bbmagill

fanfic
ARK: Of Blood and Steel

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Hello all. In this fanfiction, i will essentially be expanding on the journals already in the game, and adding some completely new characters. This story is primarily focused around Gaius Marcellus Nerva the Roman Centurion, Mei Yin of Han China, and Raia, a priestess of Egypt. To avoid confusion, all characters can understand eachother due to the implant in their arms, regardless of language.

I will try to add a new chapter every 5-7 days, but I have a very hectic schedule, and am an excellent procrastinator.

Feel free to comment with and suggestions, positive feedback, or CONSTRUCTIVE criticism. I would appreciate it if you all played nice.

 

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Chapter 1: Of Blood and Steel

Nerva, Day 1

I remember the sounds of battle. The battlecry of an army at war, the screams of men and horses, the clash of steel. A torrential rain was falling, turning the ground beneath me into a mixture of mud, blood, and bodies. Peels of thunder drowned out the din of battle. Flashes of lightning illuminated the wretched scene with terrible clarity. My beloved legion was being overwhelmed by these barbarians. I had fought the Gauls, the Iberians, even the Germanians, but these Dacians surpassed all of them in terms of ferocity. I can remember cutting down countless foes, but there were too many. My soldiers had already resigned themselves to a glorious death, fighting to the last man to defend our eagle. It would be better for their children to hear how their fathers fought to the death rather than how they were captured and enslaved by Rome's enemies. Cut off from the rest of the army, we were surrounded by three times our number of falx-wielding barbarians. The last thing I saw before a blinding flash of light brought me here was the blood-covered face of a hairy Dacian warrior, swinging his blade down on my chest. I do not know what happened. But now I am here, recording what are probably my final days. If any Roman expeditions discover this journal, please relay my story to my wife and children, so that they might know that I fought to the very end.

I am not sure where I am. My first thought was that I had been transported to Elysium after dying in battle. But this is no paradise, no matter how it appears at first glance. There is a strange item embedded in my arm, but I feel no pain. It somehow allows me to carry a remarkably large amount of items, and serves as an archive for any technology I have knowledge of.  I do not know if I am dead, dying, or merely in a different place. What I do know is that my surroundings are like something out of the myths my father would tell me as a child. I have scarcely been here for one day, and I have encountered a plethora of fantastic beasts. There is a massive creature larger than the elephants of Carthage with three horns larger than ballista bolts, small, yet aggressive creatures that spit a burning green substance like some sort of dragon, and most incredibly, a huge four-legged creature with a remarkably long neck that is as large of many of the temples in Rome. There are also creatures that would not seem out of place back at home, such as what appear to be ordinary sheep and oversized chickens.

However, despite the incredible creatures that I have seen, the most surprising are the humans that I have encountered. After seeing smoke in the sky, I eventually discovered what appeared to be a primitive barbarian village. Yet these were no ordinary barbarians. Totally lacking any order or rule of law, running around with stone spears and primitive tools, they put even the most savage of the German tribes to shame. As I was observing, one of them snuck up behind me, and without warning, a stone-tipped arrow thunked down into the dirt next to my head. Within seconds, the savage was on top of me. However, he had sorely underestimated a centurion of Rome, a mistake that became his downfall. His clothes do not fit well, but now I have some food, a basic spear, and a bow. It's not much, but it's better than being naked.

Reflecting on my experiences today, I feel oddly optimistic. If this is the best that this tribe has to offer, I should have no problem defeating them with just a small force good Roman legionaries. If only I could find men to follow me...

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Chapter 2: To Know Peace

Mei Yin, Day 1

To know peace, one must also know war. I know peace very well. This world has the potential for a perfect peace. But it is also incredibly violent. This seems contradictory, I know, but on this island, the fittest survive. When all the weak are gone, then there will be peace. The laws of nature are the only laws here, and that might give humankind another chance. I can only hope that the inhabitants of this strange new world will listen to me.

My old world was corrupted by the ideals of man. The divinely-appointed emperor had no power, the generals warred among themselves, and the bureaucrats cared for no one but themselves. I was not surprised when the Yellow Turbans rose up in rebellion. Yet they would not bring about peace. So like all loyal soldiers of the Han Empire, I fought against them. Yet after they had been crushed, my beloved nation was in a worse condition than it had been before. A civil war engulfed all of China, and I was one of the many casualties. All I remember is fighting to defend the city of the Divine Emperor, and falling from a rampart with an arrow embedded in my side. The impact from the fall left my body broken, and I laid there in agony for hours, until a blinding light seared itself into my eyes.

I woke up on this very beach, my wounds mended, with a strange device in my left arm. I believe it to be a personal connection with the Gods. It gives me superhuman abilities, and vast knowledge of technology and chemistry. The Gods have sent me here for a reason. I can feel this in my bones. But I will get to that later. 

The land I am in is like nothing I could have ever imagined. Giant apes the size of a house walk among the trees. Huge spike-tailed lizards browse lazily on the myriad ferns and berry bushes of the land. Terrifying bipedal lizards larger than a human hunt in packs. I have already had a run in with those demons, and barely escaped with my life. However, the shaggy horses that graze in herds are similar to the ones from my homeland, and are an almost comforting presence. By far the most dangerous things on this island are the humans.

Upon following some footprints, I came upon a primitive village that was reminiscent of the Mongolian nomad camps I had encountered while campaigning in the old world. Upon closer examination, I beheld a truly awful sight. There were dozens of people locked up in cages, and as I watched, several were pulled out by armed tribesmen and butchered before my eyes! Only then did I see what they were truly doing. Cannibalism was truly repugnant to the civilized Han, and we would often tell our children stories of the barbaric cannibals to the north. But here I was, watching it take place before my very eyes!

I need to save those prisoners. I have counted 38 of them remaining. I have crafted myself a primitive spear and bow. Tonight, I will free those people or die trying. The Gods have sent me here with a mission. This is that mission. I must bring peace. I must teach the people to know peace...

Edited by bbmagill
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Chapter 3: The Fires of Heaven

Raia, Day 1

This is not the afterlife. There was no scale or balance. My heart was not weighed against a feather. I am very much alive. But how can that be? Why was I denied the afterlife? The ritual was performed perfectly. We did nothing wrong. I was honored to be the one chosen as an offering to the gods. As such, I had been thoroughly cleansed, and had allowed no error in the proceedings. But as the knife came down, I felt no pain. Instead, a white light, like the countless fires of heaven, engulfed my vision. Countless images flashed through my mind. Images of the stars, of a vast desert, colossal glowing obelisks, battles of unimaginable scale, and mysterious creatures of stone and others that flew and brought forth fire from their lungs. But one image constantly repeated itself: that of a massive lion, bigger than the largest pyramid of my homeland. And then after what seemed like hours, I opened my eyes to find myself surrounded by the ruins of a once-great temple. Had I been deeper, I probably would never found my way out, but fortunately I could see the light filtering in from the entrance.

As I stumbled out into the blinding sun, I remember looking around me, and seeing endless dunes in all directions. My first thought was that I was back in Egypt, but I soon noticed the ruins of a once-great temple crumbling around me. There were no ruins in my Egypt. We had great cities and temples, massive pyramids, and mighty fortresses. We maintained them vigilantly. We had no ruins. Yet the language of my people was inscribed on all the walls. Looking at a massive wall above the entrance to the cavern I had just exited, I saw something incredible. Painted there on the wall was a depiction of the same gigantic lion that I had seen in my visions! I ran up to the wall and began to read the hieroglyphs carved under the mural. Only one part stood out to me. The rest was instructions to perform some sort of ritual that I did not know of. 

"Here lies the Heart of Nosti, the Destroyer. Praise be onto Nosti, the creature of the Three Towers. Fear and worship him, for his wrath will destroy those who defy him."

I believe that this god the writings spoke of, Nosti, could only be the great lion that I had envisioned. Clearly, people had inhabited this land for many years to be able build such massive structures, and also must have been wiped out if this is what had become of their city. What caused this, I have yet to discover. I do not know what my next course of action is. I need to find water, but I don't have the first idea where to look. The the north and west, I can see three black spires jutting above the horizon. I figure I will explore these ruins for a few more hours, then head in that direction. The gods did not send me here to die in the desert. Of that much I am sure...

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Chapter 4: A New Legion

Nerva, Day 14

I have been in this fantastic land for two weeks now. With every passing day, my sense of wonder grows as I explore and discover new areas, even as I seek to understand what I have already seen. My new allies have been instrumental in this task. It is hardly surprising that the savage tribesmen I had encountered earlier was not popular with the locals. And by locals, I mean the remnants of the peaceful villages that had once inhabited the area until the savages had moved in. As it turns out, some of these nomads were watching me when I killed the tribesmen that attacked me on my first day here. They must have decided that the enemy of their enemy is also their friend, and approached me under a white banner.

I will skip all the details of what happened, but I have learned something incredible about the peoples of this land. While some have been born here as there ancestors were, a few of these tribesmen have a similar story to mine! As I listened, all of the details were the same. Right as they were about to die in any number of ways, a blinding white light brought them to this place. I have even recognized some as coming from lands that I am familiar with! I have encountered Zamaxes, the Parthian diplomat, Albatrix, a shockingly beautiful Briton priestess, and even a fellow soldier of Rome! He tells me his name is Scipio, and that he served as a cohort commander in Judea, fighting against rebels. When I told him my name, he was shocked. I did not even realize it until this moment, but my exploits on the battlefield had given me a god-like reputation among soldiers across the empire. I'm surprised he didn't bow before me and begin to worship me as a god. I found this excessive attention extremely disconcerting and quickly established with him that I was a man like any other. This whole situation is quite confounding, but I will not fret over it. After all, I am no philosopher, but a soldier.

With introductions out of the way, I was able to learn much about the creatures that I have encountered here and what they are called. I can now identify beasts such as the Triceratops, commonly know as the Trike, and Brontosaurus, and have been told of many other creatures. From what I have been told, I never want to have to encounter a Giganotosaurus. I have also been introduced to new technologies, including an extraordinary weapon known as the gun. I will not get into the details, but it is capable of launching small stones and darts with incredible speed and accuracy, far superior to our bows. However, I prefer the ballista-like contraption I have been given, known as a crossbow. My new friends have been extremely generous, supplying me with leather armor, a metal sword and shield, and supplies.

Most incredibly, these people have managed to domesticate the creatures that they know as dinos. Not just for agriculture, but as beasts of burden and combat mounts. I have been given a Trike to act as my mount in exchange for pledging my sword to the leader of the tribe, Astrid. She is one of the natives to this land, descending from a family that has lived here as far back as anyone can remember. With war paint adorning her arms, long red hair framing an pretty face, a serious but kind demeanor, and a height that barely breaks 5'2" she cuts an odd figure. But she had been chosen unanimously as the leader of this tribe, and I can't help but agree.

These nomadic tribesmen harbor a deep hatred for the savages that have destroyed their villages and killed their friends and families. They tell me that before the war, they numbered in the hundreds, but have since dwindled down to 84 members. I have accompanied them on several raids against the enemy already, and we have easily won due to our superior technology, but I am told that we are fighting a losing battle against thousands of warriors. I will not accept this. I know firsthand what small numbers of determined soldiers can do in the face of superiors numbers. We can win this war. I can see it in my new friends faces, an expression of steadfast courage. These men and women can become a New Legion...

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Chapter 5: Founding a Dynasty

Mei Yin, Day 15

It has been over two weeks since I have arrived in this land. Much has changed. I now have a small clan of followers. 26 of them to be exact. My rescue effort was a success, but it did not go perfectly. Sneaking in was easy, as the tribesmen were mostly drunk and dispatching the few isolated guards was simple. But once I reached the cages, the prisoners instinctively began to cry out in fear at the sight of me, covered in blood. I quickly quieted them and released them from their cages, but the noise had been enough to attract unwanted attention. As we snuck out towards the gate, we heard shouting in the distance and saw the light of many torches glowing in the village center. We had just made it to the gate when the arrows started to fall. Five of who I already considered to be my people were shot down before we reached the relative safety of the dense jungle. Since then, we have lost another three to the natural predators of this place. 

These people are nomadic tribe that wanders these lands, trading with peaceful villages. That is, until they were ambushed by those savages and captured. I have already been made the leader of what remains of this tribe. Their old chieftain, along with many of their number, had been killed in the attack. 

My new allies have taught me much about the land, including the names of many of the creatures that inhabit the area. Incredibly, they tell me that they had tamed many of these creatures as mounts, hunters, and pack animals, but they had either been killed or driven off when they were attacked. 

Ever since the escape, we have been trying to recover our strength. We have managed to round up some of the lost tames, including three parasaurs, four raptors, and the tribe's single giant ape. We have also been rebuilding our gear, tools and weapons and replenishing our supplies. We have all been supplied with hide armor, and have crafted enough bows and arrows for everyone in the clan. While most of the warriors have been equipped with basic stone spears, we have managed to gather enough metal for me to make a longer, bladed metal pike, similar to what I fought with in the old world. 

We are not much right now, but I remember my purpose here. The gods sent me here to establish peace and order. And now here I am, beginning the process of Founding a Dynasty...

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