This is a non cannon CoC fanstory, also warning this isn't really smut. Currently the story is unfinished, only two chapters are here. I'll be adding them as I write them. Chapter 1: The Excuse Ingram Sent. Galen sluggishly wandered under the blazing sun that floated above the dry desert he marched through. His boot disturbed the peacefully resting grains of sands with every step he took. An irritating glint flared at his eyes, causing him to raise a hand over his face to create a shielding shade. The shining glare of the sun practically blinded him, an added annoyance on top of the harsh temperature he was already enduring. Luckily his white hooded robes helped reduce the intensity of the heat but only to the point of being barely tolerable. He had been lost for so long his robes were stuck to his skin from the sweat of traversing such an environment. An aura of exhaustion hung heavy upon him as he desperately tried to find his way home. Although at this rate he began to worry he’d collapse before getting anywhere near camp. Suddenly he heard something shift in the sands behind him, instantly he drew the beautiful shining sword at his side. Yet when he spun around, Galen only saw the sprawling empty sands behind him. Lowering his guard he wondered if perhaps he had simply imagined the sound. Shrugging his shoulders Galen turned around to continue on his way. However the moment he took another step forward, his footing disappeared beneath him. With a surprised yell he felt his legs sink knee deep into the sands as gravity pushed him downwards. Dropping his sword in a panic, he thrashed against the sudden current that attempted to pull him into the center of this newly formed pit. Only barely did he manage to scramble up out of the flowing sand to safe ground. For a second he was relieved, only for that sensation to be replaced with alarm as he noticed both his hands were now empty. Looking back at the pit he caught a glimpse of his sword being swallowed whole by the river of sand. In the center of the pit a sand trap leered at him with crossed arms and a smug expression. “My sword!” He called out as the cherished weapon faded away from sight. “Maybe if you come down here little ant, you might be able to get it back.” He scowled at the sand trap as it let out a mocking laughter that echoed across the empty landscape. As much as Galen wished he could accept that challenge and heroically retrieve his sword, he knew realistically there was nothing to do but walk away. Shaking his head in frustration he turned his back and left, the jeers of the sand trap growing distant with every step. Now he might as well have been an ant, without his sword he was basically as defenseless as one. “Good going back there chief.” A voice said Glancing to his right he saw another version of himself, the only distinction between them being this apparition’s robes were black as midnight. Galen sighed and ignored him as he kept trudging along in his sand filled boots. Unfortunately his imaginary chatterbox quickly made a point of keeping pace with him. “Hey now Gale I’m just giving you a hard time, you’ll find something else to use…probably. Don’t you have a dagger back at camp?” “Yeah, but I actually need to get there first.” “Well what’s holding you up pal?” “It’s this damn heat, I just can’t seem to focus on where I’m going.” “Doesn’t seem that bad to me.” “Oh gee I wonder why, maybe those black robes are keeping you cool. Or more likely, it’d be because you’re a figment of my imagination and don’t actually exist in the physical world.” “It’s not my fault you got hungry and decided to eat a strange fruit of this land that made you go crazy.” “I’m not crazy.” “Says the guy who takes orders from a talking tree he found in a lake.” “That talking tree said she’s the goddess of this land.” “She can claim to be whatever, doesn’t make it true. Why trust her word?” “For one she didn’t try to rape me the moment she spotted me. So goddess or not that puts her above most people we’ve met in this damn place.” “Fair enough.” “Besides I’m a champion, aren’t I supposed to fight the demons regardless?” “Sure that is what we were told to do but aren’t you kind of getting the sense that was a sham? After all when you first got here, that Imp was practically waiting for you as if you were a sacrificial lamb.” “Honestly…I don’t really know anymore.” Going silent he continued to aimlessly search for a way to focus on getting back to camp. Alas the unforgiving heat that had him sweating and thirsty dulled every thought that crossed his mind. After a moment of walking he happened upon an odd sight by chance that made him stop in his tracks. He paused at the top of the hill, standing motionless and staring downwards in bewilderment. At the bottom of the sand dune a lone snake woman was seemingly dancing whilst holding a wooden stick. Baffled at the behaviour of this Naga he watched her swing her stick around as she waltzed about. Circular patterns were being left in the sand from where her tail slithered across. His eyes soon ended up wandering from the lower snake portion to her human half, taking notice of the alluring shape of her breasts. Although his drifting lustful thoughts were interrupted when his imaginary companion walked up next to him. “Hey uh Gale, you got any idea what exactly she’s doing?” He whispered. “Uh…Not in the slightest.” Completely distracted by the both confusing and strangely alluring sight, Galen failed to fully notice the sound of approaching soft crunches in the sand until they were alarmingly near. Eventually the sound registered as potential danger in his mind, causing him to break his gaze on the Naga. Turning his attention in the direction of the footsteps he saw a rather inconvenient sight. A short distance from him a blonde haired woman in robes that bore the colours of the desert sands themselves was strolling casually over to him. From a far he probably could’ve glanced past her and completely fail to notice her presence. Even this close to him she almost blended in effectively, if it weren’t for the exposed sections of tanned skin here and there. “Not again…” He muttered under his breath. Returning his gaze to the Naga he crossed his arms and tried to pretend he didn’t see her. Perhaps if he ignored her, she would leave him in peace? That idea was quickly proven faulty when a tapping on his shoulder shortly followed. Even still he spitefully refused to acknowledge the sand witch, slightly bitter after his last encounter with one of her group. He’d rather not have to spend an hour scavenging for the right colour of hair dye a second time. After a few seconds of his silent treatment, the sand witch stepped in front of him with an offended frown on her face. Crossing his arms with a sigh he knew there was no avoiding confrontation now. Begrudgingly he acknowledged the robed woman with a small wave. Galen would need to end this peacefully, without his sword he did not trust in his chances of winning a fight. “Excuse me, would you mind if I casted a small spell on you?” Pausing for a second he thought of how to dodge her question, when an idea came to his mind. Moving his hands to the gem pouch of his belt, Galen fished out what little wealth he carried. Pushing the gems that rested in his palm around with his index finger he counted them carefully. “Alright look, I’ve had a rough day and sandy blonde is not the colour my hair wants to be. I’ve got twenty gems on me, they’re all yours if you cut me some slack this time.” Galen hopefully held the gems out in his hand for the sand witch who eyed them in consideration of his bargain. However after a few seconds of silence she shook her head. With a defeated slouch he returned the gems to his pouch. “Yes or No?” She asked. “…No?” Before Galen could take a single retreating step the sand witch screamed with inarticulate rage, delivering a kick to his side that knocked him to the ground. Harshly he fell tumbling down the side of the dune he had been standing upon. Crashing against the hill until he lay face down on the warm ground, his robes irritatingly covered in sand. “Ow.” “Come on pal, you’re not going to let her beat you with a measly little fall are you?” “If it gets her to leave me alone…” “Wow, spoken like a real champion my friend. This place really is doomed.” “Yeah, yeah I’m moving.” Slowly he pushed himself up onto his hands and knees, grains of sand sliding off his back from the movement. Galen groaned from the discomfort of the growing soreness in the side of his stomach. Shaking his head to bring his focus back to the present he looked up to his right to see the Naga looming over him, tilting her head in curiosity. Rising to his feet he brushed off some of the sand coating his robes while the snake woman watched him. Looking behind the curious woman he witnessed the tail end of the sand witch’s slide down the dune. The no longer dancing snake turned her head to look behind her at the woman marching over to them. Galen then strangely saw the Naga switch her gaze between him, the wooden stick and the sand witch. Guessing the unusual snake woman was probably not a threat he nervously stepped passed her to face the sand witch. Suddenly from behind him he heard a voice call out. “Hora, Hora!” Confused he quickly turned around only to see a dark blur flying directly at him. Instinctively he put up his hands in defense and to his surprise he ended up catching the stick she had been holding a second ago. Before Galen could utter a word of question or gratitude the Naga slithered across the sands out of sight. “I always get what I want, dear…” The sand witch’s voice reminded him of her presence, as he once again moved to face his opponent. “Guess a stick is better than nothing.” He muttered to himself. “That’s not a stick my friend, it’s a wizards staff!” His companion said next to him. “I don’t know any magic!” “What I mean is those things aren’t built to break easy, use it like a club you moron!” “Oh I gotcha…Improvised weapon, huh alright I can work with this.” Galen became acutely aware of how the sand witch looked from left to right and then stared at him with a suspiciously unnerved expression. He needed to remember that only he could actually hear his traveling companion. Without warning the sand witch advanced forward with a kick, luckily with enough speed Galen stepped just out of reach. Feeling the wind generated by her attack brush against his robes, he instantly moved to counter. Before her missed kick ended, he swung the staff at the sole leg that supported her. He felt the vibrations resonate through the wood as his staff smacked against her leg, sweeping it into the air and knocking the witch to the ground. Seeing her put out of commission for a few seconds Galen proceeded to turn tail and leg it. “Are you serious man? You had her!” “You want to fight that witch long enough for her to use that smooth stone orb thing?” “...Fair point.” After the whole ordeal, Galen could think of nothing but his camp while he ran to safety. In that moment, not even the environment could keep the thought out of his head. Soon before he even realized it, he found himself in the familiar area that surrounded his camp. A sense of relief washed over him as he followed his memory straight to home. Not caring about the sweat or sand he was covered in, he immediately plopped himself down next to his unlit campfire. Staring at the soft ground he finally took a moment to rest. First thing he did was head to the nearby stream for a drink. After satisfyingly gulping down the refreshingly cool water, he set about getting a warm fire burning. Within moments he was able to allow himself to rest for the day. Relaxing by the fire, time seemed to speed by and it did not take long for the blood red moon to rise above the land. For a moment he gazed up at the starless night sky idly as the fire crackled softly in front of him. When he looked back down however he met gazes with the black robed apparition sitting opposite from him. Illuminated by the warm orange light of the fading fire, he noticed the figment of his imagination give him an approving smile. “Congratulations, made it another day eh partner?” “Yeah…another day.” Galen chuckled before turning his gaze to the fire. “Something on your mind pal?” “I dunno it’s just…You ever wonder if a champion will come along who can actually fix this mess?” “Hmm, maybe one day. Til then though, I’m afraid you’re the best excuse for a champion this poor land has got.” “Heh, I appreciate the motivation.” “Anytime, now get some sleep my friend.” In the blink of an eye he vanished from sight. With a yawn Galen took his friends advice and crawled into his tent. In mere moments his mind drifted off into slumbers embrace. Chapter 2: Courier. Galen groggily knelt in front of the gently flowing stream that rested near his camp. Cupping his hands together he dipped them into the crisp refreshing water. Bringing up the small amount that he had managed to trap, he splashed his catch against his face. The frigidness touching his skin helped jolt his foggy mind awake as some of the water dripped down onto his white robes. Shaking his head he suddenly felt alert and ready to survive another day in this hostile place. As he stared at the running water, Galen heard footsteps creeping up behind him. Quickly he spun around, only to be met with the sight of the familiar black robed apparition that wore his image. Chuckling he picked up the wizards staff that lay next to him and used it to hoist himself onto his feet. “Morning partner, didn’t spook you did I?” “Jeez, If you’re going to come up behind me at least say something will you?” “Alright yeah sorry, this place isn’t the friendliest so I can’t blame you for being jumpy. Regardless, what’s on the list for today chief?” “Honestly I was thinking of just taking today to walk around the forest, clear my head a little.” “Sounds good, lead the way pal.” Nodding, Galen pictured the forest in his mind as he walked. Soon he found himself surrounded by aged trees whose lush foliage obscured the sky above, casting a gentle darkness over the earth beneath his feet. The various scents of flourishing flowers felt calming as the fresh air filled his lungs. Overall, he thought it wouldn’t be half bad here, were it not for the residents of these woods. Using his wizard’s staff as a walking stick he strolled merrily through the forest, skipping over exposed roots whilst humming a tune of home that made his spirits soar. For a short while nothing sinister crossed his path, no imps or goblins rushed to tarnish his day. It brought a smile to Galen’s face, for a moment he was able to pretend he walked in the woods near his home without a care in the world. “Hey Gale, pay attention I think we got a problem coming towards us.” Tearing himself away from memories of better times with a sigh, he turned around to see what his companion was on about. That was when he started paying attention to the distant sound disturbing the peaceful silence of the forest. It almost sounded like a mass of snakes slithering across the ground or a mass of...Ah shit. As the sound of the beast drew closer he frantically scanned around his surroundings for a place to hide. He could hide behind a large enough tree, however if the beast emerged from the woods in a direction that would place him in its line of sight then he’d be done for. Galen didn’t have enough time to carefully plan anything, taking a chance he ducked behind the largest tree nearby and stood still as a statue. The approaching sound grew worryingly close until it eventually stopped near him. Frightfully he held his breath, praying he would not be discovered. With his back pressed against the bark of the tree he hid behind, Galen readied his wizards staff for a battle he knew wouldn’t end favourably. Then just as he was about to step out from his hiding spot to gain the element of surprise, he heard the thing pass by. Stepping away from the large tree, Galen lowered the wizard’s staff to his left side. Placing a hand over his pounding heart he breathed deeply in relief, however he also heard another simultaneous breath overlap his own? Looking to his right he saw a small red imp who also had his hand over his heart and probably the same confused expression. They both raised an eyebrow at each other before bursting out in laughter. “Jeez, I really thought I was going to have to fight that thing!” “Ah those beasts are utter fools! So easy to…Wait, aren’t you the escaped champ-” Before he could finish he brought the wizards staff across his head, sending the small creature sprawling onto the ground. The small red imp stayed down clutching his head as he groaned painfully. Quickly Galen glanced around and fled the scene before anything else could show up. A tinge of guilt pierced his heart, however he couldn’t take chances with any corrupted creatures. Once he had slowed back down to a walking pace, his other self appeared to accompany him with a disappointed look. “That was pretty cold man.” “The imps are corrupt, can’t chance it you know?” “Hey idiot in case you haven’t noticed, the only reason I’m around is because you’re partially corrupt.” “Key word being partially.” “True enough. Well battered imp aside, at least we got out of there without a scratch right?” “Yeah, thanks for having my back when I spaced out in my own little world for a bit. If you hadn’t said anything-.” “Don’t worry about it partner. After all I kind of live in your mind, so if something happens to you that’s a big problem for me.” “I appreciate the self centered motivation. Here I was thinking it was because we were friends.” “Ah come on Gale, that goes without saying. Besides is it really self centered if I’m technically a part of you?” “Uhhh…Too much thought needed to answer that one, let’s just keep going.” Continuing through the forest he eventually happened upon a strange sight in the middle of the woods. A small wooden cabin had seemingly been renovated into a shop of some kind. Galen couldn’t see anything through the few glass windows however the place overall looked normal enough. Stepping up to the rather small wooden entrance, he knocked his knuckles upon the door a few times. “It’s open!” A muffled voice said. Shrugging his shoulders he opened the door and ducked underneath the small passageway. Luckily the ceiling inside was sufficiently tall to where he didn’t have to crouch. Shutting the door behind him he scanned around the interior which was dimly lit by scarcely placed candles. Behind a square counter was a smiling imp sitting on a wooden stool. He wore a messenger’s satchel over his shoulder along with a rugged pair of pants that had clearly been stitched together from various pieces of scavenged clothing. Surrounding him were jars of ink along with quills and blank pieces of parchment. “E-Ey there, you’re the escapee all my imp brethren are hunting right? Welcome to the mail post of no return!” “I…Aren’t you supposed to be attacking me or something?” “Ah hogwash, being a soldier and obeying orders was never the life for me! No sir, I wanted to be a courier.” “Huh, o-ok. So you deliver letters?” “Ehhhhh sorta…You see flying around Mareth is tiring work, no fun at all. So I spent a bunch of time practicing portal magic and now I just throw my letters through tiny magical windows to their intended destination. Only problem is, my establishment refrains from including a return address, so we can stay hidden. Hence our name of the mail post of no return. The only place in Mareth where the letter always leaves, but never comes back!” “That actually sounds like an amazing way to send a death threat.” “I-I can do that easily for three gems! My prices are cheap because um, no one tends to spend any gems here…” Hearing about the poor state of his business made Galen feel sorry for the imp. Perhaps he should mail something just to give him a bit of business. Then again, who would he even mail a letter to? As that thought crossed his mind, the black robed apparition suddenly appeared in a no longer empty chair placed in the corner of the room. He leaned forward and raised a hand when he yelled out his idea. “Maybe you should send a letter to the leader of demons and politely ask them to stop.” A silly joke formed in Galen’s mind after he finished saying those words. Walking over to the counter he decided to fish out ten gems as a tip for this poor imp. He doubted the courier would even consider such a ridiculous request but even still, worth a try. Putting his ten gems on the counter, he watched the courier eye them happily before looking back up at him. “The gems are yours, if you can send a letter to whoever is in charge of the demons.” “Oh you mean the queen? Hmmm, ah I bet all the scare stories about her are just hogwash anyway…You have got yourself a deal!” Surprised he actually accepted, Galen proceeded to watch the imp gather parchment, envelope and quill with glee. Once they were all laid out, the imp patiently awaited him to dictate the letters contents. He pondered what to say for a moment or two, he hadn’t expected to be composing a letter to a demonic queen today, or ever. Knowing some high up lord of demons would receive whatever nonsense he said was an opportunity Galen refused to pass up. Clearing his throat, Galen put a hand behind his back and began to dictate his letter with a posh and sarcastic tone. “Dear Queen of Demons, How are you today? Personally I am doing well. Since my arrival here, I have noticed this place is quite overrun by corrupted beings. I believe this may be a problem and would like to request that you cease spreading corruption in the land. Additionally, if you could also stop terrorizing the people, that’d be great. Sincerely, The Champion of Ingram.” His black robed companion snickered with his face buried in his hands as Galen tried to keep his composure while the imp finished writing. In fact the courier imp was quite the speed demon when it came to writing apparently, for the point of his quill glided across the parchment like frictionless ice. After a minute of listening to the quill scratch against the page, the imp contently folded the paper and stuffed it inside an envelope. Skittering over to where a wickless red candle rested, the imp took the candle and placed it above the flame of another. Slowly red wax dripped from the stick and formed a small puddle upon the envelope. Setting down the melting red candle wax, the courier then produced a small metal ring from his messenger’s satchel. Happily he pushed the flat top of the ring against the wax, creating a hardened emblem that sealed the envelope shut. “Ready to mail sir!” “Send it away courier.” Nodding with a smile on his face he uttered a strange chant which Galen did not understand. Suddenly after moving his hands in circular pattern, a small swirling distortion appeared in the air. The tiny portal was red near the edge and black in the center, similar to the colour of the imp who summoned it. With a triumphant motion the magical courier tossed the letter into the portal before it proceeded to disappear. Absolutely worth the gems. “Thank you for your business sir, stop by anytime! The mail post of no return is always open.” “Sure thing, you seem alright for an imp. Uh, no offense.” “None taken sir, most of my brothers are complete savages!” “Wow Gale, first you bash someone over the head for being an imp and now you’re insulting another for the same reason. You’re kind of prejudice against imps huh partner?” Galen tried not to acknowledge his black robed friend, considering he was in the company of others. However when his interactions with imps was put in such a way, he couldn’t help chuckling in embarrassment. When he stopped laughing he saw the imp collecting the gems on the counter. “They said I’d never make a gem but thanks to you sir I have proved them wrong.” “No problem but hey, what’s your name anyway?” “Name? Never had one, just call me the courier.” “Sure thing, my names Galen.” “Nice to meet you Galen. If you ever need something, just ask.” “Heard any interesting news lately?” “Hmmm…You know about that factory being built up in the mountain yet?” “Nope, what’s it for?” “Being built by the demons for something, don’t know what though.” “I’ll have to check it out, that doesn’t sound…uh… Courier, is that supposed to happen?” “Uh well sir, most I can say is that um, that’s not mine…” Galen went silent as in front of his eyes the air distorted and swirled once more. He and the courier imp stared in worry as a similar small portal formed. Only this time the portal was magenta at the edges before the colour faded into the abyssal blackness at the center. From the depths of this infinite void, an arm of pinkish skin dressed in a sleeve of clothing black as night emerged clutching a letter. Paralyzed by fear and confusion, he watched the arm move above his face. Then strangely he felt the letter be gently set down with perfect balance on top of his hooded head. Cautiously Galen removed the sealed letter off himself like a hat, as he felt a great unexplainable sense of unease consume his beating heart. The mysterious hand proceeded to roughly pat his skull a few times contently before giving a wave goodbye and vanishing back inside the portal. As the magical window disappeared entirely, he glanced down at the letter in his hands whose wax seal bore the symbol of a goats horns. “OK partner I think that’s enough magic for today, why don’t we head back to camp?” “O-One sec, I should at least read this…” The courier didn’t say a word as Galen broke the seal and opened the letter in the dimly lit wooden shop. Just barely he could make out the words in the soft candle light. “Dear Champion of Ingram, I am fairing marvellously, I appreciate your inquiry of my mood. In regards to your request to cease my efforts of corruption entirely, I must offer my deepest gratitude. I have not had the pleasure of such a rapturous fit of laughter in quite some time. May we one day encounter each other face to face, I would relish in the opportunity to crush both your body and mind personally. Until then, stay safe. If you have the intelligence to do so of course, however I suppose that will be determined shortly. Sincerely, Queen Lethice.” “That was an oddly polite way to tell someone you want them dead or worse.” “No kidding partner.” Galen turned to his companion who had been hovering over his shoulder reading the letter. The apparition pointed to something on the paper. Glancing back down he saw a small glowing symbol on the bottom of the page that grew brighter with each passing second. He couldn’t understand what exactly it was supposed to mean. The ominous symbol had many intricate lines and markings that made no sense to him. Turning the paper over to the nervously waiting courier, Galen pointed to the symbol. “Hey do you know what this means?” “Hmmm…it looks like a magical rune, something to do with explo…sives…” “Oh…” Without hesitation Galen dropped the letter and grabbed the imp who bolted for the door along with him. The last thing he remembered was throwing the door open before a loud explosion overwhelmed his sense of hearing. A burning forced launched him off his feet, sending him flailing through the air until he smacked against the bark of a tree. He tried to get to his feet, however suddenly the screaming pain throughout his body was too great. Despite Galen’s efforts to endure the shock, consciousness failed him.