Wretched Dreams.

A bigger bomb.

Odd was standing in the middle of a small crater, too small to be the result of such an impact, he wasn hurt nor effected by the fall in the slightest. Where am i?! he noticed the trees everywhere around him and thought he might have fallen asleep in some park after a wild night and all of this was a dream, his heavy head and numb body agreed with that theory. But what about this crater he was standing in, could it have been here before.

He climbed out of the small dent in the forests floor. The first thing that caught his attention was that the trees were denser at one direction and less dense at the other. He walked in the direction with less trees hoping to find a settlement or a forest guard cabinet. Is that… A teenager! Why is he dressed like that?! That was his first thought when he saw the young man in medieval clothe running into the forest from a far, further than what a humans eyesight should be able to reach.

Maybe there is an event around or something. He thought as he attempted to walk towards the young man who was still at the edge of the forest. His first step felt weird to him, he couldn identify the source of the weird feeling under his feet, with each step that weird feeling lessened, so he attributed it the numbness of his body and didn give it much thought.

”Hey there! Could you tell me where is this!? Im kinda lost. ” Odd asked the young man who almost suffered a heart attack when a tall grown up muscular man suddenly appeared besides him making no sound nor having any presence in the slightest. Odd spoke with a friendly tone to not scare the young man, unaware of the other effects his voice had on him.

After regaining his demeanor and calming down his racing heart, the young man noticed the appearance of the stranger. A muscular white skinned man with short black hair wearing a white cloth shirt and pants, he also took a second to process the appearance of the blue slippers this stranger was wearing. ”This… lost!… Where did you come from?! ” The young man stuttered not knowing what to say, he had his hand on his heart and his eyes on the blue slippers.

”Sorry for scaring you. ” Odd tried to comfort him. ”My name is Odd! ” he offered his hand introducing himself with the same friendly voice that made the young man unconsciously trust him as if he knew him for ages.

”Im Willard, son of Azrog. My father is the Blacksmith. ” Willard introduced himself proudly. The fact that this man just appeared in front of him out of nowhere after the loud explosion sound didn seem suspicious, not with the effects Odds voice had on him.

”Son of Azrog! A Blacksmith! ” Odd repeated, his hope for this to be a park was slipping away bit by bit. ”Im a little hazy on how i got here. Could you please tell me where this place is?! Perhaps what year it is too! ” He felt awkward asking about the year like a time traveler, he had to ask though, a question wouldn hurt.

”This is Lonvin forest. A few hundred meters this way is Lonvin village. ” Willard pointed his hand towards the village acting like a tour guide. ”About the… Year! ” he scratched his head sheepishly. ”I can take you to the villages scholar, he should be able to answer that! ”

Odd stared at him for a few seconds wondering how a boy probably 17 years old doesn know what year it is. According to how this young man was dressing, either he is really poor or this village is having a rough time.

”Are you an adventurer by any chance?! ” Willard asked. He haven seen an adventurer for years, he certainly remembers that they didn dress like that. But how else would this man be able to cross the Lonvin jungle with all the mighty beasts and the man eating plants. Maybe in the past someone could get lucky and not meet any danger, and somehow manage to traverse the hard terrain of the jungle. However, after the entire forest leveled up, not even the luckiest being alive would dare enter the forest wearing cloth shirt and a slipper.

”I think so! ” Odd was going to tell him about the angry little pixie and what she said, but he decided against it. If this whole thing was a dream he would certainly sound crazy, he wasn even sure if that happened or not. ”that scholar you mentioned, would he be able to tell me how to go back where i came from?! ”

”Yeah! Old man Emry knows everything. ” Willard bragged. ”he always knows when the winter is coming, and when its gonna rain. He taught me how to count and how to write. He even knows the language of the animals and always knows whats wrong with the cattle! ” He kept telling Odd about how amazing this scholar is and how much knowledge he had.

Odd had the impression that either this Emry is amazing, or this village is ignorant. And judging by how impressed this young man is with the normal things he is describing as if they were miracles, it was probably the latter.

”Can you take me to him then! If he is as amazing as you say, he might be able to answer some of my questions. ”

”Of course he is! You just follow me and see for yourself. ” Willard gestured to the man politely and started walking towards the village. A second later he looked back and saw that he was walking alone, the man he was just talking to was no where to be found. Only then did he start questioning his sanity and how creepy this man was. why did i tell him about the village! He could be a strong shape-shifting beast! he thought while sprinting towards the village.

Odd didn notice that Willard was falling behind, he was too intrigued by the idea of being back in the dark ages to pay attention to the young man, and he was able to see the village from where they were standing just fine. Even though it was rude of him to leave the boy behind, politeness and manners weren the top of his worries right now. He was curious for the answers of his questions, and that young man wasn going to answer any of them.

A few steps later he arrived at the entrance to the village. The village was inside a wall of logs drilled to the floor and stacked together vertically with no gaps between them, no noticeable gaps at least. Odd couldn imagine the amount of labor and machinery that went into building this kind of monumental fortress. Each log weighed at least a ton with how thick and tall they are, and there were thousands of them.

The entrance to the village wasn a door, it was an area of the wall where there was multiple gaps arranged like a maze, and there were defensive traps and obstacles all over it. Odd passed through without alerting any of the guards sitting on top of the wall, even though they were on a high alert due to the previous explosion sound.

”Hey! Can you tell me where the scholar is please. ” Odd asked one of the villagers standing near the wall waiting to hear the news about the origin of the explosion. the same thing happened and the villager was scared to death from the sudden appearance of a stranger inside the safety of their walls.

The poor villager was already tense and on edge after the previous explosion, having a jump scare this soon after it almost sent him to deaths door. ”Im sorry i didn mean to scare you sir. ” Odd apologized again. he didn understand the reason why these people are so jumpy, it wasn like he sneaked up on them, he just walked into the village and saw the man so he approached him.

The guards noticed this encounter and ran down the wall, or climbed down on the ropes binding the logs since there was no stairs. ”Whats going on here?! ” they surrounded the man on the floor and one of them pulled him up and calmed him down. They noticed the stranger standing near him but for some reason they were unable to process that he is not supposed to be here, even though Odds voice couldn have reached them earlier, they seemed to be under the same effect.

”Yeah! Hi! My name is Odd! Im not from around here, can you please tell me where the scholar is! ” Odd didn think that any of these villagers would be able to answer the question of where they are better than what the young man Willard did, so he didn bother asking.

”Where did you come from? We haven had a visitor for a long time! ” one of the guards asked. He was wearing a brown helmet which Odd suspected it was made of wood, because the rest of this guards armor definitely was.

All the guards were dressed in armors crudely made of wood, and in their hands held wooden spears with a sharpened end for a tip, basically they were wooden sticks with pointy ends. If this is what their guards are wearing, what does the Blacksmith do?! Odd wondered. He rememberes Willard introducing himself as the son of Azrog the Blacksmith.

”I don know where i came from, which is why Im looking for the scholar. ” Odd repeated. ”Could you please tell me where he is?! ” he said with a hint of agitation in his voice, he was already getting sick of asking the same question over and over again.

The guards eyes and expression changed for a moment and then he asked Odd to follow him leaving his post and taking this stranger he have never seen before and know nothing about to the middle of the village. Once they both disappeared, the guards and villagers that were gathering started to panic.

”Who is that!!! Did he come from beyond the jungle?! ”

”is he a human! Did you see how he appeared out of nowhere?! ”

”Oh my God! We are all going to die! A shape-shifting beast infiltrated the village!! ”

”Calm down people! Did he look like a beast to you! Shape-shifting beasts can talk this normally! At least Im sure he isn a beast. I hope he is a strong adventurer who can help us. ” A man slightly heavier then the villagers and guards with a bird sitting on his head said to the people gathering, he wasn amongst them earlier, he was watching this from a bit further away and came after Odd was gone.

Odd walked between the wooden houses that were mostly cut from a single piece of wood, he wondered what kind of trees did they cut these huge logs from. The house itself wasn big, but the width of the log it was carved from is simply mind boggling. ”Where did you find all these giant trees?! And how did you manage to do all that? ” he pointed to the houses asking the guard that was silently walking in front of him, not caring about the tens of eyes on them in every direction. The entire village stopped everything they were doing and were staring at the guard and the stranger from the window of their houses, from their workshops, behind the cracked doors, children in their playgrounds, even some animals were curious to know who this stranger is.

”We didn ! Lonvin village was built by the Spinney, they were so kind to help us after the first beast wave… ” The guards voice dragged, the subject was seemingly heavy on his heart.

”What beast wave?! ” Odd asked after the guard was silent for a few seconds, his curiosity getting the best of him. Someone was finally giving him some information that could potentially be helpful in identifying the nature of this world, he wasn going to miss this chance. even though he noticed how hard it was for the guard to talk about this.

”A few years back, the village was destroyed by a sudden attack from the strong beasts residing in the depth of the jungle. We were caught off guard, no one anticipated this, it was a disaster. Hundreds of people died… Every thing was no more… They even took all the metal tools. they took any thing metal during the first wave. They didn settle with destroying the lifes of the living, they dug the graves and took the dead with them… ” the guard sobbed, he lamented the loss of his family and the grave of his ancestors. His story made Odds skin shiver, what kind of a world is this. he thought.

A minute later while Odd was focused on what the guard was saying, they arrived in front of a building that was smaller then all the others. It wasn wide like the other wooden houses, but it was way taller. It had only a door, there was no windows or ventilation holes anywhere, if he ignored the door and the couple of steps leading to it, this wouldn look any different from a tree with no branches.

”This is where the Scholar lives, sir! ” The guard said pointed at the tall tree, and stood aside as if he was waiting for his next orders.

Odd shifted his eyes between the guard and the door twice, and as if he remembered something he climbed the stairs and gently tapped the door rings. ”Hello! Mr scholar! ” He then shouted when no one answered.

A ruckus was heard behind the door after a while, and a sound of steps followed after. The door was then flung open and a tall well built man appeared. Only in contrast with this mans appearance did Odd notice that all the other villagers and even the young man in the woods were famished, they were all thin and boney while this man was looking perfectly healthy and even had some resemblances of muscles on his body.

Odd couldn accurately tell how old this man was, he had the signs of wisdom that would come with old age, yet he had no wrinkles on his face nor his hair was any shade whiter then black. He had a small red bird sitting on his head, nesting in the tall chaotic hair and apparently asleep tucking its peak between its wings.

”Hello! Good sir! How may i help you Adventurer! ” The man greeted with the mannerisms expected from a big city dweller, not a small time village resident. He emphasized the word Adventurer, making it sound like a question.

”Can you tell me where we are?! And maybe how to go back where i came from?! ” Odd didn care about how weird and out of place the man seemed, all he wanted was to know where this place, and if there is something he could do to go back.

”Thats a long topic to discuss on the door! Why don you come in to my humble abode!, and allow me to offer you a hot drink and some crackers. ” the man invited Odd into his house and glancing at the guard standing behind him, signaling him to leave.

Odd felt the guard leaving but didn even spare him a glance, the man had a tragic story that wasn finished yet when they arrived, however, he was more interested in his own story, so he accepted the invitation and followed the man into his home.

A few minutes after the door was closed, a young man was seen running between the wooden pillars of the villages entrance, screaming to the top of his lungs.

”Shape-shifting beast!… Take shelter! Theres a shape-shifting beast coming… ”

”What are you mumbling about, Willard? ” a couple of guards in their wooden armor stopped him and asked calmly, apparently not believing his words.

”I saw a stranger in white cloth and blue slippers in the forest! He said he is not from here… He is definitely a shape-shifting beast, who could cross the jungle in dressed like that! ”

The guards who seemed unconcerned earlier turned pale, this young mans reasoning was definitely sound, they didn think of that earlier for some reason. ”He is with old man Emry… ” They both said in unison, shifting their gaze towards the tall bare tree visible in the middle of the village.

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