Limbo: Prologue

IoRez's picture


He stepped forward again and again through the grey dust and mist. It had been a poor decision indeed to venture into the grey lands. So he had been told countless times by the elders. They had all warned him away, forbidden the venture.

And yet here he was, returning. He had flouted the rules and found his own way into what many deer call “the phantom zone”, and then only in superstitious whispers. Yorres now knew that place by its true name, Limbo, and had seen more than he cared to of its shapeless, featureless, ashen-clay earth that cracked and sent little poufs of fine dust into the air with his every step. He was weary from his long journey, and cast a tentative glance backward. He saw only the deep, dry fog that surrounded him on all sides, and picked up his pace. He had no desire to meet the true inhabitants of this place.

At that moment he realized that he could just make out the shape of trees. The ashen clay beneath him gave way to brown and then green grass. The fog before and around him were suddenly swept away by the breeze. He looked behind him once more and saw only birches. Yorres was in the Forest again. It was as though he’d never left.

Instinctively, he sniffed the air: autumn, dawn, unfamiliar deer. How long had he been away? Queze had told him time might become slippery once past the veil. He needed to know how much time had passed, and soon, but one look at his coat showed a far more pressing matter – he was absolutely coated with the flat-grey soot of that wretched place. It was caked around the edges of his eyes and mouth, and layered thickly in his fur.

“This is no way for me to appear on my return,” he said aloud to himself. His voice cracked and trembled, like an old deer, and it startled him. Food and water, he thought. It has been an age since I tasted food or water! He quickly trotted to a nearby tree, which was dotted with small black mushrooms. On another occasion, Yorres would likely have passed these particular mushrooms by without a second glance – they were a little overripe and bitter – but now he ate them one and all, all the way to the bark of the tree. Done with that, he bent his neck and picked up a particularly green looking pinecone that another deer had apparently briefly chewed on and then lost interest. He ate that too, all at once, crunching and swallowing.

He stopped suddenly, catching a scent that was familiar, but not at all welcome. It was the enormous creature Bylah, who some deer were foolish enough to believe was just another stag. Yorres held his breath and stood motionless, silent. Surely this one, the eater of planets, would know the smell of the grey lands, would recognize them at once. Yorres seriously doubted the sharp-toothed old monster would approve of his hedge-magicking his way into an immortal realm. He kicked up his hooves, tired though he was, and ran towards the pond. Bylah’s scent wavered and then vanished behind him.

He wasted no time getting to the water’s edge, passing a rather large group of fawns play-sparring nearby. He recognized none of them, which meant he had been absent at least three seasons, possibly a year. He splashed into the water, startling a clutch of purple dragonflies. Gods, what a mercy the cool water and mud felt to his tired hooves! He stooped and drank, long and deeply.

That accomplished, he slowly walked past the small footbridge. It was a thing made by the man-people, so the oracle had said. Those people were gone from this place now, but they had made things before the deer had come here, Yorres thought to himself. He had seen one, a female child, and many moons ago. And there was an image, a bas relief on a flat, low stone near the Ename ruins that showed one of them being hurt. The oracle had said that the men things had made that as well, but that it had come separately to the Forest after it had been built in another world. It was all very difficult to correlate, even for Yorres, who was a student in such matters. He had scarcely thought about any of that until now. His head still rang with the Prophecy.

The damned Prophecy. He shuddered at its enormity.

Yorres finally reached the crying idol (which had not been made by the men things, said the oracle, but had been placed by the Gods themselves). Slowly, he made his way under the frigid torrent of water. The grey soot covering him was washed away in rivulets, exposing his black-and-white coat for the first time in ages. It fell to the crystal pool beneath him, briefly clouding the water before vanishing much like the fog had before the wind. He sat on the pool’s bottom, completely submerging himself to his chin, which just touched the surface.

He noticed some things floating on the water, something dead and dried out, like old leaves. He squinted and then laughed when he recognized them as the remains of what seemed century-old poppies. The same ones he had worn into Limbo on the night of the full moon. He stood, shaking his antlers and coat vigorously. Only once he was sure that he was cleansed of all remnants of his journey did he climb the steep embankment and shake himself dry.

As he was stooping over the bed of poppies behind the idol, dressing his antlers among the most fragrant patches, he heard a voice calling his name.

Continue to Chapter One
Kaoori's picture

I'm waiting for more! ^^

I'm waiting for more! ^^
Pegasicorn's picture

This has my curiosity piqued.

This has my curiosity piqued.

amazing already!

amazing already!
Seed's picture

Very cool prologue ^^

Very cool prologue ^^
Ephra's picture

Love it!

Love it! Laughing out loud
IoRez's picture

More to come!

More to come!
Flyra's picture

Ohh, love it already! 8D You

Ohh, love it already! 8D You have an explicit way of writing. Wonderful!
f l y r a b l o g avatar by tinkee, sig by Quamar
Ravyn's picture

*screams* hshhdh; You're

*screams*
hshhdh;
You're amazing.
Zergarikiaka's picture

You are such an amazing

You are such an amazing writer!
Swifttail's picture

...from the pic, I can tell

...from the pic, I can tell you know how to get there in-forest. I'd love to know. Share?
And this story ish epic winz. Laughing out loud

Deviantart|Bio
Signature/avatar are WIP.
IoRez's picture

The stroy will reveal all,

The stroy will reveal all, but there are a couple of places on the map where one can achieve this effect..
Kaoori's picture

I hope you finish this.

I hope you finish this.