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Redemption


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Coreign, Northern Vocenae

 

The city of Coreign is nestled in the mountains of Northern Vocenae. Many speculate that it was the ancestral home of the Vocian people in prehistoric times, before the clans moved south to the coastline. Discovered after the industrial revolution and the civil war that followed, the ruins slowly transformed into a modern city, although not on the scale of Celeste, or any of the cities that dot the southern coast.

 

Coreign, being situated in the mountains, is often isolated from the rest of the country during the winter months, due to the heavy snows and blizzards that make traveling the mountain roads impossible for months on end. To this end, many, if not all, native Coreignites are very independant, and very distrusting of the Vocian government.

 

Since the death of the Adjutant, and the delayed peace effort at Tinian, many Coreignites have began protesting against the Vocian government, citing claims that the Adjutant's death was not a domestic dispute, and that the corporations and nobles have too much influence over the Imperial Council. The news of these protests slowly leaked south into the population centers of Vocenae, and small riots occured in the industrial cities of Indrini and Neeta.

 

The situation threatens to spin wildly out of control as more and more Vocians question the legality of the government, and Coreign has threatened with seccesion of the northern territory from the Imperial Republic. In response to this, the Imperial Council has declared martial law on the city, and military forces under General Korrino have moved into the city. This of course, has had negative repercussions across Vocenae...

___________

 

"This would be so much easier if Korrino didn't have this place under lock and key"

 

"Would it be? I doubt wading through a mass of rioters would be much fun"

 

"Well, I guess, but now we're only getting done a third of the work that HQ sent us here for"

 

"Its where the all the leads point to, and maybe its better if the investigation goes slower, it'll attract less attention"

 

"..."

 

"C'mon, lets get out of this place and back to the hotel, its getting dark out"

____________

 

The two Imperial Bureau of Investigation agents were in one of Coreign's poorer neighborhoods, searching through yet another abandoned home for clues as the the wherabouts of the cult that had surfaced in Vocenae months before with the abduction and grusome murders of four college students. One girl had escaped the cultists, but had gone insane during her time in captivity, spurting out nonsense along with tiny clues that helped the IBI find the cultist's trail. But it had gone cold once they hit the city, and for months, agents had been combing every street, searching for anything that might lead them back onto the trail.

 

The last girl that had been abducted was presumed dead, another gory sacrifice and another young life ending in a flurry of violence. But they were still searching for her, because a body meant more evidence, more clues, more peices of the puzzle coming together and leading the IBI to the next bloodstained house.

 

It was all done in secret though, the Vocian public had no idea that a brutal cult was hiding in the shadows, and was responsible for the death and a young woman to be Condemned to a lifetime in an insane asylum.

 

It is the life of an IBI agent to seek justice, no matter the cost. Every agent knows this, and know that they will have to endure the nightmares that lurk under the skin of society, and duel with the darkest sides of human nature.

 

But when one is Condemned, can even justice and truth bring about their Redemption?

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Vocenae Imperial News Network

 

Another riot has broken out in Coreign today, after almost a week of being under martial law. While Military Police and SWAT teams managed to break the riot through use of tear gas, small, organized cells of rioters have been breaking out across the city, especially in the poorer neighborhoods. The riots have had deadly results, with at least one police officer and a unidentified female confirmed dead after the woman reportedly pulled a firearm on the officer.

 

Lt. Saman Ilisu was one of the four Military Police officials that took part in the incident, he had this to say:

 

"It was just one of the routine checkpoints we've established throughout the city, We were just checking to make sure they did not pose a threat to civilians in that area of the city. She must have panicked, because the next thing I heard was Jeralos, the police officer, shout 'weapon!' before the gun went off. Jeralos fell, and she turned on us. We opened fired on her, and then it was over."

 

Ilisu reportedly had no further comments about the situation, and that the woman's identity is being investigated.

 

Soon after, a violent brawl broke out in the downtown area of Coreign, this time, between two civilians. Law enforcement officials were able to break up the fight once they arrived on the scene, and both men are in custody. The fight caused substantial property damage to one of the many businesses in the vicinity, and small scale looting was noted by the officers.

 

Sociology experts in Zathra, when approached by VINN reporters, have either had no comment on escalation of violence, or are completely stumped by it.

 

"There's no set precedent for this. For a city that is used to being on its own, Coreignites have always been entitled to their opinions about the government, most of which are usually negative and/or borderline anarchic, but they've never had any reason to threaten with succession before, much less riot. Martial law was, in my opinion a radical step, but there's no known cause for the rise of violence, much less its random occurences throughout the city".

 

The Imperial Council met earlier this evening with General Korrino to discuss the deteriorating situation. They have not adjourned, and our sources tell us that they are still in session.

 

For VINN, I'm Ressa Valor...

 

...

 

Viewers at home, we have just received news that a fire has broken out in one of the poor neighborhoods of Coreign. Firefighters and enforcement officials have failed to contain the flames, and they are now threatening to spill over into other areas of the city. There's no confirmation as of yet, but our sources believe that at least thirty-five people have been pulled out of the fire are either dead or severely burned, and more people are being pulled out of the flames. There is confirmation that two homes have collapsed, and many more are now considered structurally unsound and may fall at any moment.

 

The cause of the fire is yet unknown, and we are recieving confirmation that two dozen people, including three fire-fighters are dead from smoke inhalation and burn wounds, and another building has collapsed, the fire may be spreading.

 

We'll keep you up to date on the situation, stay tuned to VINN.

 

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???????, Northern Vocenae

 

The girl shivered like the last leaf on a dying tree. The cultist let her hear his footsteps, and she only went stiff for a moment as the knife blade sliced off another inch long portion of her skin. She bit down on the bit the cultists had mercifully given her, and tears streamed from her eyes and she crawled into herself.

 

How long had it been since she was torn from her life? Down here it was impossible to tell the passage of time. Weeks? Months? Maybe even years? She couldn't tell. Her former life, all that she remembered of it, were bits and pieces. A birthday here, a random event there, all that stuck with her was her name. And now her world was dominated by a living nightmare.

 

Skinny, steely fingers at her wrist, and she heard the key being slid into the manacle locks. It was over, they had taken what they needed from her, and now it was back to the tomb of darkness that she had come to call 'home'.

 

The cultists covered the wound, like they always did, and then wrapped a blindfold around her eyes. She had figured out that it was to keep her from planning any sort of escape. And then they were off, firmly guiding her back to her cell, where they pulled the blindfold off, and shoved her into the yawning blackness. She fell, like she always did, hitting the stone floor hard enough that she was sure it left bruises. And then the creaking of hinges, the squeal of metal on metal, and then a loud 'thump', and the door settled into place.

 

And then she was alone. In the dark. With nothing to do but wait till they slid her enough food to keep her alive, and then the painful sessions where they carved into her with the knife.

 

It was so quiet in this place. Not just her cell, but wherever she was at. The cultists hardly spoke in her presence, if at all. She was trapped in the endless silent darkness. Huddled against herself to keep warm in the room, trying her best to keep the chill and the dampness off of her naked body. She wondered where the other girl was, if she had survived her escape, and if she was back leading her own life. Or if she had died.

 

She had seen the cultists that captured her take the teenager apart near Elysium. She still had nightmares about it, about how her dead eyes stared at her from the flagpole. She had nightmares about the things that the cultists had kept talking about, and she had nightmares about herself.

 

Those were always the worse. Sometimes she'd dream of being rescued, of the cell door grinding open and light flooding the room, only to find her, emmaciated, pale, and backed into a corner, growling like a beast. Sometimes she dreamed that this was all just a test, and that one day she would be pulled from the cell, and turn into a cultist herself. But the worst ones were of her old life, where she would 'wake up', wander downstairs, only to have corpses staring at her with eyeless sockets, and she'd see a mirror, showing that she was just another corpse, and she'd join the others on a large festering pile, lifeless, but realizing it. Even worse, accepting it, and accepting that she was just another tool to the cultists.

 

She cried herself to sleep, escaping one nightmare, for others.

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Celeste, Southern Vocenae

 

It was raining again.

 

But he didn't mind. Rain was good, it helped him focus. It helped him take his mind off of the pain as his blood seeped into the the tiny shot glass. Sure he was acustomed to the routine, but that didn't keep it from hurting.

 

He drifted off as he watched the rain stream down the condo's large windows, the steady steam of liquid making the city outside seem like a blurry watercolor painting. It all seemed so insignificant from way up here, the bustling streets, the endless stream of activity that gave the great city its life.

 

The way it stood against the old ways.

 

The cultist snapped back to reality, the thought shaking him out of the reverie and back to business. He quickly bandaged the wound and stood, and was assaulted by dizziness caused by both blood loss and the sudden rise. Colors swirled, the world disintigrated, and his joints fought to keep him upright. The world whited out, his vision failing and his hearing replaced by a deafening ring that tore through his skull.

 

He fell to his knees, and from an outsider's viewpoint it would seem like he was praying. After a few moments he recovered, the world slowly pieced itself together and his hearing returned, along with the thumping of his pulse. His head hammered, and he knew he would have a headache for the rest of the night.

 

He stood again, this time moving slowly, and used the countertop as support. He looked at the small blood filled glass next to the small pocket knife, it was still full, and the incident had not ruined anything. He could still procede with the ritual.

 

From the bedroom he heard his ladyfriend rising, and he almost panicked. She could have walked in on him! The whole organization could have been blown wide open just because he forgot he had 'entertained' the night before! Now wasn't the time for it though, he had to hide the glass, and make it look like he had cut himself on accident. She was one of those women that attracted media attention from everything she did, everywhere she went, and every person she slept with.

 

He'd been lucky so far, and he just hope that his luck held until the evening, when he could finish the ritual.

 

He could tell it was going to be one of those days...

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