Well here it is. The beginning of my first original story (at least I hope it's original, you never know everything that's been made, where and when in the world. But hopefully as the story continues it'll grow more distinct).

Im really stepping out of my comfort zone with this one but at the same time I feel free to having to match any source material like with fanfiction (which I still love and intend to continue doing on my other accounts).

So, one of my New Year's resolutions will be to write this story to the very best of my skills (inbetween my part time job and design work experience) and I humbly ask you my friends to give it a chance. I know I'm new here and I don't knwo everything about this group just yet, but I want this story to work so I am open to constructive criticism, suggestions and any kind of comments/reviews.

Just no flames, please.

This is just the beginning for me, in both this year and this story. Happy 2018 everybody


Mythos. A land of many things: tales, tribes and above that, Legends. To some a legend is a mere story, reshapen and retold a little different with each mouth it passes to and from. But in this world a Legend is no fable, but an individual. Great unseen beings of incredible power, from the Legend of Stars, Rolo, to the Legend of the Hunt, Orion. But no Legend can ever be known for long, if none are willing to follow its tale.

And so, the great beings sought out a species capable of weaving their names and legacies into their society. They scoured the continent testing many of the native species as they searched; the colonial Roaches; the ferocious Jaguars; and the cunning Raptors to names a few. Until finally, the Legends found an ideal species they could immerse with to their fullest potential: the Acolytes, they dubbed them. In exchange for their worship, the Legends blessed the acolytes with their powers, advancing their capabilities and their lives to newfound heights. But it wasn't long before conflict began to brew among the acolytes. They quarreled over their chosen Legends, arguing which should be worshiped. Some even began sparking feuds among their fellow people demanding their enemies to follow their Legend and abandon their own. The great beings saw the ensuing chaos among their followers and knew of the danger it posed to them all.

And so it was, that the acolytes divided into tribes, each following their own respective Legend, and scattered across Mythos to build their own civilisations around them. For this tale, we turn to one tribe in particular. One that lies beyond the twisted jungle of Gosea, tucked away from the eyes and ears of others. The Masque Raiders.

XXX

'Do they think I don't notice them? How they leer at him from afar? Why must you bring such contempt upon my family, Mugen?' Those were the questions Fresa often found herself asking to both herself and the Legend of whom her tribe followed. The young woman steadily strode down the dirt paths that crisscrossed between the many huts and buildings toward her home. With every step she took, she felt the heated gaze of the villagers bearing down on her like the sun and moreso upon the eight year old boy whose hand she heald tightly as they tried to ignore the onlookers.

Her ears perked when she heard a hushed insult float toward them causing her head to snap in its direction with anger. The speakers noticeably silenced themselves, but despite the aboriginal masks hiding their faces, she could see the disgust in their eyes aimed at her son who pulled the hood of his cloak over his head. For whereas the people going about the village and even his own Mother each adorned a unique tribal mask upon their faces, he bore no such item. The child chewed his lip as more close-mouthed but audible slanders reached him prompting him to tug further at his hood in an attempt to hide the third eye in his forehead which, unlike his other two, remained calmly shut as tears began to roll down his cheeks.

Fresa decided to pick up the pace when she saw this, refusing to take anymore distant mockery as the pair eventually reached a hut on the edge of the foreboding Gosea Jungle that surrounded the village, it's tangled foliage and multitude of sounds and smells tempting but threatening to many. As Fresa let go of his hand to open the door her son immediately ran to his room before she could even reach out to him, a heavy sigh escaping her lips as she sat down at the table, removing her mask to callously toss it onto the wooden surface. It didn't help her dilemma as carving and repairing these enchanted objects of her culture was both her and her husband's profession. Despite how she hated their treatment of their youngest son, her family relied on aiding the people in providing and restoring their masks; a tradition throughout generations of their name once a trait to have heald such pride now served as a painful reminder of their tragedy and it was only worse for their son.

For an acolyte to be forsaken by the village Legend, to be denied compatibility with a mask of their own, was a shame that had never befallen the Masque Raider tribe. Not once and yet none, not even the village elder knew nor understood why this fate had befallen her son. And so as time passed, as with all things that can't be understood, confusion turned to paranoia; paranoia to fear; and eventually fear to contempt; all upon an innocent child who wanted nothing more than to find his place among his kind. Why had he been robbed of that right?

Fresa lifted her head from her arms when she heard the door open to reveal her husband accompanied by another boy a few years older than the other: her first son. Both of them removed their masks when they saw the sadness in her eyes; one that matched their own.

"Where is Rakuyo?" The husband asked softly.

"In his room."

"Abedul, go to your brother." The older boy nodded solemnly as he passed his Mother to go comfort Rakuyo whilst his Father sat beside his wife whom he took into his arms, her head resting against his shoulder.

"Even the other children are starting to avoid him!" Fresa whimpered, tears pricking her three green eyes, as he rubbed her back. "I know you and I have asked many times, but why? What did we do to bring this curse upon our little boy, Shida?!" The man furrowed his brow in frustration at the thought of his youngest being scorned by his own peers now. As if the adults turning their backs on him wasn't enough already.

"I can't take much more of it! It's been over a year now and still nothing! There are other tribes out there, other Legends he could follow!" Shida pulled away. It wasn't the first time his wife had suggested this.

"You know we can't leave the village. Samos told us that Rakuyo's time would come. He will find his place as a Masque Raider! I believe in him!" Fresa bit her lip. She knew the village elder was a wise and kind man who'd always cared for the people no matter their differences. But doubt always managed to worm its way inside her.

"I know. I have faith in our son too. But for how much longer does he have to suffer?! Can't Samos do anything to ease his pain?"

"He is still but one man." Shida breathed. "And besides, I doubt Raku would want any kind of special treatment. It would probably only make him feel like even more of an outcast." His gaze turned to the closed door of his children's room. "But I pray that the time may swiftly pass for until that day comes."

XXX

Abedul sat beside his little brother who was curled up like a bushboar with his knees to his chest, head bowed. He was already humiliated enough today, he didn't want to add to it by letting his big brother see his tears. Abedul sighed as he placed his hand upon Rakuyo's head, ruffling his tangled brown locks comfortingly.

"Come on, Raku. Mum always says if you keep bad feelings bottled up it can make you sick. You can let it out here."

"It's not fair..." he heard a small cry come from Rakuyo, his words muffled by his arms. "I was only playing with the other children. It seemed like they wanted to be friends." the boy lifted his head slightly to look at his brother, his two open eyes were red and damp from the tears. "But then their parents started freaking out." Rakuyo clenched his eyes shut, his body beginning to tremble as it prepared for another round of tears. "When they told them I was cursed, the children chased me off, like I was some sort of animal! Screaming that I'd curse them too if I touched their masks and then Mugen would forsake them as well!" Abedul tightened his fist as anger bubbled up from within him. To think even his little brother's peers were casting him out as well.

"You know that's not true." he said. "You remember what Samos said; Your time just hasn't come yet. But when it does, I know you'll wear the mask our parents made for you with pride." despite his brother's words, Rakuyo found himself struggling to believe them. It wasn't the first time his family had spoken them. Sure the words differed here and there, but at heart the message was all the same: 'your time will come.' Just how many years remained until it came though? That was the question none knew the answer to, not even Samos. As Abedul continued to comfort him, Rakuyo's gaze drifted to the ornate mask that sat in the corner of his room. Carved for him by his parents from the strongest steelbirch (they never settled for less than the finest materials for their family), round in shape with a layered flaming pattern etched upon the face and a ring of large autumn leaves encircling the frame.

The vacant eyeholes of the mask stared back at the boy, with its jagged mouth twisted into a fixed grin, as though it were mocking him. Fittingly so as he was convinced he would never know the blessing it heald within its bark. Rakuyo stood from his bed and picked up the item, sneering at it before tossing the mask into a nearby chest as he slammed the lid shut on it while Abedul looked on with growing concern.

XXX

But Rakuyo's problems were small compared to what was stirring at the other end of the land. Amidst a barren wasteland of jagged black mountains, rising from the earth like a giant dead tree, a monstrous dark citadel stood. The structure was twisted and gnarled with branching towers and atop it a sharp vicious spire with a large red and obsidian orb hovering above. Within the citadel, lines of chained, weakened individuals hobbled throughout the location. Among the enslaved were acolytes, but also included were tall reptilian people, large bipedal insects and humanoid felines. As one of the slaves slowed their pace to catch their breath, the whistle and crack of a whip filled the air, earning a howl of pain from the receiver and a jolt of fear from the spared.

"ON YOUR FEET!" the slaves' escort demanded to the trembling acolyte, the strike from his whip still red and raw on the slave's back. He was a tall and gruff figure, garbed in a suit of black and red armour and a leather hood covering the top half of his head, with three holes cut for his eyes. The slaver roughly pulled his victim to their feet and shoved them forward, prompting the others to continue onward to wherever he was taking them.

All the while another armoured brute, who'd stopped to watch the ordeal, carried on to the inner sanctum of the citadel. Inside, the underling found themselves in a spacious, torchlit chamber, where at the back of it stood a throne. Sitting in it was a fierce looking acolyte. Like his subordinate he was dresssed in armour, only it was more grand, intimidating. And rather than a leather hood, he instead wore a tribal headdress; crafted from the skull of a beast and studded with blood red gems and pitch black feathers.

"Lord Elder..." the underling knelt.

"Speak." the tribe elder replied with a deep, grating voice.

"Preparations are proceeding as planned. The Chakra Chanters have pledged their services to our troops, now that their Elder lies dead."

"Very good. A pity the poor fool refused to see the way this world is meant to be. And what of the Masque Raiders?" the grunt tensed, as though unwilling to answer for fear of how his Elder would respond.

"We...haven't found the village, Lord Elder."

"Then double the searches!" the elder thundered. "I want that tribe found! Kuromaku demands it!"

"Forgive me, Lord Elder. But we have no leads on its location."

"Silence! Another excuse out of you, and I'll bathe the sacred altar with your blood! Rally your troops and embark at once!"

"Yes, Lord Elder, at once!" the underling scurried out of the hall, leaving the elder to remove his headdress with a frustrated sigh. He stood from his throne before making his way behind it to the back of the room. Drawing a dagger from his belt, he grunted as he sliced his palm and wiped the blood on the stone wall causing it to quake before sliding away to reveal a chamber. The acolyte entered before approaching a giant black and red crystal embedded in the back of the chamber. He placed his bloody hand on its surface before a smoking black mass appeared within the crystal.

"We have gained more followers as you requested, Lord Kuromaku. The reserves grow with each gathering and in turn does your strength." a garbled whisper came from a small crack in the crystal as the elder replied. "Yet the Masque Raiders continue to elude us. I apologise on behalf of my incompetent underlings." another collection of whispers raises the man's head as his eyes widen slightly before settling with relief. "Praise be to you, Great Kuromaku. Your patience and trust in me is beyond what I deserve from you. I swear on my spirit we shall not fail. Soon all will see the truth of this divided world and you shall govern it toward a new age." a gleeful chuckle escaped the elder's lips as his heart fills with determination while the great crystal pulses with a wicked glow of marbled red and black. Indeed a new age was approaching for the land of Mythos. And it would truly be one to be remembered by all.