The power of three is unlike any other. Any group of three pulls a balancing act beyond the grace of any acrobat with the skill that surpasses an illusionist. The Triplets are the culmination of this power.Born into a war they did not start, children of the leading politicians in the country of Ortanfang, The Triplets began their lives hiding in a house with their parents from an evil man bent on perfecting humanity by weeding out those with defects. The True Humanity believed only the best could survive. Some disputed this claim, so the Resistance was born a few years before The Triplets. When The Triplets were born, however, it was clear that none of them were perfect. One grew up insisting to draw, one playing with figures and board games, and one constantly building. One excelled in lessons of shapes, vehicles, and buildings; one loved to hear about battles, literature, and strategy; the last one did not like to learn at all, but instead played with toys and building blocks. Knowing their lives were threatened, The Triplets’ parents grew up teaching as much as possible, desperately trying to shape their children’s minds into the way they themselves thought, the way The Resistance thought, before the Darkness King could take them. But The Triplets were not born into The Resistance, just raised in it.
When the day came that the Darkness King’s army came to their door with the promise of death, only to be prevented by in the form of lifelong slavery at the hands of the War Machine, The Triplets were saved by their parents’ sacrifice. In this battle between good and evil, their parents showed their true colors: they were not fighting for The Resistance. They were fighting for The Triplets. The dust cleared, and it was clear who the victors were. The six-year-old, not quite grown up Triplets were taken from their homes; two were saved, one was taken. Raised to be a factory worker in the capital of Ortanfang, the Taken One grew up to be strong and talented, shaping steel the way he pleased in a fashion no one else could match.
Though he was born with mental defects that caused him to be less bright than his siblings, his eye for structure and integrity led him to go from a simple factory worker to a welder. Picked on and battered for what others thought was stupidity, his emotional and physical strength turned his grief into anger and dedication, pushing himself to do better in his work. Throughout the years he grew into a man of nineteen in charge of the factory’s engineering division. Given designs, he was able to make his men (though they were not quite his men) produce the best engineered machines of anyone, gaining a fair reputation in The True Humanity. As harshly controlled and monitored as it was, rumors flew about the young man who must have been made of machine himself. Each factory worker was given a number to identify by. But this one, The Taken One, The Welder, gave himself his own name: Vulkaan.
Vulkaan was taken at six years old to become a slave of the War Machine, helping The True Humanity complete their ultimate goal. Meanwhile, across the country, The Saved Boy took classes at a military camp run by The Resistance. In his parents’ name, he was taught about history and strategy. In his spare time, he read constantly, hoping to expand his mind. Because he was not as strong as the others, The Resistance hoped he would one day become a strategist like his father, though he did not have the physique to become the soldier his father once was. At the age of fifteen, The Saved Boy was taken from The Resistance after an attack on the camp could not be properly defended. While most of his friends, teachers, and advisors were killed or captured in the attack, the teenagers and children that were not killed in the defense were taken to be slaves at the factory. One man, the Darkness King’s second-in-command, wanted a gift for The Resistance’s crushing defeat. Of all the able-bodied troops The True Humanity took from The Resistance, the right hand man looked over the boys and saw The Saved Boy as the one that would become his personal servant boy: the most able, the most intelligent, and a leader-type, he would be crushed under the weight of slavery.
The Saved Boy worked day and night for the Darkness King’s right-hand man, whom he eventually knew as Restan. Between fetching drinks and meals for him, cleaning up after him, and working for him as a secretary, the boy eventually took his place as an assistant when he came of age. By the time he was twenty, The Saved Boy (now Taken like his long-lost brother) had adopted a name: Dean. Throughout his service under Restan, Dean began to prove himself as more than just a slave for the right-hand man. He proved to be quite astute, even going so far as to realize that Restan was not just a lieutenant in the Darkness King’s army; there was going to come a time when Restan took over, or so he wished. The Darkness King’s given name, Konacht, was also thrown thrown around, along with insults and hails depending on the privacy of the venue. And so Dean made a name for himself, and Restan treated him as an advisor and an assistant rather than the slave he was raised as. Once again, Dean’s spirit and leadership showed through the turmoil that was Ortanfang’s factory. Restan gave him a managerial position at the factory, while Konacht and Restan took care of larger matters, such as preparing an army.
Then there was The Saved Girl, the sole girl of The Triplets. When her parents were killed, one of the members of The Resistance stole her away and took her to an underground orphanage for girls. At the orphanage, The Saved Girl rediscovered her talent for design and drawing. Girls fawned over her work, wishing they could help her build these flying machines or could draw like she could. Her art, her designs, and her spirit became the support of the orphanage, keeping emotions high in an atmosphere that could only think of the inevitability of discovery. The girls’ caretakers knew what they were risking, and were prepared to fight for The Resistance to keep these girls safe. Slowly, The Saved Girl grew into an artist, an architect, and an inventor. While her brothers were immersed in practical engineering, leadership, and literature, she was focused with the arts and sciences, creating beautiful yet revolutionary designs that could one day become the next great invention. Her mentors watched, helping her along, giving her supplies, hoping she would design something that would help them fight The True Humanity. Alas, this day never came, as The Saved Girl was trying to escape the war, and therefore created only things that reminded her of peace and tranquility, not death and destruction. Then the day came when she designed a flying machine, something that would fly like a bird and take her away - but The Resistance saw it as an advantage over Konacht’s army. They began to try to shape the design into something they could create in secret, something no one would suspect. Rather than see her flying machine turn into a war machine, The Saved Girl took her designs and ran away, living on the streets of Ortanfang’s capital, hiding from The True Humanity. Throwing away the safe home she had lived at for the past 7 years, Krea’s life on the streets was mostly filled with searching for food. The name Krea came to her as she began to perfect her flying machine, and she took the name as her own.
Krea lived in solitude, until one day The True Humanity came across her and took her to the nearest factory to work as a slave. There, during her free time (of which there was little), Krea finally reached the final stages of creating a machine that would take her away from this horrible life that she currently lived. As a girl, one with glasses and dark red hair, she had been bullied, like her brother, from the day The True Humanity brought her to the factory. Instead of enduring this pain, Krea hid away, skipping meals to design her flying machine.
So The Taken One, The Saved Boy, and The Saved Girl became Vulkaan, Dean, and Krea; the children of The Resistance became children working for The True Humanity; the separated triplets were once again reunited, though they had not yet met again, nor discovered the secret that held them together.
Dawn approached with a cloudy sky. Trees hid behind the foggy, dew-filled morning as they whistled in the breeze. Birds woke the world with their own whistles, chirps, and calls. All these happenings, even the fog, the clouds, and the wind, were normal in the camp. Still, Dean's advisor, Commander Orr, who was known to be a normally calm, peaceful soul, stood in front of their tent, gazing over the forest thoughtfully. When Dean woke up to this, he found it strange that his teacher was here, as usually he was making an early coffee and writing, strategizing about his next move rather than worrying about the enemy's. This was exactly what he was doing, though, Dean surmised. None of The Resistance smoked any herbs, as it was frowned upon in their company, yet suddenly his nose picked up a hint of smoke nearby.
"Sir?" Dean asked thoughtfully, pulling on his uniform. "Is someone smoking?” Commander Orr chuckled, still deep in thought. When he did not reply for a moment, Dean thought to say something but instead began to prepare for the day ahead. At this point, the man turned around and told him not to pack.
"We'll be having a battle today, rookie," the Commander said, "You'll need to get your gun." Upon looking up from his bag to read his advisor's expression, he did not see a hint of falsehood in his face. Matter-of-factly, the experienced soldier just repeated himself, adding that the battle will be long, and to pack enough water.
Though he had been at the camp for seven years, Dean had never partaken in a battle. Now, at fifteen, perhaps the Commander thought he was ready. All his training as a strategist, as a soldier, would finally pay off and he would take the fight to his enemy rather than let his comrades do the fighting, scheming, and spying. If he had not been a strategist, Dean would have pursued being a spy. The cleverness involved, the careful planning, and the quick thinking all felt second nature to him, while the sneaking and the espionage could be learned. Still, he gave a lot of credit to his brothers-in-arms, who had a great deal of responsibility in the war effort. While Dean and his tutor would read history books, plan false battles, and prepare for full-scale war with The True Humanity, the spies of The Resistance were constantly putting themselves on the line, hoping to dig up something big that could be useful for the war effort without being caught. The penalty for helping The Resistance, no matter if you were the Darkness King's highest advisor or a minor factory worker, was death.
Commander Orr told Dean that the boy's parents were killed in a battle against The True Humanity after they were discovered to be part of The Resistance. While Dean hoped he would not have to follow the path to death that his parents had, he did hope that his parents set a path of greatness that he could follow; yet Dean could not remember his parents, except for what they looked like. A fading memory, Dean cannot recall their jobs, their personalities, or their favorite anythings. They were, at this point, just another reason to keep fighting against The True Humanity. For when Commander Orr told him today was the day of his first battle, Dean was not scared; he had prepared for this day since he got to the camp those seven years ago, and now he would redeem them.
The smell of smoke drew nearer, and those who were already awake in the camp sounded the alarm. Dean, confused as he readied his battle gear, looked to his advisor for answers. "They set a fire half of a mile away. It has been burning towards us all morning. It is just a matter of time before it reaches our camp and burns our tents to the ground." While he could not say he was surprised by this turn of events, Dean was outraged at his commander's lack of preparation.
"You should be sending men out this instant!" he cried in desperation, "Fighting the fire and the enemy!" Another chuckle, this one followed by a reply.
"All the men are preparing to leave the camp. We are going to bring our supplies two miles south, set up a temporary camp, and establish a perimeter. When our enemies realize that the fire overtook our camp but does not hear our screams, waiting for a fight that they do not get, they will start to patrol. At that point, our perimeter will be ready to attack, they will think we are preparing a new base, and we will ambush them. The ensuing battle will have enough losses to be important, but hopefully the element of surprise will be on our side." The way his commander immediately churned out these plans surprised him; surely he had to be thinking about this for more than just the morning, waking up to the smell of smoke. Dean had not woken up to a meeting, nor had he remembered the Commander leaving the tent at any point during the night to discuss battle plans. Perhaps this was a contingency that Dean had never been told of.
Whatever the case, Dean loaded his rifle, checked that it had enough ammunition, and looked towards the billowing smoke as it approached. Without a doubt, today would be a day to remember. He just hoped that they would be the ones remembering it.
When night turned to day, sounds of hurried feet followed the blares of horns, signaling the oppressive start to another work day. On this particular day, Vulkaan was in his cell, but not asleep. Alarms had been blaring for two hours now. Today was the day, he heard someone say, that some new recruits were coming in from an attack on a Resistance camp. While he didn’t know much of The Resistance, Vulkaan was sure that they would save him from this hellhole. Most of his time was spent waiting and watching, doing his job as correctly as he could, and staying out of peoples’ ways, yet he somehow ended up getting an upgrade in status yesterday. Instead of just another worker in the factory, or a welder, he was now given the title Head Welder. This promotion came as a surprise not only to Vulkaan but to those in the Working Division of the factory, as it was common knowledge in the factory that Vulkaan was not the brightest of souls. His young age did not help in the slightest when it came to judgement. What he lacked in smarts, some hypothesized, he made up for in hard work, and therefore strength.
From general learning disabilities to large gaps in his memory growing up, Vulkaan had always had it hard; since birth, he was different from every kid he knew. Though he could not remember a time that he did not live in the horrible factory, and therefore did not know his parents, if they were still alive, or if he had any siblings, he knew that at least at the factory, Vulkaan had always been picked on or at least muttered about behind the scenes. Through hardship and denial, Vulkaan’s livelihood consisted of dark wishes and pushing through just to see the light of another day. Not woon man, he considered, or w’man, knews whut I bean throo. It had to be said that this was less a depressing thought than a reality; there had been, in the far past, people who considered him with pity and hope, making sure he had a better life than one in Ortanfang. These people were almost always killed - not because of him, but because they were sympathizers with The Resistance, either joining their activities or preaching their ways.
P’haps, Vulkaan surmised, I shood beh wurking wid da men en dat group. This logic, this hope, had passed through his mind many thousand times since he first learned of The Resistance. He had never acted on it, of course, because he could not for the life of him formulate a plan to escape the factory, to get to The Resistance. Not only that, but he was not convinced that they would truly get him out. Day by day, night by night, his hope diminished. Every battle that The Resistance lost, every member killed, led to a disbelief in a new way to do things. Vulkaan’s mind lept to a reality where The Darkness King was going to take over more readily than one where The Resistance prevailed.
The rest of the factory had a similar depressing frame of mind; some even gave up with hoping at all, instead becoming breathing robots, automatons given an arduous job to always accomplish. Constantly, this fear was in Vulkaan’s mind, scraping away at his insides until he lost his appetite. One day more of punishments for being late or not doing work hard enough and his spirit might be broken like the others’. Some workers in the factory say that the future is about as clear as the air outside the factory: dark and foggy. Other of the King’s men compare it to the water supply outside: disenchanting and cloudy, but always running, always moving forward. Unfortunately, the only two things that could be taken as a given were work and punishment. Even the meals were not standardized, though they tried to be every other day. Vulkaan remembered days when moldy bread and dusky water for breakfast, more water for lunch, and a small pouch of water for dinner was all they could expect. As long as the workers got food every week or so, the soldiers thought, they would continue to make machines.
That is, if they cared about the workers at all — sometimes it was clear they were prepared to let every damned laborer in the factory starve.