NAGA The Journey To Mount Aldun

Chapter 1

 

No! Their words are of lies! Of deceit! That monster! We should have never taken him into the city! Why would I marry a disgusting monster like you!

A flash of lighting and the crackling of thunder woken the drunkard up from his slumber. He lay there, in a muddied and shit-ridden pigsty. He laid on ground littered with manure, but to him, it was a normal occurrence. Alan would wake up from his hard stupor with a nasty hangover. Feeling a heavy shadow burdening him, he shakily stood up. The hay on the corner, or what little of it was a very inviting bedding for him, as it was a staple place of rest for his lonely and pathetic nights. Even with all those pig shit littering the ground, he would call it his abode. It muddied the pigsty and made the most wonderous of fumes. But he was right at home with the pinkish livestock. As he was with his kin. At least in the sense how they looked alike. He fell back to the ground as the oinking of a sow echoed the pigsty; surprised from the poor being's tumble. How have Alan fallen so hard in life. He struggled to recalled his life, with all the mental capacity his small head could muster. How did he end up on this pathetic nightmare. He was actually a half-man. Considered to be of the beast folk, Alan was half -man, half-beast, and he was a pig-man at that. It was always a gamble for all half-man when they were born. It was either the head of a beast with the limbs of a man, or vice versa. He couldn't imagine living life with trotters instead of his short stubby fingers; which was not much different. But, Alan was especially different. He was so much shorter than the average half-man. He was the height of a kid aging that of ten or eleven cycles. People always assume he was half-man, half-beast and half Darvfi. As it was in their nature to be short and stout. A full aged Darvfi would often be rival the height of a boy lived for more than 15 cycles. They were a stout, short, and grumbly race. Alan was alas not of Darvfi kin, and was just an abnormally short half-man. He tried to remember his life when he was a child, at nights when he was sober without coin, laying on his hay bedding; just to recall his upbringing. But he could never remember. Only distant fading memories of yonder. Maybe it was because of his nightly grog partake, he attributed his memory lost to that. 'Have you finally awakened Alan Big Mouth?' the farmer said as he poured pig food on the trough. 'Fuck you Dame.' Alan shot back as he stood up. 'Hey, I gave you a place to stay you know. And it's with your family! Aren't you happy?' Dame mockingly laughed and pointed at his pigs. 'I can talk. They can't. Can't you tell the difference you dimwit.' Alan walked towards the pigsty's gate as he tried to swing it open. A firm hand held the gate, obstructing Alan's passage. 'You better watch you fucking mouth half-man. If not for my welcoming nature, I wouldn't even considered you to sleep here. Even with my pigs!' Dame sudden anger frighten Alan. He bowed his head and clicked his tongue. It was true. This village ostracized he and his kin. It was the natural way of man. Only their kin do they respect and acknowledge. It was the law of the world. At least it was in the continent of Margrave. 'Thank you for being so understanding and welcoming Dame! Without you, I would have been sleeping in the gutter! You're my savior Dame!' Alan swung the gate inwards as he hugged Dame's leg. It was all a ploy, so people would at least pity him. He hated everyone. And everyone hated him. 'Get off of me you dirty pig!' Dame kicked Alan and the force almost rolled Alan backwards. 'One last warning Alan. If you talk back and do that shit you do to others with me. I'll carve you like them pigs here and sell you. Who would know? You look like a pig, sound like one, especially smell like one too. I bet you taste like one too.' Alan perked at the notion and ran with his twirly tails dangling from his ripped shorts. 'Run little piggy! RUN!' Dame's manically laughed slowly faded as Alan ran on the muddied road towards the small town of Black Bridge.

The muddied road rained hard that gloomy morning. It was slippery and a merchant cart's wheel had imbedded itself within the soft road at the side of the road. The poor merchant and his guards tried desperately to free the wheel from the mud. Alan just passed them as they mocked and spit at the poor pig man. The path that all of these people took wasthe main road that connecting farm houses all across the northern region. The rough and claggy road all ran towards small and major towns up north. Peddlers, townspeople and even mercenaries walk the northern road. It also ran south towards the largest and grandest city within the human's domain. The Men's Road ultimately lead towards the High men's city; The Immortal City. It was a city lived only by a race of men who were considered, Chosen by Margrave. They were a race of men who long ago were considered heroes, and fought for the peace of all men. They were heralded as the warriors, magicians and scholars hand-picked by the God Margrave. They say they were destined for greatness. They say a lot of bullshit; Alan's thought on the matter. On the horizon he saw carts dragged by donkeys and even half-man up the hill towards a wooden palisade. The gate was made from hard timber fallen from the forest nearest to the town. Of course, the Elfan were angered and enraged by their logging, but the elfan were badly outnumbered and couldn't even hold a candle to the men of Black Bridge. So, the children and wives of the forest elfan threw rocks from the tree's canopy to hinder the lumberjacks of their work. Tree-lovers they call them. Humans were the pinnacle of chauvinism. Bigoted, classist and a hating race, that think that the world Margrave founded for them, was made just for them. Alan enraged at the notion of other races, bowing to man. But he lived in a town full of men, and he couldn't run away from this harsh reality. It was the same with all the ostracized half-man that lived in this pitiful town. Or even all the towns in the realm of men. It was either becoming a serf or slaves, like the poor donkeyman who hauled the heavy carts, or became a jesters like the Alan. For others who deemed useless; like widows and half-man children, were often starving on the Men's Road, begging and pleading for food. Some even became brigands, which didn't help their cause. If only they could run away towards the southern region. Towards the Elfan Kingdom, which was located southwest of the continent. There, the inhabitants were much more open towards, beast folk and half-man. But the path was blocked by towns and small human cities and the mountainous range that cut the east and west of the continent; Margraves Spine. But, if the small town of Black Bridge treated half-man like livestock, the southerners were much more radical in their undertaking. They hang, burn, murder, butcher and even rape half-man that tried to flee this unforgiving realm. Going much north was as much as a death sentence. Even if one was to miraculously succeeded traversing the rapid Red Rivers that was filled with Snapping serpents and Water horrors, they would just come upon the Ice World, where soil freezes and was barren. The

Ice Worldor Ragnork's realm. The people there were corrupted by Ragnork, and there, they have fought against each other for hundreds of years before and hundreds of years to come. The humans and beast folk that lived there were hearty and hard people. They were survivalist and savages who only knew war. They fought and killed in icy planes within the snow blizzards and icy gales. But they weren't on the top of the food chain. No. There, humans were merely playthings for the ancient Ice Elfans. They were an ancient race; a distant cousins of the Forest Elfans. They were brutal, cold, and meticulous in their killings. They have lived longer in the Ice World and was exposed longer towards the evil nature of Ragnork and even worship the winged serpent. Even if one was to survive the hellish blizzards of the

Ice World, they had to move west and find the narrow crossing between the Twin Mountains. There lived the hermit kingdom of the Darvfi. They and their kin don't really like other races, but didn't kill or ostracize. They just didn't like other races on their rocks. They live within their Cavern Kingdoms that was made by their god Alvisth; the flightless one. The narrow crossing was infamous with its rockslides and rock storms that often weathered the area. It was a treacherous and perilous undertaking. If one was still to survive that, one was to be congratulated or even given condolences as they were now located on the dunes of Al-Hamra. The changing dunes of the Red Dessert. The dunes were bone dry except for scarce pockets of oasis. The sands were always changing. How can a place filled with sand change one might ask? The dune mountains shifts and changes position, according towards the will of Al-Arabi. The mischievous and trickster god who was also considered the patron of navigation by the Orkisth and Sand Elfan. He was considered a mountebank by nomadic beast folk who tried navigating the sands. Al-Arabi would occasionally blow Sand Blizzards on his high dunes, which beckons the horrors of the sands. The Storm Runners. Not much were known of these ... things. Because none were known to have survived their massacres. If finally, one would have survived all this peril and horrors of the continent of Margrave. They would finally set foot in the forest of the Elfans. The forest and its inhabitants were still much of a mystery, and some of the adventurers who seek the illusive Elfan Kingdom was led astray by the Blood Mist that governs the entry way of the forest. Townspeople who have welcomed adventures who were adamant with the warning of the forest, would often find themselves, to reluctantly heard the blood curdling screams and plea of their former guest within the Blood Mist.

Thus, there were nothing for them. Fleeing means death. But still to flee this unmerciful realm, death was a chance they would take. For Alan, he couldn't do what his kin would have done in his predicament. He was a coward. So, he took work as a jester of inns and tavern in towns that was somewhat amicable with the notion of the half-man. They would force the jesters to drink while they entertain their host. These poor jester would fall drunk and tell funny and made believed stories. Such is how Alan got his name. Alan Big Mouth. He would tell stories of the ten-day wars of the Orkisth and the humans when they invaded. The Elfan struggle. The Forest Massacre and so on. It was all true historical events, and Alan would vividly tell them these events in his drunken babble. People would laugh and make fun of him, because Alan would narrate it in his own perspective, not like the stories that preachers or scholars have taught the townspeople. Like he was walking and fighting on the very soil of those historical days. But all that had happen was more than two centuries ago. Alan would say he was the one that stabbed the Orkisth warchief in the throat with his spear he called Thunder. It was as tall as two grown men. People would always laugh at that joke as ironically; Alan was the height of a man's hip.

Alan groggily walked towards the wooden gates of Black Bridge. Today the gate was guarded by the prick Jamys and Niv. Oh, how Alan hated the pair. But his coin was in the tavern, and the tavern was within these forsaken fortified town. 'Well, if it isn't Snot face.' Niv perked up as he saw the small half-man plodded in the mud. 'No, it's not Snot Face you imbecile! It's the Pig fucker!' Jamys added. The pair laughed as Alan stopped mere feet before them. 'Well, I do agree with that Jamys! I did fuck a pig last night.' Alan responded as he continued his hobble into town. 'Your mother said I was her best little piggy she has ever have the otherworldly, praised be to Margrave, oh yes Alan, fuck me harder, to have. Her words, not mine' Alan laughed and oinked as he finally pasted the gates. Alan fell on the clart road as his reality spun around him. 'You little fucking Half-man.' Jamys had booted the back of Alan's head and causing Alan to fall flat on his snot onto the sticky mud. His clothes and pants were now dirtied by the mud. Like it matter. Alan groaned and rolled on his back. 'I'm a jester Jamys, couldn't take a little joke could you? Your fat ugly sow like my jokes in bed last night!' Alan was always walking on a very thin thread. He was of course, the jester. Jamys ran towards the fallen Alan and started stomping him into the mud. Alan could only wrap himself into a fetal position and cover his head. The stomping continued as peddlers, merchants and even townspeople just pass by. Amused by the sight of pig man getting pummeled and stomped into their soil. Some even form a crowd. It was a sweet release from their pathetic and pitiful existence. A moment of entertainment. In his fit of rage, Jamys continued his assault as something within him continued blazing. Like a forest fire. His hatred towards a race which was much weaker than his own. He felt as if he had dominated the half-man. He felt like he was a god. In an instant, Jamys saw the world turning upside down as his body almost flew to his side. His face clash with the clarted road. What happened? He was disorientated and confused. The anger that burned within him coupled by the throbbing pain from the kick on his side fueled his rage. 'Who the fuc...' Jamys stopped in his track as he saw the man responsible for his pain and humiliation. He was tending the pathetic and small half-man that he was assaulting just mere seconds ago. 'I... I... I was just playing with him sir!' a scared and nervous laugh escaped his lips. 'My guest must have had a hard time trying to get into my town.' the man said as he took Alan's hand and pulled him onto his feet. 'What might have triggered you to treat my guest with such...' the man paused 'I didn't mean to...' Jamys cowardly squeaked. 'Hostility.' the man stood, towering, overshadowing the fallen gate guard. 'An eye for an eye they say. What you give is what you deserve.' the man lifted his foot. Just like how Jamys assaulted Alan, it was going to happen to him as well. But Jamys was wearing worn leather larps, But the man wore sabaton, which if one hadn't notice were hard iron footwear. 'Forgive me for my lapse in judgement sir! I didn't know he was your guest!' Jamys closed his eyes, clenching his teeth and covering his face with his hands. Then he waited for the inevitable. The pain was sure to come, seconds away. And waited. 'I guess...' the man's voice sounded softer than before. A swept of relief overcame Jamys being. He almost soiled himself.

He slowly relaxed his hands and as he opened his eyes, a looming unforgiving shadow darkened the sun. 'I just have to stomp you harder.' The man's metal footwear thundered the left eye of Jamys. An unrelenting fury of stomps and crunch echoed the path. No scream of help, no plea, no beg. Women fainted. Children ran back home. Crying at the savagery. Some even puked at the sight of blood soiling the soil. Jamys skull, or what's left of it, was now mixed with the muddied road thoroughly. It looked as if a child had made a reenactment of their mother mixing the bread dough for dinner. A very gruesome and gore filled pastry. 'That was too much Ali.' Alan finally spoke as he came towards the man still stomping on the mud. Someone with any or little mental capacity would have deducted that, Jamys was fucking dead. His body was twitching. Fingers and limbs responded awkwardly and eerily with every stomp that Ali gave. 'Stop you bastard.' Alan pulled Ali's hand. 'Thank you for the gesture, but you didn't have to make gravy of the man's brain.' Ali looked back at Alan. He was a dark-skinned human, scuff and rough. His eyes were dead, as well as his expression. No remorse, no emotion. To the normal man; someone who maybe have just met Ali, one would have thought that Ali was a homunculus. The ones that wizards and sorceress used as their help. They showed no emotion or desire. Because they had none when they came to be. But Ali was a full-fledged human. But his metaporhosis to becoming a cold killer was because of the things he seen and during the recent events that transpired the last cycles. He and his band of mercenaries were paid to wipe a town, who said to have been conspirators and housed remnants of rebels. They were paid in gold coins by the wizard of the High Men. Ragh Al'Tul, the High Scholar. A small town up north near the mountains housed one infamous rebel. But the High Men who accompanied his band deemed and branded the town as 'Margrave's feared enemies'. They gathered everyone. Elderly, widows, pregnant women, children, and babies. Because men and fit women of the town were already conscripted towards the war effort for the Crossing. In the town's square, they tied their captives' hands and legs behind their body. Like lambs to a slaughter Ali said that day.

The High Men ordered them to stomp their wrist and ankles until it was broken. Elderly, widows' pregnant women, children and babies shriek in pain and terror as they saw what was coming and what was happening before them. They tried to roll and wormed their way in the mud but it was futile. Every single one had their wrist and ankles, mangled. The homes were burned down, as the captive were left in the square, unable to move or run away as they were tied to their demise. It would take days until some would die of infection. Some would take weeks as it rained and rehydrate them. All the while, Ali and his band of mercenaries took turn guarding the dying townspeople, until none were left. That day, when he saw the misshapen and deprived baby boy. Barely two seasons. Small hands and feet tied together. Crushed. He saw what the world is. And that changed him. 'Alicante! You deaf?' Alan cried out. Ali woke from his hellish nightmare. They were in front of the tavern. Detached from reality, Alan had guided Ali towards his own establishment. 'Come inside, I need you to do me a favor.' Ali said as he opened the tavern's door. 'Let me guess, you want me to entertain that bitch Lady Rosa again aren't you. I fucking hate her, you know that! She likes to pull my tail and it hurts!' Ali reminiscing what had happened the other day. 'No.' Ali went behind the counter and pulled his finest bottle. 'Oh my. That be the gold liquor I presume Ali?' Alan perked. 'Yes.' Ali replied. 'Take a seat. You might need a drink before I tell you this. Alan pulled a chair, which was taller and bigger than him. With effort he sat uncomfortably at a table. It was a cold and wooden inn. Filled with cobwebs and squeaking floor. It smelled like the pigsty he slept last night. 'What's the favor? Just, I don't want the bitch to manhandle me again.' Ali with a dead expression pulled a chair and poured the golden liquor into two mugs. Alan took his mug and downed the hard liquid. It burned his throat, and gave some sweet comfort of normality. The silence then after was almost prickly. The eerie nature of the tavern with little sounds of rodents under the floor board only heighten Alan's senses. 'I need you...' Ali started. 'I need you to find me that jar.' Alan was confused. 'Now don't beat around the bush Ali, It's not like you. I had my shares of jars throughout my life. Which jar are you referring too?' trying to brighten and lighten the mood, Alan fired sarcastically. 'I need you to get me that relic.' the sound of crackling fire from the hearth could be heard as the pair sat there in silence.