// 2019-08-26 // by Neon
Something strange hit me... I don't know you anymore.
The thick crimson cloth lining the granite floorway swallowed the sound of my stride down the vast central aisle to approach the seat of the empire. Passing by my sides as I walked, the towering support columns braced the familiar weight of the imposing palace constructed upon them. The air was stale; the ancient turbines cycling the palace atmospherics had long exceeded their operational lifespan.
A lone figure stood in front of the brass throne, facing in my direction. My brother. I could barely recognise him.
He was decorated in the full regal attire of our father, a sharp blue fitted overcoat with the imperial insignia brandished in gold on his left breast and flowing scarlet cape made of the finest Selean silk, woven with arcane microconductors in a special lattice to disperse the arclight charge of most small-arms. But his face-- the little brother that I remembered was wrinkled with age and his eyes held the look of a hardened sovereign.
I continued forward. The way he looks at me... oh brother of mine, surely you recognise me too?
He quickly took stock of me as I approached and, in the fashion of a seasoned soldier, he swiftly reached to grasp the pistol at his hip and raise it in my direction in a singular fluid action.
Isn't this my home?
I instinctively raised my arms up, "Wait..."
A sharp tinge of ozone pierced the musky palace air, followed by an earsplitting crack.
I scrambled to cover my eyes from the brilliant flash, but the oily spray of lubricant faintly misting my face was all I could feel as my legs crumpled under my weight and my senses were engulfed in a luminous darkness.
Art sourced under free to use licence. Edits made by me in GIMP. Source assets are listed below.