The Lone Survivor Backstory
I am a Commander in training. I am a new Cadet of an echelon that maintains order and discipline within the ranks of the Organization, a division generally known as “Commanders”. Our job is also to debrief Seekers after their missions so that we have a clearer idea as to where to direct new expeditions in search of Qoam and artifacts. One of my first experiences was the most disturbing.
I watched as the Seeker and the guards stood at the entrance to the Organization Headquarters. The Seeker’s garments were tattered and torn and he had in his left hand a strange artifact shaped as long staff that split at one end to form two prongs. In his right hand he bore his Insignia, held out in front of him, the chain broken. Both his Insignia and the chain were marked with dark, rust-like splotches of dried blood. The guards stood in front of him, wide-eyed and wary, barring his progress. The head guard shouted “There were fifty of you on that mission!! Where are the others?! How did you make it back alive?!”
As he shouted two guards moved to apprehend the Seeker, but he raised the Artifact and the guards shouted in pain, forced to move back in position. They remained in that tableau until the two Commanders and I arrived.
All members of the Organization had to answer to the Commanders and at the sight of The Commanders the Seeker lowered the Artifact, saying “I will speak only to you”. To which the Chief Commander replied: “You must speak to us” and delivered a well-aimed blow at the Seeker’s left arm, forcing him to drop the Artifact.
He gestured to the guards who pushed the Seeker, shouting and poking him, into one of the inner chambers of the Organization. There they forced him to sit on a cold metal chair while the Second Commander and I started to shout urgent questions at the Seeker. Suddenly silence fell as the Chief Commander entered the chamber. He was dressed simply in a long-sleeved tunic and trousers, but the cloth was expensive and his Insignia was carved out of a rare variety of Qoam.
“Leave him” said the Chief Commander quietly “mend his wounds”.
“Thank you sir” gasped the Seeker.
“Don’t thank me. I need you conscious to answer my questions.”
The Chief of Commanders turned to the Second Commander and the guards in the Chamber and ordered them in a steady calm voice “Feed him and give him drink. No liquor. Bathe him and clothe him. I want him healthy and aware before I begin the interrogation.” The Seeker froze in place, suddenly scared of what was to follow.
The guards, Second Commander and I grasped his arms and brought him slowly to his feet. We did as the Chief Commander had ordered us to do. The Seeker said nothing, saving his energy for what was to follow.
Finally, with his wounds dressed, bathed, clothed and fed, he was taken back to the Inner Chamber. There The Chief Commander was waiting with the Second Commander and a couple of guards. The Seeker sat down, facing us. The Chief Commander nodded at me and I began the interrogation.
“It is not unusual for Seekers to die in the Regions. It is not unusual for Seekers to return to the Organization with artefacts. What is unusual is for one Seeker from a group of fifty to return alone with an unusual, apparently powerful and therefore valuable artefact that has an energy that could be other than Qoam.”
As I spoke the Chief and Second Commanders remained silent, watching the expression of The Seeker carefully for signs of emotion.
“The Organization is intrigued by what you brought back, Seeker. Nothing like it has ever been seen. And you return alone. The lone survivor.”
Both Commanders continued to look at him closely “What happened out there Seeker? You came back from the Regions on foot, wounded and bleeding.”
The Seeker drew a breath looked from the table to both of the two Commanders and then answered hesitatingly…