Comic 2 - hwuh testing is happening

18th Aug 2020, 10:37 PM

At, literally, the very edge of the Upper Laoca region, sits the city of Lucid Spring.

It is arguably the center of civilization on the continent. Constantly moving, always with someone plotting or planning on any given street corner. Where there are so many people with so many unique problems that the economy is practically run by freelancers. Where you could see a mage riding by on a possessed, bleeding statue, swearing up a storm, you’d be like, “yeah, that tracks.” Where Heroes and pirates are held in the same regard, and with the same respect.

Where, even if you fail, which is statistically likely, there will always be a net somewhere in the streets below to catch you. Because despite the things that live in its seedy corners and unsavory heights, nowhere else in Laoca is as fertile with opportunities and possibilities.

The shining city on the cliff where the sun is always hot and the snow never falls.

That is Lucid Spring City.

About ten miles to the west of Lucid Spring City is Repa Forest.

It’s a forest.

Got trees in it.

It also had, at one moment in time, a teenager who was beat up, lost, exhausted, terrified, and hallucinating out of his Lady-damned mind.

An arrow loosed itself from the undersized bow he had no experience with and did not legally own, whistling through the air and sticking into a tree.

He was aiming for a falling leaf that startled him.

He did not hit the leaf.

Trembling, breathing heavily, he locked his gaze on it as it fluttered to the ground to rest against the tree roots. His fists curled around the bow in his arms, his teeth gritted. He was ready to turn tail and run as fast as his legs would still let him the instant he saw that thing move.

Because in the eyes of this, the hallucinating out of his Lady-damned mind teenager, that was not a leaf.

That was a blood wasp. (Fun facts about blood wasps! Carnivorous insects, blood wasps coat themselves in the blood of dead creatures and fall out of trees or branches, playing dead to attract predators. When one approaches, they sting the predator and administer their venom. Blood wasp venom is fatal. No one has been stung by a blood wasp and lived longer than an hour afterward.)

But no, really, the leaf was a leaf.

“I know what you are,” he growled.

The leaf was a leaf.

“… Okay actually I don’t.” He grinned nervously. “I know what you’re not, though.”

The leaf was a— the teenager SLAMMED his hand against the tree’s trunk, rattling the whole of it.

“And you’re NOT! A DEADLY INSECT!”

And before his eyes, his hand, tense against the bark, decayed down to bone wrapped in pale, bloody, translucent skin. His middle finger was near-nonexistent, bone sticking out of its jagged stump. Before his eyes and no one else’s.

But these eyes narrowed, and a snarl twisted his face as he gathered all of the meagre confidence he had in his disproportionately tall body.

“And I won’t fall for these hallucinations, you dumb bear.”

Suffice to say, this teen was having a long day.

 

The forest around him was twisted and warped into a fever dream. Every dizzy step he took, the ground squished beneath him as if saturated with sweet rain, if the sweet rain was actually the fluids of a forest floor alive enough to bleed. The trees were the same way, and the sky- whenever he dared an instantly-regretted glimpse at it- was a red field of screaming, migraine-inducing static, somehow both claustrophobically close and infinitely far away.

If the vertigo toppled him to the ground, he worried that it would swallow him up.

He crossed beneath a thick branch. Whimpering, he rubbed his head, trying to ignore the feeling of blood in his hair; trying to remind himself what belonged.

“Nngh. Relax!” He chided himself. “That bear couldn’t cross the river!”

Though he was forgetting what belonged.

He forced a smile as he crossed into a glade and the harsh light of the static sky which was in reality a fairly beautiful cloudless day. “Maybe it can’t swim! Or it hates wet fur!”

A small rodent perched on a stump nearby, eating a nut, and looking like a small, naked child eating the severed head of an even smaller child.

“Or this was the plan and it’s led me directly into an unforgiving hell forest—” He interrupted himself, only to double over and HOWL with laughter. “HAH! I’m HALLUCINATING! I’m FINE!

“All I have to do…” His voice shook. “Is find the forest’s edge, and then I’ll find the—”

His breath caught as he stood up to survey the glade he’d literally just stumbled into. He’d been through several clearings today in his desperate attempts to get out of here, but this was different. This one was… green.

“The… the city.”

And pink. And white. And not bleeding profusely. Flowers and flower petals sprinkled the soft grass, all from a small, solitary tree in the center. Encircling the glade, almost haphazardly, were pennant banners with green flags, all adorned with a strange symbol he’d need to get closer to make out. He wasn’t particularly interested in this, because the forest outside was still red. Still gushing. Still crisscrossed with shadows that could be trees or could be murderous beasts out for the rest of his fingers.

But it was like… those banners were holding it all back. Holding back his hallucination.

“Whaaat is this,” he murmured, cautiously moving into the glade’s center.

Under the white-leaved, pink-flowered tree, a small plaque nestled between two roots. A bouquet lay gingerly beside it. Something made him feel it’d be rude not to hold his breath as he approached to read it, but before he could…

The glade’s silence was broken by the creaking of a tree branch.

Blinking out of a reverse-stupor, the teen turned around.

He wished he hadn’t.

Atop the thick branch he’d crossed under on his way into the glade crouched a dark, hulking form. Muscles rippled beneath its thick, matted fur, and as it turned its scarred face and its milky-white eyes locked with his, his blood ran cold. He felt numb.

It was a bear.

It was, to this particular young adult having an incredibly bad time, the bear.

[ANYWAY INSERT VIKTOR SHOOTS PACEM HERE]

That low noise, streaming out of his mouth, rocketed into a piercing scream of utter terror.

It echoed back to meet him. Birds scattered. He scrambled off his ass and bolted forward, crashing to the ground twice as he made the seemingly endless journey to the tiny, limp figure in the grass, but nothing could undo what he’d just done.

Nope. Nothing at all.

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Author Notes:

callow 18th Aug 2020, 10:37 PM edit delete
callow
im doin stuff ok