Hunters

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This is the exciting conclusion to my story Escape. It tells how Jeanie, my character from Dystopia Rising, got free of the slavers and made her way back towards the town. Part of me wishes it wasn’t entirely from her perspective because I love how much is going on in this. But it’s all from her point of view, so a lot of what is happening in this scene are things I couldn’t actually write about because she would not notice them at all. Ah, but oh well. It is what it is. I hope you enjoy it.

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Jeanie jerked awake when she heard someone scream.

The Iron sat up from where she had lay on the ground, and looked around, trying to get an idea of what was going on. She glanced over toward the campfire. No one sat near it. One of the drivers was climbing out of a tent, a baseball bat in his hand and he glanced towards the woods around them. Another was climbing down out of a wagon, two pistols in his hands. A third was standing and facing the forest around them, using the site on his rifle to search for… something…

Jeanie glanced down at the other end of the wagon she was chained to. There was a bench there that someone would usually sit on, making sure to guard her. When they first nabbed her, three weeks ago, she’d heard them mention how they didn’t trust her to behave with the phrase “no masters” tattooed to her wrist.

Right now, the seat was empty.

Jeanie carefully and quietly lay back down upon the ground, curled to face the wagon wheel, like she had done every night so far. She pulled the black wool coat up over her and over the chains bound to her wrist.

“Damn fuckin’ hunters,” a gruff voice called out.

Jeanie slowly and carefully slipped her screw driver out of the tool belt on her hip. She took extra care to make sure the wool coat didn’t move too much.

“Again?” This time the voice was smoother. “What happened this time?”

“Jordan, he went ta piss.”

“He back yet?”

“Nah. Pretty sure that scream was him. We ain’t got ‘nough left to go and see ifin’ he’s alright.”

“Fuck. That’s six guys that fuckin’ hunter’s been getting.”

Jeanie carefully slid her thumb along the cold metal locked to her wrists. She had studied them carefully over the past three weeks. Each was made of two separate scrap pieces. On one side, they were screwed together, both to hold the pieces together and to create a hinge for when they opened and closed. The other was where they were locked to the chain links. Pretty standard and simple creation. She slid her thumb along until she found the screw for the hinge.

“You really think it’s the same hunter?” a third voice asked.

“Hell if I know.” The second voice answered. “But, I’ve heard of hunters following their prey for fucking weeks. Wouldn’t surprise me. Boss ain’t gonna like it though.”

Jeanie slipped the screwdriver into the notch on the screw and carefully began twisting the screw loose.

“Well, it could be a horde,” the third voice mentioned again.

“It ain’t a fuckin’ horde, dumb ass,” the first voice called back. “We’d a heard it by now, all that fuckin’ moanin’ an’ shit. We ain’t heard shit, ya know w’um sayin?”

“What if it’s something else?” the third voice asked again.

“Carl, that’s the stupidest fuckin’ shit you ever said. You seen what we seen. When we find anythin’ it’s the bloody mess of whatever is left. Missing flesh and claw marks everywhere. Ain’t a pretty picture. An bein’ on the road an all, we ain’t findin’ nuthin til we get back an find out what morgues they come out of, ifin they come back at all.”

Jeanie took a deep breath and placed the screw on the ground. She carefully began to search for the screw near her other wrist. Time to unscrew this side.

“Will you two shut the fuck up and pay attention? That hunter’s probably sneakin’ up on us again and you two keep blabbin’ away, giving away our position”

“But Taxi, don’t hunters use smell to find stuff?” Carl asked.

“You ain’t never hear of a blind hunter? Dumb ass?” the first voice yelled at him.

“Blind hunter?” Carl must have been new to the whole caravan travelling thing.

“Alabama, shut up.” The smooth second voice said. He must be Taxi, the guy Carl asked in the first place. “Carl, blind hunters can’t see. They hunt by sound.”

“Oh,” Carl whispered.

“Yeah, an they all can hear us fuckers yammerin an yammerin,” Alabama started up again.

“Alabama Dallas! You shut the fuck up or boss ain’t ever hiring your ass again.”

“Alright Taxi. I’ll shut it.”

Damn, they were going quiet and paying attention again. Jeanie carefully placed the other screw to the ground. This was the part where she needed them to be loud. She was going to try and slide her hands out, using the fact that the hinge was now open to try and provide more room for sliding her hands out. Only problem was, the chain links might rattle. Crap.

The whole campsite was quiet. The three remaining members of the caravan looking around, trying to carefully see the hunter in the forest. You could hear the crackling of the campfire. You could actually hear the campfire really well. Almost as if it had gotten bigger.

“Fuck! Shit! Fuck!” Alabama shouted out. “The tent, the fuckin’ tent!”

“Damn it!” Taxi shouted.

Jeanie smiled. Whatever happened, they were focused on it and loud again. With a grimace and tightly squeezed eyes, she slowly and painfully, forced her wrist through the iron manacle. A few deep breaths and she’d slip the other wrist through.

“How on earth?” Carl commented.

“That’s my fuckin’ tent!” Taxi yelled.

“Wha’da we do?” Alabama asked. “I ain’t good with fire an shit.”

“Get water ya twit!” Taxi yelled. “You too, Carl. Get off your ass, move!”

Jeanie wrenched her hand free of the other manacle and grimaced. Her wrists were raw from the cold metal that had been wrapped around them for three weeks. They were purple and bruised and in desperate need of being healed. Wrenching her hands free scratched up the skin on her hands, nothing bad. She’d dealt with worse at the forge. No real damage, but it still did hurt. She took a deep breath and paused to listen as she slid the screw driver back into it’s place on her tool belt.

“With what? We ain’t got no fuckin’ buckets or shit!” Alabama shouted.

“What do I do?” Carl yelled. He sounded panicked.

“Figure it out. Awe, fuckin’ hell!” Taxi groaned.

Jeanie smiled. They were still focused and yelling loudly. Their attention was on the fire, not the Iron Slave they had captured. She carefully gripped the coat so that she wouldn’t lose it and began to crawl under the caravan wagon. Slowly and carefully.

Her face paled as she inched under the wagon. She paused and took a deep breath. She swallowed and muttered under her breath “Done this before. I can do it again.” She took another deep breath and then continued to inch her way under the wagon. Slowly and carefully.

After a few, disgustingly long moments, she could feel the breeze flow over her back. She had made it to the other side of the wagon. She took a deep breath and stood, brushing herself off. She slipped her hands into the sleeves of the long black coat.

Now for the difficult part.

Jeanie took a deep breath and ran. She didn’t look back at the slavers and their burning tent. She didn’t look back to see if any of them were following her. She didn’t even think to go back for her things. She just ran and hoped she’d avoid the hunter, especially since she had no weapons and couldn’t see zed that hide in the dark. She jumped up over the fallen log on the ground. She ducked her head under the low hanging branch. She swerved to avoid the rock in her path. And she ran. She ran til she was out of breath and she kept running. She ran until she couldn’t see or hear the slaver caravan anymore. And she still kept running. She ran til she could run no more. And then, she walked. She wouldn’t stop. Not tonight. Not til it was day and she could find a place to sleep where no one would see her glow when the sun went down.

Soon, she’d be back home. Soon, she’d see her Sliphox again.

But for now, she would keep running.

Escape

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Short Dystopia Rising piece. I’m transferring my Jeanie from one chapter to another and because of it, I’m losing all of my item cards. I wanted something that could help explain what that looks like for Jeanie.

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The plan had been to go down to Hayven. She was going to talk with Jarek and Nevada and Miss Cleaveland about some things for the Grove. They would be able to help her get started on some ideas she had. Plus, she had made a rover deal with Jarek to build him a Pulse Injector Unit. She wanted to update him on the progress of that. She also could have spent some time talking with Sparrow and gotten her research notes out of the Darwin book. Plus, there were the Dockworkers and Charles and Jimmy. She would spend time with them. Then, it was back home to the Grove. Everything would be settled and she’d move to her new home in the Mass, with Sliphox and the Summerwind and the Dockworkers.

That was what the plan had been. It’s not what actually happened.

She had left the Grove and tried making her way back down to Hayven. She tried making her own small hidey hole, like all the ones that Sliphox made to keep himself and Jeanie safe when either of them traveled. Only since they weren’t the good hidey holes that he set up, she tried to make sure they were set up so she could sleep in the day and travel at night. She couldn’t hide at night anyway, so better be awake and alert the whole time.

Only, she wasn’t feeling good. Radiation sickness. Don’t misunderstand, she wasn’t complaining about her body’s reaction to the holy green glow. That didn’t mean it was fun. She was tired. She may have overslept.

They had surrounded her by the time she woke up. Her glow made it rather obvious that she was an Iron Slave.

It’s rather harsh to wake up with blades pointed at your throat.

Part of Jeanie wished she had figured things out. Sliphox, Charles, Natasha and her were all trying to find ways to make sure she stayed free. Working on papers and things like that. When her original papers had been pointed out as forged by Al, everyone had gotten worried. There were lots of ideas. New freedom papers. Forged slave papers. There was even some talk about a new number brand, though most everyone immediately shot that down knowing just what it would do to the Iron. There had been a lot of talk. Beckett even helped her come up with an idea and it was great.

For when she was in the Grove.

Which she wasn’t.

And, just like Al, they didn’t believe the papers she did have. Claimed them as forged. Took them away. Bound her and carried her off to their caravan. Took most everything she had. Iron Slaves don’t need any of that shit. That’s what they said as they took every cred and chuck of scrap she owned.

She had nothing. Well, she had her tools and clothes. They let her keep her tools. Granted, her tools were super basic, nothing really special. And they “obtained” the information about how she needed them. She was an engineering unit after all. It wasn’t hard for them to get her designation number either. They already believed the papers a forgery.

Next time, remember the damn number written on the papers.

Turns out, they weren’t just a caravan of travelers. Definitely a merchant caravan. Merchants don’t think twice about carrying chains for slaves if they need to.

Jeanie sighed and looked down at the iron wrapped around each wrist. Her glow could be seen around the edges of the metal. So could the purple starting to form where the metal was rubbing her skin raw.

She’d almost forgotten what chains felt like.

She glanced down at her left palm. A white scar stretched from from the wrist towards the index finger, courtesy of the sword that Sliphox used. It was his promise, again, to never leave her. He made the vow after getting his head fixed. It let her finally try to fix the promise she had first made him after… that town… The scar was red with irritation and ached. The Iron closed her eyes and squeezed her fingers into a tight fist, the nails digging into the scar, trying to cause her even more pain.

The hope was that, maybe, if she was lucky, she could irritate it enough that Sliphox would feel it in his own hand, in his own scar. The hope was that maybe, he might know just how much she needed him right now.

“25,” a harsh voice broke through her thoughts. She opened her eyes and lowered their gaze to the feet of the individual standing in front of her. She wanted to get away, but she couldn’t do that if they found any other reason to be angry with her.

“Yes?” she asked quietly.

“Eat.”

Jeanie quickly dared to glance up. A scrap metal plate was held out in front of her. Chains clinked as she lifted her hands to take the plate and then dropped her eyes back to the ground. “Thank you.”

They walked away. Left her alone again. She ate the bread and scraps of meat. They were at least kind enough to make sure she got food, though it wasn’t a lot. Ma Summerwind made sure she got more food than this. But Ma was a rover and took care of Jeanie ever since her relationship with Sliphox had started. So, that wasn’t a surprise.

Jeanie sighed and ate.

The chains clanked with each movement she made.

Then, Jeanie stopped and looked down at the chains. She twisted her hands around, inspecting the way they locked onto her wrists. She looked at how they were made (tinker’s workbench, obviously). All of the little details.

She smiled.

The Iron went back to eating, but the smile stayed.

She knew how to get out of them.

Now, all it would take, is the right moment, and then, she’d escape and get away and back to the Grove and back to the Summerwind Caravan and the Dockworkers Union.

All she had to do now, was wait.

Journal Entry

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I saw an interesting writing challenge today. I enjoyed it so I wanted to share it with you. Though, it is very short (mine is, anyway). It was, write a journal entry as your character. Specifically, a typical day. My character is Jeanie from Dystopia Rising. She doesn’t normally keep a journal. So I wrote it as if it was her first ever journal entry. Here you go guys. Note – The bad writing skills in it are actually the character’s writing skills.

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I was told that I should write everyday in this book here. I asked why but no one could really explain it other than its like a letter but to me and in a book instead of given to a post man. Then I said it sounded like a waste of rare paper that could be better used to send letters or take research notes but they didnt know how to answer it. I think this is a rather stupid idea especially cause no one could really tell me why I should do this. They just say its good for you. People are confusing. Do you think Sliphox knows what this is and how to do this? I will find him and ask him. He knows a lot of people things that I dont know.

Relationships

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I’ve seen a lot of people discussing it, so I’m gonna give my take on it.

In character relationships? Should you? Shouldn’t you? And if you should, how?

Firstly, if you don’t want that kind of roleplay, then don’t do it. Seriously. Go with what you want.

Now that we have that out of the way.

If you decide you want an in character relationship, there are a lot of things that you really do need to consider and discuss.

1 – Boundaries – Seriously, this is important. You need to discuss the boudaries of the relationship. You need to discuss with the other roleplayer and find out what is okay and not okay. You need to find out what you’re willing to play and how you’re willing to play them. But you also need to discuss this with your significant other. You need to see what they are comfortable with you doing and not doing (and why).

It is no secret that my character at Dystopia Rising (Jeanie) is dating someone (Caleb/Sliphox). My boyfriend and I have discussed this. He has been very uncomfortable with some of the players that Jeanie has had relationships with (even familial ones). This particular relationship he is okay with. Partly because the other player is gay (and therefore not interested in me actually) and partly because he understands the friendship that the other player and I have. That said, the other player and I have some very specific boundaries for our characters. If our characters kiss, we kiss the forehead. Nothing else cause we’re not comfortable with anything else. We have decided the lines and how they’re drawn and we follow them. We also check in with each other from time to time. I check in with both the other player and my boyfriend and I’m constantly making sure that everyone is constantly on the same page.

2 – Everyday life – This one is something many people don’t ever talk about but I think is rather important. What are the every day lives of the characters involved? How do they sleep? How do they live? What is normal for them? It’s a great thing to think about. And it allows for some wonderful little rp moments if a character is acting abnormally.

Ex – Sliphox was spending time wandering on his own every day. But the player clarified with me that he was always returning around sundown. So then at game when the character disappeared and then didn’t return til the next day, Jeanie knew to be worried and she knew to question him about it because it meant something wasn’t right.

3 – Sex – If they’re sleeping together, what’s it like? Now you don’t need to go into so many details that you can vividly picture the scene. But, at least have an idea of what is going on. It allows you to have little moments and quips with each other at game.

Ex – Sliphox goes back and forth between overly gentle (as in, holy crap, this is the woman I love, let me admire) and overly feral (clawing and biting). Jeanie is eager and has no idea what she’s doing so she follows his lead (and then bruises the crap out of him due to her being far stronger than he is). We sat and discussed this. Then again, the morning after they slept together, we also did makeup on each other. We covered me in scratch marks and hickies and we put hickies and two hand print bruises on him. (I love doing special effects makeup). But doing this allowed us to present the situation that we wanted to present and allowed the rest of the town to both tease us and tell us “FINALLY!” when they realized what the injuries meant.

So yeah, those are a few things to consider when deciding to roleplay a romantic relationship. Now, for those of you who want them? Go, get your cute romance on!