You Are Not Prepared: How to Survive a Life-or-Death Situation
The first thing you need to do when faced with danger is to determine if it’s real or not. If it isn’t, then there is no reason for alarm. However, if something does exist that could pose a threat, then you must act immediately before your time runs out.
There are several ways of doing so and each one will have its advantages and disadvantages.
1) You Can Run Away
If you are in immediate danger, then running away won’t work because your pursuer(s) would catch up to you very quickly. Running away may even result in getting yourself killed. On the other hand, if you don’t feel like dealing with the problem right now, then running away might not be a bad idea.
2) You Can Hide In A Safe Place Or Hide In Plain Sight
Hide in a safe place such as under a bed or behind some furniture. Try to hide in plain sight, which means hiding somewhere where nobody would notice you. When someone does see you, they’ll probably think you’re just another homeless person.
If possible try to get into a building that doesn’t look damaged and hasn’t been used recently (e.g., abandoned house). Also, you can try not to make eye contact with anyone. This will make it more difficult for anyone looking for you to notice that you’re around.
3) You Can Talk To The Person Or People Chasing You
If the people that are chasing you are hostile, then this isn’t a good idea. On the other hand, if they are friendly (or just confused), then this might work in your favor. It’s all about keeping a cool head and not panicking when speaking to the other person(s).
If you believe that talking to them is going to work, then don’t reveal any personal information at first. Start off with something non-emotional like the weather. If they seem to like you, then try to find out why they are hostile towards your kind. You may be able to de-escalate the situation by telling them you’re not interested in fighting them. Don’t worry; they can’t kill you if that is the case. Unless you tell them to “give it their best shot.”
4) You Can Fight Back With A Weapon/Object Or Use Your Bare Hands
If you have the means to do so, then you can go on the offensive. It would be best if you had some type of weapon such as a gun or knife. However, if those aren’t available, then anything you can find can be used as one (e.g., a rock, nail file, screwdriver).
You can also use your bare hands as long as you have the skill to do some real damage. Fighting back doesn’t mean you’re going to be attacking first though. It just means that if someone does try to fight you, then you are able to defend yourself effectively.
5) You Can Argue Your Point Or Try To Talk Your Way Out Of The Situation
In most cases, it won’t work and it will only result in getting yourself into a worse position than before. However, if you are exceptionally skilled in this kind of thing, then you just might be able to de-escalate the situation without having to fight your way out of it. This is more of a “dangerous gamble” though because if your communication skills suck, then the other person may get angrier at what you’re saying.
This will most likely result in them attacking you first.
Whichever approach you choose to take on this matter, know that there are no “right” or “wrong” decisions to make. Be aware that there will be consequences either way.
In this next part of the game, you’ll have to make another choice on how to handle this situation.
If you choose option 1, then skip the next paragraph and go to the one after the asterisk. If you choose option 2, then read the next paragraph.
The first thing that you should do is try to find some place to hide. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate; just some place where you can conceal yourself for a while. Remember that you don’t have to hide very long in order to survive.
If you can find a place to go where you won’t be tracked down, then that’s the best way to go in these particular circumstances.
The next thing that you should do is try to find someone to talk to. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to speak out loud or anything like that (although if you want to do that, then go ahead). Instead, you can contact someone with your mind.
Try making a psychic link with someone in the area and see what you can find out.
After reading the above options, you have now reached the asterisk that leads to the alternative choice. If you wish to take it, skip the next five paragraphs and go directly to #6.
The first thing that you should do is make sure that you are safe from any potential threats. If you haven’t attracted any unwanted attention already, then you probably don’t have anything to worry about. However, if you believe you are in danger, then read on.
Your best bet would be to get away from the area as fast as possible. Move at a speed that is faster than running but not as quick as flying. Find a place to hide and then analyze the situation.
Try to remain unseen during this time. Remain hidden for at least an hour and then decide what your next course of action will be.
The next thing that you can do is gather some followers. This isn’t as easy as it may sound, but it can be done over time. Try making psychic links with those you come across and offering them a position where they will receive more than they have now.
You will have to be careful about those that you choose, though, as you don’t want to gather a bunch of weak-minded individuals that will hinder you than help. However, if you can find some like-minded people, then you should be able to build yourself a following which will help when the time comes.
Option #5 No hiding or gathering of followers for you! Instead, try attacking your enemies head on. This won’t be as easy as it seems, but if you’re strong enough and have the proper weapons, then this can be a viable option.
Your goal should be to first take out the leader of the opposition. This will throw the rest into disarray and give you a chance to finish them off.
Getting to the opposition leader may not be as easy as you think, however. This person is probably well guarded at all times. Thus, you’re going to have to come up with a plan that distracts the opposition until you can reach said leader.
A frontal assault, although it may have merit, will probably get you killed along with a few of your people before you even reach the leader. This will work in theory, but not in practice.
What you need is a diversion of some sort. Blow something up somewhere, or have someone else do it while you strike from the shadows. Barricade a section of the city so that the guards have to go out of their way to get to you.
Do whatever you can to make life more difficult for them because you’re going to need every advantage that you can get.
Once you reach the leader of the opposition, take them out as quickly as possible. This is where all your training and skill will come into play. Don’t worry, though; you should have enough on your side to come out of this victorious.
Now that the leader is taken care of, everyone else should fall in line rather quickly. If they don’t, you can always use those same techniques from before to convert them to your side. Or you could just kill them as well, if you’re feeling particularly vicious.
Whatever allows you to sleep at night…
Once you’ve gotten rid of the opposition and anyone that is close to them on a personal level, you need to take steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again. As the ruler, you want to make sure that your country is secure from any sort of treason. One way of doing this would be to have weekly meetings where you talk with your people so that they feel connected to you and any problems that they may have can be solved immediately.
Option #2 is to set up a more direct form of control. This can include anything from Oprichniki, police-state type agency that report on everyone or a big brother is watching type thing, to setting up an underground prison where anyone who disagrees can be taken to and never heard from again.
Either way, the important part is to make sure that you maintain control of the country, even after you have destroyed the opposition.
The wind that blows through the city doesn’t make as much noise as you thought it would when you first arrived. In fact, there are several lulls in between its gusts where you can hear the faint sounds of the city going about their day. It’s almost as if it’s holding its breath in anticipation for what is to come…and that includes you.
You grip your sword tightly as you walk through the city. You’re already wearing your black cloak so that you aren’t too out of place. Still, it wouldn’t do to just be walking around with a sword, so you sheathed it before you left.
It is only when you get closer to the palace gate that you take it in hand. As soon as you do, the wind dies down completely. It’s almost as if the wind knew that you were coming and decided to give you a quiet moment to yourself.
You steady your nerves and get rid of any more distracting thoughts. Now is the time to focus completely on the task at hand. You can reflect on what happens afterwards later, but for now, you need to stay busy.
With this last thought in mind, you raise your sword up high and bring it down across the throat of the first guard. Blood splatters onto your armor and feels warm against your skin. The guard clutches at his bleeding throat for a moment before falling backwards. You catch him to keep him from making too much noise and then search his body.
It’s been awhile, but you still remember the locations of all the vital organs. One slice later and you’ve got yourself a second trophy. You just hope that the others will be as easy or you might end up in trouble.
Hefting the body over your shoulder, you head towards the palace to find more guards to kill.
The next few minutes consist of you finding guards and killing them in quick succession. The sounds of bodies hitting the floor soon reverberates off the stone walls as you continue your massacre. It’s only when you’re up to four bodies that the rest of the guards finally start to react.
“Intruder! Protect the king!” one of the guards shouts just as you’re about to strike down another one.
You’re forced to stop your attack and hold your ground as the guards all draw their weapons and aim them in your direction. You’re now surrounded and they outnumber you, but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you get to the king.
You’ll just have to kill everyone else first.
Who the hell are you?”
one of the guards asks.
You don’t respond. You just try to match the tone of his voice, and say:
“One man with a sword can be overcome, but not twenty. Step aside, fools, if you value your lives.”
“We are loyal to the king! The king!” the guard shouts back as if it’s some sort of battle cry and then they all advance upon you.
You’re not about to let them get so close to you again, not when you’ve seen how effective your sword is up close. You back up until you’re about ten feet away from the whole group and then make your first strike.
Three guards go down before they realize what’s happening. After that, they start to spread out and it becomes harder for you to target them effectively. They’re still trying to use the numbers advantage to their favor by slowly continuing to advance upon you.
It is at this point, you realize that you probably should have just continued with your original plan since the longer you fight them the more likely it is that other guards will show up.
You can’t retreat though, not with all the dead bodies in front of you. If you did that it would just confirm any suspicions the guards might have about you being the killer. Hell, maybe they already know.
You manage to take down a few more guards as they foolishly try to match your skill, but there’s just too many of them and they’ve got the advantage of space. You’re soon overwhelmed and struck down from all sides by several blades.
You fall to the ground with several deep cuts across your body. You don’t even feel the pain right away since the adrenaline is still in your system, but you know it’s only a matter of time before it catches up to you.
The crowd of guards parts as the king comes to see you. You try to look defiant, but you’re not sure you pull it off given that you’re sprawled out on the floor with several bloody wounds.
“Well. You certainly caused a scene running through the palace, and then again here in the throne room,” the king remarks. “I have to say I’m a little disappointed that an Iznac was involved.
I thought we were past these old prejudices, but it seems that there’s a lot about our beloved kingdom that needs to change. In any case, you’ve committed grave crimes against the crown and all of Adina.
What do you have to say for yourself?”
He’s going to have his guards kill you anyway, might as well say what’s on your mind.
“You’re a power hungry tyrant that doesn’t give a crap about his people as long as he’s in charge,” you say.
The king raises an eyebrow.
I’m sorry, what was that?”
“You heard me you…” you begin to say before the king interrupts you.
“Guards, leave us. I want to try to get this monster’s opinion on the state of the kingdom.”
The guards look unsure for a moment, but they follow their king’s orders and leave leaving just you, the king and his advisor in the room. You push yourself up off the floor as the king sits down in his throne.
“Please don’t strain yourself, as I’d like to have a conversation with you and it’s much easier if you’re not lying on the floor,” he says.
“F**k you,” you say defiantly.
If you hate me so much then why go to the trouble of coming to see me in the first place?
You knew I was the one that would be investigating the murders and catching the culprit.
Did you want to talk to me that badly?”
“I wanted to tell you that you’re a lousy f**king king and this is actually an even lousier f**king country. I’ve seen better run places in my travels in the gutters of the sewers of this city.”
“Hm, interesting. And I’m sure the citizens of this fine kingdom would love to hear such critiques. Perhaps even the commoners, the middle class and even the upper class would agree with you.
But then they don’t know any better, right?”
What’s that supposed to mean?”
“It means that those like YOU with a warrior’s heart should be running the country. But as we all know, only the most worthy can hold positions like that and most of those already do as members of the royal army. You however are not a member of the royal army and never will be.”
And your point?”
“My point is you could never measure up to the true heroes of this kingdom. They were born into their position of power, just as I was. You however are a born warrior with nothing to really fight, because the true villains are already defeated and in prison, under guard or in this case dead. So you take it out on the innocent population. Probably why you so viciously attacked the Iznac Quarter. It’s the closest thing to actual combat you’ve had in years.”
You don’t say anything, but the king continues to state his case.
“Understandable I suppose, I can see how you’d become bored if you didn’t have an outlet for all your pent up energy. It’s not surprising that you’ve come here to harass me with your presence. You want to be where the real heroes are, even though you aren’t one of them.”
“I AM a hero!” you exclaim.
I have a hard time believing that. From what I’ve heard you’re more of an anti-hero. A brutal mercenary without a country, without a home and without principles. Not a hero. And according to some of the rumors I’ve heard, not even entirely human.”
“But I… (sigh) nevermind, what’s it matter what
I did what I did and I’m proud of it.
If that doesn’t make me a hero then what does?”
“Nothing. Being a hero means nothing nowadays. In my grandfather’s time it may have, but the world has changed. It’s why Rask has survived as long as it has. We had heroes once, but no longer. Now we only have survivors.”
The king gets up and paces a bit, before continuing.
You know why I let you into this kingdom?
I’ll tell you why. It’s because I respect the undead and those that create them.”
How can you respect something so vile? Something that is not living and is only dead through the failed process of life?”
“Perhaps, but they are still living. They act on instinct just like all living creatures do. They hunger, they breed, they kill to defend themselves. I cannot deny them as I can deny the plants and animals. The Great Lich Lord who created them was the first to truly respect the necromancers in my opinion. He made them rulers of his land.
Why is it that none of the necromancers that served him have attempted to claim his old lands?
That’s because they lack vision and respect. Their hatred for life is so great that they cannot even see the opportunity right in front of them. In time I’m sure the undead will lose their vitality and the necromancers will die out, but for now…for now they survive. Just like we all do. Even you. I respect that.”
The king goes back and sits down. He invites you to do likewise, but you feel safer standing.
“We have much in common you and I, even if we’ve taken very different paths. Perhaps it is destiny that we meet in this way. If you want proof that you are a true hero then stay here and help me.
Together, we may even be able to turn Rask into the place it once was. A beacon of civilization and order in a world of chaos. A place where dreams can come true, if only for its citizens. But I am tired. I cannot do this all myself anymore and I doubt if even you can. It is a sad state to be in, but there it is. I’m sure you have many questions, so ask them now.”
You have a lot of questions, but chief among them is why the hell the king just told you all this. You were expecting him to tell you where the necromancers are so you could kill them all in your usual fashion. You know he’s not lying about all this being destiny and such, but surely there’s a catch.
Why have you told me all this?”
“I have told you all this for the same reason I let you into my city. I respect the path you have chosen and if there is any hope of saving this place, I think we should work together. If you join me and we fail, well at least we tried and we will die together.
If you don’t and we fail, then you will have died for no reason. I would rather die for a cause than live a meaningless life.”
Not exactly a direct answer, but you get the gist.
So you’re asking me to be your ally?”
“No, I’m telling you. You willhelp me in reforming this kingdom or I’ll kill you myself. And if you somehow manage to kill me, my guards will avenge my death.
So what’s it going to be?”
You don’t exactly have a choice. You’ll help, but you’re not sure if you’re going down this path for destiny or because the king is telling you to. Whatever the reason, you’ll help. You nod in agreement and the king tells you where the closest Necromancer outpost is, though he says it’s not too far away from Woodstock. He also says he’ll be sending an army with you and will be coming himself.
You aren’t sure how to react to all this. Part of you feels ready to defeat the necromancers once and for all, but another part of you is worried. Worried that you’ll be facing more than just necromancers and if that’s the case you’re going to need a lot more than an army to back you up.
With your new goal in mind, you return to Woodstock to tell everyone what your plans are and to get them on board.
Three days pass and you’re finally on your way to the necromancer outpost with the king’s army. They aren’t the best when it comes to fighting, but they’re better than berserkers when it comes to following orders. The king said he would be sending Captain Eckard to lead the remainder of your group in Woodstock, so at least you won’t be lacking in the leadership department.
You feel a mixture of feelings as you ride towards your possible death. You’re glad to be doing something different instead of just laying waste to lost hamlets and towns. You also feel the need to prove to everyone, especially Catalina that you can be a leader.
However, there is a growing pit of fear in your stomach that you simply can’t ignore. You’ve faced Death closer than you ever have and it scares you more than anything has before. This is a fear that even your rage cannot overcome and it takes every ounce of your willpower to keep pushing forward instead of returning to Woodstock.
Youeks and some of the other survivors from Quillart are also in the army, but you largely ignore them. The only person you really converse with is the king whenever he makes an appearance. You still don’t trust him, but you decide to keep your guard up anyway.
The march to the necromancer outpost takes longer than you thought it would and you eventually have to set up camp for the night. With a fire roaring, you munch on some rations and ponder your next move as you watch the stars. Your thoughts drift to Galen and what he did in order to defeat the necromancers the first time.
He used the power of a divine being.
“NO!” you shout to yourself. “I did NOT come this far just to try that again!” You finish your meal and go to sleep.
The next morning you wake up with a better frame of mind. You still have no intention of praying to any god, dead or otherwise. Instead, you decide that you’re going to do what you did before and simply attempt to defeat the necromancers by combat.
“They’re just men. Flesh and blood. I can do this.” You resolve and gather your army to move out.
The next couple days involve a lot of marching through the wilderness and you see the army’s scouts running back and forth seeing if they can locate the necromancer outpost, but there doesn’t seem to be anything. Eventually, you have the entire army surrounded by trees on all sides with no clear path forward.
Where the hell are they?”
Captain Eckard asks.
“They must be invisible or something!” a soldier says.
“Or something isn’t right. Ciara would have sensed them by now if they were in this area.” You remark.
You can sense them from that far away?”
Eckard asks in surprise.
“Yes, but only when they’re close enough to…” you stop mid-sentence when you hear the unmistakable sound of an arrow piercing flesh not far from your position.
You turn around just in time to see Captain Eckard jerk back and fall off his horse with an arrow in his back.
You get off your horse and grab him, but you know he’s dead already. You hear more arrows flying through the air and order your troops to find cover. The difference now is that you’re on your guard and able to protect yourself somewhat against the arrows.
A few of your soldiers are hit, but they’re the only casualties you take before you realize the enemy isn’t using their usual fire arrows. Another volley of regular arrows flies your way and while most miss, one of your troops is not so lucky and dies screaming while bleeding from at least three arrow wounds.
Seeing the vast amount of trees around you, you get an idea. “Everyone! Start grabbing arrows and light them on fire!” You shout and begin doing so yourself.
Dendrin’s blessing gives you the speed to finish the task before more arrows come at you. You take a deep breath and then unleash a volley of fire arrows at the trees around you. Several of your troops do likewise and the rest attempt to find cover.
The trees quickly become engulfed in flames. The scene is quite surreal with the arrows flying around, people shouting war cries and the occasional death scream when someone gets hit. The smell of smoke begins to fill the air and you cough a bit.
And then you see them. The necromancers have finally made their presence known. You see several of them coming out of the woods completely naked and screaming at you while covered in blood.
Most are human, but there are a few beasts mixed in. Their bodies are all horribly mutilated. Apparently they really weren’t happy about being brought back to life.
They attempt to charge at you, but most of them don’t get far because they immediately begin to burn upon exposure to the flames. The rest are killed by your troops before they can do any damage at all. After about a half hour the last of them falls and there is silence once again.
You look around in the chaos and see that your entire company has been almost completely wiped out. The necromancers may have taken a lot of casualties, but you lost almost everyone. You didn’t think you’d actually lose.
You kneel down with your head in your hands and begin to cry. It’s over. You failed. “Ciara…I’m sorry…” you choke out.
Suddenly you feel a sharp pain in your back. You reach around to feel the tip of an arrow. You’re about to pull it out when you feel several more enter your body.
You collapse and attempt to crawl away, but several soldiers in battle armor appear and begin finishing off the wounded with quick efficient stabs of their spears.
You manage to roll over and see Captain Eckard standing over you still holding the bow he killed you with.
“I’m sorry my friend, but we can’t let anyone return from this place alive. It’s far too dangerous.” He remarks and then drives the arrow in your back in deeper before pulling it out.
Then the pain stops completely and everything goes black as you die with a smile on your face, knowing your mistress will welcome you in the afterlife.
Sources & references used in this article:
Noblesse oblige? Determinants of survival in a life-and-death situation by J Glover – 1990 – Penguin UK
Dialysis or death: The ethical alternatives by BS Frey, DA Savage, B Torgler – Journal of Economic Behavior & …, 2010 – Elsevier
The will to survive by MO Holden – Health & social work, 1980 – academic.oup.com
The Survival Handbook by SR Band, IJ Vasquez – FBI L. Enforcement Bull., 1991 – HeinOnline
Life or death for languages and human beings: Experiences from Saamiland by C Towell – 2020 – books.google.com