Other Literature A World Called Terra - History and Short Stories

Discussion in 'Terraria Literature and Music' started by PaperLaur, Apr 14, 2016.

  1. PaperLaur

    PaperLaur Spazmatism

    ~A World Called Terra~
    [ short stories from the past and present of the playground of gods and heroes ]

    ~

    HEY GUYS I'M BACK DID YOU MISS ME nobody missed me.

    Uh, this is going to be a sort of collection of my oneshots and scenes based on Terraria, including its lore/mythology, gameplay mechanics, NPCs, and even elements of a regular playthrough. Other characters and interactions will be included, not just the history--and everything from horror to comedy may show up. Basically, this is a compendium for the things I write when I'm not writing other things, so a huge variety of junk. It's my writing junk drawer with a fancy name.

    The lore and mythology used here is standard throughout my stories. Some "present" events take place in various different timelines.

    Some of the stories I'll be posting here coincide with and are supplements to my main story The Twins: Test of Redemption. Characters and places seen in that story may come up here from time to time, and serve as off-story or backstory-related oneshots I sometimes write when trying to get a feel for the characters. I'll warn when this happens. Still debating whether to put those here or on Tumblr -shrug-

    Hope you enjoy! Comments, feedback, suggestions, and requests are welcome!

    ~
    Okay, this one wound up being more of a history/myth/lore description than an actual writing thing, but here's me ideavomitting my general backstory for the world of Terraria.

    It has been so long since Terra was originally inhabited that the Terrarians tend to forget their planet was once a lonely rock floating in space--and a quite unlucky one at that.

    A lone planet spinning around a single bright sun, just far enough away to allow the little rock to support water, and support life. Over time, the place was struck with everything from meteors to entire other planets, solar storms, turbulent seizmic activity on the planet's surface. It all granted the little planet rather interesting topography--full of high mountains and deep trenches created by the craters, breaking up into islands where land rose above the sea level, and oceans where it didn't. In fact, almost the whole place became islands of some variety or other, with very little dry land bridging gaps between them.

    In addition, the many larger objects that had collided broke off into smaller pieces. Terra was lucky enough to gain a set of three moons--one gray, one orange, one greenish and ringed with dust, in decreasing sizes. These moons' orbits had always been rather strange, even before they were governed--they never crossed each other, and anyone one island tended to only be able to catch one at a time.

    Eventually, the great amount of activity began to settle. Other space rocks took their place in the system. The oceans stopped roaring and the land of the various islands settled, beginning to grow in that wild sort of way that occurs in a garden with no one to tend it.

    And then, they came.

    No one on Terra today knows where they came from, though another planet is the best guess. Regardless, they were beyond Terrarian comprehension, and they are known to the few who dare study their mysteries and horrifying secrets as the True Elder Gods--or the True Elders, for those who can't be bothered to use three separate words.

    There were very, very few of these gods, only one of whom still exists today. Perhaps none of the rest of their kind saw any promise in the planet. But five did, and took charge of various elements of the world.

    Tonatrahlo, of the Sun.

    Iahtankhalu, of the Moons--who eventually became known as the Moon Lord.

    Cthulhu, of the Dark.

    Horhonuth, of the Light

    Gaesthadehs, of the Earth and Underground.

    They fought, and through their fight, found balance. In an effort to populate this world and expand their interplanetary power and dominion, each began creating races to spread their influence. Most of their efforts wound up concentrating in one field or other, which is how the few who look for them have designated and named the nameless beings.

    The Lihzahrd were ean early attempt by Gaesthadehs to create a race for itself to balance the others' antics. Then came humans from the same True Elder. The Corruption was spread by Cthulhu and Iahtankhalu in unison, and Horhonuth created the Hallow in a misguided attempt to brighten the world. They also attempted to create habitable area near the planet's core, resulting in what would later become the Underworld. Tonatrahlo made the Floating Islands, and a now-extinct "cloud people" who once lived there.

    A great war broke out between all of them when their conflict became too intense. In this battle, a few of them were killed--though none held such a grisly 'death' as Cthulhu, who keeled over onto an entire island and infected it with his blood. Truly, his "self" was not even dead--he'd split into several other more minor gods, the first of the Elder Gods (though some of the Lesser Gods created from these first remains are often mistakenly associated with him by Terrarians, as he was, and is, still greatly feared.) Horhonuth died and broke apart as well, though continued the fight through the Hallow, causing the creatures to viciously attack everything in sight.

    With no end to the remaining combatants in sight, with the Moon Lord's strength causing chaos innumerable in rage over the fate of his brother, Gaesthadehs gathered all the power of its creatures and the power within the core of its dominion's lava flows, and broke the remaining True Elders, even itself, apart into lesser entities.

    The Elder Gods as they are called today often take forms that somehow resemble the thing--or at least part of the thing--they were created from, as do the various Lesser Gods that the Elders created afterward. Few of them defy this and decide to allow their 'souls' to inhabit something else inanimate, created and built by them to their own specifications, if they even require a physical form. These forms are often terrifying and incomprehensible to the ordinary citizens of Terra.

    It is said that the Elder and Lesser Gods commune on some form of spiritual plane, and all are said to have the ability to, to some extent, manipulate the souls of other beings for their own gain--most commonly those beings associated with their patron True Elder. Luckily for Terra, most of them spend their time bickering amongst themselves and, as Gaesthadehs intended, not muck up the world and the people on it too badly, providing a sense of balance.

    However, over time, the broken pieces of the Moon Lord found each other and decided to fuse together into one soul. The Moon Lord was reborn, the only living True Elder, the most powerful thing on or off of Terra. It held domain over the moons of the world, over night, over chaos. It spread the Crimson and Corruption in order to aid its fallen brother. It raised the dead constantly, and sent facsimiles of its own eyes to torment the humans.

    This was, quite clearly, a problem.

    The Elder Gods gathered together, and, deciding that the earth and underground were the elements of balance, took parts of themselves and fused them into a creature in the Underworld that could lock away the wrathful souls of the Moon Lord's minions, and hopefully get rid of the Hallow, Crimson, and Corruption entirely.

    It succeeded in sealing the former, but not the latter two. The Moon Lord would not have it.

    And so, the world is as it is today. Humans have populated the islands and thrived, the Lihzahrd fled to their original jungle home and built a temple underground waiting for the True Elders' return, the Wall of Flesh (as the humans have taken to calling it) holds back the Moon Lord's true power and the Corruption and Crimson spread, and the Moon Lord waits, scheming.

    It is said that someone will appear who can defeat the True Elder. Who will go through enormous trials and defeat the Wall to prove they can face the spirits contained.

    A great hero.

    Player, that hero is you.

    No, the names other than Cthulhu aren't just random keysmashing. There's method. If anyone can figure out said method you get a virtual cookie, but it's probably impossible considering the letters I added.

    NAVIGATION WILL GO HERE EVENTUALLY WHEN I HAVE MORE THINGS. WHICH I WILL.
     
  2. PaperLaur

    PaperLaur Spazmatism

    [ Saved because I know I'll need it. Please don't kill me. ]
     
  3. I love backstory, and as always, your writing is impeccable. I can't wait to see what else is revealed here!
     
    PaperLaur likes this.
  4. PaperLaur

    PaperLaur Spazmatism

    ^Thank ya! I plan to avoid direct ToR spoilers, but some may relate back to it or be kind of a "well now you know this is a thing, this is HOW it became a thing or details on what happened" deal.

    Now here is my backstory for the Guide. For those who know ToR, consider this Kyle. For those who don't...just take a good, long look at any guide in your world...

    Terra was not an easy place to live.

    Even now, with the Elder Gods having pulled out of daily affairs and the creatures of the planet left to their own devices, there were still issues.

    The Hallow would lure in visitors with its inviting appearance, and then the Light God Horhonuth's lingering fighting spirit living within the creatures would viciously cut them down.

    The Corruption continued a slow spread, infecting anything it touched, mutating any living things that dared fall into its clutches.

    The Crimson--the bloody remains of Cthulhu--was also spreading in a similar way, aided by the Moon Lord as a plan for revenge for his fallen brother.

    Great and terrible creatures roamed the lands; vicious Devourers and Corruptors; feral Ichor Stickers and Crawlers; manic Pixies and Gastropods. Even the demons of the Underworld would occasionally sneak their ways up into mineshafts and kill humans whose bases rested beneath the surface.

    Yet humanity lived on, however encumbered. There were occasional wars with the goblins, but these were seen as non-threats. The Lihzahrd had left to hide underground, and granted the jungle great powers that made it dangerous for anyone to live there.

    However, even if humans were living...there were fewer and fewer of them.

    More and more would become mutated by the Corruption and Crimson, or driven into a kind of frenzied madness by the Hallow, if they were not brutally killed. More and more left for new islands and were never seen again. They became more focused on the dangerous territories and merely surviving, causing the goblins to become ever more threatening even with them dealing with similar issues. Blood Moons were nigh-constant, as were brutal Solar Eclipses--both orchestrated by the Moon Lord himself to attempt to wipe out humanity and weaken the Elder Gods.

    The gods knew something had to be done.

    Every being has a soul. A "self". It may be more or less tied to their physical containers, depending on race--humans are very tied to their physicality, while gods are not and tend to move between vessels very freely.

    If the souls of at least the strongest of the monsters could be sealed, humanity would have a chance, and balance might be maintained.

    And so the gods did the best they could. They used pieces of themselves to create a consciousness that would be able to oversee these spirits and keep watch over the land near the core of the world, where some extra dark souls had to be stored. They sealed the spirits into once-living matter--of demons and people alike who had wandered too deep. And they bound the wretched amalgamation together with the consciousness they had created from themselves.

    The Wall of Flesh, as we call it today, is not mindless.

    Indeed, it has kept up its duty for longer than humanity can properly remember. It stopped demonic attacks on human miners and villages. It kept the ancient spirits of light and dark contained.

    But its form was not mobile, and the gods were concerned that remaining Corruption or Crimson could spread into its territory. They were concerned that the amount of souls contained would break the consciousness, or cause it to go rogue. And if it did, it held an immense amount of power. The gods needed to know the being they had created was truly devoted to balance.

    ...

    So much time has passed that the world has forgotten the man's original name. Even he himself cannot recall the moniker his parents gave him at birth, though he does believe he still uses it from time to time, in one life or another, among all the others he's picked and chosen over time.

    He was stubborn. Determined. Keeping on and continuing to fight for the forest and the purity even after his parents and most of those he'd known were slain. A young man in his mid-twenties with flaxen hair and piercing blue eyes, who struggled to keep up a positive outlook on the world in spite of the horrors he had seen. He took time to learn about the world in the hopes of being able to combat the forces toying with it. He was one of the first humans in millennia to try and study the True Elders directly, and who was still sane after what he'd found.

    He was truly fighting for balance.

    They chose him.

    ...

    One night as he was sleeping, a strange sensation came over his body. It was like a pulling from all directions, a thousand voices whispering in his head in a language he couldn't understand, something not meant for the ears of mere mortals. He felt as if he was being lifted. The strange feeling of being outside himself--a pure vulnerability few humans experience in their lifetimes.

    He did not truly understand.

    The voices became clearer and clearer as he was guided along by them to some place he'd never even imagined. No, not a place...Where he was going took up no physical space. He wasn't even moving in a proper, physical way, he realized. It was some way his senses couldn't perceive properly, because he no longer had access to.

    He could not see, but he knew when he was there. The voices were their loudest, and he felt as if a thousand eyes were watching him.

    "Where am I?"

    He didn't speak as one would properly understand it, but the sentiment of his words released into this strange plane, and the others seemed to understand.

    One of the voices "spoke" directly to him; still impossible to physically understand, but now intending the man to understand the meaning of its words, which he did.

    "You have been chosen."

    "Why? For what?"

    "You shall be the counterweight."

    "...I don't understand. Who are you--what are you? What is this?"

    Sudden information flooded into his soul, and he knew all--he was in the presence of the Elder Gods on their plane. They needed him.

    "Why me?"

    "You fight for balance...We must have a vessel...a counter...one who will remain pure...one who may move out of harm's way...one who will be able to aid a hero one day, in carrying out the rituals needed to prove they may save this planet. You will help with our seal..."

    "How?"

    He didn't want this world to be any more ravaged than it already was--he was willing to help, desperately wanted to help, so that no one would have to go through the sorrows he'd seen and experienced. He didn't know who this 'hero' was or what that entailed, but he knew he wasn't strong enough to fight off all the evil in his world on his own. If someone could do that...he'd do anything he could.

    "We must bind your soul..."

    "Wh-what?"
    He didn't like the way that sounded.

    "Bind your soul to the guardian of the spirits. You will balance each other. You will prevent each other from crossing lines you should not."

    "Wait, is this thing going to be living in my soul?"

    "Not quite. Your souls will be inextricably tied to each other. You will be aware of each other, always, even as you go on in your own separate occupations."

    He was starting to get nervous. "What is this thing, anyway?"

    Another stab of information. Fear rushed through him. A mortal fear of Hell that had begun long before he'd been born.

    "D-do I get a choice...?"

    He didn't want to be linked to that place, the place full of horrors so grotesque that legends said any mortal who had made it there never returned because they'd run their own weapon through their chest in an attempt to escape.

    "You will have life and youth eternal until the ritual is complete."

    "Is that a no?"

    "Yes, that is a no. You have been chosen."

    "...What's this ritual? What happens to me after that?"

    He saw a vision, then. A small doll that looked like him. A light blue pinprick of a soul within, tied with a thin, luminescent string to both high above and deep underground, to something pulsing a dark purple.

    "Your soul shall be tied to an object as well. The hero must sacrifice this--you--if they feel they are ready."

    The doll fell, fell, fell, until catching on fire and disintegrating into ash. The blue light went out, and the string broke and flew back towards the purple light, which grew brighter.

    "You will die, instantly. And our guardian will be properly released."

    A loud, gargling roar from the source of the light, and something shot up out of it.

    If he could have screamed, he would have.

    It was too horrifying to describe in words.

    The elders didn't seem to care, continuing. "If the hero may break its body, the spirits will be released, and you may rest. If it cannot, you will be reincarnated into a body similar to your own, with your memories intact, in case the hero needs more guidance, another attempt...or was not truly the hero we sought after all, and fell in battle."

    The vision faded away from his consciousness, leaving him in frightful darkness once more. He couldn't burn out the image of the thing he'd seen. He doubted he'd ever be able to.

    "I...I'm afraid..."

    "You will become used to it in time. This is your destiny."

    The voices spoke once more, though not to him. He did not understand the words this time, but apparently, they'd been calling to something else--another presence that now joined them. It was quiet and burning and filled with a million voices and knowledge from the gods that man was not meant to know. It held flashes of memory, of horrible landscapes and mutilated bodies and the screams of damned men. It held no empathy. Just its duty.

    Already, he shied away from it, but he could not flee--the gods prevented him.

    There was no escape.

    "Are you prepared..."

    "No, no, I'm not, please, please spare me...! I don't want to...!"

    Thoughts of his world's safety had left him at the sheer disgust and panic that now flared from his soul. He didn't want to live forever, just long enough to die peacefully. He wanted to help but he didn't want this, he didn't want that residing inside of him, he wanted to forget, forget about everything that had happened, wake up from this nightmare.

    But a single thought stopped his racing consciousness.

    A hero to ensure future generations would be safe.

    That no one else would meet the fate he was being bound to.

    And he stopped fighting and allowed the gods to lead him, resigned.

    He could not recall what happened after that, other than searing, indescribable pain, sickness, screaming, and laughter--and that unearthly, gargling cry of the beast that would share his soul.

    ...

    He knew when he awoke that he was different. His train of thought had gone a bit strange, he'd remember things he'd never seen. He knew things he didn't before--shouldn't have, both benign and terrible. Strange intrusive thoughts. The voice of the resting Lesser God's consciousness.

    And he was being pulled. He knew what to at once--someone, anyone who might be able to fulfil the criteria and liberate the world. He was compelled to go to the person and aid them in ensuring his death.

    Over the next thousand years, he grew to desire it.

    Sure, he tried to pretend. He tried to be normal. But his dreams were truly haunted. He'd sleepwalk and allow the creatures of the night into a base, killing a hero on one occasion and many other innocent citizens. He was accused, hated, called useless, and yet still he struggled to maintain the positive aura he'd once had, that good attitude, and strived to remain useful. He could forget entirely some days and be a normal guy. It was as the gods said--he got used to it and functioned as best he could.

    Even as he saw potential hero after potential hero die, and began to despair that this goal of the gods--that the prophecy that had begun to spread, something only he deeply knew out of all the humans--would ever be accomplished.

    He just wanted someone to be strong enough to save their world.

    There were a couple of times where the hero would make it to the Underworld, where he'd say his goodbyes, would feel extreme burning pain and fall into a state of suspended existence as he had on the night the gods had spoken to him. But he'd always, always come back.

    He used a different name for every different hero, every different life.

    Brian, Andrew, Garrett, Kevin, Maxwell, the list went on.

    But one name remained with him. Who he was. What he had become. All he had left.

    He was the Guide.

    Kinda spoopy, I know. I was listening to spooky music while writing this to get a better feel.
     
  5. PaperLaur

    PaperLaur Spazmatism

    Long time no see.

    This is the story of the first meeting of a guide and a dryad, as well as some world lore regarding the Underworld's guardian, the Jungle, and the Hallow.

    How many times had it been by now, that he'd gone through the same pattern?

    Heroes came and heroes fell, not one strong enough to make it all the way; to defeat the guardian, to free him from his curse, to release the spirits of light and dark. By now, he'd seen many try and fail. And he was tired, and sad, and a bit jealous.

    Even the clothier--who also had a deal with a Lesser God--could at least have some semblance of freedom, at least for a while, even if when the hero died, his contract was to return to the dungeon to wait for another. A test of character and strength, of the hero's worthiness to face a new danger; just like hell's guardian, in a way.

    The clothier tried to comfort him when he could, but truly, they weren't the same. And so he moved on alone, becoming attached to every hero who came despite his better judgement, feeling a little piece of what humanity he had left dying at the same time as each hero did.

    After waiting so long, he could understand the underworld guardian's own bitterness--if it could be called that. Whatever 'emotions' had by the gods, even the lesser ones, were not things to be understood by mortal men--and in the end, he was only human.

    Morning came on another morning of a familiar cycle, and the man who called himself the Guide was up before the sun completely lit the land, before the armies of the undead had completely retreated for the night. This was usual for him, but as he went to the bottom floor of their small wooden 'hotel' of a base, he could see the merchant and the nurse already up--something decidedly unusual. Though not on a night like this, he supposed, as he waved to them disinterestedly and headed for the door.

    No one in any given base ever got much sleep on a night the hero brawled with the Eye of Cthulhu.

    Maybe it was the first indication for some of them of the true nature and horrors of this land and the gods that inhabited it. He didn't know.

    The Guide peered out through the holes in the door to make sure the land was bright enough to deter the creatures of the night, before slipping out into the morning. He shut the door behind him, leaning his back against the wooden wall beside the door and staring up to the sky without really seeing it, contemplating things.

    Honestly, he was proud of this hero--a young lady taking the path of a mage, quiet but intelligent, fiercely independent--someone he didn't doubt could make the very gods listen when she spoke, her few words that powerful when they did come. She'd prepared for her duel for some time, worried that she wasn't going to be able to defeat the being she was about to summon. But as he'd expected, she slayed the Eye easily, and with plenty of time and energy to spare.

    Now came the start of the next part of the pattern. He should hear her coming over the horizon soon enough. They always came the day after the hero had proved their strength...

    "Who are you?"


    Surprisingly enough, the voice made a man who'd thought he'd seen everything jump in alarm, whipping his head around to see the source and throwing a hand over his heart. He hadn't heard a thing, and he liked to think he could hear a bat's wings at twenty yards!

    "Gods above, you scared me."

    "Who. Are. You."

    This was certainly the woman he'd been expecting--that was obvious from the green hair and rather scant clothing of leaves. Though he couldn't help but notice a...difference in this woman that gave him slight pause, and he tilted his head, looking her over.

    Her hair was pulled back into a tight braid, laced with flowers and vines as the hair of most dryads were, though much more plain and practical. Her leaf-made clothes, too, seemed more for practicality and modesty than for decoration.

    And her eyes were different from any dryad he'd seen. Instead of purple, they were the most bright, vibrant green he'd ever seen on anyone before, dryad or no.

    The dryad must've noticed him staring, as her eyes narrowed and she raised what looked to be a Staff of Regrowth in front of her like a weapon.

    "You are not the hero. Who are you, and where are they?"

    "Oh--oh! Sorry--!" He found himself stammering a bit, glancing away and back towards the door, "I'm--ah--I'm their Guide, you know about us, right? The one who's supposed to know everything."

    He managed a quick flash of a smile, but the look of death in her eyes immediately caused it to fade. "...uh..." What name was he going by this time? It took him a second to remember. "...Connor. Connor's my name."

    "...Alalia."

    "Alalia! Yes! Good to meet you! I figured you'd be coming any day now, considering the--"

    "Where are they."

    "Th--the hero! Right, they're gonna be right in here, but I dunno if they're getting some rest from last night...heh..."

    He positively shrank under her gaze (something at the back of his soul seemed to be scoffing at his cowardice, but he ignored it as usual), sliding back towards the door and fumbling for the handle. He managed to open it inwards after an attempt or two, forcing a smile and gesturing for the dryad to come in. She didn't even glance his way as she walked in and headed upstairs, presumably to one of the extra temporary rooms the hero had prepared in case anyone else would be moving in.

    The Guide found himself staring after her as she left, with a look that was a mix of puzzlement and indignation. Most of the dryads he'd met, while not exactly talkative, were significantly more polite than this. And the way she'd glared at him...

    He was brought from his thoughts by the Nurse scoffing. "You don't look so good over there, Mr. Security."

    Ah...that nickname made him wince. She'd started calling him that after one time his sleepwalking had gotten him outside...and left the door open for zombies. "I'm fine," he grumbled, running a hand through his hair, "Uh...I think I'm gonna go take a nap or read or...something. Can you tell her that the dryad's arrived when she comes down?"

    He didn't wait for an answer, heading for the stairs with a certain apprehension clouding his mind.

    The way she'd glared at him...it felt as if she'd been staring into his soul.

    And his soul was a real piece of work, given his circumstances.

    -:-:-​

    He'd helped the hero make heads or tails of the ore she'd gathered from the body of the great eye she'd fought, but other than that, the Guide did little for the rest of the day aside from reading in his room. He'd learned very early on that this group wasn't really one he could be too social with--another set of vendors that disliked him, which was pretty typical. He'd make smalltalk if the group was reasonably accepting of it, but after some past incidents, he didn't like taking his chances with it. At least the hero seemed somewhat appreciative of him--and she knew where to find him if she needed his help.

    No, this was one of those groups he needed to stay out of the way of. No need to get under people's feet and risk irritating them. He'd learned that doing something like that could cause...problems.

    The Guide had also been wanting to avoid the dryad Alalia and her piercing gaze--it was a little bit too much for him to handle at the moment. Dryads could be wildcards with how they reacted to him, he knew, but it seemed as if this one had been downright hostile towards him...

    It was sunset, and the Guide was reading a book on Terra's magical weaponry when his door was kicked open. Jumping a bit in his seat, he looked up, adjusting his glasses on his nose only to find the one person he'd hoped wouldn't come looking for him. He winced, unconsciously holding up the thick book as if to shield himself.

    "I demand to know what you are." Alalia's eyes were narrowed dangerously, and the staff was back in her hand. She had that analyzing gaze that made him uncomfortable again.

    Guide shifted back in his chair, blinking several times. "What I am? I'm--I'm a Guide, I told you!"

    She bared her teeth at him, "Your aura smells of brimstone and rotting flesh. You're not Terrarian. What are you."

    Oh, that explained it...but wait, since when could people smell it on him? Guide set down his book and stood up, backing up a couple of steps. Alalia moved forward, standing between him and the door.

    "I-it does?" he asked, stalling, "I didn't know it smelled...?"

    She rolled her eyes, "It is not a smell as you understand it. It's a sense. All Terrarians can perceive it, and any mage can feel it coming off of you in waves."

    "Any mage?...That...explains a lot..."

    No one had ever told him that. The clothier had just sort of come up to him one day asking if he too was cursed, but he hadn't thought of how the older man had known to guess about it. And it explained why everyone seemed to immediately take a dislike to them, if they could somehow feel the aura of...that coming off of him.

    "Answer me!" He jumped again, staring at Alalia in alarm as she approached with her staff. "Why am I feeling this aura from you?!"

    He held up his hands, knowing he couldn't delay answering any longer. Usually, he only told the hero about this when the time came--he'd never told another one of the vendors, aside from the clothier.

    "Okay, okay, I'll tell you. I'm completely Terrarian, I swear, I'm not a monster or anything! Some people think I am but I'm not! It's--augh--it's complicated, j-just...just put that down and I'll explain everything, all right?"

    Alalia hesitated for a moment, staring into his eyes as if trying to gauge his sincerity. Everything inside of him was telling him to look away, but somehow, he stood his ground, until she shut her eyes and nodded, allowing the staff to clatter to the ground and showing her empty palms.

    "...All right, 'Connor'. Tell me."

    Guide bit his lip, moving to the table in his room and pulling out his extra chair for her. At her confused look, he gave a weak, awkward, nervous smile.

    "Er...you might want to sit down. It's a bit of a long story."

    And maybe it'll stop you from trying to strangle me as soon as I tell it...

    -:-:-​

    And he explained everything, as he had promised; how he had been chosen by the Elder Gods as a middle-man and mortal anchor for the guardian of Hell itself, how said guardian's soul was now irrevocably linked to his own and that's where the aura was coming from. He explained how he'd been doing his job for decades or even centuries by now, guiding the would-be prophesied ones until they succeeded or fell in their great battle with the Lesser God in the belly of the earth to test their ability to face what came next--and that in the end, his fate was to die, or be reborn again to guide another until one succeeded and was deemed worthy to face the true power of the ancient armies of the Lord of the Moon. And only then, he could rest.

    He avoided looking at her as much as possible while telling his tale, but the glances he did take showed little--Alalia's expression remained stoic and neutral throughout, and it made him nervous. Did she not believe him? Did she think he actually was the demon itself?

    "...I know it sounds crazy, but...anything involving the gods kind of gets weird," he finished with an anxious half-smile, "I mean, you're an emissary of the gods in your own way, right? You're magic."

    Alalia frowned, and looked out the window. It had long since fallen dark, though the full moon lit the world outside well enough to see the zombies shambling into the walls and the demon eyes occasionally smacking into trees outside.

    "I...I serve only the jungle. Not the gods."

    Guide nodded slowly, "So you're...in some way, a descendant of the True Elder of nature? You know--that one that the Lihzahrdian people were worshipping until the war..."

    She looked back at him and raised an eyebrow. "How do you know this?"

    "Oh, er...like I said, it's kinda my job to know everything." He shrugged weakly.

    Alalia shifted in her seat, huffing a bit through her nose before falling silent. The awkward moment stretched on for what felt like an hour to Guide before she spoke again.

    "We served the jungle and the Hallowed Land. They were our allies. We both sought to purify the world. The Keeper of the Underworld took the Hallowed Land away from us."

    "What?"

    "I thought you knew everything." She looked back to him and rolled her eyes, though her expression was less harsh now. "...With the sealing of the Moon Lord's army of spirits, there was also an attempt to seal the Corruption and Crimson...This is why it does not spread nearly as fast as it did in old times."

    "I understand. But what does this have to do with the Hallow?"

    She winced, gaze dropping to the table. "The Hallowed Lands were seen as...an equal and opposite force to the corrupted places. It was judged that they needed to be eradicated to provide true balance, even if we all opposed."

    "Oh..." That kind of explained why she'd reacted so badly to him. He rubbed the back of his neck. "But as far as I know, it doesn't exist anymore, and the corrupted lands still do."

    "An oversight. The Elder Gods attempted to seal all of those corrupted places away, as well as all of the Hallowed Lands. They succeeded in the latter, but the former was too strong...The land vanished, driving the creatures there into a panic before they all eventually...died off, their souls joining all the others in the Underworld." She folded her arms over her chest, closing her eyes. "The jungle lost a land of valuable allies that day, as well as safety--we'd had an agreement that the Hallowed Lands would not encroach on our jungle and would protect us from the spreading corruption if it were to ever reach us, in exchange for our own help and resources...The corrupted lands could very well consume the jungle as easily as the pure forests, if they came near. And nature's protectors would be lost...Us, the Lihzahrdians...even our jungle's own guardians would grow ill and die."

    Guide nodded, staring down at his lap. He'd heard of the ancient Lihzahrd people, but had thought the'd all holed up in their temple and had died there...He'd heard of the Hallowed Lands as well, of course he had. But he hadn't realized it had been quite this...serious.

    "...I am sorry."

    Guide blinked, looking up. "What?"

    "This is not your fault. You are a victim of the Elder Gods just as we are. I had thought you were the guardian itself."

    "You wouldn't be the first."

    "And...we have a common goal. To see the Moon Lord defeated, and to see a return of our land to its former glory."

    He nodded, solemnly. "That's all I want. I just want all this fighting and monster craziness to end. If I have to go through all this to make sure someone someday does it, then, well...I'll wait as long as it takes, and I'll rest happily knowing I was able to help."

    Alalia looked at him, not so searchingly, but more curiously.

    "You seem a selfless man."

    "I wouldn't say that. Not at all. I'm just...doing my job..."

    Another few moments of silence, though this one was no longer awkward. Then, Alalia pushed her chair away from the table and stood.

    "I must retire. It is late and I have traveled a long way."

    "Okay, sorry for going on so long..." Guide stood as well, awkwardly dusting himself off and picking up his chair as he escorted Alalia to the door. When she gave the chair an odd look, he grinned sheepishly, "I sleepwalk. Blocking the door doesn't always help but...it's at least something."

    "That would explain your healer's tales of you."

    "Oh...yeah. She doesn't like me a whole lot..."

    Alalia nodded, and turned away. Guide wasn't entirely sure of what to say in farewell, before something--a response to her story--abruptly slipped out.

    "Hang in there."

    "What?" She turned and stared.

    "I, uh...you know. Just...hang in there. The prophecy says that there'll be a day when this's all gonna be over. We just have to hang on until then, right?"

    Alalia looked away, and for a moment, he swore she smiled a little bit. It might've just been his tired imagination.

    But before she shut the door and left him to block it with the chair, she repeated it back to him, in a voice so soft he almost didn't hear.

    "You...'hang in there' as well, Guide..."

    Yes, that is the same Alalia you see in my fic. I'm still not sure if I'm turning that into an original story or leaving it as is, but I had this idea for a long time before even turning ToR into an original thing even crossed my mind, so I figured it was only fitting.

    I'll probably make a follow-up or two to this at some point. It's just good to be writing again.
     
  6. PaperLaur

    PaperLaur Spazmatism

    "Good god, Laur, if you're not continuing your fic, would you just shut up about it already?!"

    I'm sure that's what you're all thinking, but have no fear. This has nothing to do with it, for once.

    Both of the subjects of this short story are big pieces of speculation amongst those who dare to write Terraria fic. So I figured I'd work out my own ideas for them here.

    [This one's fairly dark, be warned!]

    He knew they'd come back. They always came back.

    Whether it would take them days, seasons, even a year or two--they always returned to him with the same angry request, and every time he gave them the same answer. And they left, for what could they do to someone like him, chosen by the gods to live as vessel for one of them?

    In the end, they were only Terrarian, even if they wished to believe--and become--different.

    And so he wasn't surprised to see the small figure on the horizon one night. The break between visits had been a long one, though he hardly noticed time passing at this point. Of course, the moon was full--they always came on a full moon.

    Just as usual; five figures in long robes, most of whom looked the same.

    He stood, leaning on his bone cane and shuffling forward, feet and cane-tip click-click-clicking on the blue stone bricks underneath him. He moved to the stairs that led to dirt below, and stopped there, dull red eyes watching the figure closely, warily.

    The identity, and even origin of the figures would not be discernible to any outside observer, but he knew the silhouettes well. Shorter, humanoid figures with all of their features hidden aside from eyes that seemed to glow eerily from the shadow of their hoods. The cloth of their robes dragging along the dirt. Gold and blue colors.

    He was silent as one broke off from the group and shambled up the stairs to stand before him, even in height only because the old man was stooped and weak from years of waiting. The face of this one could be seen clearly--or, more accurately, the ivory mask that covered their face, with a long beak for a nose.

    "...You're still wearing that thing?" the old man said, his tone casual, though voice wavering from age and exhaustion.

    "...Does this...surprise you..."

    The figure's voice was full and deep, with almost a sibilant quality to it. It would chill any other man's spine.

    "No, you always were a creature of habit." The old man casually leaned on his cane. "I just wonder what made you start wearing it one day."

    The figure let out a low hiss. "That is none of your concern. You know why we are here."

    "Fair enough." Red eyes hardened as he dared to look into the figure's face. "But my answer is still the same. I don't care whether this was your place, once. I don't care what you did here, or what you say you need to do. But my master cares, and they say you will not pass."

    A growl. Their eyes seemed to glow more brightly, "Never expected you to ever answer to a master."

    "Nor did I expect you to, old friend."

    The figure sputtered for a few moments, causing the lackeys that had stood back to shuffle about in silent concern before their leader got a hold of themself.

    "I answer to no one. I am the leader of this coven. I own this place. Your master does not."

    "Hm?" The old man quirked a brow. "As far as I know, aren't you at the beck and call of the Lord of the Moon, now? That was sort of the point, wasn't it."

    "He...is still sleeping."

    "The principle's the same. And as for owning this place, well, my master was here first. I thought you respected the gods."

    He knew what the other's answer would be, though had to admit he enjoyed the fact that the figure made a noise that sounded somewhat like a dying cave spider.

    "They are not my gods! I serve only the One True Elder, the Lord of the Moon!"

    "But you know that my god can strike all of you down." He'd done this song and dance a few times now--he knew what to say, what to do, practically had the conversation down to a science. "You have no power unless your god awakens, and my master and my master's masters don't really want that to happen. Oh, and you just admitted that you are, in fact, in service of him."

    He could see the other's fists clench up, bright indigo magic surging to their fingertips. Their breath could be heard, heavy through the mask.

    He was not afraid. They could do nothing to hurt him. No one could. He'd tried.

    But the old man did feel slightly guilty, and let out a sigh, letting it show on his worn and ragged face just how tired he was of all of this.

    "Why can you never come simply to talk to me, old friend. I get so lonely."

    "...I am on a mission for my coven. And it is to take back the dungeon that you are keeping from us. The sacred site that rightfully belongs to us."

    The old man shook his head. "You know the things that this coven of yours has done here, don't you? Imprisoned many good people, good mages, even the very paladins of the world who might've fixed all of this once upon a time. Practiced the arts of necromancy to emulate your god who raises bodies from the dead every night under his moon's light. Tried to awaken an ancient menace that you know would threaten Terra as we know it. Is this what you really want?" A sad look crossed his face, and he turned away. "...You never seemed the type to hunger for such violence, and power..."

    The other simply stood for a moment, the magic fading from their hands. For a moment, it was difficult to tell if they were alive or dead--the old man wondered if his twisted friend was really either, anymore.

    At last, they spoke. "...I made my choice."

    "The choice to give up everything you are, your very identity. And, I suspect, your humanity as well. Why did you start wearing that mask all of a sudden? What's become of the face underneath? Is it not enough just to keep it in shadows?"

    More silence. He noticed the other flinch slightly, and go stiff. He'd clearly hit a nerve, and secretly hoped that this time, he might get some answers.

    But all he got was the typical request.

    "...Stand aside. Give this place back to its rightful owners."

    The old man in the red cape stepped back, spreading his arms. "I don't agree with what happened here, but you know that it isn't my place to give. You know exactly what you have to do."

    "Move aside."

    "Certainly, I could do that. But you know very well that this place is useless to you unless my master permits you to enter. I could let you in the door...perhaps you could take some books...But that won't be enough for you. It isn't enough for anyone. You'll want to go deeper, see what your like has done to this place and its denizens. And you know you can't go deeper."

    The heavy breathing started up again, and the figure abruptly whirled around to the four who'd come with them, gesturing for them to come to the stairs. They did, two of them pulling out bows and one holding up what looked like a spider-summoning staff.

    His soul was already burning, and he knew he couldn't hold it for long.

    "Please, old friend. Don't be foolish."

    "It is you who are the fool," they snarled, "Going up against the messengers of the One True Elder! You will be the first to face fate worse than death upon his reawakening!"

    "It won't be anything new, believe me."

    "Let us face your master!"

    "..." His expression filled with concern, and pain--he winced, reaching up to clutch his chest, which was already heaving. It was coming. "I don't--I don't want to hurt you, you know. You or the others who genuinely believe that what you're all doing is right. Even if I don't understand why you've done this. I don't want to hurt you. Please. Leave this place."

    "I will not leave!"

    As they shouted this, their voice seemed to deepen further and gain a strange reverberation to it--something that definitely wasn't human. The acolytes moved to arms as the indigo fire returned to the leader's hands, and they rose them above their head with a decidedly inhuman cry of defiance.

    The old man watched this, and lowered his head, letting out a weary sigh. "...As you wish. I am sorry."

    For a moment, he wondered if there was even anything left of his former friend to be saved anymore.

    Then pain wracked his body as he released the pent-up energy, and the world went red.

    -:-:-
    He awoke to sunlight striking his face, and he turned his head away from it in pain. As was usual after he let his master take control, everything was in a dreadful amount of pain, and his whole body ached--especially his head and his arms. This time, his left arm was completely numb--that only rarely happened. He mused to himself that they'd put up a decent fight, after all.

    With dread and resignation churning his stomach, the old man opened his eyes and pushed himself up off the ground with the aid of his cane and his working arm, the other hanging uselessly at his side for now--it'd come back, it always did, so he wasn't worried about it.

    It took him a moment to dare to look up to the stairs of the dungeon, and when he did, his shoulders slumped and he shut his eyes again, grimacing.

    He was used to the sight by now, of those who had fought and lost, but it never quite stopped getting to him and making whatever of him was human want to be violently sick.

    But...he had to look. He squinted one eye open, looking over the damage.

    ...Only two out of the five, as far as he could wager, though it was a little difficult to tell with the bodies in so many pieces. It looked like he'd taken down one of the bowmen and one of the lesser acolytes who'd apparently been armed with only a knife to supplement their magic.

    He could see no other evidence of death, there--just trails of oddly black-tinted blood leading away. And he was almost thankful he didn't find a mask.

    He sighed, and he turned away, refusing to deal with the mess until later. Click-click-click went his shoes and his cane as he shuffled down the hallway towards the door, entering the darkness of the dungeon entry. He shut the door with a creak behind him, and laboriously sat down, his back against the wall and his face turned to the ceiling without really seeing it.

    He wished that, one day, they'd learn, but he knew it was too much to ask for. Even with how terrible the battle must have been, he knew it would not deter the cult from trying to take back what was theirs.

    He knew they'd come back.

    They always came back.

    ...I actually came up with 90% of that on the spot. I wasn't even sure I was gonna be able to write anything.