Favor the Fallen Part 1

Bryant Montgomery, Staff writer

Family and Fortune

“Manifestations of the universe’s void are known as Vorids. Born when a baby first breathes, they are created into the form of an animal alongside their creator. A symbiotic relationship of life and the non-living that brings harmony to all planes of existence. Chaos bows, destruction dissipates, and evil dies to its creation.”

-Professor Varot Lectures, Intro to Vosology at Yaevan University

Corynth and his vorid’s mutations were almost impeccable. The edges of the fingers were as rigid as steel, the horns were as sharp as glass, twice as tall as himself, and obedient to every call. Almost every gene is engineered to maximize its killing potential. Even as it stood there waiting for his command, its sapphire eyes twitched, examining the details of the dark chamber.

Vorids never intended to kill at first but people sowed seeds into their DNA; now they reap hatred. Mutators injected serums into their vorids, then had them battle it with others in illegal, underground arenas. The result of the once innocent guardian was now a beast; unrecognizable with over-exaggerated claws, teeth, and horns. Even the greatest strides in gene-editing technology are because of illegal mutators and their labs which are funded by millions of fans.

The gates rose and the being of alteration came onto the arena. His opponent’s vorid had almost the same killing features except it had a mutated moose skull, sharp antlers, and longer arms complemented by a hunched posture that resembled that of a gorilla.

Their skin was almost the shade of black ink and the only contrast was their steel-like bodies that reflected the bright lights of the arena. The crowd roared at the sight of the two monsters and made it difficult to hear the horn pulse.

Corynth’s vorid struck first. The edges of its claw plunged right into the skin of the other and the receiver returned the favor. Each pierced farther into the body, searching for a heart. Then they both retracted their arms, taking as much tissue as their fingers could hold. Once the two vorids made contact, the crowd roared; this had fed their never-ending hunger for mayhem; though, the yells from the crowd carried throughout the arena and echoed causing Corynth to become more engrossed with the crowd than the actual battle. Corynth’s heart started to beat faster and faster; when it did his vorid’s attacks quickened.

The lives of the owner were tethered to the life of the vorid; this means that if one died the other died too. Though, most didn’t act like the life of the other mattered.

“Keep your head low and attack the eyes!” Corynth’s opponent bellowed from the stands.

His vorid did as he commanded and the sharp edges of the antlers can be seen as clear as day; both beasts waited patiently.  Then in a blinding fashion, the antlers burst forward. Instinctively, Corynth’s vorid dodged. Countering the attack it clawed right through the back of its opponent; lacerating its tissue which promptly exposed its beating heart. Before his opponent could fathom any words, Corinth’s vorid plunged its horn right through the heart and lifted its kill to the crowd. They awed at the repulsive body that Corynth’s vorid presented. Dark blood oozed from the lifeless vorid and gradually began to coat the body of the successor.

Corynth’s opponent was greeted by the same fate that had led to his vorid’s demise. “The price you pay when you dance with death,” he thought. Everyone knew the consequences of being a mutator, yet so many were still blinded by the riches, renown, and glory.

The silence that had once filled the arena boomed with fury, excitement, and every emotion in between. Corynth screamed in victory, relieved that he could live another day. Looking at the condition of his opponent’s vorid made him think, “That could’ve been me”, though the shouts and bickering had made him abandon that thought. The horn pulsed, marking the end of the match.

He retreated back into the starting room and so did his vorid. That’s when the screams were heard.

“RAID!” the cry arose from everywhere in the stands.

His heart sank and anxiety drowned his thoughts. The only challenger to the mutators was the government itself.

“Let’s go!” he screamed to his vorid.

His vorid started to run in a corridor right under him. The arena used to be an old, underground military installation, but it now serves a greater purpose. The screaming started to die down as more people got captured. Those who attended the event were being pursued by the government who did their best to capture and arrest, causing the arena to become more docile.

People became more concerned with morality, and the consequences of mutating a vorid were of great importance in debates.

All halls in the installation led to an entrance but it was incredibly likely that it would be guarded. Then he remembered another exit. Corynth met with his vorid again after a staircase connected their two corridors. It was still covered in the victim’s dark blood. After taking a left, a security room ahead had an escape to the surface that might provide the stealth necessary to escape. In a haste, he sprinted to the room where he threw the doors open. It wasn’t until he was in the middle of the room that he finally stopped. Now, he looked at the ladder that was propped up on the pipe, this could aid him in his escape back to the surface. After clambering up the stairs of the ladder, he opened the hatch and saw a crisp, pink sunset, with a grassy plain below. It was suddenly contrasted by the black silhouette of a tall woman, with dark eyes, a stern expression, and an albino monkey on her shoulder.

Courtesy of Patty Baker

“I didn’t want to believe it was you, but here you are.” she said.

“I-” Corynth hesitantly began.

“Each second you live is a threat to my existence. Think for once in your life! Do you think that a founder with a son that does the same crimes it tries to stop will end well?”

“Who tipped you off?”

“That should be the last question you should be asking after I’m done with you.”

His vorid clawed its way up the ladder and without hesitation, the woman shot it with a small gun-like weapon. The metallic body now reflecting the glow of the pink sun was electrocuted with a silver shock; leaving the body to fall to the grass. Its sapphire eyes closed.

“NO!” shouted Corynth.

“Shut up, let’s go.”

With no choice, he followed her across the grassy plains and to a car.

“What’ll happen to it?” Corynth asked with hesitation.

“Caring about your vorid? How nice of you.” she responded sarcastically.

“I can explain.”

“No you can’t. Besides, it’s more important to us than it is to you.”

Hope drained from his face as the sun fell below the horizon. The grassy plains soon turned to a dark road; the longer the silence prolonged the more his hatred grew.

“What are you going to do to me?” he demanded.

“Still got spunk to talk to me after what you did, huh? Just like your dad.” she snapped back.

He had been caught off guard.  To keep his composure, Corynth took a couple of deep breaths in and out; he also began to plan his escape. The more he thought, the grimmer it seemed.

The pastel yellow moon rose opposite where the pink sun fell. Then he started to stare quietly at the small albino macaque monkey on her shoulder. The windows were open and whipped his hair. The woman took a quick glance at him.

“Did you forget what a real vorid looks like?” she inquired calmly.

“I’m not sure” he responded truthfully.

“Do you remember what your vorid used to look like?”

“It was a pygmy marmoset.”

“Yeah, and when I saw you both when you were born I  couldn’t decide which I loved more.”

Corynth smirked and his mother noticed.

“You know the lives of our vorids matter just as much as we do. They have thoughts and feelings too—if you keep mutating them then you mutate your connection to the soul.”

He pondered quietly about what she said. People and vorids were one and the same. Both guarded each other because both mattered to the other, but the relationship changed ever since the mutation arenas. Now it was a monster and creator. The morals just faded away as a consequence and everyone was fine with that. Well, almost everyone. He thought of how his vorid used to be; its soft fur and brown eyes. He could never forget the first injection he impaled in his vorid, since it was the last time it clung to his arm. He stared toward the dark sky and thought, “Maybe she was right.”


Dungeon Hallway-Courtesy of Taryn Meixner

Pink Clouds-Courtesy of Patty Baker