Recently, I’ve hit a roadblock with my main stories, as I’ve gotten a bit bogged down in the world building and plot crafting, so today I decided to do a small freewrite to get my creative juices flowing.
Titanfall is the working title for a story idea I’ve been playing with for a few months now. The genre is a sort of apocalyptic/sci-fi mix.
Roughly 50 years prior, the world fell into a third world war which spanned nearly 3 decades. Toward what would become the end of the war, a swarm of hostile creatures of unknown origin descended upon the earth. Greatly resembling dinosaurs, these creatures came to be called dragons. Their appearance was followed shortly by even deadlier monsters, many the size of small cities, which came to be called titans. Human civilization was reduced to small pockets of refugees, and many of these small bands began to doubt that there might be any other survivors.
Shortly after the appearance of the titans, an event known as Titanfall, a young boy was found unconscious in the path of one of the beasts. His identity and origin a mystery, the young boy soon claimed the name of Nox, meaning “night,” and made it his mission to discover the truth behind the bringers of the apocalypse.
A thick mist hung heavy over the gnarled trees that spanned the near horizon, the greyish red light of dawn casting an eerie glow against the dismal landscape. In the distance, a large, dark form could be seen traipsing slowly along an unmarked path, its ribbed back arching above the treetops which shook with each lumbering step. Nothing else broke the silence.
From where he stood on the crumbling concrete steps of an old church building, a young man of about 16 watched the dark form disappear into the grey curtain stretched along the horizon, keen hazel eyes silently mapping its path. He jumped at a light touch at his elbow.
“Is everything alright, Nox?”
The visitor was a young girl of about 12. Her long black hair was pulled back into a braid, and she looked up at the teen with worried, pale blue eyes.
“Yeah, it’s fine, Emma. You shouldn’t be out here, though. We never know when a dragon or titan might show up.”
“As if this old dump would be any match for a titan,” the girl snipped back, crossing her arms over her chest.
Nox sighed, then patted her head before turning back to the door.
“I can’t argue that,” he responded. “But anyway, come inside already. I could use some help with breakfast.”
“You were watching the titans again, weren’t you?”
Nox paused at the question, staring absently into the skillet of sizzling potatoes in front of him.
“You know me too well,” he answered at length, his hand coming to rest on the hilt of the sword at his hip.
“I wish you wouldn’t do that.”
Emma’s countenance sank with her voice as she uttered the words.
“It scares me when you do that. You always look like you’re about to leave.”
Nox cast his gaze away at this, his shoulders slumping slightly. Emma seemed to notice this, and quickly she dropped the knife she had been using to slice mushrooms with, rushing to grab Nox by the arm.
“Nox, you’re not really…thinking…”
The young man cringed at the pain in the girl’s voice.
“I’m sorry, Emma. But I can’t help it. I want to know who I am, and the titans are my only lead.”
“You’re Nox! You’re my friend! What else do you need to know?”
Emma was crying now.
“I’ve already lost my brother. Why do I have to lose you, too?”
A pain constricted around Nox’s heart as he watched the girl sob, and quietly he pulled her into a tight hug.
“I wouldn’t be gone forever, you know. I just want to figure out where I come from. You know where they found me, in the path of a titan. I don’t have any memory of where I’m from, but how could I have been such a young kid and survived an encounter with a titan? I can’t stop thinking about it. And I don’t think I’ll ever be able to rest until I find answers to my questions. You understand, don’t you?”
Emma’s grip on his shirt tightened, but her sobs had died down some by now.
At this, Nox stood back slightly, leaning down to look her in the eye.
“You’ve seen me fight off dragons, and you know I would never intentionally put myself in harm’s way without reason. It would just be a short journey. And it’s not like you’re alone here. The headmistress is here to take care of you. You’ve got the guards to protect you, and the other orphans to spend time with. I’m not the only person in this compound.”
“You’re the only Nox, though.”
The girl averted her eyes as she spoke, her cheeks flushing a slight pink.
Nox laughed at this.
“True. I don’t know that the world could handle more than one of me.”
“The headmistress won’t be happy.”
“She doesn’t need to know. And anyway, it’s not like we’re prisoners, exactly.”
For a moment, silence fell over the room. Only the sound of the potatoes sizzling on the stove nearby broke the stillness.
Then, after a time, Emma crossed her arms over her chest and asked quietly, “When do you leave?”