Chapter 5

Chapter 5

A Chapter by Rocki-san

The train ride to Headquarters not only was long and tedious, but hot and stuffy. One would think that without the sun beating down on us the autumn season would be cool, but the clouds only created more of a greenhouse affect.

We had our own car, General Bennett seemed to frown upon us sitting anywhere else. “CCOR soldiers sit in their own car and blah, blah, blah” or something like that. I’d always loved trains, as a kid I’d always wanted to be an engineer and would watch the trains as they stopped in the station but after all these long trips I was soon growing to hate them. Pity.

“I’m so bored,” Logan sighed and turned to watch Keno fill out some reports.

“Go get something to eat then,” Keno said without looking up.

“Just a few fireworks?” Logan asked. “I’ll go to the top of the train and aim it in the least harmful direction.”

“You wouldn’t know what least harmful meant if it came up and bit you on the nose.” Keno said. “Nothing flammable and potentially dangerous.”

“Fine, I’ll go get something to eat!” Logan grumbled and stood up, leaving the car. I sighed and sat back in the hard seat.

“Are we there yet?” I whined.

“No,” Keno sighed as he signed a document. It was the tenth time I’d asked. I sighed again.

“How much longer?” I asked.

“Not much,” he said. In Keno-speak that could be hours. I grumbled and sank deeper into the seat. Suddenly there was a loud thump on top of our car. It was loud enough that it broke Keno’s rock-hard concentration. He looked up and opened the window to peer outside. “Something hit the train.”

“I’ll go check it out!” I jumped up immediately; my butt couldn’t take much more of the numbing effect.

“Be careful,” Keno said and sat back down to resume his work. “It might be a demon raid of some kind. Got your transmitter?”

I didn’t reply but showed him the device. He nodded and I left the cart, closing the door behind me. I stood listening, wondering where our train-hopper was hiding. The sounds of footsteps were quiet. If I hadn’t been listening for them, I probably wouldn’t have heard it. It was moving towards the back of the train, so, I followed.

I made sure to hide all traces of my status from the passengers in the rear cars. The last thing anyone needed was a train-full of concerned passengers. If they saw me, they’d assume something was wrong, that there was some kind of demon or monster on the train. Panic would set in and that was something one could always do without.

If there was a demon or monster, I would handle it quickly and discretely. Maybe it was a good thing Logan had left to get some food. He’d come through here guns, or any other deadly weapon, ablaze. I stopped to listen again, ignoring the inquiring looks I moved to the storage car. I closed the door behind me quietly.

The car was dark and humid; there were stacks upon stacks of crates and luggage that were tied down. It was like a maze which I maneuvered with care, peering around corners cautiously but there was nothing there.

I sighed and looked up to where the drop hatch was. So they were still on the top, alright then, so be it. I was just about to climb up to the hatch when it opened suddenly. A bright burst of light shone down into the car, as I was shielding my eyes something dropped down and landed on me.

I dropped to the ground and a stack of boxes fell on top of the intruder and me. I kicked the stranger off and retrieved my gun that had fallen. I turned quickly, kneeling since there was lack of time to stand. The muzzle of my gun met the sharp point of an arrow. Neither of our aims wavered, our eyes glaring past our weapons, his cerulean to my violet. The light from the drop hatch was just enough for the two of us to see each other. I didn’t know what he thought of me but I was amazed at what I saw.

He was a kid, if not my exact age then close to it, possibly older only by a year. He was taller than I was if only by an inch and his hair was a light shade of beige that didn’t seem to fit with the caramel of his skin.  Sa’harielan. I’d never really seen one before, they weren’t very well liked in Caeld or Itaraea. They were the enemy and they felt the same towards us. An immigrant was very, very rare.

“I am not here to hurt anyone,” he said in a thick accent.

“Then why do you have the crossbow?” I asked. I’d charged my gun but there wasn’t so much as a spark on his weapon.

“Onmoraki,” he replied. “Why do you have a gun?”

I handed him my transmitter with a badge inside. He stared at it, reading it in the dim light before lowering his weapon. There was an impressed look on his face as he put away the crossbow, letting it hang off his shoulder.

“Onmoraki,” I said and looked up to see large black wings pass over the drop hatch. They were large, bird-like monsters that were said to have been made out of corpses but that wasn’t true, they only looked that way and smelled like a graveyard because that’s where they got their meals. “And why are they following you?”

“I shot one,” he said as he closed the hatch.

“Okay, and why’d you shoot one?” He jumped down from the crates and moved over to the door.

“Because it was fun,” he said as if the answer were that obvious.

“Wait,” I said as he started opening the door. “You can’t just walk in there! People will take one look at you and that crossbow and we’ll never calm them down!”

“Any suggestions?” He said.


“Logan?” God, I sounded like a five-year-old who’d just broken a vase. He and Keno both looked up at me. “Can I borrow your winter jacket for a moment?”

“Why?” Logan asked suspiciously. Keno watched me, reading my every move. I hated it when he did that, he might as well have been a mind reader from birth.

“No reason,” I said. He shrugged and threw it at me after retrieving it. “Thanks.”

“Ozzie,” Keno said and I turned to look at him. “What hit the train?”

Damn, there was no way I was getting out of there in one emotional piece. Keno’s interrogations were the worse. The good cop was either non-existent or just a ploy that gave you false hope. It only made the bad-cop that much worse.

“We may or may not have a problem,” I said and he sighed and got up to follow me.

“A Sa’harielan,” Keno said with surprise when we went into the storage car. The drop hatch was still closed and the kid was sitting on a stack of crates, looking bored.

“That’s new,” Logan said with the same surprise.

“That is your plan? Get more CCOR?” The kid sighed and slid off the crates, trying to mask his accent as best he could, it wasn't working. “That is weak, man, weak.”

“What, you thought that he wouldn’t arrest you?” Logan asked, pointing at me.

“I thought that since I was older than him he’d be more obliged.” The Sa’harielan shrugged as I narrowed my eyes.

“Do you have any papers?” Keno asked with authority.

“Does it look like I have papers?” He wore a red and orange vest that was open over his bare chest except for where it was tied by a red string and a long pair of loose beige pants that allowed easy movement and bare feet. No pockets, no bag, nothing but the clothes and weapons on his back. In his hair was a headband with the same orange as his vest. On his arm there was a simple tattoo, possibly a symbol of his tribe.  “I had to drop everything before jumping on the train.”

“Name, tribe and business?” Keno sighed with annoyance.

“Kotori Kavanagh of the Eythil tribe, at your service,” he bowed.

“Business?” Keno pressed after receiving no answer.

“It is none of yours,” Kotori retorted. Keno looked down at me, apparently this was my responsibility. “I don't see why this cannot wait; I thought you were going to help me with the Onmoraki.”

Keno was about to ask but his thought process was interrupted as talons ten inches long buried into the top of the cart. There were screams from the next car.

“Well, so much for keeping the peace,” I muttered and looked up. Kotori pulled out his crossbow and aimed up. There was a horrifying screech from the bird as the arrow hit. Kotori laughed triumphantly.

“We’ll secure them from back here,” Keno said. “Ozzie, you and Kavanagh go to the front.”

“Finally,” Kotori muttered and started walking towards the front of the train, ignoring all the passengers and the wave of panic once they saw a Sa’harielan with a weapon. Keno caught my arm.

“Keep an eye on him,” he warned and I nodded. Keno, so untrusting of everything that moved.

“Yeah, yeah,” I said and ran after Kotori who was waiting by the other door. I stopped to pick up a small doll that had fallen to the ground and handed it over to a small girl, hiding in her mother’s arms. “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of the big, bad birds and get you all home safely, okay?”

She took the doll from me and nodded before hiding again. I looked up at the impatient Kotori and then followed him. I had people trying to stop me to question what was happening, I hadn’t hidden my transmitter so the crowd was flocking for protection.

The next car had no passengers and we could see the foreboding wings of the Onmoraki outside the windows. We weren’t even close to the front of the train.

“You know, where I come from, kid,” Kotori said as we ran. “When you work with someone and have to tell them your name, they tell you theirs too.”

“Oskar Noir,” I said and he stopped suddenly. I stopped and looked back at him. His cerulean eyes had grown dark as he looked at me. He was still armed and loaded with his crossbow, his finger slightly tightening on the trigger. “What?”

“You are Oskar Noir?” He asked.

“Yeah,” I said.

“And those were your brothers, Logan and Keno Noir?” He asked, his eyes narrowing a fraction.

“Yeah, why?” I asked but before I could get an answer the car was hit. The whole train moved to the side, almost being knocked completely off the tracks. Whatever concerns Kotori had had, they didn’t seem to bother him anymore by the grin on his face.

“I’ll get on top and shoot some of them down,” he said and began climbing through the window.

“What?” I caught his arm and he looked at me hand with almost a fearful disgust.

“Don’t worry, I do it all the time,” he said before reaching to top. I cursed under my breath, knowing I was going to have to go after him, it was a lose-lose situation for me. If I didn’t go, Keno would yell at me. If I did go, Keno would still yell at me for losing him.

Either way I couldn’t let the monsters hurt any of the passengers on this train. I grabbed a few more weapons that Logan kept in the rucksack, a small bow and a few arrows and another gun. I took a deep breath before starting out the window.

I was almost immediately blown off, at this speed it was hard to stay on two feet but Kotori seemed to be doing okay. I stood there catching my balance before standing slowly.

“You are going to want to get up wind of them,” Kotori shouted. “Otherwise your fire will be shot back at you.”

I turned just in time to shoot an Onmoraki with my arrow and the wind really helped in terms of velocity and power. There were only four Onmoraki, including the one I just shot down and who knew how many Kotori, Keno and Logan had shot down. I took aim and shot another one in the wing but apparently that wasn’t good enough, who knew?

It walked towards me with long talons aimed at me. I pulled out my short sword and slashed the bird’s leg. It shrieked and retaliated, aiming at my throat. Fortunately I was able to dodge so only my shoulder was gouged. I ignored the sting and warm feeling of blood running down my arm and stabbed through the foul, rotted black feathers and quickly ducked as it rolled off the top, screaming in pain.

“Not too shabby,” Kotori said as he felled another. Just one left and it was trying to skewer Kotori, ignoring me completely. 

It’s sharp beak that looked to have once been gold but was covered in so much blood and rotting flesh that it was now black tripped the Sa’harielan.

Kotori lost his balance and flew past me; I caught him just before he fell off the edge of the train and pulled him back up. He said nothing as he regained his balance and went back to fighting with a smile on his face. Near-death experience, no biggie it’s all fun and games, right? Right?

Yeah, right.

I didn’t even have time to shoot as Kotori pulled out a katana and slashed at the Onmoraki. He ripped out an arrow that had been embedded in the decaying wing and used the bloody arrow point to stab the beast in its glassy, black eyes. There was a horrifying screech from the bird and it was distracted long enough for Kotori to use his katana to hack off its head.

I jumped to the side as the body rolled off the top of the train, leaving a streak of red-brown blood in its wake. That was the last of them on our end. I looked down to the end of the train just in time to see one last Onmoraki fall. I could only see the golden hair on the other end and a finger pointing down.

Yeah, I knew he wouldn’t go for the train-walking thing.

I went down the ladder and through the door this time, maybe that would ease Keno’s mind. Kotori, however, used the same window as if it were nothing.

“For before,” Kotori said and held out his hand. “Thanks.”

“No problem,” I said and shook the hand. Again, I caught the glimpse of a cautiously revolted look.

“On the roof, really?” Keno asked as he came through from the other cars.

“I was careful,” I defended without much effort; it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway.

“Now, Mr. Kavanagh,” Keno turned to Kotori. “Your business in Itaraea? It’s only a question and it’s my job to ask it.”

“A right of passage to become one of the monks,” Kotori answered. “My elders sent me here and said I would know my task when the time came. So I am sorry, but I cannot answer that question.”

“Probably sent to spy on us and find an opening,” Logan muttered. “We don’t want another war, thank you!”

“I’m sorry, are you Itaraean or Caeldian?” Kotori asked. We were finally pulling into the station at Headquarters. I could see a look of concern pass over Kotori’s face as he glanced at the open window, judging his escape route. I looked up at Keno with a pleading look, he sighed and turned away from the window.

“Our supervising officer’s men should be at the station to pick us up,” Keno said. “I expect you’ll be gone by then?”

“Of course I will be,” Kotori grinned. “Does a mouse know the owl is coming until its talons sink into the mouse’s skin?”

And with that the strange Sa’harielan began his escape as he climbed out the window to the top of the train. We stared at the window long after Kotori Kavanagh disappeared.

“What,” Logan started. “Was that all about?”

“That had better not come back to haunt us,” Keno sighed and went to check on the passengers. But not without turning and giving me a fair warning first. “No more train-walking.”

“Gotcha!” I said with a mock salute.

“We shouldn’t have let him go,” Logan muttered.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Ozzie, I know you try to see the good in everyone, and really, it’s admirable,” Logan said. “But you don’t know anything about Sa’harielans.”

“Like what?” I asked and sat across from him.

“Well, for one,” he leaned back in the seat. “They’re born fighters. They live for the fight, doesn’t matter which one. They start fights and will stop at nothing to defeat their opponents. Everything is disposable to them as long as they win, that means people too. They enjoy war; they’ve started everyone we’ve had just for the sake of fighting. Did you watch that kid fight? You’re lucky he didn’t throw you at the Onmoraki to distract them! They can be cold blooded killers, Ozzie.”

“You shouldn’t generalize, Logan,” I said. “Never know when you’re going to be wrong.”

“Just hope we don’t see him again,” Logan said. “And hope we don’t go to war with Sa’hariel because of him.”

“Right,” I said and looked out the window to see a few enlisted men waiting for us outside.

“Good afternoon, Mr. Noir,” the first man saluted when he saw Keno, knowing he was in charge. “Did you have a nice trip?”

“Nice isn’t the word I would’ve used,” Keno sighed. “Can you bring us straight to the General’s office?”

“Yes, sir,” they both saluted.

I sat in the back of the military car, looking out the window at the train as the maintenance did damage control. In the midst of the crowd I could see caramel skin and beige hair, bright cerulean eyes watched me for the split second I was in view before they disappeared into the crowd.

Like Keno had said, I hope that doesn’t come back to haunt us.

© 2010 Rocki-san

Author's Note

Wow, I am on a role!
So, a little action to drag you out of the boring stuff (I told you it would pick up). Unfortunately the next chapter may be a drag... sorry!

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Added on April 5, 2010
Last Updated on June 16, 2010
Tags: ANWA saga, sci-fi, supernatural and occult



Hey, I'm Rocki! I live on a 14-mile long island where there isn't really anything to do so I write. I'm an Anthropology major and willing to read your stories or books if requested as long as you give.. more..