Tusk

Tusk

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Fantasy

Houses:

Summary

Tam is a Tatitan who lives disguised amongst humans on the great mainland. This is an issue because humans and Tatitans were enemies throughout the species war, killing each other over land and power. In fact, the humans emerged victorious over many of the other species: Tatitans, a fierce forest tribe with the power to transform; the Grebreds, intelligent and crafty creatures who were forced to the islands, but not without taking thousands of humans as POWs first; and Fray, a term for thousands of species from similar bloodlines who remained neutral through the war, but still were a casualty of it, loosing most of their land over the years.

Tam was separated from her tribe as a child, and has since found refuge disguising herself as a human over the years. One day, she hopes to find the courage to take the long trek across the mainland back to the Tatitan forests where she belongs. But fate gives her a push out the door once strange human-like creatures ravage across the human mainland, killing at random. Revealing a controversy that risks the peace that held the species together for so long.
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Summary

Tam is a Tatitan who lives disguised amongst humans on the great mainland. This is an issue because humans and Tatitans were enemies throughout the species war, killing each other over land and power. In fact, the humans emerged victorious over many of the other species: Tatitans, a fierce forest tribe with the power to transform; the Grebreds, intelligent and crafty creatures who were forced to the islands, but not without taking thousands of humans as POWs first; and Fray, a term for thousands of species from similar bloodlines who remained neutral through the war, but still were a casualty of it, loosing most of their land over the years.

Tam was separated from her tribe as a child, and has since found refuge disguising herself as a human over the years. One day, she hopes to find the courage to take the long trek across the mainland back to the Tatitan forests where she belongs. But fate gives her a push out the door once strange human-like creatures ravage across the human mainland, killing at random. Revealing a controversy that risks the peace that held the species together for so long.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 1

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: May 26, 2017

Reads: 50

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: May 26, 2017

A A A

A A A

A rumbling sound like thunder rolls down the village streets of Espal and startles Tam as she tends to her garden. Well, really Miss Molly’s garden, but since Mollys been ill, Tam has been trying her best to maintain the awarding-winning floral display. She gets up, brushes the dirt off her apron, and scurries to the front of the house toward the dirt street that runs straight through the middle of the village.

She sees two carriages, being pulled by massive horses, rush by till they come to a screeching halt halfway through, kicking-up clouds of dust behind them. Tam’s not the only one curious as to why there needed to be such a loud disturbance, as the other villagers come out to see what the commotion is about. With it being such a quiet town not used to this level of excitement, everyone is sheepish to approach.

Because the travelers are heading north, she imagines they’re coming from the providence of Adwell since the border sits just south of the village of Espal. They usually don’t have carriages pass through from there, so everyone takes notice and people start to gather in the streets.

Men quickly jump out demanding to speak to their village leader about something urgent. Tam can’t tell if the men are angry or scared about something. She suddenly hears a voice speak out from behind her.

“What’s going on?”

She jumps for the second time this day and turns to see Miss Molly peeking out the front door. The poor, sick woman is holding onto the door to keep herself stable.

“Oh nothing Miss Molly.” Tam squeaks as she flings her hand in front of herself. “Just some hooligans in a rush. And you shouldn’t get out of bed yourself. Remember how you fell last time?”

Tam puts her arm under Miss Molly’s and closes the door behind them, condemning the outside chatter and banter to a low murmur. “You should really use your crutch if you must get up without me.” Tam presses.

“Oh I’m not old enough to have that stupid stick take me for a walk, stop trying to age me so fast dear.”

Tam rolls her eyes and smiles as she guides Miss Molly through the colorful cottage they live in, with knitted rugs not only decorating the floor, but also the walls and ceilings. Potted plants from her garden are sitting and hanging in every corner. As they make their way to the back of the house, the floors and doors creek and groan with every movement.

Tam has lived here for her adolescence with Miss Molly, but no one with sight believes they could be related.

While Miss Molly’s short with a thin frame, dark skin, rounded features, and thick, curly white hair; Tam is tall for a woman around these parts with a curvaceous frame and long, smooth black hair that she keeps in a bun. Her thin brows narrow at an angle toward her brown eyes, and her long cheeks lead to her thin, red lips.

Her body and mind are matured to be around the age of 19 or so, but her real age sits at only twelve years. She hates admitting this to people she meets because once she does, they all give her the same frightened, and uncomfortable look.

To go back and explain, Tam was the last exciting thing that happened to Espal when she arrived four years ago. She appeared as a lost girl, crying, and begging for help, and pounding door to door until Miss Molly opened up and took her in.

 Because she was so frightened, she didn’t try to hide her strange accent as she spoke, revealing she wasn’t raised nearby, nor even raised by humans!

She’s a Tatitan, part of a morphing species that currently resides in a forest of the northern providence of Suda, the first of the three human providences.

They were shocked and wondering what a Tatitan would be doing here this far south, and being alone on top of it; as Tatitans are certainly not the lone ranger type.

 She could only explain to them that her father sent her and her brother, Tobey, on a trek south through the mountains of Suda and through the second providence of Buvor with other fellow clan members. But halfway through Buvor, she was awoken to violence between the Tatitans so she and her brother ran away, only to be separated from each other in the darkness of the forests. She traveled far on her own until she reached Espal where she collapsed.

She’s in a different form from the one she was born in because Tatitans can learn to transform their bodies into anything; their cells can change their DNA and function on command, but it’s a hard skill to master. After the humans won the Species War a century ago, Tatitan children were taught to take on a human form to blend in and avoid persecution.

When she explained her story, the elders in Espal were disturbed by the news of Tatitans traveling south, disguised as humans. Tatitans are infamous for their aggressive and territorial nature, so the thought of them leaving their homeland is bizarre and worrying.

But Miss Molly convinced the elders that she would take the Tatitan child in and see if she would be any sort of threat, and with the hope that if she is kept safe, they would not be attacked if any of them came searching for the child.  

Tam dreams every night of returning home and leaving these humans she was taught since birth to despise and fear, but Miss Molly is different, she’s been nothing but kind and compassionate toward her.

 “Can you bring me my water on the dresser dear?”

“Oh… of course.” Tam hands her the water and watches as she weakly drinks it with a shaky hand.

For a few years now, Molly has been sick on and off with a strange disease that comes and goes. It leaves her wracked with pain for months on end. No doctor around these parts can help. A neighbor advised Molly to consider the new hospitals opened in northern Buvor that the famous and wealthy Blair family owns, but Miss Molly always says it’s not worth the trouble.

So since then, Tam solely tends to the garden, and chores like cooking, which she is miles away from being good at, but hey, at least Miss Molly has lost most of her appetite.

“I sure as hell would like to know what all the excitement is about.” says Molly, “I think you should go see what they’re all yelling about.” She bats her eyes and Tam holds in a deep breath, she doesn’t particularly like being in crowds of people.

“Um yeah, ok. I’ll find out. It sureee is weird.” She fidgets with the damn front door that’s always jammed, yanks it open, and thrusts her head out to see the crowd has moved outside the courthouse where a small, pathetic group of old men who call themselves the village elders gather to make the big decisions for the town.

Trying not to be a bother, she pushes her way through the crowd until she sees her neighbor Barry who lives across from them. “What’s happening?” She asks. He looks at her for a second, then looks away and keeps trying to push people away from the entrance. She taps him on the shoulder, not sure if he herd her.

“Nothing is happening.” He snaps. She awkwardly nods her head and moves back. She sees a group of teenage girls standing off to the side, whispering to each other’s faces. She knows them from classes in the village and it seems they haven’t grown out of their gossip circle.

“Hey Liza,”

“Oh hey Tam, long time no see.” She just saw them yesterday though. “You would have thought this was a party out here.” Liza says.

She was one of the kindest peers Tam had. Tam aged twice as fast as them, but Liza would still always talk to her. She has light features with blonde hair and a small face. Her most notable feature is prominent ears that stick out from her hair and her high-pitched voice that makes her appear gentle and unintimidating, so Tam likes her.

“What did those guys say? Did you hear?” Tam asks her, but another one of Liza’s friends, Klea, butts in.

“They were going on about some possible prison breakout way down south. Saying their towns got attacked by things moving north.” Klea says.

“Wha…?”

“The elders don’t believe them, but who knows, maybe there really is a big, secret prison and some killers are on the hunt or something like that. Liza says before another girl speaks up,

“It’s just be a mean prank. These guys have no proof. You really think Adwell could be hiding some sort of massive, dangerous prison?” the girl says. Tam’s mind starts racing and she hears a booming voice behind her.

“You want us to bring a damn body for proof?! Of which one? A slaughtered farmer or one of the creatures?! Which one of those would help you with your proof?!” She sees the men from the carriages stomp out of the courthouse while yelling at people behind them. “We are getting the hell out of here and heading north. If you want to stay here and find out for yourselves then be my guest!” They jump in the carriages where Tam can see some women and children in the back, huddling together.

Everyone’s talking at once, some sound concerned, and others skeptical. Some even indifferent, walking back to their houses, while others seem to already be packing.

The head elder with the horrible comb over comes out and calls everyone’s attention.

“No need to panic anyone. We are going to send a few of our men south to a nearby, trusted village and see if there is any concern. We will all stay on full alert and if anything comes our way, we will be prepared. No need to panic and leave like the madmen we just saw. Just return to your houses and keep an eye on your children and property.”

“What do we do if this really is happening?” Tam asks the group of girls. “Are we just gonna fight them off?”

“Who knows, this shit is creeping me out, I’m just gonna go inside.” Liza says. Klea suddenly seems fidgety.

“My parents went out hunting today! Oh god. What if they are killed?!” She gasps.

“Calm down.” Liza says. “They’ll be back soon. Nothing’s happening now, if anything is even gonna happen.”

Tam quickly hurries back inside and makes sure to lock the door behind her before she heads to Miss Molly’s room.

“Oh Tam. It’s quiet now.” Miss Molly smiles at Tam from her bed.

“Um yes, the southern men left. They were talking about some sort of prison break I guess. Their town was attacked so they are moving north.”

“Oh my. What prison was that?”

“I dunno. It must be a big one. But I don’t know of any prisons that large in the south. Do you?” Tam sits at the side of Miss Molly’s bed.

“No, no. I can’t name any. How strange. Well I hope they round those scoundrels up soon.

“Yeah, the elder didn’t seem too concerned about it. He said they were putting the town on watch.”

“Very well. They always make a big fuss over anything that happens. Lying to themselves that their lives are interesting. Anyways, did you finish weeding the carrots?”

“Oh shoot.” Tam slaps herself on her forehead. She sees it’s about two hours till twilight. “I’ll go finish those now.” She hurries off but Miss Molly calls her back in.

“I’ll mayke my grandmother’s garden salad tonight. Just bring the supplies here.”

“Oh no Miss Molly. I promised I would make dinner tonight. I just got lost on time. I’ll finish it all in time.”

“It’s fine dear. I want to do it. I’m tired of sleeping.”

“Alright.” Tam says as she rushes to the kitchen, hurrying to grab everything. She loses her grip on a pan and it smashes into the floor with and echoing boom and it radiates as it spins on the ground.

The sound pierces Tam’s head and she squeezes her eyes shut and stomps as hard as she can on it to bring it to a halt. She can hear her heart in her head and feels anxiety’s grip in her chest. She’s too worked up today with all this commotion. She takes a deep breath and puts the pan in the sink.

“Is everything alright?” She hears Miss Molly from across the cottage.

“Yes, yes. Just dropped a pan.” She grabs another one and brings it to Molly before she finally heads back out to the garden.

 

Tam wakes up at midnight to loud voices outside her window. She can’t tell what they are saying from her bed, and dreads getting up to close the window since there’s such a nice breeze coming in on this summer night.

She throws the covers off herself and gets out of bed with a grunt. She can’t see anyone outside her window, but she hears voices and weeping coming from the road.

She tip-toes to the front room windows and sees Klea outside crying and holding onto others as they try to comfort her. Are her parents still not back? Tam wonders. She looks towards the end of the road and sees men with torches lighting up the southern end of the village, about 5 of them, each with a sword. They probably have a search party out for her parents. They got lost or something. Tam assures herself. The forest can be dangerous, easy to get turned around in.

 But, this area is full of humans so it’s usually more safe than not. Not like there are a lot of Fray around the area since the Species War ended. The humans pushed them out of Buvor for the most part and populated the area so attacks on people from the Fray is very rare.

 The Fray is a general term for all types of species that are more sophisticated than animals (supposedly) and share similar genetic histories. There are hundreds of types of Fray on the planet ranging from being as small as an insect, to as large as houses.  

Tam hates it when people call Tatitans Fray because they aren’t related to those annoying creatures in the least.

She remembers dealing with lots of Fray who live in Suda: living in the forests, the mountains, the beaches, like they have since the start of time.

While Suda is claimed to be a human providence, only the castletown and a couple of cities are inhabited by humans. But these people live independent of the other two providences since Suda has a king while the south has none. Buvor and Adwell has towns and cities that are separate and shaky, but they have a mercenary army and double the land with triple the population compared to the first providence north of the mountains.

She heard the Suda king is too proud to fully create an alliance with Buvor and Adwell because he sees them all as mutineers after they abandoned Suda during the Species war to cultivate cities in the south for safety. People that remined in Suda were left to fight the species that lived there, the Fray, Tatitans, and Grebreds, by themselves.

Tam reads the news about Suda in the paper, but she never agrees with it. It is all in a human point of view and as a Tatian, she knows the truth.

The mainland was inhabited by Frays, Grebreds, and Tatitans long before the humans, but people act like they always owned this land. The rulers of the mainland used to be one of the most powerful species simply called Guards. They would individually oversee a species of their choosing and rule together in peace. But, according to legend, a Guard broke the rules and introduced a new species of their own they found, humans. This created a civil war between Guards which destroyed them, and hurled the mainland in chaos.

 Humans and Grebreds, both with lust for land and control, started the Species War shortly after the Guard War and the Tatitans fought alongside the Grebreds for years. Eventually, the Grebreds abandoned the Tatitans and Fray by escaping to the islands east of the mainland and taking hundreds of humans with them as hostages. It’s been a century since there’s been communication between the mainland and its islands, so no one ever was certain who won that war.

But what’s for sure is that from that war, the Tatians and Fray were mercilessly stomped down into the ground and forced to live out of sight and out of mind in the new, human providences.

So, because of all that, Tam can’t help but feel if the girl’s parents did get attacked by Frays or whatever, that in a way, most of these humans deserve it.

She rolls her eyes and heads back to her room and plugs her ears, hoping everything is figured out by morning and the stress of tonight will be left behind with tonight.

 

“Tam. Tam. Wake up. What’s going on?”

Tam peaks opens her eyes. First, she sees light coming from the window blinding her, then, a figure movies into the light and she sees Miss Molly in front of her. Molly puts her hand on Tam’s shoulder and shakes her lightly.

“What? I’m up, I’m up.” Tam sits up seeing the worried look in Miss Molly’s eyes. “What?” Tam repeats. Molly pulls open the window and Tam hears frantic screaming and crying coming from outside.

She jumps up and they head for the front room window where they see lots of people out in the streets. She sees the lumberjack, Buro, running past them with a hammer in his hand, it looks like he’s looking for something.

“Buro! What’s going on?” Miss Molly calls to him. He stops and leans up close to their window. He smells like sweat and his crazy eyebrows are all puffed up. He always looks intimidating and greasy, but upon closer inspection, you can see the softness and honor in his eyes.

“Don’t leave the house whatever you do. Lock the doors and keep your eyes peeled because someone’s been breaking into houses, but we’ll find the bastard.” He says quickly before he runs off.

“What in the- who’s breaking into the houses? Is it those prisoners?” Molly says, tugging on Tam’s shirt.

“I don’t know.” Tam pulls away and sticks her head further out the window. “It might not even be that, could just be some thieves.” She says.

“This town has nothing of value. What would any thief want from us?” Tam ignores Miss Molly as she looks down the street and sees Liza waving her arms in front of her house and screaming for help. “Is someone yelling for help?” Molly tugs on her shirt again. Tam spins around and grabs Molly’s shoulders.

“I don’t know. You need to get to get back to your room. They told us to stay inside.”

“What are we gonna do? Just sit here?” says Molly.

“I’ll get the sword and stay in front of your room.” Tam starts helping Molly to her room.

“This is ridiculous.” Molly murmurs. Tam locks the door behind her and hurries to the fireplace in the front room and grabs Molly’s father’s sword from the display. She used to learn how to fight, but ever since being in this village, she’s been horribly out of practice.

She feels bad she left Molly in her room alone right now so she hurries back, but as she passes the kitchen, she hears a loud boom and the radiating sound of metal spinning until it slowly comes to a halt. She looks to see a pan has fallen on the kitchen floor and feels her heart thumping. She hates that noise.

She steps into the kitchen and in the corner of her eye, she sees a figure. She snaps her head up and freezes. She sees what looks like a man, a giant man. At first it looks human but at second glance she doesn’t know what it is.

It’s as tall as the doorway and has grey skin that helps announce the large, red scar that goes down the middle of its face. Appearing as if it’s the only thing keeping its face together.

She doesn’t have much time to look more as it suddenly grunts and moves towards her with a large step. Her brain screams at her to move back but her legs are stone so she can only stare at it. She suddenly sees it raise its arm above its head so she instinctively puts the sword up in front of her face.

As it’s fists come down on her, she feels a sharp sting and harsh thud thrust her head back, smashing her own sword into her face.

The blade breaks her nose as it comes down on her from the flat side. She knows, she heard the crunch.

 She feels herself crash onto the floor, back first, and her spine shakes as it catches her fall. She scoops up the sword and points it at the creature who just grabs the sword, on the blade, and yanks it out of her hands.

She stares in awe as it bends the sword like a blade of grass and blood flows down its arms from the cuts on its hands.

“Tam!?” She hears Miss Molly calling from her room. “What are you doing out there?” Tam in her stupor calls out.

“Uh don’t come out!” She gets on all fours and squeezes past the intruder until she has momentum enough to stand up and starts running down the hall at full speed to Molly’s room. She slams into the wall between their bedrooms at the end of the hallway and looks behind her to see the massive figure shaking the hallway as it stomps down the hall after her.

Miss Molly again calls out for Tam, but she has no time to answer as she scurries to her bedroom door, her back pressed against it and pulls her legs in as the creature crashes into the wall right in front of her.

She feels the boom as the wall takes damage and shakes the house. The roof starting to sag above them. As the dust clears, she peaks open her eyes and sees the creature stand up straight and shake off the impact. It turns toward her and she sees it has blood all over its chest, dripping down its body. She wonders if this is the last thing she will see.

 She opens her mouth to scream, but nothing comes out. It picks her up by her shoulders and slams her against her bedroom door. She feels sharp pain in her back as it pulls her forward and smashes her into the door again. All she can do is try to keep her head forward so it doesn’t take much impact. It pulls her forward again and slams her into the door again, and again, and again, until the door swings open and she flies into her room and crashes to the floor on her back.

 She feels numb. She feels the blood leave her face as she prays that her back isn’t broken. She just can’t seem to feel anything right now.

Suddenly, she hears Miss Molly scream. Tam shoots open her eyes and sits up faster than her sore back should allow her as she sees the dust across the hallway settle as the creature kicks through Molly’s door and enters.

She scurries to crawl across the hallway and looks through the hole in Miss Molly’s door to see her pressed against the wall with her arms in front of her. The terrified look on her face as it moves closer to her, knocking furniture to the ground in its path. It grabs Molly by the top of her skull and throws her on the bed. She can hear Molly pleading. “Oh please no, oh please no.” She sees the creatures arm fly up above Molly and Tam finally finds that scream within her as it tears through her body and exits her mouth.

“NOOOO!” But the scream does nothing as it’s fist strikes Molly’s head mercilessly over and over.

Bam, bam, bam, bam. Tam sees the blood splatter across the room and bed as Molly’s face gets pounded in. She can hear her gurgling for breath between the skull crushing strikes. Soon, it just looks like the creature is just hitting a punching bag as the unresponsive body bounces between the bed and its fist.

The creature finally stops and stands up straight and cracks its neck to the side. It turns and sees her looking through the door. She just stares at it, it has blood running down its face, dripping off its chin. She feels a fury rumble inside her and she sees red as she grabs a broken potted plant that fell off the walls and hurls it at the creature. It hits it, but just bounces off onto the ground.

It starts running toward her and smashes the rest of the door down on its way out. Tam backs up against the wall as fast as she can. She feels the fury in her dissipate as fear takes over again. It picks her up by her neck. The pressure in her neck makes her feel like her head is gonna pop off her body. She goes to take a breath in but nothing passes through her throat. Its hand won’t let anything pass. She sees it crack a smile on its ugly, scarred face. Then she feels pressure in her eyeballs, as if they are bulging out, and her eyesight starts to turn dark around the edges.

She starts to feel the fury build up again, and her mind goes to her instincts. She feels herself slip through its hand and she falls to its feet. She’s shocked at first, she hasn’t used her powers to morph in long time.

She can see the creature is shocked too as it steps back and looks at her. Dumbfounded as to why the girl turned shrunk and slipped between its fingers.

She crawls backwards away from it before she turns and sprints down the hallway as fast as she can. She hears the boom of footsteps behind her, which only makes her run faster.

She knows she always fumbles with that damn door handle, so this time she uses her foot instead and kicks open the front door and practically leaps to the road. She stops in her tracks as she sees half of the village is now on fire.

The smoke burns her throat and through it, she sees bodies of fellow villagers crawling along the road and crumpled up on the ground; Their blood flowing down the road into the grass. She pauses, not knowing which way to go, she can’t tell which way is north or south anymore. She just becomes engulfed in the dizzying ringing of her ears, and the thumping of her heart in her chest. Her mind is drawing a blank and the second she spends standing still in the road of the burning village, feels like an eternity.

“Tam! Tam! Over here!” She quickly turns to her name and sees a carriage down the road. Through the smoke, she can’t see who’s calling her, but that doesn’t cause her to hesitate. She runs toward the carriage.

Her sight is tunnel vision, all she sees is arms sticking out from the back of the carriage as she grabs onto them and jumps in. She then almost falls back out from the thrust as the carriage takes off, racing down the road.

She steadies herself and looks behind her, seeing that large figure of the creature standing in the middle of the street. As the carriage sprints away and the figure is lost in the smoke, she squeezes her eyes shut as hard as she can. All she can think about is how much she wants to be home, to be where it is always home, and she will keep it that way. 


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