E&P Chronicles (Fan-fiction)

#1

Hi all E&P players,

First of all I would like to introduce myself since this is my first post on this forum. I’ve been playing this game from February this year and I’ve been hooked from day one. I’ve been following this forum for quite some time, silently from dark and I know that Small Giants has really dedicated and good followers. I label myself as heavy geek, love to read and couple of years ago I wrote some short stories myself. It’s been some time since I wrote anything, I was trying to iron my skills by moderating some review blogs and whatnot in the past but due to everyday obligation I stopped writing in general. Since I’m playing this game 24/7 and, let’s be honest, it has such good high fantasy setting (with great characters, map with provinces, creatures and lore) I though why not do some fan fiction and practice my writing skills?

So, I bring to you Prologue and Chapter 1 of E&P Chronicles :blush: I would love to hear your thoughts, opinions and critics. I would just like to point out that this is the first time I’m writing something in English (which is not my native language) so if you see any grammar or spelling mistakes feel free to point them out, no hard feelings, criticism is what makes great writers!

This is only a sample of things to come – I’ve made story arcs for almost all (yes, all) characters in game but I can not guarantee how fast will I be able to write so have patience. But if inspiration does not die on me, with so many characters and possible arcs this could turn out to be somewhat of a full novel :blush: I would like to point out that I do not mind anyone sharing this further but please respect me and my time and at least let me know, give me credit and post direct link to this tread when sharing outside of this forum. So, without further ado…

EDIT 20th November - Chapter 2 added


Prologue

“They will all burn in the flames of Zalthu and this kingdom will finally be mine,” said the mysterious voice shrouded in darkness.

“Yes, Dark Lord, they will. And I offer you full support of my R’lyeh followers,” whispered other creature.

“Good, I expected nothing less from you. How is our prisoner? Did you make any progress with your new ‘methods’, as you call them,” asked Dark Lord.

“We are getting there – the process is slow and delicate, but we do see some improvement,” responded the creature.

“Improvement,” asked Dark Lord peacefully. With each new word his voice became louder and louder. “I do not want to see improvement. I want obedience. I demand fidelity!”

“Yes, Dark Lord. Sorry, Dark Lord,” said other creature measly as it dropped on his knees and bowed it’s head down to the ground. Its face tentacles made slimy sound as they touched cold stone floor.

“Well,” yelled Dark Lord. “What are you waiting there for? To the dungeon you worthless creature, I want to see our prisoner meek as a puppy in a fortnight. If not… Well no need to make any treats, you can only imagine what I can do to you, right,” finished Dark Lord with a grin on his face.

“Yes, yes, sorry Lord, sorry,” responded creature as it stood up and ran through opened door and further down the corridor.

Dark Lord stood up from his throne and approached a pedestal with large book at the center of the circular room. Floor around it was covered in mysterious symbols written in dark red blood.

“Hmmm… Let’s see,” whispered Dark Lord to himself. “What kind of evil can we bestow on Thorne and his little crew this time,” he said while turning the pages of large book with pictures of monstrosities from worst nightmares and incantations in runes long forgotten. “Ah yes,” he whispered with a smile. The book was opened on a page with picture of large green dragon. “This will keep them occupied for some time,” he smirked and started chanting the runes in strange language.

Chapter 1

Elena’s day could not start any better, sun was shining high and bright over the castle grounds, she had some good breakfast and afterwards she had to attend to her duties.

Since the day was so beautiful, she decided to first visit Watchtower, so she could enjoy watching Rathwood from the distance. It’s thick woods and crystal-clear rivers were always a sight that takes breath away and snowy peaks above this region only made this sight even more fascinating.

When reaching the top of Watchtower, she rested for a moment to catch her breath and she realized that running up the circular stairs was probably not a smart move on a full stomach. Olaf was there to greet her, smiling as always although his tired eyes hinted that he probably did not sleep entire night.

“Good Morning Olaf, what a wonderful day, right? Are you alright, you look tired?”

“Morning m’ Lady,” he replied. “Indeed, a wonderful day but alas my only desire now is my comfy pillow. I am at my guard post from midnight and I’m waiting for day shift to come and replace me. Don’t know what’s keeping them. Probably has something to do with the incident from last night,” he replied but did not continue as he was waiting for Elena to ask him for full report. Elena was still bent with her hands on her knees trying to catch her breath. “Why Olaf, what happened? Nobody mentioned anything over breakfast in the common room.”

“Oh, not much m ’Lady, nothing you should concern yourself with. It’s that ■■■■ Fletcher again – he climbed the wall last night and some guards found him sneaking around food storage, he probably wanted to steal some food for Brogan, that mercenary thug he usually hangs around with,” he said with disgust as he spit next to Elena’s feet. “Did you hear that he set up camp somewhere in Windemer? Quite alarming that they dare to set base so close near our castle if you ask me.”

“Indeed”, agreed Elena, “concerning news. And what about Fletcher? I’m tired of chasing his thieving ■■■ around the castle and if he started stealing food for Brogan, I will have Thorne banish him from the castle for good, I swear!”

“No need for that m’ Lady, he is still good fella just hangs around wrong people. Guards threw him in dungeon for couple o’ days, that will give him time to think about all the bads he did,” finished Olaf with kind smile on his face – he always was fatherly figure to all that lived in castle.

“Fine Olaf, if you think that will help, I will trust your judgment. But you are easy on forgiving people,” she said. And you have kind heart and you only see good in people but that’s not how the world works she thought for herself. “Anything else to report?”

“No, m’ Lady. Once you get down, I would just kindly ask you to check where my replacement is, I would like to get to bed more than anything else now. These old bones are not taking these night shifts as easy as before” he said sadly but still smiling.

“Will do Olaf, no worries”, replied Elena as she climbed down the Watchtower. Somewhere half-way through she passed over another guard that climbed Watchtower. At least Olaf’s replacement is coming up, he will be able to catch some sleep now.

News about Brogan and Fletcher made her worry and she did not notice nice weather outside anymore but lost in her thoughts she drifted forward to training camp. She wanted to speak with Sonya about this, she will know what to do. Fletcher was petty thief that roamed the castle from time to time, sometimes he shared sleeping houses when he did not have anywhere else to go. He would usually try to steel something and then they would chase him out of the castle, but he always found a way to return. If he conspired with Brogan this time, that meant he was in some deep trouble. Elena made a mental note that she will visit dungeons later that day to see what’s going on.

Soon she arrived at the training camp and she saw Sonya standing on the small wall above training grounds watching two recruits fighting below. She climbed the box at the base of the wall and joined Sonya without uttering a word. Sonya just nodded to her and continued watching recruits fight. She was tall and serious looking, her face looked like it was made from stone. Elena knew this is only a facade, so she can look though in front of new cadets and she did not want to break that charade, so she just stood there quietly watching the fight.

On the ground young girl Aife fought boy that was around her age – Derric. Aife was handling her sword pretty well but Derric had heavy axe in his hand and so far, he managed to avoid all attacks from his opponent. Aife attacked from the left but Derric easily repelled her attack and almost in an instant counterattacked with his heavy hatchet but Aife, easy on her feet, easily dodged the attack. She than took a stance to perform hacking attack but Derric jumped back and threw his axe back at her. She tried to dodge this attack as well but not in time. She screamed as axe scratched her arm. Derric ran towards her, visibly concerned.

“Enough!” Sonya’s voice thundered over training camp. Both Aife and Derric froze where they were and even Elena jumped a little, caught off guard.

“Good fight Derric,” she nodded to him. “Aife I’m disappointed, that move was easily foreseen, and you should have handled it better. We will continue training at midday, Derric escort Aife to medical wing so Vivica can heal that wound. Do not be late!”

She remained still until both went off grounds and only when they were out of sight her stance eased up little.

“Hey Elena, wonderful day, isn’t it? What do you think about our young recruits,” Sonya asked while outline of smile crossed her lips.

“I think you will train them to death. If they do not die out of fear from you beforehand,” she replied with a grin. “Why are you not using training swords but real steel?”

Sonya than burst into laugh as she could not hide it anymore. “Oh, come on, they will never learn otherwise. Only a strong hand and steady grip will help them survive and you know this very well my friend. You trained me at this same spot, seems like a century ago.”

“True,” replied Elena, “and what times those were. You actually gave me quite a beating there.”

“Well yeah, when I’m almost twice of your size. But these two? They are so small and tiny. I mean Derric handles his axe so well that I believe he will soon be better than Little John. But they are still too green to start dueling with Valen, we will see… So, what brings you here? Haven’t seen you in training camp for quite some time.”

“Just came from Watchtower, Olaf caught Fletcher stealing last night, again. But this time we have reports that Brogan set up his mercenary camp nearby and that Fletcher might be working with him. Did you hear anything about that?”

“No, I’m afraid not,” replied Sonya. “I woke up before first sunlight and chased those two out of their beds first thing and we were here training since. I have some spare time before midday, I will go and send out scouts to investigate. Do we know where Brogan’s camp is?” She jumped down the wall and continued to Stronghold.

“Yes, somewhere in Windemer so you will have to organize at least three scout parties – one for Shores, one for Western parts and one for Deadlands,” she yelled at Sonya as she continued walking down the field.

“I know Windemer quite well Elena, thank you,” she replied sarcastically. “I will lead party to Deadlands personally, been sometime since I’ve killed some spiders and gargoyles.”
“Finally, time for some action and blood spilling,” she said for herself.

Elena watched her leave and once she was out of sight, she jumped down the wall and continued to archery range. Perhaps Lianna will have some news for me. And I need to ask her about Gregorion as well, it’s been a month since he went out to Skyfheim to investigate reports about Ice Giants and he still did not return.

And indeed, she found Lianna shooting at the target from her bow with a young Berden at her side. His arrows were the ones with blue feathers and were scattered all around the target, none in the center and Lianna’s arrows, with green feathers, where next to each and every blue arrow, some green even split the blue ones in half.

“And… this… is… how… you… aim… to… shoot… and… kill…” Lianna pulled one arrow from her quiver between each word and released her at the target so fast Elena was not able to see arrows flying at all. Each shot hit blue arrows Berden shot previously. “Do not think about where the arrow will hit, you need to tell her where to hit. Your targets will not be steady as that circle on the field, have that in mind. Go on, try it – but this time, do not aim for the center of the circle, aim to hit my arrows instead as I did yours.” Berden just stood there looking at her like she asked him to shoot a wing off a fly.
“Well? Are you waiting for the arrow to magically appear in that target? Shoot, go, go, now!”

Berden almost dropped his bow when she yelled at him and the first arrow he shot, too fast and without aiming at all, went high above the target and the wall. He looked at her with guilty expression as he was just caught stealing ham from Friar Tuck, and that is something you are never to do, ever.

Lianna just sighted and waved her head. “You see this Elena, and he came here with childish dreams of being new Hero of the Might, but he does not know how to shoot an arrow straight. With that aim,” she continued turning back to him, “you will never be Gregorion, boy! With that aim I can only chase you out of this castle, you hear?” He nodded franticly.
“Good, now continue practicing, if by the end of the day at least one of your arrows hasn’t split mine, the next arrow will go up your ■■■■!” Another frantic nod, another arrow that flew over the wall. Berden started sweating abundantly.

Lianna then turned back to Elena: “What’s up? Did you hear about Fletcher?”

“Yes, I did,” she replied, “I plan on speaking with him latter today to see what is going on and Sonya is gathering scouts to go searching for Brogans mercenary camp. I came by to check if you have any news about Gregorion actually. He’s been away for quite some time, it’s concerning.”

“I agree, but worry not, he is a big boy, he can handle himself. Especially against some Ice Giants, if he found any.”

“Yes, that is true but nevertheless I would have to ask you to assist me here, just so I can rest easy at night,” replied Elena slightly concerned.

“Sure, what did you have in mind?”

“Can you find Melendor and ask him for help? I’m pretty sure he has some means of contacting Gregorion and I would like to cover all options we have.”

“Sure, will get right on it. As soon as I finish with this boy here…” she continued turning to Berden. He shot almost all arrows from his quiver but only two or three hit the target, none of those was even close to any green arrows.
“Oh, for the love of Ares, I will stay here entire day, will I,” sighted Lianna.

She was interrupted by a strange metal scraping sound coming from other end of training camp.

Both Elena and Lianna turned towards the source of the sound, Berden did not allow this to disrupt his concentration so he kept shooting at the target. The source of the sound was none else but Gunnar, in full armor, running across the field.

Some time passed before he managed to reach them, and he was bathing in sweat by that time.
I can imagine how hot it must be under all that metal on such sunny day Elena thought.

“m’ Ladies”, Gunnar greeted them with a slight bow, still heavily breathing. “Lady Elena, can you please come with me, I’m to escort you to Stronghold. Sir Thorne wants to see you urgently.

Both Lianna and Elena shared concerned looks at each other. “Sure, Gunnar don’t want to keep him waiting. Do you know what’s this about,” she asked as they walked towards Stronghold. They left Lianna behind, whom immediately started yelling at Berden.

“Yes, but the news are not good and it’s not my place to share them m’ Lady. It’s best if Thorne briefs you on this,” Gunnar replied shortly, picked up the pace and silently escorted Elena to large wooden door where Thorne resided.

Once they were in front of the door, Gunnar slightly bowed to Elena, turned his back to the wall and resumed his guard position. As a Protector Knight his role was somewhat like a bodyguard to current Stronghold Commander.

Elena pushed one side of the wooden door and entered large chamber. It was covered in colorful tapestry where five colors dominated all others: red, blue, green, yellow and purple. Large circular table was in center of the room with twelve chairs around it. Room was circular as well, gray marble and stone combined, cold and unfriendly but that was only to frighten visitors if they find themselves in Commander’s chambers. Left and right of the entrance door there were two display cases, one had really rare and legendary Farsight Telescope in it and the other one was empty, for now, waiting for some valuable loot from the times to come.

And there he was – Commander Thorne, sitting on one of the chairs closest to the fireplace and small open passage to his sleeping chambers. Next to the lit fireplace, leaning on the wall, was legendary Sword of Frostmorrow, its blade made of steel and ice forever cold and creaking as it’s alive. Next to Thorne was a young girl, with plump and red cheeks, wearing red tunic. Elena noticed that her outfit was torn and dirty as if she just came from a long long ride.

“Elena,” said Thorne standing up to greet her, “allow me to introduce young Lady Jill who rode here with first light brining some dark news.”

Elena walked towards these two and shaken hands with both before sitting next to Thorne.
He continued, “Jill is traveler and she just came from Howling Bay, she rode entire way without rest, she had to replace two horses that almost died of exhaustion. I will let her tell you what she’s seen.” He nodded to Jill, who cleared her throat and started telling her story.

“Nice to meet you Lady Elena, mu name is Jill and I’m traveler merchant. Me and some of my friends were camping in the woods in Howling Bay when, in the middle of the night, we were all woken by some disturbing sounds coming from woods not far from where we camped. We’ve sent out two scouts to the woods only to hear screams and sounds of battle short time after. We were scared, and we did not want to risk and investigate the woods, so we’ve started packing rapidly so we can flee. We are not warriors m’ Lady but only merchants. Monstrous growls came nearer and nearer when two hounds of war and a Runic bear came out of the woods charging at us. Ohhh it was so scary,” Jill stuttered, shivering, “their eyes where bright yellow as if there was fire in them, they were snarling and charging at us and soon chaos broke all around.” She stopped, started crying, trying to catch breath to continue speaking.

“There was blood and severed limbs everywhere, screams mixed with animal growls. We’ve had a mage in our company, so he started shouting some spells and throwing dark magic at the creatures and I’ve seen that he managed to kill one hound before Runic bear came from behind and devoured his head in one bite. Another one from my company managed to kill other hound with a spear but the bear was unstoppable. I ran towards woods and hid in a bush – far from camp but still near enough to bear witness to horrors still happening there. Runic bear was unstoppable, he slaughtered entire camp, it was wounded and hurt, blood was dripping from several wounds our swords and spears made, but it was like the beast did not feel any of it.” She stopped here. It looked like her tale was over, her head was bound, tears rolling down her cheeks. Elena wanted to jump in, to ask why this news were so urgent, she fought Dark Lords hounds and bears for, what it looked like, her entire life now, they were spawning all across the lands ravaging and killing. She was sad about Jill and her company, but these things happened all around, and this was not first nor last similar case.

“And then it happened,” Jill suddenly continued, voice cold as ice, “a scream that shook the earth and mountains near, a shriek that froze me in my spot. I could not move or scream, I was just sitting there able only to watch as treetops moved as if tornado came upon them. Sound of flapping wings… Another shriek… And them the entire field burst into flames, but not just flames – green, emerald flames, fire that swallowed everything on its path.” Another pause.

“I’ve seen it. It was a Dragon swooping from the sky down on us, his wings were at least 300ft wide, so wide that he was able to cover the entire field with them. Dragon than came down shooting flames from its mouth all around as it wanted to make sure nobody escaped that place. His scales though… His scales were not normal – I do not know how else to describe it – but they were glittering like precious stones bathing in green flames… It was like its scales were emerald as the flames coming from its mouth. I ran… I ran for entire day it seems until I came upon small village where I bought a horse with little money I had on me, and then I rode here only stopping to change the horses if traders were willing. It was frightening m’ Lady. I’ve seen dragons before, some small and some large, biggest one I’ve seen was Volcanic Dragon on slopes of Brooding Mountains but this… Nothing like this, it’s scales and breath…” She stopped there, shivering and moaning.

“Thank you, Jill, thank you so much for gathering strength and telling the story again. I know it’s been hard – please, Gunnar will escort you to the kitchen where you will have a decent meal and he will show you to your room afterwards. Rest and take as much time as you need. If you would like a bath just tell him, he will arrange everything.” Thorne escorted Jill to the door where Gunnar took her over. He then closed the door and turned to Elena that still sat there speechless.

“So, what you think of this,” asked Thorne.

“Can we trust her,” replied Elena.

“To be honest, I do not see any valid reason for her to fabricate this story. She was petrified and exhausted when she arrived this morning, and I do not believe that she would made up the story about Emerald Dragon on our doorstep.”

“But where did it come from? And a dragon that large? Weren’t Emerald Dragons only a legend? And why were they attacked by Dark Lord’s minions first?”

“Questions, questions… I’ve asked myself the same. Since news came from battlefront that Commander Gray disappeared everything started falling apart and it looks like new foes are spawning all around the country like mushrooms after rain. But Emerald Dragon? Don’t even know what to expect.”

“Yes, regarding the other foes you’ve mentioned… What about Fletcher and Brogan? And with this news I’m now really concerned about Gregorion as well. He might have ran into this Dragon as well, he had to pass Howling Bay on his way back here.”

“Alarming but not something we should concern ourselves with. I’ve already taken steps regarding these issues. Sonya already came by and told me that she is going to Windemer – I approved three scout parties: Little John will lead the one for the Shores, Sonya and Ulmer will lead the one for Deadlands and I planned on sending Melendor to Western Windemer to visit the elves.”

“Oh, I’ve just told Lianna to look for him to ask if he could help contacting Gregorion somehow.”

“That’s great actually. I will send both Lianna and Melendor to the elves, they will know what to do and we will see if they heard about Brogan’s camp in their area as well – two birds with one stone.

“Good, glad that is settled. And…” she paused for a second, not sure if she even wants to ask the question. “…what about the Dragon?”

“Pack your bags and gather the armies,” replied Thorne with his hand on her shoulder looking her like she was his daughter, “you are going off to kill that Emerald Dragon.”

5 Likes
E&P Fanfiction Library - an index of short stories, poetry and fiction
#2

Hail @Morgoth

It’s great to see more creative content.

That is a fantastic opening gambit, and all the more impressive as English is not your first language!

I started an overview of the E&P world a while ago, and a lot of your narrative match it uncannily well. If you want to have a look, it’s here - https://forum.smallgiantgames.com/t/the-complete-provincial-history-of-e-p-first-draft-just/29191

I look forward to seeing more of your work.

1 Like
#3

Hi @JonahTheBard,

Thank you for your kind words… Enjoyed reading your overview and yes I must admit there is some narrative matching but based on what I see you read, no wonder! :wink: Good job.

1 Like
#4

I love this game.
Reading the stories of the characters give me more emotional attachment.

Now I have my perception about the characters, the living of the base and all behind the scene stories.

Thank you @Morgoth and @JonahTheBard . You guys very creative persons to add more enjoyment to this game.

Will waiting for your next stories guys :beers:

#5

All the fanfiction is now available in the library:

https://forum.smallgiantgames.com/t/e-p-fanfiction-library-an-index-of-short-stories-poetry-and-fiction/59968

#6

Chapter 2

Moon was full and bright above Ogron mountains and snowy peaks shimmered bathing in moonlight. At the base of the mountains, right on the shores of a lake a small village laid asleep. This was the perfect time for Jenneh, a village healer, to walk the shores and woods nearby and collect herbs in peace and quiet. This gave her time to experiment with various concoctions and prepare medicine away from prying villagers eyes.

Although she was the only healer in the village and a good one too simple-minded folk often thought she is dealing with magic, some even called her shaman behind her back. Couple of years ago, when she came to the village with her husband for the first time these rumors hurt and offended her but over time, she realized that she can not do anything to stop them, so she decided to work with her herbs under coverage of night to minimize foul rumors.

Villagers did love her, she couldn’t deny that but as it seemed, they loved her only when they were ill or needed help. When they were healthy and well, she was nothing else but mysterious shaman that practices forbidden magic. And that suited her in the end. She had a night for herself and enough time and privacy to examine and combine various herbs and plants found around village.

A child in the village was terribly ill and came to her with his mother earlier that day. He was feverish and was not aware of his surroundings for days now. Jenneh knew this illness as she has seen it in her youth when her mother was teaching her about medicinal herbs in Shreiker Islands. She did not remember what caused the illness, but she remembered well that potion of Midnight Root and potent leaves could cure it. Thus, she decided to visit the lake shore as she has seen Midnight Roots growing there during her night strolls around the village.

She managed to locate rare Midnight Root right next to the water. She prepared her pouch and small dagger but once she came near the plant, she realized that it was surrounded with thorny ivy bush. This will be harder then I expected, she thought, this is Ifig with thorns sharp as knives. I must be extra careful not to cut my hands. She got on her knees, water was splashing around her and she started carefully cutting the ivy avoiding its thorns. Doing this on moonlight was difficult as she could not see very clearly but she managed to cut a hole in bush just enough to get her hand insight and pull the Midnight root out. She reached for the root but Ifig plant acted as it was alive. In a matter of seconds, the Ifig moved, or that’s what Jenneh thought, since she could not see clearly in the dark, and a thorny branch wrapped itself around her hand. Jenneh screamed and pulled her hand back but it was late. Her hand was bloody, her cuts were deep as thorns were indeed sharp as knives. She put her hand in water to wash it, so she could see her wounds better. Water became red as blood washed down.

Large cloud covered full moon, lake and shore fell into darkness. Flock of birds flew from nearby tree. Forest suddenly fell in complete silence. Even crickets went silent. Albescent mist covered surface of the lake in an instant. Something disturbed surface of the water and distant splashing sound echoed in silent night. Jenneh just stood there holding her hurt hand and watched as everything changed. Silence… Then a sound. Growling… Splashing… Humming… A lament mixed with malicious growls. She could not understand anything the voice sang but one word was standing out from rest of incomprehensible mumbling. Gill-Ra … A green slimy hand tangled in seaweed appeared from water and grabbed Jenneh’s ankle. Before she even had time to scream, she was dragged under water. Hair green as algae, sharp teeth and a fin were the last thing Jenneh saw before everything went completely dark.

Wilbur woke up with first light only to find that his wife, Jenneh, was not next to him. He was not concerned as he thought that she was already up and working on healing potions. She liked to stay up all night collecting herbs and sometimes she would be caught up in her work without any sleep. She was not in the cottage at all, so he went outside to find her. As he walked down the shore, he noticed a small group of villagers gathered further down the shore and he continued towards them. One woman screamed when she saw what others were gathered around. Wilbur immediately knew something was wrong. He sensed in his guts that something happened to Jenneh. He started running towards the small group and pushed some villagers out of the way. One woman cried, other villager was bent over vomiting. Jenneh’s body lied on the shore, her lifeless eyes staring at the sky. Bite marks were all over her body, part of her hand, leg and stomach were missing and it looked like something ate them. Wilbur cried out, a chilling scream broke the silence on the shore as he dropped on his knees desperately clutching his wife’s body.

Days passed, and Wilbur was locked up in his cottage. He refused to leave the house, villagers came day and night to comfort him, but he refused to take anyone in. He was deeply consumed in his grief, he even refused to leave the hut for the funeral. After a while grief was replaced with rejection. That was not his wife on the shore, he waited for her to come home alive and well with pouch full of herbs and smile on her face. When hope that this will happen faded vengeance consumed his mind.

Based on what he saw that morning on the shore he knew that she was killed by some creature during the night. She was soaked wet, there was seaweed in her hair and clothes – she was underwater. It was not hard for him to deduce that merfolk had something to do with this or at least they could tell him what happened to her. But the problem was that merfolk did not talk or show up to any human in the village. There were rumors that they swam in the lake, but nobody has ever seen them, villagers only claimed they heard their songs in the night. But he had to try and find them. He had to know what happened to his wife and he knew where he needed to start his search.

Several years ago, he lived on the shores of Shreiker Islands when Jenneh and her mother came to his village. They travelled the lands offering medicine to all that needed them. He fell in love instantly and to win her heart one night he made a wonderful feast dedicated to her. That night she told him that she feels the same way, but she had to continue on with her journey and without any doubt he offered to come with her. They left the Shreiker Islands and traveled for several years before they decided to stop and settle in Ogron and start their own family.

Wilbur was born on Shreiker Islands and he knew very well that merfolk were living deep in the ocean nearby, some people even thought that there is a portal to the legendary city of Atlantis there as there were a lot of mermaids and sea creatures in the waters around islands. But merfolk were not trustful to humans and they only communicated to Lizards and Chameleons in the area and they served a role as mediators between humans and merfolk.

On the other side of the lake was a large cavern where a tribe of Chameleons lived. They rarely went outside and did not interact with villagers at all – entrance to the cave was hidden by thick forest and Chameleons stayed hidden from villagers’ eyes. This is where Wilbur decided to start his investigation and one day, he went to the cave to ask Chameleons about his wife’s death and to ask for audience with merfolk.

He came in front of the cave entrance where he found animal bones and dead birds lying around. He shouted to call Chameleons, but the entrance was still dark. After some time, a weekly light could be seen in the dark and a small blue creature with a torch in its hand exited the cave. It had large eyes, something like a fin on top of its head and long curly tail. It stood in front of Wilbur and lifted the torch higher.

“You. Human. What do you want from Chameleons”, asked the creature.

“My name is Wilbur, and I have come to seek audience with your chieftain for I need to speak with him about matters of my own”, replied Wilbur not allowing the creature to hear any doubt in his voice.

“My name is Agwe, human. No. The general will not see you. We have nothing to give you. Leave this place”, replied measly creature.

“I will not leave until my request is heard, creature. I will stay here and will shout until my voice breaks and my body drops dead”, Wilbur was persistent. “I have lot of time to spare and nothing else to lose.”

“Hmph”, mumbled Agwe, “pesty human. Fine, stay here. I share this with my general.”

Agwe turned around and returned to cave. Wilbur watched as creature went deeper in cave as light from his torch diminished. An entire hour passed, and cave was still dark. Just as Wilbur prepared to enter the cave a bright light could be seen all around the entrance and large number of footsteps and voices could be heard echoing. Agwe came out with several other Chameleons, all carrying torchers, some carried knives, spears and clubs.

“You. Human. Come with us. General will see you now”, Agwe said briefly and entered the cave.

Wilbur followed. He entered the cave that was now total opposite of dark – Chameleons lit up the torches across cave walls and he could see that cavern goes deep into the mountain. He followed Agwe and several other creatures while the ones with the weapons stayed behind him to make sure he will not try to attack. They passed several large rooms each one larger than previous one. One had somewhat of a lake inside and Wilbur was sure he saw a mermaid swim down as they passed it. Then they entered even larger cavern, weird rock formations were hanging from the ceiling, water dripped down the walls. The cavern was full of wooden cages filled with various birds and small creatures. But two cages were occupied with a lot larger creatures, two Lizards that sat there with their hands tied. Wilbur noticed them, and they have seen him as well, interested in newcomer as their eyes followed Wilbur’s each step.

Finally, they have reached the final chamber. At the end of it was a large rock looking like a chair where Chameleon General sat. Behind him was another portion of in-cave water but this one, as opposite to other lake they passed earlier emitted strange and bright blue light that playfully reflected on the walls around them.

Chameleon General jumped from his improvised chair holding a strange long stick and approached Wilbur. “Human. What business do you have with Chameleons? Why do you disturb my calm and innocent tribe”, asked General.

“General,” replied Wilbur, “my name is Wilbur and I have come to ask you for assistance.” He stopped trying to see if any reaction will come from General so he could judge in what direction to continue. He did not want to be aggressive as they could’ve easily killed him there on the spot, but he did not want to show any weakness as well.

“Wilbur. Hmph… I am Gobbler, General of this tribe. What do you want I ask again human”, growled Gobbler, loosing his patience. Creatures with weapons behind Wilbur stirred a little and Wilbur realized that Chameleons are not very calm and patient creatures.

“General Gobbler, I have come here to ask for your help. I lived with my wife in the village across the lake for years now and few days ago my wife was brutally murdered on the shore during the night. She was pulled to the bottom of the lake and was spit back half eaten and I have come to seek justice and vengeance. I would like to speak with merfolk and to find out if they know something about this as they might be able to tell me what killed my wife”, Wilbur finished. He got aggravated by mere mention of his wife and his voice became louder and it echoed in the cave. Gobbler did not like this. He started shouting something in language Wilbur did not understand and he approached Wilbur and started pushing him with the stick back to the entrance of the cavern yelling at him. Wilbur could not do anything but to slowly retreat step by step as Gobbler hit him with his stick with each uttered word. Wilbur understood only parts of his angry growls “Human comes demands… justice… vengeance… Gill-Ra… no shame… disrespect… Mok-Arr… begone… out…”

And so, Wilbur found himself standing outside of the cavern where Gobbler sat on his stone throne while other creatures blocked the entrance pointing their weapons at him. Looks like negotiations failed¸ though Wilbur sadly. One wrong step and it all failed. As he walked towards the exit and through the cave with wooden cages the captive Lizards called him.

“Human! Psst, please come here”, one of them called. He was lucky Chameleons were too proud to escort him back out. He approached the cages. “Yes, is there anything I can do for you?”

“Well, we are captured, what do you think?” replied the other one.

Wilbur did not want to be caught speaking with them, so he crawled behind a stack of cages and sat there whispering. “Why would I help you? I do not want to risk losing my life for some strange creatures I do not know. Why are you held captive?”

“Long story, human. If you do not want to help do not waste our time”, said the Lizard.

“Please Isshtak, calm down”, said other one. “He stopped to listen to us, he risks his life only by being here, have some respect. Human, apologies, my friend here has little patience as we’ve been stuck in these cages for over a month now. My name is Kashhrek and I am Chieftain of my Lizardfolk tribe. This here is Isshtak, proud fighter of our tribe and my friend. Since I know what you are risking here, I will keep this short and you can later choose whether to help us or not, will that be fine?”

“Sure”, replied Wilbur, “I will listen to your story as you might be able to help me as well.”

“Agreed”, said Kashhrek. “As you might be familiar, we Lizards and Chameleons are part of one nation, we are creatures of the same clade and we are living across the land in forests and swamps in union. Yes, we are living in separated tribes and we have our differences, but all tribes are united in our common goal and that is fight against the Dark Lord. But Dark Lord’s influence is spreading across the land and his corruption strikes deep. He managed to turn some of the tribes against their own kind, they were blinded by greed and dark promises. Gobbler and his shaman Agwe were part of my tribe but once Dark Lord’s corruption struck, they left our tribe and came to these caves to gather more armies in Dark Lord’s name. I, as Chieftain, followed and came here with some followers trying to persuade them to come back to right path. But in meantime Gobbler managed to find more followers and we were all captured when we came here. They are corrupted beyond saving, only Isshtak and I still live, Gobbler and his Chameleon muggers ate my comrades and it’s only a matter of time when we will be next.”

“I’m so sorry to hear about this. But if they ate all others how come you are still alive,” asked Wilbur.

“You have to understand that eating fellow tribesman is strictly forbidden in our culture and punishable by death. We are only kept alive so Gobbler and Agwe can show to their minions that they managed to capture Chieftain and the strongest warrior in our ranks. That’s their way of showing dominance over other Chameleons. If you free us, we will be able to go back to our tribe and come back with reinforcements and deal with these treacherous abominations.”

“But in that case, I will never find out what happened to my dear wife”, realized Wilbur with sadness in his voice.

“I’m afraid I do not understand human”, replied Kashhrek.

“My wife was killed, and I suspect merfolk from the lake had something with her death. They or some other creature. I came here to ask Chameleons for help, to ask merfolk if they know anything but they forced me out.”

“I am so sorry for your loss”, this time Isshtak replied. “I came here with my wife as well and I had to watch as those abomination feasted on her. I never felt bigger pain in my life.”

“Human”, Kashhrek continued.

“Wilbur”, Wilbur interrupted.

“Wilbur, I will do whatever it takes to get out of here. I will kill all Chameleons in this cave. But I assure you Chameleons will not help you get to the bottom of your wife’s early and sad demise. We are held captive for some time here and I can tell you no merfolk came to this cave nor Chameleons communicated with them. But I promise I will help you investigate this further once we are free and my tribesman are revenged.”

Wilbur sat there silent. A tear rolled down his cheek. “I will help you. I will set you free”, he said with new confidence in his voice. He stood up and started tampering with ropes on the cage.

“No, Wilbur, wait”, Kashhrek said. “Not now, they might see us. They stored weapons of my tribesman in the corner over there. Please return under cover of night when Chameleons are sure caves are empty. We will gather the weapons, retreat and return with reinforcements. Tonight, please.”

And so it was. Wilbur left the cave and waited for night to come. It was dark, moon was nowhere to be seen. What surprised him most is that upon his return to village some villagers waited in front of his house, they were concerned when they saw him leaving for the cave. He told them what is happening there with Chameleons and Lizards and once he told them the story about Chameleons fighting for the cause of Dark Lord some offered to help. His wife Jenneh, helped them selflessly and they wanted payback for her death as well. They cared after all and that gave Wilbur new strength.

He and at least twenty other villagers gathered in front of cave entrance. Some carried torches, some pitchforks, some held old, rusty daggers and swords that they dig from who knows where. Wilbur entered the cave alone and he advised others to wait there in case something happens. If someone else leaves the cave all were instructed to kill and ask questions later. Nobody complained.

Wilbur came to the room where Lizards were held captive. Entire cave was silent and dark, only a torch here and there lit vast space around them. He cut the ropes with a dagger and Lizards went to acquire their lost weapons. Kashhrek grabbed his long handle axe and Isshtak grabbed his axe and his shield. Wilbur, biggest and strongest of them all, took other weapons rolled in a bundle and they headed out.

They only managed to pass one cave when they heard Agwe yelling behind them. He was carrying the torch and was accompanied by at least dozen of Chameleon muggers. All started screaming as they ran to attack.

“Run”, yelled Kashhrek, “we need to get outside. I will be able to provide protection once we are out.”

“You go”, Isshtak replied, “I will keep them away from you. Run!”

He took the stance and put his shield straight. He screamed and ran towards Chameleons.

“Ramming rush”, Kashhrek explained to Wilbur as they ran toward the exit, “his signature move. Come, he will handle them.” Isshtak bashed Chameleons with his shield in full speed and threw at least five Chameleons to cave walls killing them instantly with shear strength. He managed to cut two of them down with his axe before Agwe started chanting waving his hands above his head. Drops of water started circulating around his fingers as he moved them in the air and suddenly, a small in-cave lake started stirring and a large rogue wave raised from lake and went right towards Isshtak. He was taken by surprise and started running towards exit when he tripped and fell. The wave was near and ready to consume him.

Wilbur appeared out of nowhere and offered hand to Isshtak. He accepted it and stood up. “Thank you, my friend.”

They managed to get out where other villagers waited. When they saw strange trio running out they started cheering but soon they realized they were not alone. “Follow me”, yelled Kashhrek as he started running towards the woods. Agwe was behind them and Gobbler exited the cave at some point with remaining Chameleon muggers. Kashhrek and villagers, accompanied with Isshtak and Wilbur were at the edge of the woods when Kashhrek told everyone to gather around him. He stepped with one foot in muddy pond when strange light started swirling around him and after a sudden blast of light passed the skin of all people around him started changing and scales appeared all over their bodies. He saw surprised looks on villager’s faces, “do not worry, the force of nature will keep you all safe and protected”. As he said that one Chameleon threw short spear in their direction and it simply bounced of arm of one of the villagers. Only small cut was in place where spear would pierce it. Empowered by this change villagers ran in offense. They fought with swords, daggers and pitchforks and whenever Chameleons struck back with their weapons they managed to inflict only bruises and small cuts. Wilbur managed to throw the bundle on the ground, he picked up a short sword and joined the battle yelling. He saw Kashhrek battling Agwe, after they exchanged couple of blows against each other Kashhrek counterattacked and struck his axe right through Agwe’s head. The creature dropped dead there on the spot.

Chameleons were losing and their numbers dropped fast. Aggravated by this sight Gobbler wanted to take revenge on toughest opponent and as he approached Isshtak he grabbed smaller Chammeleons one by one and bit off any part of their body he could. His cuts healed after each Chameleon he ate. Isshtak saw this and it only made him angrier, he ran towards Gobbler and just as Gobbler opened his large mouth to devour another Chameleon Isshtak grabbed his long tongue and with one swift pull ripped it out. Wilbur was nearby and ready and in one strike he cut Gobbler’s head from his shoulders. And this is how the battle ended. Only few Chameleons remained and they either surrendered or ran into woods.

After they managed to catch some breath Isshtak and Kashhrek approached Wilbur. “Thank you my friend”, said Kashhrek, “my tribe and I are forever in your debt. If fate did not brought you today to this cavern we would still be trapped and dead soon for sure. Please know that I will honor my word, we will now retreat to our tribe and I will come back soon with some fresh forces and together we will find out what happened to your wife.” They shook hands, Isshtak gifted his shield to Wilbur and they told the villagers that they can keep all weapons and riches they manage to salvage from caverns as a thank you gift. Soon they disappeared somewhere in woods and Wilbur and villagers returned back to village. His wife’s death was still unavenged and that spark still burned bright in him but at least he had some new friends and allies on his side. His revenge is yet to come.

2 Likes
#7

Chapter 2 is now added. Enjoy :smiley:

1 Like