[M][Story] Fall of the Emprise - Chapter 1 (2013/10/31)

Started by ChaosMageX, October 31, 2013, 02:46:01 PM

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WARNING: This story contains strong language and violence, vivid descriptions of gore, adult situations, and sexual innuendo.  Reader discretion is advised.

In honor of Halloween, this is my attempt at a horror story, centered around an idea that has already gotten great reviews from my editors:
"I think it's a really awesome idea. I'm appalled that I didn't think of it myself."
"Whoa, that's a good story!"

The idea itself will be revealed as the story progresses, although it might become obvious to some early on, and I ask those who realize it not to spoil it for other readers, as part of the fun of a horror story is its shock factor.
However, I will hint that this story is also intended to be a satire of certain things from other stories, including the main comic itself.  Of course, I do welcome criticism and other comments on the story.
With that being said, and without further ado, I shall begin telling this tale.  Read on, enjoy, and have a happy Halloween!

Chapter 1 - Sanguinely Saccharine

Icon by Sunblink


Fall of the Emprise - Chapter 1 - Sanguinely Saccharine

Leaves on the trees were just starting to turn colors, from their usual bright greens to a multitude of lurid shades tinting their outer edges, signaling that colder times were soon on the way.  Changes were in the air, breezing gently through to rustle this expanding palette of colors on the branches of the many trees of a forest on the outskirts of a small village.  The cooling wind flowed between the trunks, in and out of the branches, dislodging the various nuts and seeds that they bore in the hopes of further expanding their domain and reclaiming the area that had been taken from them.  Rotting stumps of various sizes dotted the boundary between nature and civilization like a festering wound, the yellowing grass in between them rippling as the chilling gust leaped over the arboreal corpses and into the gathering of buildings constructed from their lumber.

The sounds of laughter soon broke this cooling calm, the smooth whistling note of the wind shattered by cacophony of hysterical shrieks and shouts that cut through the cold air like a heated blade.  Screams of excitement and giggles of delight rang out amongst the outcropping of buildings, their infectious nature bringing a smirk to almost everyone that heard it.  Ah, what glorious sounds, the sweet and innocent sounds of children at play in the streets and alleys crisscrossing the structures erected as homes and businesses.  The kind of joy that can only come from the wonder of youth, a joy that took many forms, manifested through many different games and other pleasurable activities.  This joy only seemed to increase as the cooling breeze rustled through their hair, tickled their fur, and playfully nipped at the tips of their muzzles.

These joyous noises reverberated back out towards the woods, echoing off of the trees and bouncing between the branches before fading away, almost as if the children themselves were playing in and amongst the nature itself, at least in spirit, if not more.  This raucous clatter was received less positively by the lower lifeforms lurking within its haven, many hard at work gathering the consumables that the passing motion of air had just knocked from the trees that bore them.  The shrill shouts shoot their senses, if only for a moment, prompting each to give at least a passing glance back towards the strange alien shapes from which they arose before returning back to their task of preparing for the oncoming cold times.

Amongst these animals was a simple squirrel, scampering along the ground, running from the base of one tree to another, stopping whenever it spotted something it thought was edible, sometimes picking its find up and packing it away, and sometimes moving on, but always running back to the same tree.  Never straying too far from that tree, each trek ended with the bushy tailed rodent rapidly climbing up the bark of its trunk or the trunk of one of its closest neighbors, and then scurrying over branches and leaping divides to reach the crude amalgamation of twigs, grass, leaves, and other materials that was its resting place.

Its latest trek was by far the most peaceful, the annoying noises from the strange outcropping outside of its home environment had ceased for the moment, a silence befalling the forest as even the wind seemed to take a brief reprieve.  The deadening absence of sound soon spread throughout the entirety of the squirrel's foraging domain, broken only by the sounds of its own movement through the forest terrain, along with those made by other animals that encroached within its range of hearing.  It stopped just short of a rather appetizing acorn, carefully inspecting the nut's quality as its tail twitched back and forth.  Everything else had temporarily faded from the rodent's limited perception, its senses focused on judging the potential hoard item that lay before it, unaware of anything else around it at the moment.  It stood there, taking its time, its head shifting to examine the seed from all angles.  Its decision made, it reached for its prize...

And just then a harsh gust of wind blew right past its back, a foreboding whoosh that only it could hear as something moved right past its back, the back draft rippling the squirrel's back fur as the object passed within a centimeter of its spine.  The icy chill lingered, much colder and more menacing than even the coldest of the nights the rodent was preparing for, the chill only a predator could instill.  Its life much more precious than its plump nut before it, the squirrel flipped about and made a mad dash towards its safe haven, running as fast as it could towards the nearest tree trunk, bounding over any obstacle in its path, rustling the blades of grass it parted along the way.  It bounded up the bark, furiously scraping and clawing its way up, and finally stopping once it had reached a presumably safe height.  Flattening its body along the side of the tree, tightly gripping at the bark, even its tail wrapped around the tree's circumference, it surveyed its surroundings while its little heart fluttered even faster than usual as its body grew still in an attempt at camouflage.

Another whoosh and a loud thumping noise snapped it out of its frozen state of fear as the bark of the tree exploded just centimeters from its little body, shards of wood skin flying from an area where a very straight branch with strangely colored leaves at the end now protruded from the tree.  Wasting no time, it continued its made dash for its home, racing up the rest of the trunk and across the branches, furiously shaking them as it made its haphazard navigation.  Leaves, nuts, twigs, and much more were freed from their branches as the squirrel darted back and forth between them in its panicked run, searching frantically for its home as the tense seconds stretched onward.  Several more sharp gusts of wind and flashes of bright colors came perilously close to its fragile little body, one whizzing by right in front of its face.

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of tribulation, the squirrel finally spotted its sanctuary, nestled safely between several large and tangled branches, where even airborne predators couldn't easily reach, and stocked with its growing winter supply of food.  Safe haven spotted at last, it was just a matter of making one last run for it.  The arboreal rodent darted, running faster and faster, its scurrying resounding off the shaking branches and alerting other animals in the vicinity.  It was almost there, almost to safety, leaping over the final gaps between the branch it was on and the one leading to its nest.  Just a little closer, a little further, closing the gap, and then...

It had made it inside, it had made it to safety, coming to an abrupt halt as it practically crashed into its stockpile of food, its entire home rattling for a moment.  It didn't have to run anymore, and it could finally wait out whatever predator was seeking to consume it.  Safe and sound, nestled in the near darkness of its nest, silence once again surrounding its area of perception, it cowered within its tiny little world, waiting and listening for the danger to pass, but all it heard was the wind.

And then, its world shattered, as the wind intensified into a loud roaring gust that entered through its portal of escape from the outside, and then entered the squirrel itself.  The closest wall gave way, twigs and leaves rustling almost in slow motion as the interior of the once secure nest flooded with light that sparkled off the rodent's blood.  Bones crunched and organs ruptured as sharp tip of the flying twig bore through the squirrel's body, its blood seeping from the entry wound as it wheezed and collapsed.  Complex memories, feelings, and emotions were void from the dying moments of the non-sentient animal, unable to feel much more than pain and its life slipping away, and a tight yet small grip around its now limp tail, dragging it out of what was left of its home.

Forcibly flipped over, the squirrel's vision finally met with that of its predator, the animal that would surely devour it, an animal that was certainly unexpected.  The face that stared it down with a wicked, almost monstrous grin was the face of a forest dwelling animal, but it was not the face of a bird of prey, or a wolf, or a fox, or any other conventional predator.  Instead it was the face of one of the last animals one would expect to prey on other animals of the forest.  The last face the squirrel would ever see was the face of a mule deer.

This wasn't an ordinary deer face, but one with eyes that blazed with intelligence and an expression that portrayed sentience, along with the malicious intent of the predator that bore it.  Any predator of the forest would have mercifully ended it right then and there by beginning to devour their catch, but this humanoid deer wasn't satisfied just yet, and could obviously tell that his prey was still alive, and still capable of feeling pain.  The cervine grabbed at the end shaft of the arrow embedded in the squirrel's body, and gave it a hard twist, while also driving it deeper down into its flesh.  Blood spurted from the dying rodent's wound as its pain intensified, causing it to wheeze harder.  The predator's grin brightened as his large ears twitched at the sound, his eyes widening with excitement.  He applied even more pressure to the arrow, stabbing the squirrel deeper and almost pushing the arrow's point out the other side of its body, as well twisted it some more at the same time.  He then pulled it halfway out, re-angled it, and drove it back down into the squirrel, twisting it along with way, and causing more pain.  The dying squirrel struggled, its tiny limbs flawing in a futile attempt to get free, and it screeched in pain, weakly at first, then loudly.  This blood curdling scream of agony seemed to be exactly what the deer wanted, as he began to giggle.  He sped up his thrusts and twists of the arrowhead, sometimes even taking it out and stabbing the squirrel again in a different spot, almost as if experimenting to see just how much he could make that animal scream and suffer before it finally died.

And scream it did, its horrifying squeals of agony just loud enough to reach the adjacent trees and frighten any animals that hadn't already retreated from this predator's approach.  The rodent's pained cries reverberated around the forest and echoed off the trunks of trees, which seemed to please the deer even more.  The squirrel's squeaks of suffering were not sufficiently loud enough to reach to neighboring village, where the children that had been playing outside were just finishing with a quick snack break catered by one of the adults supervising them.  The first few to finish up had started a game of tag, and the others were starting to join in, all of them blissfully unaware of what was going on in the adjacent forest.  The only one who was even looking towards the forest was another one of their supervising adults.

The cervine's hand and arrow were now splattered with blood, after having punctured his victim several times, a victim in its last agonizing death throws, convulsing instead of struggling to escape.  It gurgled out the last of its screams along with blood from its mouth, which faded into its final wheezing breathes.  As the squirrel's vision started to fade, it could still hear the excited giggles of its predator, giggles that started to transition into thrilled laughter.  And just then, another sound came rolling over the decaying remains of dead trees, a sound that had interrupted the squirrel's foraging before, a sound of a child's laughter, a sound that seemed to matched the sound its predator was making, and the last sound it would ever hear.


"Actaeon! Actaeon!  Where are you?!"  The female sheep schoolteacher called out in annoyance for her student that had wandered off during recess.  Her expression was in a transition between amusement and anger, but there was a tiny tinge of worry starting to show in her eyes.

She took another breathe and prepared to call out in the direction of the forest again when suddenly a five year old mule deer Being came bounding over the tree stumps between the village and the forest. Arrows rattled in the quiver on his back and his training bow bounced around on his shoulder as he jumped onto and off of the stumps, all while holding something behind his back.  He stopped about a meter away from her and leaned forward while trying to catch his breathe.

"I...I'm sorry...I'm late...Mrs. Grettleberg...I had...to collect...my arrows..."

The schoolteacher sighed with relief and a little bit of disappointment before started to scold the young cervine.  "Actaeon, you know you're not supposed to wander off during recess, especially not into the forest.  There are bad things in there that could hurt you.  Besides, you missed snack time and now you'll have to go hungry until dinner."

It was then that Actaeon stood up straight up and looked up at his teacher with a very excited grin, and chuckled while revealing what he had hidden behind his back: a horribly mutilated squirrel corpse that had several arrow puncture wounds in it.

"Nope, because I have my snack right here!  I finally did it!  I managed to hunt and kill something without my daddy's help!"  he proclaimed proudly while bouncing up and down, which almost caused the squirrel carcass he was holding to fall apart.

The sight of this disgustingly mangled corpse brought a small smile to Mrs. Grettleberg's face, but she still remained rather serious.  "Oh, Actaeon, that's great, but you shouldn't have gone wandering off, especially not into the forest.  Besides, if you wanted a live target, I could have gotten you a chicken to shoot."

"Ahhh, but I didn't even go into the forest!  I just shot from the edge of it.  And I don't wanna kill chickens no more.  Killing this squirrel was more funner!"

The teacher sighed at her exasperated student before continuing to lecture him.  "You mean 'more fun', Actaeon, and you're still in trouble for wandering off without my permission.  Now, please put down..."

It was then that some of the other students came running out of the schoolhouse excitedly and began clamoring around Actaeon for a chance to look at his kill, which he was still holding by the tail in his hand that was splattered with its caked on blood.

"Oh wow, Actaeon, you killed that squirrel all by yourself?!"
"Woah, Actaeon, that's so cool!"
"I wanna see!  I WANNA SEE!!  Lemme see, lemme see, LEMME SEE!!!"
"Cool, can I touch it?!"
"My dad won't even let me practice shooting arrows."
"I wanna look at it too!"

The group excitement of the students was suddenly broken by the sound of the teacher's whistle. "Okay, that's enough children!  Put down the squirrel and get away from it!  It's not safe to eat or even touch.  Y'all need to wash up, especially you Actaeon."

Actaeon's classmates expressed their mutual disappointment and complaints, but eventually complied with their teacher and began filing back into the schoolhouse, except for Actaeon himself, who stubbornly refused to even let go of his kill, let alone go inside and get washed up.  He stood there pouting at Mrs. Grettleberg, who was giving him a rather stern look right back.

"Actaeon, I'm going to give you until the count of three to let go of that dead squirrel and start heading inside to wash up.  One... Two..."

Before the sheep even got to three, the fawn had already started to turn around and make a run for it.  His teacher attempted to give chase, but Actaeon was actually faster than her.  Unfortunately, as he started to bound over the tree stumps once again, the squirrel corpse in his grip had finally reached the breaking point and split in half, the upper torso flopping to land behind one of the stumps.  The young cervine gasped and turned around to try to gather up the other half, which gave Mrs. Grettleberg enough time to catch up and grab him, picking him up and forcing him to let go of the other half, which landed nearby the first half.

"Now you're coming with me young man and you're going to get that blood cleaned off even if I have to scrub you myself!"

"No, NO, NOOOOOOO!  Let goooooo!  I wanted to show to my daddy!  Lemme show him it!"  The fawn screamed and cursed and started to through a tantrum as the schoolteacher carried him back over to the schoolhouse.

Icon by Sunblink


I hope you can keep this going.  It's got off to a very promising start.

J.P. Morris, Chief Engineer DMFA Radio Project * IT-HE * D-T-E