A/N: This is my first real attempt at writing original fiction. It's based off an idea of my friend's (the werecreatures) though the rest is original. I will be writing this in a series and already have full books planned out for it. I hope you enjoy the first chapter.
Chapter 1: The King's Men
I ran as fast as I could through the jungles. My breath came hard and fast and I misplaced my feet often. Coordination was never one of my strengths. I quickly peeked over my shoulder, but darkness had shrouded my sight. Not even the moon would give me mercy tonight. I ran like I'd never before, relying on pure instinct to keep from running in to things. Echoing laughter came from behind me and the pursuing footsteps were getting closer.
It was everything I had to not scream. One second I'd been back at home, walking through the forest in my backyard, then the next…I was thrown into madness. Perhaps I should give you some background before I continue. Well…
I live…or lived, I should say, in wonderfully action-less Portland, Mississippi. My parents own a ranch and about 30 acres of land. I wish I was kidding about that, but it's true. Not much more to do besides calculate acres whenever you're doing rounds on a riding lawnmower.
So, I'd just finished mowing and decided to go out for some alone time. My parents and I had just gotten into an argument about how lazy I was getting, so I told them I was going out to think about it. And that's what I did…mostly. You see, not long ago, I'd gone into our forest and saw an incredibly strange creature. It looked somewhat like a fox…only it walked on two legs and was at least six feet tall. It was also wearing- of all the things in the world- clothing! Nothing big, just primitive-wear. Loincloth, sash, the works. It sure put my shirt and jeans to shame though. They looked in better condition than any clothes celebrities wear on the television.
Sorry, I'm getting off topic. Where was I…? Oh, so, I went back to the forest, in search of the strange creature. I hadn't told anyone about it- mental asylums aren't really my idea of incredible real estate. Though now…I really wish I had. Just wanted to say that in case anyone ended up reading this. Given the choice, I wouldn't turn back what has happened to me, but having a friend come with me would have been nice.
When I was walking through the forest for quite the length of time, I saw the creature again. I could see it better this time due to its standing in a moonlit clearing and I concluded that it was indeed a bipedal fox. Its legs bent at strange angles- as if you held your family dog by its armpits and stood it up. Its tail was longer than that of a normal fox, though I couldn't tell if that was due to how tall it was or for balance. A loincloth- finely fashioned in order to show an eclipsed moon with Ravens spilling out of it- crossed its midsection. The muscles on its stomach were rough and seemingly chiseled out by the finest of sculptors. The moonlight glinted off them. A leather sash over its right armpit and crossed diagonally to its other side. Behind it, I could see the tops of arrows gleaming in moonlight along with a sharply carved bow. Its face looked surprised, yet completely calm. Its fox-like muzzle was lengthy, yet seemed of appropriate size on it. Both its eyes were like dark pools, stuck in a permanent glare. They made me cringe slightly, but the rest of its expression was friendly enough. Its thick fur was bracken in color, but white on the underbelly, paws, and tail tip. It stared at me.
"What…Who are you?" I asked it, trying to take in its incredible appearance. The creature took a small step forward, not really threateningly…more like some kind of strange greeting. It bowed its head deep and set its knee on to the ground in a full bow.
It kept its head down as it said, "King Jacob, your people doest call for thee. I was sent by your most trusted advisor to alert you."
"What…what!?" I exclaimed, fear entering my heart as it looked up at me. "I-I'm not a king!" I stuttered. "What are you talking about? Who's this advisor? Who are you? Where are you from? How do you know English?" I demanded, bombarding it- I'll call it he from now on- with questions.
"I am Sir Christopher, your loyal servant, Master of the werefoxes," he said as he got up, his eyes on the ground, "Your advisor is Sir Denra, Master of the weretigers. I have come from your kingdom- the Kingdom of Grophner- a truly incredible place. How hast thou forgotten of thy own kingdom? And why hast thou donned such a pathetic covering. Doest the blood of werehawks no long run in your veins?" He asked. I could pick up something like scoffing at the end of his questioning. I saw his set expression twitch slightly and his eyes flash up briefly.
These were all warning signs. More than that…giant red flags.
And these were all signs I completely missed.
One thing about what he was saying confused me though. 1. His talk of me being a king. 2. All that about wereanimals. And… 3. How he practically called me weak. I wasn't weak! Name me one ranch boy who's weak. "I can't say I know what you're talking about," I barked, "I'm human. I have no idea what a were-anything is, Mr. Chris." His expression twisted when I said that and I smirked but his expression calmed down immediately. He looked me straight in the eyes before taking a step back.
"You'll find out," he said and winked. Well then, would you like to see your kingdom?" he asked. I hadn't really thought about the being a king thing yet, really. It did seem pretty great though. I started planning out the perfect kingdom in my mind. Swimming pools…impeccable chefs…resort hotels…these weird animal things at my command. I smiled; this was going to be awesome.
"Where's it at?" I asked excitedly, completely forgetting about my family and everything right where I was. The fox-thing chuckled. He gestured at a point just beyond him in the forest.
"Right there," he said, "Just go through the bushes. You'll be there." I nodded and streaked off, super-excited.
"Okay!" I shouted. Once I reached him, I felt something strange about him, but I ignored it. …Until I was suddenly completely paralyzed. I felt a vague presence on my back, but it was senseless. I tried to turn, but I didn't have to. He walked around in front of me, one paw stretched behind- probably the weird feeling on my back. He smiled at me.
"King Jacob!" he barked, laughing. "I can't believe you fell for that!" A strange shadow began to waft up from the springy grass at our feet. It was like smoke, only completely black- sucking in all light. It was crawling up the beast's body and wafting out towards me.
"What are you talking about?" I demanded, still unable to move. He pulled his paw back and crossed his arms behind him. His tail waved about victoriously.
"You were the only strength for the Army of Light! It seems that that strength has just become a liability. With your capture, Jakey-boy, the Army of Darkness will be able to harness all of Grophner!" He suddenly laughed- it was more like the bellow of a dying animal, though I wasn't sure if he was actually trying to sound like that or not. I stared at him in confusion, but my body was shutting down.
"Light? Darkness? What do you mean?" I asked, gasping as my strength was taken away. I saw strange dancing lights coming out of me and into him. The wafting shadows came to replace the stolen light. As the shadows licked at my body, I felt something like fire break out all over me. If I could've moved, I'd have dropped to the ground, screaming. As it was, I could only stand and scream. This only made Christopher laugh harder.
"You're so weak," he growled. He touched a shadowy paw to my shoulder which instantly spread the shadows all over my body.
"It burns!" I shrieked. He slapped me upside the head.
"Thou being of Light! You shall of no mercy from my unit this night!" he yowled as the darkness completely surrounded us. It swirled around in tight circles, just big enough for the two of us. The shadows funneled upwards in a tight cyclone. Crackling lightning strikes jumped from side to side of the pure blackness. Layer upon layer of shadow built its way up.
"What is this?" I asked quietly, unable to use any more of my strength without knocking myself out.
"This!" he screeched. "This is the portal to the dimension of werecreatures! More speciafically, a portal into the heart of the territory of the Army of Darkness in Grophner- the kingdom of your fathers, Jacob!" He laughed, jabbing at me. "I hope you're proud. It is only a short time before it is converted...forever!" I looked at him in anger. I knew well enough already that I wasn't about to side with him. I didn't believe any of my family had been to this place of his before, but I couldn't let him destroy a place with his sort of horrible torture!
"You can't!" I whispered and closed my eyes, trying to conserve what energy I still had. I tried to gather every last bit of power in me, but found that was only enough to raise my level of speaking up one notch. "Why do you want to take over?" I demanded. He laughed and slapped me again.
"You've just been thrown into this, kid, I'm not about to give you all the answers," I responded as the shadows suddenly stopped swirling and began to glow a dark purple. It was like a black-light, only much darker in color. The color rounded us and Christopher grabbed me tightly, causing another prick of pain to shoot through me. I didn't scream- I didn't want him to see anymore weakness.
The ground fell out from under us.
"Here we go!" the werefox roared as we began falling down into a black abyss. He gripped me hard around the waist, paralyzing me even more, if it were possible. Now, I have to say this, it's incredibly unlike me, but… I was scared. Really, really scared.
It was all I had not to scream.
We went quickly through the portal of shadows, and even though we were falling, we stayed upright, and, surprisingly, we didn't gain any speed whatsoever. If I had to say, I'd say we were falling at about 10 miles per hour, perfectly steady, though orientation is hard when you're in a dark abyss. I couldn't see my captors arm around me, but felt it there.
Another thing I felt- I was getting my strength back. As we flew along, strength steadily came back to me. Before long, my paralysis was broken. I didn't show it though, if this was to be my only way out, I'd best keep it a secret until the time calls.
Our acceleration suddenly picked up as light finally entered my eyes. He let go of me and the remaining power I hadn't gathered rushed into me. The bad part of that…I was now falling by myself. I flipped head over heels as he pushed me away and picked up speed. My guess was we were about to hit the ground. The glow had turned to black-light once more and I could see a patch of grass at the bottom glowing in it. I saw Christopher land smoothly on it, bending his strange legs to get a good landing.
Me, however, I went rolling into my landing and ended up with a face full of dirt as I skidded across the ground. I broke through the purple shadows and out into an entirely new world…with three VERY dangerous looking beasts staring down at me. I landed face up and they were all looking down at me, teeth, claws, and whatever else they had in their arsenals bared.
"Oh, crap," I muttered. The three were all werefoxes, much like my captor, only their clothing weren't as well-made. My guess was they were lower-ranked. Not really a good time to be thinking of the technical stuff though. Christopher walked over as the shadows faded. He looked dangerous in the orange light casted off by the torches. His expression was shaded by the orange light, but I could guess that an angry snarl was pasted there.
I still didn't move.
"Commander!" one of the ones around me yelped. "May we do as we wish?" he asked.
"Yes, young one, but remember- this is the one the Army of Light was counting on…be merciless," he ordered, then smirked. "And slow." The three werefoxes shouted and barked with joy before centering their sight on me.
You guessed it- this was the part I started running.
I shot up from the ground, and they just stared at me and I streaked into the surrounding jungle- probably impressed that I was running at all. IT's not every day paralyzed prey leaps up and runs from the predators. This daze didn't stay with them long.
I counted five seconds before I heard pursuit. I was already a ways in. The ground below my feet was marshy, and I'd left the only light I had with them behind me. I can't really tell you much about the scenery- just that the floor was marshy and hard to maneuver- I fell about three times, and that it was indeed a rainforest, jungle as I call them.
The humidity alone would run me out soon. But here's the number one question: How does one outrun six foot tall bipedal foxes? You got me.
One of them barked to the other, and I could hear so incredibly clearly, I thought it must've been only a foot behind me. Taking desperate measures, I swerved through trees and over especially boggy areas.
I had one goal: Get away from the werefoxes.