He woke alive, to a bright new day. The sun shone powerfully through the layers of grey mist that swirled in the sky above. Marcellus sat up and rubbed his head. It took a moment before he remembered the nightmare that had assailed him last night.
He jolted at the creepy silken sensation at his back; and leapt upwards, staring behind at the long black cloak, which swept by his ankles, and was fastened to his neck by a chrome clasp. It was unbreakable, he realised with consternation, tugging at it with his primitive hands.
It took time for Marcellus to realise that he could hear voices, and even see purplish beings moving on the balconies of grey buildings all around him.
Am I one of them?
He walked to the entrance of the building on his left, still struggling to rip off the chrome clasp that bound him to this unknown evil.
Everything was going fine before this burden…
It appeared that he was standing in a lobby that was bustling with creatures that looked as he assumed he must to them. After all, what else would he look like?
Around him, there were slender females standing behind desks with easy smiles on their faces, and large muscle-bound brutish guards positioned around the circumference, with implacable expressions painted on the sculpted musculature of their faces. The contrast between the two types of creatures was confusing to him at first, before he realised how much shorter and slimmer he was than the guards, despite having their body hair.
Am I a third type?
He glanced at the females first, and their smiles elicited a pleasant uplifting sensation in his heart, before it was momentarily cut off by the dangerous glare of a nearby guard. As with the other guards, he proudly hefted a large pole-axe, and while Marcellus’ eyes were meeting his, he looked like he was going to move the weapon into an attacking stance if eye contact was maintained for a moment longer; and so Marcellus shrunk away from the bad emanating aura of intimidation, which he could somehow sense, because he didn’t know how to react safely..
As he proceeded further into the lobby he realised that he felt quite exposed. Groups of these purple creatures started to point or gesture to their friends.
Marcellus felt like he stood out.
He had just realised that was his name.
Powerfully aggressive Tekromun Guards closed-in on his position, hefting great silver pole-axes and bearing armour that resembled silver exo-skeletons, which hid the hues of their skin behind the bright reflective flashes that rebounded from them.
There was a dozen of them, surrounding him and muttering curses. Their slow and ponderous gasping breaths were marked by their large chests repeatedly pushing the armour up and down.
Marcellus was much shorter than these Guards.
Why do these Guards wear exo-skeleton armour?
Marcellus scanned the lobby for the explanation. He noticed that the general populace was scurrying out of the exits, as if aware that something dangerous or violent was afoot. The slender female receptionists were escorted out of the spacious lobby discreetly, leaving the place empty.
‘Take that cloak off!’ one of the brutes barked, before Marcellus was able to ask why he was being accosted.
‘Why?’ Marcellus challenged back boldly, his back upright.
The closest brute stepped forward and slashed downwards in a heavy arc. Marcellus stepped to the side easily enough, just avoiding the vibrating hum of the axe.
The attacker paused, as if at a loss because he had missed. The others narrowed their eyes, and their perverted breathing increased in tempo.
‘Take the cloak off now!’ a slightly taller and more commanding Tekromun Guard ordered with an imperious finger pointed at the chrome clasp.
Marcellus considered taking the cloak off, to avoid further confrontation. His hands grappled with the chrome clasps, but it was futile. The chrome was too hard and solid, and the black cloak seemed to be magically bonded with it.
His struggle continued for a few moments, while the Tekromun Guards watched quietly.
‘I can’t,’ Marcellus breathed in frustration, giving up and letting his hands fall to his sides.
‘Take him!’ the commanding Tekromun Guard ordered.
They converged forward. Marcellus felt threatened, and didn’t want to be handled against his will. He prepared for combat, spinning on his toe and evading the first oncoming assailant.
The remainder crossed the floor in swift large strides, their pole-axes crashing down upon his space. Marcellus stopped the progress of a pole-axe by grabbing its handle and using force to try and wrestle it away, but the Tekromun was too strong, and threw him off. Marcellus landed to the floor painfully.
A pole-axe smashed the floor beside his head, causing splinters to avalanche to his left. Marcellus rolled forward, and was back on his feet. He used his thumb to attack the eye of a Tekromun Guard, and then rolled backwards. But a brute grabbed his waist and squeezed tightly. A moment later the handle of a pole-axe thudded heavily into his stomach, winding him.
Marcellus looked downward, not even seeing his attackers as he fought against the tidal impact of the pole-axe handle. The Tekromun who had grabbed him threw him powerfully to the floor, and stood on his shoulder, pinning him.
They turned him around and pummelled his face with their wide fists, using their full weight to smash his face in. Marcellus couldn’t even feel the blows, but he could feel his face becoming a distorted mess as each blow landed too quickly for him to count.
He blacked out.
Marcellus Origins – Chapters 1-5 PDF