"A Raven In Another Realm"
“Shade, are you sure about this?” Dusk asked, the male raven voicing concern. “I know you’re pretty good with magic and all that, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen you attempt to do anything along the lines of dimensional magic!”
“Don’t worry Dusk, I’m sure I’ll be fine. I studied up on this over the last few nights, and Seraphi was more than happy to show me how to work some of this out, being a Sergal.” She smiled.
“But she’s an interplanetary warrior who knows this stuff like the back of your hand! Your speciality is black and transformative magic!”
“Just trust me, sweetie. Nothing is going to go wrong.” She told him calmly, chanting a few words under her breath as she focused on making a portal to another realm appear. This was mainly a test spell, so the end result didn’t have to be anything specific. Within seconds, a portal opened up before them, showing what appeared to be a pristine field on the other side of it. “OK, if I’ve done this correctly, this portal should remain open until I choose to close it. If all goes well, I’ll see you in a few hours!”
“Stay safe, ok?”
“I will be, relax.” She chirped, stepping through the portal. With a brief flash of light, she vanished from the familiarity of the mansion, appearing moments later in the middle of the field that was shown in the projection of the portal. “OK, looks like the portal worked… I’m still in one piece, nothing different…” She looked over herself. “I guess I should check out my surroundings and see just where I’ve landed.” She flapped her wings, flying several feet into the air as she looked all around her.
There were forests stretching out all around her, and in the distance there appeared to be a town, but this town looked nothing like what she was expecting it to be. All of the buildings that she could see were made from wood, bricks and straw, horses neighing from the distance as they carried people to and from the town. There didn’t seem to be any forms of modern technology to be seen, no telephone lines, no power generators, no electric lights… nothing.
“This is kinda strange… it’s almost like I’ve gone back to the time of the witch hunts…” She thought aloud, reminiscing on the time she came from. She had been born a human, but magic is what changed her into the raven witch that she was now. Unfortunately those times had not been pleasant for her, as her coven of fellow witches and wizards whom she had been a part of, all of which were her friends, had been killed off. It took a while for her to trust humans again after that. It was a time that she didn’t want to remember, but another glance towards the village made her realise that this architecture was older than what she had been born in… by at least a few hundred years.
“Weird…” She looked around a little more, seeing a giant castle built in the center of the forest. From what she could make out, there were several guards set up across the many outer floors of the structure, all of them armed with crossbows, some armed with swords. Within the grounds of the fortress appeared to be a small village akin to the other one she saw in the distance, more like a market town than anything else. It was like she was staring at something from a fantasy TV show. “I’m gonna have to find a way to see just what year this is…” She closed her eyes and started to channel her magic, taking in the energy of the forest around her, drawing some of it in from the outskirts of the towns as well. She processed it in her mind as she gathered the year in her head.
“1357?!” She let out an uncharacteristic gasp of shock as she realised it. “How did I end up back here? I thought I opened a portal to another realm, not go back in time!” She looked back down beneath her, the portal still open. “Did Seraphi give me some bad information or something?”
It was all so weird. Everything she could see around her was a clear indication that she was still on Earth, or at least a different realm’s version of Earth, but it was all in the past. Maybe she had ended up in a realm that could be split up into different time periods, but that just seemed unlikely.
“I guess I could at least look around, see if anything around here is normal.” She mused, her thoughts cut off by a loud roar. Turning around, Shade ducked out of the way as a large dragon flew by overhead, flapping its wings as it let loose a jet of flame towards the heavens. “Huh… well I guess dragons must be plentiful in this world. Gives me a chance to stock back up on some dragon blood and scales if they’ll let me take it.” She flapped her wings again as she took off towards the castle, wanting to take a better look at it. As she flew closer to it, she suddenly found herself trying to avoid a volley of arrows being shot her way.
“Gah, what the hell?!” She gasped.
“Keep firing! Don’t let that winged monster near the castle!” A voice called below, commanding the troops to keep firing at her.
“Winged monster?! How dare you!” She huffed, the arrows suddenly freezing in place. “That’s no way to talk about a lady!” She followed up as she flung them all back towards the guards, causing them to hide behind the nearest wall or table. “I know when my company isn’t welcome!” She flew away, back towards where the portal was.
“What… what the hell was that?” One of the guards let out a sigh of relief, seeing an arrow lodged in the stone inches from his head.
“Yeah… my thoughts exactly…” Another figure, this one being outside of the castle, thought the same thing, his eyes tracking Shade as she flew back. With swift speed, he was soon on her trail.
“Well that was a failed attempt at trying to figure out where I am…” Shade landed back down beside the portal, wondering if she should head back to her own time there and then. If the people in the castle tried to open fire on her for no good reason, she was almost afraid to ask how the people in the village would react - and she was afraid even more so of how she’d react. The last group of people who tried to kill her were all either subjected to humiliating transformations or traumatic curses. “Is it worth me trying to go to the village?”
“Excuse me, miss?” A voice called to him.
“Yes? Who am I talking to?”
“On behalf of the guards at that castle, I’d like to apologise for their behaviour, it was uncalled for. Truth be told, they’ve all been on edge as of recent. Various monsters and invading forces have tried to take over the kingdom, so they’ve kind of gone for the old mantra of ‘shoot first and ask questions later’.”
“Huh, I guess that saying’s older than I thought…” She muttered under her breath. “Well it’s nice of you to apologise for them, but calling me a ‘winged monster’ was a bit on the rude side.”
“To be quite honest, I’ve never even seen the likes of you before, or of any creatures similar to your kind.”
“Really? You think with dragons roaming the skies you’d have at least seen a gryphon or two, or even normal birds.”
“Gryphons are quite rare around here thanks in part to the dragons. And trust me, you’re not as alone as you may think in terms of unusualness.”
“You’d have to prove that to me yourself.” She chirped.
“I can prove that quite easily…” The figure stepped into view, and Shade’s jaw dropped slightly at what she saw. Before her eyes was a large, humanoid reptile, around 6.8ft in height, his body broad and muscled. A thick, powerful tail swayed behind him, spines poking out from near the tip to the top of his scaled head. His yellow and green eyes looked upon her curiously as he placed the hefty sack containing his armor down, the veins in his arms pulsing as he released the weighty bag. He was more or less nude before her, barring the white fundoshi that concealed his intimate areas.
“Well… that I honestly wasn’t expecting at all…” She said, moving closer to him. As she did, he noticed that she was taller than he had anticipated, having a good foot and a half on him at the least. “I knew that dragons and gryphons were pretty common back in medieval times, but I never knew that lizardmen were a thing too… then again I’m not in my own realm.” She extended a taloned hand to him. “The name’s Shade.”
“A pleasure to make your aquaintance, Shade. My full name is Reptile Cynrik, but if you wish to do so, you can simply call me Reptile.” He extended his own hand, shaking hers firmly.
“I’ll keep that in mind. Usually when I or someone else calls someone a reptile, it’s in a derogatory fashion.”
“Hopefully I won’t do anything that makes you use it in the bad way, then.” He chuckled. “So Shade, where is it that you come from, if I may be so bold to ask?”
“OK, this might be a lot to take in.” She started. “But I’m not from this place, or even this world and timeline. I’m from a different Earth, and the year I come from is 2015.”
“Sounds like you’ve made quite the trip to come here. What made you come here, though?”
“It was on a whim. I thought it might be fun to practise some interdimensional magic, so I had my Sergal friend teach me some of her tricks.”
“Sergal?” Reptile asked, sounding confused.
“Ah right, they don’t exist in your world.” She said, then mentally thought. “Given the amount of realm travelling Seraphi does, I thought she or some of her pals would have come across here at least once.” “Let’s just call them otherworldly creatures. Anyway she taught me how to do some realm travelling, and my first test brought me here. Wasn’t expecting it to take me to a different world AND back in time though.”
“When you’re tampering with magic like that, mistakes are bound to happen. I know that from experience.” Reptile spoke.
“What, you’ve tried spells before and they’ve backfired?”
“Well not me myself, but I’ve seen some mages cast spells that literally blow up in their faces. Sometimes fatally.”
“Not just anyone can use magic, or even certain spells. It took me around four years as a human to teach myself some of the more advanced tactics, and even then it took me a few hundred years of experience under my wings to be able to pull off most any spell without any form of hideous consequence.”
“Several hundred years?” He blinked. “Just how old are you, exactly?”
“To put an honest age on it...529.”
“Five hun…” He held back a gasp. “But you don’t look any older than your mid-20s.”
“Ravens work in mysterious ways.” She teased.
“I see…” He cleared his throat before getting back on topic. “And just what type of magic do you focus on?”
“Black magic as one of my primary focuses. Lightning, fire, darkness and all that. I’m adept at using white magic like healing spells, but my favourite type of magic is transformative - turning human beings into different kinds of animals or creatures. Mostly always by some sort of gift or blessing, it’d be rare that I’d transform someone as a punishment.”
“I see… what would you normally turn people into?”
“Creatures like you for a start.” She smirked. “They usually like to be turned into big, buff animals, so you’re a great example.”
“Do they ever complain about what you do?”
“Only those who are transformed as a punishment. Aside from that, they always love it.”
“And are there others like you?”
“I do have a partner back home, yes. He’s a raven like me, only he specialises in ice magic. He’s not the type of raven you’d want to get on the bad side of, unless you wanted to become a walking popsicle.”
“What about other creatures?”
“Oh yeah, they’re plenty of them. Birds, dragons, wolves, lions, Po…” She had to pause again, realising she was about to say something else that he would not have any clue about. “...lar bears. All different things!”
“Interesting. You might have to show me this other world of yours.” He smirked.
“Trust me, if you saw my world, you’d think this one is incredibly bland by comparison, so it’d be at your own risk!” She giggled.
“Well I’ll keep it in mind. Your world does sound like fun. Are there any kingdoms at war on your side?”
“Kingdoms… well not kingdoms, and nothing that you’d call a war, but there are always some unscrupulous people out there who will go out of their way to cause havoc and harm people. I know that first hand, given how long I’ve lived for.”
“Consider yourself lucky then. I’ve had to deal with a couple of wars myself, and I have the feeling I’ll have to deal with more of them in this lifetime.”
“I’m sorry to hear that, Reptile.” She said solemnly. “I’m sure whatever comes your way, you’ll be able to fight through it no problem.”
“Thank you for the support.” Reptile nodded. “Is there anything you’d wish to do before you choose to head back to your world?”
“It would be nice to get a drink, or to stock back up on items for some of my potions, if you’d be willing to help. I have the feeling you’re better known around here, and that people won’t try to open fire on you.”
“That’s true, but that doesn’t mean that everyone I know are friendly. There are whole armies out there who’d love to put me to death, considering how much damage I’ve done to their sides.”
“Well let’s hope that we won’t run into any of those kinds of people today.” She nodded. The bushes around them rustled, and Reptile quickly reached back for his weapon.
“Speak of the devil… it seems we’ve attracted some unsavoury company…” He growled, keeping a tight grip on the hilt of his weapon. Out of the bushes lept a group of five heavily armed men, each of them carrying different types of weapons.
“Well well, look who we’ve managed to catch without his armor…” One of the men spoke, wielding a large hammer. “And it looks like we’ve found a friend of his as well! I wonder how much we’ll be paid if we bring you back alongside Reptile?” He sneered.
‘Great, looks like even this world has its morons...’ Shade sighed internally. ‘They don’t look like they’re playing around, either.’
“Hey, birdy! Are you going to answer me or what?!” He yelled.
“Trust me, I don’t think you’d want to know what’d happen if you were to try to bring me back to whoever your leader is.”
“It seems like your female friend here’s got some fighting spirit!” Another one of the ruffians spoke. “I wonder how long it’d take to break it into little pieces?” He withdrew his mace, swinging it in an intimidating fashion.
“You’d seriously lay harm to a woman? Have you no honor?” Reptile growled.
“Don’t try to lecture any of us about honor!” Their leader spat. “You’re an inhuman freak who has dispatched many of our best warriors, I think it’s only fair that we get our revenge on you in any way we see fit!”
“If that’s the way you want to play, then I’ve got no choice…” He sighed, drawing his weapon. The polished blades of his polearm gleamed in the sunlight as he pointed it towards the group. “Five against one is a small handicap considering you’ve got me without my armor, but I don’t think it should take me too long to put you in your place. I’m just wondering how long it’ll take for any of you to run with your tail between your legs, I’m honestly not in the mood for killing such pathetic lowlifes like you.”
“Just keep talking, pretty boy… we’ll see just how boastful you are once I’ve smashed all your teeth in!” He charged forwards, swinging his hammer forwards as Reptile thrust his weapon upwards, catching the head of the hammer between the many prongs of his polearm. “What the?!”
“Come on, did you seriously expect to do anything with an attack that swings upwards?” He smirked, swinging his weapon to the right. The hammer went with it, and the fighter was also sent down to the ground due to his unrelenting grip on his weapon.
“Gah, damn you…” He got back to his feet, pulling his weapon away as he went in for another strike. “Don’t just stand there gawking, help me out!” He demanded the others come help him.
“Right behind ya, boss!” They responded, three of the four charging towards Reptile whilst one of them backed away into the bushes.
“Now this is more like it!” Reptile grinned as he fought off the attacks of the four thugs, not questioning where the fifth had gone. “This feels more like a fight!”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself just yet, my scaly friend!” The leader grunted, charging at him once more with the hammer. “We’re only just getting started!”
“Where did the fifth guy go?” Shade thought, watching the fight unfold before her eyes. “Maybe he didn’t have the guts to stay and fight with his pals.”
‘That’s it, keep watching the fight, girl...’ the fifth slowly advanced from behind her. ‘Pay no attention to me… as soon as I get my hands on you and force you down, Reptile won’t dare try to fight back. He’ll have to come with us in exchange for your safety. Not that that means you’ll get away with your safety or dignity intact… there are loads of people back at our hideout that’d get a right kick out of you...’ he licked his lips in anticipation.
“Keep it up, we’re starting to get the edge over him!” One of them proclaimed as Reptile had to back away. In reality this was far from the truth - he was starting to lure them into his own kind of trap, getting them ready for one big move that’d hopefully overpower all of them in one fell swoop. Yet he had no clue about what the fifth had intended to do to Shade.
“Come on, you can beat these guys easily!” Shade cheered. “There’s no way these fiends can keep you down!”
‘Oh yeah? You’re mine now!’ The fifth man laughed, grasping Shade from behind. One hand rested on her chest, the other gripping one of her breasts. “Looks like we’ve got the upper ha-”
There was a sudden flash of purple light, followed by a loud crash and the sound of splintering wood. The group of thugs and Reptile stopped what they were doing and looked towards one of the nearby trees. The fifth member of the band was embedded in the middle of the tree, fully unconscious,
“What the HELL was that?!” The leader gasped, seeing one of his men lodged perfect through the tree like if they were puzzle pieces. He turned to face Shade.
“Normally I don’t mind when people try to get close to me or touch me…” She said in an eerily calm tone of voice. “But I have limits, and I could tell just what you were trying to do, you scumbag! How DARE you even attempt to violate me in such a way!”
“Shade…?” Reptile asked, looking at her. She seemed different from the playfully talking woman from moments ago.
“Reptile, you might want to stand back for this. These worms have made it personal!” She hissed, facing them. He just stepped back, still keeping his weapon drawn.
“I don’t know how on earth you sent one of my men through that tree… but it’s not going to happen again!” One of them armed his sword, pointing the blade towards Shade. “Prepare to die!” He roared, charging forwards. Shade’s eyes shone purple as her magic focused on his blade, suddenly driving it down deep into the earth, flooring the guy. “Gah, you little bitch!” He sneered, reaching for his second weapon, a throwing knife. “I’ll cut you good!” He tossed it at Shade. She glared, a shockwave knocking him back as the dagger was deflected, landing just an inch away from his crotch.
“Take that as a warning. If you are foolish enough to proceed, I will not be held responsible for my actions… I also might not be able to control them. Do you want to take that ri-” She was cut off as another knife wooshed past her, cutting the side of her cheek.
“Well they’re all going to die…” Reptile thought, backing away a little more as he looked at Shade.
“Grrhh….” The markings on her body shifted from their normally warm purple to a bloody crimson red, glowing furiously. She ran a hand across her cheek, feeling blood trickle from the cut. “Which one of you little peons threw that knife?” She spoke, her voice no longer calm or friendly. It instead dripped with contempt and anger.
“That was me!” The scrawniest member of the group said proudly. “Why, do you have a problem with that?”
Shade didn’t respond to his boasting. Not with words, anyway. She turned to him, let out an avian screech, and threw a blade of crimson energy towards the man. It went so quickly that there was no time to react or move, the blade tearing through his shoulder.
“GAAAHHHH!!!” He yelled in pain, dropping down as he clenched tightly at the massive wound. “YOU BITCH, THAT WAS MY ARM!”
“I’m sorry, did that hurt?” She growled, calling another blade, this one aimed directly for his head. “I can put you out of your misery if you so desire!” The thug didn’t say anything, trembling in his place. “Just as I thought…” She dispelled the blade. “And how about you?” She turned to the other three.
“Come on, there’s no way she can take on all three of us at once! Let’s get her!” The leader let out a battle cry as they all charged her at once.
“What morons….SSSKKKKRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEE!!!” She cried out, letting loose another burst of magic energy that affected them in different ways. One of them was flung backwards into a nearby boulder, splitting it in half, the other was hurled towards the wounded dagger thrower, causing further damage by dislocating the wounded limb. The leader, on the other hand, was forced down to his hands and feet.
“Gahh… let… let me go… you wretched whore!” He cried defiantly in protest.
“A wretched whore… your mother must be so proud of you, the way you talk to women…” She said calmly. “Now then… I’ll give you a chance to apologise. If you do so, I’ll let you all go back into hiding and lick your wounds to try to fight another day…”
“Wait, what are you thinking?” Reptile spoke before Shade gazed at him. In that brief moment, he could see just what she had planned for the human.
“But if you choose not to apologize… then your suffering will continue…”
“Apologize? Here’s my apology - UP YOURS, YOU GODDAMNED SLUT!”
That was the final straw. Shade’s pupils shrank into almost nothingness, a look of pure rage upon her beak.
“So that’s it… your true nature… you’re nothing but a filthy PIG!” She growled, outstretching her taloned hand. Her hands shone with energy as he was suddenly hit with what must have been a few thousand volts of electricity.
“GRRRUHRORAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!” He yelled in pain, the flash of light being emitted so bright that it made everyone bar Shade shield their eyes. It was when the light died down that they saw just what had happened. Where the bulky, intimidating human had been moments ago stood a large, stocky swine. It looked around its surroundings in confusion before seeing its reflection in one of the nearby blades, its eyes going wide in horror.
“I think this is a fitting fate for one such as yourself… I wonder how long until you’ll end up as someone’s dinner?” She grinned. With a scared squeal, the pig ran off towards the forest.
“Wh..wh… what did you just do to our leader?!” One of them stammered.
“The same thing that will happen to all of you if you don’t leave right now. IS THAT UNDERSTOOD?!”
“L...let’s get out of here!” The two who were conscious screamed as they ran away, leaving the two unconscious thugs behind. When they did, it was just Shade and Reptile again.
“Shade… are you… ok?” Reptile asked, calmly approaching her.
“Hahh...hraahhh…” She panted, the markings on her body slowly returning to their normal purple color. “Yeah… I’m fine now…” She said, turning back to Reptile. “I’m sorry if I got in the way of your fight.”
“It’s nothing to apologise about. Though I’m thankful that you’re on my side.”
“I’m pretty sure someone of your skill would more than likely put up a good fight against me. You don’t look like the type whose will would be broken easily.” She chirped, placing a hand on his shoulder.
“Heh.” He smiled softly. “I apologise if your time in this realm was a bit on the nasty side.”
“It’s fine, this’ll make a great story to tell my friends later on!” She smiled. “Speaking of, I guess I better get back to them. As much as I’d love to check out around your world, I think I’ve had enough action for one day.”
“When do you think you may return then, Shade?”
“I can open the portal at any time, so it may be sooner than you think. Just for safety, though…” She pulled a card from out of nowhere, black and purple in color. “If you ever need me or just want to see me, give the card a kiss and I’ll be with you as quickly as humanly possible!”
“Seems like you’ve prepared for many eventualities.” He nodded, taking it from her. “Well hopefully we’ll meet up again sometime soon, Shade.”
“I’m sure we will, Reptile. Until then, just stay safe and keep kicking all the ass you can.”
“Oh don’t worry, that won’t be hard at all!” He grinned, watching Shade step back through the portal, the void emitting a blinding light as it shut behind her. “Someone, I don’t think this is the last I’m gonna see of her…”
Moments later, Shade returned back in her mansion, immediately greeted by Dusk upon her return.
“You’re back, thank god for that!” He hugged her tight, nuzzling her. He noticed the cut across her cheek. “Did you get hurt?”
“It’s nothing, just a few people I had to put in their place.” She said, nuzzling him back. “It’s a place I know I’ll have to check out when I have a bit more time to browse around.”
“You sure about that?” He asked.
“Let’s just say that I met one friendly reptile there, and I think that alone would warrant a trip back.” She giggled.
“As you say so.” He chuckled. “Maybe bring me with you next time, just in case.”
“If you want to.” She chirped. “Once all our friends get back to the mansion, I think I’ve got quite the story to tell you all!”
“And I for one can’t wait to hear it!” Dusk grinned.