Israel stood with his legs inside his van and his torso leaning over the roof of it, outside. He had a perfect view of nothing, continuing in every direction. Because that was what it was; unkempt, dried-out grass that continued all the way to the distant hills. Beautiful.
He smiled and donned a peculiar hat atop his head. He was back in his country. And ready to raise hell.
He started the car and drove down the road to the hills.
The clouds above, the acres and acres of shrubbery, the purple hills...it all came together and blended into a happy feeling bubbling it's way from inside his chest. Something was on it's way, something big was afoot and about to happen. He was just glad to be back in familiar territory. No more constant rain in Dublin. No more giant steel towers in New York. No more snow in Canada.
Just nothing, and a whole lot of it.
The asphalt roads faded and were replaced with sparkling white gravel. The only vehicles they passed were either tractors or four-wheel-drives, the occupants giving small waves to Israel as they sped away in the opposite direction. Then even they stopped passing as Israel drove further and further inland.
The distant hills were brought closer and closer to them, and soon the clear land gave way to densely packed shrubs, and surged upwards where huge rock formations hulked.
Israel's smile never disappeared. His hand reached under his seat and came back up with a brown bottle of Cooper's beer. He popped the cap on an opener he had roughly taped to the dashboard, and took a swig.
"Come up here and take a look, guys," he called over his shoulder. A moment passed, and then movement came from behind Israel and Kallista Pendragon carefully climbed between the front seats, slumping into the passenger spot. She snatched the beer from Israel's grasp and took a swig herself, even though she screwed up her face from the taste.
"Australian beer," Israel commented at her expression. "Different to what you're used to."
"You know," Kallista said, coughing into her arm. The beer was different; it burned her throat like liquid fire. "You shouldn't be drink-driving."
Israel took the bottle back, drinking deeply and keeping his eyes on the road. Whether the beer tasted the same as what Kallista had tasted or completely mild instead, she could not tell; his face didn't show anything. "When has that ever stopped me?"
Gepard Valk leaned in between the two front seats, resting his elbows on the center console separating them. He wearily lowered his head onto his arms and glared up at Kallista.
"Can't believe you beat me at chess," he said grumpily.
"Can't believe we could even play chess, with all this crappy driving Israel's doing."
"Pure magic," Israel said, and they laughed. Nothing could dampen his spirits now.
"Oh God," came a voice from behind them, still in the back of the van. "There are chip packets and empty Coke cans everywhere!"
"Welcome back to the land of the living, Kenny," Israel called back. "And there's, like, one or two Coke cans at most..."
"Living or not," Kallista said, pointing at something past the windshield. "That's pretty damn amazing."
Kenny Lakinson stumbled towards the front of the car, rubbing sleep from his eyes. He managed to peek above Gepard's head and see what they were all staring at.
It was breathtaking. Right before them and stretching all the way around them were, in all their magnificence, the Flinder's Ranges.
'Astounding' hardly described it. Words like 'grand' and 'stupendous' came close, but not nearly enough. The hills were covered from top to bottom with gum trees, branches grasping out at the cloudy sky like bony hands. The clouds cast a blueish-purple shadow over them, shrouding the many narrow gullies and rocky gorges.
Israel tore his eyes away. He focused them on the road and finished the last of his beer in one big gulp. "Alright," he sighed, but his companions were still watching the awesome sight. He flipped open his phone and hit a number on speed-dial, pressed it to his ear and waiting for the person to pick up. "Let the hell-raising begin..."
YOU CAN'T EVEN TELL WHICH RAISIN I'M TALKING ABOUT"
Will be continued...never. Yep, that's right. Because I'm annoying like that. Also, there's the fact that I would have no idea how to go on from that point in the story...And it's better to watch you squirm ^^ (Who was he calling? Does Cooper's beer really taste different from other beers? Which Raisin am I talking about? Raisin or raising/raisin'?)
So, I wrote that on camp. Also, I wrote the first part of my latest fanfiction, the most epic thing yet, which I have unfortunately have not come up with a name for it yet.
My latest fanfiction follows a particular part in Israel's history, set in World War Two. This was before he had his signature jacket, or even his shotgun. Meet a much younger Israel, Senior Lieutenant in the Soviet Army.
(He could of been fighting with all the other 'Diggers', or Australian soldiers, but he hates Turkey, so he decided to sign up to fight for Russia. Impossible? No. It's a fanfiction, or course it's not...)
Israel Elysium trudged lightly through the small forest of trees set on the left side of Elysium Asylum. His eyes cast around at the bright scenery around him, taking in the wonderful display of oranges, reds and yellows cast about.
It was these trees that triggered the memory, one so vivid that he gripped the sides of his head and closed his eyes, groaning. He stood there, alone in the forest, surrounded by Autumn, as the memory overtook him.
Near the city of Seelow, Germany, 1945
A much younger Israel Elysium gripped the cold Colt .45 pistol in his hands, leaning low against the old tree in the German forest tainted by Autumn. He had received it when the American Marine force had donated thousands of them as their way of helping the Homeland's fight to claim back their country.
Israel smiled at that name, the one that the Russian soldiers used for their country; 'Homeland'. He liked the Russian soldier's spirit; they would gladly lay down their lives for a greater cause like their Mother Russia.
The fallen leaves surrounded him, a carpet of orange and red sound carriers that would give away his position the moment he walked anywhere.
At that very moment he heard the crunching leaves and aimed his gun to the owner of the sounds. He lowered it when he saw who it was and waved his right hand in a small salute. He holstered his pistol underneath his armpit and accepted the Mosin Nagant bolt-action rifle handed to him by his commanding officer as he was pulled to his feet. "We are moving out, Senior lieutenant Elysium," the Captain told him in a thick and genuine Russian accent. "Grab your gear and regroup with me at base."
Israel nodded and Captain Vasilev walked off, moving fast to talk with the next scout, fifty metres away.
Israel sub-consciously drew the Mosin Nagant's bolt backwards, noting the gleam of bullets already loaded, and pushed the bolt back into place.
He slung the heavy rifle over onto his shoulder and cast a long look at the beautiful forest around him, the leaves of every tree brilliantly illuminated by the golden rays of the morning, German sun.
He heard a sharp whistle and almost jumped when it reached his ears from the branches above him. There was a quick rustle of sound and a figure dropped like a dead weight straight on top of him, scaring him witless.
Israel swung a fist and the man on top of him easily caught it and then twisted it to the side. The man pinned down Israel's other arm with his knee and pulled out a small Tokerev pistol, pushed the barrel against Israel's chest and pulled the trigger three times in quick succession.
But no gun shots came, and instead a hearty, Russian chuckle escaped the lips of the man on top of Israel. "You, my friend, are dead," Lieutenant Nikolai said, smiling. Israel shoved Nikolai off and rolled to his feet.
"Yeah, but only an idiot soldier would hide in the branches for a tree all day just to kill me. They'd have no-where for their gear."
"You are such a bad loser," Nikolai said, laughing and patting him on the back as they both walked towards camp. "Sometimes I wonder why you even came up here to fight with for the Motherland and not with your own country.
Israel shook his head. "The 'Diggers' were going to be fighting in Turkey, freezing their arses off. And I will not be apart of it."
It was weird, walking into camp like that. One moment you were just in another part of the forest. And the next, the ground before you had revealed itself to be several camouflaged shelters filled with Russian soldiers chatting and planning, sitting with friends or standing to the attention of higher ranking officers. Trenches of a metre deep ran between the shelters and opened up in clearings with even more trenches running away from it.
Israel didn't speak a word of Russian. It was often a hindrance, but most of the time the commands were simple enough to understand. It wasn't as if he was going to be living there long term, he felt no need to know the language. Also, it helped that a majority of the soldiers already knew some English.
This all being said, Israel stood completely stunned when a man he didn't recognize walked up to him, quickly saluted, and rattled off one or two sentences in Russian. When the man had finished he just stood there, standing to attention and looking Israel in the eye, not challengingly, but nervously. There was an awkward silence and Nikolai sighed from next to him and shook his head wearily. He said something to the other man and instantly he relaxed. "Seriously, Israel, you really need to learn our language. Many good things will come from it; like you will actually know what's going on half the time. This man here's name is Dimitri." Israel noticed the lack of any significant ranking badges. The only things on his spotless uniform suggested that he was a private.
"Dimitri says that he'll be joining our squad for our mission with Captain Vasilev." Nikolai gave a quick look to Israel. "He is straight out of training."
They turned to walk, all three of them, through the camp. Nikolai instantly dived into a conversation with Dimitri in Russian, making Israel lose interest. He heard snippets of words he knew, but they were just the usual things like names of weapons and places. He shook his head. One of these days, he'd have a long sit down with Nikolai and have him teach the Russian language. One of these days...
The Captain's shelter was right ahead and Nikolai told Dimitri something rapidly, pointing in the other direction. Dimitri nodded his head rapidly, saluted quickly, the rushed off.
"What was all that about?" Israel asked Nikolai when they reached Captain Vasilev. He was in a deep conversation with a few other Captains about a mass of documents and maps before them spread all over a small table.
Nikolai just stopped at the table and whispered out of the corner of his mouth: "Told him to stock up on more vodka from storage. I have a feeling that we'll be needing it soon."
Israel nodded and the Captain finished his discussion, turning to the two of them. Israel heard others gather up behind him and he looked around to see a couple of members of the group he had been previously assigned to, like Viktor and his brother Ivan. They nodded at him but then kept their gaze fixed on the Captain.
There was the stamping of feet as the small group stood to attention before the Captain and he released them with the same words Nikolai had used before, which Israel later learned was the command "at ease".
He spoke in broken English for the sake of Israel, debriefing them on their target: a small German training facility closer to Seelow, newly discovered.
Israel listened attentively, not noticing the sound until it was too late.
Four of the seven officers around the table fell dead.
There wasn't even a pause. "Get down!" Captain Vasilev yelled, grabbing the collars of the remaining officers and dragging them to the floor. Nikolai tackled Israel and they both hit the ground. Israel heard someone shout "Sharpshooters!" but something didn't add up...
Then, from one of the trenches that came into the shelter strolled three German soldiers with a strange black garb, carrying silenced sub machine guns.
They raised their weapons and Nikolai reacted instantly, drawing his Tokerev pistol from his prone position and pulling the trigger. But he hadn't had it loaded before when he shot Israel earlier and he had forgotten to reload it since; the gun only clicked now. His eyed widened at the incoming danger and he struggled with the fastening of a sheath on his belt.
Israel unslung the Mosin Nagant rifle from his shoulder briefly aiming down the sights, lining them up on the first soldier's face. He fired the shot and his fingers moved lightning fast to pull the bolt up and backwards, the empty shell ejecting to his right.
The German soldier caught the bullet under his chin and went down. His finger was held on the trigger of his gun as his body started falling to the ground, spamming bullets all over the trench. They hit the second enemy soldier, who fell, surprised, to the ground as well.
Nikolai had undone the clips on the side of his belt and pulled out a massive machete blade, roaring and jumping to his feet. He charged forward and the machete slid easily into the chest of the third soldier. Nikolai didn't waste time with rage once the first blow was given, instead lowering the soldier to the ground and wiping his blade on the soldier's dark outfit.
Israel got to his feet and ran to the trench entrance to take point. There was a shout from somewhere else in the camp and the muffled sound of gunfire, but Israel ignored it. He raised his rifle and aimed at the confines of the trench in front of him. He saw no-one but stayed crouching there, hearing the sounds of Nikolai and the officers grabbing what weapons they could find. There weren't many there, Israel knew. It was the commander's shelter, and the weapons were placed in another part of the camp, fifty metres away. He looked back and confirmed his suspicion; Nikolai had his now-loaded pistol and was handing his machete to Vasilev, while Ivan was handing his pistol to one of the commanders there. There were three commanding officers in all, and they were now everyone's responsibility to save. They were the VIP's, Captain Vasilev and his squad were just cannon fodder to protect them.
Nikolai moved up to Israel and placed a hand on his shoulder. "We need to get more weapons, and know what we're dealing with here." Israel nodded and realised that the silenced gunfire had stopped, leaving nothing. It was eerie, because normally the entire camp was alive with talk and sound.
Captain Vasilev moved stealthily towards them. "Alright. Lt. Elysium, you spot for us while we move up. Then take point and spot again. Got it?"
Israel grunted agreement and got ready. Whatever was over the lip of the trench, whatever was on level ground, he could not see. For all he knew, there were a hundred Germans there, ready to shoot him to pieces.
He slowly propped his rifle against the trench's entrance and took of his helmet, balancing it on the end of his gun's barrel. He then lifted the gun upwards so the helmet just peeked over the lip and out into the open. When no firing sounded and no-one mistakenly took his helmet on top of his rifle for an enemy and shot it, he considered it safe and strapped it back to his head.
Israel took a breath and peeked over, gun raised.
Every Russian soldier that had been in the camp were lying dead, not thirty metres away. German soldiers in the same, strangely dark uniforms were walking around, talking, ordering. Israel crouched there, transfixed. He couldn't turn his eyes away from the bodies of his comrades, still on the forest floor.
There was a sharp yank on his collar and he was brought roughly to the ground. Nikolai was there, and Captain Vasilev crouched behind him with an angry look on his face. "You're going to get us killed, Lieutenant!" the latter said, and Nikolai shook his head.
"We saw as well, Israel," He said. "And we will have myest. But not here. We'll get them back by winning this God-forsaken war..."
Israel nodded, but it didn't fix things. They were still irreversibly dead, and someone was going to pay for it...
He crouched and they started down the trench. Captain Vasilev was first, then Nikolai, Ivan, the three commanders, Viktor, and Israel brought up the rear. They moved at a sluggish pace down the trench, Israel moving to the corners and taking point to make sure they weren't spotted. They reached the end of the trench, where it opened up into the large clearing with a camouflaged tarp pulled over misshapen items.
Israel smiled. They had reached the weapons.
There were the sound of footsteps and the group shrank back into the trench, wary. A German patrol walked into the clearing, chatting quietly. They held MP40 sub-machine guns, and were ready to use them.
"There's no way past them," Israel commented, keeping his voice to a whisper. "We don't have enough weapons to take them all out, and there's no way we could kill them one at a time so the other soldiers wouldn't know."
Vasilev was stony-faced as he made his decision. "Alright, comrades. I'll burn them out."
No-one spoke. They knew that when the Captain said that, he was not talking about fire in the terms of a lighter or matches.
Israel wasn't the only one in the camp who was a mage. Nikolai had gained the ability to see things as if he was looking through a thermal camera if he tried; if he was close enough to a wall he could even see heat signatures on the other side of it. Ivan had practiced on his adept magic, allowing him to shoot bursts of green energy from them. Viktor and Vasilev were both elementals, although Vasilev was the more experienced of the two. It was a well kept secret, all though with the officers now watching, Israel knew it would get out fast.
But there was no time for secrecy. This had to end now.
The Captain spoke in Russian to the commanders and they replied questioningly. He shook his head and repeated what he had said and the commanders slowly obliged, crawling further back into the trench and muttering among themselves. Then Vasilev turned to Viktor. "Ready?" he asked, and the other man nodded. They both clicked their fingers, summoning flames in their hands. They stepped up and into the open, palms outstretched. The German soldiers only had a split second to shout in alarm before Captain Vasilev and Viktor let the fire out in twin streams like flamethrowers, completely submerging the soldiers in heat. Strange, Israel thought to himself as he stood and fired, pulled the bolt back and fired again on the burning soldiers. It's almost like they were ready for the flame.
Nikolai ran into the clearing and his pistol came up to shoot at more German soldiers that were arriving. Israel pushed past a burning soldier which was stumbling and cursing by. When he reached Nikolai he called his name and lobbed the rifle at him.
Nikolai caught it deftly and swung his entire body around, smashing the rifle's butt into a soldier's face. He went down and Nikolai flipped the gun around to fire it point blank into another. He pulled back the bolt and loaded four more bullets into it, aimed down the iron sights and ended four more lives.
The moment he had thrown the rifle to Nikolai, Israel grabbed the edges of the camouflaged sheet on the ground and pulled it away. More soldiers started to pile into the trench, and bullets were getting closer and closer to hitting him. He picked up the first weapon there, a PPSH sub-machine gun, and loaded a drum mag into it. There were soldiers inside the clearing now, some creeping up behind Nikolai...
Israel clicked the safety and fired, spitting bullets everywhere. He took aim and fired once more, actually hitting his targets now. The soldiers fell from burns and bullets, screaming incoherently. Then Israel saw him.
The man was walking up to the top of the lip, a pistol in his belt and a frown on his face. He spoke sharply in German to the soldiers behind him and they relayed his command to all the others there. One soldier stepped up to the man, head bowed and hands outstretched. The man ripped off his gloves and placed them in the soldier's hands.
Israel noticed the badges and patches sewn onto the man's black trench-coat and he realized that the man was probably an important General. And an enemy General was always better off dead.
Viktor noticed him as well, as did Ivan. Ivan reached for a PPSH from underneath the tarp, but suddenly his left leg buckled. His face screwed up in pain and a moan left his mouth. His hands clutched at his head and that was when Israel saw that the General was pointing both bare palms directly at Ivan.
Israel and Viktor ran to Ivan's aid but when they got within a metre of him, a strange burning feeling engulfed them. It was like two hot irons were pressing on either side of their bodies, and closing in, compressing them and burning them at the same time. Israel fell to his knees in agony, and then Nikolai was there, gritting his teeth and pulling Viktor and Israel away, out of the field of pain. The burning stopped instantly, and Israel shook his head and got to his feet, just in time to see Ivan rupture violently all over the ground.
There was only a second of pause. Only a moment, and then Viktor was on his feet and running towards the General, screaming.
"You bastard!" he said, and kicked up the PPSH that Ivan had been reaching for. It landed in Viktor's hands and he yelled as he pulled the trigger.
In three seconds, twenty bullets flew towards the General in a flurry. Seven of them hit him, but were stopped by a strange armour he was wearing. One bullet got through his armour and penetrated his arm, making his body jerk backwards.
The General glared at Viktor and went to raise his uninjured arm, but Israel ran and pulled Viktor away. He half dragged, half lead him to a trench and dumped him there, where Nikolai, Vasilev and the three Russian commanders were crouched. Nikolai nodded at Israel and shook his head in disgust and Viktor, who was weeping and calling for his dead brother.
"He lived and bled and died for Mother Russia, comrade," Nikolai told Viktor dismissively. "There is no greater honor. Now snap out of it- they are coming!"
It was true. German soldiers were now spilling into the clearing with the weapons, the General ordering them forward.
"Where do we go?" Viktor said, fear in his voice. He was rewarded by lightning fast slap to the face by Captain Vasilev.
"I've had enough of your whining." He loaded his PPSH and risked a quick glance at the advancing soldiers. "Alright, we make for the tree-line on my mark."
Nikolai shook his head. "We need to stay and fight. We won't make it running."
The Captain gritted his teeth. "We can try."
There was an unspoken signal and as one, they all stood and leaped out of the trench, running full pelt for the tree-line, fifty metres out. There was a chorus of shouts from the enemy soldiers as they gave chase. Some stopped and fired their machine guns, and Viktor screamed as a bullet caught him in the chest. He fell in a heap, and Nikolai cursed, tripping over him. Nikolai reached for Viktor but the wounded man was trying to solidify himself into stone. Being in a forest, he could only draw a limited amount of stone from the ground and ended up solidifying just his legs. He was still screaming when Nikolai gave up trying to pull him free and ran off. And he was still screaming when the soldiers caught up to him and shot him in the head.
Twenty metres to go. Nikolai had been right; they weren't going to make it. The German soldiers were aiming properly now, their shots reaching closer and closer.
There was a roar of an engine and a Russian jeep that had seen better days appeared, the driver shouting crazily. He pulled over ten metres ahead of the remainders of Captain Vasilev's crew. "Get down!" he shouted at them, and Israel saw the second Russian soldier sitting with a mounted machine gun on the back of the jeep.
Nikolai, Vasilev, the three commanders and Israel dived to the ground at once, just as the Russian soldier opened fire, cutting huge swathes in the German soldiers' ranks. The sound of the gun was deafening, and the turret operator swung it madly side to side in an effort to slow down their pursuers. Vasilev turned and motioned for the squad to crawl towards the jeep. They did so at a painstaking pace, and finally reached the tires. When they did, there was a single echoing gunshot from far, far away and the Russian soldier that had been behind the turret slumped forward.
"German sniper!" the driver said, and Israel recognized it as the soldier he had met earlier; Private Dimitri. "Hurry, comrades!"
Without the machine gun firing over their heads anymore, they jumped to their feet and piled into the jeep. A second sniper bullet buried itself into Dimitri's headrest and he fearfully put the jeep into gear and floored the accelerator. They shot off, and Vasilev leaped for the mounted machine gun, pushing the dead body of the previous turret operator away, swinging the gun to the rear of the jeep and laying down fire onto the rest of the soldiers. He stopped when they were out of range and slumped back into his seat, exhausted. The jeep was quiet, and Dimitri was muttering a single word over and over, "Myest", shaking his head as he navigated a tight road. Israel looked questioningly at Nikolai in the seat beside him, and the Russian man sighed and translated.
"'Revenge. Revenge, revenge, revenge..."
There it is. I hope you liked it. I hope you comment. And yes, I do know that all of those Russian names were a bit stereotyped. But Vasilev and Nikolai are epic names :P
I have more to write, more to say, and I would like to post some pictures of my camp, and finally tell you what the B.A.H is...
But I don't have the images now. I will update this, maybe on Wednesday. In the meantime, CHAAAAAT!