This city was called Pinewatch before the bombs fell. A small logging operation used to be here, before it grew in size and scope. It got bigger, hired more people, which needed more people to maintain, and eventually a small town, then a city grew into being, all sprouting from a single logging operation, now lost amidst the concrete jungle of the city. The city seemed relatively unharmed from the immense destruction heralded by the war - Skyscrapers still stood, though some were truncated stubs, barely half the size they were before. The streets were empty of life, though packed with abandoned vehicles. Cordons existed as well, possibly leftovers from when evacuations were ordered and scared, helpless populace had to cram into emergency shelters, under desks, wherever they could hide away from the noise and fire.
The first thing that comes into sight from this one road is one such cordon. Red and white striped barriers, their paint flecking off after years of standing forlornly in the open air, blockade half the road. The rest of it is covered by an overturned armoured vehicle. Similar to the Tank, but lacking tracks and a turret, much more of a armoured box for transporting police, soldiers or other vital and important people. The vehicle lies on it's side, surrounded by other detritus - scattered scraps, old, decaying cardboard, the occasional personal item such as handbags or rusted walking canes...but no bodies. Occasionally, along the side of the road there was a large dark patch that may have been long-dried blood, but apart from that there was no sign of human habitation. The streetlights flicker occasionally, even in the daytime. The sunlight that comes down is still relatively weak, due to the whirling cloud cover hanging above the city. It intercepts the rays, leaving the streets visible, but mostly under the power of the rusted, flickering old street lights lining the road. Traffic lights click from one colour to the other, allowing vehicles that would never be there to pass the avenue of shattered shells. Some of the empty vehicles standing there had been raided - doors opened, windows smashed, derelict wrecks left to clutter the road. others had obviously tried to steal them - crashes were commonplace, and some alarms still rang weakly, the sound echoing eerily off the empty buildings and down the avenue, crowded with emptiness and silence. The distant background noise of failing alarms meant that the sheer silence was deafening. In the forest, the leaves and trees made a noise that was soothing, calming. Here was nothing but jagged, harsh noises and fading echoes of humanity.
Liah stalks forwards, her pointed stick held ready, eyes darting all over the place. Her gaze was drawn to the wrecked cars, the peeling paintwork on buildings, the dark patches on the floor - every glance was replete with new possible threats. Some buildings still had power, and, in certain buildings, light streamed from open windows, occasionally flashing as if the lights were breaking, or an unseen figure was passing by the light source. The wildlife that had joined her during her headlong flight from the forest fire had all vanished - She was the only moving thing in sight. The scene was lit by the stuttering street lights, as well as the fire still burning in the distance. Turning, Liah could see the blaze was still consuming the forest whole, an angry demon of flame eating all in it's path. But, at least the orange glow made it easier to see where she was heading.
A noise from an alleyway startled her, and she turned, flinching, spear held out against whatever possible threat lurked within. An overturned, empty steel bin rolls from the alley, trundling down the street, propelled by a breath of dry, dusky air that blew scraps of paper against Liah, the wind billowing against her long, dark brown hair. Shaking the hair from her eyes and spitting some wind-swept dirt from her mouth, she carried on walking, weapon raised warily. The forest was her home, where she felt comfortable. This city was hostile simply by merit of it's existence, the polar opposite of her life in the forest. Life didn't exist in this shell of a city. There was only ruin and ancient death.
Passing by one of the taller buildings, Liah saw the city's landmark. An immense, broken skyscraper, standing just taller than the others around it, though obviously still shorn off during the ancient bomb drop. That was not it's only defining attribute, though - the wreck of a plane sat in it, near the top, piercing the wall like a steel arrow. It's wings were ripped free, hanging off into the immense drop beneath it, the jet's wings well and truly clipped. It would have been a sleek, dark, menacing shape had it been active, but as just another wreck in a dead city, it looked almost sad. But it was as good a point as any for a landmark. Liah files this place away for future reference, deciding a simple orientation nickname. From now onwards, she would call that the Nest. Where the jet-powered bird had laid to rest. Nodding to herself, she carried on into the city, walking along the abandoned city's roads.
There was movement from above. Liah leaps backwards, here spear ready again, as a body smashes into the floor in the middle of the road. The body splatters against the floor, a strangely directional spurt of blood coating the wall next to it. Where had it come from...? Liah stares upwards, following the wall of the building all the way to the top. There, an open window? From the roof? Why had a body only just fallen?
She approaches it, gently poking it with her spear to check for life, which was obviously a waste. They were stone dead. With a bit more effort and a grunt, she flips the corpse over, revealing it's flattened face and body, crushed by the impact. They were...surprisingly fresh. Not a corpse, long awaiting a fall. A fresh death. They didn't seem too corrupted either - the expression frozen on their flat face was almost one of surprise, fear and despair. Further down were some more cuts - their entire lower body was coated in small, thin cuts, as if they had been sliced before the fall. Like torture. Liah backs away from the body nervously, eyes still scanning the building towering above her, alert for either more falling bodies or clues as to why this one had fallen.
The sound of ripping and chewing brings her eyes down again. From out of the surrounding buildings, something has come. Moving quickly on all fours, this new creature has begun eating the recently-dead corpse. It squats next to the body, using it's clawed hands to rip and tear it's way inside the body, seeking the fresher meat and blood within. The creature is at once unfamiliar and yet recognisable - a twisted snarl permanently affixed to it's hateful visage, a few tattered shreds of clothing over it's emaciated body, and a total lack of humanity. Yet now, there was more. In the brief interval between her stabbing and the fire, the creature had been scorched black along both arms, all the way to the shoulders. The remnants of her spear remain lodged through it's chest, snapped off short by whatever the creature had undergone in that too-brief time. But still, it lived, and it had obviously escaped the fir alive, if not entirely unscathed. And here it was now, crouched over something else's kill, ripping the corpse to shreds in a desperate effort to survive. a thin trail of black blood oozes wetly from both ends of the embedded spear, but the ghoul doesn't seem to notice nor care. The only thing it cares about are it's meal and Liah. It has obviously learnt something from their last encounter - it is guarding it's kill until it has eaten it's fill, instead of wandering off and being picked off. The empty black eyes focus on Liah as it blindly scrapes more meat fro the poor body, defiling the corpse ever further with every bite.
Bracing her spear, Liah sticks to the walls, staying as far away as possible from the ghoul, though it scrabbles around to follow her with it's beady, hateful eyes. the blood on it's hands covers the blackened fire damage, and more blood drips along it's chest. It's a nightmarish creature, and Liah gulps in a deep, nervous breath as she sneaks past, moving extremely slowly, one foot in front of the other, making as little sound as possible. The pierced chest is the most obvious feature on this scarred, ruined thing...no. something this horrifying, this tenacious, this bloodthirsty requires a name. Something fitting, unmistakeable. Something that signifies that this, right here, is a threat worthy of it's own title.
Liah the the Ruin slowly pass one another. It's at about this time that something else falls from the building. Not another corpse, thankfully. A sword. a rusted, ruined sword, incongruous amongst the current surroundings, falls from the sky itself, embedding in the tarmac with a ear-bleeding screech. The blade sinks a full hands-width into the solid tarmac, showing that only something with inhuman accuracy and strength could possibly have launched it. But, yet again, glancing up reveals nothing bu the smooth expanse of the building. The sound is both a horrifyingly sudden shock, causing Liah to stumble and fall backwards, and a blessing in disguise, since the cacophonous noise sends the Ruin skittering away, it's flight response in full control as it dashes headlong down another decrepit alley. it leaves a line of deep black teardrops of blood behind it, both it's own and the blood of it's most recent meal. Liah hopes against hope she never encounters it again.
Her attention is drawn, once again, to the Sword jutting from the floor, and how it is twitching from side to side violently, without any external assistance. The sword judders, slowly pulling itself free from it's stone prison.