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Don’t let my amateur artwork fool you! I promise it doesn’t do my book justice lol(NOT cover photo, just a dragon from the book)

 

I awoke. I had no recollection of who I was or how I came to be here. Here, this wondrous place. A place that encircled me, no, trapped me in a thick wove of trees twisted together like amalgamations of human beings and monsters. Shaking the leaves off of my body, I discovered that I was encased in something like a medieval suit of mechanical armor. As my bewildered eyes drew closer to the suit, I could see that it wasn’t just mechanical. It was bio-mechanical. What a sight! Tubes and tentacles woven together like circuitry, bright shades of green that transformed into orange as I moved, a sword literally growing out of my right arm as a hand; and, on the ground beside me, there was a spiked helmet.
Could I have been a demon? For this looked to me more like a suit fit for the walking dead than for a hero. My shock at my lack of memory was quickly extinguished, for in this suit I felt purpose, longing, and adventure. The land around me was the most extraordinarily beautiful thing I had ever seen, though apparently, it was the only thing I had ever seen. I didn’t even know what I looked like in full, having not seen my own reflection. I had, for lack of better words, simply been born. Created. Purposeful. Though, I did not know what my purpose was yet. So I decided to search for it. I reached down for the helmet and put it on.
The spiky helmet felt cold upon my face. It felt unbearably uncomfortable, but as I tried to remove it, sinewy tentacles like those of an octopus shot out and connected to my suit. Once the connection was made, my body felt an intense shock and I convulsed violently. The excruciating pain was short lived. I suddenly felt a surge of power, but of a good sort. Oh was it good! I felt complete, as if a painting could feel satisfied once finished. I was a work of art.
My suit of armor felt more like a part of my own body than an actual suit. As I said earlier, it was bio-mechanical, a perfect marriage of living flesh and computerized metal. Perhaps a better description would be living metal and living flesh strung together like fabric, for it did indeed have parts that resembled string or yarn, though they were hard and cold. But as I touched them, they changed to soft, blanket soft, a transformation just as eerily quick as my colors. I didn’t merely feel its softness with my hands: my shell felt the change as well. Yes, this armor was a shell. The closest analogy I can think of is that I was a tortoise, my hard suit shielding me from danger. But why it become soft when I touched it, how I could feel its changes, how I could feel the air breezing upon it, how I could not get out of it (though that was certainly not something I desired), and what sort of danger it was there to protect me from, I knew not.
I stumbled around the forest, weeds twisting onto my feet as if they did not wish me to go on. No sound could be heard other than the earth crushing under my feet, as if I was some kind of lumbering monster, or perhaps Paul Bunyan. How I know that name and his story, I have no clue. It seemed as though I remembered it by instinct, as well as all of the normality of my environment. The smell of trees, the breeze of silent wind, and the taste of the air all seemed familiar. It doesn’t make sense, I know, but it is the truth: a man without memory feeling as though he knew everything about his surroundings, just not himself. Also knowing language, as well as scenarios (and certain words) that I would soon come to know are virtually non-existent in this place. I must have come from someplace else.
I spoke of normality, but this jungle was far from normal, far from the normal I somehow knew of. Everything was much too serene, as if nothing but plants existed, and after I had walked only perhaps twenty yards I discovered a large pond that did something strange, though strange seems to be the norm in this world. I noticed that there was a great deal of wind, but as it tossed the leaves about the ground, it did not ripple the water whatsoever. It simply stayed calm. I briefly wondered if it was perhaps frozen and somehow only looked fluidic; but this was a silly thought, for the air was actually very warm. I knelt to touch it. To my surprise my hand sunk in just as it would if I had touched a public pool. The water could be disturbed by my hand, by life, but not by wind. Somehow, I knew it could only be penetrated by living things(I would experience many more strange occurrences of intuition later on). I tested my theory and dropped a stone into the clear water. It bounced, no, shot off the water as if it had touched an unusually bouncy trampoline. The rock zoomed straight up into the sky, and I did not see it return to earth.
I began to feel thirsty, so I scooped some water in my hand and brought it to my mouth. I forgot that my helmet was on, so I felt the cold water just run off of my metallic face. Cold, cold, cold! I shuddered in freezing amazement that the water was so cold in such a warm place.
I was in a most upsetting circumstance. The helmet would not come off, so I could not quench my thirst. Would I never eat or drink? I didn’t let it bother me too much, for I was confident and would not let fear touch me. I felt around the helmet, and noticed that my reflection in the pond was simply stunning. I looked demonic and terrifying. This did not bother me either, for I was only determined to get the helmet off so I could drink. As I continued to feel it, I felt something like a button and pushed it. To my relief and excitement, I heard a hissing stream of gas and the tentacles disconnected. I lifted the helmet off and drank as I looked at my true face. I had brown hair and brown eyes, distinguished eyebrows, a small nose, small ears, and big lips, which smacked together in a funny fashion as I drank. The water seeped down my throat and felt good.
This good feeling disappeared as soon as it arrived. Without this helmet, I felt afraid, incomplete, unfinished. I seemed to have had a vision (I thought in that moment that it was only from fear) of multi legged monsters twisting and roaring together. They clambered on top of each other like maggots. I felt as if they were right there with me, their slimy mouths longing to sink their serrated teeth through my armor and into my flesh. The vision passed and I connected the helmet again. Now I felt invincible again.
After walking ahead aimlessly for a few hundred feet, I saw about a dozen birds nesting on the ground. I thought they may be flightless, for there were certainly enough branches for them to house their families, but in fact the things weren’t birds at all.
As I advanced slowly, trying not to frighten them away, I noticed that they had no beaks, no feathers, and no feet. They walked on their wings in an almost reptilian fashion, though not sluggish at all. Graceful little creatures! I was mesmerized, entranced, by their sheer uniqueness. A few of them became aware of my appearance and did not seem alarmed. They stared me down with a look of boredom, and what they did next shattered my curious trance.
Placed into a state of disgusted fear even worse than when my helmet was off, I watched as one by one, their beautiful forms all turned their heads to face me, and with sickly unison, the things smiled, showing rows of bloodstained teeth. I had assumed that they had been feasting on their very young, or at least their own kind, for there within the mouths of some I could see reptilian forms not unlike the eaters themselves. Seeing as they were not impressed by my large form and sharp sword, I turned and ran. They began to chase me at surprising speed, some circling over my head, some flying by my sides. They did not once take their eyes off of me. Then to my horror the beasts spoke.
“Why are you here youngling? Lost? Scared? A bit worn and tired? Come with us and we will soothe your flesh with our tongues.” The tongues shot at me, like those of chameleons, and lifted me high into the air. They did not soften my suit, so at least I possessed some protection. How much that mattered I did not know, for I was being carried away by monsters that spoke in unison, as if all were directed by a single brain.
My survival instinct kicked in and I began slashing at the slimy tongues with my sword. They laughed as their tongues severed and I began to fall. I didn’t even realize that they had already carried me as high as a mountain (for I could in fact see mountains of immense height off in the distance). I fell to earth with fear, embracing the inevitable. But I did not die. I fell with pain and rolled down a steep hill into a river without flow. There were beasts underwater too! These fanged, hairy brutes dragged me further and further down what seemed like an eternal depth. Then I was lifted back onto dry land by the long tongues of the flying ones. They surrounded me and I knew there was no chance of escape. This all happened so fast! Their cruel voice spoke to me once more.
“Wanna show us some gratitude? We rescued you from the sprites! They would’ve ripped your body into little shreds if we hadn’t kept our chase.”
With intense, hopeless, fearful, and burning anger, I returned conversation.
“Who are you? What do you want from me?”
“We are fairies, though you may call us Legion, for we are many.” At this they all roared with laughter. “We don’t want to hurt you, you silly thing, just give you a tour around our forest. You are the one the neighborhood speaks of, are you not?”
Still in fear, I told them I had no idea who I was or why I was here. Their humor was most distasteful.
“Stupid creature,” they laughed, “not knowing your own destiny, your own worth. You’ll learn soon enough the rules of this jungle….OH stop your cowardice, fool! We wouldn’t eat you. Anyone who can save her is a friend of ours. She loves us and we love her.”
A new voice bellowed out of nowhere. “Come now Annoyance, you know you wouldn’t eat this man because you are simply playful vegetarians. Why must you frighten him? You always play with new arrivals, but I believe this one is no fool. His helmet connected. He is the one. And do please refrain from calling yourselves Legion. You are far from demonic.” At this they fell silent, having a look of spoiled fun upon their scaly faces. The voice was from a cow. His eyes looked more like a man’s, full of wisdom and life. He had a black body and orange stripes on his back.
“How do you do friend? I am Steer, noble servant of the Alpha. I trust you are weary. Here, have a treat.” The cow nudged a small bag of colorful candies towards me with his hoof.
“What you gonna do cow? Steer him in the right direction? Why, you don’t even possess horns!” cackled the creatures in a mocking tone. “Look at that belly! UTTERLY unacceptable, UTTERLY feminine. The male with mammary glands! UTTERLY, UTTERLY, UTTERLY, HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!” I laughed as well. I then looked to the cow, expecting shame and embarrassment to be on his face. Well, I was mistaken. The cow went mad.
“YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS HERE! Though you saved him, all you continue to do is attempt to frighten and discourage him! Leave now at once!” said Steer.
“Gooooooooooooooood grief, old heifer can’t take a joke.” With this, they flew off into what was beginning to look like a sunset. It caught my eye and gave me brief comfort, for it distracted me from the fact that I was speaking to a fluent cow. He nudged me and said, “Eat. It will help you recover from that nasty fall.”
I was impatient, tired, frightened, doubtful, and a little mad. So I lost my temper with Steer and screamed at him, asking who I was, why I was here, and how the hell an ugly cow could talk. His reaction taught me one thing…you cannot lose your temper in this world, especially with him.
Apparently, he doesn’t take insults very well, for once these words left my mouth he lifted his front hooves and kicked me square in the jaw with such a force that I could almost feel my helmet crack. As I began fading into unconsciousness, he stooped over me and whispered, “I cannot tell you who you are or why you are here. My lips are unfit to say such noble words. But I can take you to one who can give you the answers. And I am not ugly, you hoof lacking, hairless monkey!”
And then everything went black.

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Comments
  1. […] forget to read Chapter One as well, but start here if you […]

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