Zane and Company

Zane and Company

A Story by

A curious adventuring party arrives at an ancient ruin.


The ruin murmured, and they had not slept well. When Zane awoke to a bright dawn, Ryn sat by the campfire’s remnants, stoking it with a stick.

Ryn heard him stirring. "We should go," he said.

"It's early, we'll take our time,” Zane replied.   He stretched his armored upper body.  “Why don't you cook something?" he suggested.

"Not hungry."

"I am." Zane said. "Listen Ryn, try to relax. You've been on edge since we got here." He looked up at a clear sky.  "And it seems like a nice day, so let's try to enjoy it while we’re above ground."  

Though a half-orc like Zane, Ryn was smaller, almost scrawny for his kind, but he was fast and surprisingly strong, especially when angered.  Zane had been on the receiving end of his temper enough times to know.  

Ryn stabbed at the embers.  “Place isn’t right,” he said.

Zane took a look around the ruin, but didn't respond.  He didn't want to get Ryn more riled  than he already was.  Although he didn't say, he thought he knew what Ryn was talking about.  There was a subtle buzz in the air that made the skin crawl.

They had come to this ruin the eve of the day before and set up camp on its outskirts.  Large stones of roughly rectangular shapes were strewn about, tufts of weeds and grass growing around them. Zip the pseudodragon basked on one, curled up head to tail, his delicate wings folded neatly along his back. It seemed an ancient structure of an unknown purpose once stood here. A large, broken foundation surrounded a depression of the earth.  There were many such fallen structures, of differing sizes and shapes, scattered about the landscape.  

The ruin seemed totally deserted when they came upon it.  Zane had sent Zip in first to scout the area from the treeline, and he said he saw nothing.  Well, he didn't actually speak.  Zip communicated telepathically, which could be annoying when the telepathic liked to talk, as covering the ears didn’t help.  For now, Zip slept on the rock and was quiet, which was nice, though on rare occasions you could hear him speak in his dreams.

Kheira also slept, her equine legs tucked under her and human arms cradling her head.  She was a centaur, a magnificent creature whom Zane had known since a child.  She was totally white, from her tail to the hair on her head, and her skin alabaster, tinged rose by sun.  It is the reason she traveled with Zane, for her lack of color made her an outcast among her brethren. White clashed too strongly with the colors of the forest.

She had opened her light eyes, and was looking at him.  

“Good morning, Key,”  Zane said.  “Did you sleep?”

“Yes,” she replied. “But lightly.”

“Seems that way for everyone, except Zip of course,” Zane nodded at Zip, who was  lightly snoring.

Kheira glanced at Zip and laughed.  Then she started to rise, using the spear she had near her to help herself up, then holstered it.  She wiped bits of leaves and grass from parts of her she could reach, her hooves slapping the ground as she kicked the stiffness out of her legs.  She let her hair down and shook it out, then stretched down to the ground, bringing up her bow to sling on her back.  She wore supple leather armor on her upper torso, leaving her human midsection exposed, so she could bend.  A quiver hung from her waist and rested against a front haunch, it’s arrows within easy reach.  Zane was enthralled, as always, by her graceful movements.   

“I’m going to the river to drink,” she said.

“Keep alert.”

Zane watched Kheira’s white hair and tail wave behind her as she trotted away, then turned back to the camp.  At the fire he found Ryn looking miserable.  Zane let him brood, there was no rush to leave just yet.  Zane liked to take his time in general whereas Ryn had little patience, and none for waiting.  Ryn seemed to have more of the orc blood coursing through him, and it wasn't just his impatience or short temper that suggested it.  He looked more like an orc.  Under a broad nose,  two tusks jutted over his upper lip.  His eyes were a strange orange and yellow, the pupils misshapen.  His hair was short but uneven and his dark skin had a greenish tinge.  He wasn't much for hygiene. The only features that didn't appear orcish were his ears, which could almost pass for human.  Zane was the opposite. He was lighter skinned, and looked like a human of heavy jaw and brow except for his ears which, unlike Ryn’s, were pointed and lay against his head almost parallel to the ground.  Zane's hair was dark, shoulder length, and thrown back from his forehead.  But they differed in more ways than appearance and temperament.  Zane was brought up in the forest with the centaurs, while Ryn was born and raised on the streets of a city.   What bonded the two was their status as outcasts from both human and orcish societies, and that they knew nothing of who their parents were.  

Zane decided to chance asking Ryn what was keeping him in such a foul mood.

"Ryn, what is it?" he asked.

Ryn shifted on his stone seat. "Not sure, there's a feeling, almost like a whispering,” he said.  “It's getting to me.”

"I feel it too, or hear it."

"Place looks empty, and old, but I don't know, can we just get moving?"

"There doesn't seem to be any danger,” Zane observed.  “Look at Zip over there," he nodded to the small reddish-brown creature curled up on the stone. "Would he be snoring like that if there were?"

"Probably," Ryn said. "The stupid thing could sleep through the Battle of Ormeer." Ryn referred to the largest battle fought yet between orcs and humans a decade ago for the famous port.  Then Zip awoke and sent his rushed communication into their heads.

"Up Zip wakes up what’s for breakfast hmm?  sswwiiiiiiii. crickets?  swi swi swi." Zip could mimic the sound or voice of most any creature.

Ryn groaned. "Quiet Pseudo it's too damn early!"

"Zip ah rock under your bedding? in socks? underwear? whoa zip."

"Zip, please." Zane sighed.

"Fine! zip find swi crickets to eat crunchy."

Zip spread his wings and flapped them a few times, then leapt into the air. He flit once around the camp and then took off low over the stone strewn field, spying the grass for crickets.

"Cricket crunch!"

Keira walked up to the camp.  "I hear sleepy head is finally up. And good morning Ryn"

"Bah." Ryn replied.

"Pleasant as always." Kheira turned to Zane. "Well, what’s the plan for today?"

"I'd like to discuss that as a group."

Zip flew back into the camp and dropped a fat crushed cricket into Ryn’s lap.  He picked it up and threw it at Zip as hard as he could manage from a sitting position. To Ryn’s dismay Zip deftly plucked it out of the air with his jaws and gobbled it down.

"Whoa! Tasty! Zip."

© 2012

Author's Note

Does it hold your interest enough to want to continue reading? Do you see any glaring problems? Thank you so much for your honest feedback!

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Haha already Zip is my favorite character. I think this is a good start for a story. The first chapter is always the hardest because it's the most important chapter to determine if the reader thinks it's worth to sit in read.

To be honest, I don't know if it holds my interest enough to continue to read. But that doesn't really mean everyone is going to be like that. Heck some of the best stories I've read had a slow beginning.

I think you have a good start here. You have your main characters. There's a decent description of them all so we can have a better chance of visualizing them and getting more into the story.

I like the fact you have a centaur. I'm such a sucker for them. There's not enough books with centaurs in them in my opinion.

I definitely think you should continue to press on, map out the story, and so on. I'd give it an 85 out of 100. :)

Posted 9 Years Ago

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2 Reviews
Added on March 26, 2012
Last Updated on April 2, 2012
Tags: fantasy, orcs, humans, war, adventure, dragon, ruins


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