1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Fiction Only Fools Wander Into The Jungles

Discussion in 'Fluff and Stories' started by Mr.Crocodile, Sep 11, 2021.

  1. Mr.Crocodile
    Saurus

    Mr.Crocodile Active Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    234
    Trophy Points:
    33
    I wrote this short piece of fanfiction 3 months ago, fueled by a recent mega-marathon of Total War: Warhammer 2 and an inability to find engaging content (both official and fan-made) for the Lizardmen.

    This was, of course, before I discovered Lustria Online.

    As such, I have decided to cross-post any of my future Lizardmen-related writing endeavours both here and on Archive of Our Own. Starting with this story.


    Summary:

    Only adventurers, mercenaries and desperate men dare enter the dark jungles of dreaded Lustria.
    Only fools wander Into the jungles. For only a fool would choose to cross that fortification with trees for walls and rivers for moats, knowing what awaits inside.
     
  2. Mr.Crocodile
    Saurus

    Mr.Crocodile Active Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    234
    Trophy Points:
    33
    4th of Sigmarzeit, 2524 I.C.
    Somewhere beyond the safety of Port Reaver, Isthmus of Lustria, The New World

    Roland had spent the entire night crying, which was understandable. After all, the 9 year old boy’s life had been destroyed in a matter of minutes. Now, the only things he had left were his tattered clothes and the protective arms of his older sister, Elma, wrapped around him as they huddled together in the “wagon’s” corner.

    Whatever use it had had before being taken by the current owners, it had been modified beyond recognition. Its walls(if it had ever had walls to begin with) had been replaced with an iron cage, its flat bars covered in rust (common in these humid lands even when items were well taken good care of) and putrid smelling stains, the stench of dry blood and even worse excretions. The ceiling of it was covered in badly prepared leathers and skins forming a tarp. As much as the tarp protected them from the blazing Lustrian sun, it also had the effect of baking the rags, bringing out their stench (they were somehow even dirtier than the mobile cage was), which when combined with the grime that permeated their prison due to the stench produced by holding a dozen people in such tight quarters and horrid conditions created a gut-retching miasma worse than anything the swamps of the land could ever produce naturally.

    It was bad enough that it had the strange side-effect of actually masking up the smells provided by their captors, somewhat helping them dissociate from their predicament. Only when the wind blew in the right (arguably wrong) direction did the odors of the host overpower those created by their disgusting accommodations.

    The stench of rotting meat, of feces and foul-smelling breaths coming from gore-stained snouts. As if someone had packed a pigsty with every animal within reach until the animals were trampling over each other only to build a slaughterhouse over it, allowing all the blood and guts to seep into the loose flooring and drip down to bathe the animals.

    The stench of beastmen.

    Little Roland had been born in the New World, Elma had made the trip over the Great Ocean with her parents at an age young enough that she had scant recollections of life back in their home province of Reikland. They had grown up with tales of the Beastmen back in the Old World, their wandering hosts, always willing to sack another hamlet, to siege another town, to eat another child. The Beastmen, they had once been told by a hunter from the old world their father had made business with, were the reason why children were taught never to wander alone into forests, for the Beastmen liked to consume the flesh of man above that of any game, and the flesh of children above any man. Elma had laughed then, to her, to anyone born to Port Reaver really, the idea of cattle-like or goat-like men terrifying their kin so much felt like a bad joke.

    To them, no host of Chaos-spawn, no matter how true and horrible accounts of it were, none of it could compare to what they had seen, to what they had felt Lustria had given birth to and hosted.

    Children simply didn’t need to be taught not to wander onto the jungles, Lustria commanded an instinctual respect that none dare mock.

    Only fools wandered into the jungles.

    Or so their father used to say.

    Volkmar Welser had been a good man, a merchant who had seen in stories of the New World a chance to give his pregnant wife a good life far away from the chaos (both literal and figurative) of their homeland. A man who had saved every mark and shilling to be able to fund the one-way-only voyage and settle down in the quickly developing New World.

    That, in part, was the cause of the siblings’ dire situation. While the family had lived well for years thanks to Volkmar’s great bartending skills and ease to create faithful clients, the city had recently started suffering from an ailment quite different from those that usually plagued it. Usually, one would have to guard themselves from the seasonal upsurges of fevers that the explorers and pirates brought with them from their expeditions or the miasmas that the swamps seemed to brew. No, this ailment came in the form of people . So many settlers moving into Port Reaver and Swamp Town every month than what previously had been an entire year’s worth of immigrants now could be doubled in a few bussy weeks.

    And these weren’t like the usual visitors to the port cities, because while adventurers and pirates might have sometimes arrived in great numbers, the hazards inherent to such occupations usually meant that they would vacate the inns and barracks which hosted them sooner rather than later.

    But these people weren’t like that, they were what Roland’s parents had been: Siedlers, settlers. People fleeing the ruins of an Empire which would require decades to heal from the grievous wounds inflicted by the Storm of Chaos. A war against the hosts of the northern wastes, chaos worshipers, daemons and beastmen alike which had only been stopped thanks to a coalition of all races of the Old Word.

    Or so the immigrants said.

    At the end of the day, whatever reason those thousands of people had had for boarding the one-way-trip, the crux of it was that a city like Port Reaver simply couldn’t host them, there was no free space to build anything new around the trading port, the city clustered around the bay’s contours so tightly that it looked as if the buildings which compromised it were trying to push eachother out of the way to throw themselves into the sea.

    In a matter of months, the inns and streets of the city had been stuffed to the brim with families in need of homes which could not be built or expanded, food that would not be imported and jobs that didn’t exist. What few places of charity there were had collapsed under the overwhelming demand for their protection, be it from hunger, the weather, sickness, or men willing to use their fellow man like goods to be exported and sold.

    A solution was needed.

    The coasts around the Port were pure malarial swamp-lands and mangroves, even if someone managed to clear them out of foliage and gunk, any foundations placed would simply be swallowed by the muds and quicksands.

    And no one was foolish enough to build inland, into the jungles. Many (like their mother Arda) already considered the few miles which had been cleared out in a ring around the city (to create a line of sight in case of attack and provide soil for what few livestock and crops could survive in the oppressive heat and humidity) to be an incredible risk.

    They had only survived the last visit from the land’s true lords by pure luck, the oldest men and women in the city remembered with fear. Better not test their patience again.

    And so, a third option had been chosen by what passed for leadership in Port Reaver. If the port city could not be expanded, then a new port city was needed.

    (Of course, the idea of moving people into Swamp Town, with its crudely built huts and hovels riddled with termites and slimed with mould beyond recognition, its almost unnaturally permanent stink and its population of debt fleers and cutthroats that would make a pirate feel disgust… No, Swamp Town was for those who choose it and for no one else.)

    A lightly forested outcrop halfway between Port Reaver and Swamp Town quickly became the chosen location, high enough above the waterline to be described as a large cape and to be spared from the marshes around it, with room to spare to build into a proper walled city. And most importantly, no natives had been spotted on it.

    Skeggi, the first human settlement on Lustrian soil, had been a base built by and for Norscan raiders and those willing to work with them; Port Reaver had been born as a pirate den and Swamp Town had been born out of the desperation of criminals on the run. Many other abandoned settlements and camps littered the coastline, but most didn’t even have a name, proof that what civilization existed in the New World did so out of pure luck.

    Sudburg would be the first proper city, even citystate some hoped, to be built on these shores. Many hoped that it would be the first true step to taming Lustria.

    Fools.

    Apparently, the venture of building a new city in the isthmus had sounded profitable enough that those connected to the Old World had made sure to grab the best bites first. An Estalian company had quickly offered to fund and build its ports and peers for free in exchange for the tariffs its exports and imports would create. The Sigmarite Order of the Torch offered to build a proper temple for the burgeoning project, which unlike its predecessors would have a cemetery (What a luxury, her father had long ago sardonically commented).

    Tilean and Bretonian men of import made clear of their intentions to conduct business in the city, especially when promised great benefits for their investments by those doing the actual planning and making an effort like the Welser company or the Lechner brothers.

    Of course, that had been a long process; a city, no matter how well funded, took time to build. But after six months of seeing ships leave filled with workers and building materials alike and (most importantly) seeing said ships return empty and intact to be reloaded, it had seemed that it was finally time to bring in the families, the craftsmen and all others who had not been needed during the first steps of construction.

    The Welsers were one of the few well-established (if anyone could be that in Port Reaver) merchants who had chosen to move to Sudburg with the first wave of immigrants. But it wasn’t a surprise, their father had always been the kind of man to always look for the next great thing for his family.

    Now he was a corpse somewhere behind them, getting consumed by the beasts that roamed the jungle.

    There hadn’t been enough free ships to move people efficiently from Port Reaver to Sudburg, and since a road connecting the two had been planned for the future, the settlers had simply been sent by foot, hoping that they would naturally make or take the path of least resistance. The trip had been expected to take only two days, and a small contingent of men had been sent with it to offer protection, mostly mercenaries and shipless pirates.

    They had been attacked on the morning of the second day, hundreds of monstrous hybrids had jumped out of the bogs and jungles at either side of the caravan.

    There had never been Beastmen in the New World.

    At least, until now.

    It had been a slaughter.

    Volkmar Welser had tried to defend his family, but before he had been able to unsheathe the dagger hanging from his belt, a nude beatsman with the legs of a donkey and two stubby horns sticking out of his bald head had stabbed a cleaver-like blade deep into his chest.

    Irma Welser had been grabbed by a much larger Beastman, one whose head resembled that of a mouflon, by her braided blond hair and carried off back into the jungles. They hadn’t seen her since. They never would again.

    Elma had tried hiding a terrified Roland, hoping that he at least would be spared. But it had been useless, they had been found hiding under a tree by a disfigured warhound and grabbed by the Beastmen, they had cried, kicked and screamed. But at the end they had been thrown into the cell-carriages. They seemed to be the only type of carriage the beastmen employed. Each pulled by an ox-sized beast which resembled a wild boar, dozens of tusks and horns growing out of its body like tumorous growths.

    There were only children and young adolescents on the carriages.

    The adult men had all been slaughtered. The adult women had all been carried off.

    It had been two weeks since the attack, the Beastmen had kept moving non-stop for the entire time, always northwards, always inland. Sometimes small groups would split off to Sigmar knew where or stop to rest only to catch up with the main horde days later.

    They had been given water, always unclean, probably grabbed directly from ponds and lakes around them.

    They had been given only meat to stave off the hunger, always fresh, always raw.

    They did not know where it came from. They didn’t want to know.

    Roland had stopped crying in Elma’s embrace days ago. He remained in a trance-like state, his gaze empty, she had had trouble even getting him to eat and drink when he could stomach it.

    She had learned to sleep on the foul-smelling and always moving cells, but the morning sun always woke her up with its familiar broiling heat.

    This morning, however, had felt different. Usually, as the horde cut its way through the land, the local wildlife fled in terror.

    Today, the only sound came from the grunting and snorting, the stomping and the pushing of their captors.

    The jungle was silent.

    Somewhere in the back of Elma’s mind, she recalled a comment a one-armed retired adventurer doing business with her father had made offhand when little impressionable Roland asked him about his adventures.

    “They rule over those jungles you know? They are its lords. If they want the trees to move aside, they will to the last bush… And if they want silence? If they want silence not a single soul will make a sound.”

    It had been as fast as lightning, the speed of it had made her volt in a way she didn’t think herself capable of anymore. But in the blink of an eye the massive beast of burden pulling the carriage had collapsed and slumped to the side, a massive spear jutting out of its head. A blink later, a javelin stabbed into and through the chest of the beastman who had been holding the reins of the animal. It hadn’t collapsed, the javelin had pierced his chest so deep that it had gotten stuck in the space between the carriage’s bars and locked it in place.

    Suddenly, an enormous wave of brightly coloured bodies sprung out of the jungles surrounding the horde.

    In some ways, it resembled what had happened to the settlers days prior. There were only so many ways one could conduct an ambush.

    But it didn’t feel the same. Whereas the Beastmen had been chaotic and animalistic, hoping to aim and hurt as much as they did to win, delighting in the carnage, these warriors were acting with predatory cunning; each blow, each projectile, aiming to kill in a single strike with the efficiency of a master hunter.

    Lizardmen, she realized.

    The Lords of Lustria.

    The stories, all of them, even the most outlandish tales, were accurate.

    Their scaly hides were colorful, naturally green or blue, and were painted with the brightest colours, which had somehow not impeded their stealth.

    They would have towered over a human warrior had there been any present. They towered over the Beastmen too.

    If what had happened to her people was a slaughter, there were no words for what they were doing to the mutated Beastmen. They butchered them with a simultaneously bestial and mechanical methodology.

    The fight weeks prior had been elongated by the Beastmen’s gleeful hunting of the fleeing humans. This one wasn’t.. Whenever a Beastman broke and tried to flee, it was either cut down, or the ripping of flesh and cries of pain would be heard seconds after they entered the treeline.

    Each beastman fought for himself, trying to save his neck. The lizardmen, the hundreds of them, fought as one, like living constructs who always knew where to stand, who to fight and how to win.

    The Beastmen fought like savages, stabbing and bludgeoning with their crude weapons, those with horns tried to gore when they could, they bit and kicked in fear. The Lizardmen fought with the skill of trained warriors, parrying and striking with their weapons and shields made from gold and pitch-black stone. Even when the beastmen’s attacks hit, their armoured skin would often repel the cut as if a blunt knife was gliding over forged steel.

    When a lizardman swatted with its tail, chests were crushed.

    When a lizardman bit with its saurian maw, it would not, did not, let go, only shredded and swallowed.

    The fight was over in minutes, it was as if a furious god had cleaved through the horde, a single strike to down every single one of the chaos-spawn in an instant.

    Elma watched silently as one of the enormous reptiles walked towards the carriage. This one was even larger than his brethren, his azure body decorated with golden items, painted all over with artistic depictions and arcane symbols with a blood-red pigment which stood in contrast against the putrid blood of the beastmen which stained his enormous mace and shield.

    It looked at them, inspecting the hostages and their condition, as if assessing their very nature. He stared at her, his slit pupils stared deeply into her round ones for a moment which felt eternal.

    There was an inhuman, calculating intelligence in them.

    Suddenly, he grabbed the lock keeping them in bondage with his clawed hand. Then he yanked it. The entire door flew off its hinges alongside the warped lock. It hit the ground with a mighty clang.

    He climbed into the carriage with striking gracility, the metallic and wooden structure of the vehicle groaning under his weight, her fellow prisoners moving aside to allow this ancient lord easy passage, their eyes wide with utter fear..

    He knelt before her, unmoving. A statue made of armoured flesh and decorated with golden totems and charms.

    She couldn’t move either, locked in place by equal amounts of awe and fear.

    Roland stirred, only then did she notice that he had been awake and lucid for the entire fight. Only then did it click for her, it wasn’t her the saurian commander had stared at. It was Roland.

    Her brother moved out of her embrace, she didn’t stop him. Why would she? It would have made no difference. Slowly, cautiously, he extended his arm, his little hand open, like an invitation.

    Eventually, it reached the collosal snout of the lizardmen. The little boy, fascinated, rubbed it like one would a large dog’s or horse’s.

    The lizardman did not move an inch, he merely continued looking inquisitively at them with those unnerving yellow eyes. As if looking for the answer to some old forgotten question.

    Only Fools Wander Into The Jungles. She reminded herself.

    Lest they face the wrath of the Lizardmen. The saying continued.

    There had never been beastmen in the New World.

    And for good reasons.
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2021
  3. Lizards of Renown
    Slann

    Lizards of Renown Herald of Creation

    Messages:
    9,323
    Likes Received:
    23,309
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Nice one!

    You should join us in the next short story competition!!! :)
     
  4. Mr.Crocodile
    Saurus

    Mr.Crocodile Active Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    234
    Trophy Points:
    33
    I would love to, but I'm already worikng in various long projects (one of which is a long story about the Lizardmen/Lustria I'm drafting right now), so I may be too hyperfixated to participate.
    But I surely will try!
     
  5. Paradoxical Pacifism
    Skink Chief

    Paradoxical Pacifism Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,621
    Likes Received:
    3,258
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Saw this beauty of a story on AO3 some time ago and it's pretty cool to see you're joining the ranks of LO!
     
    Mr.Crocodile likes this.
  6. Mr.Crocodile
    Saurus

    Mr.Crocodile Active Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    234
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Thank you so much for the kind words!
     
    Lizards of Renown likes this.
  7. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,495
    Likes Received:
    25,854
    Trophy Points:
    113
    yep, we host a comp every three months, and it would be great if you will able to join it sooner or later.
     
    Mr.Crocodile likes this.
  8. Paul1748
    Saurus

    Paul1748 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    65
    Likes Received:
    362
    Trophy Points:
    53
    This is amazing, love the way you depict the Lizardmen. Can't wait to see the long story you are working on.
     
    Mr.Crocodile, Aginor and Killer Angel like this.
  9. Mr.Crocodile
    Saurus

    Mr.Crocodile Active Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    234
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Thank you so much for the compliment!
    By the way, I love your animations, I've showed them off to a lot of my friends!
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2021
  10. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

    Messages:
    12,234
    Likes Received:
    20,049
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I like your style a lot!
    Looking forward to more. :)
     
    Mr.Crocodile likes this.
  11. Mr.Crocodile
    Saurus

    Mr.Crocodile Active Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    234
    Trophy Points:
    33
    Thank you so much!
    With how warmly this story has been received, I feel like it is only just for me to share some info around this future project of mine.

    The story, tentatively titled (subject to change) "Herald of the Old Ones" will in fact be an indirect sequel to this one.
    The story will follow an ensemble cast of characters lead by a young adult Ronald in their quests, adventures and battles across Lustria (and perhaps even beyond).

    With Herald, I hope to explore many elements of Lizardmen culture and themes such as religion and faith. All of this with the cherry on top that is my favorite topic: Expansive world building!
     
  12. Aginor
    Slann

    Aginor Fifth Spawning Staff Member

    Messages:
    12,234
    Likes Received:
    20,049
    Trophy Points:
    113
    That sounds pretty great!
    I think portraying the Lizardmen/Seraphon (and also the other Warhammer races) as seen from the perspective of a in-universe human is such a fun concept.
    Which is the reason why I use that technique in my currently running story (The First and the Last, posted episodically in this forum) as well.
     
    Mr.Crocodile likes this.
  13. Mr.Crocodile
    Saurus

    Mr.Crocodile Active Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    234
    Trophy Points:
    33
    I'll be sure to check it out in the future!
     
    Aginor likes this.
  14. Killer Angel
    Slann

    Killer Angel Prophet of the Stars Staff Member

    Messages:
    11,495
    Likes Received:
    25,854
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I'm already interested! :)
     
    Mr.Crocodile likes this.
  15. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,053
    Likes Received:
    16,783
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Reminder to read this story ;)

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
    Mr.Crocodile likes this.
  16. Mr.Crocodile
    Saurus

    Mr.Crocodile Active Member

    Messages:
    66
    Likes Received:
    234
    Trophy Points:
    33
    There's no better time than right now ;)
     
    Imrahil likes this.
  17. Imrahil
    Slann

    Imrahil Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,053
    Likes Received:
    16,783
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Well, I think that the boss says otherwise :p

    Grrr, Imrahil
     
    Mr.Crocodile likes this.

Share This Page