So, I have gone back through and redone the story line for To Those Who Survived the Fall again.
This is the result. A much darker upbringing for Jaune than the previous iteration of this fic. This chapter is not yet complete, but I wanted to throw it out there to see if you guys liked the idea. If I get some good feedback, I'll finish the whole fight scene and continue with this story.
Also, the cover art is the idea I had for what Jaune was going to look like in this fic. Just copy and paste this expression onto Jaune's face and you'll get the picture.
Additional AN: I also have an idea for a new story. Basically, Jaune fighting in a revolution on Remnant as there was another Great War and Atlas has taken over Vale and established a Vichy-esque deal. Probably going to be a Lancaster/White Knight, but I'll leave the pairings open for now.
"You fight with every last ounce of your strength. Every emotion smouldering within your heart. Your hatred, anger, sadness, and guilt never-ending.
You must commit every last fibre of your being to achieve the dream you have long sought after. You shall will this fate into existence. Your heart commands it to be."
[Somewhere in Mistral]
A snowstorm had overtaken the valley. A blizzard, bringing with it an unbearable cold that froze everything not able to withstand the onslaught. It wracked this ancient forest without mercy and without pause. The clouds above blotted out the light, creating perpetual darkness. The winds swept the snow sideways, obscuring the weary traveller's vision, allowing any who were caught inside to be lost.
As the great pines began to gather snow upon their limbs, they slowly succumbed to the weight, bending downwards to the earth. With every passing minute, a mass would slip off, dropping their burden onto the lower limbs and then to the ground. A small plume of ice crystals would hang in the air before being swept away by the wind.
It was a beautiful sight to behold. This frozen forest in all of its peaceful majesty.
Turning your eyes away from this sight and towards a town in the lower valley...
All one could see was the chaos taking place before them.
The entire village was in flames. Not a single building left untouched by the scorching inferno. Houses began to collapse as their wooden structures gave way. Plumes of smoke amassed and thrust into the air, cutting through the thick clouds and ascending beyond. The sound of the crackling and the snapping of the fuel was drowned out by the flames' roar.
Bodies lined the streets in the dozens. Bullet holes riddled to their frozen corpses. Men huddling over their families, trying to shield them from their attackers. Women clutching their babes to their breasts. Children attempting to comfort each other in their time of need. All lay lifeless in the growing layers of snow.
Many had been lined up and shot all at once or in succession. An unsparing use of machine guns or whatever the firing squad had on hand. The bodies lay against walls or in nearby ditches, coating every surface in their blood. Dozens of bullet holes scattered around the corpses served to reinforce the notion.
The victims who had not been shot dead were cut to pieces. Severed limbs lay in the snow several feet away from their bodies. They still tried to flee even after losing blood, dragging themselves through it by their fingertips. Those who had been run through used the walls as their support before inevitably bleeding out. Bloodied handprints and smears followed their trail.
Screams continued to emanate from within the village as the soldiers pillaged, raped, and plundered their way through the town. Some of the raiders could be seen dragging their quarry into a nearby structure against their will. Others threw out supplies from the upper floor of a home or hauled it out of a cellar. A few continued on their objective, slaughtering any who stood in their way.
The survivors who managed to escape being killed were rounded up in the centre of town. All under guard by these soldiers. Open cries and shouts at their captures overtook the howling wind. Their pleas and prayers going unanswered. Nothing was going to save them.
"ALL RIGHT MEN," a gruff sounding man yelled out. His voice could easily be heard over the chaos around him.
He was an older wolf faunus. His face was concealed by a mask. The rest of him was covered in a thick coat over his uniform. Only his ears could be seen poking out of a cowl. Blood spattered his clothing along his right side. He bore a toothy grin, exposing his delight in the slaughter. His most unholy of benedictions.
On his left was a young girl.
She was bound at the wrists and kept under his arm. Her burnt-orange hair swaying as her coat flapped against her body. Tears running down her face, giving away the impression she was afraid for her life. Two cat ears laid flat in reaction to her coursing emotions. A black eye and a broken nose were given to her by one of the bandits.
These men were dressed the same as the older man. Each wearing heavy coats to protect them from the arctic weather. Their robes peaked out from beneath this warm shell. A white vest over black bodysuits.
Every soldier wore a mask resembling a monster. An aim to both cover their identity and symbolise what they had become. Beasts unchained by the laws of man, working to create a new world of their own making.
These soldiers were of the White Fang. Terrorists to some. Freedom fighters to others. Yet, it did not matter what they were here, nor did why. What did matter was what they were doing now.
The soldiers turned to their leader, having heard his call. None let their eyes off the prisoners lest they risk them escaping. Those who returned from the town gathered along the edge of the square.
"THE BULLHEADS ARE ARRIVING IN FIVE HOURS," he continued shouting the plan. "GATHER WHATEVER SUPPLIES YOU FOUND IN THE MAIN SQUARE, AND BEGIN SEPARATING THE PRISONERS INTO GROUPS."
The White Fang quickly separated the humans from faunus as according to their leader. Their plan was still unknown to the weary prisoners. None tried to fight back as over a hundred soldiers had their weapons trained on them. Any attempt at resistance would be futile.
Once the remaining humans had been separated from the whole. A simple nod came from the White Fang leader. Every soldier surrounding the humans aimed their weapons at the prisoners. The expression on their faces contorted to mimic terror. Many began attempting to plead for their lives once again.
Another command followed, and the soldiers opened fire all at once. A cacophony of gunshots rang out over the screams. The sudden barrage of bullets cut through the survivors, tearing them apart. Each of the soldiers continued to empty their magazines until no one was left standing.
The group of faunus, only a dozen feet away, stared at the sight before them in shock. Most cried out in blood-curdling shrieks as they watched the extermination. Their neighbours... No, their friends, or family being massacred without thought.
Once the gunfire had ceased, the few soldiers brandishing a sidearm walked through the mound of corpses. Every body that seemed to be still alive was shot once more in the head. Those few who were able to speak tried to beg for their lives, but found themselves to be cut off by the crack of a handgun.
"Now," the White Fang leader spoke up as his men continued killing the rest of the humans. "Separate everyone under the age of eightee-"
"Captain," one of the White Fang soldiers shouted, cutting the wolf-faunus off. He pointed towards the edge of woods where a figure appeared from within the storm. The rest of the soldiers stood at the ready, anticipating anything.
It was a person clad in a black cloak. The hood was drawn over their head, concealing the identity of the lone wanderer. The length of cloth flapping against the figure's body in the wind, showing his lower legs. Against the light from the fire, one could make out he was wearing a pair of blue trousers tucked into a set of cavalier boots.
Whoever this person was, showed no sign of turning back at the group of armed men before them. None of the soldiers spoke a word in protest of the person's arrival, allowing the town to grow silent. All that could be heard was the crunching of snow under his boots, roaring louder than the howling wind of the storm.
As the person came further into the light, the soldiers backed away; not out of fear, but apprehension for conflict. The audacity for a lone traveller to waltz up to a group of armed men was cause for concern. Even as he reached the town square, no man dared to stop him, permitting him to walk through by moving to the side.
Without the shadows to conceal the person, the White Fang took note of his features.
He was tall. A little over six feet, and towering over most of the White Fang soldiers. He could be seen as a colossus compared to them. His build was concealed by the cloak, yet, his presence could be felt regardless of the cloth. Two broad shoulders and a built chest were the only things to be made out.
His posture was relaxed but unyielding. Moving forward was the only thing on his mind. However, he did not show any telltale signs of fear or caution. Something most others would show in his position. The White Fang were merely rocks in the river for him.
This stride was one that resembled a warrior passing through a battlefield. The chaos taking place around him did not phase him in the slightest. He only marched through the field of bodies, cutting down all who stood in his way.
What was most striking about this person was not how he walked, but the weapon on his back. You could not see the armament when the man was in shadow. The silhouette, possibly, but one would have to be within an arm's distance to observe it.
The grip and pommel jutted out from behind his back, slightly displacing the cloak enough to not cover his right calf. This grip was nearly a foot and a half in length, and the pommel was the size of an apple. A band of cloth was wrapped around the entirety of what could be seen. Two tails hung off the handle from where it had been tied off.
Following this handle downwards, one noticed that it wasn't some pole-arm or another lengthy weapon. It was a sword. A greatsword. The blade nearly coming up to the base of the man's throat if he had been standing next to it. The width was almost five inches and tapered slightly to a diamond point. A fuller was ground into the entire blade on both sides, carving out nearly a quarter-inch of the inch thick blade. Only the one-inch cutting edge was left untouched.
Aside from this edge, which remained a perfectly polished silver colour. The entire blade was black. Not painted to be such. It was raw steel or iron that remained black as night.
The man came to a stop almost fifteen feet away from the White Fang Captain. Neither moved or spoke up, allowing the silence and snowstorm to fill the air once again. Only the occasional murmur between two soldiers broke it.
"What the fuck is this," the Captain demanded in a growl, covering up the twinge of fear in the back of his throat. "Are you lo-"
"You're in my way, stand aside..."
His voice was cold. Bitter. Callous. Uncaring for what was happening around him. Only concerned with passing through. Behind this voice was anger that dared to seep through some thin veil. No, this fury was a part of this voice. A hate-filled speech that cut straight to the bone. It could freeze lesser men solid just from the aura it created.
Yet, this was not the voice of a grown adult or anybody older than twenty. This was a boy. Too young to be a Huntsman if the pitch, leaning towards baritone, but sharing an almost tenor-like quality proved to be true. He was old enough to have some depth to his voice that was amplified by the icy chill carried alongside it; however, the taste of youth still held firm on the tongue.
If he was some boy, then there were no problems here. No man could wield a blade as large as the one he carried quickly. The boy was far too young to have developed this strength. Especially if he was some wandering vagabond.
The White Fang would swarm and kill him before he could begin to grasp the blade. He would be dead if he tried anything at all. He was no Huntsman. They had numbers on their side.
"Pfft," the Captain snorted, showing his amusement at sight before him. "Disarm and restrain him! We'll dispose of him later." He turned away to attend to another matter. "Can't leave any witnesses..."
Two members of the White Fang immediately followed the Captain's orders. One reached out with his left hand to decloak the traveller, keeping his other attached to his assault rifle. The second soldier let his weapon hang off his shoulder, freeing both hands to grasp the massive sword.
Just as the two soldiers managed to come within a metre of the traveller, everyone witnessed the man shift under his cloak. Everything that came after was a blur.
His right hand came out from under the cloak and grasped onto the grip of the sword. In one move, he liberated the blade from its resting place, twisting to his right, meeting the first man. The traveller brought down his sword across both limbs slicing them clean off at the elbow.
The man let out a blood-curdling scream at the sudden rush of pain emanating from the stumps. He fell to the ground, writhing in a pool of his own blood. Both arms continued spilling out onto the snow without pause. The other soldiers backed away even further after witnessing such a bloody mess.
Grasping the blade in an underhanded fashion, the traveller shifted to his left, swinging the sword upwards diagonally and finding its mark dead centre in the other soldier's chest. The large blade tore through skin and bone effortlessly, splitting him into two pieces.
Blood spurted out from the wound where his arteries had been roughly severed. As the corpse collapsed to the ground, it made a wet slap, joining the already growing pool of blood beneath him. Whatever organs that had been freed from their ligaments spilt out onto the ground much to the horror of the White Fang.
Some of their comrades reeled from the sight, letting out startled shouts and yelps. Those closest to the traveller took several more steps back. None dared to approach him for he was a beast that had been set loose by their own doing. They were too shocked by how explosive this show of violence was to even manage a fight or flight response.
The traveller rested in an almost crouched position, holding the sword behind his left shoulder. The blade still dripping the blood of the two men he slaughtered. His hood had come off, revealing his identity to the men around him.
When the traveller stood up from this low stance, he lifted the hunk of metal onto his shoulder and stared back at the frightened mob.
This boy couldn't have been any older than seventeen. He may have seemed a bit older due to his looks, but they didn't betray the eyes of the surrounding soldiers. This was the face of a teenager. A young man who had killed without pause and without mercy.
With the cloak tucked behind his shoulders, one could catch a glimpse of the boy's equipment. He wore a set of armour covering most of his upper body. An unpolished black breastplate and matching pauldrons over his shoulders. On his right forearm, a metal vambrace covered his right forearm with a wrap around his hand and wrist. In addition to this protection, he wore two belts on his waist set at different angles with several cases strapped to them.
Going across to his left arm. There was none there. It was an outdated prosthetic, looking to be a collection of several progressively improvised designs. A mechanical limb designed to function the same, but everything replaced with gears and servos. It was the same unpolished texture as his armour and sword. However, there was a white band welded to it. Beaten up to put it lightly. Deep scars from previous battles destroyed most of the white paint, leaving in decrepit shape.
The wind picked up, blowing the boy's hair free of its confines. Long, flowing towards his waist, loose, and parted off to the left but his bangs did not stay there. They swayed freely in the wind with one bundle coming down across his nose. Two other strands on either side of his head, diverging from the golden mane, lay upon his mighty shoulders.
Most disturbing was his expression. Radiating some insanity nary found in men. Such an intensity that any who were unprepared would indeed be frightened by it. His regal gaze mimicked that same terrible passion. Those cobalt eyes looked down upon these men as if the mind behind them pitied these people. The crack across his lips an uncanny equilibrium between a sneer of disgust and a genuine smile.
The boy had an aetherial look to him. His hair, face, and eyes seemingly glowing the light and contrasting the grim presence brought with him. He should have been more aptly compared to a warrior of old. Nay. A demon.
This town did not befit such a person. Or was this chaos something the boy sought out?
As he turned his gaze upon the White Fang Captain, any who were caught in the way felt as though he stared right through their souls. The leader of this operation stood still, refusing to move even an inch as he took the time to gather the needed courage to stand against this boy.
"Well, well, well..." The boy finally spoke in an almost mocking tone. His cold voice beating the fear even further into the men before him. "It's been a while... My sword arm was starting to get flabby."
The White Fang Leader hesitated to respond. He gritted his teeth, trying to compose himself as he had been wrong about this boy. Such a miscalculation on his part led him to freeze in place. Those by his side heard shaky breaths leave his nose.
Even as some of his soldiers looked to him for guidance as everyone succumbed to the boy's aura, the Captain couldn't manage it. With as much carnage as the White Fang had begun causing, not many were prepared to face Huntsmen. There were a rare few among the organisation who could hope to bring one down by themselves.
"KILL HIM," the Captain shouted at the top of his lungs, grabbing whatever courage he had left in him. "KILL HIM NOW!"
As the White Fang soldiers raised their weapons, preparing to fire on the boy, he rocketed forth in a flash. The snow under his feet kicked up along his path just from the sheer force of the air displaced by his movements. In less than a second, the boy was upon the White Fang Captain, raising his sword over his head.
The boy brought the full might of this blade down on the Captain's shoulder. He barely raised an arm in defence as the sword met flesh and then bone. Both were cleaved through just from the strength behind the blade alone. As it tore through his arm, the Captain let out a pained scream just like his men before him. However, he was not permitted to survive as long.
The middle of this blade crashed through the man where his clavicle connected with his neck. From there, it carried on through the left side of his body coming down through his abdomen and thorax, tearing every major organ to pieces. Before finally exiting through his crouch and splitting the man in half. Each side fell where gravity took them.
As the boy stood there with his blade in hand. He could hear the soldiers preparing their weapons to fire upon him. However, his attention drifted to the person cowering in fear next to him. Light crying filled his left ear and the entirety of his head.
She sat in the ground with her hands still bound at the wrists. More tears streamed down her face, beginning to freeze to her cheeks. The girl could not help but nearly hyperventilate at this moment.
Jaune grabbed the girl with his left arm, pulling her towards him and unleashed his shield at the same time. The white and silver heater shield unfolded and created a protective barrier for the girl who had no Aura.
"Run to the woods," he commanded in a flat tone. No malice or cold bite to his voice. Just a simple order. "Get out of my way..."
He shoved the girl to the ground and stood to meet the White Fang surrounding him. Jaune hefted his mighty blade back onto his shoulder, taking a step towards the soldiers. They each took a step back while keeping their firearms trained on the boy. All ignored the other prisoners in favour of this threat. None of the White Fang had dared to fire upon him, waiting for someone else to do it first.
"ALL RIGHT KID'S," Jaune growled, taking another step towards the faunus. "WHO'S FIRST?!"
So, tell me how you guys liked this short. I will extend it and repost when I get it all done.