes: Blue
    Nationality: Irish
    Homeworld: Hibernia Nova
    Race: Human
    Occupation: Infiltrator
    Affiliations: United Earth Alliance, Central Security Agency
    Nicasia Velia Aemiliana


    Age: ~200
    Height: 5'10 / 179 cm
    Weight: 135 lbs / 61 kg
    Hair: Black, medium length
    Eyes: Hazel
    Bust: Moderate
    Homeworld: Xeltana
    Race: Xelanite
    Occupation: Senior Courtesan
    Affiliations: Xelanite Dominion
    Gnaeus Domitian Aemilianus


    Age: ~470-480
    Height : 6'3 / 185 cm
    Weight: 220 lbs / 99 kg
    Hair: Short, graying
    Eyes: Brown
    Homeworld: Xeltana
    Race: Xelanite
    Occupation: Retired military officer, now Praetor
    Affiliations: Xelanite Dominion
    Helpful Resources
    Planets and Other Locations
    Xeltana - Homeworld to the Xelanites, and capital of the formidable Xelanite Dominion. Their architecture rivals the scope of the Dominion itself, along with monumentally exquisite structures to match its scale. To an outsider, they echo the strength the Xelanites exude to the wider galaxy, giving off an air of longevity that stability brings; yet even to their creators, they stand in awe of their creations. This world, possessing a unique beauty that comes in many forms, notably its women, gave birth to a race of people of martial discipline and steadfast patience, that has overseen the rise and fall of numerous worlds over their long and illustrious history. It is said, "When the last of the galaxy has fallen into darkness, the Xelanites will remain, ever eternal and vigilant, watching the ramparts to see civilization rise from the ashes."

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Earth - Homeworld of humanity, and capital of the United Earth Alliance. It has seen much technological growth over the past few centuries, technology which has allowed humanity to expand beyond the limiting borders of the Sol System. The cities are a mixture of ancient and modern, with the modern dwarfing those from the past, as many of its larger metropolises stretch from horizon to horizon. Fortunately, with the development of warp travel, it gave humanity the ability to colonize dozens of new star systems, allowing them to ease the growing overpopulation problem at the time.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Tartan Minor - Once humanity became known to the wider galaxy, they were granted permission to settle some two-dozen habitable worlds within their sphere of influence. This world became one of the UEA's foremost colonies, becoming known throughout human-controlled space as a hub for trade, acting as a bazaar of sorts to introduce them to exotic alien goods. Its industry, while not as refined as that of the Sol system, provided the Alliance with a vital manufacturing center outside the home system. The planet was also home to a prominent military academy, which granted leadership and advanced training courses to colonial recruits, and acted as a reserve for the officer corps.

    During the Ascendancy War, as it was known to humanity, the Alliance designated the world a 'stronghold,' meant to hold the Dominion's advance at bay until a line of defense line could be drawn. In truth, however, it was merely meant to act as a bulwark, for Alliance leadership knew there was little that could be done to stem the tide of the war. With the conflict entering its latter stages and Alliance forces falling back steadily, it was only a matter of time before Tartan became a central target for the Dominion. And when the hammer fell, the impact was beyond devastating. What was later seen as an abuse of power, a Dominion fleet laid waste to nearly every settled region of the planet, leaving the population to scatter and find whatever refuge they could during the onslaught. Tartan Minor, once a flagship colony of the Alliance, ceased to exist after all was said and done.
    Civilizations
    Xelanites
    To say they are the pre-eminent power in the galaxy would be to mince words, but they are the foremost spacefaring civilization in existence. Around 12,000 years ago, the Eternal Ones made first contact with the peoples of Xeltana during their classical age. Seeing their potential for enlightenment, the Eternal Ones uplifted the peoples of this world, having paid witness to their intelligence and ingenuity, but also the martial prowess of a particular group they knew as the Xel'ti. This golden age between these civilizations would give rise to the Xel'ti and Xel'tor as the dominant groups on Xeltana, bringing further advancements in technology, literature, art, architecture, and culture. Where they excelled, by far, was in warfare, for with the adoption of newer tactics and weapons, the Eternal Ones began seeing benefits of using them as auxiliaries in battle. The status quo between them people, more or less unchanged, for a few thousand years. Although, having seen firsthand the extent of the Xeltanan Civil War, preferring to remain neutral in the affairs of other races, the Eternal Ones looked on at the exodus of the Xeltorans from their homeworld with concern. In lieu of this weariness, they agreed to give the Xelanites a degree of autonomy, granting them governance over five sectors that roughly encompassed twenty habitable worlds.

    However, this decision was the catalyst for the Xelanites desiring further independence. Their protests against the Eternal Ones were civil, with periods of strife over the next few centuries, but nothing that boiled over into open revolt. This was until disease began spreading through the Eternal Ones' populations, slowly but progressively dwindling their numbers over the span of decades and centuries. With the grasp of their overlords weakening, the uplifted races of the galaxy began rebelling in unrelated actions, meant to further decentralize the power of the Eternal Ones. It was this combination of internal strife and disease, which gave the Xelanites the opportunity to overthrow those who had uplifted them, and forge their own destiny, away from outside influences. And roughly sixty-three centuries ago, they became a sovereign state, following a path that would see them as a dominant force, both politically and militarily, and as a beacon of civilization.

  2. #2

    Default Titanium Core: Borderlands - Chapter 1 - Change

    Chapter 1 - Change
    6,143 years from present

    Rebellion has consumed the Republic, in the month of Julrine, in year 7712 of the Loe'gin calendar. The Uplifted, exploiting the Plague which decimated our people, chose the years of Recovery to rise against those who are Eternal. Scientists believed the Uplifted engineered the Devastation, a pestilence used to wither Our people, using technology given against those who gave it to them. The Uprising swept through the entirety of the Republic, hundreds of Uplifted-settled worlds joined the Rebellion, swelling their ranks, sweeping across Our already ravaged worlds. In the final Decree, months before the Overthrow, it was decided that seedlings of Our Knowledge shall be planted deep within worlds We still clung to, as an effort to preserve Our Legacy, to guide those who came after, to show them a different, better path. We shall entrust this information to the Gradiyan, numbering around sixty, in whose safekeeping these capsules of Our civilization shall be protected.

    One Gradiyan, finding Their way onto the homeworld of the Xel'ti, has located one such capsule, in the possession of the Tanara. They only wait for a proper time to establish contact.


    Returning to Xeltana, Braedan bore the scars and bruises of a man defeated, not those from glories and triumphs won on the battlefield. And since his previous stopover nearly a year before, animosity among the Xelanites had grown against humans tenfold; to such an extent, no diacona or medici would openly treat Talia in a public facility, forcing Braedan to enlist his wife's clout. Even then, a medicus was compelled only if the treatment was done in the Courtesan's residence, away from any suspicious eyes and ears, from those that might deem him a human sympathizer.

    This distrust went both ways.

    Edhen firmly smacked Braedan across his face, her brow furled, “How dare you suggest they were trying to kill you! They retaliated against the CORE, they did not initiate anything.”

    Braedan scoffed mockingly, “Damn it, you must have blinders on. Where do you think I got these cuts, scrapes, and bruises from, huh? I sure as s--- didn't get them shaving. And how do you explain Talia? You think she casually knocked herself out for the hell of it? We were there, we saw it! They turned that place into a crater because they wanted to, not because they were defending themselves!”

    She disapprovingly crossed her arms, “I might very well ask the same to you. It is not easy, going through the city, hearing the slurs and labels heaped upon humans, with the knowledge that I'm married to one. I have this hatred indirectly thrown my way, through gestures, behaviors, and nuance-laced subtleties. Do not pout to me that you have had it hard!”

    “Woman...don't you even compare! You dodged words, boo-f---ing-hoo. I dodged lasers that leveled buildings. There's a difference!” he railed at his wife.

    A calm fury about her, Edhen replied, “You do not dare refer to me in that tone again. My people have, and always will, have more honor than yours.”

    Sighing softly, nodding his head slowly, Braedan then quietly answers, “That's how it is then. I do what I'm tasked to do, and I'm the one who's blamed.”

    Meus carus, I did not mean it in that manner,” she quickly retracted her words.

    Turning his eyes away from her, he responded, “You got to stay here, in relative safety and comfort, protected by your people's reputation. But between us, you weren't asked to kill your own. Hell...I wasn't asked, I volunteered,” Braedan' locked his gaze on his wife, “And behind those beautiful eyes, in spite of what's been said, you still judge me.”

    Edhen reached in to take his hand, in an effort to express her feelings, but Braedan shook it off.

    He whispered, “I'm going out,” brushing past his wife with a cold shoulder.

    “Where?” she asked.

    “Kinda self-explanatory,” he said as the front door opened.

    Door closing behind him, the normally well-mannered Courtesan gave an uncharacteristic 'Mmmph'. Fists clenched at her side and stamping her foot once, Edhen decided it best to sleep it off than to stay up and worry about it.

    Walking into the streets, Braedan strode out to be one with his thoughts. Barren was the city, many of its residents returning to their homes once the business of the day had concluded, with a few stragglers here and there, venturing around like he was, to be alone. Every now and again, Braedan would pass by a small patrol of guardsmen, keeping to himself as they did. During the night, minutes ticked by like seconds; taking note of how everything was still and quiet, it was unnerving to think there was a war taking place. He would get the sense that someone was looking over his shoulder, yet every time he turned to check, his eyes weren't fast enough. The longer he wandered, Braedan started believing maybe Edhen was right, that he was allowing paranoia to govern his actions and thoughts.

    As the first glimmers of sunlight peeked over the horizon in the early hours of morning, Braedan found himself within sight of the Residence of the Courtesans, and something else peculiar. The closer he got, Braedan found what looked like a teenage boy, standing in front of the gate in a statuesque kind of way, quiet and motionless. He got to within a few meters of the young being before they spoke.

    Tanara, I see you have returned, I have been waiting some time,” the being calmly said, a hint of happiness in their voice.

    Braedan kept his distance, “Excuse me...did you just refer to me as girl?”

    The being turned and giggled a little, a grin on their face, “No no, tanara, I refer to you as my people would, to any new race we encounter.”

    “Your people?” the mercenary inquired.

    The being replied proudly, “Yes. We are the ones who are Eternal.”

    Laughing for a moment, Braedan said, “You're good for a laugh, I'll give you that, but you're nothing special next to the crazies I've met”, walking past the being to the gate.

    “My people first saw this city when it was a village,” the being spoke from memory, “We uplifted the people of this world, We were here when the Xel'ti and Xel'tor fought for domination, and We have been here to see the Xel'ti transform this place into what exists before you now.”

    The human stopped in his tracks.

    “Why should I take any of what you say seriously?”

    The being grinned, “You are the captain of an alus, but you are not the pilot. There are three more of your race aboard this alus, two of them being female.”

    Braedan responded skeptically, “Anyone could know that through casual observation...or stalking.”

    “Yes, this is true,” the being astutely replied, ”But could just anyone know, that the simultas you hold, is a piece of Our technology, and that only We can unlock their true meaning.”

    Kneeling his head, the mercenary sighed, then commented, “I've seen first-hand what that stuff can do.”

    “It may be hard for you to believe”, the being said, words laced with sorrow, “But my people left these capsules in the hope, that those who found them, would use the knowledge for the benefit of all, not for war. In that respect, we were naive.”

    Braedan asked questionably, “And...uhh...what presumably would you need my help with?”

    The being replied, “By your means of dress, would I be wrong to presume you are a fighter?”

    “Of a sort, yes”, the mercenary said, feeling sketchy about where this was going.

    “Ah good, I was correct”, the being beamed, a jovial grin on their face, “we can serve each other's purposes then.”

    Braedan answered, “How, might I ask?”, again, not liking where this was going.

    The being grinned, “You provide me with passage and protection, and I provide the knowledge contained in the capsule you hold.”

    They waited eagerly for the mercenary's response, their figurative bouncing with excitement nearly becoming literal.

    “Sure”, Braedan said reluctantly.

    The being smiled, “Excellent, our journey is beginning.”

    “One final thing. Do you have a name, or am I to refer to you as 'We' this whole time?”

    The being gasped, “How rude of me, I have not said my name. Apologies. My name, in your tongue, would equate to Braxilaeon Isn Tas Loe'gin Falator.”

    Braedan cocked an eyebrow, shaking his head, “Yeah...no, I'm not saying all that. Your name from now on is Brax...yeah, it'll be Brax.”

    Moments later, Braedan entered through the gate protecting the Residence of the Courtesans, with Brax tailing him, joyful as a child at the prospect of having a new friend.

    “Does this mean we're friends now?” Brax curiously asked.

    The mercenary gave him a straightforward answer, “No,” as he continued back to the villa.

    “Fair enough,” Brax replied, “a new journey is beginning, how exciting.”
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Gradiyan - guardian, protector
    Tanara - the young ones
    Diacona - hospital, infirmary
    Medicus (pl. medici) - physician, doctor
    Meus carus - my dearest
    Alus - vessel
    Simultas - artifact

  3. #3

    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands

    Ahh good you decided to continue. I like it already, you really have thought of something new to add to the mix and I like that the alien technology which started the war is being explored in more depth. Great stuff, HunterKYA, hope to see more as ever.

    And congratulations on taking CWOTY, you truly deserve it.

  4. #4
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands

    Enjoyed this first update, the endnotes are really helpful. Great piece of dialogue between Brax and Braedan as well. +rep
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  5. #5
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands

    I agree with Merchant and Shankbot. It's great to see this new iteration and congratulations on your well-earned success in the Writers' Study Yearly Awards!

  6. #6

    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot de Bodemloze View Post
    Enjoyed this first update, the endnotes are really helpful. Great piece of dialogue between Brax and Braedan as well. +rep
    What I was going after was to introduce a new, albeit contrasting, character to what the original had. Everyone in the previous story was slightly older, meaning they thought from varied, controlled perspectives. With the introduction of Brax, he brings with him a bright, almost sunny disposition, which will (hopefully) give the story a lighthearted point of view, from someone who hasn't been exposed to the things Braedan and his crew have, and come up with ideas that might not have dawned on the others. That, and I needed another male character to write for, since the only male character with considerable dialogue is Braedan, and he's there all the time, so it won't be anything too hard. Besides, there was just a bit too much estrogen floating around.

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    Ahh good you decided to continue. I like it already, you really have thought of something new to add to the mix and I like that the alien technology which started the war is being explored in more depth.
    When I was going through the storyboard in my head, I knew something else had to be thrown into the mix to make it feel both fresh, and at the same time, familiar. By taking this path, it'll also give further history on how some of the existing powers in the galaxy found their starts.

    And thank you for the congratulations for the WSYA wins. However, I wouldn't have gotten there if you, and others, hadn't believed it was worthy enough to win. In that effect, I should be thanking you for making it possible.

  7. #7

    Default Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 14/4/15)

    Chapter 2 - Encounter
    The pair slowly walked toward the villa in the early morning hours, the black blanket of night giving way to the early rays of a new day. Only thing Braedan was concerned over was finding a soft place to lay down, since he knew he'd be shunned from the bed, with Edhen rightfully disgruntled by his company. But while the mercenary was worried about finding a place to sleep, Brax was admiring the spaciousness of the central plazas and the small, lush gardens spread out across the grounds, illuminated by the soft glow of lamps that lit the way. So enamored was Brax, that he didn't see when Braedan had stopped in front of the villa and bumped into him, and in so doing, gleaning some of the human's recent memories.

    “Your wife was wrong,” he blurted out, much to Braedan's surprise.

    Turning around, he gazed at the adolescent, befuddled, “How'd you know that?”

    “My people,” Brax started, “have what some might call a gift, or in other cases, a curse. By the act of touching a person, we can analyze their memories back to a point. For myself, I can go back about a week; but the Elders, rumor has it, can go back decades.”

    Braedan was still confused.

    Brax's eyes darted from side to side, then he spoke, “By bumping into you, I gathered your memories for the past several days, among the most recent being a fight with a female of Xel'ti descent. You were right to be critical of her people's actions. She knew it, and only fought back out of pride.”

    Opening the exterior gate to the villa, Braedan said, “Just don't go announcing it to everyone, especially her.”

    “But why? You must establish dominance, you were right,” Brax professed.

    “Brax, just...don't...,” the human emphasized to the utmost.

    Quietly entering the living area, a peaceful silence hung over the house, as everyone slumbered the night away. They navigated a path through the dimly lit hallways, making their way as gingerly as possible, yet a soul stirred to which they weren't aware. Rounding a corner, something felt a bit off when the mercenary saw the light on in his wife's office. Knowing he couldn't make it back to the bedroom without being seen or heard, he took a shot anyway.

    Once he heard someone say, “Braedan,” it didn't sound like it held any undertones of anger, more along the lines of apologetic than anything.

    To err on the side of caution though, he whispered for Brax to wait in the living area. The adolescent did so without a second thought. Taking a deep breath, Braedan then sighed before entering the office.

    With only the soft glow of the desk lamps to light the room, Braedan was greeted with the sight of Edhen holding a holo picture frame. It was from the day of their iunctio. It was clear she had been up the whole night, worrying when she had told herself she wouldn't, letting thoughts race through her mind. Putting the frame down, Edhen went over to him.

    “You were right about before,” she admitted, holding her head, “I judged because I felt neglected, from your extended absence. It is not uncommon for young wives to feel this way. I owe it to myself to be stronger, I owe it to you for the sacrifices you have, and will, make. For my ungratefulness, I apologize.”

    Using his hand, Braedan nudged her chin upward, to see the glistening in her hazel eyes.

    “I was wrong too,” he told her, “I didn't want to think feelings had gotten as bad as they did. You shouldn't have been here to face it alone.”

    Doing what should have done earlier, Braedan slipped his hands into those of his wife.

    Smiling with her eyes more than her mouth, Edhen asked, “Why do you have to be so stubborn?”

    He answered, “Maybe the same reason someone might ask why you're enticing. It's simply part of what makes us who we are, what makes us unique.”

    Taking one of her hands from Braedan, Edhen guided her fingertips along his jawline, near some of the days-old bruises and scrapes.

    “Why do you do this?” she questioned, a tear in the corner of her eye.

    Kneeling his head, he told her plainly, “It's all I know how to do.”

    Edhen returned her hand to Braedan, emotion in her voice, “I need you here,” placing his hand over her heart, “as my amicus, my diligo, my maritus, and one day, as a patris. Please, do not make me worry again.”

    Gathering her hands together, Braedan cupped his around those of his wife.

    “You won't have to,” he assuredly told her.

    When Edhen faintly smiled, it was the only answer he needed.

    “Am I still welcome in our bed?” he asked.

    She nodded, along with a slight giggle, then replied, “Of course you are.”

    “Good,” Braedan said thankfully, “because I'm tired, and would hate to sleep on the couch,” leaning in to kiss Edhen's cheek.

    She grinned, “I still have to go out today. When I return though, we can spend some quality time together. Now, go get some rest,” leaning in to kiss his mouth.

    Not needing much more of an invitation, Braedan did as he was told.

    A couple hours later...

    Sunlight shone brightly into the bedroom as Edhen was finishing up getting ready. Glancing over at the bed at her slumbering husband, she shook her head and smiled, not only about his presence, but also about how he'd barely gotten his boots and pants off before passing out. Standing there, peacefully staring at Braedan for a moment, Edhen then realized she needed to leave, unwantedly as it might be.

    Exiting the room quietly, Edhen steadily strolled the villa, experiencing a sensation she hadn't felt before now. It was a sensation which was...soothing. By having Braedan and his team there again, that somehow, someway, it made things feel complete. There was something strangely comforting about having this wide mix of people under the same roof. It was funny how this feeling hadn't shown itself before the war; but now that it was here, Edhen couldn't deny how this odd group of people was like family.

    About this time, the Courtesan found her way into the living area of the home. On her way to the door, she noticed an unfamiliar person sitting on one of the couches, perfectly content and staring at the wall. Stopping in place, Edhen stood there, unsettled and speechless. That is, until this person turned their head to say something, a child-like smile on their face.

    “Hello. How are you?”

    A shriek of terror fills the house.

    It doesn't take long before Masaki, Dani, and Braedan all came scampering in the same direction of the scream. Arriving almost simultaneously, Dani and Masaki were as struck by the guest as Edhen, except they weren't in the same state of shock, other than being roused from their rooms.

    Braedan, on the other hand, knew he'd forgotten to do something before going to sleep.

    Stepping in front of the visitor, who still had a goofy grin on his face, Braedan groggily announced, “Everyone, this is Brax. Brax,” making sure to point everyone out, “this is Dani, Masaki, and the one who let out the call of the dead, would be Edhen.”

    The Courtesan shot him a neutral look.

    Brax stood up, with a rather pleasant countenance, and said, “I am so sorry my arrival was not announced, I did not mean to disturb,” he then looked towards Edhen, who was, by this time, trying to hide, “Apologies, it was not my intention to frighten.”

    For the next few moments, there was silence.

    Braedan told Dani and Masaki they could go back to what they were doing, while Brax and Braedan stood in place as Edhen took a couple steps towards them.

    Brax's eyes darted between the husband and wife, finally asking him, “Will this be bad? I can leave if it is.”

    Braedan said, “Yeah bud, it's best if you do.”

    “Very well,” Brax answered, exiting the room with a carefree attitude.

    Waiting until the newcomer was gone, Edhen approached Braedan with a cute, albeit unamused look on her face. Knowing what her eyes were telling him, he knew best not to lock gazes with them, or else it might incite something worse.

    Tracing a line across the garment she was wearing, just above her breasts, Edhen's response was both a warning and a tease.

    Her eyes seductively chilling, she told him, “You will be sleeping on the lectus,” she paused to look him up and down, “at least for tonight anyway.”

    Brushing by Braedan's shoulder on her way out, he watched as she walked by, slow and intentional, so he could get the best view. For the remainder of the day, they both knew Edhen had him where it hurt.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Iunctio - wedding, joining
    Amicus – friend
    Diligo – lover
    Maritus – husband
    Patris – father
    Lectus – couch

  8. #8

    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 14/4/15)

    Great dialogue between Edhen and Braedan and her reaction with Brax was priceless.

  9. #9
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 14/4/15)



    You really have a knack for dialogue, and Brax's comments about Braedan and Edhen's argument were entertaining.
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  10. #10

    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 14/4/15)

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    Great dialogue between Edhen and Braedan and her reaction with Brax was priceless.
    That scene between Brax and Edhen, while short, was personally among the most entertaining moments I feel I've written in a while.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shankbot de Bodemloze View Post


    You really have a knack for dialogue, and Brax's comments about Braedan and Edhen's argument were entertaining.
    One of the subtle things about Brax, if it hasn't been caught already, is how naive he is most of the time. He hasn't quite latched onto the the complexity of emotions other races go through; it's either that or he's an eternal optimist to the highest degree.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 14/4/15)

    Chapter 3 - Awakening
    One day later...

    It was a slow day at the villa. Masaki was doing his normal thing, scouring the Holostream for whatever he could find to improve the performance of his equipment, or algorithms to increase the efficiency of his programs. Dani, who'd been unusually reserved since the incident on Tartan Minor, had secluded herself and was catching up on some technical reading she'd been meaning to do for some time. Meanwhile, Braedan was sitting in on Talia, who had yet to wake up from her unconscious state. The shallow beeps from the monitors kept him awake, for whenever the captain was nodding off, there were those annoying beeps that were persistent in preventing him. In spite of everything, he maintained a vigil over his partner, should anything change with her condition.

    Braedan, who was about ready to step out to get some fresh air, was interrupted when the door slid open and his wife entered the room.

    “Has her condition improved?” she asked, sounding notably concerned.

    His eyes didn't move away from Talia, “Wouldn't be any need for 'improving' if your people had followed the plan.”

    “Please Tyler, let us not go through this again. We both conceded that mistakes were made. Leave it be and let the wound heal”, Edhen pleaded.

    Braedan's eyes met hers, “How can I overlook this?”, directing a hand to his wounded team member, “This girl may never be the same, when she wakes up...if she wakes up. Someone has to answer for this.”

    “Good leaders have to know the aspects they can control, and those that they cannot. You have to accept this as something that was outside your control,” Edhen thoughtfully explained.

    The mercenary's attention turned to his partner, eyes filled with regret as he clenched his fist.

    With a light touch of her hand, Edhen focused his attention back on her.

    “I have seen that look before, doubting yourself, like you always do”, she said in a nurturing voice, “But hear me when I say this, you are a better leader than you tell yourself. And if what you said was true, about your escape, anyone lesser would have panicked and left this girl to die, but you risked yourself to ensure she lived. There is no more honorable merit than that.”

    “How can you tell...if you weren't there?” Braedan asked.

    His wife smiled, “A dauntless faith, meus diligo. You are, what we call, a macula vir... or a flawed hero. The hero will question their abilities, their strengths, but it does not take away from the notion that they will always use them to protect, never to harm.”

    He countered, “Edhen, I'm no hero, I've told you that before. I just did what I hope others would do for me.”

    “Whether you think so or not, you are a hero. What you did at the academy and by saving this girl's life, both times in which you risked your own for the protection of others, would tell anyone contrary to what you think of yourself,” she said, as a way to encourage him.

    “Why do you believe that?” he replied.

    Edhen met her eyes to his, “Because you are, and always have been, a virtuous man.”

    She moved closer, resting her hands just above his hips, then leaned in to kiss Braedan's lips.

    “And someone has to keep you honest,” Edhen grinned with some humility.

    Taking Braedan by the hand, she led him out of Talia's room, like she was eager to show him something. Remembering what happened the day before, he was clueless about what she was doing or what she had planned. For all Braedan knew, he was still in the doghouse and she was simply playing nice.

    When the human saw where his wife was leading him, he commented, “I thought I wasn't allowed in here?”

    Letting the door close behind them for some privacy, Edhen turned and smiled, “Then take this as your invitation back,” as she gave him a slow, sensual kiss.

    It didn't take but a few moments to gauge his reaction, as Braedan put his hands on her hips, bringing her body nearer to his own. Edhen was soon taken by surprise when he began taking control, as he started moving down to her neck, slowly moving from side to side. His assertiveness continued, as Braedan carefully backed her into a wall, his mouth alternating between her lips and neck; and the sensations coursing through the Courtesan's body...they reached a point where she couldn't help but gasp, for her husband's touch was almost too much.

    His mouth wasn't the only thing that was active, as Braedan's hands were moving too. They'd moved down from her hips to her rear end, and from there, to her thighs. Before she'd thought of doing this, Edhen had somehow let it get past her that Braedan had been celibate for over a year, and how their bodies would be aching for this. Just how much, she was now becoming aware. The intimate touch of his lips and hands, randomly switching between the two, was forcing Edhen to bite her lip, to avoid her moans and gasps from being heard outside. Briefly, her husband hooked an arm under her leg, before stopping and turning the Courtesan around to face the wall.

    They both knew what Braedan was going for. Neither disagreed with it, since they each knew what they wanted..

    In the process of slowly working up Edhen's dress, there was a knock on the door. Braedan ignored it, then proceeded to keep going, and heard the knock again.

    He thought to himself, 'Of all the times...,' before asking aloud, ”Yes?”

    When he heard no reply, Braedan sighed, knowing he'd need to move away from his aroused, divinely attractive wife, to answer the door to see who it might be.

    The door slid open, and there stood Brax, with an oblivious, naive grin on his face.

    “Ah hello. I trust I did not disturb anything, I traced your steps here.”

    Flashing a perturbed smile, Braedan said, “No bud, you didn't disturb a thing. Is there something I can help you with?”

    “Yes, I came by tell you, your friend who was sleeping... she is now awake,” Brax said, sounding quite pleased.

    Taking a moment to think, Braedan's eyes grew wider, “What? Do you mean...Talia? Do you mean Talia's conscious?”

    “If by 'Talia' you mean the female of your race with yellow hair? Then yes, she is awake.”

    He thanked Brax for letting him know, and closed the door after he left.

    By this time, Edhen had straightened herself up, having already heard the news.

    Braedan returned to her, “Sorry to cut this short, but...”

    “I completely understand,” Edhen interrupted with a loving smile, “You should be with her, to see that she is all right.”

    The Courtesan gave him a small peck on the cheek, “We can finish what we started tonight. And we have waited this long, we can wait a couple hours more; but your priorities need you elsewhere right now.”

    “Have I ever told you that you're too good for me?” he asked with a thankful grin.

    Edhen returned the favor, “No...but I am just what you need.”

    Walking back to Talia's room, she walked at Braedan's side as they moved through the halls of the villa. When they reached the door, it slid open to the sight of Dani and Masaki already there, to help Talia familiarize herself with where they were, and to help give her faces she recognized. Walking in, Braedan, at first didn't say anything, to see if Talia knew who he was.

    Edhen stepped forward, asking politely, “Talia, do you know who I am? Do you know my name? Do you remember my face?”

    Talia nodded her head that she did.

    The Courtesan then spoke on her husband's behalf, “This man behind me – do you know who he is? Do you recall his face at all?”

    Flashbacks of the bombardment replayed before Talia's eyes. The destruction, fire, death, screams. The look in her eyes grew increasingly distressed for every second that passed. An imagined explosion in front of her made her jump in the bed, crossing her arms as a way of protecting herself. A man wearing armor, face blackened by smoke and ash, comes by and she can feel his arms pick her up. Talia unconsciously reaches to touch the man's face, but her arms are too weak. It's the last thing she can recollect.

    Braedan intervenes, “Edhen, this isn't working. For all we know, she's too traumatized to remember. The memories are too fresh to see past them.”

    Turning her head, she tempered his impatience by whispering, “Give it time.”

    “Braedan...,” Talia's voice murmured, grabbing her captain's attention.

    She held her head, visibly trying to keep her emotions in check as her lips quivered, but was finding them too hard to keep back.

    Looking up him appreciatively, Talia's next words were nearly inaudible as she told him, “Thank you.”

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Meus diligo - My love
    Macula vir - Flawed hero

  12. #12

    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 20/4/15)

    Yes, Talia survived I thought for a second you were going to be a mean man and kill her off. Great scene with Braedan and Edhen and then Brax interrupting. Oh his naivety is somewhat refreshing.

  13. #13
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 20/4/15)

    I'm sorry but 'Tartan Prime' makes me imagine a planet of ginger-haired kilt-wearing Scots where the planets drink is whiskey and they hunt haggis through the always raining moorlands and glens.

    On another note, I agree with Merch, I'm very glad you decided to continue and I'll be keeping my eye(s) on this one.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 20/4/15)

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    Yes, Talia survived I thought for a second you were going to be a mean man and kill her off. Great scene with Braedan and Edhen and then Brax interrupting. Oh his naivety is somewhat refreshing.
    Logically, it wouldn't have made sense to make out a character profile for Talia, then bump her off in the next chapter. Think about it.

    Aha...as far as the moment between Braedan and Edhen goes, poor Brax didn't have a clue. Whether he catches on in the future, we'll have to see.

    Quote Originally Posted by McScottish View Post
    I'm sorry but 'Tartan Prime' makes me imagine a planet of ginger-haired kilt-wearing Scots where the planets drink is whiskey and they hunt haggis through the always raining moorlands and glens.
    Typo on my part, it was Tartan Minor, not Tartan Prime...

    And how dare you think I would populate a planet full of whiskey-swillin', kilt wearin', ginger-haired Scotsmen. That would've been irresponsible of me. They would have gone apes--- at the first sign of an Englishman.

  15. #15
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 20/4/15)

    The door slid open, and there stood Brax, with an oblivious, naive grin on his face.
    Brax has to be my favourite character.

    Great writing, as always.
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  16. #16

    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 20/4/15)

    Chapter 4 - Downtime
    The next few days were spent relaxing, letting the crew get some much-needed rest, giving Talia time to recoup and regain her strength, and giving Braedan and Edhen some intimacy after nearly a year apart.

    When they had their time together, in the late afternoons and evenings, husband and wife spent each and every second making up for lost time. Braedan would treat Edhen's body like a temple and her soul as the goddess whose spirit dwelt within. He bathed her in the affections he couldn't give from lightyears away, bestowed kisses only a lover could give, touching her in ways that sent shivers down the backside, and held her like no one ever could. And as they shared a bed once more, Edhen felt a warmth, a security that had been absent for what she felt had been like ages.

    The next morning, Braedan awoke early, seeing a soft yellow glow filter through the tinted windows, as he laid on his back in the bed. Right next to him, Edhen lay nestled under his arm, her body pressed against his, and an arm partly draped over her lover's stomach. In the midst of the war, the closest Braedan had gotten to smelling anything 'sweet' was the smoke coming from a rifle barrel, having lost nearly all memory of it. Yet, as he ran his fingers through Edhen's hair, that memory rose to the fore again. Thanks to this enchanting creature laying at his side, who, after all the years, still brought back thoughts of a long-lost innocence.

    Amid the touch of rough-textured fingers running through her hair, the Courtesan smiled as she woke.

    “After what we did last night, I could've sworn you'd sleep longer,” Braedan whispered.

    Her head still resting on his chest, Edhen playfully slapped his stomach, “How did you know?”

    He said, “The pace of your breathing quickened,” while she sat upright in the bed, using the sheets to cover her breasts, and placing her head on his shoulder.

    “When we were going to sleep,” Edhen said with a hopeful grin, “a thought crossed my mind, about something we all could do, both as a means of getting out and a way of welcoming you home.”

    Braedan replied, “What were you thinking about?”, seeing how her face was glowing.

    “There is a place of great reverence to my people,” she answered, “someplace every Xelanite ventures to at some point in their lives. To humans, it would be known as the Garden to the Noble Fallen; but to mine, we call it Ortus ut Optimus Cado.”

    “Why are they so profound?”, he asked intently.

    Edhen took hold of Braedan's exposed hand, “Not now, meus fortis maritus, but I promise to tell you later.”

    Braedan leaned over, kissing the top of her head, through the sweet fragrance that lingered in her hair from the night before. His wife smiled in response.

    A few hours later...

    Edhen, Braedan, and his crew, boarded a shuttle that took them across the city, over a distance further than they'd be able to walk in a few hours. When the shuttle stopped at their destination, the outside perimeter of the gardens were massive, with an ornate, barred fence stretching almost three city blocks in length and three-meters high. The entryway comprised of a wreathed-covered arch, standing six-meters high and four-meters wide.

    Walking through the archway, the sight they saw was like walking into a dream. They walked about for the first couple minutes in silent awe, at the variety of plants, trees, shrubbery and the like. Beyond the inescapable vibrancy of color, to Edhen, and all Xelanites for that matter, they knew the meaning of what the colors themselves represented to their people. Blue for the color of their native sky and the water that gave them life, green for the fields they fought in, orange and yellow for the suns that shone overhead, red for the blood of their gallant dead, pink for the love they showed, and the rarest and most beautiful being purple, symbolizing their salvation and victory.

    The six of them were divided up into three separate groups. First, there were Dani and Masaki staying close to Talia, in case she still needed help getting around. Secondly, there was Brax, keeping to himself and looking in every direction at the abounding assortment of color around them. Lastly, there was Braedan and Edhen pulling up the rear. The Courtesan, more than anyone, was quietly cherishing this moment, as it was the first time she could recall the two of them could spent time such as this together.

    “This garden,” Edhen spoke, “was created to commemorate the heroic defenders who helped to guarantee the Xelanite people a future.”

    Everyone stayed close by as she continued the tale.

    “Seven millennia ago, during the first outbreak of conflict between Xelanites and Xeltorans, the sides were evenly matched, but as the campaigns ground on for months and years at a time, our forces were worn down, in desperate need of victory. On the 23rd day of Sextilis of that year, the armies of the Xeltorans and their allies gathered outside the city, with all the portents and auguries taken in that time of crisis speaking of our people meeting their fate. The army at our disposal was a mere ten-thousand, while the enemy outside was nearly six times that number. It was on this site, just inside the ancient walls, where those soldiers gathered to pray, to their ancestors and our gods, and were given one last rousing speech by their commander before marching beyond the walls to face the enemy, fully expecting to die.”

    Edhen paused, to let the poignancy of that moment etch itself into their subconscious. Their stroll through the gardens had guided the group to its central-most point, to a statue standing between fifteen to twenty meters tall. The statue, a soldier thrusting a spear-like weapon to the sky, surrounded by row upon row of purple flowers and a ring of water at its base, honored the leader of that fateful battle.

    “Once beyond the wall, the Xeltorans did not hesitate to attack, throwing in everyone they could muster to claim their moment of triumph. They were taken aback, however, when they found our people stubbornly resisting what they, the Xeltorans, had seen as inevitable. The longer the fight dragged on, it became clearer the Xelanites would not quit, for every one of ours who fell, they took nine or ten of the enemy with them. This brought the enemy to the point of panic, pulling their soldiers back to regroup. They charged the remaining defenders, confident it would break all resistance. The leader of the Xelanites, whose name and origin has been lost to history, ordered a counter-charge, slicing straight through the Xeltoran lines. It had the effect of reaching the Xeltoran general, who stayed to fight instead of retreating, meeting his end and sending his armies into a complete rout. Never, after that day, would they get that close to our capitol again, not in the decades of fighting that followed.”

    Finding themselves at the base of the statue, there was a plaque, inscribed with a Xelanite saying:

    Ut Incompertus Patronus , Populus ex is Valde Urbs ,
    Ero Umquam Memor pro Vestri Muneris


    Braedan turned to Edhen, asking her, “What do those words mean?”

    Choked up, she responded, “To the Unknown Protector, The People from this Great City, Will be Ever Grateful for Your Service.”

    Seeing his wife distraught, “Is everything okay?”

    She nodded, “When I came here as a girl, it did not occur to me the importance of this person. As I grew older, it did. They fought selflessly with my people, fought selflessly for my people. In our hour of peril, he galvanized our people to achieve the impossible, bringing us the greatest of all our victories, before or since.”

    Before Braedan thought of saying something, Edhen weakly smiled and admitted, “This is why I did not say anything before we came. I wanted you to witness this first hand, not just to be told. This person holds many similarities to someone I know, someone standing right in front of me.”

    Braedan shook his head in disagreement, “Edhen, you can't honestly compare me to this. This person,” pointing to the statue, “whoever he was...he saved a civilization. Nothing I've done is remotely close to that.”

    “You may not have changed the destiny of a world,” she insisted, “but you have changed the destinies of countless lives.”

    He took a second before smiling, “You always were the optimist, weren't you? A trait I couldn't change if I wanted to.”

    The group spent a little more time wandering around the gardens, admiring the setting, and taking in its natural beauty, before they decided they'd had enough of an adventure for one day. They boarded the next available shuttle to the station nearest the market district, whereby it would be a short jaunt back to the Residence of the Courtesans. Along the way, Edhen shared another factual tidbit with Braedan.

    “After the battle, in honor of the defenders who perished, the Chancellor decided to rename the city. To the rest of the Galaxy, they know this place as 'Palma – Capitol of the Dominion,” but my people humbly refer to it as Locus Tenura Eternus Palma.”

    Braedan snickered, “That's humble? Sounds like a mouthful.”

    Edhen flashed a fond smile, “For you, it may,” kissing his cheek, “for us though, it means 'The Place Holding Eternal Glory,' so it is worth the time.”

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Meus fortis maritus – My brave husband
    Ortus ut Optimus Cado – Garden to the Noble Fallen
    Sextilis - equivalent to August on human calendar
    Ut Incompertus Patronus , Populus ex is Valde Urbs , Ero Umquam Memor pro Vestri Muneris - To the Unknown Protector, The People from this Great City, Will be Ever Grateful for Your Service
    Locus Tenura Eternus Palma – The Place Holding Eternal Glory

  17. #17

    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 25/4/15)

    A more relaxing chapter but it held some good backstory and I felt that that can only ever enhance a story. So great job as always.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 25/4/15)

    Quote Originally Posted by Merchant of Venice View Post
    A more relaxing chapter but it held some good backstory and I felt that that can only ever enhance a story. So great job as always.
    It's nice you see it that way. For once in a long while, I wanted to write an update where there wasn't a lot of tension or action, but something with a tad bit of sentimentality, and gave a small piece of history to one of the story's factions. I know the relationship stuff between Edhen and Braedan can get - sappy - at times, though I do my best not to make it cliche.

  19. #19
    Shankbot de Bodemloze's Avatar From the Writers Study!
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    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 25/4/15)

    Yeah certainly a different change of tempo, but refreshing and great nontheless - it was nice to just read about something as sentimental as visiting a memorial guardian. You managed to create the whole tranquil atmosphere very well.
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  20. #20
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Titanium Core: Borderlands (Updated 25/4/15)

    I agree with Merchant and Shankbot, the historical background is done well and I like the change of pace. For me, the contrast between tranquility and action makes the tension and drama even more effective.

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