Joined: Sat Apr 27, 2013 10:33 pm
Location: Right behind you
This is a story I've been working on for a few years. I've only recently hammered out the plot, having spent much of the time working on the land itself, the religions, languages and cultures of its peoples, and its history and possible futures. Like most stories I write (including Sun Fire, which I swear I'm still working on), I've already completely plotted this story out, it's now just a matter of filling in the chapters with the extra detail to make it a story instead of a summary. This is not a Pokémon story, it's an original story taking place in a world I created with characters I created in a scenario I created. So, here's chapter one. I hope you like it. Feel free to leave any comments and constructive criticisms you may have. Oh, but first, a pronunciation guide. I mean, you're free to pronounce things however you want, but this is here just in case you're wondering, "How in the world do you pronounce that?"
Noa - Exactly like that dude from the Bible, Noah.
Hefaxyn - Like the name Hefferson, but spoken by a British guy or a dude from Boston. Heffa-sin.
Deoko - Dee-o-ko.
Wonaf - Whoa-nahf.
Gobo - Go-bo.
Dgomac - Joe-mawk
Qadhda - Kath-da. The th is soft, like the one in 'the', not the one in 'south'.
Caxy - Like the name Cassie.
Xodxa - Like 'soda' but with an s sound between the d and a.
Laqabba - La-ka-ba. Stress on the ka.
Peka - Pay-ka.
Igho - Eeg-ho.
Eobyn - Yo-bin.
Chapter One: Xenophobia
Noa Hefaxyn heard everything: the squirrels in the trees half a mile to the south, sleeping noisily after a long day of burying nuts; the steady breathing of robins in a nest atop a blade tree two miles west; a mother fox in her hole one and a quarter mile north, lying back so her young pups could feed; the bustle of the new night in Wonaf just three miles to the east, patrons going for a pint of blood ale while the human slaves watched warily for any messes that might be made, ready to clean them before their masters had to tell them. Noa could hear it all, but he could not hear what he was searching for. There was no big game nearby, not even deer. No pumas, no wolves, no boar, no bear, no deer.
"What are you waiting for, Noa?" Deoko impatiently asked his older brother. "This is your hunt. You lead the way."
"I would lead the way if there were a place to lead to!" Noa answered, a little too defensively. "I don't hear anything though."
Deoko listened intently for a moment. "Hm, I don't hear anything, either. Perhaps you should go for a look?"
Noa handed his simple oak bow to his brother, then shot up the blade tree closest to them. He had once seen a human try to climb one of the hundred-foot-tall blade trees. It was pathetic watching them try to navigate their way through the wide, flat branches that sprung regularly from the tree, creating dozens of sharp, circular 'blades' for which the trees were named. It took the human... Noa didn't even remember. Too long for him to remain interested. But, with his vampiric speed and agility, it was a simple matter to reach the top of the tree in a matter of seconds. Once atop the tree, with the full moon lighting the floor of the Gobo Forest, he could see everything clearly. He scanned the forest for tracks, using the skills Deoko had been teaching him over the past few days to look for signs of a large creature's passing. He thought he saw something, a twig on the ground a few dozen feet in front of him broken, but the scent it gave off was clearly vampiric. Then, of course, there was the trail leading west from Wonaf, with both his and his brother's scents. But there were no signs of any of the game he was searching for.
As he turned to start back down the tree, a dark shape caught his eye. He studied it momentarily before deciding it was most likely a deer, then jumped off the top of the tree, falling straight down and landing gracefully next to Deoko. "I've found something, let's go," he said before shooting off to the northwest. Deoko threw Noa his bow as they ran, quickly and silently closing the gap between them and the prize. Noa's mind raced at the thought of his first hunt, his first kill. Well, he amended, his first kill with a bow. As they slowed to a stop, Noa could see the deer, lying limp over a root of a massive blade tree. His excitement gave way to disappointment. He would not get his first kill with a bow just yet, it seemed.
"Hey, good job!" Deoko said, patting Noa heartily on the shoulder. "You didn't even have to fire an arrow to kill this one! See? I told you we'd make a hunter out of you."
"Silence, Dee." Noa pushed his brother's hand from his shoulder. "There's something strange about this deer."
Noa approached the dead deer, cautious in the face of uncertainty as his brother offered remark after snide remark behind him. His brother, or rather half brother, only had vampire blood. Noa, on the other hand, was half mage, or as the vampires called them, a Qadhda. He was used to his magic affecting his instincts, and at a young age learned to stop questioning them and just let them be. That was how he knew there was something off about the deer.
"Do you want to take the deer?" Deoko asked. "It could be food for the humans. They won't know it was already dead."
"There's something strange about its head," Noa said. As he approached, he moved so the green moonlight would fall on the deer, wanting to make sure of what he was seeing. With the moonlight's assistance, he was positive now: The deer's skull seemed to have burst outward, as though its brain had grown too large to be contained.
"What is it?" Dee asked, inching closer to get a look. "It isn't rotted, so what's wrong with it?"
"That's what I'm trying to figure out. Now, I need silence."
Noa reached his hand toward the deer, feeling its life in his fingertips. He traced its life back to its final moments, seeing through its eyes as it foraged for food, sniffing at tufts of grass here and there. He saw a bird drop in the distance, which set his heart racing and made him run in the other direction. After a few dozen yards, he felt he was safe again, so he stopped to continue foraging. But his heart still pounded, and he suddenly felt an overwhelming fear which rooted him in place. The fear increased steadily, causing his mind to race neck-and-neck with his heart. He felt his brain, a muscle he didn't normally feel, begin to ache. His eyes watered as he stood, transfixed by an unseen force, waiting for the inevitable doom to come. Noa pulled his hand away as he felt the deer's final moment: its brain burst through its skull like a moth angrily bursting out of its cocoon.
"What is it?" Dee pressed.
"I don't know," Noa answered, his own heart racing just as the deer's had in its final moments. "If I had to guess, I'd say the poor creature was scared to death."
"Scared to death? How is that possible?"
"I have no idea. But midnight is approaching, and I'm sure the humans will be hungry soon, so we'd better get back. We may as well bring this thing with us."
Deoko reached down and picked up the deer with his right arm, his left still holding his own bow, and threw it over his shoulder. Noa peered east toward Wonaf, determining it was a short three-and-a-half mile jaunt back. But, if they took their time, it would give him ample chance to talk with his brother.
"So, brother, how has life been in the sleepy town of Wonaf?"
"Ah, you know," Deoko said, shrugging, "things never really change in Wonaf. We get a few restless humans, but the guards are quick to discourage any violence."
"And?" Noa asked expectantly. "What about Caxy?"
A wide grin spread across Deoko's face. "Things are going very well with her. We've been thinking about getting a place together, somewhere on the outskirts of town. You know, away from all the noise, but not too far away that we'd be isolated."
Noa smiled and put an affectionate hand on his brother's shoulder. "I'm happy for you, Dee. You two are wonderful together."
Dee nodded, his red eyes appearing to look at something that was somewhere else. Then he turned his head to Noa. "What about you, brother? Are you still pining after Xodxa?"
Noa sighed. "Yes, I believe I am. When I moved to Dgomac, I thought it would help me move on from her. But I only missed her more. I kept thinking of excuses to come back and see her. But... I never worked up the courage."
"Perhaps now you have an excuse," Dee suggested.
Noa thought about it for a minute. "I suppose you're right, brother. This mysterious deer could be all the reason I need to go and speak with her father. And if I see Laqabba, Xodxa will most likely be around. Although, with the Peka Moon being full, she's likely in the middle of her transformation." He looked up at the large emerald green Peka Moon, seeing the vastly smaller sliver of the copper Igho Moon above it. The cobalt blue Uavv Moon was gone beneath the horizon this time of year, seen only briefly during the day. That moon was Noa's favorite. It matched Xodxa's eyes. "But I still need to see Laqabba. I have a feeling this deer's death means more than we realize."
They walked the rest of the way in silence, listening to the sounds of the night, smelling the varying scents that were about. As they approached Wonaf, the sweet smell of human blood masked every other scent. Noa, being a Qadhda, was able to consume forms of nutrients other than human blood, but Deoko and most other vampires were not. Growing up, mages were able to eat any food they desired, but once they reached adulthood, their appetites curbed and focused on one particular group of food. For Laqabba, that food was vegetables, which was one of the reasons he had a large vegetable garden in his home on Eobyn Hill southeast of Wonaf. For some, it was animal product, meats and cheeses. For Noa, it was fruit. He craved biting into a crisp apple as much as a human's neck, something his brother found amusing. However, the smell of blood was intoxicating at the moment, and Noa found he was thirstier than he had thought. His tongue wetted with anticipation as they approached Wonaf.
Noa waved to the guards standing at the west gate when they came within a hundred yards. What they did surprised him.
"Monsters!" one shouted. "Sound the alarm!"
Bells were struck as the city erupted in sound. Swords were drawn and arrows were nocked as Noa and Deoko came to a confused halt. They looked behind them to see what monsters could have caused such an uproar, but they were the only ones in the small clearing between Wonaf and the Gobo Forest. Try as they might, they could not see anything in the green light illuminating what little part of the forest it could reach through the canopy of blade trees. They both looked back to the guards, who had formed a line of defense to prevent the two brothers from entering the town.
"What's..." Deoko began, pausing to find words that had been drowned out by his intense confusion, "going on?"
"Back away, foul creatures!" the same guard as before shouted. "Do not come any closer! Do not make us kill you!"
If you were offended by my post, just know that I was probably kidding. Probably...