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Broken Dawn (Aisling and Other Stories)

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Broken Dawn began as a joint project with multiple authors (should those authors wish to convert their stories to blogs, I will link them here).

It takes place approximately 20 to 30 years after a nuclear holocaust. While the catastrophe was world wide, most of the stories take place in the continental United States, after the fall. The main stories are centered around the region of what was once Colorado, Utah and Wyoming; an area that was rendered a hostile desert by the fall out, but for some smaller towns and cities nestled in the relative protection of the Rocky Mountains. People everywhere struggle to survive, and often the stronger prey on the weaker. "Strays" roam the wastes, lost nomads trying to find safety and shelter. Some have gathered together and attempted to settle down, scratching a meager existence from the land (either through attempts at farming, or from scavenging ruins and burnt out towns); these types of groups have become known as Families. Others have banded together to form Crews; marauding bandits who prey on both Strays and Families alike, stealing what they value and throwing away the rest; all the while making war on eachother, vying for dominance.

In one place, alone, the rules are different: Trade Town. Neither Strays, Family, nor Crew, the people who run it have built a one-stop-shopping neutral territory, welcoming trade from anyone and everyone. Almost anything can be found in Trade Town, for the right price.

My first forray into the world of Broken Dawn was with a few short, stand-alone stories, offering some insight into what became of the world after it fell. Later, you'll meet Aisling (ash-LEEN), a loner who is not quite a Stray but too small to be a Family, who finds herself at odds with one of the most feared Crews in the region.

Welcome to Broken Dawn, as I see it.

  1. Flight

    Aisling had to move. Derrik would be coming.

    She doubted he would be there this day, but knew he would waste little time. He would want to move fast, knowing she'd try to run.

    She scooped up her weapons, sheathing the knife, and headed for the entrance to her cave. When she got inside, she cast the AK and the .45 on to her cot and stripped off her clothes. She was a mess of drying blood and vomit. She looked at her feet with disgust. Her mother would never approve. Hell, she didn't approve.

    She made for the small stream near the back of the cave. The stream was part of an underground water source that eventually exited the mountains and supplied what was once a small river; one that was now barely
    Life , Virtual Life
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  2. Compromised

    As Aisling reached the crest of the rise that looked down on her home, she was able to hear the whimpering sobs of the man she'd gutted. He was not yet dead. The adrenaline that had waned as she'd climbed surged anew with a rush of anger.

    She rapidly made her way back down the steep incline, taking a different rout than the one she'd used earlier to get up. That rout was ideal for ascent, but not as good for descent. She picked her way back down to the leveled off shelf of rock that had been her "front yard" for most of her life, favoring her throbbing foot.

    When she reached the bottom, she moved straight for the man. Sweat beaded on his brow and his skin was pale. He was still bleeding, but not severely, ...
    Life , Virtual Life
  3. Assault

    As they crashed to the ground together, she used the momentum to partially roll away from him so that he wouldn't land on top of her. She landed on her left side, back to her attacker, and drew her knees up, drawing her left leg up to her chest, and her right to a 45 degree angle from her body. As they fell, both became ensnared in the mesh of the blind, and one of the now-bent aluminum poles smacked her in the head when it fell. Her shawl slipped up off her shoulders and around her neck and head.

    The man fumbled about, attempting to regain leverage, and a hand darted through one of the port holes, ripping the fastenings off as he thrust it through. The hand reached up and found her shawl, and he gripped it, tightening it around ...

    Updated 06-26-10 at 04:14 PM by Benjamin Burch

    Life , Virtual Life
  4. Ash

    As she peered out into the desert, she thought she could make out something moving in the far distance. Curiosity piqued her, but she did not reach for the binoculars just yet. She was, at this moment, busy enjoying a carefree afternoon.

    She had always liked the heat, unlike her mother. Her mother, when she was alive, had often complained of it. "We're Irish, damnit!" she would exclaim, time and time again, "We're a cold-weather people. I'm not built for this heat." Aisling, even as a child, would just smile in response and nod agreement. "Its your Sicilian blood, Ash, that's why you like the heat. And why you don't burn easy. I envy your brown skin."

    Ash. Most people called her Ash, when ...
    Virtual Life , Life
  5. Rising Sun

    It was when the world fell that the Samurai returned.

    In truth, the way of Bushido never really died on the island of Nippon. It lived there in the hearts of men; hibernating, practiced only in word and writ; only occasionally followed more closely through action and deed. In the smaller villages it held sway, while in the large cities of modern Japan it was a tool for sales and tourism. It whispered to those hearts that would hear, and those in the small places—where the wind could still be heard and the air was clean, unsullied by the cities of the modern world—were able to hear its faint voice.

    In the great cataclysm, when the cities crumbled to ash, and the unwashed masses—to whom the word “honor” existed only ...
    Life , Virtual Life
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