The Burning Leaf

Issue 4

Open on a little kid version of Kennick. He is hanging upside down from a tree branch. He is playing with a branch from that tree, changing it into other things, a fan, a toy, etc. from behind you see another forest dweller sneaking up behind him. He has a large club and swings it right into Kennicks side. He falls from the tree and scoots back from the attacker. The other boy stalks up menacingly and beats on Kennick some more. Kennick shouts at him, why a you attacking me etc. the boy answers “you are small. You are weak. It is my sacred duty to cull you from the Ershu. And it’s pretty fun.” Closing in for the killing blow, the boy is tackled from the side by Kennicks Mother. She chases him off ands rocks her bleeding and broken son. She says “shhh…. Mothers here, I’ll take care of you. No one will hurt you while I’m round.” Transition back to the main story.

Kennick sees his mother, now corrupted by the scar. She is quite zombie like, except not undead, just like she has a parasite in her, controlling her, making her a living zombie, the parasite is like a black fungus, puffing up over half her face and body. Other people are corrupted too, bodies are laying, unmoving on the ground. Kennick says, mother. She snarls and attacks. Nina dodges out of the way, Kennick let’s himself be knocked over. His mother is now on top of him. He is holding her arms and face at bay. He looks in her face. Nina is attacked from the side by another scar fiend. Kennick says, it’s me, Ken. What happened to you? Etc. she snarls in return. Nina gets in trouble. She starts shouting for Kennicks help. He doesn’t hear her, perhaps a tear rolls down his cheek. Se shouts again, really loudly, Kennick snaps out of it. He shoves his mother away and reaches for a tree. Roots begin shooting from the ground, creating a lattice that surrounds the scar fiends. One pops up to bite him and bark quickly grows up his arm to his back to block the bite. Kennick releases the tree and just clocks the guy.

A wide shot of the aftermath, all but of the scar fiends are imprisoned, the one left was the one just punched. Nina is on the ground, leaning against a tree, panting, Kennick is standing victorious, but not all that happy about it. Heads begin popping out of the surrounding trees and bushes. All of the adult women have a cloth covering their lower faces, and their hair is long but always up. The men also keep their hair long, but always wear it down, it is a symbol dominance. The men are free, like their hair, but the women are slaves (virtually). In the fight, Nina’s hair was disheveled, and she goes about undoing it to fix it. We can make a funny scene with it being all messed up. Kennick begins rounding the survivors up. He addresses a boy child, “where is Sylas?” The child points. Nina is still messing with her hair in the background, it is still up and all messed up.

Sylas runs up through some bushes, he is flanked by two other Ershu. Sylas is far more beefy and mature than Kennick, though they have the same general features, though sylas is more mean looking. Also, Sylas is also more ornamented than Kennick, with beads, charms, trophies, etc. He is splattered with blood, especially on his hands, his companions too. After entering the scene, Sylas has mot moved, Kennick runs up to great him, they embrace and Kennick says, “I came as fast as I could when I saw the scar.” Sylas: And the hunt? Is your passage complete? Kennick glances at Nina who has almost released her hair. “More or less” Sylas: Good. We must cleanse our tribe and move away from the scar. Nina, who is just now shaking her hair free, it is long and flowing, epic super model with the wind blowing pose: cleanse? What do you mean cleanse?

Everyone is shocked, save Kennick and Nina. All the children are wide eyed, the women are curious, and the men are furious. Nina:…what?.. Sylas backhands the crap out of her, sending Nina flying “You dare?!?!?” Spinning on Kennick. “You lied to me. Your passage is incomplete. (Gesturing towards Nina on the ground) Your woman mocks our ways and brazenly flaunts her unclean mane. Kennick: Sylas, she… Sylas: silence! You deal with her (tosses him a knife) and make this right. I’ll dispose of the infected.” Kennick is cowed and heads over to Nina as Sylas stalks over the the cage. Kennick helps Nina sit up. She is rubbing her jaw. Nina: That jerk blind sided me. Kennick: Hold our tongue! (softly) He is Sylas, the head of the Ershu. Nina: Ershu? kennick: My tribe, now hold still. ( he starts to put a knife to her hair) Nina: hey hey hey! What a you doing! (She takes hold of his knife hand) Kennick: You are my woman now, you must accept our ways. Nina: Your woman?!?! Kennick: it is the way of our people for a young man to come of age, he must go out and capture his woman, and start a family. I am a man now. You are my woman. (Nina glances around and sees all of the women around her, faces covered, hair short, cowering.) Nina: If you think that I’m going to sit around and become your slave, cover my face, and worst of all, let your cut my hair, you— (cut off by large noises) she looks over.

Sylas is ripping down the cage. Nina: What is he doing? Kennick: …He is cleansing our village. Removing its weakness, making us stronger. Nina: Wait, their just sick, we might be able to save them. Kennick: that isn’t our way. Nina: Well you have to try. Hey! Wait!! (She shouts at Sylas as he works his way towards the scar fiends.) Sylas grabs an infected person and breaks his neck, ignoring Nina’s shouts. Sylas appears to be enjoying it. He grabs a smaller and younger infected, lifts it into the air. Nina shoulder slams into him as he readies a death blow, knocking all 3 of the to the ground. Once again, everyone is super shocked, most of all Sylas. Sylas: You dare?! (Venomously) Nina: Well, yeah. (He smashes her again, into a tree.) Sylas: I see Kennick is unable to show you your place. (Punch her again, against the tree) I don’t have that problem. (He touches the tree and the bark binds her against the tree)

Nina: Hey! (She struggles) gnnnarg! Let me go! Sylas: it is not a woman’s place to speak to a man. Nina: screw you! (Sylas smacks her) Sylas: you will learn your place, and I will enjoy teaching it to you (with a sneer). We see Kennick off to the side, looking agonized. Nina: (she looks over to him) Kennick….(she gets clobbered) DO SOMETHING! (Again) zoom in on his face, from off panel we hear her being beaten and her shouting things out. Kennick eventually lowers his eyes and doesn’t step in.

Flashback

Kennicks mother is working outside a tent, her face covered in a proper way. Kennick runs up super excited. He looks as he does today. adult. Kennick: today is the day mother! Sylas is finally allowing me to go on The Hunt. (His mother doesn’t look happy) I am to be a man! (She just looks down and says nothing) Mother? (He reaches and grabs her arm) Mother: (shaking hear arm free) let go of me! (She drops her veil) The worst day of my life was when your father ambushed me outside my village. He made me a slave. He took away my life and doomed me to this… Hell. Kennicks: but what about me mother? You got me. Mother: yes, you are the only bright and happy thing in my life, (she reaches up and touches his cheek) but even now, you are being taken from me, and transformed into all that is evil in this world. (She slaps his face) Don’t do this. Don’t ruin a poor woman’s life. Choose a different path. Kennick looks hurt. Kennick: what do you know? You are just a woman, a slave. (He reaches down and raises her veil) when I come back a man, you will see. The leaders will accept me as an adult. This is the way it is supposed to be. (He leaves and his mother falls to her knees, sobbing) mother: no ken, to become a man…

End flashback.

Final page, Nina is beaten and bloodied, slumping in her restrains. Sylas is readying to kill her, Kennedy is standing off to the side, looking defeated. He closes his eyes and a tear rolls down. A white text box: …you must stand up for what is right.

End of issue.

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