Chapter 7:

Origin of Ataxia

Ataxia


“Tell us Gramps! The stories of this world!”

“Now now settle down, children. This old man has plenty of time for stories. Now, where do you want me to start?”

“FROM THE BEGINNING!”

An old man can be seen smiling, surrounded by a group of kids. He is sitting on a small wooden box in a street corner. It is still early in the morning. Some kids are sitting on the ground, others are leaning up against the wall. The old man gestures for the kids to quiet down as he starts his story.

The great continent of Ataxia is quite vast, named after the Goddess herself who brought everything into existence. Ataxia herself then left the responsibilities to her three children, tasked with populating the world. Anthropos, first of the children, created humanity along with humanoid beings like elves or dwarves. Fiara, the second born, created all the beasts within the world like dragons, minotaur, harpies and many more. Finally, Ginnungagap who was the youngest of the three, created the many creatures of the abyss that we fear today. The three coexisted until one day, when Anthropos decided to leave the world on a journey. As thousands of years passed, there was no sign of Anthropos returning, Fiara and Ginnungagap grieved over the loss of their fellow god. The remaining two ancient gods soon turned into one as Fiara decided to take her long “nap,” which lasted until this very day. Ginnungagap, who was all alone, decided to watch the world in silence for thousands of years.

Soon, civilizations prospered with many of the three god’s creations. Many different kingdoms were formed, along with the many new races appearing. The continent has become a very, very diverse place. Up until 1000 years ago, the kingdom of Alexandria was founded, taking a central position on the continent. It soon becomes a force to be reckoned with in its golden age that occurred 200 years after its creation. Directly to its north, vast mountains stretch for thousands of miles. With its dangerously low temperature, the majority of it remains unexplored by adventurers. Many have dubbed it The Northern Front, home of the frost giants. To the left of it, northeast of Alexandria, lies the Great Mystical Forest. The resting place of the Goddess Fiara, but with the seemingly endless amount of ancient trees in the forest, we do not know the whereabouts of her location. With its rich resources and numerous wildlife, the forest is also known to be the home of the elves where most of their population resides. Directly to the right of the Northern Front lies the Great Barren Land. A place that lacks any sign of life, filled only with ashes and fossils. It’s the homeland of the dragons, after they were driven out from all the corners of the continent.

Directly south of Alexandria, The Great Fort lies, sitting right by the ocean. An immaculate feat of engineering, it’s a fort that is the size of a whole country. Rumored to be impenetrable, it was created by none other than the Dwarves themselves, serving as their homeland. To the right of the fort, south west of Alexandria, is the Mercantile Alliance, where all the merchants operate their business. You can say it's the heart of Ataxia’s economy, its wallet. The special thing about it is that it’s not a country, but a combination of many small city states, held together by their alliance. They don’t have any true military strength, but they are protected by mercenaries for hire.

“What about the abyss? What about the abyss?”- Leo eagerly asks, standing next to Natalie and Sophia.

The old man was obviously caught off guard by the three grown ass adults sitting down next to the kids, listening to his story. Taking a deep breath, and pretending like he didn’t see them, the old man continued.

“Well, be patient kids. I was about to talk about it.”

To the west of the capital, the Darkened Abyss where all of the void creatures reside. It is ranked by the Adventurer Guild to be class A and above, making it one of the most dangerous places you can be in. Even more dangerous than that, some parts deeper into the Abyss are limited only to class S guilds and adventurers. Creatures from there occasionally come out and attack anything it sees. That is why the border between Alexandria and The Darkened Abyss is always guarded very carefully. All the way far west, passed the Darkened Abyss, at the edge of the continent, resides the Demon King’s Lair. As you all might know, that’s where the current Demon King is staying. Its location and terrain make getting to him a near impossible task. But that’s not what our story is about, I want to tell you the story of the Darkened Abyss’s origin.

As you might not know, there wasn’t a Darkened Abyss up until a few hundred years ago. Why is that? Well the answer goes back to our old friend Ginnungagap, the youngest of the ancient gods. Seeing the growth of other gods’ creation and all of its beauty, along with its ugliness, frustrated Ginnungagap. He believed his creation to be the perfect living thing, constant conflict between the other races and void creatures were unacceptable. His void army ravaged through the lands, bringing destruction wherever it went. The young kingdom of Alexandria now faced one of its biggest crises yet. You see how the current hero’s party is numbered seventh? It means that there are six previous iterations of different hero’s parties before that. The inexperienced king at the time called for the formation of the first ever hero’s party, gathering the best champions the continent can offer. After months of searching, a new party was formed, led by Alduin, the first hero.

“WOW!”-gasp Leo and the kids sitting around the old man.

The old man is clearly confused by Leo’s presence but continues his story.

Their formation served as hope for Ataxia as they managed to drive back the void creatures. Soon they gathered enough momentum, marching directly to confront Ginnungagap himself. Hope soon turned into despair as after days of battles, Alduin and his party lost the battle. The fate of his party members is unknown but Alduin himself was corrupted by Ginnungagap, becoming one of his underlings. All that strength that the kingdom of Alexandria had, squandered in a single battle. With the hero’s party eliminated, Ginnungagap resumed his invasion. Soon months later, with the many races at the edge of extinction, the continent is at risk of complete destruction. As a final desperate attempt, the Holy Trinity was founded between the elves, dwarves and humans. It was an organization that sought to unite the strongest mages of each race and combine their strength. Their goal was simple, the use of the 8th tier spell, Dimensional Whispers. With the combined effort of 100 mages from the three races, they managed to cast the spell, summoning heroes from other worlds. The summoned beings became the second hero’s party, one to drive back the invasion. Since they were heroes from other worlds, their names and appearances were quite peculiar. There was Warrior, a sickly looking man who wielded blood as his weapon. Shadow, who wielded a big bow made of ice that freezes his enemy. Grapu, a strange woman who uses a smaller black bow and was accompanied by a massive black wolf. Vortex, a mysterious giant that wore full iron cladded armour and carried a giant anchor as its weapon. Fear, who wielded a broken blade held up by magic out of this world. Lastly Masterham, who seems to have mastery over all kinds of weapons but chooses to use a lamppost as his weapon instead. These beings from other worlds, however strange they might be, actually managed to drive back Ginnungagap’s army.

After around 2 weeks, Ginnungagap and his army were driven to where the Darkened Abyss is today. Once again, Ginnungagap made his last stand with confidence that he would once again defeat them. But this time was different, they had strength on their side, and the second hero’s party prevailed in the battle. Their battle created the giant hole that is the abyss today. However, they did not manage to defeat Ginnungagap, so they ended up sealing him at the bottom of it along with Alduin. That caused all of the voidlings to retreat to the abyss too and peace was finally restored to the land. Without any request for rewards, the heroes quietly returned to their world. Some heard the final words from Warrior as his group is taking their leave “Yo, do we have Clash next week?”. No one understood what he meant, so many are still studying the meaning of his words until this day. After hundreds of years, the voidlings evolved, some became abyss monsters we know today. Even after he was sealed away, Ginnungagap’s corruption leaked out and formed into the many iterations of Demon Kings we saw until this day. Hope always remains, as no matter the period, new hero’s parties rise up to fight the Demon King in attempts to restore peace to the land.

With that final statement, the old man concluded his long story. The sun had now gone past noon.

“You kids should go home for lunch before your parents start worrying.”- The old man smiles.

“AWWW. But we want to hear more stories! Come on, just one more! ”- The kids reply.

“Yeah, yeah! More stories!”- Leo said.

“We always got tomorrow.”- The old man said as he stood up, and the group of kids started to scatter.

Leo, along with Natalie and Sophia start to walk towards the Adventurer Guild.

“Darkened Abyss huh? I want to see what is there!”- Leo eagerly said.

“You already heard from the old man. We are nowhere near the allowed rank for adventurers. Going there is basically suicide”- Natalie protests.

“I want to see what it's like for myself too.”- Sophia ponders.

“You know it’s only banned if they know about it. It’s simple, we just don’t tell them!”- Leo jumps up in excitement.

Natalie sighs, knowing that nothing she says now would stop the two morons. The three enter the guild building, looking for a map. After staring at the big map on the guild board, Leo pinpoints where the Darkened Abyss is from the old man’s story.

“You three wouldn’t happen to be interested in going to the Darkened Abyss would you? It’s forbidden for any under-ranked adventurers to go there you know.”- Sarah says from behind them, spooking the three.

“Uh...Yeah...Of course not. We are great law obeying adventures who would not do something so stupid.”- Leo says while avoiding eye contact with Sarah.

“Sigh... In all seriousness. You guys are not allowed to risk your life like that. You can hate me for being strict, but it will save your life. I won’t provide you any directions nor will I give you information.”- Sarah lectures the three.

After standing around for a few minutes, they decide to drop the plan and call it a day for now. As they were leaving, a somewhat drunk looking old man stood up, following them outside of the building.

“You young lads wouldn’t happen to be interested in going to the Darkened Abyss? I know the way there.”- The old man said.

“Uh...Yes…”- Leo cautiously replies, very sketched out by the stranger.

“Don’t be so tense, name’s Ingrid. I know my way around Ataxia like it's my backyard.”- Ingrid said while laughing very loudly.

The three decided to discuss whether or not to trust this man and after a bit of talking, finally agreeing to listen to what he has to say. Ingrid gave them instruction to head to the city of Abania, where they will meet up with him again. He smiles and says:

“Not often do young ones nowadays want to do adventures like this! I live for stuff like this. It’s decided, I’ll join your party as your advisor!”

“Do you mean: ‘Can I please join your party as your advisor?’ ”- Leo replies as Ingrid laughs.

With no choice as they needed members, especially an advisor, Leo accepted Ingrid’s demands. His party now has an advisor, the three young adventurers then headed East, toward their new destination.