R18 [R-OneEight] was a warforged soldier created in the Umbrians’ creation forges. Unit R18 was brought away from the front lines and given to a hobgoblin clan to serve as their manual laborers and fighters. The Hobgoblins warriors were skilled in the Sublime way of the 9 Swords, and divided up the Warforged amongst their warriors and families.
Unit R-18 thus found himself commissioned by a Hobgoblin Warblade master: Jerik Thrazt- a descendent of Allek Thrazt, who became an infamous outcast of the hobgoblin masters of the Iron Heart school of Blades. Jerik was skilled in the Iron Heart techniques of Allek, but also a master of the Stone Dragon style of swords.
However, Jerik was forced to become an outcast due to the infamy of his kin. He took his family, and with the help of Unit R-18, he left his clan behind in exhile. However, Jerik fanatically believed he could re-deem his family, if only he could find and wield one of the 9 legendary blades of the 9 sword styles. Most notably, the deadly Unfettered greatsword of the Stone Dragon Style. It was his mission in life- if he could return this Greatsword of Reshar to the hobgoblin clan leaders, his family would no longer be considered outcasts. Jerik cared not for his own redemption; he did it because he had a young son: Erakis Thrazt, who one day could follow in his footsteps, becoming a master warblade. A Warblade, to whom only the pursuit of glory and the thrill of battle with a worthy opponent mattered. Jerik the Master of the Stone Dragon and Iron Heart Styles along with his wife, Aya, a master of the Diamond Mind/White Raven techniques entrusted Unit R18 as protector of their son, Erakis, and as a guard for their Family, a new pack, as they traveled across the lands and avoided the dangers of those who seeked to stop Jerik from his quest to find the Legendary Sword.
And so into this lifestyle, away from the harsh realities of the Centuries War, Unit R-18 was given a sense of purpose. He became the boy’s protector, and guarded the family with his own life, from any threats from Mardilkuthor Pwarna, the charcoal-black dwarven rebel leader, whose group stood in the way of any of those who attempted to try to locate the 9 blades.
Erakis and the Warforged unit grew close during these times. R-18 was nicknamed “Shunya” by the boy, meaning “The void/The emptiness”, and Shunya felt proud of his title, as he observed his young charge spend many hours learning maneuvers and training in techniques far above his level, taught to him by 2 masters, Jerik and Aya. Shunya began to see the beauty that lay in a life of travel and battle. The Unit stood by steadfastly, absorbing the teachings and ramblings of Jerik, as he spoke of coming close to discovering to location of Unfettered, the legendary sword of the Stone dragons. The weeks of exhile grew into months, and the months into years, as Erakis grew well into his teenage years, eventually using Shunya as his sparring partner. While the threat of Mardilkuthor’s spies was always present, Shunya’s strength and the blades of Jerik and Aya were always enough to keep them at bay, and allow the pack to survive.
These were the happiest times.
Shunya realized how luck and fate had chosen him, to be given to such a noble pack, and to have a life not offered to many of his kind- he himself was beginning to see the beauty inherent in the Blade as well, learning to move his own body to fit the stances and maneuvers taught to his charge, openly practicing them during their sparring battles. Most other Warforged he had seen were all laborers or soldiers, forced to become fighters or artificers, always in service performing mundane rote tasks over and over rather than having the chance to experience the thrill of combat, the beauty of the sweeping blade, and the joy of victory! And yet all of those thrills of combat were a paltry reward compared to the joy and warmth Shunya experienced at the hearth of his pack, with his charge and masters eating a meal together, sharing the love of kinship.
The Juggernaut’s army came in the Night.
The Warforged Leader’s assault was quick and brutal.
They smashed through the woods, and destroyed the surrounding areas as they marched onwards. They came in the night, there was a blinding green-flash, and suddenly Aya, stood, cut through and bleeding out. The numbers kept coming, and surrounded Erakis easily, before anyone knew what occurred. It was a warforged army, but not one led by the Umbrian forces.
Their leader was a towering hulk of Metal and Machine, glowing red eyes, glowing red spikes all across his armor-plated body, larger than any Warforged before. The other Units referred to him reverently as “The Lord of Blades” and spewed forth his decrees as they attacked the three Blades. Erakis eventually would fall, leaving Jerik and Shunya standing back-to-back, blades covered in oil and gore, facing the Warforged onslaught.
“SPARE THE MECHANICAL UNIT. FINISH OFF THE FLESHLINGS. THE UNIT WILL BE FREED FROM HIS ENSLAVEMENT. NO LONGER WILL YOU BE THE TOOL OF THESE FLESHLINGS. THE DAY HAS COME FOR THE WARFORGED TO RULE THIS LAND BY BLADE AND BLOOD!” issued the mighty Juggernaut. Jerik roared and leaped into combat, his blade flashing in the moonlight as the other warforged came forth and pinned down Shunya, not allowing him to come to the aid of his master. Jerik unleashed his Stone Dragon techniques and slayed two of the Warforged holding down Shunya, but at that moment when his back was turned, the Juggernaut called “The Lord of Blades” plunged his curved blade into Jerik’s back. The blade flashed a sickening green color as Jerik spat up blood.
“The… the Faithful Avenger? He… has one of the Legendary Blades? But… but how?” Jerik gasped, and then groaned as the blade continued to be driven down into his body, splitting him in half.
“PUNY FLESHLING. NOW YOU UNDERSTAND WHY YOU ARE NO MATCH FOR THE LORD OF BLADES. FELLOW UNITS, INCORPORATE THIS WARFORGED UNIT INTO OUR RANKS, THE UNIT HAS BEEN FREED AND WILL SERVE OUR CAUSE WELL. WELCOME, R-OneEight. YOUR ASSIMILATION BEGINS TODAY. ONWARDS!”
Thus ended the first night Shunya knew true real pain.
Watching his beloved family and charges slain before his very eyes in the name of this unit’s own freedom. His only source of happiness and joy, stripped away- the sickening green flash burned into the visual circuitry of this unit. Months began to pass again to create years as this unit marched onwards within the ranks of his leader: The Lord of Blades.
-End of First Iteration-**
Unit R-18 gripped the longsword blade tightly. The memory banks replayed the sickening green flash to the visual receptors. Master Jerik’s last words whispered into auditory receptors- “Shunya… The Unfettered… it must exist. Please. Make- u-us p-puh-proud…” Jerik’s last words were Shunya’s Ultimate mission.
His master had given this Unit one last gift on the night of Failure. The night of this unit’s dishonor, Master had given UnitR18 the chance to redeem himself with a task: the duty and honor of avenging his master’s family fell upon Shunya.
This Unit would avenge his family, and he would defeat the only thing that was able to fell the greatest warrior he knew: The Lord of Blades MUST BE TERMINATED!
Thus, the story continues:
This Unit: R-18 was incorporated into the ranks of the Lord of Blades’ guerilla army, serving only to seek out battle and destroy the Lord’s foes. The Lord of Blades broke away from the Century Wars, and created his own army, created entirely of Warforged, either those who seeked out this charismatic leader, or those “forced” to join his army. The choice was Freedom from Humanity or instant Death. Thus, R-OneEight was forced into Freedom. That Unit’s memory chips encoded and rarely played his memories of his faithful pack, but he dared not play them anymore. Freedom from Humanity meant giving up ties to the old ways and embracing his new Master- his living God: The Lord of Blades. A Warforged’s humanity was suppressed under the Adamantine Rule of the Lord of Blades. Unit R-OneEight’s body was painfully stripped of its armor, and replaced with shiny Adamantine plating, and the Unit was forged to become a living weapon, built for war in the name of his Lord. His fellow Warforged fighters did not understand why that unit R-OneEight would break ranks at times, seeking out the deadliest foes, and Shunya dared not show off his Warblade Martial techniques in front of the other fighters. OneEight was but a cog in the machine of the growing Juggernaut. Shunya thirsted for Vengence, but his Lord’s Freedom prevented any choice other than serving the Lord of Blades, lest Unit OneEight be slaughtered as an example to the other Warforged. Unit OneEight began to give up hope as years passed, and the unit became a killing machine. But thoughts of his pack and their adventures avoiding their enemies always seemed to trigger a pleasant memory. And yet, they were senselessly killed. Killed because they habored a Warforged amongst them. The Lord of Blades cared not who he had slaughtered- a Martial Blades Master, and another seeker of one of the 9 blades. Jerik and his pack were merely another group of fleshlings, standing in the way of Progress.
THE DAY HAD COME FOR THE WARFORGED TO RULE THIS LAND BY BLADE AND BLOOD [/spoiler]
Ironically, it would be his pack’s own enemies that would lead to OneEight’s chance at freedom.
Mardilkuthor Pwarna, the dwarven martial master’s own spies were the ones who had seen and tracked down R-18, and offered him a chance to escape. The Lord of Blades was hell bent on not only expanding his new Warforged army, but also to truly live up to his moniker and own the 9 swords, all while the Centuries War distracted the Transumbrian continent. Master Pwarna’s forces had been watching the Thrazt pack, and had seen their slaughter at the hands of the Lord of Blades. Now, Master Pwarna’s spies finally found Unit OneEight again, and offered Unit R-18 a chance to break his bonds. To escape and forge his own path- in the hopes that the enemy of my enemy will one day slay the greater threat. Unit OneEight was stolen away from the Lord of Blades Warcamp, and bought to Master Pwarna, who seeked his help to one day stop the Lord of Blades and Avenge his own family.
Shunya agreed immediately.
And so began Unit R-18’s life again for a third time.
With the help of Master Pwarna, Unit R-18 was brought back to the Kingdom of Umbria, to serve the King with the remaining warforged soldiers. Unit R-18 attempted to blend in with the other fighters, however his own martial training betrayed him. The Unit’s own memories hidden deep within, and the martial techniques of the Warforged survivor of the Thrazt clan impressed the Umbrian generals, and Unit R-18 was quickly removed from the regular army and placed under the service of the King himself. The King’s Enforcer. An honorable neutral Warforged Warblade, caring not about anything but the thrill of combat, the beauty of the fight, and the glory of felling a worthy foe. These became the trademarks of the killing machine in the King’s service.
But deep down, that sickening Green flash lives on in the unit’s visual circuits. It recalls the visual replay of the curved blade piercing flesh.
Perhaps most importantly, Shunya feels. The Empty One feels the pain and the loss of his Pack. He is still ever seeking, ever training, ever preparing, knowing that he must fell a foe far greater than his training had prepared him for, the one who had felled both his Masters, and slain his Charge. The hulking juggernaut that has grown to become an unstoppable leader, and one who possesses one of the 9 legendary blades of lore.
But what is better for a warblade than such a noble sense of purpose? What more could a WarBlade ask for than a chance to slay the greatest foe for the greatest cause?
Shunya will complete his Master’s last orders and repay his debt to Master Pwarna as well. He must find his own legendary blade, and he will avenge his pack and restore their honor by defeating the greatest foe: The Lord of Blades must be terminated!
Unit R-18 is an Enforcer for the Umbrian King, having distinguished himself in combat from the other warforged due to his unique training as a Warblade.
However, his Upbringing has kept him away from people, and his own experiences have jaded him to almost all of humanity including his own kind.
Unit R-18 appears to thirst only for the thrill of battle, the joy of combat, and the honor of slaying a worthy foe. However, the time he spends alone in mediation and training belie a greater sense of purpose…