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unbound Ark: Survival Unbound (Chapter 1)


Oreochema

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Linayn gripped her makeshift spear, knuckles white with tension as she stared at the creature before her. The bipedal reptile was small compared to other carnivores on the island, but she had already seen a pack of the animals hunt down prey many times their size. Furthermore, they seemed to possess a venom that reduced a fierce, battle-ready opponent to little more than a slumbering meal, all in a matter of moments.

She tried not to think about the venom. Instead, she focused on watching the animal’s movement as it tried to circle behind her, hissing and chittering as it moved. This one, fortunately, was alone, so Linayn turned to keep the bipedal creature in front of her as it paced through the sand.

The beach had been the safest area she’d encountered so far, but even so, the occasional predator wandered down from the inland regions, and while this wasn’t the largest or most threatening creature she’d seen, it was undoubtedly the most intelligent.

The animal blinked at her, its tongue slipping out of its mouth to taste the air, and hissed again. Linayn realized it was becoming impatient, and adjusted her grip on the spear.

The creature leaped forward, snapping its jaws in a threat display. Linayn brandished her weapon and gave a wordless shout in reply; she doubted she had a fair chance to defeat the creature in combat, so her best hope now was to drive the beast away.

It didn’t work. The creature reacted by darting forward and snapping at her legs. Realizing the meager cloth would do little to protect her from its bite, Linayn backpedaled, swinging the shaft of her spear at the animal’s head. She missed.

The bite wasn’t as painful as some of the other wounds she’d received over the past months, but she wasn’t worried about the bleeding. What worried her was the inevitable failure of her limbs to obey her. In a last-ditch effort to wound the beast and send it fleeing, she thrust her spear at it, but the injured leg gave way - the rest of her limbs followed shortly after - and she missed again.

The sand tasted awful. Almost as bad as the knowledge that she was about to die to a animal that was likely smarter than she was. She regretted having traveled so far from her dwelling; perhaps if she had stayed close to home, she’d have had a chance at fleeing into her house. Even her meager thatch walls would have kept the little beast away until she could devise a defense or, failing that, an escape.

The creature approached and sniffed at her head. She could hear the whistle of air as it passed through the beast’s nostrils, and the triumphant chirp it trilled as it grew satisfied that its prey wouldn’t flee. It hopped onto her back, using the claws on its hind feet to gain purchase, and bit into the back of her neck.

Even worse than the paralysis itself, was that it kept her from screaming. She could do nothing but wait in pain for the creature to sever her spine and kill her. Blood began to well up from the wounds inflicted by the creature’s claws, and even more began to surge from her torn neck. She was sure she was about to die, until a shadow passed overhead and took the reptile with it. Its happy chirping devolved into terrified screeching as it was carried off. The screams cut short, and the body landed with a dull whump several meters away, followed closely by the sound of flapping wings and shifting sand.

Linayn heard a loud squawk and creaking leather before a combination of terror, relief, and loss of blood stole her consciousness.

x-x-x-x-x

Her dreams took her home, to the world she’d left behind. To the world from which she’d been stolen.

She saw her mother, a woman whose visage Linayn shared. Her long, fair hair flowed down her shoulders, framing her gray eyes and her smiling mouth. Delicate hands marred by the blood of a deer as she worked to spill its entrails. Mother spoke.

“You must learn to survive without your weapons. You cannot know when someone will take them from you and leave you defenseless.”

“No one will take my weapons from me. I will not let them.”

“My child, sometimes we meet foes stronger than we. Have you forgotten your father?”

The dream faded and she was left in darkness. She had forgotten, and no matter how she tried, she could not recall him. She tried again to remember, but no images filled her mind. A new dream took shape in the black. A forest formed.

There were shouts of men, and the roar of a great beast. The sound of arrows fired from bows, another roar, and horses screamed in pain. Linayn ran through a forest toward the sounds. Her anger was burning in her chest, hotter than a smithy’s fire, but she was halted by her mother’s voice. “Flee, my child, for these men will kill what they fear! There is nothing you can do to help now!”

She heard the sorrow and the pain in Mother’s voice, heard the fear for her child. She turned and ran, sorrow in her heart, for she knew her mother would die in defense of that doomed beast. Fierce light erupted behind her - a fire had been lit to cast light on the battle - as screams of death rose from the soldiers. Linayn had not seen the creature they sought to kill, but she knew it had done nothing to earn that death. Neither had her mother. She felt shame and sorrow at her mother’s death, and she felt rage and fury for the attackers who had killed her.

Again, the dream faded, but still she did not wake. She knew there was more that she could not recall. Gaps in her memory. She had sensed it ever since….

Bright sunlight flooded her eyes and the sounds of lapping waves assailed her ears. Seabirds cried out as they turned circles over the water, and Linayn bolted upright from her resting place in the sand. She couldn’t recall going to sleep at the edge of a sea. She stood and stretched, realizing with a sense of dread that she wore nearly nothing. Someone had stolen her away in the night and placed her here.

She gazed out at the water and wondered which of the Inland Seas it was. “No matter. I should be able to…” She realized she had no recollection of where she lived, or how quickly she could return there. For a moment, her confused mind turned so many circles on itself she thought she’d go mad.

A deep lowing interrupted her spiral into insanity, and she turned to discover the source. A heavy, solid, four-legged creature grazed nearby, lazily plucking berries from a bush. It’s rough skin appeared thick enough to withstand the hardiest of weapons, and a thick crest shielded its neck, even as it supported a trio of great ivory horns that threatened potential attackers with a swift death. The beast lumbered away from the sea and vanished into a forest; Linayn watched it disappear, her face twisted into an expression of confusion.

 

 

[Author's Notes]

Keryn was a name I borrowed from another character to act as a placeholder. This has been updated to "Linayn".

The Prologue page will be updated to act as a Table of Contents for the story. I'll also attempt to work up titles for the chapters so that it will be easier to go back and read parts of the story that you like! For now, enjoy the first chapter!

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On 8/26/2016 at 7:46 AM, DaEndGame said:

Very nice, I like how you didn't directly start at the very beginning, but instead a little of the way through then jumped back.

I can't believe I missed your comment! Thank you so much for reading! It's been a bit since I logged in to check because, as silly as it sounds, I was stuck on where to go next. lol

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3 hours ago, Oreochema said:

I can't believe I missed your comment! Thank you so much for reading! It's been a bit since I logged in to check because, as silly as it sounds, I was stuck on where to go next. lol

No problem, and your welcome, I enjoyed it.

I suggest thinking about where you want to end the series, even if you don't actually get there. From there, formulate a rough plot from where you are to where your going. It's how I've done my one "The Chronicles of Aristaeus Cosmos" but that first one has bored me, so I'm doing some lore related to my ark and then beginning my next one "In Seas of Burnt Sand" which I also have a rough plot togther, that goes from beginning to end. 

Anyway, like I said I'm looking forward to seeing more. Best if Luck on writing it.

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17 hours ago, DaEndGame said:

No problem, and your welcome, I enjoyed it.

I suggest thinking about where you want to end the series, even if you don't actually get there. From there, formulate a rough plot from where you are to where your going. It's how I've done my one "The Chronicles of Aristaeus Cosmos" but that first one has bored me, so I'm doing some lore related to my ark and then beginning my next one "In Seas of Burnt Sand" which I also have a rough plot togther, that goes from beginning to end. 

Anyway, like I said I'm looking forward to seeing more. Best if Luck on writing it.

I completely agree. I actually have a plot, one that I think would be very interesting from a character development point of view. But I'm terrible with the scene-to-scene transitions, which is my biggest sticking point here.

But I'm also incredibly concerned about what folks will think when I spill my character's secret. I could see some folks thinking "cool" and others thinking "this is too cheesy". The truth of the matter is my character isn't from "Earth" as we know it. She's actually from one of my fantasy worlds, which is why she has no frame of reference on the creatures in Ark. (From what I've seen of the lore so far, the entities who built Ark managed to grab people of all stripes from multiple eras, so it's not too hard to think they found alternate universes, etc.) She's got a lot to learn to avoid being killed and/or eaten.

Thank you for your feedback and the well-wishes! I hope to get back into writing this soon, once I don't have so much going on.

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5 hours ago, Oreochema said:

I completely agree. I actually have a plot, one that I think would be very interesting from a character development point of view. But I'm terrible with the scene-to-scene transitions, which is my biggest sticking point here.

But I'm also incredibly concerned about what folks will think when I spill my character's secret. I could see some folks thinking "cool" and others thinking "this is too cheesy". The truth of the matter is my character isn't from "Earth" as we know it. She's actually from one of my fantasy worlds, which is why she has no frame of reference on the creatures in Ark. (From what I've seen of the lore so far, the entities who built Ark managed to grab people of all stripes from multiple eras, so it's not too hard to think they found alternate universes, etc.) She's got a lot to learn to avoid being killed and/or eaten.

Thank you for your feedback and the well-wishes! I hope to get back into writing this soon, once I don't have so much going on.

Good to here. Im definately looking forward to how you play it out.

And good luck figuring out those scene to scene transtions.

 

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