one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky

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001: The Wind Blows At Home
I don't understand
killerkashim wrote in onepassingnight
[ It's hot. Not just hot - hot and dry, and if your skin couldn't feel it immediately then the parched earth and occasional sand-filled gusts of wind would drive the point home with perfect clarity. The location seems to be a valley of some sort, situated between two tall rock formations that meet at an angle. Built into the corner of this rock formation is a small, crudely-formed shelter, not easily discernible from the rocks around it if viewed from a distance. Especially since it seems to have been riddled with holes and half blown apart by explosive weaponry - there's just as much rubble as there is solid wall. What was once a shelter has clearly been the victim of a fierce, decisive attack. It's pretty safe to say that there were no survivors.

Except for one young boy, no more than twelve years old.

He silently walks back and forth from the inside of the base to a small clearing outside, where over a dozen body-sized holes have been dug in the earth. Each time he exits the building he drags a fallen soldier from inside, dumping them unceremoniously into a hole before turning to get the next. He doesn't seem sad for his fallen comrades, or angry at those who killed them. If one were to look into his eyes, they'd see nothing. No remorse, no pain, no regret, no sympathy.


Upon dropping the last corpse he sits down, legs hanging over the edge of the grave as he takes a moment to rest - he still has to finish burying them, but a few minutes to breathe easy wouldn't hurt. The dead weren't going anywhere. ]

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[he finds himself standing at the head of a grave.

There's a body in it.

He doesn't recognize them.

He wonders what that means - and what it makes him.

He's coated with the dry dust that's blowing, as if he's been here for a very long time or as if he's taken a very long time to get here. He's not sure which himself.

He lifts his head and sees that his grave isn't the only one. There are more - though not as many as he's sure there should be. Aware of the dead, it takes him a long moment to notice the living and his eyes focus on the boy, bright blue in his dirt dusted face. His voice comes out just as dry and unused as the sand for all it's still low and quiet.]

Is this all there is?

[ His head turns to eye the newcomer as his hand rests itself against the pistol hidden beneath the tattered excuse for a cloak wrapped around his body. This man's seen battle - he can tell from his eyes. True, his physique and posture speak for his physical capabilities, but it's in his eyes that he can sense the man's battle-scarred past.

It's also for that reason that he can more easily sense the lack of bloodlust - it's simpler to tell when a killer wants to kill you than to tell when anyone else does.

Rising to his feet, his eyes don't waver as they return his gaze, steel gray meeting icy blue. ]

It's all there was.

[somehow... it's pathetically fitting that it's a child digging graves. Cloud's sure that means something symbolic but at the moment his mind just accepts it as what is. He nods at the answer, an almost absent single dip of his chin and his eyes go back to sweep over the graves with their waiting dead.

He'd like to be able to think that this isn't how it should be. But even the desire to wish he thought that way feels false. He exhales through slightly parted lips and then looks back at the boy.

It's been a long time since he's seen eyes that dead.]

Got an extra shovel?

[ He doesn't know why this stranger wants to dig. Surely there are more productive things the man could be doing with his time... but Kashim never truly understood how people's minds worked outside of combat. He could predict an enemy's escape route or counterattack, but when it came to simple face-to-face conversation he didn't get it - and frankly, didn't need to.

Soldiers don't need to be good at talking. Just fighting and staying alive.

He motioned to one of the first graves, where a rather banged-up shovel sticks out from the dirt. ]

Take it. I only need one.

[he'll nod and walk over to pick it up. It's pretty battered and he makes a mental note to be careful how much strength he uses when he wields it.

It doesn't occur to him to wonder if the dead belong to the boy or if they belong to him, or whose responsibility they are. They're the dead - and violently dead too from the looks of it. It's reason enough for him to be involved.

It also doesn't strike him as odd that the boy's so stone faced or that his answers are so factual. Maybe it should but, in this setting, nothing else would fit right. Walking back to the first grave he found himself in front of, he'll slide the Buster off of it's place against his back and, one handed, drive it into the ground within reach of the grave. The giant blade, already worn and pitted, will stand guard and temporary memory holder. It hasn't been the first time.

With no sleeves to roll up, Cloud will pause, shovel already in the sad mound of dirt next to the open grave and ask:]

Anything you want to do here before I get to work?

[ Kashim feels himself tense slightly at the ease in which this man wields that massive blade - even with his impressive ability to judge one's combat ability, he had no idea that the stranger was that strong. His threat assessment was off on a grand scale. If he ever had to fight this man, close quarters combat was out of the question.

But for now, thankfully, they weren't enemies.

He takes a moment to study the corpses, making sure that he relieved them of all the items he could find use for - though he had to hop back into one of the graves to grab a few magazines of ammunition that he'd missed on his first sweep. Once that was settled he climbed back out, grabbing his shovel again. ]

Nothing else.

[ And with that he began to dump the dry earth back into the hole, signaling that it was alright for the stranger to do likewise. ]

[no. They're not enemies. And their not comrades. They're... something different that has to do with being bound over full graves in a barren world. Whether that's closer or further than the other options Cloud wouldn't know.

He waits until the kid throws the first shovel. He's obviously wiry - and, Cloud suspects, possibly undernourished. They'll deal with that later though. First things first and the dead take precedence.

The first spade of dirt hits the body in the hole and makes that unsettling, full sound, packing down clothes that had rested with a layer of air until now between them and the body, hitting the solid mass that wasn't as solid as dirt or rock but that gave the slightest bit. Cloud's face stays passive and he automatically drops the next shovelful.

He's not a grave digger. This is new to him. But he's had to dispose of bodies before and once, a very precious one.

He prefers the water to the earth but there's no life giving water here.

The movements are automatic and fluid, methodic, working in a way that he learned as a grunt in the army, careful not to expend any more energy than necessary to finish a job that was going to last far too long. When the first hole is full and tamped down, he pulls the Buster Sword free and moves to the next, again imbedding the sword at the head of it. It's almost a ritual, as if the great sword's marking the spot, even briefly, is storing away the memory of what the hole holds.

And dirt again begins to fall into waiting graves.]

[ooc. I can tell the conversation between these two is just going to sparkle

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