The Descendant of the Hills
They missed the bottom of the hills. Landing in nothing but a pool of muck, full of sludge and muddy footprints that were soon to fade. Once a splash is heard, the foot prints disappear. A smudge of this stuff on your face, and they’d feel nothing. It is a horrible mess to get into. And getting out is another story.
Fabio and Felix landed in the pits of death, others know this pit as death as the sheep holder. Farmer’s nightmares, where sheep get devoured as they slowly sink in. Feet first and the head still floats. Fabio was the first to land in the death-trap. And second was the great powerful Felix. At-least, he had thought that he was powerful after the one on one fight with Kuno. His village in despair and his friends had scattered. All he had left, was the woman of his dreams.
Fabio’s clothing: Dark brown cloak with an image of a leaf sowed on. Green leaf with dark yellow lining. And her skirt was made of leaves, including her bra. Around her bra was a white shirt. The white shirt was tinted in silver and mixed with tree sap. Making her sparkle in the night skies.
Felix had fallen with Fabio in a pool of sludge. Fabio held her breath, holding onto Felix’s left hand. Her bright blue eyes sparkled, and Felix felt the need to rescue her once more. Instead, Fabio did the rescuing, making an effort to go under the sludge, knowing that she could die from it. Many villagers and humans with no jobs have fallen into the sludge pits. And once gone down, never resurfaced.
“Y-you must go. I’ll free you, b-but you go, okay?” Fabio whispered.
“I-I’ll do no such thing, in honour of your presence, I can only shower you with my love.”
“Love? You’re very different. If it were me, I’d shower you with tears…” she replied.
Holding her breath, she dived under. Fabio sunk into the sludge, on her way down. She could barely see anything, all she could see was the near-by corpses. All the victims that had sunk into the sands, and melted away at the bottom. The sludge pools were polluted, and full of fats. Still holding her breath, she saw Felix’s feet attached to a skeleton’s hand. The sticky sap mixed with the sludge has made this place deadly. Fabio attempted to go under, further into the depths of the pools.
Felix felt the pulling force of the skeleton, as it slowly sunk deeper than Fabio’s dive distance. He began to gargle on the surface of the pools. As it swooped in, swirling in a whirlpool directly into his mouth. He spat it out continuously, trying to keep oxygen a-float. Fabio managed to reach the skeleton’s hand with her mouth, as she nipped the bone. Trying to rip the bone out using her teeth as strength. Her arms were useless, as they began to stick to the middle layer of the pools.
“C-come back up! – Fabio! F-f-a-bio…” he gargled.
Felix’s distant voice faded from Fabio’s ears. She lost hearing the second she nipped the skeleton. As she clawed her way up the sticky pools, she managed to loosen the skeleton’s grip from Felix’s ankles. Lucky for her, she managed to lift herself up a little. The small whirlpools being created by Felix’s panicking body caused Fabio to sink more and more.
“F-Felix… l-listen, listen to me!” Fabio mumbled.
“W-what?” Felix barely heard Fabio’s mumbles.
“Hold onto my arms, I-I need support!” She screamed.
Felix heard her cry for help, with his ankles free from the grasps of a skeleton. He held his breath and dived down, not going as far as Fabio had dived down to. He stopped a little above Fabio and could just about see her. The vision was blurry, he could barely see her. Yet, she could see nothing but the sludge wrapping around her. Sticking to her skin, and pulling her down into the abyss.
“H-Help!” Fabio cried.
“I-I’m coming… just w-wait there!” Felix dived a little deeper.
Felix dived down a little further and managed to grab Fabio’s foot. With a grip onto Fabio, Felix began to push himself out with all of his strength. He even took the risk of eating some of the sludge. Pushing his way up to the surface, he held Fabio with his dear life. Slashing the last of the sludge blocking their exit, Felix dived upwards, pushing thrusts through the sludge. Luckily, he managed to get out. Fabio was also out, yet below her waist was still stuck in the sludge.
“D-don’t panic… j-just stay still.” Felix reassured Fabio.
Fabio hesitated with Felix’s advice. Instead, she struggled to stay still, and made an attempt to pull herself out. After observing Felix’s strength, she tried to copy his technique of escaping sludge. As Felix lifted the remainder of his body out of the sludge, he smiled with relief. The corpses from below resurfaced, swirling around in a circle around Fabio. She felt the need to vomit but held it in for her sake. Felix reached out to grab Fabio by her hands, Fabio managed to get a grip. And with one last pull, and push from Fabio – she was free from the sludge.
“Y-you, you saved me… t-thank-you!” Fabio cried with happiness.
“I had to, you mean the world to me…” Felix whispered.
Fabio hugged Felix, holding onto each-other for dear life. They smiled at each-other, glaring into each-other’s eyes. Fabio placed her hand around Felix’s left cheek and went in for a kiss. Felix resisted, pushing her away from him. She didn’t understand why, but chose to accept Felix’s wishes. Since… he had saved her, although, she saved him. She chose to accept the resistance of Felix’s kiss.
“I-I’m sorry. I c-can’t do that… you can’t just forget about what happened up there…” Felix pointed at the top of the hills.
“I-I’m sorry too. I didn’t know…” Fabio mumbled.
“Kuno’s dead… and I need you to be brave…” Felix whispered.
“Kuno’s death has brought us together…” Fabio smirked.
“Maybe so, b-but somewhere out there… he still rules a kingdom.”
Fabio brushed herself down, removing all the sludge from her body. Luckily, she hadn’t lost any clothing, the sludge weren’t too strong this season. Other seasons remain to be a mystery. Felix rolled on the floor like a dog, removing all the sludge from his back. With the sludge removed, mostly, Felix and Fabio walked down the hill taking precautions this time round.
“I-I never said this before, but I love your clothing… a-and your cloak.” Felix smiled.
“T-thanks…” Fabio blushed.
“Fabio? If you don’t mind me asking… what kingdom are you from?” Felix questioned her.
“…Felix, as lovely as this is. I can’t go against the wishes of a king…” Fabio replied.
“Kuno’s dead. You said it yourself…”
“Maybe so, but his essence… it is not dead…” Fabio looked afraid.
Felix sighed. “I can’t promise you his death in essence. B-but I swear to you his head on a stick.”
“He’s sick. He made me I-into something I wish not to speak of…” Fabio whispered.
“Well, I didn’t ask. So let’s get going…” Felix replied.
Fabio blushed more, she heard all the right words from her saviour. Remembering her kingdom’s rules, she kneeled down beside Felix’s legs. Looking up at him, as if he was a God to her. A hero maybe, but a God is something more… on the pathway they were on, they headed down the hill. Watching out for some of the hazards. Wolves howled in the distance, as night began to fade slowly.
“The Ancient Tree Gods. They’re here. I smell them…” Fabio whispered.
“The Ancient what? “ Felix flinched.
“Tree Gods. They’re here, their essence is in the wind. I hear them howling our names…”
Felix held Fabio back, holding her tightly in his left arm. Fabio was confused on why he had grabbed her so quickly. Although, her blushing and looking up to him made her forget. Felix had saved her again, this time from being spotted by the hungry wolves. The Tree Gods were only a few steps away. Waiting patiently for the victims to approach, and of course... the mere mortals to forgive.
“S-saved you, I saved you again…” Felix sighed.
“Yes. Yes you did. Now face them, show them you’re the Master.” Fabio grinned.
Felix stepped forward, holding Fabio tightly and escorting her down the pathway. The wolves howling had stopped, but their growling continued. The sound of leaves rustling in the wind could be heard, and the wolves scratching bark could also be heard in the distance. Felix stepped a little further down the pathway, only to have stepped in something sticky. Yellowy, orangey sap. The liquid had merged with his feet. Holding him down, he couldn’t move. The wolves closed in on him and Fabio. Fabio’s feet were also stuck in sap.
“I told you. The Tree Gods, they know we’re here…” Fabio sighed deeply.
“Perhaps. But I won’t let them hurt you!” Felix reassured her.
The wolves circled them, staring at their meaty bodies. Nice big ribs and bones to chew on. Out of the ground, the roots from the large looking trees broke free. The large trees stepped up slowly, climbing out of the ground with ease. The wolves weren’t afraid of the trees, staring at the food in-front of them. Felix felt nervous, and Fabio just ignored the wolves completely.
“Don’t look back. They’ll ignore you, the beasts don’t see meat…” Fabio whispered.
“Silence—Silence you mortals…” A voice broke out from the forest.
As the trees came closer, Felix could hear the voices coming from behind him.
“Meaty… b-bones, crunch! Crunch them now!”
“You will do no such thing…” Felix turned around.
“Fool. Make yourself lunch, you scare my pack… you fear the blood?”
Fabio nudged Felix, whilst stomping on his foot with sticky sap.
“Ouch!” Felix screamed.
“Ouch? Blood will squirm around you. And you will crunch down into bits…”
Before the leader of the pack could pounce on Felix, the large trees had arrived.
Swaying away the orange leaves, and making a loud sound. Felix and Fabio became fearless as they emerged from the other trees. The leader of the pack flinched a little, trying to stand its ground. The other wolves obeyed their leader, watching from behind. Making sure that humans were still on the menu. Felix and Fabio stared at the large trees, The Ancient Tree Gods arrived.
“S-speak. S-speak, you m-mortals…” The Ancient Tree Gods spoke in sync.
“We were attacked… a-ambushed! Destroyed by a beast in the south…” Felix mumbled in fear.
“Fearless, I tasted it. – And who we have facing the saps of the forest?” They spoke in sync.
“F-Fabio… Lord. Oh saviour of the forests.” Fabio knelt down and whispered.
Fabio nudged Felix. “S-sorry… Yes, Felix your grateful servant…”
“S-speak. S-speak, the branches will crumble you… t-tell us, t-tell us more, mortals!”
“Fabio… I-I c-can’t tell you more… n-not with him here…” Fabio mumbled.
Felix looked at Fabio with disappointment. “Sorry…”
“S-speak. S-speak, Fabio, the lady of the forest?” They replied to her.
Fabio watched the roots of the Tree Gods wrap around Felix, holding him like a distressed hamster in a cage. They spoke in sync, and listened to Fabio’s words. As Felix stared at Fabio with slight hatred towards her, the roots plunged through Felix’s ears like razor blades from a knife. Keeping his hearing dead. The trees continued to listen to Fabio’s life story.
“Thank-you… I am Fabio, a noble female. Held by the kingdoms of the forest. I ruled the trees. My mother rules the trees now… and my sister, she is awaiting her throne.” Fabio replied.
“C-confident. You show a lot of mercy though… We d-don’t see what you see…”
“I was captured, kidnapped by a man called: Kuno. He abused me, and held me in some rusty cells. I was trapped. I begged for forgiveness, but he came at me like stinger…” Fabio cried.
“S-speak. S-speak, your faith is in our roots. Your life is in our vines… our bark embedded your so-called mother…” They spoke in sync.
Fabio fell onto the sappy pool, looking up in fear. Her confidence had fallen, showing nothing but a timid female stuck in warrior clothing. The Tree Gods saw her as a princess to the forests. Although, they had spoken about Fabio’s mother. This startled her, making her think she’s worthless. Felix’s hearing was still dead. Until… Fabio called off the hearing block. Making the trees obey their old fable ruler. Someone who knew what she was doing before, but now… she has no clue on what to do.
“S-speak. S-speak, your friend devoured. Your loved ones lost… what’s it you like about this mortal?”
“He saved me…” Fabio mumbled. “I could’ve died back in his village… but I didn’t!”
The roots unwrapped around Felix, letting him hear once more. The sting of the roots hurt the inside of Felix’s ears. Making him hear the sound of a bee buzzing continuously. This made him vulnerable to anything, wolves, and the creatures of the lands. Fabio didn’t know this, she wasn’t even told about what the Ancient Tree Gods were capable of. She just knew that they were never to be trusted. And she kept that in mind, as she held Felix’s hand, escorting him through her forests.
“S-speak. S-speak, you obey us! You do not leave without our feed...” The spoke in sync.
“I’ll bring you fruit. J-just stay there…” Fabio ran with Felix in hand.
The Ancient Tree Gods buried their roots in the ground, and locked themselves in place once more. Watching Felix and Fabio get away from them. They had been promised fruit, and whether they were going to be fed. Well… it was all up to Fabio. She had the power to feed them, she had learnt in the past that if a Tree God Sapling dies due to lack of hunger, they would be killed. The being who hurts nature, their fate would be decided on by the over-lords of the forests.
*** Back at the Forest Kingdom of Fabio ***
“W-welcome to my Kingdom… I-I’m sorry for not telling you…” Fabio whispered.
“…Wow! It’s beautiful… are you the Queen?” Felix replied.
“Ha, ha, no Master. I am the daughter of the Queen… one of the many, warrior – protector.”
“You have a big role here… and Kuno got you?” Felix sighed.
“He burnt down half of our forest… he ripped it to bits, tearing away our homes… my mother escaped, and my youngest sister… she had fallen. I do not obey mother, and I do not take orders from Kuno or any other King of a kingdom…” Fabio’s tone raised.
“Right, I’m sorry for bringing it up…” Felix apologized.
On the way up to the kingdom’s centre, Fabio spotted Kuno’s body. Lying in the middle of her kingdom, surrounded by residents of the forest. She quickly moved over to Kuno’s side, kneeling down next to him. Felix watched from a distance, behind the crowd of residents. Kuno coughed violently, trying to speak. He muttered random words, complete gibberish.
“Our Princess has arrived… Tell the Queen at once!” A guard shouted.
The sound of forest horns blared out sounds. Wind sounds, the sound of wind howling into the air. And leaves rusting on the ground and in the trees.
“Kuno! I’m going to kill you… you better be dead!” Felix lost his temper.
“Silence! – My daughter has returned. Princess, bring her to me!” The Queen screamed.
The guard obeyed the Queen, almost strangling the Princess, Fabio was gasping for air in grasp of the guards of the forest. The dragged her aggressively towards the Queen’s location. Still gasping for air, the guards finally released their grasp. As she fell onto her knees, staring at her mother’s thighs. The guards laughed, and mocked the Princess as if she was a joke to the kingdom.
“Fabio, daughter, Princess. You’ve returned!” The Queen shouted in happiness.
“Yes, mother. I have returned. I’m sorry for disobeying you…” Fabio shivered.
“Nonsense, you got back. That’s stronger than the guards around you…” The Queen smiled.
“Ha, ha! Yeah right… the Princess of the forest is stronger than the guardians!”
“Mother, I want that one’s head on a stick…” Fabio slammed her fist off the oak tree’s bark.
“At once, you heard her! Obey your Princess!” The Queen smirked.
The guards surrounded the mean guard causing trouble, and held him tightly. With his arms locked together, he could feel the pain. The pain of muscles being strained far too much. He begged for mercy, and cried on Fabio’s feet. She ignored his whimpering and grasped underneath his jaw. Holding him up, so he is forced to stand up – feeling the pain and suffering of muscles being pulled. Sweat poured down from his skin, as the Princess collected it in the palm of her hands.
“Sweat from a guardian. That’s funny… I don’t remember you working!” Fabio laughed demonically.
Fabio slapped him with the sweat in the palm of her hand, as he felt the pain finally break-through. His bones crunched inside, and he only had a few more words to say to the Princess. Fabio held a sharp finely cut dagger underneath his chin. He swallowed his gulp, and begged once more for his life. Fabio laughed in-front of him, mocking him – making a fool out of him. The Queen enjoyed the entertainment, watching the guard squirm inside his shell.
“You’re sweet. Really sweet, I can even taste the sweat… you make me smile. Now, what is it you say to your ruler? – All the seasons of mocking me. Do you feel bad for that?” Fabio whispered in a soft tone.
“Y-Yes… I feel bad. I-I’m sorry! P-please beautiful Princess of the forests… spare me as your protector!” He begged for his life.
Fabio spat on his face, and kicked him in the jaw. His jaw clicked, as the locks and rope around his two arms sprung together. His arms finally broke, and he felt nothing but pain. Fabio couldn’t bear to see a grown man whimpering in her kingdom. She put an end to his life, not so quickly though. She made a promise to the Ancient Tree Gods. Food for them, a feast they would enjoy.
“S-spare me! P-please, s-spare me!” He begged more and more.
“Your blood will make a trophy full. An artefact, one I love… fill it with your blood…” Fabio smiled.
“N-no! I c-can’t do that… I c-can’t…” he cried.
“Very well… guards! Remove him from my throne room… and let the roots feed on another traitor…”
“At once my Princess. We’ll do it right away!” The guards replied.
“N-No! N-No-o-o… p-please…” the whimpering guard was dragged away.
His begging became distant, and eventually faded. Being fed to the roots of the forest, Fabio felt happy with her commands. And the Queen was pleased with how her daughter had come back, no longer afraid of the guards. She was happy to see her daughter being confident, stronger than before. Fabio felt happier too, getting rid of a spiteful guard, it made her drool with power.
- Chapter 3 Coming Soon! -