5 – A Meeting
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Sure enough, the “daylight” Orrin described was slipping away from the world. As we walked, the sky began to grow darker as if a sun that was not there was starting to set. I tried asking Orrin about it, but he just passed it off as ‘how the world is’ and told me ‘not to question it too much.’ I wasn’t satisfied, but I let the questions go.

Eventually, we came across a clearing from the woods. It was a vast space, and several buildings had been set up within it. I suppose describing the structures as cottages would make the most sense. They were simple box shapes with overhanging triangular roofs on top. The buildings lacked windows and only had a hinged door with an archway top. A brick chimney was lined up on the sides, and bricks lined the perimeter at the base. Like everything else in the world, the cottage lacked color and only appeared as shades of grey.

Off to the side of the buildings, I could see four forms sitting on some logs around an orange campfire. The forms were humanoid, but some were clearly less human than others. I slowed my pace as Orrin happily led me to the group. My hands stayed close to my daggers.

“Hey, guys! I met someone new!” He didn’t waste any time introducing me loudly. As the green guy gestured to me, the crowd looked in my direction. They all waved as Orrin kept talking. “All right, let’s do this like we rehearsed: name, world, and one interesting fact!”

After a moment of silence, the most normal looking spoke up. He had dark black hair, which had been shaved short, and deep brown eyes. His clothes looked thin and shiny—a navy blue, off-white, and light yellow arranged in patterns that seemed to pop on the grey background.

“My name is Lerato. My world is called Enischyo. My Grandfather was a hero regarded as the ‘Savior of the Savannah.’ It is my dream to become a hero that will surpass him,” the man said. Orrin clapped, but the others ignored him.

The second to go was a bald man. He had an imposing gaze and a jaw that seemed to be locked in a frown. An oddly-shaped tattoo went from his chin to his bald head along the right side of his face. The marking was jagged and harsh, and his attitude did not seem any better in comparison. His clothes were button-up and a dirty white, and he sat straight up with no hint of a slouch.

“Name is Enas. I was made to be a killer in my world, do not try anything funny or else,” he warned in a stern voice. I felt myself shudder as his threatening words and blue eyes seemed to stab into me. Orrin laughed.

“Oh, Mark, you’re always so funny!” the green guy said.

The bald man quickly reached down to a sheath at his side. A grey metal object was sitting in it, but it did not resemble any blade. I could tell that the shape was an ‘L’ with a shorter section fashioned to fit a hand. The longer section was contained in the sheath where I could not see; should I suppose it was a miniature crossbow?

I didn't get an answer to what it was as Enas didn’t pull his weapon out, but he seemed to frown more intensely as he shook his head. He balled up his fist and pulled it closer to his stomach as he turned to me.

“Do not call me Mark like this fool!” he said curtly.

I wasn’t sure what the problem was with ‘Mark’ as a name, but I still nodded to show I understood.

“Don’t take him too seriously; he’s all bark,” the next person in the campfire group said while pointing to Enas. ‘Person’ was taking it lightly, however. This creature was shorter than Orrin even, with beady red eyes. It had a large nose and long droopy ears with leathery skin. Sharp teeth lined its mouth, and equally sharp claws were the ends of its feet and hands. The creature wore cloth robes, and its skin was a yellow-orange.

“My name is Pythagoras, and I don’t want to hear anything about it!” The creature stopped to take a breath, as if staving off past frustration, before continuing, “Anyway, how proficient with technology would you say you are?”

I wasn’t sure of the significance of Pythagoras’ name, but I saw no reason to press the issue. My head shook to indicate I didn’t understand what he was asking. The yellow-orange creature sighed and let the matter go. I turned to the last of the group as she began to speak.

This was another creature, except unlike the short one before, I stared at a giant beast. She was as tall as I was, even while sitting on the log. A spear was stabbed into the ground, and she kept one hand resting on it. The creature had a long face with tall, pointed ears on top of her head.

Her whole body, or at least of what I could see, was covered in a short fur with a tortoiseshell calico pattern. From her chin to her neck was white. Cream orange hair flowed from her head to her neck, and her tail matched in tone. She wore light clothes with smaller metal armor pieces on her arms and sides.

“Name’s Casey. I come from Resh. I’m afraid I don’t have many interesting facts about myself,” she said with a polite bow. Between the last two, I had forgotten about Orrin’s introduction rules.

“And I’m Orrin, but you already knew that! I don’t know where I came from, and I’m this group's leader!” My self-proclaimed green friend said while pointing to himself.

“No, you’re not!” the group seemed to shout in unison.

Orrin frowned for a moment, then broke out into a smile once again.

“Well, that can slide for now; our new friend here has amnesia and doesn’t know her name or world. She’ll stay with us for a while!”

“Amnesia? I’m sorry to hear,” Lerato spoke up in a solemn manner. He seemed genuine in his sympathy for me. How should I reply to that?

“I’ve been working on a device that can– might restore memories if you want to be a test subject,” Pythagoras said while rubbing his yellow-orange palms together. His grin was made all the more devious by the pointy teeth in his mouth.

“That’s… okay….” I said softly while taking a step back. My hands seemed to move closer to my daggers.

Casey lightly chopped the comparatively tiny creature on his head with her giant palm. It was as if to say he ought to ‘shut up.’ Pythagoras squinted and crossed his arms but remained quiet.

“If she does not have a name, we ought to come up with one. It would be rather inconvenient otherwise,” Enas said in a sort of grumbling manner.

“Your right, Mark!” Orrin said with a smile. The bald man seemed to shake at the green guy’s words, but he resisted reaching for his odd weapon a second time. Given my reaction to ‘Pinky,’ I suppose I couldn’t blame him.

“How about Dagger,” Lerato suggested as he gestured to the blades hanging by my waist. The others shook their heads.

“That sounds more like a hero name than an actual one,” Pythagoras said. The others nodded in agreement. “Perhaps something like Rosy would be sufficient,” he added.

“Wait, you don’t….” I began to say but was interrupted.

“I tried Pinky earlier, but she didn’t like it!” Orrin chimed in.

“It is no wonder! That name is terrible,” Enas said with a shake of his bald head.

“I’ll come up with a name!” I blurted out. The others turned to me. I shyly looked at the ground. “Just give me a little time,” I added in a softer tone.

That seemed to satisfy them. The others around the fire seemed to nod to affirm. Orrin, on the other hand, kept talking.

“Are you sure? We could come up with a really nice name!”

“Orrin, leave her alone,” Casey said as she stood up. Her form seemed to double in size and towered over me. It was a little intimidating having to look up at Casey, but her movements showed no aggression. “Why don’t you get some rest? We can talk again in the morning,” she said softly. With that, she gently led me to a house with a bed inside.

I laid down as the door was closed. I wasn’t sure I ought to sleep around the strangers, but my drowsiness quickly overtook me as I sank into the bed.  

Thanks for reading! 

I have recently decided to commission a cover which would replace the one I had drawn. The new active cover was drawn by thinhnguyen91 on Fiverr.

For recordkeeping, here is the original cover: