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Iron Quill - Rebirth - Choices


The Grue
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Here is my entry.

Ingredients Used: Loaded Dice, Rebirth, Intersection

Words: 1,744

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Choices

 

Choice? Daniella had made up her mind to stop believing in choice a long time ago. Much longer from her perspective but she was always telling herself to live in the moments of others and not the exaggerated spaces she created.

It wasn’t easy; seeing things from anyone else's point of view was hard enough for normal people. Normally you would have a few positions to deals with, your own and the other sides, but what if you could see all the sides, know all the possible views and what came with them? What would you do; pick the most optimal and hope for the best? Not so hard, except that just because you can see where all the viewpoints are coming from it is truly hard to see where they are headed to.

Daniella ducked through an alley and leaped over the daily refuse that had piled up. She was careful to plant her feet this time, the other two times she had just tried making the leap ended in disaster. She could feel her ankle throb in her mind from where she had twisted it and at the same time she could feel the infection creep up her arm from where the rat had bitten her when she landed in the debris. She shook her head, and tried to push past the phantom injuries and ignore them.

She reached down and cradled the die in her pocket. The ancient die was heavy for its size; smooth to the touch on its face but well worn around the edges. She shivered, she didn’t know if it was the chill air or her realities realigning, layering on top of one another and sewing themselves.

Men of science would probably have fancy words to describe what she was experiencing but she was neither. All she could guess in the time she had it in her possession is that whenever she was faced with a possible choice…

Her brains made a sickening slapping noise as they splattered onto the wall next to her, the bullet punching through and lodging into the brick. Half of her head was gone, a gaping crevasse full of loose skin and singed blood-matted hair. The smell nearly made her retch as she ran past with her head down, the slapping noise replaced with a loud crack as the bullet hit the wall unimpeded. A quick side step past where she had fallen by ducking too low and she was almost at the end of the alley.

She reached the end of the alley and prepared to bolt off down the street, shielding her eyes against the sudden sunlight. She looked back and watched as the group of guardsmen chasing her stopped and inspected her corpse at the same time as she watched them chase after her. This was getting out of hand and they were closing in. She ran out into the street just as they made it to her prone form and planted a bullet in the back of her head. They breached the mouth of the alley and she knew she was running out of time.

Up until now she had assumed she was reflexively using the die, but she decided it was time to put the choice out of her hands and try to follow the path that hopefully would open up for her. The plan was ludicrous, but what choice did she have?

She heard shouts and orders for her to stop as she was about to reach the market square, full of the vendors and their carts, so she weighed her options.

She could veer left at the intersection and take the street down to the river docks, she could run straight through into the garment district, or she could take the hard right but that took her dangerously close to the Quarantine Zone.

All in all not the best choices, but she was almost at the crossing and needed to make a decision.

“This next part is going to hurt,” she told herself as she gritted her teeth and gave the die in her pocket a jumble.

 

[Left, to the docks seems like the best option]

 

She cut to the left. Vendor stalls began to explode around her as the Guards' bullets tore into them. She hopped through and over a cabbage vendor's cart, trying not to think of what happened to her as her foot caught on the vegetables and she went sprawling into the cobbles. She ran on and grabbed her arm, trying to stop the bleeding from the wound she had received but wasn't really there. The Guards weren't far behind and had made it through the angry vendors, finished her off where she lay broken and ran on after her.

The pungent fishy smell assaulted her nose as she ran, her boots sounding loud on the docks but drowned out by the noise of the busy harbor. The die stirred in her pocket and paused to grab it. She looked up and saw herself run another few steps before diving off to the right, narrowly missing the Hunter's harpoon that was slicing through the air towards her. Her gasp was cut short by the breath being blown from her lungs as the harpoon plunged into her. She traced the rope and saw the Hunter perched on one of the river barges; a Guild Lawyer collecting taxes was holding an Aethervox and pointing at her.

When the Guards surrounded her one stepped forward, an officer, and through the blood collecting in her mouth she managed to squeak out,

“How?”

She just smiled, her hand coming free from her pocket as she produced a die identical to her own.

 

 

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[Straight, into the Garment District is the best option]

 

She ran on, weaving her way through the throng of people who were just beginning to try and scatter and distance themselves from the approaching guardsmen. Shots began to ring out and after watching herself succumb to the hail of gunfire she was able to find a path through and made it to the other side. She barreled through the first door she could reach and dove over the counter. She realized she was in one of the garment cleaning shops as the bullets made their way in. She ran through the rear door. She slid between the racks of fancy clothing and made her way to the back.

She found the rear door but found that the heavy iron door was locked. She heard the Guardsmen filed into the backroom and start to push their way through the racks. She looked around and found a ladder propped up against the wall leading up to a large window that was cracked open to vent the steam. She took the rungs two at a time and was thankful the steam was thicker this high up as she made it to the top without a single shot firing her way.

The die stirred and she reached down into her pocket. She looked up and watched herself shimmy up and out the window; she saw herself almost get stuck in the small opening, so she reached up and opened the window wider. Air rushed in and steam rushed out. She realized her mistake and when a bullet tore into her leg she lost her footing. The fall was short and her chin caught a garment hook on the way down, piercing up through her head. She hung there, her hands desperately clawing at the hook. An officer stepped up to her swinging body and reached into her pocket. She brought Daniella's die out and put it into her other hand where she held one identical to her own.

 

 

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[Right, towards the Quarantine Zone is the best option]

 

She took the hard right, hoping that the Guards wouldn't follow her if she could make it out into the Quarantine Zone. The gate was a few blocks away but she was able to get some distance by knocking a stall over and scaring a carriage that was making the turn towards her. It rumbled off behind her and she heard the Guards yell.

As she approached the gate she saw that the detail guarding it was light. The two Guardsmen there were currently checking a scrappers papers before admitting him to pass. Their attention was focused away from her and she thought she just might be able to run between the Guard who was next to the cart and the opening of the wall behind him. She was almost to him when she heard the men start to shout. The Guards leveled their pistols at the men and she thought she saw the man sitting up on the cart smile at her.

The die stirred in her pocket and she reached for it. The Guard she was going to slip behind took a quick step back and she saw herself nimbly step around him and disappear behind the wall. She barreled into the Guard and his gun went off, the bullet punching a hole through the smiling man's associate. She heard a roar and an abomination sprung out of the cart in front of her carrying a large meat hook and cleaver. She tried to slow down but the creature brought the cleaver in a horizontal swipe and she felt her body separate and crumple into the dirt.

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[Surrender]

 

It all hit her at once, the choice she was about to make and its consequences. One driving piece of information rang out in the chaos. The officer...

She skidded to a stop and threw her hands in the air. She slowly turned around as the Guild fanned out around her. She was surprised they didn't just gun her down, but then the officer stepped up to stand in front of her.

“I have enjoyed killing you each of the times I've had the chance to, so my thanks to you for that, but you have something that belongs to me and you are out of choices my dear,” she gestured out to Daniella with an open hand.

Daniella reached into her pocket and pulled out the die. She lunged forward grabbing the officer and reached into her pocket finding the identical die she knew would be there. She pulled the dice free and raised her hand as the officer fell back, screaming at her men to open fire.

Daniella brought her hand down and threw the dice.

 

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Let me know what you think.

 

As Always,
The Grue

 

 

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