Chapter 1. Maroon
The tiny, colorless, village sparked to life as the inhabitants saw the outsider enter. Their eyes laid upon him quickly and he could only feel awkward and look down. Then he saw the vast amount of children gathering around him as he walked forward.
"The colored man" the older villagers had called him. The children running around him kept saying, brokenly, "You look Dyse."
The man almost looked out of place, with the natives and the environment surrounding him.
The ground and two surrounding cliffs were colored a dull purple maroon, the same dull purple maroon that he had been seeing for miles now. It made no difference that the color was now darker and the ground was harder. As interesting as it was, he didn't know how the villagers weren't bored to death. It seemed just very oppressively dull to him.
The houses, if you could call them that, seemed to be a mixture of hide, wood, and maybe clay or sod. There were some houses that seemed to be just caves with doors. The traveler questioned where they would've gotten the wood, but he didn't know this place, nor was it really of major importance.
The people were different compared to what the outsider was used to seeing. Their skins were not of his flesh tone. No tans or peaches. They were in all senses of being without color; black, white, and grey. The coloring of their skin wasn't the only abnormal thing. Their skin was flawless and smooth, as far as he could see. Their eyes and hair mimicked their skin, being of black, white, or grey. Their strange, simple yet extravagant, beauty almost made the outsider pull back because he had already felt out of place.
As the children around him kept going on about 'Dyse', and occasionally an 'Ikise' the traveler looked up towards the grey skies as he heard flapping, to see a few large birds. They seemed reminiscent of books the outsider had read about older times, and the creatures that were born and lived within the millenia of long ago. The birds seemed to be scaled creatures, rather than feathered, from what he could see from the ground. The creatures came in a few colors, being pale yellow, pale orange, and pale coral. One was a vibrant and dark purple, which stuck out against the other birds and even the landscape. They were being ridden, from the legs dangling down from the stretched neck. The neck led to the long extended beak, which one could guess, was probably the birds' main weapon, with how long it was and piercing it looked.
The outsider looked back down and ahead to his destination. The very large building covered in hides, bones, and other various objects. He could only assume it was the leader's hut. At least some important person lived there. He only gained more attention as he kept moving forward. He could only smile down at the children who seemed to be following him in a cute mob as he approached the large hut structure.
The traveling outsider didn't even have to knock on the wooden door."Come in, traveler!"Boomed a voice from inside, prompting him to open the door.
The traveler stepped inside, rather surprised at the full blown sentence in his own language. It was short, but it wasn't mispronounced or broken. It had surprised him that people would know his language so far from his home. He really was starting to think about it ever since he had entered the village.
He was attacked by wafts of a sweet and spicy aroma, presumably an incense. It invaded his nostrils, leaving him aggravated, but the aroma was slightly pleasing. Might've been moreso if it was not so strong.
Trying to ignore the scent, he looked about, examining the room. Cabinets and bookcases slammed against the walls, a few filled weapon racks on the wall opposite to him, a pile of pillows acting as a throne beneath the racks, a couple of haphazardly thrown hides and rugs thrown across the floor, and several incense holders, all of which contained an incense and were lit.
In the throne of pillows was a handsome, peculiar, young man, compared to the rest of the village at least. His skin was a pale purple, probably a lighter value than the environment outside. Celestial designed tattoos in white grey and black, covered his well muscled, rippling body, head to toe. The most two noticeable tattoos were around his eyes, making them stand out even more. A grey crescent moon around the right eye, and a black solar design around the left, his dark violet eyes popped even more. They were sharp, soul violating eyes, and seemed to ask you to confess everything you have done wrong. What didn't help is that it looked like is his hair could've been used as a weapon from where he sat. It was in three, thick, overly decorated braids, that were longer than he was tall. There were smaller braids of the long violet tresses which reached various lengths, mostly along his back.
He was sprawled out as a experienced prostitute in a brothel would be, or very much like a harem girl. Held in his hands was a pipe, which smoke escaped from one end at a very slow pace, offering a smell rather bitter and different compared to the rest of the room.
The traveler was speechless, the form in front of him only wearing a thin, decorative loincloth. He wasn't really sure what to do really.
"My father is out right now."The young man had said, a smile crossing his face.
The traveler released a sigh which held all of his breath. The young man only chiuckled at the ease of tension."You probably won't be waiting that long. The mob outside might hold him back."
The outsider laughed a small laugh, just to ease himself more-
Until a hand slammed upon his shoulder, cutting the laugh to a dead stop.
"You must be the outsider everyone is talking about."The hearty voiced boomed."It's been a while since the village was this excited.
The traveler turned his head, only to see a more defined an matured version of the young man across from him. There was not many features different, besides the man being bald, a rather ostentatious headdress decorating his head, and maybe a few more tattoos.
"C-can I assume you're the leader here?"The outsider stuttered in his question.
The man approvingly nodded, strolling over to where his son has laid, motioning the young man up. The young one sighed, pushing himself up off of the pillows, his father soon quickly taking his place."So..."The son had handed his father the pipe he had been smoking."What's your name traveler?"The chief said examining the outsider.
The up down glance was enough to make the outsider shiver a little, the chief's eyes being colder than what his son's were. He could feel the eyes going over him. His leather armor withstanding an onslaught. Every inch of his tanned skin under scrutiny. His lithe muscles and body being being tested. The color of his golden blond hair being treated as if it were gilded. His cobalt blue eyes being taken out and replaced in his skull. The chief's eyes going over him, as if for checking for signs of the plague or a carrier of the apocalypse.
A little more than a second of forever later, the chief repeated the question."What is your name?"
The outsider only sweated for a millisecond more before answering."I am Gino, sir. Gino Maxwell."
"Well, Gino..."The chief took a drag before finishing."Why are you here?"
Gino stood quietly for moment, fidgeting as he tried to bring up the reason.
He finally spoke."There is a plague going throughout the city I live in. All adventurers not confined by sickness were ordered by the royal family to find a cure."
The silence thickened the tension Gino had been imagining within his own mind.
"How many adventurers are looking?"
"When we left, there were twelve others besides me. I suspect some had caught the plague before leaving."Gino twiddled his thumbs , trying not to make eye contact."So I'm guessing the numbers are down."
"What are the symptoms?"The chief asked nonchalant. It seemed as if something like this has happened before.
Gino really didn't want to remember but he forced himself to."It starts as a red rash. Then you get a high fever."Gino looked into the chief's eyes as he continued, walking around the room to him as he did."It gets worse after that. People begin to get delirious and tired, fatigued and hallucinating."
"I see."The chief said, rubbing his chin."Continue."
"The rashes become wilder and more bright in color. Hallucinations replace regular eyesight. People grow insane. The fevers get higher."
The son and the chief had met eyes. They seemed to know something, but Gino hadn't noticed as he continued on.
"When people don't kill themselves..."Gino gulped. It was getting rather hard for him."They usually die from starvation, dehydration, and dysentery."Gino had to keep himself from stuttering. He had really seen too much."If that doesn't kill a person, the rashes grow into a brighter red and become continuously, unbearably itchy. It bothers a person past their breaking point. People begin to skin themselves for relief."
He paused for a breathe between the horrendous symptoms.
"If they are able to survive that, their fever takes over their entire body, and gets higher. Their internal body temperature is too high, and they basically die of overheating."
The silence afterwards was a mixture of tense and awkward.
The chief took a deep drag, releasing the smoke in a sigh."Sounds like the disease we've had every so often here."He released the smoked in a shape of a skull."Tharatrone's Disease. Have you heard of it Gino?"
"I've read a little. I know the story of a fake god, but that is all I know."Gino admitted, sighing.
"Well I can tell you the full legend later, along with many others."The chief had returned the pipe to his son, who had taken an overly deep drag, and puffed out a smokescreen of silvery white."To cut it short, we know the cure, the remedy, for this disease."
Gino's eyes had brightened."Really? Truly?"
The chief had chuckled."Yes, we do. Our medicine man and shaman are searching for herbs and such in the chasm below. With the return of the scouts, I'm sure they will have returned in a few hours."
The chief's son had decided to speak up since he stood up."Gino, if I may ask, what have you seen?"
Gino's happiness had quite the immediate slaughter. He hung his head down."Too much, if you ask me."
The chief shook his head, his son sighed, looking away from the scene. Gino had looked so happy the moment before. He was almost childlike. Was he really the adult he looked to be?
"As soon as our shaman and medicine man return, we shall consult with them, and be quick with our gathering of ingredients."The chief spoke, trying to reestablish the happiness that Gino had contained just before.
Gino's grin returned, but it small, and sad looking."Thanks. I am sure all of the kingdom would appreciate it."
The chief and his son tried to smile also, but it looked fake. It made Gino a little happier, seeing that they were true with helping.
Gino had decided to sit, not knowing really what to do. After the awkward silence, something had began to bother him.
"How do you know, and speak my language so well?"Gino questioned, leaning forward for his answer.
The chief and his soon looked to each other, not really knowing how to answer.
"Chief Irimyi! I heard about the outsider!"