"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Riz
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Aarrghhh.
[ * ]
Darren Locke's world was spinning.

Disoriented, half-blinded by sunlight, and sick in the pit of his stomach, he struggled to sit up. He found himself surrounded by trees, and the earth beneath him a steep slope. Glancing around for a moment, he crawled to the largest tree in the immediate area and propped himself up against it, the treacherous hillside now stretching upward in front of him.

Why did this happen?

Scowling and doing his best to rid his mind of panic, his attention was drawn to a pair of duffel bags propped against the root of a nearby tree. Straining himself in the reach, he caught hold of the larger of the two, his own, and pulled it towards him. He unzipped it anxiously and began rooting through his change of clothes, fixated on the one thing that could give him an honest shot of surviving, but it wasn't there.

Dad's pocket knife.... He's not gonna like this.

With a dejected sigh, he turned his attention to the other duffel. He pulled it into his lap and noted the "B106" marked in bold on the side. Unzipping the bag, he could see a folded up map, a compass, some sort of booklet, and....

This wasn't his dad's pocket knife. It was something different. Something much better. Taking a firm grip on the weathered hilt, he lifted it out of the duffel and gazed wide-eyed at the dirt-coated, but nonetheless silver blade. He knew what this was.

A gladius.

The weapon of the Roman soldiers was now his primary tool for survival. But killing his fellow students? His friends? He forced the thought to the back of his mind and instead focused on being dearly grateful for his own luck, for being given a real shot at making it home.

He lay the weapon gingerly on the ground and turned his attention back to the duffel bag. With another shot of relief he saw bottles of water and loaves of bread. He reached eagerly for one of the bottles and took a great hearty gulp. Rejuvenated, he closed his eyes and took a deep, measured breath. Not entirely sure of his long-term plan, he reached back into the second pack and picked up the compass. Holding it before him, unsure if it even worked, the needle told him that the steep incline before him was south.

A calm and profound desire to go home gave his legs strength and, using the great tree as support, Darren Locke stood up.
V4: B106: Darren Locke - Gladius
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Orientation · The Felled Forest: South