FINAL CHAPTER OF FIRST ARC: The Sands of Greed (Original Fiction Series)

The Sands of Greed


Episode One | Episode Two | Episode Three

Original sketch by Hayden D.

Episode One: “Ol’ Fishin’ Rod”


Sunlight glistened with its delightful yet foreboding heat and brightness across the sandy plains of the dune covered world, new Earth.

Down beside a small pond in the middle of the now world wide desert sat an old gray haired and heavily tanned man who looked as though his back was bent half of the way over. The old man perched upon a small deck that overlooked the pond with a crappily put together fishing rod, made up of a searing string and a lot of duct tape. He wore a baseball cap with an old football team’s logo embroidered on the front that had almost faded away with the unwavering passing seconds of time. As the sun beat down on the guy who had to have skin damage all over by now he watched the little pond’s water flow back and forth from one end to another. The dust and grain filled gusts of wind carrying over the pond’s wisping waves.

This old man seemed quite keen on stalling any further action for one of the few fish left in the world to grab onto the end of his shabbled together fishing rods hook seeing as he had indeed not left the pond in days.

From behind the rickety old fart came the sounds of childish laughter and glee along with footsteps shuffling through the waves of sand.

“Kids, I betcha that I’ll get that great big ol trout soon! Just a matter of time until that sucker grabs onto my unbreakable fishing rod!”

The children’s laughter continued getting closer as a little girl and boy who wore patched up old clothes tumbled their way over to the aging man who had turned around and set his fishing rod down beside him, he now sat with his arms wide open as the two children scurried over to him leaping into his arms.

A smile that looked quite unnatural on the old man quickly spread across his face as delight filled his old weathered soul. The serene sound of pure joy enveloped him, love filled the tight air. His grandchildren were the only things still bringing joy to this old man’s weathered old heart.

The little girl who looked to be around the age of five then in a jumble of words attempted to ask his grandpa a question with the whole sentence coming out in more of a spill.

“Grandpa! The tall people with the food and water have come!”

The Grandfather’s expression turned from one of happiness and joy to a look of pure disdain and worry. The contortion freaking the children out a tad.

“Ok, I need you two to go down back to the village and go back to our hut, i’ll meet you there, ok?”

The two kids still full of pure glee got up off of their grandpa then smiled once more giggling as they ran off down a little slope to head home. The grandpa then put his fishing rod under a little cotton mat and stood up with his knees shaking as he did so. Once the grandpa made his way back into the village he traveled towards the front gate which stood only twenty feet high being made out of large tree trunks sharpened into shriveled old spikes.

The old man passed very few people as he strutted through the town, the only inhabitants he could find being young children, all free of care, free of responsibility and yet still shackled down to the burdens of sickness and poverty. He then pressed a large red button that raised the shivering gate to the village’s entrance, a plume of dust puffing up since the gate had not been used in quite the while. Once the lumbering metal gate fully raised with its squeals of age it revealed three large masked people.

All three dressed in dark gray leather suits, each having a white and red symbol on their right shoulders. The symbol resembled that of a creature long forgotten in the rainless world that humanity was yet to prosper in. The old man’s expression of disgust had not left his unwavering face by the time he really got a look at the visitors, the disdain for the intruders had hung heavily in the air for a moment before the tall visitor in the middle of the trio came forward revealing behind him a large crate full of food and most likely synthetic water. The tall ones voice unveiling a layer of the visitors lacking in humanity as the metallic spite in the words they spoke seeping into the old man’s concerned ears with vigorous sleaze.

“Greetings old man Beck. We have come with the chance of a deal, we know your village doesn’t exactly align itself with the Crossbill Coalition but we hope to change that today.”

Beck stood completely still, almost peering into the tall creatures’ non-existent eyes.

“You. You know that we stand for opposing ideals, we have no inclination to join a group such as yours, especially not after the countless atrocities you have committed in recent times, the people won’t accept it!”

Beck’s eyes stood still watching each and every move made by the middle visitor while he reached for his hip, grabbing at a water jug that was strapped around him. Behind the occurring interaction hiding behind a hut were the grandchildren of Beck.

The girl began to whisper to her little brother who held a teddy bear and still had disheveled hair from when he awoke.

“Marvy, I wonder what it is they are talking about, can you hear them better than I?”

Marvy attempted to hear the group a little better by leaning forward, hedging his dirty feet against the edge of the limited cover the children held, but turned towards his sister shaking his head no.

“Hmmm, lemme see if I can get a better view, I think those are the soldiers from the Crossbill!”

As the girl leaned forward she saw a tiny red dot in the visage of the visitor who stood to the left dart to hers almost staring straight through her. The girl was about to run away completely when the middle soldier lifted their metal finger and pointed towards her,

“Child, what is it you think you’re doing?”

The girl froze completely still with her breath almost completely stopping along with her tiny heart.

Beck spun his head around, his eyes sank into muddled fear as he muttered the girl’s name under his heavy breathing,


The middle guard turned toward Beck and took a step towards him, interrupting the old man’s warm words of concern.

“We understand that your village is on the cusp of a recession and we would like to assist but if you and your people are going to attempt to steal our supplies then we have perfect reason to act with aggression.”

Beck’s face shook into a sudden look of shock, thinking that he must be hearing things seeing as the worlds that just emitted from the metal freak before him truly made zero sense to him as he exclaimed,

“What in the hell are you talking about! Those are just children, why try and create conflict if there is no need? Your people seem to never understand that no matter how far you all may go in your violent escapades you’re not going to get anywhere! All you will do is dig a bigger hole for the world to sink into.”

For a moment the two parties seemed calm until a quick flash of something passed by the soldiers as a young man wearing tattered clothes holding a large mallet came out of nowhere beating the soldier to the left over the head sending them tumbling to the ground before the young man is held back from the shoulders by Beck.

The middle soldier knelt down by his fellow soldier and felt for his pulse, for a moment they sat silent as their figure seemed to draw completely still, becoming more stiff than a plank of wood. The soldier’s next move was one of great importance to the once simple life of the little girl and her brother Marvy as he stood up reaching for his waist where inside of his cloak sat a refined double edged sword that sat in dormant desperation for violence, its hunger gleaming with almost tangible joy.

“Your signs of aggression seem to have boiled even further than we presumed, this should be met with the king’s verdict…”

Beck’s face of worry was now destroyed and reconstructed into one of fear and shock as the young man rang loose from his arms, panting with pure rage filled his eyes,

“You! You damn monsters! All we ever wanted to do was live! Why can’t you just leave us be! Why do you have to hurt us!?”

The middle soldier stepped towards the young man, beginning to unsheathe their lustful sword,

“Look at you, you even speak like a rabid dog, there is no reason for a servant of the king such as I to listen to the ramblings of a creature that shouldn’t even be deemed the right to think.”

The young man’s eyes widened as Beck pulled him back taking the slash from the sword to the chest carving a line straight through his torso. The young man sat completely petrified as Beck tumbled to the ground, the life in his eyes already fading away. Marvy and his sister who had been held back by the right soldier stood in utter shock as to the violence presented before their young eyes. Marvy’s sister at this point not being able to stand it anymore pulling herself away from the faceless assailant.


Beck’s eyes felt as if they were glazing over completely with his only thoughts being that he needed to protect the children, if not for their already passed parents for the sake of the children’s untold future, the infinite possibilities for the young souls that now cowered in the corner with sincere horror.

Beck lay there while the middle soldier plunged his blade through the young man’s chest, sending his body collapsing to the ground with a loud thud that belched out a grunt from the soldier.

The soldier who had been holding the girl grabbed her by the shoulder when the ground began to rumble beneath everyone’s feet. The middle soldier had pressed a red button on their black belt buckle.

“I’m sorry that we couldn’t find a peaceful solution to your misguided thoughts of our land, Beck. It seems we will have to take more drastic measures to silence the violent retorts of your foolish villages from now on.”

The middle soldier stood above Beck who couldn’t move his torso as they lifted their blade to the air watching as the light of explosions throughout the village began to shimmer off of their cold lifeless blade. Beck’s granddaughter watched in horror as the blade of the Crossbill sunk deep within his chest, stopping the poor old man’s heart completely. The only and final thoughts of the old soul being,

“Why… why must man be so powerless in the face of death…”

The sky above the village having turned a blood red from the plumes of red smoke emitting from the Crossbill transports that began surrounding the front gate. The children stood in complete shock staring at the lifeless corpse of the only person that had cared for them. Marvy’s eyes seemed cold and empty whereas his sister’s eyes were fiery with rage and irrefutable sadness. A lust to take revenge for the taking away of someone so dear to her creeping into her shattered heart.

The soldier holding them then let go of the two reaching for his pocket. The two children were too stunned to speak or move after what they had been forced to witness. When the filthy force of unjust killing pulled out a lollipop and offered it to them it almost made it seem like the enemies these children stood face to face with were nothing more than blind fools, too corrupt to see their own crimes…

Original sketch by Hayden D.

Episode Two: “Why?”


The sky was dim as the morning sun made no attempt in presenting itself to the awaiting eyes below. The wind blew steadily as it caressed the seas of sand that surrounded Camp Torn’s lackluster iron walls. The metal slowly warped with the constant pestering of sand grains rubbing against it with each passing hour. Camp Torn stood at a relatively low height for a prisoner camp but was complemented by its dwindling numbers in captives.

Each month a group of about thirty prisoners were to be brought out to the front yard by Commandant order. The Crossbill spent a lacking amount of time cultivating the captured land it had wormed its way into, instead opting for more and more-the whole nation’s greed almost alive in its lust for singularity and the divine nature of being untouchable.

While the superiors in the Crossbill wished to gain such a nature, their underlings sought nothing but a normal peaceful life—though this “peaceful life” some would consider a warped form of torture for any victims they could prey upon.

Inside of the camp, behind the twisted threads and tangled knots of barbed wire, stood two guards who seemed to tower over a young woman and man, the two harboring a child in their arms, mud and grime spread across their skin and tattered clothes.

The guards wore dark green jumpsuits with the Crossbill crest embroidered across their lapels, one of them bore a barcode embedded into the right side of his hat’s brim.

“Let go of the child and we may grant your safety but those who disobey the king’s rule must be punished!”

Spoke one of the guards who wore a damp brown beanie that covered his most definitely balding scalp.

“This child was spotted stealing bread from the lunch hall after hours, you should know that any offense given to offront the king’s acts of generosity and grace must be penalized immediately,”

the other guard spoke whose eyes held a deep maroon, his face showing only an expression of complete indifference to the world that cradled him in its eternal palms.

The couple on the ground did not flinch in the slightest.

“Amir, I swear that one of these days the prisoners here are gonna kill me with how stubborn they are!”

the beanie-wearing guard angrily expressed as he lifted the woman by her shoulders, throwing her to the side with his pure aggression having consumed his every move. Amir continued to stand there with no care at all of what may happen next, he was used to days like this, just another day… Another day.

The man held on tight to his child as the other guard attempted to pry him away. The guard, out of anger and hostility, lifted his boot, kicking the man in the jaw, sending him toppling over, his face splashing into the mud that puddled the camp’s grounds.

“Honestly I’m sick of this! All of it, the prisoners… The other guards… Hell, even the commendants! It’s all so damn unfair, why do I have to be stuck down here with these mud covered creatures?! Is it because I’m not a true Crossbill citizen Amir? Tell me I really wanna know?!”

Amir lifted his head slightly to witness what his partner’s next move would be, but upon seeing the child, his expression dipped, his lips opening just enough for an electrified whisper of both intrigue and confusion to seep through.


“What, Amir?! Do you have anything to say that would actually be helpful for once??”

“It’s missing, Hugo…”

“Amir, what in the hell are you even talking about?”

“His arm Hugo… Look…”

Hugo’s head gyrated towards the child when he was met with a sight that weighed onto his mind like a heavy pressure of despair and disgust. The limp frail body of this child was missing an arm.

“What even is that thing, Amir! Is this what we were sent to guard?!”

Amir’s gaze set resolute as Hugo reached out to grab the child from the muddy ground. The two had not had a conversation like this one in the past leaving Amir in nothing but a loss of certainty for which emotion to confide his easy mind in. He was at a loss.

“Were we really sent here to guard these people? To place ourselves amidst these walking diseases!?”

Just as Hugo’s hand came to contact with the child’s skin, a loud crack sounded out, Hugo toppled over, his jaw a bruised purple from a quick and hard blow. Above him stood a raggedy young woman, whose eyes spoke of an anger that most don’t even have the voice to fulfill.

“Amir, what are you doing? Do something!”

Amir stood in shock of the blow his partner had just taken as the woman turned towards him, her first and anger singly pointed towards him now. Amir stepped back slightly as he watched her arm extend towards his face, nearly connecting with his chin, as the woman’s arm was suddenly grabbed by him and spun around knocking her to the rough ground while pulling out a short rope from his uniform’s leg pouch.

Amir, having now enclosed the crazed woman’s arms in a rope, heaved her to her feet and began to pull her towards a nearby metal building. Hugo held his nose as it urged to bleed—spouting many obscenities whilst doing so.

The sun, now dimming over the grain-ridden horizon, left little light to heed over the long metal building that sat in the corner of the camp. The building sat with no windows, nothing but a metal door in its front. Inside were many cells, each one holding at least twelve people. The sheer space being taken up by the people making the act of simply breathing a struggle to heed to, the people instead inhaling the dust filled air pockets that still hung in cramped dry corners of cells.

Inside of the furthest cell the woman was lucky, something she doesn’t believe herself of being, and her cell was practically empty excluding the multitude of vermin both alive and long past that lay about it. The lady sat crouched in the corner, the darkness of her cell creating a looming sense of hopelessness. As her eyes finally began to close the cell door was tapped, the metal bars shaking slightly from the force of a baton.

“Prisoner 93-TI, peacefully follow without resistance.”

The cell door creaked open as the silhouette of the guard that stood outside her cell began to melt further into the opaque darkness. The young woman considered running away but knew that such a thing would be futile in this camp. There are guards all along the wall of the camp so running can’t be an option, but what could they want with me? Her thoughts wandered across the vast yet cramped space that was her mind as she followed the sound of the footsteps ahead of her.

Suddenly the front door croaked open in front of the woman, a guard standing in the way of the moonlight’s soft gaze. “Follow.” She sighed as the sound of her footsteps followed the guard outside, each step in the night time sand feeling like walking on dirt. Finally, the two ended up in the middle of the camp, an enclosed square made from tall walls of concrete, layers of barbed wire hung over its peak with the rough texture of the walls serving as a memory of the past actions taken in the room.

“Go inside and line up with the others.” The guard spoke as they began to walk away, the moonlight never giving enough to fully identify their facial features. The woman entered the doorway as it closed behind her, a small red light blinking as she was now locked inside of the large square. What is this? She thought as her brain finally realized where she was, the woman’s eyes darted up to see that the ground was covered in grass, a thing that was rarely seen across the sand splayed world. “What… What is this?..” the woman muttered through her water-deprived mouth. As she looked around the room the woman found a sight that sent her heart into a panicking mode. She had never been this scared before. Against the back wall of the square stood a row of inmates, all of them blindfolded. A realization came flooding into the woman’s mind along with an added amount of fear. She finally realized…. This would be her last night.

The walls red-stained behind the prisoners left a painful irreverence for human life having been present in this room many a night before this one. I won’t be leaving this room ever again, will I…

A guard came from behind the woman covering her eyes in a thin veil, tightening the blindfold around the back of her head. Her heart began to beat faster, increasing with every step that the guard made her take.

A shiver crept down her spine as her back rested against the surface of the foreboding walls of this square. The shiver of death now creeping in on her sent the woman’s heart into a rapid increase but everything stopped when the sound of a metal casing being loaded into a machine of some kind echoed from the other side of the square. As her eyes began to dilate behind the very thing blocking the woman from seeing her imminent end right in front of her.

A microphone activated from the top right corner of the square, its speaker crackling with its extensive use in recent times. “Occupant 93, 94, 95, 104 and 7. You will all now be relieved from your impudent and disrespectful mortality, you will now enter the king’s righteous garden as he pardons you.”

As the speaker was talking something kept replaying inside of the woman’s mind, a vision… A memory. All it seemed to depict was an encounter that she once witnessed as a child. In front of her a young sickly man bashed a Crossbill’s head, breaking the seal on his helmet. The young man spoke, a rage in his eyes that could be seen in no other, “Why do you have to hurt us?” Those words sat upon her mind with an odd intensity. I understand now, it makes sense… I understand your anger, you and I are the same aren’t we… Hate having filled the empty holes in our chest left by others that seek nothing but our suffering. I understand you.

The time found itself to be sunrise, the world beginning to start anew once again. Though, no birds chirped…









The loud noises stopped. The mind of the woman racing with thoughts yet terrified to a blank slate at the same time. Whispering came from up ahead in the square, followed by a rush of footsteps through the entrance. Suddenly the ground began to shake and the woman’s balance began to falter, sending her crumbling to her knees. Her brain now only containing mixed and terrified ideas of her current predicament. A booming noise sounded from outside with an alarm now blaring through the air. The woman stood up, her hands still tied as she raised herself to the wall, rubbing against the wall which eventually loosened the blindfold enough for her to shake it off. As the thin piece of cloth slowly floated down to the grass below the woman tried to get her legs moving once again, slowly making her way to the open exit ahead. As she did so however a sudden sound made her stop in her tracks entirely. Her foot now completely stuck in place, her breath coming out in a pant. The noise grew louder.

“SAvE Us.”

She stood in complete silence and terror as the woman slowly turned her head to see who or what was calling to her. Before she could fully turn her head a cracking sound emanated from the walls of the square as a plume of smoke rose from outside of the grass square. The woman shook her head, closing her eyes both out of fear and denial, as she stumbled over to the gate pushing the half open door completely ajar, collapsing onto the hard sandy ground.

The morning sun having now arisen, hanging low in the sky, like a fire that urges with insatiable hunger. Though that seemed to have not been the only source of flame in sight, seeing as the woman’s eyes lit up with the reflection of an explosion that had completely engulfed the cell building. Her eyes stood still in the presence of the pure terror that must reside in the building that just wouldn’t stop screaming. It seemed that the darkness truly didn’t fade with the rise of the sun, it simply waited… Waited for when those who were most vulnerable were most distraught.

Suddenly with a gust of smoke and dust having smacked the woman across the face, she jolted up, struggling to keep balance with the ground still shaking. She looked around frantically in hopes of finding a way to escape this living hell that seemed to just keep following her wherever she went.

Stumbling across the now dried out fields of sand, the woman held onto her ribs as the couple of days without a single crumb of food began to weigh in. Ahead of her were the somewhat large iron walls of the camp, nature having run its course on them for years on end. The barbed wire nailed in place even after all this time. She ran towards the wall attempting to find the gate that supply trucks were led to for drop offs during afternoons. Through all of the chaos what was happening still didn’t make sense. Why is this happening, why now? was still ringing in the woman’s mind as she scrambled to make it to the wall, then it happened again. “sAvE Us.” Whatever this sound was, it was becoming increasingly hard to ignore as she finally succumbed to her curiosity, spinning around to see a sight that no human let alone being should be subjected to.

In front of the woman was a grotesque melted together horror that seemed to come directly delivered from the deepest depths of hell, skulls marked with flame and ash, as the melting bone and flesh of each individual prisoner’s body from the prison block now stared directly into her eyes. She saw a sea of those who should be dead crawling inch by inch towards her, the husks of the once-prisoners set ablaze both inside and out, the former ignited and fueled from their rage far before the latter. The mass of bones clawed its way forward with an undeniable sense of purpose in revenge.

The woman shook her head violently backing into the rusting iron wall, almost seeming to have grown to a looming terror that stalked her from all angles. She was trapped, she knew that, and yet. Why? Was the only thought her mind could yet muster.

Suddenly a booming quake emitting from the camp’s entrance shook the ground with an intense ferocity. Having now assumed a blank and almost understanding stance towards her situation the woman let out a half hearted chuckle, “What is even going on right now?”

That was a statement she expected to have answered once she entered the infinite void that she assumed would await her once her life was subdued from her. It felt almost freeing. This is until reality came crashing in.

A voice emitted from another,


Original sketch by Hayden D.

Episode Three: “You”


Flames continued spreading across the whole camp with a sense of unjust benevolence. Against the wall the woman stood, her eyes shut tight, whispering to herself some type of repetitive sentence when a loud and angry voice landed upon her ears.

“You, it was you wasn’t it? It was all a setup?!”

The woman relaxed her eyelids, as the sound of footsteps came closer and closer. The horror that once stood just across from her having now completely vanished, leaving no sign of their appearance entirely.

Standing in the place of the vision the woman had experienced was the rapidly approaching Amir, whose eyes spoke of a terrified rage. His jumpsuit looked almost charred as his entire left arm was still slightly lit, the suit barely able to keep him from being burned entirely. His eyes were wide with an intensity he had never let show before.

Amir, still making his way towards the recuperating woman, spoke in a loud tone.

“You’re one of them! You’re the one who led the pirates here!”

The woman stood against the wall with her eyes rapidly becoming less and less frightened, though she let loose no words of remorse or anger. Just silence.

Amir trudged his heavy boots right up to the woman’s face, holding up a now seared black beanie in his left hand.

“YOU! You did this!”

The woman’s eyes emitted no sense of remorse.

“He had it coming.”

Those cold dead words rang in Amir’s ears as they emitted from the woman’s emotionless visage. Amir’s eyes were almost completely engulfed in anger as the only person he could call a friend was now gone, his assumption of the culprit being directly in front of him.

“He may not have been the kindest nor the most patient, but he was trying his best. His best to keep going! If only your kind didn’t exist! If you and your people would just die then he would still be here, his daughter would still have a dad…”

Amir’s eyes now welling up in tears as the woman still plainly stood there.

“The Crossbill should have exterminated your kind when they had the chance…”

The woman’s head turned in a figure of frustration. Her countenance contorted to an expression of anger, though no action of violence came from her in response to his hateful words,

“What are you even talking about!? I didn’t kill him! Why are you sticking your problems onto me, what did I ever do to you?”

​“You’re lying…”

​ “What the hell? Why would I lie! What reason would I even have to lie?!

​“You’re all liars… All of you.”

In this moment of silence the tension built between the two, in fact it built up high enough for the abhorrently passive Amir to raise his fist against the woman. A sudden burst of violence came from Amir as his fast came quickly towards the woman’s face. She did not waver in the slightest. The hit connected with a crack that should break anyone’s nose in an instant. Her eyes stood still in the face of Amir’s anger.

“You have no right to speak like that!… To speak in a way such as that means you must be human, must be able to feel… You are no man. Look at yourself. You’re nothing more than a blind obedient monster that doesn’t even have a place in this world.”

The woman’s words came like a shower of knives upon Amir’s mind as he took a step back, his expression of anger attempting to linger yet rapidly losing strength.

“You’re right, I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know why I’m helping to kill your kind but if the king heeds for it then it simply must be the ultimate ruling! It must be done! Who are you to decide who is right and wrong! You just got all of your people in the cell block killed and you wish to lecture me!? You are no king!”

“What puts you above me Crossbill? Your hands are just as soaked in innocent blood as mine! You’re no better than me, and your king? He doesn’t even care about his own people! Look at you, look at your people, what good has listening to him done for you. He’s nothing more than all of the degenerates beneath him, just more scum.”

Amir’s eyes dwindled on the woman’s argument, though he had no more than a couple of seconds to do so as from behind him rabid howls and laughter echoed; in the split second it took to turn his head a large bat once used for games in an age long ago came swinging toward his face, the blow knocking him out cold, above him stood a freakishly tall person. The pirates had completely invaded the camp by now.

From this point on, Amir’s fate turned to something of mystery; this would be the turning point for a life lived with the will to overcome, the will to continue. This will bring change, change to all…

¨Amir, I need you to be strong, baby…”

¨We need you to stay strong…. Be strong¨

The turquoise sky gracefully brushed against the grain stained earth, the winds singing songs of tales untold. Below the eternal skies the aged walls of Camp Torn barely stood, most of the walls replaced with chunks ripped from the ground where they once stood. Burnt ash almost completely replaced the camp’s epicenter of the prison barracks which no longer stood gasping for air and life, its solution nowhere in sight…

The cold hard ground felt like a cloud in Amir’s dreams, though that feeling failed to persist as it soon returned him from his unconscious state to the reality he wished to escape—the ever continuous and repenting breath of life that just wouldn’t let go. No matter how much he wanted it to.

The sun’s gold flare echoed across the dunes of sand, bringing a certain shine to Amir’s eyes, a shine that he simply found aggravating as it forced his shut eyes further from the comforts of the imaginary blissfulness his mind wished to rest upon him.

Amir’s head felt consistent aches that required his alertness to kick in, sending the once unconscious guard to an upright position, his asleep arm being shaken awake to hold his head. Where am I? Where’s Hugo? I need to find Hugo.

Before Amir´s internal pleas for answers and comfort could be realized reality came hurling back though the world’s grand curtains with both a figurative and quite real slap in the face. The sudden shock woke Amir´s whole body back to the grounded plains he sat on, directing his wavering eyes upon a figure who stood in front of him.

It’s you! You damned devil!

Those were the words that he wished to speak though a rough piece of metal strapped to his face that was made from some sort of technology he’d never seen before. Instead all that emitted from him was a muffled sound akin to gibberish.

The woman who Amir had only ever seen in her prisoner garb now stood before him wearing a dark green vest along with boots stolen right out of the camp’s Armory room. Strapped to both sides of the woman’s waist were two long knives, their blades concealed by a lustful curtain of soft leather. She stepped back walking towards the side of a makeshift stage that was shambled together with whatever materials the junkies that had raided the camp could kitbash together.

A high pitched echo emitted by a microphone that sat only five feet away from Amir’s kneeling body, the finger taps to test the awaiting microphone’s status, seemingly vibrating directly into his ear drums.

Amir’s eyes darted around his surroundings, attending the sights at all the corners of vision he was capable of seeing. Unfortunately this came with the knowledge that Amir was now in a situation he deemed to be rather hopeless…

All around Amir kneeling on the ground were surviving prisoners from the working section of the camp along with all of the guards who were still alive from the attack beside him on their knees as well. In front of Amir stood upwards of forty pirates, some looking as feral as one would expect from a pirate whilst others seemed oddly normal. Although there was no room for the word normal when describing the tall woman whom Amir had never once seen before, she stood on a box half bent over staring straight into Amir’s frightful eyes, hers carrying a weight of interest alongside curiosity for the young man.

The tall woman held a microphone in her gloved hand, a large puff of curly brown hair almost taking their prisoners’ attention away from her and it was almost as if she knew this as since the eyes of the ones captive raised towards her, poof! she spoke once again, her enthusiasm breaching through the ears of all who could hear.


¨My name is Pearl! I’m gonna be your host this fine evening as I’d like to welcome you to your last destination! Or at least that’s what this will be for some of you! You see behind me is the FEARSOME the ROYAL the UNYIELDING, (somewhat egotistical and stupid), Captain DALLAS!

A sudden roar of cheering came erupting from the crowd as a figure whose visage resembled that of a middle aged dad whose beer belly really got a hold on him. Outside of that the Captain didn’t have much going for him, especially not his teeth which needed some serious help.

Once the uproar died down the Captain opened his slimy gray lips.


¨My nAmE iS daLlAS As yOu ALreAdY KnOW, wE arE A grOUP whO wANdeRs ThE SanDY SeaS IN searcH OF SuPPlIeS And…¨

He stopped for a moment, the crowd of people waiting with bated breath for his next words. Amir looked behind him to see that a pirate was holding up a sign on the other side of the crowd of prisoners that had almost a whole script written on it, the pirate pointing frantically at the sign in frustration. Unfortunately for him the Captain´s eyesight had taken a downturn in the past few years.

​Just as he prepared to speak again a handgun was raised in the direction of his meaty head.

​¨Honestly I’m sorry man, but I can’t deal with this crap anymore. No hard feelings, mmk?¨

Those were the last words the Captain (If you could even call the slug of a human such a thing) ever heard as a loud crack sounded off from the barrel of the weapon, his body falling limp to the tough ground below as the rest of the pirates stared in shock then slowly raised their sights upon Pearl who smiled at the sight of such a ¨welcoming crowd.”

​Amir noticed as the woman with the green vest began to reach for her waist, her sights not aimed toward Pearl but rather towards a nearby pirate whose eyes yearned for the spilling of blood.

​Then before the expected clash could take place a yell came from the gate which sat just thirty feet or so from the group where about twelve both large and small vehicles sat waiting to be ripped across the dunes once again.


​The voice called, almost sounding like the shrill shriek of a child.

Pearl let out a sigh as a relatively in shape guy with coarse black hair and wearing a brown leather coat came rushing onto the scene.

​¨Alphonse, you should really stay out of this you know, there’s no reason for you and your silly reasonings to butt in right now, just go wait in the car won’t you? We won’t be long!¨ Pearl stated whilst letting a smile creep from one end of her face to the other.

¨NO! As a doctor I have sworn an oath to save lives and the stealing of these poor people’s souls really isn’t a very just thing to do don’t you think!?¨

Pearl rolled her eyes looking back at the woman in the green vest who only responded with an apt shrug towards the situation.

Though many would expect Pearl to listen to reason and logic, this group including Amir thought so too but she instead looked back at Alphonse and raised her hand flipping him off.

¨Ughhhhhhh, damnit Pearl I knew you’d do that you prick!¨ he spoke, his Irish roots coming through in his youthful voice.

Pearl smiled, winking at the woman in the vest behind her, the noises that followed preluded by nothing but a faint chuckle. As the fight broke out between the two parties Alphonse rushed over to the prisoners not knowing who was a guard and who wasn’t but rather not giving a damn and lifting them up telling them to run for their lives as his shouts began to be drowned out by the surrounding battle.

Amir without even thinking twice began to throw himself over attempting to pull the metal clamp from his legs that kept him in place. Beside him the sounds of metal spears clashing with blades caressed the air making his spine shiver. Crap, I gotta get out of here!

Suddenly a hand came reaching over Amir´s tired shoulder, scaring the hell out of him as the one to grab him was revealed to be Alphonse.

¨Hey come on we gotta go man hurry up!” he yelled as he assisted Amir in getting out of his restraints.

As the two began to make a run for the exit an arrow wisped past Amir’s face, the tip barely an inch from cutting his escape quite short. Still running, Amir looked back to see the former prisoner woman preoccupied with two pirates whose animalistic jaws clenched in her direction, slobber and drool hanging close attached to them as their crimson machine eyes stared in excitement for a kill.

Instead of continuing his gaze upon the gruesome battle behind him Amir was pulled behind a large boxy vehicle akin to an up -scaled jeep from millennia past.

¨Here, let me help you get this thing off,” Alphonse spoke, reaching for the contraption attached to Amir’s jaw.

As he fiddled with the mouthpiece his eyes which were veiled over by a large circular and tinted pair of glasses darted around in frantic search for reassurance of his own safety but stopped at a sudden sight. His eyes dropped down to Amir’s lapel.


“You’re one of them, huh.”

​Alphonse’s words were spoken with a sense of indifference that held true in his attitude towards people, yet his eyes still contained a fair amount of fiery spite.

​Amir was fully prepared to lie and frantically shake his head in an act of expected self-preservation and yet he couldn’t muster himself to do so. His eyes sank in a pool of uncertainty that may have even included a droplet of sincere regret. Yet he wore true to the world he was raised in, his soul still burning at the stake of the Crossbill’s fortune.

Alphonse paused for a moment checking on the ongoing battle making sure that it was still going in his party’s favor.


Alphonse’s hands rose back towards Amir’s mouthpiece.

“I am going to free you now. If you don’t attack me I will let you leave quietly, ok?”

Amir’s eyes still exemplified his empty attitude towards the world he was stuck in, both mentally and in his own physicality.

As Alphonse prepared to take the covering off of Amir’s mouth he hesitated, which left a prime opening for the now soaked in crimson Pearl whose eyes seemed to be in a constant psychotic state.

“Well? Are you gonna free the guy or not? He seems interesting, I would like to get to know him!”

Pearl continued walking back towards the group’s vehicle, reaching for a latch that opened up the back of the car revealing a set of gas cans and cargo crates that glistened in the noon sunlight. Alphonse sighed and plucked out a tiny screw that held the back of the contraption intact. The mouth slipped off of Amir’s face like a pair of chains that restrained his expression of thought and idea, sending a thud that emanated from the solid sandy covering of the barely breathing earth far below the constant pounding of restless insanity above.

Unbeknownst to Amir, the woman who was dressed in the green vest was watching as Alphonse freed her captor with not a single punishment or signal of ill will. This seemed to upset the normally steadfast and unemotional woman who stood behind him.

“What do you think you’re doing Alphonse?” she asked as he cleaned off a pair of circular tinted glasses, the question making the hairs stand up on Amir’s neck.

“I am freeing someone who was just being held captive. That is all, no more no less.”

He released those words from his mouth with a thin layer of annoyance and sent her a bothered gaze.

“He is of the Crossbill Alphonse! Why should he be freed knowing the things he has done?”

​Alphonse stood up, raising Amir to his feet along with him.

“I am a doctor, just because I can help people doesn’t give me any right to pick and choose who I help.”

Alphonse looked the woman dead in the eyes as he turned to face her once more,

“I do not discriminate, especially not to those of whom are in need of my assistance, that’s what we’re all about aren’t we?!”

​His voice raised a notch higher than its tone of normality.

“You should be well aware of this by now, Lucia.”

Alphonse’s words were spoken with a strong sense of dignity ringing through the air; his conviction was indeed quite pungent.

​ He then sighed, then turned back towards Amir,

“Well my friend I believe there are matters I must attend to.”

He shot a look of disappointment towards Lucia then continued,

“Do take care of yourself!”

​Alphonse stepped away leaving Amir and Lucia face to face, Amir’s eyes still facing the cold hard ground.

“I don’t know what you’re going to do from here, but do me a favor and do it where I’ll never have to look at your disgusting face again.”

​Amir wasn’t mad. It surprised him seeing as he knew he could be quick to explode but for some reason any emotions he knew he was supposed to feel wouldn’t come, they just wouldn’t release instead trapped in his mind, holding onto him the lack of willingness to let go ever present.

Lucia began to walk away but was stopped dead in her tracks by a sentence uttered from Amir’s mouth,

“I understand… I understand how you feel, thank you for opening my eyes to your world..”

Lucia made no attempt towards looking at Amir, instead she grazed his ears with her response.

“You can’t understand. You never will, I refuse to accept it.”

Her footsteps faded off into the distance as she followed where Alphonse had gone, leaving Amir with the thing that truly upset him more than she ever could. His own mind…

About an hour after the attack on Camp Torn the sun still hung in the sky as it had yet to lose its whispers of light upon the aptly dried out earth. The loud noises of fighting and fire had long since died down. Alphonse and Lucia were preparing for the trip across the district that they were still in, the district still under Crossbill rule even with the lack of care put towards their own.

Amir wandered across the camp, his callings to where Pearl sat having been ignored due to his inability to give any less of a shit towards what they wanted. All of the prisoners either wandered around what was left of the camp or had already begun the trek towards the mountains that sat just outside of the district. Amir was searching. Searching for Hugo. Amir couldn’t recall the entirety of that night yet knew where to find the remains of his friend. His only friend…

The sky’s eternal blue kept a shimmer that passed over the planet’s surface, its shimmer giving the slightest sense of immeasurable eternity that may be sitting over the finite sand that people stood on. Amir contemplated this once before. He remembered it well too, the night he and Hugo watched the stars. It was one of those nights that you just couldn’t forget, not for any extraordinary reason but rather a sense of sentimentality that still wafted its illusive figure before Amir.

​On the first night of the duo’s attribution to the Crossbill prison camp guard duties the two weren’t tasked with anything that the commandant knew they couldn’t handle, instead letting them reside in the burn room. All the two did day in and day out was burn clothes and belongings, there was never a shortage of items to be incinerated but the two gladly filled the hand of the Crossbill, their blind eyes seeing all but the hell they were now dipping their lives into.

​Once the sun exhaled its last tired breath for the day the two left the rest of the night’s work to the night crew. Hugo dropped their clothes which stunk of burnt rubber having been in the burning room so long that they had gained at least seven pounds just from the ash that caked itself into them. The two’s skin covered in a thick layer of gray that felt oh-so-blissful in washing off under the warm waters that sprouted from their shower heads. Once clean, Hugo stepped out of his stall in the showers, wrapping in a gruff dark yellow towel that had seen quite the many uses.

​“Hey Amir?”


​“Do you think that what we do here is really worth it?”

​“Well not particularly but it’s still quite the honor to serve under the king’s rule in his grand ventures!” Amir’s voice quite intentionally including an exaggerated feeling of sarcasm.

“Yeah yeah yeah, I know that but deep down how do you feel about this?”

“Well I mean I don’t really have any stance on it all, it’s just kind of how things are, besides this is what my Mom would have wanted me to do,”

Amir wiped his hair from his face, turning around and raising himself up onto his tiptoes to see over the stall’s top. Hugo was shaving as he asked one more question.

“But what do you want to do Amir? Like you personally, what’s your dream?”

Amir just kind of stood there for a moment staring blankly at the stall wall. Then he turned back around shutting off the hot water. The last of it dripped from him as he dried himself off still in the stall.

“I… I don’t know”

Hugo tapped the end of his razor against the grime stained sink then set it under the cold water to clean it off.

“Well don’t worry I’m sure you will find what you want to do with your life! You have a whole lotta time so, you know…”

“Make the most of it.”

Amir looked down at the ground. It was no longer the comforting warmth of the bathroom tiled floor. No matter how gross it may have been, looking back on it the comfort he found in that stall was much better than the sandy ground he found himself standing upon. The same ground his one and only friend would never step upon with him again.

The darkness of night was sweeping its way across the world. Cleaning up the mess of the day as a new one bared forward to reclaim its hectic yet prophetic place. Amir stood where Hugo could no longer.

Amir’s eyes did not widen as they should have. His heart did not skip any beats. He was convinced. Convinced he could no longer feel, just as what was left of his friend in front of him could not.

While standing there next to the cell house Amir could hear a noise coming from the tent across the field from him. Slowly making his way there he could make out the voice of someone familiar… Commandant!

A wave of relief should have come over Amir but instead only dread came as the voice he heard only came out in cries of anger and pain. Hesitantly, Amir slinked to the side of the tent listening to the conversation going on inside.

“You and your kind! If you had just left the prisoners alone we wouldn’t have had to do it! It’s all your fault! YOU and your damned pirates!”

In response a loud yell sounded out.


​More cries of anguish and utter pain came from the Commandant as a crunching sound came echoing from inside the olive colored silk tent.

“That’s not the answer I would like to hear Commandant! I came here for answers not bullshit!”

​ The voice who spoke to the Commandant was Pearl, her voice sounded extremely irritated, her tone having exceeded anything one would expect from her. Her eyes projected an ager and hatred the Commandant was all too used to seeing from his prisoners of whom wouldn’t be able to look at him in such a way ever again. ​Before another cry came from the Commandant, Pearl’s hand that held a crimson knife was grabbed from behind her.

​“Wait. I’d like to speak with him.”

​Pearl seemed astonished by this statement, especially coming from someone who only intrigued her in the sense of understanding how the world works. His understanding of the benevolence the skies treated the people with. That was something about people that always intrigued her but at this moment in time that curiosity vanished. And so did any amount of patience left in her already fiery soul.

​“And what gives you that right?!”

​ “You’re just as bad as him! Just another Crossbill!”​

​Amir winced at the hateful words yet still understood how she felt. His grip on her hand tightened.

​“Please… Just for a moment.”

​Pearl’s mouth contorted into one of uneasiness, her eyes unflinching. Instead of the expected negative response Amir predicted to happen Pearl sighed and lowered her arm; perhaps some of the curiosity did indeed stay.

​“Fine… But make it quick, and I am NOT leaving.”

​Amir stepped forward; he now faced his superior, one of the few people in the camp’s staff that kept to himself. The shell of a man who kneeled before him now barely resembled someone of the prestigious honor that was being one of the King’s precious Commandants.

​“Sir… Why did things end up like this? Why were we not informed of this attack?! We could have fought back or at least done something! We could have protected the prisoners at least! That was our main purpose as a facility wasn’t it?”

​ The Commandant still knelt on the ground. He did not raise his head to address Amir. He instead hung in silence, the very expression on his face revealing naught but defeat.

​Amir spoke once again.

​“Commandant, what were we supposed to do!? Why didn’t we protect the prisoners! That’s our whole job! I mean they are our workers, we were supposed to protect them weren’t we!?

​ The Commandant who once hung in a silent benevolence now raised his head, the only feeling detectable in his visage being, utter disgust.

​ “Those utter pests deserved the fate they met, I have no regrets. I alone followed the King’s judgment…. His words control all. I did all that I was told.”

​Amir knew what the Commandant meant, yet the words he knew would come he was unwilling to accept.

​“What did you do….”

​A chuckle came through from the Commandant’s cold hard lips, the laugh coming out as more of a cackle than anything remotely close to a laugh. Through his gasps for breath came words that would forever haunt Amir’s night bound mind.

​“Protocol 67… It’s not listed in the info books but ooh, it’s real.”

​Amir’s eyes widened at hearing the rule he and many others thought of as nothing more than a rumor. But the mere sentence that aired from the kneeling man confirmed the worst fears that he could have ever imagined.

​Pearl adjusted her stance looking at Amir with a look of fear and urgency of explanation.

​“What does he mean? What the hell is this guy even talking about?!”

​Amir took a step back, his eyes not moving from the devilish grin that the commandant held across his visage.

​“I said what is it Amir! Would you just tell me already!?”

​Pearl’s expression of disdain and fear was increasingly worsening as Amir’s lips which held quite the lust for water opened, his intake of air passing in waves along with the lingering distress that still hung strong in the wind that began to creep its way into the destroyed camp walls.

“Protocol 67… A security measure rumored to be passed down by the king in the case of pirate or outlaw raids… He stated that the workers’ quarters were to be immediately scorched with flame in the event that the walls were breached…”

​Pearl forced down her natural response to information such as that, it being a sudden gasp that she most likely inherited from her father but she found no difficulty in halting this reaction with the exploding anger that skyrocketed from her very heart straight into her fist, which cracked right across the Commandant whose jaw rocked back as crimson streaked from his cracked lips.

​The Commandant paid no attention to the blow however, for he cared not of anything coming from someone who wasn’t Crossbill, just another insect to him, nothing to talk to or reason with let alone beg for his life from. Just attentive ignorance used as a shield to block any wrongful things he has done or is in dire need of paying for. He croaked out a cough that spoke of most definitely broken teeth,

​“YOu gET iT doN’t yoU AMIr…”

​Amir’s eyes went from their soulless cue of absence in the realm of compassion to a sight of true disgust. He didn’t understand the feeling that washed over him like a cold shiver in a winter breeze. Along with this strong sense came another, one of terror. A truth revealed to his soul as one but of pain and utter disillusionment from the shock that emanated out of his own mindfully poison coated words.


​The commandant’s lips opened, with words simply scorned with hate.

​“THEy dOn’T care about us… None of us AMir, The king never cared, the ROYal guard. N-NONE OF THEM!”

He paused for a moment, a small piece of him falling from his gaping maw,

“WEre just dogs… dogs sent to a kENnel, to never return. YoU wEre never goinG to leave, yOu know that? Never, going to leave.”

Amir’s eyes no longer stood still, and neither did he as he raised his fist to follow in Pearl’s motions, though his punch was never thrown. Pearl stood staring at him, her eyes focused on his expression.

Amir was at a standstill, a standstill with himself. He no longer knew what to do. What was he supposed to do? Luckily, his internal cries for help came with an answer that took form in Pearl having gently lowered Amir’s arm back down to his side. He knew that he hadn’t done anything very difficult and yet sweat came rippling down his already grime slathered derma with a slight trickle, the droplets tearing away from the cells they clung to, falling to the rough ground.

Amir turned to Pearl, tears seemed to urge his eyelids on letting them bare forward but it was ultimately a struggle to no avail. He looked towards her with a look that spoke more than any words could at a time such as this.

​“You can go Amir, no one is keeping you here.”

​Amir in this befuddled state turned away from Pearl, his voice exuding a nervous tone.

​“But I-”

​Amir stopped, let the breath from the gentle breeze that came from the outside calm him as much as he could, then turned back towards Pearl.

​“But I don’t know what to do anymore…”

​“It’s ok Amir, just step out of the tent, it will be ok.”

​Amir whilst being fully aware of the fact he was listening to an utter stranger, yet again it seemed that at this point anything, anything would suit the feelings that began to gently caress his shoulders, feelings that in his head he simply thought should not exist. As Amir stepped forward, the boots beneath his feet felt the weight of the words that had just been spoken, for behind the cold dead eyes Amir captivated others with, maybe something deeper did lie just beyond. Maybe… He did feel something.

​Several hours passed.

​The sign of birds still as unlikely as the very rain that seemed to never come. Alphonse sat on the roof of the group’s vehicle, his legs dangling barely two feet above the ground. He sat staring at something, his glasses perched on the top of his nose, leaving a pinkish red pressure mark that would soon come to irritate him.

​Alphonse was staring towards a small light in the distance, the light out in the now dusk smothered dunes that enveloped the once grassy plains before him. Mountains lurched in the opaque darkness similar to a tall reaching arm, an arm reaching for the blue toned sky, the sky that covered the stars with its soft blanket of night.

​The brim of his glasses reflected the incoming light; while his mind wondered what was exuding such warmth he also knew in the back of his head that it was most likely the former prisoners. Marching, wandering, waiting for something to swoop down and take them to a place far better than the dry mess of jagged rock and grain they walked upon. Yet in his own thought Alphonse was still curious, his mind preferring the idea of the light bringing a hope, a hope in the distance that something in the future would be able to pull all of those stuck in the rut out, though this hope was fleeting, for the light had vanished, but, he still hoped, hoped for the better.

A voice quietly uttered a sentence from his right.

​“I’m sorry about earlier… I-I didn’t mean to yell at you like that.”

​Lucia stood with a small candy bar of some kind in her hand, her arm stretched out towards Alphonse carefully holding the bar by its edge.

​Alphonse looked down towards her face, which seemed to exude no more emotion than the lumbering mountain he was staring at just moments before.

​“It’s alright, I get it. You’ve been through a lot, it only makes sense that you would react like that. Especially with the job you were given.”

​He reached down, taking hold of the candy bar, lifting it towards his glasses to read its name. His eyes ran across the wrapping paper with a swiftness that he had to have practiced many times before.

​“So this is all we got for dinner huh? A Freakin’ Twinkie.”

​Though his voice seemed to be one of disappointment he looked back at Lucia who seemed disappointed and gave her a warm smile that was one of gratitude and thanks for the mere thought that she had apologized. He knew full well that admitting that you are wrong is something that took time to acquire and learn and that it was worth respecting as well as the person’s intentions.

​Lucia smiled back, then opened the jeep’s rusty door. A puff of dust came squeaking out from the vehicle’s hinges as she reached in shifting a blanket around then laid atop it, her foot pulling in the door by its interior handle as she had clearly done many times in the past.

Alphonse sat for a moment, still sitting on the jeep’s roof; he turned his head once more, just one more time. Urged to seek for hope,

He found it.

The light in the distance.

Hope flickered, its shine quiet, yet the world heard it, no matter how faint it may have been…


End of Arc One


(The Fires of War)


Episode One | Episode Two | Episode Three