If you find mistakes, pls tell, thx. I don't like mistakes.
I was asked about reading my work on other sites.
The answer is simple: Currently I am not active in any other networks than royalroadl.com. Only here, I correct mistakes and errors.
If you read it anywhere else and have to pay for it, or have to deal with an annoying amount of advertisement, You Are Being Betrayed.
You would do good if you make other people in that network aware of it. This is a free project of mine for the purpose of having fun. And if people try to make money with it you shouldn't bother visiting their website.
I have no problem with translation and reposting of the story, as long as the person in question isn't doing it for money or stealing my identity.
The only one whom I actually allowed to have my work on his website is Armaell who invested the time to compile them into pdf.
“The Aziza (African) are a type of beneficent supernatural race in West African (specifically, Dahomey) mythology. Living in the forest, they provide good magic for hunters. They are also known to have given practical and spiritual knowledge to people (including knowledge of the use of fire).”
- The Journey to the Afterlife
“You are sure that you are fine?” he asks again.
I sigh and let go. My whole body is aching and my mana reserves are low. Well, not low, but I can’t access them with this splitting headache. “Yes. No permanent injuries. Nothing that won't heal. Quit asking.”
“I didn't mean your body. I was asking about your soul. He... he described a nasty curse the dagger should have inflicted on you.” He looks down on me with a worried expression.
Smiling, I try to change the subject. Experiences like this curse, tend to crack the shell which I carefully erected around my personality to shield myself from the ugly truth of existence. Nobody should ever experience this unending nothingness of a void zone.
First, you try to make your best out of your situation. When you realize that you could stay imprisoned for a really long time, you start to think. You bitch and moan and try to entertain yourself, but after a while being with yourself gets boring.
And once you get bored of yourself, you know that you have a problem.
When the talking starts and you realize that you are talking to nobody but yourself, you might as well put a bullet into your brain. Just that, at that time, you are already past the point of making such a decision.
And it gets worse with each second, every minute, every hour, every day, you spend in that forsaken place.
Then you start trying things... things which might seem mad, but even the slightest chance of gaining a new insight has appeal under such circumstances.
Like standing on your hands. Or talking backwards, I got pretty good at that. Or trying to divine something from your own intestines, which sucks. Gods back then always healed up again unless certain precautions were taken. It's quite disturbing if your guts move during the divination attempt while your body sucks them back inside you.
And there is the hunger. Gods can flood their bodies with mana and avoid starving to death. But it doesn’t change the fact you start craving for food once your belly starts shrivelling up. And once it’s empty, the hunger will always be with you. Until you try to eat yourself and learn which synapses to cut in order to feel nothing.
And one day you wake up and realize that you aren't quite normal any more. In your head. And that's the one thing that’s really disturbing to a god. We get our strength from confidence in ourselves. And thinking, knowing that you are mad, eats away at that confidence.
“I'll be fine,” I answer.
Marcus leans in and presses my head to his chest. “No, you are not. But I'll do my best to protect you from such an experience. I'll never leave you alone... if you don't want to be alone? Now I wish I had pulled out the dagger sooner.”
I tense. “Didn't I say that I am fine?”
He strokes the hair on my head. “You were talking aloud. But don't worry. You said this is your home?”
I was talking aloud? “Great, so that curse really awakened a few memories.”
With quite some effort, I untangle myself from him and take a look around. “Yeah. Feels like we are in Dedessia, the realm I originally came from. But I have to admit that I don't know where exactly we are.”
Marcus says nothing, instead he looks at me as if there is a lot to talk about. Closing my eyes, I massage the bridge of my nose. Oh, well. “I am an agent who was sent to your realm to investigate certain traitorous elements which fled from our realm a few years ago. Strangely enough I found that one of them was the assassin who tried to turn me into shashlik.
“Dedessia has its own troubles with the spirits, but up until I encountered the intelligent ones in your realm, I didn't even see them as a threat. More like some force of nature which simply exists in this multiverse. I didn't reveal myself because you would have asked uncomfortable questions which I wasn’t able to answer at that point in time.”
I go on for a while longer, trying to explain the cultural, ecological and topological differences between Dedessia and Newerth. Like the lack of resources and our way to deal with our spirit forms. “...but that doesn't really matter if we don't get out of here. First thing on the list is to find something to eat.”
Marcus's eyes focus on Zhon who is still kneeling at his place. A little bit of drool is running down his chin. I still have to find out how to use that curse without making the target look like a lobotomised fool. I want to see the pain which they have to endure in their minds.
“Not him. We still need him for information. I am sure we will find something on the way”. Though finding edible things in Dedessia isn't exactly easy.
“I didn't suggest that. Though the impulse crossed my mind. How can you live like that, Seria? What are you? And how do I look like in my spirit form?”
I return my attention to Marcus and purse my lips. “You still look mostly human. Did you take a bite from Zhon? I didn't expect my theory to actually work.”
Marcus forces himself to smile. “I don't think it worked a hundred percent. I have these cravings to hunt and kill. Break bones and tear flesh from bones. But I think I am still me. The instinct is manageable, so I take that over losing my mind like my brother did.”
I nod. It would be very surprising if simply taking a bite out of a spirit is enough to gain complete control. “I think I am not an actual mythical creature, like most spirits are classified, but more like a cross between my parents. Dad is a shade and Mom is a succubus. It's rare, but I was told that it happens if the child was born between two particularly strong gods.”
“As for you...” I take a step back and try to take my time to study him. “You got a little taller, I think. Your eyes are now greyish blue and you got a nice set of fangs.”
Marcus raises both hands to his mouth, which causes me to chuckle. “Don't worry. I only saw them when you smiled. They aren't tusks. You also have some kind of symbol on your forehead, like a third eye, but it looks more like a rune.”
“I think your base spirit form might be an Aziza, but there is something mixed in that I don't recognize. Maybe some form of shapeshifter? When I woke up, you were fighting Zhon. I am not sure if you realized it, but when you ripped a piece out of his side, your hands developed claws.”
Marcus tilts his head in contemplation. Finally he decides to shrug. “It could've been worse. Like developing a set of wings. How do you even move indoors with those things.” He points at my additional set of limbs.
I stretch and concentrate. The shadow wings shrink and flow around my waist to form a black skirt, while the wings of light settle around my upper body and turn into a silky shirt. I am unable to do a full body transmogrification like my father, but at least my wings are total subject to my whim.
I would be raging otherwise. Marcus is right. Having wings would be inconvenient in small rooms. “It stings to do that while they are still healing, but the weight distribution is much better like this.”
Marcus furrows his forehead. “But they will heal, right?”
Nodding, I turn to our prisoner. “Will you carry him? I feel sore all over. You don't have to worry about him, or it, regaining consciousness. I am not sure of what to call these guys. They aren't like us, but they also aren't what we call spirits.”
Marcus shoulders Zhon in a fireman's carry. It's probably the most comfortable way to carry someone over long distances. “Do you have an idea of where to go? Or do we simply pick a direction and go straight until we find a city?”
I purse my lips at the amusing thought. “That would probably get us nowhere. Settlements are scarce and well hidden in Dedessia. Without us knowing where to find one, we could walk right past one without even realizing that it’s there. Of course not with the big ones, but there are very few of those. People largely don’t like living in a desert, or swamps, or rainforests with all kinds of poisonous animals.”
Closing my eyes, concentrate and point out a direction to my left. “There, the pathways are getting stronger that way. So home should be in that direction.”
Marcus’s eyes follow my finger, which points at the horizon. “Pathways? Seria, I feel like we have to sit down and talk for two or three days. No, make that a month.”
I purse my lips. “My parents kind of created a world enchantment, which is currently growing throughout the multiverse and reconnecting the various dimensions. But they are a little paranoid, so currently the members of my family are the only ones who can use them. Do you remember the roots which I used to close the portal? Those were the new pathways, but they still need a lot of energy to grow. So using them is a little dangerous because they tend to take their energy from wherever they get it.”
He clears his throat. “Who are your parents again?”
“Ascathon and Celestial, didn’t I already mention that?” I ask a little miffed. I don’t like repeating myself.
He stares at the horizon. “Ah, so I am about to ask the two most infamous beings throughout the multiverse’s history for their blessings? Oh, joy. Seria, I am trying to cope with all this and it may seem as if I take all these little secrets of yours with ease, but sometimes you take me off my feet. How old are those two? I mean mentally?”
I link arms with him. “Don’t worry. They are nice people once you get to know them. You can play the teleporter. I am still weak.”
His voice turns a little anxious. “That’s no real answer, Seria. Tell me what I need to know.”
“Okay. I would suggest you start teleporting. It could be a long way until we arrive. Ah, and in case that we encounter something that’s alive, don’t get too close. Some creatures in this world think of gods as nothing more than a snack. But we should be fine.”
He fixes his eyes on the horizon. “Wonderful. Who would have thought that I get to work overtime on the day when you finally admitted your feelings.”
I lean my head against him. “Sorry.”