Chapter 2:

Settling In

The Symphonia of Erde (DISCONTINUED) (ARCHIVED)

 Jakob Fowlhunter, Marie Budgerigar, Sir Ryleigh Rex and Claude were strolling through the woods as they made their way home. Amidst that, they were having a peaceful conversation about each other's life, learning a thing or two about each other's background.Bookmark here

For starters, Claude, or more precisely, Doctor Claude is a freelancing humanitarian doctor that had ventured a huge part of the Northwest continent to help those in need. What made him special was not only his advanced knowledge of biology, chemistry, and alchemy compared to the average beak-masked doctors of the time, but the fact that he was the first behemoth to do so.Bookmark here

Behemoths, or some might call them 'dwarf giants', are a race of helm-like faced giants that lived in tribes. It is said that they are the descendants of the giants although both are far from related to each other. Behemoths are not really that smart of a creature as their intellects were often compared to the savage trolls, but this was clearly not the case for Claude.Bookmark here

By the young age of five, he had already began reading hundreds and hundreds of pages of books which is quite an achievement for behemoths. Claude had a strong hunger for knowledge and he commonly trespassed human settlements just to steal and read their books or spy the classrooms of schools.Bookmark here

Of course, such actions would certainly alienate him from his own tribe. By the time he reached the behemoth maturity age of 20, he left his own people to venture alone at the huge and wild world. This was the perfect opportunity to fulfill his lust for knowledge. Bookmark here

He visited libraries, attended schools, became an apprentice to countless of doctors, sorcerers and alchemists alike. By the time he reached the age of 35, he traveled south to study in the college of Bolog, the only college in Europia. There, he finally had formal education in the fields of medicine. Bookmark here

He became the first behemoth to attend as well as the first behemoth to graduate there, where he finally earned the doctorate to start his own medical service. But unlike the other medical students who serviced the finest of nobles, Claude realized that the poor peasants and the middle class citizens were the ones who needed him the most. Only few were willing to provide their services to those classes.Bookmark here

Because of that, Claude answered his calling and went back north, embarking on a series of noble adventures throughout the northwest continent, searching for villages and small towns where the poor sick folks awaits. Bookmark here

The best part about the behemoth's nobility is the fact that he had been doing all of this free of charge or as much as his patients' willing to pay. To compensate the cost, Claude brewed his own medicine and potions by using herbs and plants he found and planted throughout his travels. With that, Claude had saved countless of lives against treatable diseases and terrible plagues.Bookmark here

"Two years later, I met a knight who came to me to borrow the toilet," Claude summarized his first encounter with Sir Ryleigh. Bookmark here

The four of them arrived at an open spot near a cliff side where the settlement of Ryleigh and Claude was hidden. But what greeted them is not a house, cottage or any shelter-like building. Instead, it was a small, horseless stagecoach with a little pipe sticking out on its roof like a chimney of some sort. Bookmark here

"Come inside," the behemoth invited,opening the door of the stagecoach.Bookmark here

The atmosphere drastically changed upon entering. Despite its exterior appearance, what greeted them inside is a cozy atmosphere of a small living room, with its warm fireplace and a round table with chairs placed in front it. On the right side of the room is a stairway that leads to upstairs and across the room is a small kitchen. Bookmark here

"Good tin' we cooked that stew early," Ryleigh spoke as he opened his helm, revealing his modestly bearded face with dark blonde hair and ocean blue eyes. Bookmark here

He courteously invited the other three to the table before making his way to the kitchen to prepare their dinner.Bookmark here

"Nice home you got here," Jakob commented as his eyes wandered around, admiring the simplistic interior design of the place.Bookmark here

"Thank you. I bought it from a witch during an auction. I use this house as a mode of transportation as well as a portable clinic, in which you can access from the right door of the stagecoach."Bookmark here

"Wait this house can move!" Marie interrupted, surprised by Claude's statement.Bookmark here

"Yes, it can. Ryleigh joined my travels because of this house. He said he wanted to venture across the world, and write down all the things he sees and experience in his journal. Although-" Claude took out a huge, thick journal from a sack he had been carrying- "he did not have the skills to write, so I offered my help in doing so."Bookmark here

They opened the book and it seems only half of the first quarter of the many pages were filled with writing. However, said writing was nigh unreadable with its eye-soring cursives and squiggles.Bookmark here

"Umm.. This was nice and all but it's pretty hard to read-"Bookmark here

"I can't read a f*cking thing!" Jakob interrupted Marie's comments, earning himself a knock on the head.Bookmark here

Claude showed no signs of offence as he anticipated such remarks. "I know, the knight reacted that way too, but he said he had no choice. No one wants to help him, and his writing is worse than a toddler holding a feather," he continued.Bookmark here

Suddenly, Marie received a bright idea. One that might benefit both her, Jakob and the adventurous knight.Bookmark here

"Jakob is good at writing! I think he could help!" she pointed towards her unsuspecting partner.Bookmark here

"He does?!" Ryleigh appeared out of nowhere, while holding a pot of hot stew with his right hand and some wooden bowls on the other.Bookmark here

Eager to join in the discussion, he quickly poured stew into each bowl and passed it to everyone.Bookmark here

"Tell me more."Bookmark here

With that, Marie took out a long piece of paper from her bag and showed it to everyone. It was the kill list of the major criminals the two were hunting, with half of the names already crossed out. Unlike the journal, the names in the list were written in a neat and clear manner. Ryleigh and Claude were impressed by the writing but Jakob, feeling annoyed by his partner's sudden action, pulled the list from her hands and shoved it into his pockets.Bookmark here

"Now don't get any ideas. I may be a helpful kind of guy but I certainly won't become someone's scribe just because I write neatly," the hunter spoke.Bookmark here

"Well if that's the case, then how about I give yer an offer. If yer 'elp me write down me adventures, I'll pay yer two three copper's a day. How's that sound?"Bookmark here

"That was a nice offer and all but I would politely decline-"Bookmark here

"Agreed!" Marie interrupted Jakob's speech.Bookmark here

"You don't even need to pay us. It's just a simple favour after all."Bookmark here

"Wait, stop-"Bookmark here

"In fact, he'll help you clean the house as well!"Bookmark here

"No, Marie-"Bookmark here

"He could even find some money to fund our adventures!"Bookmark here

"BUDGIE!!"Bookmark here

"Alright," Ryleigh spoke, declaring an end to their discussion. "From nigh on, Jakob 'ere is the official scribe that 'ill record al' av our adventures."Bookmark here

And just like that, Jakob officially became the scribe that will document the party's adventures. Due to that, he had to rewrite everything that the Claude had scribbled inside the journal. One could hear faint voices of curses and cusses throughout the whole night coming from one of the rooms upstairs.Bookmark here

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The night wind blew strongly at an unknown village far away. Many of its population had already gone home around this time, enjoying dinner with their loved ones or having a goodnight sleep. Despite that, a hooded figure was seen running along the lone streets, trying to escape from someone that had probably been chasing her since who knows when. Bookmark here

The individual ran from corner to corner, hoping to outrun the seeker but the actions proved futile as the chaser, or chasers, managed to catch up to their victim. They managed to corner the hooded individual at a dead end of an alley, and when they pulled the robe off, it reveals a young woman that just entered adulthood.Bookmark here

"You sure had the guts to run away from your masters," one of them snarkily remarked.Bookmark here

The girl, not giving up on fleeing yet, tried to climb the wall behind her but only to be pulled back down and manhandled by one of the four of her pursuers. Irritated by her endless struggle, the handler pinned her to the ground while signalling his friends to come near.Bookmark here

"We got her where we wanted boys!" he cheered as the rest giggled evilly. "It's time to redeem the loan her father owe us!"Bookmark here

"L-leave me alone!" the girl cried, but it was no use.Bookmark here

She was overwhelmed by her pursuers, both by number and power, as they make quick work ripping her clothes. An evil grin filled her pursuers' face as they stared pervertedly at her now bare body, enjoying every touch of her maiden flesh.Bookmark here

The girl could not bear her current fate as she hoped and prayed in her heart, that someone, or something will appear out of thin air to save her from this horrendous people.Bookmark here

And out of thin air it appeared, her silent prayers answered.Bookmark here

A powerful lightning flashed before their eyes out of the blue followed by a single vioent thunder. All five of them were momentarily stunned, and by the time everyone recovered, the three men gasped when they turned to look at their friend.Bookmark here

A short shadowy figure was standing on top of him; its arms wrapped around his head. The man could not stop shaking; his face was filled with fear and in tears, as he frightfully asked his friends about the figure resting onto his shoulders. Soon, another lightning struck, not as powerful as before but enough to give everyone a glimpse of the shadowy figure's true form.Bookmark here

Seeing the face was enough to send all three men crying in terror, and to rub salt into the wound, the figure instantly twisted the victim's head in one snap. The three men immediately tried to flee but they were ironically cornered themselves at the alley's end.Bookmark here

Another lightning struck, and the figure charged at one of them and punched a hole onto his chest. The other two tried to scramble away once more before another lightning flashed again. The instantaneous moment the bolt of light dimmed one of them had already got himself decapitated, leaving one more victim for the damned figure.Bookmark here

The last man tried to flee one final time and in fact, he was really close to escaping the dreaded alley where all his friends had been murdered brutally. Unfortunately for him, another lightning strike occur and just like the other three, he found himself looking straight into the eyes of death as the short figure chocked his neck. The man's eyes was terrorized as he finally got a good look at the figure. Bookmark here

It was a skeleton, wearing a navy coat quite huge for his size. The skull was filled with small cracks where small zaps of electricity could be seen pulsing more and more violently. Soon, the pulsing light burst, unleashing a powerful blast of storming electricity. The man disintegrated, reduced to mere ashes and cold dim embers.Bookmark here

The girl witnessed all of this much to her horror. She was glad for a while that her four predators were now gone but such thought immediately changed when the skeleton turned its face towards her. She backed herself to the walls behind, begging mercy from the violent monster that started to slowly approach her. However, another lightning flashed the sky and the skeleton was nowhere to be seen anymore. And along too the violent windiness of the night disappeared, as if it followed along the skeleton's departure.Bookmark here

The girl's mind was still processing the horrifying event that occurred right in front of her eyes, but in the end she decided it's best to not question what had happened. She picked up her ripped hooded cloth, covering as much as she could of what remained and left the place immediately.Bookmark here

Where should she head next is a question where even she does not know the answer. But wherever it is, its somewhere far from this place.Bookmark here

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Amidst the translucent clouds and starless sky, a ball of lightning flew fast across the land, heading his way towards a sleeping riverside town. The ball stopped upon arriving on top of a small hut, in which the electric 'ball' reverts back into his coat-wearing skeletal form. It landed in front of the main door where he transforms once more, turning himself into a normal youth of flesh and blood. Bookmark here

He knocked the door, entered the hut and cheerily greeted, "Mother! I'm back!"Bookmark here

"About time! Its almost midnight now and I didn't even prepare dinner for you, or else the food might get cold!" the mother nagged, appearing from the corner seating on a wooden wheelchair.Bookmark here

"Don't bother. It's not like I'll ever get hungry," the youth replied, making his way to the kitchen to prepare tea for him and his elder mother. "Have you had your dinner though?"Bookmark here

"Of course. Unlike you, I always make sure I have my meal on time. Your behaviour reminds me of your father, always busy with his work and skipping dinners."Bookmark here

The mother proceeded to talk about all of her memories, good and bad, with her husband whom passed away before the youth was born.Bookmark here

The youth silently sighed. This thread of conversation had become a habit ever since his mother became a widow. Every time he return home late, his mother would talk non-stop about the resemblance of her husband's behaviour with her son. Despite that, the son still catered her lovingly nonetheless, making sure his old and fragile mother was well taken care of.Bookmark here

Not long after, it was bedtime for the elder mother. The youth carried his paraplegic mother to the bedroom upstairs and tucked her neatly onto the bed. After a goodnight's kiss, the son was making his way to the door when his mother suddenly spoke.Bookmark here

"Your father was a great adventurer. During your age he had already traveled half of Europia-" she yawned, tucking herself more- "you should start adveturin' as well. It's not good for men your age to be stuck inside his home."Bookmark here

"I know mother," was the youth's usual reply. Deep down he always wanted to explore the great outside, but due to certain circumstances regarding about his mother's safety, he couldn't.Bookmark here

Not until he found him, at least.Bookmark here

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Early dawn beside the cliff, lies a lone stagecoach with no horses in sight. The doors suddenly opened as two men exited the vehicle, one of them holding a piece of folded map.Bookmark here

"So, where we going next?" Jakob asked as Ryleigh started to unfold the map and began scanning it in search of their next destination.Bookmark here

"Well, we're goin' to a fishing town called Smillia, but there's somethin' off about this map."Bookmark here

"What do you mean?"Bookmark here

"For sum call, the map shows that we are currently at the south side av the continent when truth is, we're still north."Bookmark here

Jakob snatched the map from the knight and realized that he had been carrying it upside down. He flipped the map and returned it back to Ryleigh's hands.Bookmark here

"Ah! Thanks pure much. Let's see 'ere, Smillia is located a few miles southwest. 'ence, it 'ill probably take six ter seven 'ours-"Bookmark here

"Two, if we were to go through the woods instead of the main road," a voice suddenly interrupted.Bookmark here

The two men looked up and saw Marie lying down lazily on top of the stagecoach, whistling in sync with the chirping birds that surrounded the woods. Since when she got there? Nobody knows. Bookmark here

"She's right. If we were to ignore all the routes provided and just ram through the forests, we will be able to get there faster."Bookmark here

Despite their suggestions, Ryleigh felt somewhat objectionable towards it as he, nor the doctor rarely stray away from the roads. He feared that it will damage their magical stagecoach that also doubles as their portable house and workplace. Bookmark here

On the contrary, the two bounty hunters who always travel through anything but the roads, were willing to bet on the stagecoach's hardiness as they had traveled through paths with poor conditions with even poorer transport.Bookmark here

In the end, the knight folded back the map and invited them back inside, "The fact that yer two are constantly travellin', I guess tis wise that I just follow yer idea."Bookmark here

But before he went fully indoors, the knight began chanting some spells that he wrote behind the folded map. Soon after, the stagecoach slowly began to move on its own. Marie, who was still lying on top of it, got caught off-guard by the sudden motion.Bookmark here

"Yer comin' in Marie?"Bookmark here

"Nah, I'm just gonna stay here until we arrive," she answered, proceeding to continue her synchronized whistling with the birds. Bookmark here

Ryleigh noticed a few birds flying towards the white-haired lady, perching onto her hand that she voluntarily offered for them.Bookmark here

"She could communicate with animals remember?"-Jakob tapped the knight's shoulder- "Kinda like those fairy tale princesses."Bookmark here

Ryleigh nodded and went back inside. Thus, the four of them continued their journey to the town of Smillia, where who knows what kind of nonsense awaits.Bookmark here

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