Talion: The Storm-broken
“If you try to hold on to something that is broken… it will send you insane.”
– Max Rocatanski
VOICE OVER – TALION, over a montage of regret, loss, and pain:
I watched the world fall. By stops; by starts; piece by piece. I tried to hold on to my small piece of it. To protect my own, my family. My wife; my children.
They fell through my fingers, like wasted grains of sand. In my grief, I did not even notice the descent into chaos. The whirling rage, the endless grief, seemed reflected in a world gone mad. Mutual annihilation; mass destruction; wars, rumours of wars. I guess – I do not know – I guess millions, maybe billions, died, and all I could feel was my own loss.
I did not question my long years. Time seemed to lose meaning, replaced by mere survival. In those years, as humanity changed into something baser, something meaner, I walked the growing deserts. I saw death on a scale that few ever witness, and only had a mind for those shining eyes that I would never see again. My rage grew, festering in madness, sunk into a despair with foundations deep in the bedrock of my bottomless regret.
I did not know it, but generations were born, lived, and died, while all my thought was turned to staying alive. A single impulse: to exist, not for life’s sake, but for the knowledge that if I were to die, the inner image of my lost loves would fade for all time.
I became an animal. No thought. No higher impulse. Just the will to live, to endure, for a single reason.
To punish myself; endlessly.
VISION: Talion, in a succession of action. Killing, surviving, seeking nothing but to outlast his world and what it has become. Eventually, he is bested. Pale figures, mutated by radiation, disease, and their own twisted faith, take him, chain him. Make him a slave.
VOICE OVER – TALION:
I thought my pain had caught up with me. Caged, like the animal I knew myself to be, used, as I used the world as a knife to bleed my soul. I was bled, and I thought I would never bleed dry. I thought I had found my end, but my blood kept flowing; endless numbers finding succour in the red river of my being.
I knew then, I was cursed. There were those who arose in the after times, to find a place in the fallen world; they talked of heavens and hells. The Karmic Home. Valhalla. The Great God V8. The Storm Brethen. The Lost and Damned. I thought, then, that they may be right, and my punishment was ordained from on high.
Then she saved me.
VISION: Talion, laid out on the flat bed of a moving vehicle. A near-human, with one forearm replaced by an array of scalpels, scissors, applicators, and other devices, leaning over him. Talion is restrained, and there is a line tapped into a vein in his neck, and a dotted line over his abdomen. Around him, cars range, bikes rev, and dust clouds all, as drums pulse. The POV shudders, the flatbed tips, falls, and Talion is thrown free.
From the dust and sand, a hand pulls him to his feet. He responds with a raised fist; she strikes first, and he falls. The hand reaches out again. Like an animal, afraid but hopeful, Talion takes it.
VOICE OVER – TALION: She was saving others, and she – without even knowing – saved me. We fought side by side, and suddenly it felt like there could be something like a future, a thing to believe in other than just living. Something like the hope of redemption. We fought, and we prevailed. We overthrew a tyrant of the Wastes, a despot-cum-messiah.
She wanted to build a better world. A world that had no place for the likes of me. As she was raised on the shoulders of her people, her freed people, I left. I will never forget the last glance we shared: she knew. I was not meant to settle in this place, so ripe with hope and possibility. It was hers to shape, not mine.
She smiled. I never looked back.
VISION: Talion, walking through the desert. Ahead, a great STORM, a roiling mass of red clouds of dust, lightning, and shadow. On foot, he has no hope of outrunning it. He raises a cloth to his face, lowers goggles over his eyes, and plunges into the flying abyss.
VOICE OVER – TALION: The storm took me into its harsh bosom. I was lifted, buried, burned, dashed onto rocks and lifted to my feet again. After finding hope, I was again reduced to that single instinct – survive. But this time, there was her face to guide me through my own past. The loss was still there, and the pain, the eyes of those long dead. But I had been shown another way.
The storm left me. In a place of still air, as tonnes of sand drifted to the ground, I felt like I had become both more and less. I had taken the storm into my heart; it was a thing I could survive. It was a pain I could use, not a pain that defined me.
VISION: Out of the shroud of dust, a man comes. He is dark-skinned, and he leads an army. He bears a scar upon his throat, and the whispered intimation of his own betrayals.
VOICE OVER – TALION: Then I met Martin. He led a host that made me think I was insane again, but he was a pillar of… the real. He asked if I knew where to find an army. I found Warboys for his cause, and he gave me their lead. I followed him, and in his steps the land changed, and I knew that he was of an order of being that the petty despots of the Waste could only dream of. Truly, he could lead his followers to Valhalla. But I knew that I was apart even from them.
Martin’s road lead through strange realms, and our host grew. We found a war, and I fought at his behest. I killed. I directed my ‘Boys to slaughter creatures out of a dream – or a nightmare. And I saved the lives of… I do not know what they are. But they remind me of my lost family. And this green and pleasant land we fought over, this… city by the sea… It seems like the home I thought I had failed to defend.
This place called Amber: it feels like somewhere I can lay my dead to rest.
It feels like hope.