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Chapter 5: King

Leo and I vanished into the caverns between the mountains that loomed ahead of us. The sun shown bright through the crack between the two mountains giving us two looming shadows that captured the day’s bleak existence within its cold clutches of solitude. My boots were worn down rags that were placed upon my feet for warmth against the sinister chill. Icicles were peppered along the branches of the scarce population of trees and my fingers were beginning into icicles of their own. I pulled out my pistol and shot three bursts into the air and placed my fingers along the barrel for even an inkling of warmth. Leo was instantly alarmed unholstered his dagger and snared back at me. “Jesus Christ,” he mumbled. “Are you trying to get us killed?!” “I…um,” I started. “My hands were cold-” “I don’t give a damn about the weather being a little too brisk for your “illustrious” fingers!” “But why should you? What do we have to worry about?” “Orion…you don’t want to know how many answers that question has,” said Leo, with another glare of seriousness. He turned away to the snow once more, looking as if he saw his own future, staring through his soul in the frozen fractals of every snowflake that covered the bare wasteland. We trekked on, looking for any sign of humanity. My communicator started blurbing nonsense and I hurriedly pulled it out of my satchel. My numb fingers finally clasped around it tightly with hope flowing through my veins. “Hello?” I nervously asked. “Hello? This is Orion Bridger from Outlast-112, I am requesting a search party for my friend and myself,” “Wh…what-t-t…ar-r-r-r-r-r-e…co-o-o-o-o…rd…..nates…?” the communicator blabbed. I rummaged through my supplies until I found a beacon sender. I brushed some scurried snowflakes off of its screen. “28.5983° N, 83.9311° E!” I yelled as clearly as I could. The communicator went dead. “No,” I gasped. “No, no, no, no, NO!” I screamed as I threw the communicator on the ground and smashed it to bits. “Is this what we’re going to do? Just wander about in the Gravens until we freeze our asses off? When I became...

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Chapter 4: Exodus

We dragged the body to the entrance to our chamber of rock and I gave the “all clear” with my heat signature scope. I hurriedly pointed forward towards the aperture of the entire chasm. As quietly as we could, we hauled the Goblin’s corpse into the open. My breath shuddered and I shivered as I tried to hold in the utter fear I felt. Knowing that if you make even the slightest, wrong move, you would be dead in an instant, was very hard to handle. My face had turned pale and my stomach lurched like a brick bouncing on a trampoline, yet Leo’s expression had not altered since the moment he slew the Goblin. He stared straight forward into the barren mountains of the Voidlands, the sun beginning to perk above the towering alps. The once dark, blue sky had now been stained with the blood red paint of morning, streaking the sky like a paintbrush across its canvas. The wind had stopped and the snowfall had ceased, and the now the Voidlands almost pleasant. I would’ve thoroughly enjoyed the view if it weren’t for the fact that behind me lurked hundreds of skeleton-like creatures that if awake, would tear my eyes out their sockets and eat the tough flesh that surrounded my slowly, ever so slowly, decaying bones. “Ready?” Leo asked me seriously in a deep, hollow voice that was so unlike Leo. He had changed. “Sure.” I said, still thinking about what had changed Leo. “Alright, on three okay?” We stood one step outside the cave with the Goblin being carried by Leo and I. Our fate would be sealed once we performed this one simple task. I stood firm, but still looking back and forth towards the mountains and towards the Goblins that slumbered in the depths of the cave. “One…” Leo began. I shifted my footing. “Two…” I got a better grip on the Goblin’s legs so we could swing it out the door. “Three!” We heaved the Goblin outside the cave and the entire cave was filled with the echos of screeches and screams the second the Goblin’s corpse hit the snowy ground...

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Prologue

In the days of Dawning, there was only good in the world. In every way, humanity had expanded to new feats and triumphs. Tomorrow would be another day of purity and peace. And the day after would be just as grand. No war or industrial havoc would be ensued upon the world. Our society grew ever more advanced- not in technology- but in developing new ways to live in harmony with nature. All of humanity changed from being destroyers of reality, to creators of new doorways to a better civilization, a better future. Humans walked among the earth, the grass grew from the soil, and the stars stayed luminous in the cosmos. That was how it was and how it should have stayed, but our perfect world began to rust, and the days of tyranny came into existence, and our dhad come back to haunt us. Our world was thrown into a corrupted society, driven by only greed, wealth, and power. We tore up our beautiful world to shreds to build machines for our own destruction and to vanquish the remaining light of our golden age. A group known as the Sentinels took complete power over us and our way of life. They thought they had harnessed the true meaning of power through dominance and strength, but all it brought for them was hate and pain from others. Rebellions and protests took place but were quickly rejected as the sounds of gunfire echoed in the streets and the smell of smoke blazed in the sky. As the Sentinels swept the land with blood, we grew farther and farther from our days of prosperance. Soon, our numbers were too small to carry on. We lost the battle for our survival, and all was lost to the shadows that still roam the earth. However, those who survived carried out the legacy to protect the idea of a better world. We became refugees, building outposts to defend the areas where the scars of tyranny have left untouched. Even though the dystopia that we now live in will never be truly healed, our hearts remain loyal to what used to be good in...

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Chapter 1: Gryphon and Ash

At the dawn of time, all things were created, as well as the Oak. The Oak is the realm of all birds that have passed on from one world to the other, in other words, it is both the light and the darkness in the history of birds. It is the world in between that keeps all others in balance. Without it, life would become bitter and cold like ice. Happiness and remorse would be gone, then anger and revenge would replace. This safe haven was created as a boundary from anger and destruction. The land beyond The Oak is said to be the portal into true enlightenment. Many have ventured to the other side of the great tree to see what is beyond the mighty wall of oakwood. Others have said The Oak has no bounds of enormity, and others say that it is the gateway to another chance on earth complete the tasks that were not accomplished in their small lives. The species of birds that live among in The Oak are infinite. They need no food, for the time for eating was only among the land of earth, not here in the paradise of The Oak. In fact, they’ve quite forgotten what food was. Water however is limitless. Everyone gets their fair share and the great creeks that run through every tunnel are enormous. However, they did know all the emotions: happiness, anger, annoyance, quizzicality, sadness, disgust, and fear. If The Oak was just a land of                       loo-loo-la-la, where would the fun be in the afterlife.   From one of the great tunnels fluttered in a small red-throated hummingbird named Gryphon Lightwing. He settled down to a nearby creek and sipped the succulent water with his thin beak. He heard a twig snap in the distance. He cocked his head in the distance and squinted his eyes. All that was there was complete darkness. The glint of eyes shimmered in the reflection of nearby fireflies. Before he knew, he felt a hard punch in his stomach and he found himself pinned to the ground by...

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