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Home Pinus Sylvestris
Characters
Kazimierzian Infected Knight A icon.png
An Infected Knight
Kazimierzian Knight A icon.png
A Spectating Knight (A)
Kazimierzian Knight B icon.png
A Spectating Knight B
Armorless Union Assassin icon.png
Armorless Union Member
Blank icon.svg
Major Commentator
Backgrounds
Kazimierz Arena
1
Kazimierz Alley
2
Kazimierz Ghetto
3
Kawalerielki Arena
4
Kazimierz Lounge
5
K.G.C.C. Basement
6
A Zalak with a red tail walks about the Grand Knight Territory. An Infected with a red tail attempts to change lives. A Knight with a red tail–has become a leader.
<Background 1>
[The audience cheers.]
Major Commentator Fifteen knights, fifteen chances to take first prize!
Who's the Knight tonight?! Who are you betting on?! And who's going to walk out of the bloodbath with a handful of gold? Who'll stride through the storm to win our admiration?!
We're ten minutes away from the official start of the match! Don't miss this chance to get filthy rich overnight! You'd only end up kicking yourself! Now let's witness the birth of a rising star!
[Sona, the Flametail Knight, approaches a Zalak knightess clad in black/grey armor.]
Sona What's your name?
An Indifferent Knight Do you need something?
Sona C'mon, drop the act for a minute. It's not every day you see a Zalak knight around here, so I'm just popping over to say hi, that's all.
An Indifferent Knight ......
Sona Nervous?
An Indifferent Knight Are you... Infected too?
Sona I mean, who wouldn't be? Only Infected would fight a match like this... our lives are a goddamned game here.
An Indifferent Knight ......
Sona What'cha staring at me for? Spooky.
An Indifferent Knight It's just... you seem a little... familiar.
Sona Mmm? Trying to cozy up to me?
An Indifferent Knight No. Maybe you're right about Zalak knights... being pretty uncommon.
Sona Well, since life's bundled us together, how about we team up?
An Indifferent Knight Huh?
Quit playing around. I'm in this to–
Sona To give the knight nobility a little hands-on knock-knock?
An Indifferent Knight ...How do you...
Sona Got it in your eyes.
It's too obvious. There's disdain, there's anger, and they've been your bywords for a little too long–those couple of bigshot knights up in the stands, they're beginning to notice you, y'know?
An Indifferent Knight This place isn't worth that.
Sona Don't jump to conclusions, okay... take a look around. What are the different kinds of Infected knights around here?
Some bought up by the big shots as a little gambling pastime. There's a share in it for them if they make it, and if they lose, hoo boy, let's not get into that.
Of course, you've got some anonymous nobodies, thirsty for a real-ass high-riding knight or some merchant to pick them out. Thirsty to become... a tool.
They've got no other way. Infected never get any other way.
An Indifferent Knight What are you getting at?
Sona C'mon. Let's team up, okay?
Your chances in a melee, see, they're always better with a little personal alliancing, y'know?
An Indifferent Knight So why do you want to win, then? For the prize money?
Sona No. Because I can't let anyone else win.
An Indifferent Knight –The hell.
Sona There's something going on behind this match. A couple Infected... I'm not too sure yet, but my worry's they've "settled on it," so to speak.
They've decided to trample the others, haul themselves on up, for better odds of survival.
The only real choice, right? Too real for plenty here to not be thinking it.
–That's why I can't let them win. If someone wins, someone loses. Big whoop. But if someone's living, then... someone's dying.
An Indifferent Knight A vague sense of justice isn't gonna win you much trust.
But–sure. Right now is make-or-break for Knights Association approval...
I'm in. Zalak and Zalak. Beats teaming with some rando any day.
Sona Eh? For real?
An Indifferent Knight If you just came over to screw with me, then I'm gonna start with you.
Sona Whoa, whoa, whoa, no, I'm real. Let's take this melee together, Ashley.
An Indifferent Knight Greynuty Kaliska.
Sona ...Kaliska...?
An Indifferent Knight Joke of a surname. Just pretend you don't know, even if you've heard it before.
[Sona and the fellow Zalak knightess, now known as Greynuty, walks to the arena together, welcomed by the audience's cheer.]
Major Commentator Now! Let's welcome–
Sona You can call me Sona, Ashley.
<Background 2>
Greynuty ...Sona.
Sona Mmm? What's up?
Greynuty Back then, at the end, you took my points out of nowhere, didn't you?
Sona ...Ahaha... Ashley, c'mon... that was, uh...
C'mon, are you still not over that?
Greynuty Don't you think I might be a little stuck on it?
Sona Well...
Greynuty But not because you stole the crown from me.
Sona Uh...
Greynuty You said you couldn't let anyone else win... and I was just the same.
Sona Urgh!
Greynuty What are you overreacting for? We'd only just met then. It's normal not to trust.
Sona No, well... uh... actually, yeah...
Greynuty Look, weren't we going to see how the Infected ghetto was doing? Let's move.
Sona Allow me! To come up with an excuse! To restore our bonds of Knightclub trust–!
Greynuty Since when were we in a Knightclub?!
Sona ...Heh.
Since sooner or later, Ashley.
Greynuty You mean... that Knightclub for Infected?
Sona Pinus Sylvestris.
I came from around Victoria, if you're curious. Plenty of that sort of pine tree around, back when I was young. These days they're long gone, though.
Greynuty ...Pinus sylvestris? Pinus... sylvestris...
You were one of those Zalaks who got hit by that Catastrophe?! You got left for dead by the knights too–the Kaliskas abandoned you...
Sona Let it go, Ashley. It's bygone stuff.
Greynuty But... then your infection was... my family's fault?
Sona Didn'tcha already break from your family? They don't count as family anymore, then.
You're not feeling any guilt for me, not on my watch. Oh, right, weren't you just talking about how I stole your championship?
We're even.
Greynuty ......
<Background 3>
An Infected Knight So you're... "Flametail" Sona?
Sona You know me, then.
An Infected Knight Haha, not many Infected around who win knight titles. I know them all.
So Pinus Sylvestris is led by the one and only "Flametail" Sona... that puts me at ease, then.
Sona You look after those kids?
An Infected Knight I do. Er, but I only took them in... and a couple of them aren't Infected, actually. I was gonna send them to an aid station somewhere.
So I can't come along for the ride. Sorry, Flametail.
Sona Can I get your name, at least?
An Infected Knight ...Jamie. Call me Jamie.
Sona Jamie, then. You said you know a couple Infected knights?
Every Infected keeping up the independent fight is an ally in waiting.
I remember one making a big splash lately... a Liberi, a sniper.
An Infected Knight You're right, and there's a Kuranta... she's "Leader" to a couple Infected knights, and to others, "Wild Mane."
<Background 2>
A Wild Knight ...*Spit*.
Sona Yo, Iwona. Tired?
A Wild Knight Hey there, Sona.
You, uh... seem pretty smooth rolling, still. Strong stuff.
Sona Not really. Just... always gotta keep up some of the lax act.
A Wild Knight You tired too? Didn't know you felt it. Figured you were always like that, on the forward march.
Sona Ahaha...
A Wild Knight Hah. That proves you trust me, though. Looking that beat in front of me.
So, this, uh... Armorless Union biz. How do we deal with 'em?
Sona Do everything we can to keep them from knowing where exactly the Infected are settled.
A Wild Knight So long as they hide in the city, an Infected's got nowhere to go.
We'll get found sooner or later, Sona. This isn't gonna solve anything.
You need to think of some way–
Sona Mmm.
A Wild Knight –Nah, maybe we oughtn'ta dump everything on your back. I'm sorry.
Yeah, chewing over stuff like this isn't my style, but you oughtn'ta run your own load too heavy, Sona. We're here for you.
Sona ......
Mmm!
<Background 4>
[The audience cheers for a cold-looking Liberi knightess.]
A Cold-Looking Knight ......
A Spectating Knight A She's an Infected, isn't she? How'd she get so many points...?
A Spectating Knight B Not just that, Night of Knights had a whole spread for her interview a few days ago!
A Spectating Knight A They either take underground fights for money, or uncompenasted battles just to get a title from the Association. How do Infected like her even survive?
Greynuty So that's Justyna?
She looks frail as a twig. Where's the skill?
Sona You ever hear the one about books and covers?
But the papers haven't, uh... been duly proper to her lately.
Greynuty How many times have they ever been proper to Infected?
Actually, forget Infected. When have the media ever cared about being fair to anyone?
Sona Can we believe anything that Armorless goon said?
Greynuty It's something to go off. Beats having no ideas at all.
What's our plan?
[The audience cheers for the Liberi knightess, now known as Justyna, again.]
A Spectating Knight That's what I'm talking about–Justyna! Get that Feather Knight!
To the left! Behind the stone bunker! Yeah! That's it–no, no! Don't peek out, you'll be clocked–nooo!
Sona She's pretty popular, huh.
Greynuty Might not wanna join us?
If she keeps doing what she's doing, she'll be titled sooner or later. Make a killing riding the wave of popularity, and maybe she can go find somewhere quiet to live out her days.
If she's that kind of Infected, can we really talk them into helping us?
Sona We can't talk anyone over.
But this city forces Infected to make a choice in the end.
Honestly, it might just force everyone.
Greynuty I hardly ever see you this pessimistic.
Sona You're the one who asked!
Greynuty I'm here hoping the Flametail Knight'll declare to me "no problem, it's all under control."
Sona ...haha.
No problem... it's all under control.
<Background 5>
Iwona The Adeptus Sprawiedliwi?!
Sona Shh–
Justyna ...Still not certain.
Besides, it's still ambiguous how the Adeptus treat Infected.
Greynuty How would any of those knight families give a thought for the Infected?
We're just outsiders to them. They'd never let us get away.
Iwona No matter how arrogant they are, I'd still take five hundred of them over the K.G.C.C. Dumb shameless assholes.
Greynuty You've got a soft spot for campaign knights.
Iwona Ha, they're the knights who fought Ursus off the grasslands! Tops clowns on stage winning points with the audience any day!
Justyna ...Ursus. All I know of them is the news I saw when I was young...
Iwona Ursus lost their war with Higashi. Of course the knights cranked up the publicity machine.
Greynuty You... know about the war between Ursus and Higashi too?
Iwona Hey, they forced me to read a dead tree or two when I was young. It was all stuff on the modern history of the campaign knights.
Justyna I can't imagine it.
Iwona sitting at a table, holding a book. It's too farfetched. Inconceivable.
Iwona What?
Sona You're from a campaign knight family, I think?
Studying's not... outta the question... for you, I guess, haha...
Iwona Keh! Is this how you all see me?!
Ten years after the Tenth Kazimierz-Ursus War, the Emperor of Ursus got seriously sick, and everything annexed from Kazimierz fell into the nobles' hands.
The crown prince picked up on the corruption inside the military even before succession, goading two Armies to rise up, as a distraction.
No way the Ursus nobles could ever agree on one plan, but they were all born and raised in this nation of chaos. They sent their own forces out against Higashi without any argument, so they could cover up their own crimes...
Which led to Higashi launching an attack of their own on Ursus far beyond what anyone expected, and in the end, the decisive battle took place inside Ursus territory.
Sona Jeez. Didn't know you had straight history lectures in you, Iwona.
Greynuty No clarification on those bits that obviously got mixed in.
Iwona At that point in Kazimierz, a good deal of the knights thought they should strike while Ursus was up to their ears in it, and in all the unrest, they'd take back the cities they lost ten years ago...
Sona Iwona?
Iwona ...and that was 1072. 25 years ago.
My grandparents were there with the scouts who resisted Ursus, only to get strangled by the Army before they could really rise up. I wish I got to know them.
Sona ......
Iwona Hey, don't take it so hard. That's the past. I'm not a campaign knight anymore, so I jump when you say jump, Sona.
Enough about me. Let's talk your plans now.
Sona This morning, Jamie got three, maybe four new Infected in on his end.
Miners, infected in a small industrial accident, but the contractor declined to reimburse their medical fees, so with nowhere to go, they ended up with the police out for them.
And that's not the end... we've had over ten normal Infected join us this month already, right?
They live in the darkest, dankest corners of the Grand Knight Territory... we've got no way to settle them.
Greynuty ...Sona.
Sona We've still got time. We've got power. We'll find a way.
But... I won't... let any innocent Infected end up risking themselves with us.
If the Adeptus really will let us all have legal identities again, live on in Kazimierz, then–
<Background black>
We have no other choice.
<Background 2>
Sona –Man, this is some party.
[Two members of the Armorless Union approach Sona.]
Armorless Union Member Flametail Knight, Sona.
You are suspected of illegally harboring Infected, publicly violating the Knights Association's code of conduct. Put an end to your resistance.
Hand over the illegal Infected, and we will report your case to the Knights Association.
Sona Musta missed this. Armorless have authority to help settle biz for the police and knights now?
Armorless Union Member ......
Sona Let's all be honest. Don't you guys feel ashamed when you use the law as this big pompous excuse?
Armorless Union Member Your provocations will get you nowhere, Flametail Knight.
You have already overstepped the mark. Here in the Grand Knight Territory, drawing the Chamber's gaze is tantamount to death.
Sona Death? That's some scary stuff there.
Armorless Union Member A biological death is not death's only sense, Flametail Knight.
The more chances for survival Kazimierz accords us, the more deaths it creates for us down the line.
All hands, take aim!
[Before the A.U. members open fire, they are bombarded from behind.]
Armorless Union Member –Shelling from the rear?!
Greynuty Sona! I'm here!
Armorless Union Member It's backup from Pinus Sylvestris Knightclub! Surround them!
[Iwona charges to the A.U. attackers.]
Iwona Justyna!
Justyna Roger. Laying cover fire.
Iwona Sorry, Sona, I'm going in!
[Iwona struck one of the A.U. attackers, knocking him down.]
<Background 6>
Platinum Do Infected cry?
Armorless Union Member What?
Platinum Infected. I don't mean the knights who had the guts to resist the Chamber. I mean all the normal Infected.
They just got Oripathy, right?
Armorless Union Member Er... yes?
Platinum They're not monsters. And they're not scum of the earth either.
I'm not all that into this assignment.
Armorless Union Member Don't ever let the Lazurites hear you say that!
But still, have you found some sort of compassion for them, Platinum?
Platinum Huh. Compassion... not really, I guess. I don't even get the time for myself, after all.
Compassion's a luxury kinda deal these days.
Armorless Union Member ...Ha.
Platinum I've got other assignments. Dealing with the Infected is pretty small-time. You guys have it.
It doesn't matter what tantrums Adeptus throws at the K.G.C.C., neither's gonna wanna keep Infected in the Grand Knight Territory.
The nobles aren't gonna care whether Infected live or die, are they?
<Background 3>
Sona ...How the...
An Infected Knight Flametail!
It's the Armorless... the Armorless suddenly attacked us!
Sona Stay calm. What went down?
An Infected Knight They sealed off the street nearby two hours ago. We were busted long ago. And then they... used gas to force us out of the houses...!
Sona
An Infected Knight A few knights picked up on it. They used their own bodies to block the Armorless's shots, but some still...
Sona ......
An Infected Knight Where...?
Where do we go next? If the Armorless Union got us the first time, they'll get us the second, the third... we...
Sona Save the eulogies. First, we need to... move the rest of the Infected.
An Infected Knight Should we get out of the Grand Knight Territory? Go somewhere in the countryside...
At least! At least get the Infected civilians out of here–
[Greynuty walks to Sona and the Infected knight.]
Greynuty We've been leaning on our knighthood so hard to give them some kind of cover.
When there's no knighthood involved, when they're out of the Grand Knight Territory, it's only gonna get worse for them...
An Infected Knight So we just... take it?! We give up and accept this?!
<Background black>
Sona ...The Adeptus.
We still have... that on the table, don't we.
<Background 5>
Greynuty Sona!
Iwona I'm back.
Justyna How was it?
Sona I was dealing with an old knight... Definitely one of the Adeptus higher-ups, no doubt about it.
Greynuty Best we don't trust the Grand Knight Territory nobles too hard, Sona.
Sona It was Demian... vice-president of the Knights Association.
Greynuty ......!
Iwona Ha, there's a big guy for you. VP Demian, the renowned campaign knight.
I remember him. Huge ruckus for the news when he was discharged and came back to the Territory to do boring old civil service.
A descendant of the heroes, like that one Maria girl.
Justyna And the conditions...?
If you're back here, that means there's been actual headway, correct? What conditions did the Adeptus Sprawiedliwi set?
Sona A separation. A Great Separation.
He wants to borrow our efforts... to put this city... to sleep.
Greynuty ......
Justyna ......
Iwona ...Uh. What's that mean?
<Background black>
Sona That's how the plan goes, roughly.
<Background 3>
Sona We can do this... right?
Greynuty Are you asking me?
Maybe. I'm not giving up until I see those dumb knight nobles bowing to me.
Sona You guys?
Iwona Real simple plan. We fail if we're not strong enough. We get even stronger next time, we're good.
Long as we don't die, yeah?
Justyna ...Relax. Uncoil, don't get nervous.
Pinus Sylvestris just needs to stay Pinus Sylvestris... and we'll be fine.
Whether or not we succeed, we only have one way open to us. There's no difference, really.
Sona ...Difference, huh.
......
Greynuty Sona!
Sona Hm?
Greynuty You've been zoning out a lot lately. What's wrong?
Sona Nah... nothing, really.
Let's go. We've gotta find a place for the Infected, still.
<Background black>
......
......
Run away... hurry!
Away from the sawdust... fire everywhere... chokes your sinuses... the soil's too hot to touch...
Ore... Originium... gashing...
The Kaliskas abandoned their subjects–
<Background 2>
Sona –!
(Did I... fall asleep? On a bench?)
Ashley'd be on my case again if she was sitting here.
Phew...
Lot of people... out on the street.
(Infected under the Knights Association's supervision aren't allowed to walk around freely.)
(If all these pedestrians... knew there was an Infected out in broad moonlight here, I wonder what they'd think?)
......
Without knowing why, a thought flits through Sona's mind.
"They wouldn't think much."
Pedestrians bustle, coming and going as life demands, melting together under the rainbow lights.
The Zalak called "Flametail" silently watches the city before her.
[Sona's phone rings. She picked it up and Greynuty is heard over the phone.]
Sona Hm? Oh, hey, it's Ashley. What's up–
Greynuty Trouble! Sona, they found the underground shelter!
We're not gonna make it in time to move everyone! Whoever we save, we save! Hurry, get back–
[Sona hangs up...]
Sona This is an Infected...
Right here!
[...and heads out to help her Pinus Sylvestris comrades and the Infected.]