Nic’s Stories

Emo Furcorn

It’s La-ing time!
Map of Landal

A brief guide to the various races

(By Lord Chlorn of the Photonians)

Humans: brown-skinned ape people who only grow fur on their heads. They are very smart but average physically. They eat plants and animals (which I find a wee bit scary as I am a Photonian.) and are fond of being entertained every second of their life. Like other races, they reside in structures known as 'houses' and have their own capitol which is known as the "Human Capitol" or "Landal City." Uncreative much?

Photonians: "Photonian" means "citizen of light." We are a plant race that thrives on sunlight. We look like Venus fly traps with eyes on a human body. (We may have leaf or flower growths as well, similar to human hair or acne.) While we can eat, we choose not to because simply soaking the sun's rays is less harmful. The city of Photonia has no buildings except one. My great library, second largest in Landal. The reason behind the lack of buildings and the excess of windows in the single one is without sunlight, we shrivel and die. Another feature of the Photonians is their vine. The "vine" is a whip-like appendage which is also a root for us. Most Photonians have theirs on their foot, leading to fights between them having both stand on one foot, a few (including my noble family) have theirs on their chests, which makes fighting a lot easier, even if that's one of my least favorite things to do.

Hexapods: Furry, Bipedal, and they have six limbs. They are built similarly to humans, but have a snout and arm-like ears on their heads; that's how they got the name "Hexapod" or "Six-limbs." Their fur color ranges from light yellow to light red, which is somewhat rare. They are almost exclusively vegetarian, averse to meat though willing to eat eggs and drink milk. Half of them live in the highly advanced Crimson Cityscape area (though most underground. The above ground city was made for humans.) and believe in "Miraina" where the rocks are red and the water is orange, while the other half live in the Western jungle primitively and follow the teachings of Kongug. Those hexapods refer to themselves as the "Kingug" or "children of Kongug." Primitive or Progressive, all of them have a hard time sleeping comfortably with those ridiculous arm-ears.

Scina: The Scina are reptilian,feathered, and are quadrupedal. While their scales and face mostly resemble lizards (there's even a few chameleon Scina), the rest of their bone structure resembles that of medium to large dogs. Their feathers can come in any color, while their scales are almost always green. They are excellent climbers and swimmers, which makes sense seeing how close they live to the Scina Sea and their high altitude resting spots. They are just as smart and capable of speaking as everyone else, but unfortunately nobody takes them seriously, which I find unfortunate.

At some point in existence, nobody knows when or why; gods came into being. Or more accurately, incredibly powerful immortals. They are known as….

Duality: the god of the human mind*, born from the fusion of two opposing forces.

Brodarot: the deep rooted tree of knowledge; actively seeks knowledge and loves to trade it.

Huryon Lu: the scaled burro of perseverance and endurance. His feathers are known to be very valuable because of their physique improving quality. (And their rarity.)

Ty-Khea: The ear-armed serpent of luck, loves thin things like cards, coins, cucumber slices. She is said to love mild trickery.

Bloom-Greater: the plant-headed immortal of honor, revolution, ambition. They like change and sword fighting. Loves playing cards with Ty-Khea although he always loses. His sword is known as "Slice-Greater". (This god is not particularly creative.)

SoFear (pronounced Sow-fare) : Sof and Fear are two ageless bears. When referred to together, it's SoFear. Sof loves making others happy, eating, and sleeping. Unfortunately their twin Fear has different interests; Making others sad/hurt, screaming, and the opposite of whatever their twin is doing.

Covette: A blemish. He is the personification of greed and envy. This winged and tentacled immortal has an enormous stash of items inside of Brodarot that he will never part with. Only one thing was ever successfully taken.

*Duality represents the minds of all peoples. "Human" is just the title given to them.

The story of Duality: Before Duality were two gods. Wubba-Lubbanub (who I will refer to as "Lubbanub" for convenience.) and Order. Order was a strict force. Laws. Efficiency. Logic. Everything had a reason. Emotion was invalid and useless. The other was Lubbanub. Wubba-Lubbanub is a force of insanity. They are emotion. Music. Art. Creativity. And madness, sometimes there were reasons for the bizarre things they do, but sometimes not. Lubbanub would go on rampages of any sort of emotion, which bothered other immortals. Order would strongly enforce rules and make sure no other immortal felt emotion. The other immortals were tired of them being annoying. "Opposites attract right? Maybe we could get one to control the other, like Sofear!" Bloom-Greater suggested. Sof said, "My sibling can understand me. They have a running train of thought. Lubbanub does NOT. If they did have a train of thought, it's not running on typical fuel." The honor-god said, "Are we gonna have to go to Brodarot? I don't think she'll be too happy. She loves talking to both of them. 'Order values knowledge.' 'Wubba-Lubbanub has a unique view of things.'" Sof looked over at their terrifying twin. "Whaddya say we do?" There was a roar. "Mauling won't help, oh! Mellowing! Yeah! But we SHOULD talk to Brodarot. She'll know."
They walked to Brodarot, her eye on them. "Brodarot," The small bear started, "We are being annoyed greatly by Order and Wubba-Lubbanub. I know you love them, but we can't stand them!" The tree chuckled. "You need them both here. I observed you don't have the same opinion on them as I do, but I can't stand watching you be driven in the same direction as Wubba-Lubbanub. So I already organized it. Their fusion, that is. Meet Duality. I imagine they'll be more AND less reasonable to be around." A figure similar to the two previous gods emerged, split down the middle, one half colorful, the other grey with traits that resembled both previous gods, and some that seemed brand new. Bloom-Greater was dumbfounded. "How did you get the two to agree to this?! They're total opposites! One's mad, the other is sane beyond sanity… how?!" Duality spoke, "Wubba-Lubbanub was promised they'll 'cheer up' Order. Order was promised he'd make Wubba-Lubbanub have a clear thought… and I was made. I am both and neither of them. I am creative, yet logical. Artistic, but rule respecting. Not particularly like either god. I am Duality, I come from two opposing forces, I'm both and neither. Pleased to meet you." Thus… Duality was born.

Life and Hexaprototypes: Duality was roaming the near endless plain of the gods, a starry floor that could change at the immortal's will. Duality came upon a curious bowl; filled with a bizarre red liquid that they couldn't tell what it was. They picked the bowl up and dipped their finger in it. It felt nothing special. Disappointed, they flung what was on their finger on the ground. Duality continued roaming until an unfamiliar voice was babbling. A baby. The very first human baby. "What in the world are you? What am I supposed to even do with you? Wait, you're alive! Company! A new person for Ty-Khea to play cards with! What's your name?" There was more babbling. "You don't know so I'll just call ya Landal! It sounds good." Duality was running back, bowl in one hand, child in the other. "What is THAT?" Ty-Khea has asked. "I'm not sure. But maybe it can play cards with you. Its name is Landal!" Ty-Khea looked at the drooling baby. "Do you even know how to play?" Landal responded by sneezing. "Clearly not. Duality, how did you come across this new life?" Duality said, "I made it, by flinging it on the ground." Ty-Khea smiled, "I want more people to play cards with!" Ty-Khea dipped her head-finger into the red liquid and flung it on the ground. Two drops.
Duality thought hard on making more life. Ty-Khea must have too. Unlike the first new life, these individuals were smart, matured. There were also two of them. They had the head of Ty-Khea, but the body shape of Duality. These two looked wildly different. One was covered in fur, long fur. The other was in white plating, it looked mechanical, and had wheels for feet. One said, "My name is Kongug. Want to create." The other looked at Kongug, "Miraina. I could agree on creation."

Ty-Khea, Duality, and the baby were confused. They then started discussing where to create. Miraina said, "What is the point of creating if no one appreciates it? I want life. Maybe on the nearby sphere?" If you looked into the sky from the gods' near endless plain, there was a planet in the sky. Duality asked, "You want to build on the Sky Ball? Fine with me. But life…? There could be more of us, and there's only so much red liquid," the mind god said looking into the bowl. "But hey, There's one more individual here so… Go ahead, make your dreams a reality.

Miraina took the bowl and splashed it onto the planet. Raining everywhere. There were many different people made. Most resembled a god somewhat. The people that resembled them the most, (the hexapods) they led. Well, until they hit an argument on how to build. Kongug wanted to live in harmony with nature, and Miraina wanted innovation no matter what it took. Mortal Hexapods took sides, and there was a fight that followed that was so intense it tore the universe in two, taking Miraina to another world, but her followers remained. From there, there was two Hexapod societies. The progressive Mirain and the natural Kingug. Kongug led the Kingug for a long time until he died, and nobody knows what is of Miraina…

As for baby Landal, Duality took care of the child for many, many years. The child was ALMOST ageless like Duality. Almost.

Comments, Questions, and criticism are more than welcome.
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The empire of Landal was divided geographically into five areas. The Stony Plains that the humans built their capitol on, The Forested Expanse the largest area where the Photonians make their home and also home to several small human villages, The Jungle where the Kingug (primitive hexapods) and fisherman reside, the Scina cliffs which is a plethora of cliffs and valleys where the Scina live trees are scarce although rare tasty roots do grow there, and the final area is the Crimson Cityscape. In the Crimson the rocks are very red and the water is orange, opposed to the other rocky area where the rocks are beige and there is more cliffs. The Crimson Cityscape is named after the two massive cities that make up the area; the above and underground area. The area is home mostly to humans and Hexapods, where most Hexapods live underground. The entire area is a bustling city where many people live.

In the empire's capital, Landal City there's an arena; everyone from all over love it! What is it? There people hack and slash at each other until one dies. The one that lives gets money and fame. The highest ranking, most famous gladiator is Randil Cyan-Shield although everyone knows him as "Cyan-Shield." He's rather famous although he thought ahead and wore a signature helmet that conceals the upper half of his face so while not fighting, nobody knew who he was. He didn't want a fan following him everywhere.

Randil won another match, he was signing autograph after autograph. Bats, replica weapon hilts, balls, pieces of paper. Remember Cyan-Shield, interact with the fans! It's good for business! Randil's boss would always say. He would be annoyed, but what did he expect? Fame is the inevitable blessing of being a good fighter in the arena. Sometimes he wondered why he used his combat abilities for meaningless fighting. Maybe he should have been a guard. That would actually help people.

Right after the autograph session was over, a person asked "Excuse me, I need you." Randil didn't bother to look. "Should've came when I was signing. Can't do it now." The voice spoke up, "I don't want an autograph!" Randil actually bothered to look. The person had dark skin, enormous, goofy looking glasses, wildly curly hair, a long dress and was carrying a book. The person pleaded, "I need your assistance. I know you can fight. I don't even need you to kill anyone to help me!"

"Then what do you need?" The gladiator asked,

"It's well… an escort." The woman straightened her pose, "You heard what happened in the Crimson?" Randil shook his head. The person explained, "Well, the Hexapods-the Mirain, the southern ones- have these huge robot guards, and they destroyed the whole area. They turned on their creators. They destroyed the city, above and underground." Randil was shocked, "So that why there's been a lack of Hexapod competitors! Any survivors? Is that what you need me to do, go to the Crimson Cityscape and search for survivors? Wait- more importantly, what's your name?"

The woman stood proudly, akimbo. "Onla Sorry-Sayer! Daughter of the famed former Second-In-Command now Emporer's advisor Onona No-Apologies! Sister of the owner of the Fish-teraunt! I am the… uh… Mayor! But I redesigned the arena! That's something, right? Right?" Her shoulders dropped. The politician continued, "No, no. I need a guard to help me get to a place safely. Photonia, more specifically." Cyan-Shield thought. Put a hand-check-mark to his chin. "I'll do it. How much are you paying me?" Onla sighed and placed a bag of coins in his palm.

Randil smiled, satisfied with the payment, "See you tomorrow after the arena closes. I won't be wearing my helmet, but I will be wielding a shield-my signature cyan-tinted one- and wearing a dark blue cape."
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It was yesterday's tomorrow at the moment. The day when Cyan-Shield said he'd meet up with Onla to escort her to Photonia, a five day trip. Onla waited outside of the arena, she couldn't stand watching the matches and she never understood the appeal of them. Who actually enjoys watching people get hurt? That's wrong! She always thought. She just waited for about an hour, she eventually saw someone carrying a shield very similar to the famous fighter's and was also covering his face with a deep blue cloak. "Excuse me, are you the person I payed? Are you Cyan-Shield?" The person's posture suddenly straightened. "Don't call me that in public, call me Randil!" Onla freaked out at her mistake and kept saying sorry, hoping he'd forgive her. "They don't call you 'Sorry-Sayer' for no reason." Randil said chuckling.

"So we need to get out of the city, which is easy because there's no laws preventing us from leaving. Also Randil, isn't that shield even the tiniest bit suspicious?" Randil replied, "Honestly, they sell fakes of this. Made from wood. Can't shield against a mosquito. Not even sure why they sell so much. I could easily be passed as a devoted fan." Onla made a face, probably just a 'you have a point.' They walked out of the city and Randil lowered his hood.

Randil's appearance wasn't noteworthy. He was pale with thick brown hair, eyes that were slightly lighter than his beard and hair, and his eyes were far apart. Onla stared. "Did… you expect me to look like some divine beauty? Because that's ridiculous." Onla simply replied, "Oh-Nope-Sorry-No! I just didn't expect you to lower your hood!" As they were walking to Photonia they continued talking.

"So Onla, have anything besides me that can help you?"

"Uh, well my mum tried getting me to learn magic-you know, world manipulation- I only remember a very basic shield. I'm not going to be helpful." Onla said

"You really did need an escort. What's that book you're carrying? Some sort of government thing I'm not supposed to know about? You seem to be writing in it every second you got, even now, as we're walking!"

A twig snapped.

"You there! 'And o'er your valyables or else!" It was a bandit. Common human that was too stupid for regular society but too weak for arena-fighting. The bandit had a knife at Randil's throat. Randil seemed offended. "Excuse me, but you're not holding it properly." He took the bandit's hand and rearranged his fingers. "Also, that dull iron won't even cut my cloak! Much less my skin! If you're going to mug people, do it right!" Onla was confused. What was Cyan-Shield doing?

The bandit's face went red. "Uhm, couldja just… forget that even 'appened? Ehrm.. Please don't call the guards! Wait- We're in the middle of a road an' 'ere's nobo'y for miles!" The bandit grew confident, grabbing his knife again (using Randil's knife holding technique) , this time at Onla's throat. "An' 'ow could I be sure ya said my knife was too dull to cut just to make me go away?" Onla panicked. She thought. And thought. And thought. Back to when she was twelve going through magic lessons hoping she'd be good at something. Think. Onla remembered something. She said something that couldn't properly be spelt, but it translated to "Shatter." The knife fell apart. She must have mispronounced it because her glasses were shattered too. It was blurry.

"How many fingers am I holding up?"

"Randil, when I don't have my glasses, my vision is blurry. Not absent. Three."

"I wish you had your glasses because this place is… yeah, it's not that beautiful. I'll describe it to you," Randil started, "The trees are a bit greener and more spaced out. It's incredibly sunny-I'm putting my hood back on- and there's only one building. So many windows on it. And the windows have pictures on them made up of smaller, colored pieces of glass. One's a leaf, one's a sun, one's a Photonian with purple petals and a sword, and one is a tree with a massive eye."

"I can see. It's just a bit blurry." Onla was annoyed. She immediately started scanning the area, that one has a vine on their chest! It had to be Chlorn! She started waving her arms wildly, almost hitting Randil. Onla started shouting desperate for attention "Lord Chlorn! I need you! You're smart!" The tall Photonian turned around. "No. You may not build houses here. Just discourage childbirth. Problem solved!" Onla shook her head and tried to run to Chlorn "No, it's not about human housing!" Chlorn turned around frustrated, "the Hexapods can live here. But no houses." The woman was exhausted. "No! I need your intelligence!"

The lord was smug, "Hmm. What is it? If I do not know-I most likely will- then my vast possession of books will know." Onla fiddled with her dress. "Why did the Mirain's robots turn? It seems impossible!" The tall one pondered. "You say it seems impossible. Maybe because it is. Maybe we should talk to the Hexapods; see what they have to say perhaps they will have a clue." Randil spoke up, "Excuse me, but… they're dead aren't they? Who could we even ask?"

Onla piped up,

"Alright. I have a suggestion. It's ridiculous, but still a suggestion!"
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Some say there was a race before the others, clashing with the belief all life came into existence at once, and they were once mortals and found a way to be more powerful than the gods that created them. They had a name that was impossible to spell with this alphabet so they are referred to as "Ascendants." Although they have faded into obscurity, some ruins of their civilization left at the Scina Cliffs so their worldly manipulation has not been forgotten.

Their World Manipulation, often simplified to "magic" is said to make rain softer and trees grow in deserts. The most powerful manipulation act sent six of them into divinity, or so is said. What can be done nowadays is very weak compared to in the olden days.

Most Scholars who study World Manipulation are Scina who use it to make up for their lack of thumbs and they are very close to the ancient ruins of the Ascendants. Using world manipulation requires energy which can be anything from losing an apple, to being out of breath for five minutes. Throughout the years, Magic Scholars have crafted rituals that makes manipulation require less energy. The other thing needed is a the proper pronunciation of an Ascended Word, which are so difficult to pronounce, most can't be spelled even phonetically.

"And what would that suggestion be," inquired Lord Chlorn, tapping his foot. Onla spoke, "You know how there are two Hexapod tribes? Maybe the Mirain went to live with the other one in the jungle. The Kingug." Randil questioned her suggestion, "Aren't they enemies? One's primitive, one's always looking to the future." Chlorn said to that, "Honestly, after their robots destroyed their own home, I think the Mirain may want a little guidance from their siblings. I believe-what-is-her-name-is correct."

Onla seemed shocked Chlorn didn't remember her, they used to be around each other all the time as children, of course Chlorn growing faster as she did because Photonians grew like weeds. "Wait- you don't remember me? I'm Onla Sorry-Sayer! Daughter of famed Onona No-Apologies! We hung around the library all the time before you became a lord! You taught me how to read- well, my mom did most of the work but still!" Chlorn stood up straighter than usual. "Well, Onla! Couldn't recognize you. It's been over a decade since your mom dropped you off for me to babysit! Well, you're an adult now right? Humans take a while to mature so you have to be an adult. What position of power are you in? Are you a high ranking war strategist? Emperor's advisor-wait that's your mom. She rose to that rank- are you the new second in command?" Chlorn was excited, he wanted to talk to someone who was on the same level of the totem pole he was, "Mayor of the western half of Landal City." The Photonian's shoulders dropped. "Oh… we all have to start somewhere right? I started just as the previous Lady's spit in the ground. But anyways, I believe Onla is correct. Unlike Photonians, Hexapods have a concept of 'family' beyond being the product of somebody else, and maybe the Mirain may see the Kingug who are also hexapods somewhat like family."

Randil started walking away. "Hey, Randil! What are you doing!" Onla shouted, trying to get the gladiator's attention. Randil turned around, "you payed me to take you to Photonia, I took you to Photonia." Onla looked around. "Hold on! If you stay for the remainder of the journey, I'll pay you double! If you get hurt badly, triple!" That got Randil's attention. "Double is enough. What I really want is out of the arena. That place is exhausting. Also, I don't want fans chasing me everywhere. I want a job in the city guard. If you could recommend me-and double the payment- I'll stay." Onla said, "I'll make sure to recommend you. Also, thanks for not making me triple the payment."

"So when are we leaving," the noble was impatient, "you know the jungle is far, and I wish to spend a night in different soil." Onla apologized and said that they should go now. On the way they had conversations.

Randil: Uh, Chlorn. I need to ask something.
Chlorn: that would be Lord Chlorn, but I will let it pass.
Randil: LORD Chlorn, I want to ask something.
Chlorn: That is much better. What is it?
Randil: you're plant-like right?
Chlorn: I believe that is fairly obvious but yes.
Randil: I've heard Photonians be referred to as he and she. How is it determined? I thought you guys spat in the ground and the spit turned into a seed and various bacteria in the ground helped change the way you look.
Chlorn: you are correct. We do emerge from saliva seeds. What we refer to others as depends on the months they emerge from the ground. In the spring months, we refer to them as "she" and if they sprout in the hotter months we refer to them as "he."
Randil: sorry if that was awkward.
Chlorn: no need to apologize, Randil. May I ask you a question?
Randil: hm?
Chlorn: Humans eat plants and meat. Photonians are made of plant-material and meat. Am I safe next to two humans?

Randil burst in a fit of laughter. Chlorn backed away slowly. Randil slowly stopped, wiping a tear from his left eye. "No, I couldn't eat something that talks. You're safe." Lord Chlorn's shoulders dropped a little and he sighed. "That is as wonderful as a sunny day with a lightly rainy night."

The party continued walking and talking until they noticed the trees slowly changed.
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The trees slowly got taller and slimmer and their leaves larger; the air more moist and hot. "We must be heading into the jungle!" Onla was slightly worried. "How do we know if we're heading in the right direction? What if we get lost?" Chlorn replied, "we are on the road. If there was a fork in the road, there would be a sign marking which direction to go if you wished to go to the fishing village. We would go the other way because that's where the Kingug reside." Onla seemed somewhat frustrated, "Come on!" She said, "You know what I meant." The taller one shook his head. "No, I do not." Randil laughed at the exchange and whenOnla looked at him, he shut up.

The air was barely breathable it was so humid. Randil took off his cloak and rolled up his sleeves. However, the noble seemed to enjoy this climate. Onla seemed the most annoyed, she was sweating ridiculously. "Would you guys care if I took off my dress?" Randil turned around, "Are you wearing something beneath it?" Onla said, "Of course I am! Who do you think I am?" Randil shrugged, and Onla was trying to walk while unbuttoning her dress. Beneath her dress was typical non-formal clothes that anyone would wear during the spring. She carried her dress in the other arm.

"Hey Onla. I only know about swords and shields. Could you teach me about magic?" Randil asked. "What brought this on?" Onla inquired. "I saw how you broke that bandit's knife. How did you do that? If you could do that, why do you need my protection? I'm not saying I don't want the money or the recommendation into the guard…" Onla breathed in deeply. "You see, my mom is wonderful at almost everything. Me, I'm pathetic. My mom tried to put me through lessons to find my 'special talent we all have' and one of those was magic. I am still awful at it, which is why I need a guardian of sorts. How do I do it? I sacrifice a breath for the next forty seconds and say a hard to pronounce word from a language some ancient folk from long ago spoke. Even the slightest mispronunciation or improper posture can ruin the whole action. I misspoke the word 'shatter' and now i don't have any glasses." Onla said while tripping over a tree root. "Why is this in the road?"

Chlorn put a finger to the ground. "What's wrong? Why's your finger on the ground?" Randil asked. The lord replied, "Something doesn't feel right. Something is coming. My finger is on the ground so I do not fall over. I wish for no tears on my face." The swordsman was confused. A tree fell over but nobody was standing under it.
Behind the trees was an absolute monstrosity.

The creature was much larger than a bear, but smaller than an elephant. It has the body of a muscular beaver and had the tail and fur of one too. Strangely it had a bill and webbed feet, which is not normal for a beaver and neither is living in the jungle.

It was running towards the group. "Attack? Do we attack it?" One member of the party asked, "well it is coming to attack us! Yes!" Onla tried to stay back and out of the way of the two that could actually survive two seconds. The Photonian was trying to use the vine on his chest like a whip which was distracting. Chlorn's focus usually was getting a weapon away from an opponent with his vine but the massive creature was the weapon. Randil was trying to dig his sword into the beast but its fur is too thick. Onla screamed for help.

A plethora of hexapods arrived, wearing skins and sporting spears and bows, a blue handprint on the left side of the spear bearer's faces and on the right of the bow users. Maybe some sort of war paint? Chlorn was injured and the beast was coming for Onla then a flurry of arrows and spears came crashing onto the creature. In the distraction, Randil managed to dig his sword into a soft spot between the creature's side and its thigh. A liquid was gushing out, everyone ran away and nobody got hit by it, except Randil. The creature was nearly gone. Then out of the trees a massive metal humanoid of a similar size came and loudly a voice said, "sorry I'm late guys. Also, pick on someone your own- no. That's cliche. I am going to split you in half with my neat robot that I designed and pilot! That's a bit less cliche." The robot did what it said it would do and it was not a sight I'd want to describe.

Everyone was confused as to what happened. Humans. Hexapods. Photonian. "Any idea what that was?" Onla was asking everyone and nobody had the tiniest clue. Onla suddenly realized that her guardian mace have got hurt. She ran over to Randil, submerged in the pile of semi-opaque liquid. He was paler than usual, some strange looking black spots on his face. "Randil, are you alive?" No response. "I need a healer! Quick! My friend-does he consider me a friend or a source of money?- is going to die!" The robot that saved everyone powered down and someone stepped out, a female pale yellow Hexapod, wearing typical Mirain clothing. "I know a healer! My brother's a healer! Brother! Brother Car'rhy come here!" Another Hexapod emerged. "That's my old name. I am now Carlos, not Car'rhy. The human is dead. I don't see how I could help." Onla couldn't believe it. She held her breath and trudged through whatever was affecting Randil she felt a tingling. She couldn't let it stop her. She needed a bodyguard, and she couldn't afford hiring another. She managed to grab Randil's foot. Who knew a grown man would be so heavy? It took a few minutes and the pilot of the robot felt sorry and offered her help. They managed to drag him out of the goop so Carlos could actually examine him. "Heart is beating. There's a chance." Everyone seemed thrilled. Carlos continued, "But he'll need care from me for a while. And I won't do it for free." Onla seemed upset. She couldn't afford it, she already doubled her payment for Randil's services. She looked at Chlorn who was trying to fix his ankle. "I'll pay. How much do you want?"

"Two hundred fifty bits per week." Carlos demanded calmly.
"Two hundred fifty? I could afford that… but per week!?" Chlorn was shocked by the price. Carlos said, "Well, I need to take care of your human friend every day and who knows; maybe it will be only one week. Until then, you can stay in our village. The weekly fee covers your housing as well." The noble seemed relieved he didn't have to pay even more. "Could you fix my ankle while you're at it?" The healer laughed. "For fifty bits." Chlorn was bitter. "Alright. I'll pay you however much I owe whenever I can go back home. Carlos yelled out, "Sister, take the two that struggle to walk in your… uh… metal person!" A voice yelled back, "It's called a mech! Robot if you want to be more simple." The person yelling was the person that helped Randil out of whatever that liquid was. The pilot was Carlos' sister.
"Come on, I have to carry him again?" The pilot said, struggling to get him inside. There were only two seats. One for the Pilot, one for a passenger. Chlorn who only had a dysfunctional ankle said he'd just walk if he could lean on someone. He leaned on Onla who didn't mind the weight on her shoulder but rather the pain she put everyone else through. The pilot finally managed to get the unconscious body inside of the mech. She buckled Randil's seatbelt and got herself inside. Her mech was rather impressive, whenever she moved, the mech followed her movements. Onla was talking a lot, "Thank you for saving us." Carlos replied, "You're welcome." Onla was inquisitive. "What made you come to kill the beast? Did you see us coming?"

"No, we chased the… beaver? Because it tried to attack us. We deemed it dangerous so we couldn't let it live. It was simply a coincidence we saved you." Carlos said while walking to the camp. "Why do you have a robot? Haven't those been taken over and have a mind of their own? And aren't those a Mirain thing?" The Hexapod replied, "I'm not sure why that metal robot isn't corrupt. Yes, they are a Mirain thing. The pilot of that… Mack? Muck? Mech? Is Mirain." Onla had yet another question. "You said the pilot was your sister. Why is she Mirain and you Kingug?" Carlos got mad. "That is none of your business. Why are you here?" The human replied, "We're looking for a survivor of the events at the Crimson Cityscape. Lord Chlorn- the person on my shoulder- wanted to talk." of their own? And aren't those a Mirain thing?" The Hexapod replied, "I'm not sure why that metal robot isn't corrupt. Yes, they are a Mirain thing. The pilot of that… Mack? Muck? Mech? Is Mirain." Onla had yet another question. "You said the pilot was your sister. Why is she Mirain and you Kingug?" Carlos got mad. "That is none of your business. Why are you here?" The human replied, "We're looking for a survivor of the events at the Crimson Cityscape. Lord Chlorn- the person on my shoulder- wanted to talk."

"Is this because you want to rebuild Mirain society or are you behind the events?" Onla was offended at the accusation. "The first one of course! You tell them, Chlor- I mean- Lord Chlorn!" The Photonian looked up from looking at his badly twisted ankle. "I know I am not responsible. I am not certain about the humans however." Onla rolled her eyes. "Thanks a lot."

The arrived at the village. The village wasn't much, just buildings high up in trees. There were a lot of ladders leading up to the interconnected by bridges treehouses. "I'll need the human now. Sorry ankle person, you can live for another thirty minutes, right?" Carlos said. Carlos' sister took Randil out of her mech Onla going to help carry him, Chlorn struggling to stand now that his support is gone. Fortunately, the healer's house had an entrance on the ground so they did not have to find a way to climb a ladder while carrying a body.

They took him inside, which was made from wood and there were many herbs and jars of water. There were also many books. Carlos ordered them to lay Randil on a flat surface, lightly cushioned. Carlos felt Randil all over with his ears and arms. "He's still alive." Carlos got a small pointy stick and pricked his leg. The blood was darker than it should be. "I admit I'm more familiar with Hexapods but I don't thing this blood color is healthy. Something infected him. He must have been poisoned." Onla muttered to herself, "so that was what the liquid was. What a wonder I wasn't infected." Carlos replied, "You had not cuts for it to enter your body." Carlos grabbed a book and muttered a word. A lavender disc of light appeared under his left ear arm while he was holding the book with his arm. Randil was sweating but then Carlos put his ear over him and his sweating slowed down. "What did that do?" The politician asked. "Calm him down. It's hard to do almost anything with the sound of a heavily breathing almost-corpse." Carlos replied. Carlos then yelled for an assistant. An assistant came (they were a male orange-cream colored Hexapod who was a little plump.). "This is my apprentice. He is not as good as me YET-I believe he'll get there- but he can treat a twisted ankle." Chlorn hopped down and sat in a chair while the assistant was looking in the books. "Yes, mend! Found it." The person was nervous but Chlorn was impatient. He wasn't saying anything but it was clear. "Sorry ma'am-or sir- or respected Photonian individual I can't tell with you guys." The apprentice said a word and a disc similar to what Carlos calmed Randil down with appears under his right arm ear; the disc was a bright orange. The disc was held over Lord Chlorn's ankle. Chlorn moved his foot in a circle. If Chlorn could properly smile, he could. "Now that my problem is over, I will need to talk to that pilot. Surely she will know something."

While Onla was waiting anxiously at Randil's bedside begging to help Carlos, Chlorn decided to walk outside and look for someone with typical Mirain garb on. He found her quickly as she was working on her mech. "Interesting machine." The Mirain looked up, excited. "Do you want to hear all about it? Wait, what's your name? Mine is Las'rhy!" Chlorn had time. "Certainly. Go ahead." Las'rhy jumped up in excitement, going from tiptoes to flat footed quickly and repeatedly. "You see, I call it 'Mech-04!' Because the other three broke or failed. The other Mirain don't like it because 'why would you want your bot to just be a suit! Give it a mind of its own! Safe yourself the effort!' They don't understand that it really isn't a robot, but rather an extension of myself in a way." Chlorn just nodded. "You see, whenever I get in the mech and I move, Mech-04 moves too! I also made use of my ears with the handles up in the top… wait-weren't you the one with the twisted ankle? My brother must've healed you. He's great!"
"Actually it was his assistant." The Photonian said. Las'rhy seemed disappointed. "Oh. He's a great teacher then. He learned most of his stuff on his own.I admit, this is the first time I've seen him since I was ten, when he left to join the Kingug because they need a doctor… he left for a noble purpose at least." Las'rhy kept rambling on until she stopped and said "Hold on, you don't want my life story. What do you want?" Chlorn had an opportunity to speak. "Were you there for the events at the Crimson Waste?" Las'rhy nodded. She seemed extremely uncomfortable. "I am sorry if I had made you uncomfortable. I do wish to keep talking about robots. What do you know of typical Mirain builds?" Las'rhy was smug, "Just 'bout everything. You need to know the basics before you become unique with design." The noble asked "is there a way for them all to be controlled at once?"

"Well, no. But yes. The way needs a lot of people's permission so it's unlikely. Now the other possibility was it was hacked. No regular person could do it. Not humans. Not even Hexapods. Photonians live in the forest… and Scina don't even have thumbs!" The pilot thought hard.

The noble looked like he got hit with a sack of wet mice. "So my theory may be true. It may not actually be a normal person."
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"What do you think it could be then?" Las'rhy asked. "It may be absurd, so I am going to think on it. Thank you for telling me about the robots." Chlorn replied. Las'rhy seemed disappointed, "That's all? Well. Goodbye." She seemed sad whenever Chlorn left, and he felt a little guilty.

Randil was still unconscious. Carlos was reading a book in a corner, not tending to Randil. Carlos looked up. "That liquid your friend got drenched in was venom. I am not sure of its effects, but your friend will most likely recover." Onla was pacing back and forth. "Why couldn't I have helped him! I feel so bad… now Lord Chlorn has to pay the bills." The Photonian spoke up, "if I did not want to pay I would not have payed. Another set of hands is always useful. I believe we may need another." Carlos looked up. "Speaking of extra hands… I think I may be able to help clear a decent amount of poison from his body but I will need an ingredient." Onla was joyful. There's a chance Randil will live. "What do you need?" Carlos said, "A sour-sugar fruit. It's so sour, almost anyone who puts it in their mouth jolts up, and it can be boiled down into a cure for tiredness which is not as sour but not as effective."

"Where do we get one?" Chlorn inquired, to which the healer replied, "It's a long, dangerous journey. Barbs and spikes and roots to trip over… it's right up that hill. There's a tree on the nearby hill." Onla insisted she should do something helpful for once so she went to retrieve the fruit. It was a short walk and a short hill. The fruit was as large as a small melon and was bright green, just the smell made her wince. Her vision was somewhat blurry, but this had to be the fruit. On her was back she was interrupted. "Excuse me." There was the pilot again, swinging her arms back and forth. "I saw you with the Photonian who was asking about the Mirain machines. Could I ask why?" Onla stopped walking. "He must be trying to uncover what really happened. You see, we're all sad about what happened to the hexapods. We want to fix the problem so Mirain society can be rebuilt."

The Mirain stopped swinging her arms and put them both at her chest. "Rebuilding society? They kinda made fun of my mech, but maybe if my mech saved their way of life… they'll respect it!" Onla looked at Las'rhy. "So you wish to assist us?" The Hexapod smiled and nodded quickly. "We could always appreciate two extra pairs of hands." Onla chuckled at herself. Las'rhy just stared. "Can I ask you a question? What is your name?" Onla asked, "Las'rhy. That is my name."

Onla entered the building. Carlos rolled his eyes, "do humans usually walk this slow?" Carlos pulled out a knife and cut out a chunk of the fruit. The chunk was a jarringly yellow hue on the inside. Carlos opened Randil's mouth with his ears and used his hand to put the fruit inside the orifice.

Randil bolted up. "I heard every word. I couldn't respond. It was terrifying. Where are my legs?" Randil was confused, relieved, and terrified. He removed the cover which was made of a large animal's fur. He saw his legs. He poked them. "I feel nothing. Where are my legs?" Carlos sighed. "I think your friend may be paralyzed. But I did save him. I expect my payment, 500 bits." Chlorn was frightened. "I promise you whenever I get back home I shall pay you." Carlos replied "and I will be eagerly looking forward to your payment. When are you going back?" Chlorn replied, "Whenever my theory gets proven." Randil sat up. "What is your theory exactly?" He inquired.

"I believe a god — admittedly I am not sure which one- is behind the destruction of the Crimson." Everyone just stared at Chlorn. "I have reason to believe it. I shall explain. While a few believe they died-which I did as well- they certainly have existed. While they can not do much from their plain onto our world, if one was inclined to, a god could have caused it." Onla asked, "What reason would a god have to kill a whole city?" The Photonian sat down and was deep in thought. "Maybe I should take that theory back; the pilot did say no normal person could have done it." Onla said, "Immortality must be very boring, maybe they're just trying to have fun- bad fun. But still, fun."

The noble thought. "No. No. That can not be. No. They are gone, part of one god." Onla wandered what he was even talking about. Randil looked at the group. They started talking about some myths and stories. Some polar opposite gods that merged into one. Confusing stuff; Randil didn't understand. Randil sat up, "That's interesting but I lost use of my legs. What use am I? How am I going to earn a living?" Everyone looked at him. Onla started apologizing that she forgot about him but Carlos looked up and said- "I've cured paralysis before. Unbelievable; I know. I'll fix your legs. For a price." Carlos shot a look at Chlorn. The Photonian sighed, "I'll pay."

Randil seemed upset, which was reasonable considering his loss of leg use. "So when will he heal?" The human woman asked. "Hmm, maybe a few months. Make yourselves comfortable."
Randil tried to get out of bed, but he promptly fell. "What part of 'paralyzed' don't you understand?" Carlos said condescendingly. The swordsman replied, "I'm sorry."

A few weeks passed. The pilot Las'rhy and the other members of the crew quickly became friends and Las'rhy decided she'd travel with them because 'the jungle isn't great. Water not in a bowl scares me. Also bugs. I don't like bugs. I want to go back to the Crimson.' Eventually, two months passed and the human male was back on his feet. "Hey, wake up." The male said as the female rolled over. "I don't want to wake up yet."

"Do you not recognize my voice?"

"Randil! You're walking!" Onla's voice was joyful as she turned over to look at Randil whom over the past few weeks she had to visit him.

"I'm still wobbly however. I may have to stay a few more days." Randil almost as if on command almost fell while standing.

"I gotta tell everyone! Wait- are you still accompanying us on our journey?" The female asked, to which the swordsman responded, "Yes, you payed me to do something, so I'm going to do it. Admittedly, in another week. I can barely walk. Darn poison." Randil looked at his legs grumpily then at Onla. "Maybe we could leave now if I rode in what's-her-name's… wait, yeah. Las'rhy's robot." He chuckled, Onla seemed to acknowledge what Randil said was a joke, but she seemed to take it into consideration.

Outside, there was an argument.
"What do you mean you are following me everywhere until I pay?" Chlorn was out, face to face with Carlos, his sister standing next to him. "It's exactly what it sounds like. I don't trust you to come back with the money. 650 bits is a lot. That money would help the Kingug a lot, and me." Chlorn seemed to be struggling, "I have the money. Just- give me time!" Carlos was tapping his foot, impatient. "You are the only doctor here, your people need you. You shouldn't follow me." Carlos called for his assistant who came promptly. "You remember Ranlos? My assistant who fixed your ankle?" Carlos started, "Well, Ranlos. You're just as good a healer as me. I just said I was better to make you continue to strive to be better than me." Ranlos was beaming but the smile quickly faded. "What about that 'secret book'? That has miracle cures!" Carlos laughed, "come on, it's my diary and a condensed version of the other books. There's nothing in there you don't know that you should. Also, if I were threatened, this book would be quite useful." The assistant grew confident. "I'll take care of everyone, thank you for everything you taught me."

"The tribe is taken care of. I will follow you until you pay. Didn't you say extra hands were always appreciated?" Carlos declared. Chlorn's shoulders dropped.


"And a fine is why I'm following you."

"I'm coming too. I've been bitten by too many bugs to stay in the jungle." Las'rhy added.

Onla was somewhat confused by what was going on and Randil even more. Chlorn asked, "Randil, are you okay to travel? I want this over with as swiftly as possible." Randil replied, "Yes, I can't fight too well though. I don't think I've been paying too much attention because are Carlos and Las'rhy joining the party?" Chlorn responded, "yes. Not sure how helpful Carlos will be however. He doesn't heal unless you pay him an absurd amount of bits." Carlos ignored the comment about bits, "Do you even know where to go?" Onla said, "I think that Chl- I mean Lord Chlorn's idea about it being a god is likely. Which one though is the question. I'm not sure which one would do such a thing but immortality is bound to drive one mad." Onla said "THAT'S IT!" Las'rhy burst. She smiled from ear to ear, everyone unsure of what she'll say next, Chlorn seemed to know but he let her speak. "You know about the god of the human mind? How they used to be two? Order and madness? What if they split again?" Everyone looked at each other. Nothing made much sense, but that seemed to.

"Even if it was this ridiculous crazy god, how would we even tell them to stop?" Randil asked, Chlorn had an answer. "People want power, so they bow to power. I would know. So many people want my position as Lord. So therefore, no matter how terrible the god is, they're guaranteed to have a worshipper and therefore a shrine to the mad god," Chlorn explained.

Carlos' eyebrows rose. "You're a lord? You must be rich." Chlorn replied, "Well, yes. Photonia exports a lot of timber and vegetables so we do get an income. However, not much money is spent considering we don't need food or shelter. We have a reserve in the event my library gets damaged." Carlos seemed pleased he would almost certainly get a payment.

Randil asked where would a shrine even be and then the group got to thinking. "Deep in the forest?" "In a building in Landal City?" "Near the ocean?" Las'rhy remembered something. "Isn't there a certain cliff where people say you can't come back sane? If that isn't where a mad god would leave their presence, I'd be befuddled." Chlorn wanted more information, "Well, I dunno exactly where it is, but I know there's a single large willow tree on the cliff. Maybe we could get a guide."

Carlos stopped, "I don't want to go mad." Las'rhy said, "Maybe it's because the cliff was difficult to scale, or maybe there's worshippers there that turn people crazy. I'd like to believe a combination of the two." Randil asked if they were heading to that spot and Onla said yes. Their next destination was Cliff's Base, a city populated by Scina.



"So, Las'rhy. You got to be smart to build a thing like that," Randil said while looking at the mech that the Hexapod was walking in. A speaker sounded, "Oh I'm not that smart. They teach robotics to every Mirain kid." Randil seemed confused, Las'rhy continued, "I mean, I know much more about robots than you, a human. My real passion however— is history. Do you want to know how the Empire got its name? You know… Landal?"

Randil nodded.

"So you're familiar with how life came to be right? It's a bedtime story."

Randil nodded again.

"You see, the first life form was a human child. That child was named Landal. She lived just as long as Kongug did on this world, and Kongug was a god. She didn't live her whole life here—I think she's still alive honestly. I may be wrong.— Sometimes she went up to the plains where the gods lived—admittedly, she's average no capabilities you or Onla couldn't do—, as Duality was a parent to her in a way. You know.. the mind god. Duality.

"Like Miraina and Kongug led the Hexapods, Landal lead the humans. She did come to our world much later than them however. She told them to conquer but don't spread pain, although some may be necessary. What started as a large town grew into an empire, eventually being as large as half the continent. In honor of Landal starting the empire they named the land after her. The Empire of Landal. They also worshipped her as a Demi-god, occasionally a full on god.

Did I go on too long?" The Mirain asked, hoping she didn't bore Randil. "No. I listened, and it was interesting. I admit I already knew the history but you summarized it in a way that made it entertaining to listen to." The Hexapod despite being hard to see in her massive suit she smiled.

"I'm hungry," one person complained.

"Well, if my map's right… we should be approaching Cliff's Base." Onla said, holding the map very close to her face.




They arrived.

Cliff's Base was a village with houses that were mostly made from clay bricks and very faded roads that were made from rocks laid together like tile. Outside was a Scina, "Oh yes. You must be scaling our cliffs as some sort of test to prove yourselves. Before you go, you should pack water and food. The climb is exhausting, even for us." The Scina sat and their eyes went from person to person. "I admit, this is a strange group. Why are you here?"

Sorry-Sayer spoke, "We're looking to visit the one area where they say no one comes back sane. We're… researchers." The Scina looked at Onla suspiciously. "You must be looking for the shrine up there. Full of people who lost it. I'm not telling you how to get up there for your own safety." Chlorn seemed mildly confident that everything was going to plan. Las'rhy said, "Just take us to the base and give us directions from there. I'll pay you—admittedly my Mirain tokens may not be worth much to you— hold on, can we get food first? Preferably not meat."

The Scina agreed to take them to a store, Carlos, Onla, Randil chowed on venison and root while Las'rhy ate a large serving of just root. Chlorn sat watching with fascination, as eating was a mostly alien activity to him.

The Scina asked them why they wanted to visit the shrine with all the billducks running around in the area. "Bill-ducks? So that's what you call the massive beaver things with the webbed feet?" Las'rhy asked. The Scina replied yes. Onla began to explain, "You see, the Mirain live in the Crimson City. They have these robot guardsmen, which suddenly grew a mind of their own and destroyed the city. No single person is capable of doing such a thing. We came to the conclusion it is a god of some sort. It may have been the angry twin bear but their territory is more like hurricanes and earthquakes. So the other possibility is that the god of the mind split and the insane half is causing all the trouble."

"… and you expect to tell the lawless god that they can't do something?" The scina simply stretched. All the emotion seemed to drain from Onla. Carlos stepped in, "Although my field is physical injuries, being one of the two doctors in the village, I often end up with people with unwell brains. Occasionally they'd believe something is against them and the cure for whatever is wrong with them is destroying the object. Now if the thing is a person… that I haven't figured out how to cure." The Scina burst into laughter, "Not only do you expect to actually meet the insane one, you expect you can cure them of their madness!" The Scina stopped laughing. "I'll take you there. I have deliveries to make anyways. Good luck on your suicide mission." The Scina had bags on their back, that must be the delivery.

The party and the Scina begun their journey to the lone willow tree on a lone cliff, could they possibly hope to make the mad god sane? What could even the world's strongest mortal do to a god? It seemed hopeless, but what if it isn't just the Crimson that'll destroyed, what if the whole world is razed?
"What kind of deliveries do you need to make?" Randil asked. The Scina replied, "Remember when I mentioned a few worshippers of that god? They're deranged and can't function normally. I feel bad so I give them food." Randil thought, "What made you come to the shrine in the first place?" He said while struggling to climb a certain rock. He gave Onla a hand as she tried to climb the same rock. Carlos wasn't having too much trouble and Las'rhy had to abandon her robot as it would break the rocks beneath it; it was heavy. However, she did have a fancy glove that allowed her to control a small floating blade. Randil didn't seem comfortable near the blade.

The Scina replied, "Once a person —He was a Scina. Middle aged— decided to investigate the willow tree on the cliff. You see, not many trees grow here and the single one was an oddity. He decided to go. The whole journey would take about two days at the longest. Now, a week passed and people started looking for him.

"Eventually he was found, but he was babbling nonsense. No one wanted to find out why that tree was there from that point on. I was curious, so I decided to see what exactly made the man go mad. I climbed the cliff with little issue, and when I came upon the tree, there was a statue of a well dressed human. It was carved into the tree. There were people there, mostly humans. There was a Photonian and two hexapods as well. That's not the point. They were mad. They were raving lunatics. I was an idiot and decided to talk to one. 'Welcome to the mad god's shrine! Or the creative god… or the happiness god… or maybe even the fear and anger god!' That's what they said. They told me to take a gamble, I may come out mad, I may come out a genius. I didn't take the gamble. They then complained about being hungry and their own hair isn't very good… so I now give them food so they don't eat themselves."

Onla asked, "would there be a way to talk to this god?" The scina replied, "I don't know. There's this one person who I see one out of five times I come. Pale, human, scars all over… the other cultists say he visits the god's realm. I never asked how. Maybe he'll be around this time."

There was more walking. Some difficult things to climb over. A couple of small creatures with the body of a beaver and the bill of a duck scurried past. Unlike the previous monster, these were the size of a beaver.

They arrived, it was almost exactly as imagined. The willow was a grand tree with a statue of a well dressed person carved into the side. There were benches made of stone lined up to face the statue. There were people there. Two humans one wearing nothing but a helmet. Two hexapods. A Photonian who just stood at the edge. The Scina spoke, "I have food!" A human with one arm came to the Scina, "Thank you Aspy. I'll take it." Randil asked, "How did you lose your arm? Sword fight? I lost a chunk of my tight ear when I was young." The person laughed. And laughed. And laughed.

"Sacrifice. I want to be acknowledged, I want blessed with creativity! I bring fruits from far away, ignored! I bring exotic yarns…. Hahaha…. Ignored! I then give up an arm… still ignored! But the great one told me I was creative enough all along! All along! Heh." The person said. There were red stains on her clothes. She caught Randil staring, "Oh, that's paint. I was painting a tomato." That wasn't what he was expecting. "Where's this man who apparently travels to the mad god's realm?" The Scina replied, "I don't see him."

As if on command, a blue glowing doorway appeared, all the worshippers raised their hands (in the painter's case hand) and did a bizarre pose. The Scina laid down as if bowing (maybe so the cultists don't kill them for not following their rules). The party didn't know what they should do. The person who emerged was badly scarred and had no eyes. The person seemed old, how could a person of his age and condition still be alive?

"Why are you here are you here?" The man asked. Onla replied, "We wish to communicate with your god. They killed many—"

"Indeed. You wish to speak to speak, so I will open the door open the door." The madman thought. "On one condition one condition. Lettuce, lettuce." The Scina still had a bag on their back, which had a head of lettuce which Chlorn offered. "Very good good. Opening it. It."

The man looked at the statue and said a word. Maybe some sort of magic? The blue doorway appeared again. The man said, "when you want to come back come back, say 'Open the doorway' in ascendant language. Ascendant language." Onla thought, she admitted she didn't know how to say it, so the madman simply told her to ask the mad god nicely to shut it on her way out. They walked through the doorway, Chlorn asked, "Carlos. Why are you still following me?" Carlos responded, "I want to make sure you're alive to pay your bills."

The mad god's realm looked very similar to the Forested Expanse, but there were odd slopes and hills and all the colors were dull. There was a single table with papers and pencils, odd drawings of things that were hard to tell what they were. The pictures seemed familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. Right there in the one chair near the single table in the twisted forest was a human-like person, head down on the table. The person looked up, they looked exactly like their statue. "Huh. You aren't Jonanon. Why are you here?" The god asked calmly. The party seemed confused by the calmness but Onla spoke. "We just want to know why—" Onla was interrupted by the god. "You want to know why I killed all those people in the Crimson Cityscape. I don't know myself. Maybe when I switch personalities for the fifth time today I could answer. But I'd recommend you leave before it happens, I could snap.. and you are mere mortals in my realm." They waited for an answer. "You aren't going to leave? Wait a minute, or an hour, or a millennia. Maybe I can get the answer by then."

Randil asked, "What is that drawing?" He pointed to a drawing, it seemed to be a human girl with a slightly warped face. The god looked up. "She's Landal, somewhat like Wubba-Lubbanub's… what do you guys call them… daughter." Randil while holding back laughter so big it felt like his ribs were going to explode he asked, "Who is Wubba-Lubbanub?" The god looked up, "I am Wubba-Lubbanub. Wubba-Lubbanub is me. That is who I am." Randil asked for Wubba-Lubbanub to continue. "Continue what? Oh, explaining this picture's sentimental value. You see—" the god's head snapped out of place in an odd angle and realigned itself. "You see my precious child died. She died! Died! Died! Died! It was the hexapods! It had to be them! You and you!" The god glared at Carlos and Las'rhy angrily. Both of the siblings were scared. "Huh!? You think we-" Las'rhy begun. "Yes. I missed a few!" Chlorn was panicking, but remembered something. This must of been one of the outbursts the other gods found annoying. They needed to find Order and get them to form Duality again. But how?

Carlos was on the floor rocking back and forth, swatting the air with his ears. Las'rhy watched, horrified. She was trying to get her brother to snap back to reality. Onla was pondering if she should tap Carlos' shoulder to get his attention. The god was watching the Hexapods suffer with pleasure. While the god was distracted, the Photonian asked Randil to follow him. They ran away from the situation and into the woods of odd twists and slopes. Eventually they reached the edge of the forest.

Past the edge of the forest was a field, not the kind with green grasses and flowers but rather stars. There was no ground yet they could walk, and the surface was quite flat. There was a great sphere beneath them, mostly green and blue. "There is Photonia. You see where the trees are lime colored? And there is the Crimson… because, well. It is quite red. Is this our whole world in proper perspective?" Chlorn was mystified and so was Randil until they realized their friends were in danger. They looked around and found a tree. The tree looked much more like a tree than whatever was in Wubba-Lubbanub's forest. Despite looking much like a tree, it had a head like a Photonian and a massive eye on the head. Chlorn said, "Are you Brodarot, great tree of knowledge?" The tree looked at the two mortals, "Indeed. I haven't seen mortals for months. Not since Landal passed." Randil asked, "So all of this is because Landal passed? She was alive for all that time until a month ago?" The tree replied, "Yes. It is where we live that elongated her life, time is near non-existent here. Even you could live for thousands of years, but that'd be boring for you." Chlorn asked Brodarot "How do you get two gods to fuse? You know about Duality's split, right?" Brodarot said, "I know of the split, and I know how to fuse Order and Wubba-Lubbanub. But I won't tell you anything until you tell me something."

"What do you want me to tell you?" Randil asked to which Brodarot replied, "anything. I just want to learn something new." Randil was thinking, "Kingug mostly eat meat while Mirain mostly eat plants." Brodarot already knew that. Chlorn offered, "The only thing that was ever successfully stolen from Covette was a Diamond. That Diamond was stolen by Kongug and is fashioned to the tip of his spear. The spear is a sacred object among the Kingug." Brodarot responded "I was already here when that happened. I was the container the Diamond was stolen from." Randil thought, no way Brodarot would know this! "I collect shrimp tails and organize them by redness in my home. I have over 300 tails." Brodarot seemed satisfied. "I did not know that. Now, in order to get gods to fuse, they need to shake hands and agree on something. That something can be anything. The thing they agree on could be anything."

Chlorn seemed to know what Brodarot was talking about. "Where would Order be?" Brodarot responded, "He was on the was on the way to stop Wubba-Lubbanub. Didn't you pass him or were you staring at the world?" Chlorn said thanks and they started running back, then they passed someone they haven't seen before. The person looked like a human man with grey skin, soulless eyes, evenly combed hair, and average clothes. They stopped and walked back next to the person. "Are you Order?" Inquired Randil. The god replied, "Yes." Randil asked another question. "Are you going to fuse with Wub- HAHA. Wubba- Wubba-Lubbanub?" The god replied, "yes. As Duality I may feel sickening emotion but fortunately Lubbanub will stop acting bizarrely." Randil and Chlorn seemed relieved.

They reached the lone table which has been knocked over, Carlos and Las'rhy attempting to maul each other. Onla was trying desperately to separate them. Order said, "My enemy isn't able to kill directly they can only affect thought, so they're making the two attack each other." Wubba-Lubbanub was enjoying the display then they saw Order. "I guess ya wanna fuse, eh? Form Duality again? You're a monster who didn't care when ol' Landal died! We separated we're so different. I'd fuse if you could show a little bit of sorrow." As Wubba-Lubbanub started talking, Carlos and Las'rhy stopped fighting, they were awkwardly trying to separate themselves. Order spoke, "It is in my nature to feel no emotion. Honestly I could not care about everyone dying, I simply wish for your madness to cease. It goes against everything I represent." Wubba-Lubbanub's head snapped and fell at an odd angle, still attached to their neck. The head reattached itself. "Maybe I am overreacting. Maybe the Hexapods didn't deserve me taking over their robots' minds and killing most of them. I'm still sad about losing Landal. She lasted a good 2000 years. Maybe I'll die someday too, can gods die?" Wubba-Lubbanub kept talking but then abruptly stopped, "I may change again soon. I believe we should fuse because my madness is overwhelming and your overwhelming rationality is… overwhelming. We should create a middle ground." Order looked Wubba-Lubbanub in the eyes and they shook hands.

A blinding light lit up the plains of the gods briefly then slowly faded. As the light faded a figure became visible. Human, but their skin is split down the middle, bright orange on one half, grey on the other. The newly formed god looked around. "It was a bit of an overreaction. I've never lost someone important before. Gods really don't die. Death is a bit foreign, new. I felt an emotion so strong I split in two. I hope you could forgive me."

The party exchanged looks. Onla Sorry-Sayer spoke, "It wasn't you, Duality. That's your name right? It was Wubba-Lubbanub. You're a different entity so why should you get the blame?" Duality thought, "You're right but I still feel guilty. Mortals, I wish I could pay you for making me whole again but… I just control thoughts and emotion. I know! Would you like a great feeling of pride, happiness, whatever else for knowing you survived?" Duality seemed genuinely grateful and they wanted to make everyone happy. Onla thought on what she wanted. "Could you come to Landal— the place— and tell my mom I actually did something useful? I organized the party that saved a whole civilization. Could you make her proud of me?"

"Yes. I could do that." Duality said.

Carlos asked, "Could we leave—please?"

One year after the events of Duality's separation and rebirth, the party split ways. Onla and Randil went to the human capital while Chlorn went back home to Photonia. Carlos and Las'rhy agreed to spend more time with each other organizing meetings despite one living in the Crimson and the other in the jungle.

Onla's mother rapped at the door of her home. Tattarrattat. Onla could recognize it was her mother from the pattern of her knocking. "Coming mom!" Onla opened the door, it was her mother well dressed. "You know, the Second-In-Command stepped down… and after your heroism—never thought you could do anything honestly. I thought you just left for no reason then you come back with some guy and a god. I still don't believe it— the former Second-In-Command offers his position to you."

Onla smiled at the good news, this was her last year as mayor and she was afraid of being unemployed. She was glad, she hugged her mother and said, "Wait. Is this a joke? This feels unreal. You aren't really the type to joke." Her mother pulled out two envelopes, one from the former Second-In-Command and the other had an equally fancy seal. It was from Lord Chlorn. Onla opened the one from the Second-In-Command first.

"Dear Onla Sorry-Sayer (Mayor of the Western half of the City, daughter of Onona No-Apologies, Emperor's Advisor)

I am stepping down from my position as Second-In-Command due to my old age. As unrealistic as it may seem, most people want you as the new Second-In-Command for your genius organizing that saved many people. Please meet us during the beginning of the new year at the Palace Gargantua at sunrise to discuss your responsibilities.

Truthfully, En'ma (Second-In-Command)"

Onla read it over a few times. Her mother asked if she should leave and Onla said yes; she needed time to process the information.

The letter from Chlorn had the most intricate hard to read handwriting she ever saw, fortunately the calligraphy was only on the front of the letter.

"Reaching out to Onla Sorry-Sayer, (Mayor of the western half of the Human Capitol, Daughter of Onona No-Apologies, Organizer of the world's preservation)

Greetings Onla, it has been a long time since I have reached out to you last. How are you doing? Are you still the Mayor or have you risen in power? I believe we should meet sometimes like the Hexapod siblings do. If you're still friends, maybe you could bring Randil Cyan-Shield over too if he isn't too busy with guard duty.
Write to me or visit me in Photonia."

Onla looked at the letter. Maybe she should write back. She should probably see if Randil would come visit Chlorn for a world savior's reunion party. It has been a long while since she talked to him, She wondered if he's on duty.

She stood against a wall in a crowded place, a familiar voice said, "No loitering. This is a warning, I have no biases towards those familiar to me." Onla smiled, "It's been a while. You got the job huh?" Randil nodded, "And you got new glasses. I'm not doing any more sell-swording." Onla did get new glasses, just as thick and goofy looking as her old ones. Onla told him he wouldn't be doing any work, she showed him the invitation to Photonia to unite the party one last time.

"I'll go. After I'm finished with this shift." Randil said, then the next day passed and they started walking to Photonia.

"Hey, Randil. I need to tell you something." Onla said looking at Randil, Randil looking uncomfortable.

"No, not that. I wanted to tell you, when you stepped down from the arena there's no more merchandise of you in the stores." Onla said, Randil seemed happy his five minutes of fame were over.

This walk to Photonia had no interruptions. Chlorn was outside, going through mail. "Want to buy my land… another one that wants to buy my land… oh, this town wants more fruit. I may actually approve this, if the fruit farmers can grow them." The noble said to himself, as he got up he saw Onla and Randil, delighted they came. "The Hexapod siblings should arrive soon. I heard they are coming in come new fancy transportation unit that was invented shortly after their city was rebuilt. I believe they call them automobiles."

Almost as if on command, a machine rolled in, it looked like something that would be used in war. Where the two come from is much farther than where the humans came from and they got there only shortly after the humans. Las'rhy stepped out and so did her brother. "I shouldn't be here. I didn't do much." Las'rhy said, "Come on Carlos. If we didn't try to murder each other back there Order and Wubba-Lubbanub would have never fused." Carlos couldn't argue with it. The party was united.

Randil asked, "What are we going to do now?"

Chlorn shrugged, "I did not expect everyone to come."

Onla suggested, "Maybe we could talk about things we did. I'm going to be the new Second-In-Command. I may need your library for information on war tactics." Chlorn seemed happy, "Congratulations, Second-In-Command. You may use my library, until you decide to needlessly attack my land. How about you, Randil?" Randil said, "I quit my job at the arena to become a guardsman. I feel useful now and I don't have to kill as many people. Anything new you did Chlorn? I mean Lord Chlorn?" The Photonian said, "We can skip the formalities. You can simply call me Chlorn. I did not do much, I did invest in a new type of moss, It will either bring a lot of money for us if it sells, or if will help the trees grow faster. Either is good. How about you Carlos?" The Kingug was sick from riding the automobile, his sister spoke for him, "His assistant, Ranlos is now a full on doctor. He also helped me clean up rubble and thanks to advanced Mirain technology, the Crimson Cityscape is rebuilt!"

Chlorn seemed happy everyone's life seemed good.

"Maybe we could go on one last adventure." Chlorn suggested.

"What do you have in mind?" Asked Randil,

"I have never been to the beach before. I wonder why it is so popular among Humans and Hexapods to go there."

"There's room for five in here, admittedly one has to squeeze themself in the middle but… climb in!" Las'rhy said, climbing in the automobile.
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Part two: For Caveel

Six individuals were sitting; overlooking the world. Their home was secluded from everyone else upon a rather high cliff and they were talking. "Have you figured it out yet, Marantha?" One asked impatiently, hand on table. The other seemed scared, they straightened their posture. "You need to understand, there will be consequences—"

"I don't care about the consequences." Another said, glaring daggers at Marantha. The person was breathing heavily, they clearly didn't want to do whatever it was. "And, immortality isn't that great! You're going to grow bored, you're going to grow mad!" Marantha said in a panic. The original speaker asked, "But do you know how to do the magic?"

"Yes." Marantha answered.


"It requires lots of energy."

"What kind of energy?"

"Energy from—people." Marantha hesitated

"How many people must be killed?"

"Everyone here but us."

"Do it." The other ordered, not caring about everyone else's safety.

Marantha was sobbing, all they wanted was a little bit of power, now they will have to be associated with these absurd people who want to be gods despite it requiring everyone living on the cliff dying.

Marantha waited until sunrise, they and the other five gathered on the square, a plaza where the common folk liked to live their days talking and playing games. The person from before beckoned everyone in the area to gather. Because the six were their leaders, the people listened and gathered.

"Marantha, do the thing." One of the other leaders grumbled to them.

Maratha had tears in their eyes as they said a word. That word drained everyone's strength, a whole town collapsing before them. The six begun to levitate. Then five feet off the ground; they vanished. Gone. Disappeared. They dematerialized.

— — — — — — — — — —

While the people on the cliffs ascended, there was an argument amongst the leaders of the Hexapods; rather who would be the leader.

Kongug wanted nature to be preserved while his sibling Miraina wanted innovation no matter what it took. Being gods, they couldn't have verbal arguments because they can't change their opinions, as they couldn't change their very nature. So they fought physically.

Kongug sported a spear while Miraina was a machine almost. Miraina's arm transformed into a cannon which shot at Kongug who dodged and jabbed at their sibling with a narrow miss. Miraina then tried to break Kongug's spear by grabbing it and snapping it in half. Their attempt at removing their opponent's weapon failed as they missed grabbing the shaft of the spear and unintentionally grabbed the head which cut their hand, scratching the white plating on Miraina.

Miraina shot a few more shots at Kongug, all of which missed. Miraina was charging a large blast. Kongug decided to take a risk and thrust his spear into Miraina's arm-cannon. The charging was interrupted and caused an explosion.

In an enormous circle, the grass was singed black. In the center, Kongug stood alone. The Hexapods that followed Kongug originally rejoiced in their leader's victory while the Hexapods that followed Miraina fled and tried to make their own city in the south.

————— — — — — —

Miraina was floating through a black void speckled with white and lavender dots. They looked in the distance, what looked to be a massive fish was swimming through the void, it couldn't be a fish. It glimmered with starlight and through its top it produced a violet dust, similar to the steam machines they made back home.

Home? Where was it? Nevermind, I could make home here. Miraina thought. They looked over, seeing what appeared to be a moon, where they briefly resided before living on the land below. They decided to land on the moon where they were greeted by an individual who looked like a toddler with tentacles on his head. Weird, but cute. "Greetings, mortal. I am your god. I am a god. Yes, really." Miraina was confused, "I'm a god."

"No, me. And my pals or friends or coworkers or comrades."

As if on command, five other beings emerged behind toddler god. Each stranger looking than the last. One was wrapped in a fiery cloak with charcoal black antlers poking from their head. The second was a walking sculpture made from ice, less of a sculpture more of a hunk of ice that was whittled to almost resemble a man. One looked much more like a statue, but that of a woman with a horn and trunk on her face. She had a hood on and modest clothes, not anything noteworthy, except the statue looked carved from a variety of rocks, dirt, and gems. Another resembled a woman made of clouds and her hair was lightning; a single eye was in the middle of her face which looked like the sun. The final one looked like an upright toad with a small amount of clothing on, all covered with feathers.

"This person claims to be a god. Pile of skwirl dung I say." The toad said, glaring daggers at Miraina. "If I were not a god, how could I reach the gods' residence?" Miraina asked. The six began talking. The toddler god said, "Ya know what? Welcome, seventh god to our great ranks."

"I don't remember you guys being gods. Just Brodarot, Bloom-Greater, Ty-Khea, Covette, SoFear, Duality and my sibling, Kongug. Whom I fought and ended up here in the aftermath." Miraina questioned.

"I admit, we aren't one of the originals. We were once mortals, actually." The earth statue said, "But we ascended to godhood…" they trailed off, crumbling to pebbles, most likely feeling a strong emotion.

"How did you do that?" Miraina questioned, to which the earth person reconstructed themself into a boulder. "We have a power source. This whole moon actually."

"Are there mortals here? I want to teach them. I want to build their cities. I want to innovate!" Miraina said, changing the subject.

"Oh yeah. Mortals. They're fun to make mad. Watching them struggle is hilarious." the fiery one said, snapping his fingers, looking down upon the world, a corner was black and glowing red.

"You think that's fun?" Miraina was concerned.

"And you think building cities is fun. Who are you to judge what makes me happy?" Fire raised an eyebrow, an ember nearly landed on Miraina.

"I'm simply saying you shouldn't hurt others for fun. knowledge on the other hand… Wait- that isn't the point." Miraina said defensively.

The toddler god smiled, a sick smile that erased the illusion of toddlerhood. "You love mortals so much?" The god transformed into a mass of arms and tentacles which many of the tentacles melded together to create a huge arm which grabbed Miraina and threw them off the moon and crashing onto the world, which they named Caveel, as they hoped everyone would be civil there; which wouldn't happen. But the name sounds cool.
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I will read this. I'm busy atm but this looks fascinating. An original story with entirely original content, right?
I will read this. I'm busy atm but this looks fascinating. An original story with entirely original content, right?
Yes! It's original. The first story is finished. The second one I just started on.

Also, you can find illustrations (because I stink at describing things) here starting on the second page.
It was a pleasant town, unremarkable. The most it's known for are the frequent but minor earthquakes, but the town was well built and sturdy so the most damage usually caused is a few broken dishes. For a suburban town, it has some nice scenery with the nearby mountains and piles of rubble from unsuccessful structures. The city was moderately populated, not too crowded, not too local. Two tourists were walking along the street.

"Why'd you make us stop here? It's boring, Sean." One said, clearly annoyed.

"Well, Johnathan. I'm glad you asked. Well, our schedule requires us to stop here for the day before going to our destination." Sean replied.

"That still doesn't explain why you dragged me h— A geology museum! Wow, why did I doubt you? It's open, can we go or… you were going to mention the geology museum, weren't you."

The tourists looked at the building, sturdy. Boring. Maybe it was different on the inside. Nope. On the inside, everything was fastened to the walls, but if you were John and Sean, you'd see it the way a child views an ice cream truck. They looked around. Large rocks. Small rocks. Shiny minerals. Glassy shards. Maps of the world and its plates and mountains. They were entranced until someone snapped them out of the trance.

"Gneiss to meet you! I'm The Geologist and museum curator. I'm rather busy, you see. Anyways…. Five bucks each to venture further and see rarer minerals and my commentary on them." The Geologist was a man with messy, wispy white hair. He was an old man who still stood well, wearing a lab coat. If not for him saying he was a geologist, you would've assumed he was out to destroy the world for he looked like a mad scientist. The tourists forked over their money and they wondered into the museum. They weren't disappointed.

There were displays and pictures and rocks so large you wondered how they got through the front door. They also saw several artworks, said to be painted by various artists, they all looked like small pieces of one large picture of the nearby hillscape, all in different styles. The Geologist pointed to the peak of the center mountain, "That's my piece. It's a bit sediment-al to me." He said solemnly, before he burst laughing. "You two learning and having fun, I hope so. I pumice-d refunds to those who don't." The Geologist said, noticing the two tourists were silent. John spoke up, "we're having a great time, aren't we Sean? Sean?"

Sean was eyeing a corner suspiciously. There was a red curtain in front of a door, well— it was assumed it was a door because it wasn't a window. "What's behind the curtain?" The Geologist was dismissive. "It's getting slate. You should go." The tourists looked at each other then The Geologist. "Well, I don't want to give away refunds so I guess I'll talk. Just, don't freak out, Caliche?" The two tourists looked at each other suspiciously. They agreed to proceed while being cautious.

The room contained several machines, all grey and with flashing, colorful buttons. "What is this place? Does it predict earthquakes?" Sean asked; The Geologist beamed with pride, "Yes, marble at it! My great seismic machine!" Sean asked semiseriously, "when's the next one?" The Geologist replied, "Shale then… let me check. Two days, magnitude two." John asked, "Can it make earthquakes too?"

The Geologist paused. He looked like he got hit with something hard. "We gave you an evil idea didn't we?" Sean and John were backing away, nervous. "Nobody's going to diorite! Trust me! Everyone's safe!" He says as he goes to a whiteboard and under "laundry" on his To Do list, he wrote "kill everyone and split the earth." The tourists looked at each other, Sean said, "We believe you—right John— we're satisfied with our stay. We're leaving." The two back out of the museum and panic, should they call the cops? They wouldn't believe them though it'd be the smart thing to do. However, as they are characters in a story, they do the dumb thing. They dig in their stuff, and next to a blue umbrella, a rubber duck, a six toed toad, and a ball of lint, was an obsidian dagger. They knew how to save the world.

"A donation!?" The Geologist said, shocked. "You take my intelligence for granite! You're trying to kill me and stop me from NOT splitting the earth in two! Besides, that would be a horrible weapon. While obsidian is incredibly sharp it's also quite frag-"

The Geologist drops to the floor. John stood behind The Geologist, holding a wooden baseball bat. "Ha! I told you he only sees rocks!" Sean says, proud of his scheme. John hit the Geologist with the bat while he was distracted. The tourists hit a realization. "Did I kill him?!" John asked, scared of prison. Sean shakes his head no, pointing to his nose, which was flaring open and shut every time he breathed. "No, he'll be okay. We should erase 'kill everyone and split the earth' from the whiteboard or else he'll remember to do it. Seriously, maybe he'll wake up with a clean slate!" John glared at Sean. Sean raised his hands defensively, "It wasn't on purpose!"

The tourists erase the item from the list and The Geologist wakes up, clueless. He continues directing tours while the tourists got to their destination and there was indeed an earthquake two days later, magnitude two.

I may actually finish what I started with my previous story soon. I may finish it.
Portio: The Prologue


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