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A short story: The Four and the Quest for the Surface

((I decided to create this short story. Mostly, because I had the time to do so. Also, I wanted to see what sort of feedback I might get. This story might lead to a character I would like to role play when this game comes out. If there is a request for more I might post more but this short snip will do for now. We will see how in line with the world and story I am. I'm sure I'll be swiftly corrected by the cold and unforgiving internet if i'm off point. Enjoy, maybe..))

The cold comfort of the Underrealm has been a haven for my people, the Tulnar, for generations. My people built these small and interconnected communities through the vast and dark tunnels beneath the surface. What choice did we have? When we were left behind, the only choice was to build the impossible or face the horrors upon the surface.

Our elders often regale us with the tales of old, the favored children of the Ten were taken into their loving embrace as we were left to rot. Many cling to the memory of their less than forgiving gods. But I think that is a fool's mechanism to cope with the horrible reality; we were left behind. The elders say that when our people fled into the protection of our cave systems, the screams of otherworldly horrors and death throes of anything that did not make it below ground could be heard through the very stone. A story that is a bit hard to believe, We have heard nothing of the sort for generations. That was until about seven bells ago.

The world started to shake with a magnitude unlike anything our people have told stories about. We could hear the stone, no, we could hear Verra tremble and break. The creatures of the Underrealm fled through vast open passages and narrow tunnels alike. I swear to you, a pack of ravagers trampled through several buildings of our village as the world broke and paid no mind to the possible quarry that panicked helplessly.

Ohh Goddess of Trickery, what grand game did you put into motion? It would take the next few bells to realize that mapped tunnel systems have either shifted or collapsed. There were also new tunnel systems that recently opened. All of this led the elders to a nearly singular conclusion. The way to the sky has opened and the forgotten children of the Ten will make the journey to the surface of Verra. Once again we will plant our banner into the fertile topsoil of the surface and leave the Underrealm to the beasts that roam here. Personally? I think this is a horrible idea.

I am Kasik Earthmender. My three brothers: Ragle, Darth, Arthur, and I were selected to start the search of the sky. We were selected for four main reasons. We are a bit on the older side, I suppose that means that if we were lost in the first probe out into the world, the younglings would be able to put together a better strategy. Second, Each of us had a bit of worldly experience. We have ventured deep into the dark some years ago during some trying times, to find the ley lines of essences and capture enough to maintain production of needed materials to keep the community alive. Third, I think the community found all of us to be a bit expendable. I blame that on their unrelenting tie to the Ten, a trait the four of us did not share. Finally, each of us were versed in different disciplines. This made our overall capabilities and flexibility ready for a wide range of obstacles. Except for the fact that we were ordered to split up in order to and I quote, “Hasten the quest for the sky! The Ten will not be left waiting.”

Two more bell tolls and the hour of our journey was upon us. Each Tulnar packed a week's worth of rations and other necessary supplies, to include consumable magic and mundane items for what could be our last forte into the Underrealm.

“The plan is simple brothers, we will take the eastward path. Some of which is still accurately mapped.” *Ragle’s voice was that of a scared throat. I remember that in his youth it was booming and overpowering to the average listener, but half a lifetime of battle cries and commands in the fight against the beasts and nefarious races of the Underrealm made his voice a rasp.

Ragle adjusted his plated gloves as he went on, “We will have to keep eastward until the old ravagers nest.” Ragle set his gaze on each of us, I knew he was inspecting our gear and making sure we understood him. I suppose that is the role of the commander and eldest brother, “No one has seen the beasts for a couple of bells now. So when we get there, that is when we will part ways to the new passages there. The task is simple brothers, map the tunnel for three to four days then return to the old ravagers nest. First one to find the sky will get my last keg of elden berry stout.” Ragle grinned wide at that last comment. He sure did know how to motivate his younger siblings. A little competition would but just a kick I needed.

Darth reacts in his somewhat predictable manner and rolls his eyes before tossing his hands up. He spun on his heels to face the eastern tunnels. His tone was as annoyingly cavalier as always, “Great, Kasik gets to sprint off into a deep crevasse and the rest of us get to sleep in peace. I might even get some stout for my trouble.”

I’ll admit, I had a small flash of anger. Darth was notorious for pressing my buttons and he couldn’t be more of a stuck up Boughbite if he tried too. My brother Aurther on the other hand was the exact opposite of him, the man was patient and kind as ever. Quick to pat out the small flames. It’s hard to believe that those opposites are twins.

Eastward, into the dark and away from the communities’ lights. Through the narrow tunnels lit with small bioluminescent plants that shifted from warm to cold colors as we passed. Hells, it was only the first day for the quest for the sky. I’m sure Verra was just waiting for her forgotten children.


  • KasikEKasikE Member
    ((*No one, no one at all.* Ahhhh HMMM! I decided to write another section. Well I had the time to do so and for some reason you cannot stop me, I'm kind of an adult and I already did my chores! *Slams fingers on keyboard* Now that we have the jokes to the side, here is section two. Enjoy, maybe..))

    Passage through the Underrealm is a time consuming venture, the twisting tunnels and possible dangers slow foot travel down to a grinding halt. This problem is compounded by the fissures that split some tunnels in two and cave-ins that needed to be navigated. Together, this was a trivial task for my brothers and myself. Our formation was a practiced one that we fell into naturally.

    Ragle would lead from the front, in fact he would demand to take on such a role. One that I found suited his skill set. He is a giant of a Tulnar. Some even believe that he has the strength of three, I can see why they might think that way. Ragle insisted on carrying an equipment load that would boggle the rational mind. If we packed for a week, he would pack for two. His very weapons are colossal and unwieldy for most, but he held one in each hand during the rush of battle. His bulky armor would periodically clink and clash against the narrow passages and scrape along stone we had to squeeze through. Despite his stalwart and serious expression. He would often mumble a soft, “Sorry.” After clanking against a cave wall.

    Next was Darth, it was always Darth. He’s a bit of a self-important Boughbite but the man was a bit of an intellectual titan. It’s only too bad he is all too aware of that fact. I would never say it outloud, but he is a talented mage. Darth has just the right ratio of confidence to intelligence to stay behind the bulwark of Ragle when we venture. Smaller than his giant brother Ragle but fights well enough within the midst of combat himself. A mastery of essence to charge the flows of his curved saber to deliver deceive blows to all sorts of foes with an elemental blast would send most reeling back. Too bad he is just a bit of a prick.

    Arthur always follows close behind his twin, Darth. He is older than me but is rather scrawny and pale. You could easily call him the runt of the family. Hell, that’s saying something for a Tulnar. He dresses and packs lightly, normally speaking, but this time he is burdened with the weight of his pack. Arthur huffs and wheezes a silent complaint from time to time but doesn’t raise the issue out loud. My poor gentle brother would hate to be a burden so he often avoids conflict when he can. I suppose he hates the feeling of being useless. He glances past Darth and stares at the back of Ragle’s head as if to send him a message. I’m sure he wanted to hand his pack over to alleviate his burden. His profession? He was a cleric of sorts. That is what he claims at least. I can’t doubt the fact that his use of essence proves to be an effective tool for restoring our bodies after injuries but I don’t fully understand where his power comes from. If you ask him I'm sure he would say, “It is simply the way of things. The world allows me to mend you. It seems we still need to fulfill some purpose, Kasik.”

    What about me? My feet are swift and my ears can hear around the bend, the problem? I am always in the back of the formation. It’s important that I ensure that nothing follows us through the dark and poor Arthur rarely pays much attention to his surroundings. If it comes to a brawl, I can quickly pace myself to the front. There are few obstacles, to include Arthur himself, that can’t be navigated with a little bit of acrobatic flair. I consider myself a trickster by trade, a little less trick and more sinister all be it. My brothers think I'm a bit daft, but they cannot hear her. The Goddess of trickery grants me blessings from time to time. When she feels like it. I am not slacking on my own sword play. Nothing would be worse than to pray for protective shadows to hide my form. Only to realize that my right boot was suddenly untied and I had to fight a Goblin with rusty spork. We have a working relationship but I try not to waste her time. The dance of daggers and the use of darts with toxins are normally enough for me.

    I found myself glancing at each of my brothers as we traversed the treacherous tunnels and avoided narrow edges and tight spaces. I suppose i’m a bit sentimental like that, I wanted to engrave this journey into my memory. There it is, up ahead there is a stale smell of sitting water and rotting prey that was left behind. It takes my brother Ragle a whole ten steps until he reels from the stench. An obvious sign that we are near the old ravager’s nest.
  • KasikEKasikE Member
    edited May 2022
    ((*Hours later* 20 plus what? You can't possibly think that I'll believe that people are reading this. Vampire Potter was a better written fan fiction than this drivel. But it is still 20 plus views...the fame, the power. "But Kasik, the only reason people click on this is because it is on the very top of the list. This is trash." Well I don't care! I've taken the time to write another section to subject you to my horribly written fan fiction of a world that doesn't exist yet! *Throws monitor out of the window.* Part three. Enjoy, maybe...))

    The smell of the cavern is horrific! I had to clasp my hand over my maw to stop a gagging cough from escaping my throat. “Seven bells worth of rot and doung.” I hissed between my fangs.

    I saw Ragle turn sharply towards me with a scowl and waved for me to move forward. It seems my dear brother didn’t approve of my visceral reaction.

    Squeezing past Arthur and Darth, I made my way to the spot next to Ragle so I could see into the cavern beyond. The interior of the abandoned nest must have been nearly a hundred paces by a hundred paces. Boulders were strewn about the place, most with the telltale scars of ravager claws that marked each boulders’ surface. The faint light of the bioluminescent plants was enough to light the floor of the cave. The ground was littered with heaped moss beds, leftover meals, and ravager doung.

    I placed a hand on Ragle’s shoulder guard, I know he won't move without my signal but it does help me focus. The real danger of this room was what I couldn’t see. The vines of some of the plants crept up the walls and into the darkness, a noticeable slash on the plants at the very top. Ravagers are infinitely more clever than some Tulnar give the creatures credit for. The beasts often make home in tall caverns so they can cling to the stone wall and crawl all the way up to the blackened ceiling above. If the room was this large, then it must have also been two hundred paces tall. Enough space to hide the adults just outside of the light. They often ‘trimmed’ the plants down to ensure the cover of darkness was to their advantage. Beyond this room I could spot the foretold new tunnels.

    To calm my mind I have to inhale deeply then exhale, “Goddess, open my senses.” I say with a plea.

    In moments I can feel my perceptions stretch into the room, my sight becomes focused and magnifies. Peering into the room, I inspect each moss bed with much greater detail. As if I am standing over each bed peering into them. I search for the young first. In the light they are easier to spot in their moss beds. However, each one I search appears to be empty.

    I inhale and exhale yet again as I squeeze my eyes shut. I can hear the gentle drips of condensation form on stalactites and drip to the stone floor below. The air is frighteningly still, but I know what I am listening for. A low and gentle rumbling deep in the dark. Ravagers gasp in large volumes of air into their breast so they can communicate with humming vibrations. A sound so eerie and soft that it is nearly imperceptible without close observation.

    My perception slowly reaches its way into the dark above when a sudden shake nearly causes me to jump out of my boots!

    Ragle grips my maw and shoulder to hold me in place, “Anything?” His raspy voice cuts the silence of the Underrealm.

    “No dammit, I told you to leave me be when I am like that.” I couldn’t help but to hiss. My heart was racing like a pair of Lightails. I gave his shoulder a good thud, “Didn’t find anything, those must be the tunnels over there then?”

    Ragle gave me a crooked grin, I think he senses the deep annoyance I am holding. He says, “Good. We will all have an easy walk from here then. Let us have our weapons at the ready anyways.” His voice filled with amusement.

    I glanced back just in time to see that smug grin on Darth’s face before he pulled his curved saber from its sheath, “What’s the matter little brother? Do you always seek my approval?” He mused. Darth was clearly trying to pile one on while he could.

    “Doung eater.” I hissed as I yanked the daggers from my belt. The flowing blades sang a slight tune as they were freed from their leather sheaths.

    Ragle snapped up my forearm with his iron-like grasp and shoved me into the room. I did not have time to protest or snap back at Darth’s amused snicker that followed me into the cavern. The game is on, I can feel the amused hum of my goddess deep in my core. If ravagers were in the cavern they would know we are here now.

    I picked each step carefully, the smooth stone surfaces and beds of moss silenced my steps nicely. Not that it really mattered. I could hear the soft clanking of Ragle’s armor close behind, it was comforting to hear that support was close by.

    Weary of other potential hazards in the room, I shifted my weight and kept my eyes low to the stone floor. With the ravagers gone, I did not want to lead my brothers into a deep pit covered in moss as a consolation prize. Yet I can feel my heart thundering loudly in my chest, being exposed to the vast cavern brought on a rush of unwanted anxiety. It did not help that the carcasses of ripped up and rotting beasts laid scattered over the floor of this place. Pools of coagulated blood filled the small divots and pours of the stone.

    Careful maneuvering was paying off, half way there already. The tunnels on the other side of the room were clearer now than before. There are three tunnels that led off into different directions, my eyes can only follow each tunnel so far before they branched into darkness or the glow of plant light twists down curves that only our feet could follow.

    My body suddenly shivers with a deep feeling of dread, a voice deep within muses, ‘Up.’ I spin and glance to the darkness above, I’m barely able to gasp, “Up!” Before the plunging beast bursts from the darkness. The warm color lights of the plants flash to cold in the same instant.

    The ravager’s powerful limbs were outstretched as its body twists in mid pounce. The curved dagger-like claws are fully extended and reaching down for Ragle. The alien of a beast filled the cavern with the first ear shattering roar. I missed them, now the ambush was on our heads.
  • LethanelLethanel Member
    edited May 2022
    There's not so many readers here my friend. I tried, ended up with one comment after a month. So about story and text...
    - You should rearrange dialogues. Start with "-" at the beginning of a new line, check dictionary.
    - You haven't described any of your characters, that's a little problem.
    - Ten gods? Not seven?
    - Honestly, nothing that would caught my attention happened. Your story doesn't seem to be entertaining enough. It may be just my opinion though.
    - There's a rule that you need to tell your story with one time - past or present as far as I know. But I'm not sure if the same rule applies in English so again, dictionary.
  • KasikEKasikE Member
    (( *Google search: how to write dialogue for the untalented* Hrrrm, okay it says here...well yes. Okay, you are about 90% right which is about 85% more correct than I am. Thank you for your feed back. I am not sure if I will write anything today but I might go and read one of your posts Lethanel, you are afterall, my only fan(s).

    Yes I heard you and others this morning before I went to work, clawing at the back of my mind, "Kasik, why didn't you describe the ravagers? Wait are those even in the game? What is a Lighttail?"

    As well as the Tulnar thing and so forth. The truth? I'm just making things up as I go along. What do you think i've been story boarding this thing? *Deletes google doc.* Do I look like a man who arrived here with some sort of plan? Hell, I don't even know what a Tulnar looks like except for a vague description between a mammal man and a lizard man with extra tails.

    Plus, I've been doing my job for over five years now and I don't fully realize the second and third order of things that I sent into motion during my first few months on the job. It's not so hard to believe some things were lost in translation over generations. Some cave dwelling folks don't know the meta information of the 'Others' being banished.

    I also find it odd that thinking there are still ten gods is a hard line in the sand, but everyone seems to be perfectly okay with the one I decided to make up. Really the ravagers! I could have looked something up and used a monster but no. I'm not smart enough to do that. It's not like I can go back now I wrote them in on day one, we are far to beyond the point.

    Really, thank you for the feedback. I'll try to make something a little better from now on. Also, please link or name your story. I'm a bit of a boomer and I can't find things well.

    P.S. Ashes of creation developers.....god of trickery.

    I dedicate section 4 to my only fan(s) Lethanel. It's only $5.99 a month. Enjoy, maybe...))

    Ragle’s body burst into action. His grip tightened on his massive weapons as he shifted his weight. He swung upward with the mighty great axe and great hammer to deliver a singular blow. The blade of the axe cleaved through the ravager’s scales and sunk deep into its flesh as the hammer cracked into the mid section of the beast. The blood chilling sound of shattering bones deep within its form was joined by the pained screams of the beast. Ragle stomped his foot forward and wrenched down with a battle cry that matched the beast's prior roar in volume. He slammed the broken remains of the ravanger against the stone floor with shattering force. It sent the body tumbling across the cavern floor.

    “Kasik! Back here!” Arthur called from the rear of the formation.

    There was no time for admiration, I shifted my center of gravity lower and cast my gaze to the back of the formation. The beasts were dropping all around us, with their strong limbs slamming against the floor with thunderous thuds. I leapt forward to make my way to Arthur. There are two ravagers already bearing down on him. The quadrupeds burst with incredible speeds shortly after landing on the ground.

    I exhale to focus all of the energy into my core, then my legs in a fraction of a second. The burst of speed I produce with this technique accelerates me into a blinding speed. I rush past Ragle, shifting my weight and sliding across the stone floor a short distance as I pass under the back swing of his great hammer that drives another now broken ravager across the cave floor.

    Movement to my right! I shift and contort my body with an unnatural speed with a twisting motion as the jaws of a ravager slam shut, just inches away from my body. I’ll thank the Goddess later for my uncanny ability to dodge dangerous things later.

    “Darth!” I signal as I pass by the ravager. My body twists all the way around and I land back into a full sprint. I’ll leave him with this one.

    There is my window. I thrust my left arm forward with a flick of the wrist to send my left dagger whirling through the air. The blade whistles as it passes by Darth’s shoulder, tumbling end over end on an intercepting course. The blade spins once more before it sinks home. The dagger pants deep into the eye socket of the first ravager bearing down on Arthur. It releases a pained whimper and tumbles from the momentum into a moss bed.

    I press forward without a moment to lose, I bypass Darth as he rushes in the opposite direction to confront the beast I just passed. With a few more feet two my second target and sprinting as quickly as I possibly could.

    “Goddess, if you grant strength. Now would be the time!” I roar out with the exciting throws of battle.

    With the momentum I leaped into the air to cover the remaining distance between myself at the ravager that spun around to address my battle cry. I twisted my whole body with all might I could possibly muster to drive this spinning heel kick into its ribs.

    ‘Smack!’ My heel dug into the side of the beast which caused the monstrosity to stumble, but then I felt it shift its weight.

    “Arthur! Shiel- Gah!” I couldn’t even get my call out before the ravager twisted its powerful form around and slammed a set of claws directly into my sternum.

    My vision came to darkened pin points as all of the oxygen was forced out of my lungs. I could hear broken buckles clatter against the ground as my vision tumbled. Head over heel three times or so before sliding to a halt. I lifted my hand to inspect the warm crimson covering it and the dagger I carried, my own blood.

    “Dominous!” Arthur’s voice boomed from some distance away.

    My eyes snapped to a focus when a golden vail emanated from me and the ravager pounced on my torso. Its twisted teeth gnashed and nawed but found no purchase on the golden barrier that protects me. I could see cracks form as the barrier buckled under the mighty jaws of the unrelenting ravager.

    Rolling to my side I shove a boot against the body of the beast to gain whatever distance I could but the damn thing is heavy! I can feel my heart beating with panic as I slam my boot against its body again and raise the dagger. Each thrust buries the blade to its haft as dark purple blood sprays over the barrier. I can’t see its neck move and I need to hit the cluster of nerves at the base of its collar bone. It wrenches away with a pained screech before snapping its jaw against the barrier again.

    “Goddess, damnit!” I cry out!

    My boot slips from the ravager’s side and it slams its weight against me. The barrier fractures and cracks before my eyes. I use my open hand to rip and pull at the adventuring gear I have stored neatly on my bandolier until my fingers grasp the rough paper object I was looking for. The small bundle of capped paper tubes is now gripped between my bloody fingers. My dagger clangs to the floor as I release it and press my right palm against the ravager’s maw to push with all of my might. It screeches and howls but I'm able to leverage its head just enough to wedge the paper tubes into the flayed holes in its neck.

    “Boom!” I grit out as I twist the metal blast cap.

    The mechanical clicks are quickly drowned out by the blast of spark powder and the burning bundle of flares scorching flesh and blood. Rolling, I throw my arms over my face to shield myself from the intense heat.

    The bright lights and the ravager retreats with a pained howl as it vainly attempts to distance itself from the burning flames that blooms under its scales. The unmistakable smell of burning flesh fills my nostrils as the beast rears back and stumbles until it could no longer hold its feet and collapses against the stones.

    Coughing, I roll over as the smoke from the spark powder escapes my lungs. I spin around to take account of my surroundings. The cavern was no longer filled with the tormenting howls of the ravagers. I could see the silhouettes of my brothers in the gentle glow of the plants. Fresh bodies of five ravagers now lay broken and some twitch on the floor.

    I took a moment to control my breath, I was hyperventilating just moments ago, “One, Two…” my throat tightened when I saw it on the floor.

    Crumpled and broken he lie there. His robes and pack were torn to shreds. Blood oozed from flayed flesh wounds along his chest. My legs began to tremble as I did all I could to hold myself upright, I know he is gone.
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