Paradigm Shift

Een RPG die zich centreert rond het leven in een stad waar alles kan gebeuren.

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A Dark Age

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1 A Dark Age op wo jul 01, 2015 8:24 pm


Chapter 1

With his reputation, Chase would have been better off keeping his head down, but then again, a reputation like his was not achieved by laying low, so naturally whenever there was trouble, there was Chase.
And trouble there was. Around one of the streetlights, shattered glass shimmered on the sidewalk. Two shops had their windows completely smashed in. Three boys ran in, taking whatever they could get their hands on.
Chase stood outside, grinning and keeping an eye out. Adrenaline made him feel invincible.
Sirens emerged in the distance.
“Cops coming!” Chase shouted, and the three others immediately came back, backpacks filled with things that definitely did not belong to them. Chase chuckled.
“Greedy bastards, come on!”
Just as the first police car came into sight, they started running as if their lives depended on it, into the maze of small, narrow alleyways that was the outskirts of town. Car doors slammed. Footsteps of multiple people. Chase knew that getting caught now would get him into more trouble than he’d ever been before, but somehow it just added to the excitement. The risk, the danger, it felt too good.
A cop was closing in and Chase sped up. His green eyes were ablaze with excitement. It was a good thing he worked out, otherwise he’d been caught already. A shout. One of the others had been caught. Chase kept running. Once the cops came, they were all on their own.
He knew what he was doing. This part of town bordered on a rather thick forest, and Chase had good hopes that that could be where he would leave these bastards behind.
“Stop right there!” the man behind him shouted. Was he mental? Did he really think Chase was going to let himself get arrested?
He jumped a relatively low wooden fence, ran through what was left of someone’s garden and jumped another fence.
In these parts of town, most streetlights were broken in some way, so Chase could hardly see the ground below his feet. It didn’t matter, he’d be fine.
He went right, into a street that led to a narrow sand path, into the forest. He had no idea if the cop was still following him; footsteps were muffled by the sandy forest floor, but he wasn’t taking any risks. He was getting tired, however, feeling his sides sting as he tried to keep going. He didn’t look back. With the thick foliage above him, he saw even less here.
He started slowing down, unable to keep running and held still behind a massive oak for a moment, listening carefully, but it seemed like he was on his own now. He tried catching his breath as silently as he could, afraid the loud breathing would alert anyone that could have followed him. But even after having waited for a while, no one came and he was slightly relieve. He looked around the tree, but could not see further than a few meters ahead of him. He doubted for a moment. Going back was not an option, but he didn’t exactly feel like spending the night in a forest either. He decided to just keep walking for a little longer, just in case.
And so he did. He found another track and followed it. It was not one that was used a lot, it seemed; thistles hooked themselves into the fabric of his jeans every now and then and roots made it easy to trip and fall.
The track made a turn to the right and as Chase followed it, he saw light emerging from somewhere through the trees. He immediately hid behind a bush, out of reflex, but it wasn’t a flashlight; it didn’t move at least. He frowned. Who else could be in here at this time of night?
His curiosity got the best from him, and slowly, he got up. He started walking towards the faint light. How far into the forest was he?
Once he came closer, it turned out that the light was coming from a small cottage, that had one, narrow window and a flat roof. People didn’t live here, did they?
Even from this distance he could hear sound coming from the small building and it sounded almost like chanting.
What the fuck…? Chase knew that the sensible response to this would be going away, but sensible had never been his forte. So he snuck up to the cottage until he was right beside the narrow window, just out of sight. They were definitely chanting.
And then it stopped. Silence. Chase held his breath.
“I think,” a clear, calm voice said. “We have company."
Chase froze, but then his instinct kicked back in and he slowly started backing away from the cottage. When he thought he was far enough, he turned around, about the leg it again.
“Don’t move boy. Or I will put a bullet in your back,” a man’s voice behind him said and Chase stood still, slowly raising his hands in the air. He dared to look over his shoulder. A slender man, indeed holding a firearm, calmly walked up to Chase, pointing the weapon at him.
“Who are you?” he asked, sounding more curious than angry. Chase frowned, but the gun convinced him to be honest.
“Alright, Chase, what brings you here? Truth please. I don’t like liars."
“I’m running from the cops,” Chase admitted with a shrug. The man smiled thinly.
“I see. A criminal. Well Chase, why don’t you come in for a moment?”
Every alarm inside Chase’s head went off, but the man did not seem about to put the gun away, so he nodded, while sending the man a cold glare.
“Sure,” he said curtly.
“Glad to hear that. Now, please, go ahead."

The inside of the cottage was rather bare. In the middle of the room stood a simple, wooden table with a complex charcoal drawing on it, which was surrounded by a number of candles.
“Good news, I think we can give the summon a shot after all,” the man behind Chase said. The gun poking into Chase’s back was all that kept him from spinning around and punching the son of a bitch right in the kisser.
However, he was now just looking at four other people he stared at him curiously.
“Who is this?” a young woman with short, dark hair asked suspiciously.
“Chase here claims to be on the run from the cops,” came the answer.
“Does he now?”
“What the fuck is going on here?” Chase asked, not at all pleased by how things were going. That these folks were crazy was for sure.
“Long story. You wouldn’t understand. Are you sure he’ll suffice Luther?” a chubby man whose face was mostly obscured by the hat he wore asked. The man, who was apparently named Luther placed a hand on Chase’s shoulder and the darkhaired boy immediately shook him off.
‘Don’t touch me.”
“He will suffice. Or so I hope. It’s worth a shot. Otherwise we will have to wait until next week."
People mumbled in agreement.
“Alright, let’s get to it,” the girl with the short hair snapped. She started cleaning the charcoal off the table, and drew something new, something Chase didn’t understand any better than the previous scribblings.
“So you guys are doing witchcraft?” he said, trying not to sound too mocking, as he was still well aware of the gun.
“Something like it."
New candles were placed on the tables, and suddenly, Luther pushed Chase down on the tabletop. Chase struggled, but two more people came to Luther’s assistance and he was powerless. Someone put the barrel of the gun to his temple and he froze, a swearword hanging on his lips.
“I will need to some blood,” Luther said calmly, and Chase felt cold steel in his neck.
“Fucking freaks, I swear I-fuck!” He almost shouted the last word as he felt a stinging pain in the side of his neck.
“There, all done,” Luther mumbled, as he smeared some of Chase’s blood onto the table. The young man could only look on in disgust.
As he was still held down, the chanting started again. He struggled but stopped once he felt a gust of wind. His eyes were wide open. The room temperature dropped rapidly. He fought to break free again, starting to panic. It was like the room started to spin around him. He felt nauseous. Then everything went dark.

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2 Re: A Dark Age op wo jul 01, 2015 9:26 pm


Chapter 2

Slowly, Chase got his vision back. He groaned as he worked himself up into a sitting position. He coughed, feeling like he’d run a marathon.
He looked around. He was again in a forest, but a different one. And it was no longer night, but a bright afternoon. Had they taken him somewhere? Unsteadily, he got up. Luther and the others were no-where to be seen.
Chase coughed again. His throat was dry and he wished he had something to drink with him.
Where in the world was he? He was certain this was not the forest he’d been in earlier. He was not much of a nature-person, but even he could see that the vegetation here was entirely different.
His mind drifted back to the last thing he remembered. He came to the conclusion that sure they had drugged him. It was the only way he could explain the weird sensations and the major gap in his memory. But why? And what was that summoning they had been speaking of?
He touched his neck. His fingers touched a thin, wet cut and when he looked at them, blood glistened in the sun that peered through the foliage. Fuck.
How can it still bleed if hours have clearly passed?
He wiped his hand off on his jeans, a strong sense of unease growing in his gut.
Then he started walking and soon stumbled upon a broad, dusty track. There were narrow trails in it, bikes, probably. His sneakers added another trail in the sand as he walked. He assumed it just had to lead to something.
As he walked on, the exhaustion weighed heavily on him. It couldn’t be from just running away from the cops, could it?
The path seemed endless. It twisted and bended, but around every bend Chase saw nothing but more trees, more bushes and more of the path. If only he had his phone with him, though he doubted he’d be able to call from here.
Suddenly, he was alerted by the sound of hooves and he turned around.
Well, the assumption that the two trails had come from bicycles was clearly wrong, he thought timidly, as an actual carriage came his way, pulled by two giant, black horses. The carriage itself looked like something straight out of Lord of the Rings. On each side a man in full armor rode, atop similar black horses.
Chase stepped aside, but the carriage stopped. One of the horsemen trotted up to Chase.
“State your business,” he said. He was balding and had a very tan skin.
“I- I just got here,” Chase stammered, completely overwhelmed. The carriage door opened and a woman in dark red gown got out.
“What is going on? Why have we stopped?” Then she saw Chase, looking at him which just as much surprise as he looked at her with. “My,” she said, taken aback. “Don’t you look peculiar?”
Chase frowned.
“I can say the same about you guys. Why are you dressed like that?”
He started to feel more and more like something was horribly wrong but his mind was just not yet ready to accept that maybe these people were not actors of some sort.
The woman’s face revealed that he had said something pretty offensive, apparently.
“Mind your tongue,” one of her guards - or that was what Chase assumed they were - snapped. “You will not address lady Benton like that again if you know what’s good for you.”
Now Chase noticed the sword on the man’s hip. He looked back at the woman, who was still eyeing him with curiosity.
Chase sighed.
“Just… where am I?” he asked, making a powerless gesture with his hands. Lady Benton raised an eyebrow.
“You are in the White Valley,” she said slowly, as if she wasn’t sure wether or not he was taking the piss right now. Chase tried to keep his face straight, but inside he started to panic. As far as he knew, there were no White Valley’s where he lived. No valley’s at all.
“Where are you from?” the guard closest to him asked bluntly.
“Nevada,” Chase answered, hesitant. Confused looks.
“Never heard of such a place. You being honest there, son?"
Chase threw his hands up.
“Why the fuck would I be lying? I didn’t ask for this shit, I have no fucking clue where I am or how I got here-"
He shrugged and took a deep breath. The guard looked puzzled.
“I think you’d best come with us to Reddock,” he then said slowly. Chase frowned.
“To what?"
“Reddock. The capital city. You really don’t know, do you?” the woman said. He voice had become a bit softer, more friendly. Chase folded his arms.
“As I said, I have no idea how I got here, where I am or why I am here,” he repeated.
“In Reddock they might now."
Chase had his doubt, but at least a capital city was way better than more forest, so he went along.

The road to Reddock was a long one, even though lady Benton had allowed Chase to come sit in the carriage. They said little. Chase didn’t mind. Even though he definitely had questions, for now he just needed some time to think.
No matter how hard it was to accept, something unnatural had happened. He felt a little sick. Suddenly, just getting arrested didn’t seem all that bad. He bit his lower lip and rubbed his neck, accidentally touching the cut again. He angrily rubbed the blood off on his jeans once more.
“Are you injured?” lady Benton asked. He shook his head.
“Nah, just a cut.”
She looked at him for a while, studying him.
“Do formalities exist where you are from?” she then asked, choosing her words carefully. Chase frowned.
“Not really. Not where I live. Why?”
“No one from around here would dare to speak to a lady or lord the way you address me."
Chase shrugged.
“Well, I’m not from around here,” he answered curtly. I don’t give a fuck about your formalities, I want to go back to where I came from.
“As you said. Are those clothes common where you are from?"
Chase merely nodded, feeling like he was being interrogated.
He looked outside through the narrow, metal-netted window in the door. The forest had made place for wide fields. In the distance he saw ragged mountains. And was that a lake glistening in the sun?
“We’re almost there,” lady Benton calmly said and Chase sighed with relief. Thank God.
She was right. Not much later, the carriage stopped and one of the guards opened the door. Chase got out as quickly as he could, only to be absolutely baffled by the things he saw.
The buildings colored a light beige, with relatively smooth though dirty walls and multiple stories each. Some seemed to be at least ten stories high. It looked like no medieval city he’d ever seen illustrations or photo’s of. They were standing in what seemed to be a busy street. People stopped and stared at him, pointing and mumbling. Chase swore under his breath, feeling cornered and like some sort of freakshow.
He looked back at lady Benton, who had gotten out as well. She smiled faintly. He looked back into the street. The scent wasn’t exactly pleasant and most people looked unwashed, to say the least.
“What’s their problem?”
“They don’t see someone looking like you do everyday. Can you blame them?"
He couldn’t. But he definitely felt uncomfortable.
“I think you’d best be heading to the palace, make yourself known. Otherwise you might leave the wrong impression."
Chase scoffed. Leaving the wrong impression was what he usually did. But then he shrugged.
“Sure. Where’s it?"
Lady Benton shook her head.
“Keep going down the main road, it should be obvious. But do mind your tongue. They are not as forgiving as I am in the palace. Behaving poorly towards the Councillors is very likely to land you in jail."

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