literature

TALES: Origins Part 1

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By Sanoon
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     "Gather 'round, children, gather 'round," the brown bat said to the many, many children that were already crowding around the fire that illuminated this section of the cave. Most had dropped down from the ceiling, while the rest were those already anticipating the impending event. It was story time for these little tykes, as it always was when dawn rolled around. The earliest ones took the best seats on the rocks while the ones in back didn't hesitate to push their way closer. The fire was one of many scattered throughout the cave system that housed hundreds of these brown bats. The speaker was sitting on a small rock that elevated him above the pile of children, whose bright smiling faces were lit by the flames.
     A newly adult bat lying against the rocks near the fire groaned as the kids gathered around the speaker to hear their nightly story. She had been using the light from the fire to read her book, and this particular spot was one of the better locations in the cave for her nightly reading endeavors. With the pushing and grabbing of the children, she was forced to take a back seat away from the light. As much as it annoyed her, she was powerless to stop it. Soon the sun would rise and she could get, with luck, another thirty minutes in before having to retire to bed. It was better at the cave entrance, anyways. The cave only echoed the squeaking of the many bats. It was sometimes very difficult to concentrate. She saved her place in the story and listened to the speaker. She used to love this time when she was younger, but eventually she realized the core of these stories were the same.
    She could remember as early as she could form memories her father setting her down on these very rocks to listen to this bat tell his tall tales. Back then the mystique and wonder captivated her; it enthralled her to seek out more and greater things. The storyteller’s tales never changed though, and the luster can only last for so long. Thankfully her precious books could fill the adventurous void he had made.
     "Who here is ready for a story about our world?" The storyteller asked with a vigorous smile. The children all replied in unison.
     "We do! We do!"
     The bat responded with a boisterous laugh. "Just as I thought! Now lesse'." He scratched his chin with the thumb of his wing as he thought about which story might serve well this morning. He already knew which story he was going to tell, but he enjoyed the act. When he felt enough time had passed, he snapped his wings shut. "Aha! Have I told you about the mountains?" He found a mixed reaction as some nodded and some shook their heads. The young adult in the back hummed. She had heard this story at least a hundred times. "How many of you have noticed the mountains in the distance?" Some raised their wings. "Have you ever wondered what lives on those mountains?" Some nodded. "Dragons!" He shouted. "These lizard beasts can be as tiny as you, or bigger than the great oaks outside! They're all over the mountain! And, just like us, they too live in caves. The mountains are filled with caves, and each filled with dragons! They come in all sorts of sizes and shapes! Some have four legs, some have two massive wings where their front legs should be, and some with no legs at all. Yet all of them have teeth as big as you, and sharper than anything you’ve ever felt."
     The speaker waited a few seconds before continuing. He would let the children's minds run loose before ringing them back in. He could judge by the looks that they had envisioned large beasts. They always chose the large over the small. "And they want to eat you!" Some of the younger ones gasped. It was always the younger ones. "Oh yes, it's true! There is nothing more a dragon loves than to eat a bat." The young adult in the back rolled her eyes and silently hit her forehead on her book in annoyance.
     "Just like the snakes?" a child asked.
     "Just like the snakes!" he answered.
     “And the bears?”
     “And the bears.”
     "And the wolves?"
     "Especially like the wolves! But at least with those three we can fly out of their reach, but not dragons. They can fly too, and fly faster! And then...SNAP!  You're snatched out of the air just like that." He held one wing partially out and used his other wing to slap over it, imitating the best he could the jaws of the creatures in his story. "The bat colonies in the mountains are always vigilant about these beasts, and it's just one of many reasons why we don't go outside the cave during the day."
     "What about the dragons that eat plants?" asked the young adult in the back. Her voice was soft. She had talked to the group of bats that would journey to the town nearby for supplies. They told of stories they had heard while out, which had contradicted the tales she was told her entire life. The children turned their heads to look at her. "Or the ones that live in the city. They're peaceful."
     "Peaceful dragons?" a few kids murmured.
     The storyteller sighed.  "Twisty, please don't interrupt." He cleared his throat. "Yes children, there are some peaceful dragons, but they are few and far between. You just can't take that risk. A cautious bat is a bat that makes it to the morning." Twisty sighed as he continued on with his description of the beasts. She lifted herself up and walked her way to the cave entrance. Surely the sun was rising by now.
     It took a few minutes to climb the ascending pathway to the surface. Sure enough, as she got to the mouth of the cave, it was baked in the orange glow of the morning sun that was rising above the trees. The cave opened up into a hilly expanse that was blocked from sight from the forests around it. Yet even with it all, you could still see the mountains to the west. It was nice and secluded, which was all the bats could ever ask for. The chirps and calls of their avian neighbors could already be heard. It was a shame she couldn’t understand what they were saying. Their races always just tended to avoid each other, much to her dismay. How great would it be to have a friend outside of her own species!
     A cool breeze was blowing into the cave. Twisty closed her eyes and hugged the book to her chest, taking a deep breath of the fresh air. Her green pants and orange tunic waved in the breeze. It was always muggy in the cave, and the circulation was terrible. The fires didn't help
much. The smoke always had to be vented out, which didn’t help the fact that they slept on the ceiling. Out here though, it was so relaxing. Not near as loud, and the smell was a hundred times better. How she wished she could just live up here on the surface world.
     She sat down against a rock at the entrance to her home and opened her book up to her last saved spot. The bats that made those little expeditions out to the town would usually pick her up a new book every now and then. They had returned the previous day with a new read for her. Unfortunately, she could blow through her books in just a few short days, leaving her to re-read her old books until the group left for the town again a few weeks down the line.
     It took only a minute before her senses became dulled to the world around her. The concept of time faded as the sun rose higher and the air grew warmer. Sounds and smells vanished. When a wings thumb grabbed her shoulder, she could have leaped to the moon. "Did I startle you?" asked an older male’s voice.
     Twisty groaned as she looked towards the bat that disturbed her, then hid her face in her book. "Daaaaaad," she moaned.
     "I couldn't resist," he said with a smile. He brushed a section of the rock clean and took a seat next to his daughter. He wore only brown slacks and a green tunic. His features were hardly definable. To any outsider, he and Twisty would look just like every other bat in the cave, but Twisty could tell each one apart instantly. Anyone in the colony could. It was only Twisty’s longer head hair and glasses that could give an outsider any real idea of difference. "Uncle Curtis talked to me.” The young adult groaned. She knew where this was going. "You've been interrupting the children’s stories recently."
     "Dad, you know the stories have to be exaggerated," the young bat said defensively.
     "Twisty-"
     "Not everything in the world has to be out to kill us."
     "Twisty-"
     "And what about the group that goes to the town? They don't-" The man put a wing over Twisty's mouth.
     "I know," he says slowly with a nod. "The stories are exaggerated, but they're still not false. There's a reason we still tell them to the children. The world is a dangerous place for us. We don't have the protection that the cities can provide. We just have ourselves, and the worst thing that could happen would be to lose you to some creature looking for a meal. That’s how the world works, Twist’."
     "I..." She tried to find something to say, but nothing came to mind. She just wanted the children to be told that not everything out there was a monster.
     The older bat patted his daughter on the head. "I know. The world isn’t always fair. C'mon. It's time for bed. Everyone is waiting." Twisty closed her book and hesitantly stood up. She would much rather lose sleep than have to stop reading. The trek back inside was actually darker, as the fires had been put out. It didn't affect the bats' travel. They didn't keep the fires so they could see, but so they could cook food or keep warm.
      The ceiling of each pathway they could have taken and every chamber they passed through was filled with bats. When the two arrived to the chamber that they called home, a group of bats were waiting on the ground. Twisty had never felt comfortable flying ever since she lost control when she was a wee little bat and crashed into a stalagmite. They stopped trying to get her to fly when they realized it was impossible. Each bat on the ground helped Twisty climb up to the ceiling. Once she was situated, she wrapped herself up in her wings and tried her best to drift off.

                                          ---

     Light from the rising sun had a hard time penetrating the canopy of the forest. The sleeping lizard winced and grunted as the single beam managed to hit his left eye. He hated the mornings. And afternoons. And evenings. Anytime, really. He let out a guttural groan as he rolled onto his side. Just another day of nothing. No point in bothering to wake up for it. He had moved down from the mountains two long sleeps ago. He dug his snout into the ground at the thought of his old home. He didn't like it much there either. 'And never come back.'
     Hours passed as he laid there phasing in and out of consciousness. It was when the sun’s rays were directly overhead that he couldn't ignore them anymore. He grunted as he rolled onto his legs. He stretched his lazy limbs as he listened for anyone who could be nearby. Maybe he wouldn’t have to travel too far today to find his meal. Goodness, has his time alone turned him that cold? He shook his head at the thought and the scorn he imagined himself receiving. Damn it, Joel, he was trying, okay? It didn’t change the reality of the situation though; there was a rumbling emanating from his gut.
     He had wasted his morning. He had to consider his one meal for the day. Actually, he should review what he had planned for the sunlight hours still left.

     1. Eat his daily meal.
     2. Sunbathe.
     3. Sleep.

     He nodded slowly as he reviewed the list in his head. Yup, that was all for the day. He rose slowly, adjusting his large wings in the process. His long neck twisted around to observe his side. The water had yet to warm up properly, as is normal for this time of spring. He disliked taking dips into the water if it wasn't warm. His crimson red scales seemed fine enough, and his amber underbelly plates were free from grime, which he was thankful for, even if he didn't show it. That was good enough for inspection. Now he had to find his meal. He grunted as he lifted himself up, and his steps were deliberately slow. It’s not like he was in a rush. The thick forest wasn't easy for him to travel through, especially with his wings adding to his width no matter how he arranged them.
      His size couldn't be helped. His body stood just longer than six feet, with his long neck adding three more if he kept it erect, and his head even more. His length was closer to eighteen feet when adding in his tail. A single row of spikes lined his back, starting at the top of his neck and traveling all the way to his spike-tipped tail. All in all, he was just a common fire drake.
     Hunting wasn’t impossible in these thick woods, but his inability to fly hindered his chances. The first step was to locate his common prey: the white-tailed deer, which seemed to be in an overabundance in this region, which he was glad for. He was equally glad no other dragon had laid claim to this area. He had access to both the river coming from the mountains and the large lake. Although, he could easily guess no other dragons came by due to the town. He was always warned about settlements of the 'lesser' species. He was always told they harbored dragon hunters, and that as powerful as a dragon could be the might of an army was stronger. So, as far as this drake was concerned, they didn’t much care for dragons from the mountains, including himself, and he could understand why. Why, even he didn't like the dragons from mountains, and he was laid and hatched in the mountains nearby. Anywhere you went you could at the very least notice its snow covered peaks.

     '"What's everyone gathering for?"
     "Don't worry about it."
     "I just want to know."
     "So beat it out of me. No? Then get lost in a town."'

     The dragon shook his head to get the thoughts out. He could only try so hard to forget. His stomach growled. He focused on that and continued his search. He could smell some deer nearby. Without the ability to fly in these woods, he had to adopt a far less successful tactic of chasing them. His only chance was to force them in to a clearing or into a less dense section of the woods. He had to move slowly. His prey was easily startled.  The closer he could get the better chance he had to eat that day.
     And then he saw them; four of them, to be precise. One buck and three does, each wearing simple breathable clothing that blended in with their surroundings, but it was their movements that gave them away. He crossed the buck out of his mind. One of the does would be very adequate, and none of them looked to be children. It helped ease his conscience of what he would be doing. The woods thinned out ahead. If he could push them through there, he’d be able to catch one of them. Three of them were preoccupied with digging in the soil as if they were looking for something. The buck stood guard by the tree with a spear at the ready. This didn’t bother the dragon. He could easily overpower the buck if he needed too. All he needed was the first strike, and for that, he needed them to be more interested in the ground than the large beast inching closer and closer. His movements were slow and deliberate; just as long as the buck didn’t turn around. Every step made a world of difference. He took another slow step forward. They didn’t notice. Another step. Another step. Another st-SNAP! The deer didn’t hesitate. They bolted to the right. The dragon cursed as he followed in a run, going as fast as the trees blocking him would allow. They
leaped over logs, he followed. They changed directions on the fly, so did he. They darted past tightly clumped together trees, he stopped dead in his tracks. He could only watch as they vanished behind all the vegetation. Cursing, he slammed his head against the tree in front of him, shaking it violently.
    The dragon shook his head and turned around. He might as well take to the skies. Besides, he could use a good fly right now. Trudging through the trees, he eventually made it to a clearing big enough for him to take off. He extended his massive wings and used his hind legs to give himself a leap into the air. Within seconds, he had risen above the canopy. Takeoff was always the slowest part. The ground shrunk beneath him. This was something he enjoyed; his flight. Up here, he could see everything: The Mountains to the west, the town to the east, the lake to the south, and nature everywhere else. Why, he could even see those four deer he was chasing had walked into a clearing down below. A perfect opportunity. He altered his approach and circled around. He could easily snatch one up.
     He dived. When the deer realized the danger it was too late. A flying kick from the dragon's forepaw sent one of the doe flying forward. The drake went from flying to running in an instant. Before the deer could even get up, the dragon had placed a paw over it; one of his razor-sharp claws over the animal's neck. The other deer had already fled. The doe tried its best to flee, but could not escape the lizard's grasp.

     '"Go on. Do it! I don't feed off the sun's rays, you know."
     "Please, spare me!"
     "I...I can't!
     "Then I will!"'

     The dragon stared into the doe’s tearful eyes; she knew her life was at an end to this monster. Oh how much he hated those eyes! He wasn’t supposed to look! That was his first rule! Don’t look at the eyes! It gave his prey every chance they needed to escape, and not even by their own means.
    He forced his eyes shut and shook his head. Not now. He didn't need doubt now. He took a few deep breaths and opened his eyes again. "S-say something. Anything, and I will let you go."

     '"Please, I beg you!"
     "I think we should let him go. We can find something else to eat."
     "You're useless! Out of the way! Never let a whelp do a real hunter's work!"'

    The doe gasped for breath and coughed out some sort of cry that he was unfamiliar with the specifics of, but he knew the pain in her tone. Slowly he turned his gaze up and saw the three others in her party standing in the distance, watching behind the safety of the trees; waiting in horror to see the killing blow. So this was it, then? He adjusted his watch back to the doe. She had given up her fruitless endeavor trying to free herself and now was just laying there waiting for her end. He couldn’t focus on anything other than the tears that rolled off her muzzle.
    "I don't think I'm that hungry," he said with a heavy sigh as he lifted his foot off the doe’s neck.  The deer gasped for air and sat for a moment stunned that it was free, but wishing to not look this gift horse in the mouth too much longer, she instantly scrambled up and ran into the thick of the woods with her fellow kind. The drake turned his gaze upwards just soon enough to see the doe had stopped to take one last look back at him before vanishing into the brush of the forest. The dragon mumbled a curse as he slammed his head into the ground. Then again and again and again. He couldn’t keep doing this! How many nights had he gone hungry because of crap like this!? The horrible, horrible pains of hunger would again accompany him throughout the night. Why did he have difficulty hunting!? None of the others from the mountains ever had this much trouble hunting. Why him!? Eventually, the drake fell to his side and just laid in the sun moping in his own self pity. There had to be a good way to clear his mind. Damn, did he wish there was something that could communicate with him in this forest. Some sort of distraction.
     The sun had begun its descent a while ago. Since eating was crossed off the list for now, sunbathing was the next best event. He extended his wings and laid his head down. Now all he had to do was not think ever again and he would be fine.
     Hours passed. The dragon only stirred when a strange scent came across him. He hadn't smelled this in so long. It was hard to even believe this was the same scent. He lifted himself and followed his nose through the woods till he found something rather interesting. He had to blink a few times to register the sight.

     'Please spare me.'

                                          ---

     She had to fight with herself to keep from falling back asleep. It was difficult enough waking up as early as she did, and if she were to fall back asleep now, her entire plan would be ruined. She had to carefully drop herself down from the ceiling without waking up anyone else, which wasn’t an easy task with how densely packed all the bats were on the ceiling. This bat may refuse to fly, but she could still slow her descent without any debilitating fear kicking in. Once on the ground, she grabbed her book and headed for the outside world without any delay. There were always daytime watchers to make sure any predators couldn’t get the drop on them while the colony wasn’t asleep; lying her way past any of them by pretending to have to use the restroom or the like was easy enough.
    Her family would flip their shit about this, but she was an adult now. She should be able to make these decisions like any adult in the colony. Nothing bad would happen. Those stories were just that: Stories.
      Her eyes had to be covered from the bright rays of the sun when she got outside. It would take a minute for them to adjust, and it certainly did help her wake up from her groggy state. She maybe only had half a day left before it was dark. When they finally did adjust, she pushed her glasses up and opened her book, 'The Iridescent Labyrinth'. Then she just walked. Walked and read her book. No point in staying by the mouth of the cave. She'd be found before the hour was over. So she wandered and read, and just like every other time a book was in front of her she lost track of the physical world. Now she was traveling with treasure hunters and demon slayers as they explored a mystical world. Eventually, hours down the line, when the sun had almost set, she had found a log to sit on to rest her tired legs. If she wasn't so absorbed in her book, she may have noticed she wasn't alone.
These tales will not always be in chronological order, though I think I will do my best to make it so.

2/15/2017: The first chapter of Origins has now received it's major face lift. Sanny's section was touched on the most here, but it's really the second and third parts to this story that will be receiving the most work. Those chapters have been completely rewritten! It'll be like reading a whole new story! Kind of! If you took the time to re-read this and the rest of the series, or if you're new to the entire thing, enjoy the ride!

Next ChapterTALES: Origins Part 2
Previous StoryTALES: Winter Fishing

Twisty is twooost, You could guess Sanny.

The preview image was drawn painstakingly by :iconannaklava:, which can be found here!
Published:
© 2013 - 2021 Sanoon
Comments9
anonymous's avatar
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Pinaz9's avatar
I went ahead and decided to leave off reading the rest of the chapters that haven't been revamped yet. As you edit each deviation, please remember to check the box that notifies us of the change.

Other than that, I'm really intrigued. I want to hear more from these characters, and from you, dear author.
Sanoon's avatar
I'm glad you enjoyed what you have read so far, and I greatly apologize for the inconvenience of having to wait to see where to stories will take you. I am not a fast writer, but luckily there are some stories down the line that will not need updating, so those can be read at your leisure. Anything from the story 'TALES Shorties: Hike' and after is up to date and good to read. It may not be much, but it is something while I work on the updates.

Thank you for taking the time to read and enjoy! 
Pinaz9's avatar
You're quite welcome for the fav, and thanks for yours! I found you on a journal of :icontorkos-arcflame:'s, talking about how you were going to keep writing, even if the format of this site is somewhat biased against literature. I checked you out (though TBH, I was supposed to be working on a piece of my own), and found my favorite thing on this site: an author that takes the craft seriously enough to revamp a series. That's not a small feat. 

As for the wait, don't sweat it. It's no different from waiting for the work to be completed in the first place. However, I will take those short stories in short order. 
Sanoon's avatar
More to come, kind Sir!

TALES is a world I will eventually turn into a book. After a bit of talking with a friend I had come to the conclusion to change to very important details about that world to make the stores more thrilling and somewhat darker and believable. To do that, I had to rewrite everything I had made so far. A task I found turned out far more imposing that I had originally planned, and I'm only on the first of four major stories. Thankfully, I am happy to say the stories are vastly improved as a result.
Pinaz9's avatar
I have a story that need a revision pass rather badly. It's going to have to wait, but I can identify with the dauntingness of the task.
anonymous's avatar
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