Author: Evil Twin Of ReaverClankAlice PM
A run-away witch girl? A brutish red warrior? A moody skeleton archer? A timid little engineer? A loud-mouth demon girl? A self-righteous clumsy knight? A mysterious immortal warrior queen? What could possibly go wrong on this adventure? Rated T for language, violence and other creepier stuff.Rated: Fiction T - English - Fantasy/Adventure - Chapters: 4 - Words: 19,080 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 4 - Updated: 01-22-13 - Published: 01-13-13 - id: 3091712
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Chapter 3: Tenebris
Starting Notes: It's Tenebris time! The Hobbit helped me a lot with this chapter, so did Deltora Quest, of course I'll have neither giant spiders nor lilies of life, nor elves or immortal golden knights… eventually it will have immortality soon though, ooh! Spoilers!
The woods stood there, right in front of us, like an ominous wall of trees. Nothing but leaves, roots, moss and pockets of light could be seen within. Not a sight or sound of creature, not the blowing of wind, not the comfort of warmth or the foreboding of cold. Just nothing but stillness existed in this forest, for nothing owned it but the trees and trees are still in the shadows of Tenebris. There were no flowers or any degree of colour, light beams occasionally fell through the cluster of leaves above that could nearly be an impenetrable ceiling to the woods.
The whole place set off my wackiness metre to wacky-overload mode. Nardazeig, the bloody guy, barely looks interested in the forest's dangerous feeling. Maybe he's really good at hiding his emotions. In fact he is really good at hiding his emotions! I mean everything seems to point to it; our previously gained wounds have only caused me to occasionally let out little pained whimpers, but him? Nooo! And he had doubly worse than me. Clearly Voin is a place where you don't under any circumstances show weakness or emotion.
I felt like talking but nothing could really come to my mind. 'It's a bit dark,' were the only bloody words that I could say. What a kick-starter Olivia!
He, barely thinking, says, 'Sure is.' Silence follows and ominous forest continues being ominous and my redundancy skills of redundancy are improving. Aside from the fact that looking at a huge, possibly dangerous forest is about 50% more likely to freak you, moving into it seemed like a good idea if we want to get anywhere anytime soon. Perceptive Nardazeig probably psychically heard me (he's such a genius!) thinking and starts walking pretty much before I start leading. I'm still in front though, older I am after all (technically). He'll never live that one down.
Provided we don't run into adventure we'll be clear of this place in no time, can't help but wanting to be clear of it sooner! The air is charged which just makes it tenser in here. About two to four days waddling along a linear path is hopefully going to be the height of this woodland frolic, I mean what could possibly happen? Deus, now we're good and jinxed. Is it just me or are the trees in here a little closer than they were before…? And WHAM, I'm down again. I'm making a habit of falling over due to running into stuff and lack of watching where I'm going.
The offending member in now a root that's sticking out of the ground troublesomely, Nardazeig is chivalrously laughing at me. At least he helps me up. 'Bloody Deus, this is getting annoying!' I exclaim irritatedly.
''S ge'in' amusin' to me,' says Nardazeig, still looking quite amused. 'Are you normally this clumsy?'
'Well not really…' I think back:
…'Mangled books, runaway sheep, missing knives and a near burnt down shipping warehouse?!' exclaims my father, he's so angry I've never seen him so pissed off. I can't help but shrink from him, as he towers over me. This even could probably be considered infamous with the amount of people who now hate me because of this. 'You are such an idiotic child and you will be the death of me! Get to your room and NEVER COME OUT UNLESS YOU ARE TOLD!'…
The memory fades as I remember the circumstances. I did become infamous because of that misadventure. I'd tried to cast a teleporting spell to zoom me out of Arre, unfortunately it didn't quite work. That shipping warehouse was the only thing that was secluded enough for me to cast spells. I'd failed there before but it was always fixable without getting too out of hand or anyone noticing. That was different, I'd needed sheep's wool, my own blood and so much Lapsiternum that I needed double my tiny supply I had back then.
I was stupid and tried it without enough of the stone and hoped that my desire to leave would be strong enough that it would work. It didn't work obviously, I was 18 and I was so far away from being strong enough I had a headache from it for weeks afterwards. The burning Lapsiternum got out of hand from the ritual and the sheep I'd gotten wool from was all fine… until I left the gate open and they all escaped. He was at most pissed off however at the fact that I had to cut myself for it. I mean it wasn't the only time but it was the first time he knew. I got most of my wrist in fact; the ritual needed a lot of blood. I think the blood was the only part I got right, and even then I think I got too much.
I was locked in my room for about three months. I spent the time doing push ups and sit ups. What? I had to do something, don't judge me. In fact it helped with using the blades I own now. It made me stronger and less bloody "delicate little lady". After that I actually did a little of my own exercise, secludedly of course and a little blindly but something happened right since I'm much stronger than ever and it helped with spells.
Anyway, back to the forest adventure. It seemed that there were creatures to be found in the forest. Insects crawling along the trees concealed by the darkness, little spiders and centipedes and there were moths which appeared as yellow lights dancing around each other. After a while the beginning of the forest had turned into a long distant light at the end of a dark dense tunnel of trees, leaves and bramble. Speaking of bramble, there was a lot of it, some even growing onto the road and providing even more tripwires and such more me, of course now I'm watching my feet more carefully!
There was so very little hope for an end and the silence was incredibly eerie and it had only been a few hours of wandering. The leaves pull up in huge amounts and the roots seem to distort the path which looks as if it's never been used. Occasionally there is a sight or sound of something deeper within the trees, but the most noise being made is us: breaking occasional twigs, shuffling leaves and disturbing the lands. I wonder what appears to be watching us, tracking us, hiding from us. Tricksters are the first things that come to mind.
'Nardazeig,' I whisper with a little uncertainty.
'Liv'?' he responds equally as quietly.
'What's following us?' I ask simply.
'Somethin' quiet,' he says just as easily. He says nothing more and honestly I don't really want to make this thing hear us, though it's likely that won't matter. Bloody things in dark places. I'd imagine that if we went under the mountain it'd be like this only dark permanently. Noticeably the air is still charged. All sentient creatures have the ability to use Potegia, yet non-sentient animals? I know a variety of monsters which are magical based can: breathless ones*, desirables*, darklings*, spiats*, tutoredis* and discrimbrae*, plus many more. Most of those however are direct. Spiats aren't but we'll just have to watch out for untrustworthy fruit, besides if it was one of those it'd be very quiet.
Perhaps it is a wild-person? I didn't know they existed, but that happens a lot, I mean I thought tutoredis didn't exist and then I found a rather mysterious pool of water... Perhaps it is a little lepellan that is just spooking us? It doesn't matter, at least not yet.
Night creeps across the trees, it's dark, very dark. So dark that the darkness is impenetrable, it's impossible to see anything. I don't trust anything in this forest and we did try to light a fire but it immediately drew the attention of various insects, even a strange thing with many legs and covered in shell. Nardazeig calls them land-lobsters; I've never seen anything quite like the creatures. They have a tendency to grab onto you if you get close, with crunchy claws. At least I'd call them crunchy.
So at the risk of us being accosted by creatures of the dark, we don't light a fire and just sleep after eating a little. The morning brings nothing but silence. The bug activity last night is gone, mostly, I see off in the distance two colours of yellow dancing around each other, those moths. We pack up and continue moving, last night wasn't particularly comfortable, thinking back. Also the ground is very muddy. Damn wilderness and forests, they're about causing grief. We start walking again, there is silence still, no talking, just walking. Hmm, had another idea:
'We step along a twisted path,
Not talking, ever walking,
Beneath the shadowed leaves, sparse.
Unknown is where we're going,
Our weariness consistently showing,
But there shan't be any slowing,
For we want to get going.'
'Cute,' says Nardazeig simply.
'Sorry, I habitually sprout random poetry it seems now. Along with falling over random stuff when I'm not watching,' I chuckle.
'I wasn' lyin',' assures me.
'Sweet,' is all I say. And there is nothing more to say. The silence continues to break the world for longer and as we move on it only gets even wearier. I start noticing little things like how the toadstools growing up all the trees are helpful with some potions and poisons, how there are patterns scratched into their trunks how… wait…
'Nardazeig,' I say coming to a complete and utter halt.
'Now wha'?' he says a little less caringly than usual. It's clearly getting to him to.
I draw a dagger and poke at the scratches. They are too precise, too sharp and too word-like. They're runes. 'Runes,' I say with worry. They practically emanate the feeling of Potegia as in charged air, all tingly all over my body. They're not active but they're powerful. 'Whoever drew them is strong.'
'Very strong,' he says, losing the attitude and getting more intelligent instantaneously.
'Whatever drew them, I mean,' I say. I look a little closer to the runes, they're all curved and elegant, perhaps more fancy than practical.
'Not whatever, I think, whoever. It was a silvish,' he says. He runs his hand over them and visibly shivers at the power. Now that's a bad sign what with how easily Nardazeig can control himself.
'Should we move?' I suggest hopefully looking around. I spot them on another tree. Two more trees in fact. In fact trees that had seemed previously fine seemed to gain them as if they'd always been there. Perhaps we were so bored we ignored them? Whatever it is it's getting wacky. 'I mean, are silvish openly hostile?'
'You can' judge a person by their race, since we're prac'ically the difference between normal and bizarre, from a stereotypical stand poin'.' Ah, that reliable intelligence. Good that I have a convenient plot dump.
'Point taken,' but I feel really weird in seeing these. Like they didn't want to be seen, 'I really think we should get out of here.' Wacky everything is now.
'Sure, le's no' was'e any time.' And so we hurry along but everywhere started looking the same, all the trees appeared with the runes until entirely all possessed the same mark, in the same spot. The same trees populated the same strip of forest, which we were eternally trapped in. Left? Right? Neither of them were different now. It was bloody chaos and we were trapped in a corner and desperately trying to get out. What manner of magical being did this and if it was a person, why? Bloody hell, there goes four days of adventuring!
'Semper amitti…impertinens…' something says through the silent air. 'Semper amitti…impertinens…' there are many voices whispering those three words. It's something about "lost". I don't know for certain. I don't want to know!
Desperately I reach into my satchel, 'Unclouding, I need unclouding!' I pull out a pouch of Lapsiternum but it disappears from my hands. 'No, it's gone!' Instantaneously it appears in front of me, floating and glaring in blue and orange. I reach out for it but it vanishes in a purple flash of particles, there's a little snap before as well that's all crackly. It materializes on my shoulder and I reach for it, but it's suddenly on my other! Animeus, this is ungodly cruel!
'It's toyin' with us, wha'ever it is,' says Nardazeig. 'Wha'?! Oh, yebat!' He starts running as his own sword chases him suspended in the air by blue and orange.
'Perhaps the difference is shattered?' I ask as I chase the pouch of Lapsiternum around my body. This is a real nightmare.
'No' likely!' Nardazeig shouts as he's being chased, 'There'd be colour and reali'y dis'or'ion!'
'This doesn't count?' I say, as I lunge at the pouch, which is bouncing up and down on a toadstool. I miss dramatically.
'Perhaps it migh' be mildly sha'ered, but no' much!' he cries as he dodges his sword throwing swipes at him. 'But the runes sugges' a person involved!'
'You're right. Deus, they must be having quite a bloody laugh!' I say as I see the pouch split into two and wonder which one to chase.
'Laughter? Oh yes, that one is to be true,' says a disembodied voice. Oh now we're in for fun.
'Who is that?' I say, ignoring that now the two pouches which are bouncing back and forth against either side of my head.
'Let us be very clear. Puppeteers: us. Puppets: you,' says another voice. Both of them so far have sounded wicked and cruel. They also appear to both have a tendency to roll "r".
'We'll you sound quite unsavoury. Wouldn't it be extremely ironic if you're not evil?' I say, trying to make them loose focus.
'It would be, the fact is that, by your archaic standards…'it says disdainfully.
'Oh they're quite far from archaic,' I interrupt, 'I agreed travel with Nardazeig!'
'Righ' over 'ere!' he calls as he's being poked by his sword.
'She has a point, wandering with that pathetic tub of junk with more unwashed hair than your mother takes a special kind of crazy,' says one.
'Don't insult my mother!' calls the other voice.
'I'm no' pathe'ic!' Nardazeig shouts angrily.
'I'm not crazy!' I cry.
'Touchy topic much?' it mocks.
'Umm, puppeteers,' I call, 'Can you please stop pissing each other and us off? I mean I don't know your policy with this illusion thing, but can't we get underway?'
'The pretty little girl has a point,' says one of them.
'See… mysterious disembodied… voice guy! The other disembodied voice guy agrees!'
'Ugh, very well bind them,' the voice says.
I feel a blast of rigid-bone hex after a few moments of waiting, that's a nasty spell. Then I feel myself bound and then dispelled. I see the clear forest again. My bags spread all spastically over the leaf covered path. I look upon the people who are responsible. They are silvadeis, their skin is golden, their faces beautiful and elegant shaped to a slightly curved point and their bodies are far more curved, even though they're men. Their eyes are grey and misty, no pupils or irises. Their hair, dark and hanging down through their hoods, down their bodies, it's actually quite pretty and long. They wear black clothing with many parts held together with what look like bones and is etched in purple embroidery-runes.
The one that appears to be the leader is a little older, more beautiful and has finer clothes, though both of them are a bit rough around the edges. The other one has lighter hair and skin then the leader who has very beautifully contrasting dark black hair. His skin is paler and less coloured, also a bit bonier in terms of health and while his hair is black it's less intense than the leader.
I think by their sight it's almost unmistakable what they are, whether it be the skulls as shoulder pads or the bones as chimes, they're necromancers. They're also extremely tall, about a foot each taller than me, at least. Compared to Nardazeig they're still fairly tall.
'Necromancers,' I say disdainfully as the leader smiles at my distain.
'Well our day is going quite,' says Nardazeig. One of the few times when I've ever heard him being sarcastic!
'He is Vivomors,' says the leader. 'I am Iacet. You are an offering and possibly our latest thralls! Deus, this is exciting!' There is nothing but pure happiness in his face.
'I know Iacet, our first true offerings to Aeternitas! We're moving up in the world!' says Vivomors, which is quivering like a fan-boy of this "Aeternitas."
'Who's Aeternitas?' I ask instantly.
'Our beloved mistress!' exclaims Vivomors, 'She is a Deus herself she is so fine!' Yep, fan-boy.
Iacet nudges him forcefully. 'You know what she says about you being too ass-kissy.'
'I am not "ass-kissy"!' Vivomors cries, sounding offended.
'Then why did she personally eat your left hand's fingers?'
'As an offering!' Vivomors insisted.
'Then why doesn't she do it to anyone but who she hates?'
'She doesn't hate me! The Deus herself reveres and loves all her children!'
'Children?!' I burst out. Now this is getting complicated.
'Oh yes, there are plenty more of us, offering,' says Iacet.
I'm a little irritated that the cannibal called me an "offering" like I'm some mildly animated present or roast turkey or book or something…
'I'm a person!'
'Shhhhhhh… beggars can't be choosy,' he says placing a single finger on my lips. He looks down at the bags spread out on the road and laughs. 'Or not quite so defenceless beggars? You're still clearly an amateur and you'll probably be never much better. That's the shame about humans using Potegia, they only have about sixty year to learn it before they're all weak and broken. The highly superior silvadeis get many more years. At least 2,000! Can your sixty years compare to our potential?'
'Honestly I always thought it'd be quite boring living for 2,000 years,' I say, improvising the hell out of my conversation, since I didn't actually know how long silvadeis lived. In fact all my emotions were on hold I mean they were freaking silvadeis! I've always wanted to meet one since I was a little girl! Shame first encounters may be my last and if not many leave some scares (physically and emotionally).
'Wait a minute amica, this voin, he's a Potegus! In fact he's much more powerful than that little bitch,' says Vivomors with a grin.
Iacet laughs at the very thought. 'Oh really? My lifeforce! This is new!' he says laughing still.
'Very manly of you to mock one who is bound,' says Nardazeig.
Vivomors chuckles, 'You won't be very caring of mockery and manpower soon bloody meat. Soon the mistress will have her way, maybe she'll have it twice!'
'What do you mean by that?' I say cringing.
'Sometimes the Deus queen likes to play with her food before eating it! Sometimes in various ways, especially if they're raw men like him!' cries Vivomors baring teeth viciously.
'Stop wetting yourself in anticipation Mors,' says Iacet dryly.
'Ooh but I can't help myself!' says Vivomors. I couldn't help notice how spiderlike that behaviour was, using men till they're spent and then killing them. I suppose it satisfies a two part meal, but I like Nardazeig, I don't want him eaten after sex with some necrophiliac and cannibalistic witch of the dead! That'd make me quite annoyed!
The two necromancers are bantering on and I turn the Nardazeig. 'Clearly this necromancer queen is going to eat you after having sex with you. We need a plan of action!' I whisper desperately.
'Such as? They're very powerful and very ruthless I don't know if we'd be able to escape them,' says Nardazeig.
'You're right but what else are we going to do? Willingly take off to their lair to be devoured?' I suggest mockingly.
'Could be easier to escape from…'
'Nardazeig, there are two necromancers here and it's impossible to escape, I doubt we'll have much of a chance with more,' I say seriously.
'But do you suspect that they'll be ready to capture escaped offerings? Spells, even for the skilled, take time to work, time they won't have if we're legging it as fast as possible.'
'It's very risky,' I say warningly.
'I think it's our only chance,' he says sadly.
'Very well, we'll have to hope to the Deus…'
'…Hope to the Deus? Cutie little girl worships silvish Deus!' exclaims Vivomors excitedly. 'This proves that she's got Lapsiternum in her blood! The queen of the Deus will love us forever! We've delivered her not just a pretty boy and girl, but POTEGIAN!' He's now shivering in his boots at the thought, the weirdo.
'Why such a coveted prize?' asks I.
'The stone in your blood tastes so fine to her! She says it makes her, our glorious one, oh so more powerful,' croons Vivomors who's still jiggly.
'Shut up you idiot, that's not even possible!' says Iacet.
'You just don't like her because you're not her favourite!' says Vivomors assertively.
'Hardly, she hasn't any favourites,' says Iacet. 'She only has ones who deliver her the most offerings. They are pretty much the only ones she has any appreciation of.'
'Hey Iacet,' I contribute after a few moments.
I twitch a bit at the name. 'If you can see the truth your leader so well why don't you leave?'
'Because that is very difficult,' he says as if he doesn't take me particularly seriously.
'Then take charge of this cult or whatever,' I suggest.
Both Iacet and Vivomors burst into laughter at the notion. 'You are quite a foolish little girl, offering, you clearly are very unfamiliar with Aeternitas,' says Iacet.
I exchange glances with Nardazeig. 'It's not actually that impossible to leave is it? You just don't belong anywhere else. You're people hate you and resent you; all others hate you and resent you for what you are. Insane and broken people which reanimate the dead, eat the dead and do… things… with the dead! And that inspires a mild amount of sympathy. You can't stop, can you?' He actually looked disturbed by my observations. 'You can't give up? It's like an addiction that can't be ever stopped and you always want more!'
Whatever expression on Iacet's face which had appeared quickly disappears, Vivomors looks strangely unconcerned with the whole analysing thing I just did. 'What?' is all Vivomors manages to say.
Iacet looked at me extremely angrily. 'Enough talk, they move now!' And so the adventure through the forest continued, the problem this time was that we were constantly being accosted by the bone daggers of the necromancers. I could see the worry in the eyes of Iacet when he noticed that we weren't moving fast enough to be back before the night. Back where? I think we were going east, but I couldn't quite tell. I try hard to think back at what was east from Tenebris. It was… coast? Coast to the Middas Ocean is what is east for the forest. I seem to think that there's something else there…
North east is the Cold (or Lumen*) Mountains! So we might be going there? I mean a mountain or a few are fairly good hideouts. Especially if you're a necromancer and do everything possible with the undead… everything. And society hates that and not to mention it's creepy, so… mountains: probably where we're going. Now there's Iacet, I kind of feel sorry for him. Genuinely he is terrified of the prospect of Aeternitas, likely she treats those who don't provide many offerings horribly.
We're also their first, or at least according to Vivomors, so they probably don't have the favour of Aeternitas. Still Iacet is clearly the more intelligent one and he knows the score, at least partially. Vivomors is so blind and stupid and really has no idea. But they're both crazy addicts, to Potegia, to the dead. I don't really want to know what'd happen if I talked to Nardazeig, plus there's nothing to say, so the adventure remains quick and quiet.
Iacet constantly tells us to hurry up; Vivomors remarks that he doesn't understand why they have to go so fast. And that really gets me interested. My thoughts? Aeternitas privately told Iacet that if they don't deliver any offerings soon, they themselves shall be offerings. Aeternitas sounds ruthless enough after all and insane. I must however not try to feel sympathy for them, or at least Iacet, because so much is expected of him and he's failing all…
'You are my only child Olivia! The future of this family! And you're SQUANDERING ALL YOUR RESPONSIBILITY!' shouts my father. Another aftermath of my horrendous failures to my family, and this is when he truly starts hating me. 'You are a complete and utter failure and waste of space; you don't deserve such a prestigious future! Go to your room and DON'T EVER COME OUT!'
Of course I didn't stay in there forever, but that's an amusing tale, there is nothing amusing about this situation.
I'm sure the fact that I'm comparing the fate of a necromancer with his cult's leader, with my own relationship with my father is a weird display of sympathy. Also his is worse. Aside from hate any no love, he likely faces death. Which I never faced back then, at least not directly, so again I can't really feel that sorry for him plus he's a necromancer. Necromancers can only get worse if they become paedophiles. Still I don't even know that that's all true, that he's hurrying us along because he's worried, maybe he just likes to be quick and efficient? Though I doubt it with the worry that appears on his face is merely being concerning for not getting there quickly.
Actually comparing them is foolish. His situation is much worse than mine. If what I believe is true, then the only group who ever accepted him is also prepared to kill him by feeding him to their Deus. Is Aeternitas even a person? I doubt it, even if she literally is. Figuratively she's likely a monster, even if she's literally not.
Besides if these people eat the dead, doesn't that mean they become twisted monsters?
'Hey Nardazeig,' I whisper to him. 'If you eat people do you become insane and twisted?'
'No, 's a common practise for voinyudans to eat the flesh of their vanquished enemies. Tas'es like chicken,' he replies happily. My eyes widen quite expansively.
Ah I love the twisted relationship of Iacet and Vivomors, Iacet being the brainy one who knows the score, Vivomors being the cute ignorant one hugely devoted to their very own "Deus". Please read and review.
Extra Notes Related To The Text
*Might as well explain these magical monsters:
Breathless ones: corpses bound to their recently dead souls, cursed to walk the world forever. They mostly exist in Medihumus and the silvish ancient homeland of Doumanesse.
Desirables: creatures that stalk people giving them whatever they want in exchange for whatever the desirable wants. They're divided based on what they want: Possessive want your body as their own, Succubish want your body in a different way, Passive are anything that's innocent, Soulish want your soul and will do anything to get it. They're skilled at illusion in order to trick you they make you believe what they want you believe and see what you want to see. They have no physical form.
Darklings: spawn of a renegade Deus, Inordineus they are the soulless shells of mortals who were unlucky enough to find them. They once occupied the lands of Nouvellasion but were driven out in a war with the Voin about 30 years prior to this story.
Spiats: cowardly creatures which don't fight or take by force. They leave behind food or drink which send people to sleep and then take them off to their lairs to be devoured. They also can use spells to empower their untrustworthy offerings, but rarely directly.
Tutoredis: Guardians of the natural world, they consider all races evil since they twisted the world to their way of life. They're most prevalent in Patria and Terrotegia.
Discrimbrae: souls of the dead which couldn't escape the world when they died. Now they are rage driven and live in a world without physical form. They're most prevalent in places without a difference, ironically.
*Lumen was mentioned last chapter I think.