This is something I've been working on for some time. I have other stories that I've been writing on, but this will be my masterpiece. Hope you like it ^_^

The Ancient World


There was once a world; a utopia filled with lush green forests, vast bodies of water, and mountainous ranges. The inhabitants coexisted with every being and creature on the planet as they thrived from their world's infinite resources. These inhabitants were one with nature, for they were anthropomorphic; half human, half animal. This world was known only to those who where able to access it. Druids, as they were called, where the only ones who knew of the secret passageway to enter. For hundreds of years they tailored this world for a single purpose; so that one could live in peace with nature, away from the retches of Earth and all it’s evil. But, the old kings of Earth sought out these individuals for their own greedy purpose. Somehow word got out that the Druids had access to an alternate world, and the king’s lustfulness drove them mad with desire.

This was a time of war. A war between the provinces of Earth, and the Druids were caught in between. Some were captured and tortured for they’re defiance; they would never allow such evil into this perfect world they worked so hard to achieve. Others disappeared, never to be found again.

One particular king was so stricken with hate, that he decided if he couldn’t have access to this utopia, then no one would. He mandated that all Druids be found, and executed, and any others who aided the Druids would find the same fate.

One by one the druids fell and eventually only one was left, but he was forgotten. This Druid kept his identity a secret and only his closest followers knew who he really was. Years passed by and the wars kept on, but they never found the Druid. The old man grew old, and weak, his time in this life would soon come to an end. He called to his followers and asked them to take him to a place in the woods near the mountains where he visited often.  They laid him down next to some tall, manipulated stones that were etched in cryptic code. He looked up at his followers and saw fear in them. The druid summoned what strength he had left to lean back against the rock. "Fear not, my young apprentices, he said to his followers, "I have a gift for you. A gift of peace and tranquility."

The druid took his hands and placed them on the stones. He then spoke to them in a language that they had never heard. The stones began to glow brightly. The glyphs turned blue like the sky. The druids end was near, he had used the last of his remaining power. He then looked to his followers one last time and said these words:

You must surrender yourself and be one with nature.

Look to the forest and turn to the wild,

For that is where you'll find the key my child.

A key to a place of warmth, a place of prosperity,

A place to settle down and escape this barbarity.

Go now! Solve this riddle and take what is yours.

Find what is needed to escape Earths horrors.

The druid took his last breath and the life faded from his aged eyes. Those were the last words spoken by the last remaining druid, thus ending their kind on Earth.

It did not take the followers long to figure out what needed to be done, for the stones reacted to the presence of the wildlife around them. The animals were not easy to catch. It would have been much easier to kill the animals and bring them to the stones, but that was against their teachings. They proceeded aptly; some caught wolves, mountain lions, and cougars. A few managed to catch some birds. Others went to the nearest village and lead the tame horses, cats, and dogs to the stones. A strange thing had happened though. Of the wild animals they caught, when they reached the stones, they became tame as if they knew what had happened.

One by one the old man's twenty followers took their companions and led them to the stones. The cryptic language etched in them illuminated the darkness around them, shining bright as the sky. As they held their companion in one hand and touched the stone in the other, they were pulled into it, disappearing from this world and reemerging into another. As each follower went through the portal, they merged with the animal of their choosing and morphed into their anthropomorphic state as they entered this strange world the old man had given to them. When they reemerged, the beauty of this new land astounded them. It was beautiful. The sky was brighter than earth and as their eyes adjusted to the intensity of it, what they saw, they could not believe. The sky above them was vivid; blue, amber, gold, the colors above them were unimaginable. The druids follower's fell to their knees in awe. The grass they laid upon; smooth and soft. They looked at each other and cried tears of happiness as they held each other. This was a new start. They had nothing. No clothes, no weapons, for they were not needed.

Several hundred years passed and their civilization began to thrive. They even found other Druids that were living there. There was leadership. They elected a king, and he was as just as he was humble. A town was built, then a city, and several more cities after that. Their lives were flourishing and harmony was bountiful.....or so it seemed.

After centuries of turmoil on earth, it had not gotten better. An evil king had risen up. He sought after power, and brutally destroyed those who rose against him. One day, as the king and his party were returning from a raid, he happened across the stones. He thought nothing of them as he got closer, but the horse he rode on accidentally set off the aura in them. This intrigued the king. He rode closer and got off his horse to get a closer look. As he touched the rock, he was instantly pulled into it. The king reappeared in the strange world, but not as an anthropomorphic, only as a man. This was a safeguard that the old man imbued to the rocks. Only the innocent shall reap the rewards of this world. The king, fearing for his life, grabbed hold of the rock again and ported himself back out. As he reappeared on the other side, an evil grin was seen on his face. He told a messenger to bring forth his armies, and that there is new territory to claim.

All of the evil king's men wore wolf masks, enabling them to enter the portal. This was the exception that the druid was unaware of. Thousands of the king's men entered the portal and reappeared as human to the strange world. Marching along through the jungle they came across strange beasts that attacked them instantly. Many of his men died, for the beasts were strong, but this did not stop the king from reaching the first city. The inhabitants were caught off guard. No one had anticipated for this to happen. Their were no defenses. No weapons, no training of any kind. It hadn't been needed.

As the king walked into the town, he saw the strange inhabitants. To him, they were an abomination that needed to be exterminated. The males, the females, even the children, were all struck down. The king went to every city and every town. There was no warning...It was genocide. A few druids were the only ones to escape into the forest.

The king's newly found world was now his. The king and his men laughed as they plundered through the cities and villages, drinking and gorging themselves with the food they found. After several hours, the men and the king grew tired. But something began to make them uneasy. There was a chill in the air. Something wasn't right. As the men rested from their acts of evil, there was a commotion coming from the forest. The trees moved and the ground shook. The sky above them turned dark and the moons, red. The beasts of the forest were on a rampage and the balance of nature was out of alignment. The beasts laid waste to the evil king's army. Scouring through the cities and villages, they left none alive. In sheer minutes...they were dead.

For thousands of years the world was left forgotten, yet the ancient stones remained. Fate would have it, that they'd be found again.

The Ancient World

"I'm home!" my father says as he does everyday coming home from work. He walks to the kitchen table where I'm doing my math homework. "How was school?"

Unaware that the question was directed towards me, I look up at him, "Oh...It was, alright...I guess." I say, but it really wasn't. I am sixteen years old and a freshman in high school. It wouldn't be so bad, but I'm kind of a loner, and I don't like sports. So I don't fit in with many of the 'groups' in school except for the nerdy group. So I get picked on...a lot.

"Oh it couldn't have been that bad eh sport?"

"Ugh...don't call me that! I don't even like sports." I retort.

My father laughed and smiled at me, "Fine...what are you working on there?"

"Math! Wanna help?" I say, teasingly, knowing he isn't very good at it.

" should probably wait until your mother gets home," he pats me on the head and walks into the den.

I roll my eyes and I turn my attention back to my homework, but it doesn't stay on task for very long. The small TV sitting on the kitchen counter is on, and a reporter from a helicopter is on the news saying that some archeologists found some ancient carved stones that date back thousands of years ago. 'Stones?' could the news be any more boring than a reporter talking about some old rocks. Just then, my twelve year old brother comes in and asks me if I want to play some video games. I turn from the TV and glare at him. I would so much rather be doing that than my math homework. I look down at my book and back at him.

"Oh, what the hell...I need a break from this anyways. By the way, you ready to get that new game? The midnight release is tonight." I say as I get up from my seat.

My brother gasped and smiled from ear to ear. "Oh yeah! I forgot about that." We walk to the living room and sit down on the couch. He already has it on and both controllers are by the couch. I enjoy spending time with my brother. He is really good at video games and presents a tough challenge for me. I do mostly win though, but not always.

We play for a few hours and its eight o'clock before my mother gets home. She walked to the living room and smiled at us. She asked us about our day then left to her room and we continued to play. I glanced at the clock on the wall and its thirty minutes past eight.

I turn to Johnny, "You know what time it is?"

"We're going to leave now? It's only eight thirty..." he says, a bit confused.

"Yeah, but if we want a chance of actually getting the game, we'll need to leave early."

"Oh...Ok then!" Johnny jumped up and turned the console off.

We both walk to the den where our parents are watching some TV and tell them where we're going.

"Ok honey," my mother says, "Johnny...stay close to your brother."

"Ugh...I know!" Johnny says in disgust.

I just got my driver's license and my parents got me a little truck to drive back and forth from school. We hopped in and took off towards the city. It's only a few miles out, so it didn’t take very long. I drove up to the mall parking garage, found an empty parking space and we started walking towards the game shop in the mall. We can already see the line backed up throughout the mall.

"Oh man...I hope we're not too late." I say.

We get in line behind a cute girl I've seen from school. She's about my height, five foot and six inches. She's got curly brown hair, and even though I can't see her eyes, I remember them; the kind of blue that reminds me of the sky and flecks of green around her iris. I've always wanted to talk to her, but I've been too afraid to. She turns around and catches me looking at her. I quickly turn away, but it's my brother who speaks first.

"Hi!" he says with enthusiasm. I wish I had his courage, maybe it's because he's so young and doesn't know any better. The girl laughed and returned a simple "Hello," then she looked at me. "Hey, I know you from school. What was your name?"

"Oh, it's..."

"Jason! His name is Jason," my brother interrupts me before I have a chance to complete my sentence. I locked my arm around his neck and nudged him in the ribs, "And this little one is Johnny," I say before he weasels out of my grip.

She giggled, "My name is Lily, but my gamer's name is Lilura."

"Oh, I like it. Mine is Link," I said.

"I’m not sure what I want to be called, I’ll have to think about it," my brother said.

"That's cool!" she said enthusiastically. " about this line? I sure hope we got here in time."

I nod, "Me too." For the next few hours we all talk about the new game. It's the first of its kind. A VRMMORPG they call it, or Virtual Reality Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. That's a mouthful, but the game itself is called The Ancient World. The game requires a headset to play. From what I've read, you start off in this new unexplored world. You have to craft your own weapons. You start off with whatever you can find in the world. Eventually it says you can mine for better materials to make better weapons and such. You have to have better weapons to kill more dangerous creatures. There wasn't really anything about a goal for the game, other than surviving. Sounds like a fun game to me.

Not paying attention to the time, the crowd ahead of us started to move. They are letting five people in at a time and it's our turn; Lily, my brother and I, and two others walk in the store. When we walk in, there are hundreds of boxes scattered around the store, each with a different insignia. All the other games had been moved out to make room for them and the store was decorated with these blood red banners hanging from the ceiling; each of them had the different insignias. They depicted different animals: a horse, a wolf, a fox, and several others. I wondered about this as we walked up to the men behind the counter. There were two middle aged men dressed in black suits and shaded glasses. They didn't say anything until all five of us reached the counter.

"Hello, and welcome to The Ancient World. Each of you must choose from the insignias before you, but be warned; you will not be able to change it once you've entered the game...You sir," he looked at me, "Which will you choose?"

"Umm..." I hadn't really given it much thought. I figured you could change it when you set up the game. "Umm...I'll go with the fox please."

"Very well," he said in a sophisticated tone. The other man standing with him retrieves a box with the fox insignia on it and hands it to me. He says nothing. It was a simple black box with the red fox insignia printed on it.

" much do I owe you?" I say. I'm rather confused.

"It's on the house, and that goes for the rest of you." He says with a half grin on his face. 'Ok...this is really weird,' I say to myself. I am both astonished and weirded out by the whole situation, but I do manage to say thank you as I step back and wait for the rest to pick their insignias. My brother picked the same as I did, and so did Lily. The other two guys both picked wolves and we all walked towards the exit. I'm the last one to the door and as I turned around to look at the store for one last time, the man behind the counter said one last thing.

"Enjoy..." he said with an expressionless face.

My eyes go wide as I closed the door behind me. 'Ok, that was strange.' I know they tend to do these things on midnight releases, but they really did a good job this time. I shook my head. Oh well, we got the game and it's time to go home. Lily, myself, and my brother all walked towards the parking garage and go our separate ways to our vehicles. As Lily walked off, she turns around.

"Make sure to add me!" she yells.

"Lilura, right?" She nodded and turned around to walk to her car. I stand there for a moment, looking at her as she walked off. My brother looked up at me and poked me in the ribs.

"You like her don't you?"

I just rolled my eyes and tell him to get in the truck. We get to the house and my mother is still up, of course. But now that we're there, she kissed us goodnight and told us not to stay up too late. It's Friday night so we don't have to go to school tomorrow. I look at my brother and we instantly drop our things and opened the boxes at the same time to get our new headsets out. They were really cool looking, also quite heavy. They were metal and made quite well; aluminum I think, and they were painted black. Another thing that I thought was cool was that on top of the device laid a small polished stone with the fox insignia etched into it. They really put a lot of thought and time into just making the headset, which made me wonder about the gameplay. The game also came with a controller. You use the controller to move around and the headset to look around at the environment.

"Ok, the instructions say to sit down somewhere before putting the headset on. I think we should play from our separate rooms since we can talk to each other through the built in microphone." I said to my brother.

"Ok, I'll see you in the game then," he walks towards the door, but stops just before exiting.  " will I find you?"

"I'm sure they have some kind of friend request system. Just look up my name and you should be able to join my party."

He smiles, "Ok! I'll see you in the game." When my brother left, I plugged the headset to on open outlet and placed the headgear over my head. As I pressed the power button on the side, the display lights up in front of my eyes. A eerie black background appeared in front of me, a dark forest with leafless branches that seem to be right in front of my face. Then, words appeared on the screen and a mysterious voice followed:

Welcome to the Ancient World young traveler.

This is a world that has yet to be explored.

The mysteries have yet to be uncovered.

And you have been chosen to do just that.

But be warned...

There is a danger here that should not be taken lightly.

Everything that lives and breathes here wants to kill you.

Should you enter, there will be no turning back.

Are you ready?

...Press "A" to continue...

Ok, first of all how does this thing know I'm a "young traveler?" And second, what the hell does it mean there's no turning back. Do I only have only one life or something? Damn this game is really freaking me out. They made it seem like a regular survival game on the trailer. But now it seems like more of a horror game. Oh well, I better hurry up and get into the game. I'm sure my brother is already in; he loves these kind of games.

A press the "A" button on my controller and the screen went blank. The headset starts to make a winding sound and I can feel air start to circulate around the device. My eyes grew wide, but thought nothing of it as I realized they were probably cooling fans. 'Well that's a cool feature' I thought to myself. Then the screen turned bright white, causing my eyes to squint.

You were warned...

" we go with the creepy dialogue again," I said aloud. Just then the fans started to wind louder and I can hear something on the headset powering up. A flash of light blinded me, so I closed my eyes for a few seconds. But when I opened headset was gone, the temperature had changed, and I could see my hands in front of me, but they weren't hands. They were paws! I looked over the rest of my body. I had been morphed instantly into the being of my choosing; a fox. I have a tail, and fur has covered my entire body, but I am sitting on a fallen tree in a dark forest like a human would. It was uncomfortable though. My tail was outside of my shorts so i ripped a hole through the back of them and pull my tail through.

"What the hell just happened!? I thought this was a visual virtual reality console. Did this thing really just tap into my brain?" I say aloud as I stand up. "No...that can't be it." When I stood up I could feel my muscles being strained. I started jumping. My heart was racing and my legs grew tired. "What the hell is going on?" I yell. I can feel everything!

Something from behind me startled me. I jumped and turn around. There's something in the bushes, moving around. I can't see very well, my eyes haven't adjusted to the darkness. To my left I could hear something else, but it was further off. A deep howl from some creature ringed in my ears, making my hair on the back of my neck stand on end. The bushes stopped moving and the howling continued. I heard a scream. 'That was from a person!' I started to run, opposite the direction of the howls. I'm running through the forest, dodging trees and vines; the lush leaves of the forest brushed against my face as I ran past them. My heart was pounding, my adrenaline was pumping, I could run faster though. With this body I felt less fatigue and could hear better. I got distracted and crashed into something, or someone. When I rose up off the ground and looked around, I saw a wolfess on the ground, holding her shoulder; she was scared.

"Hey! It's OK, I'm not going to hurt you. Let me help you up." I say to her.

Reluctantly she holds out her paw and I pull her up to her feet.

"What the hell is going on?" she asked in a frantic voice.

I shook my head, "I don't know. I was in my room with my brother and I," I stopped mid sentence. "Oh god! My brother!" I say, looking around frantically. Then the howling continued. It was closer, and closing in.

We both took off running, but it's too late. She was right on my heel when the creature jumped through the brush and tackled her to the ground. I stopped and turned around. It's a feral wolf. But this beast was twice my height and had her neck in its jaws. The beast had his eyes fixated on the wolfess. I took a step towards them and the beast looked right at me. He growled and clenched harder around her throat. She started to scream, but was cut short as he crushed her throat in its massive jaws. She gurgled in her own blood as she desperately tried to breathe. Her eyes grew wide and she stopped moving.

Is this really happening? I couldn't move! I was frozen with fear and all I could do was watch. Tears started to fall from my eyes. The beast had caught its prey and hadn't shown any signs of pursuing me. The wolf kept a careful eye on me as I summoned the willpower to finally move. I turned around to run and as I looked back he had already started tearing apart his fresh kill. My heart was pounding out of my chest. I've never been this terrified. I've never seen anyone die before. She was innocent! All she wanted was to play a harmless game...and she died because of it! I started to get angry. Who could have done such a thing?

I was scared. I needed protection, and I couldn't do anything without a weapon. I stopped running and looked around for something, anything to defend myself. Rocks and sticks were all I saw, besides the vegetation of the forest. I had an idea. While cautiously looking around, I grabbed a rock and split it in half over another. I then took a sturdy stick off of a branch that had fallen from a tree and started sharpening the end of it with the jagged rock, looking up and around every other second. I could hear small creatures scampering around out there. They were watching me, I could feel it. My spear is ready; it's sharp. It would maybe last for a few strikes, but it was all I needed for now.

I continued to trek through the floor of the forest. There were two moons, and they were blood red. Nothing else to light the sky except for the stars which shown brighter than any I've ever seen. Even through the tall trees of the forest, they shown bright enough for me to navigate through the dark overgrown forest. As I jumped over fallen trees and dodged the branches and brush around me I could hear the squeal of something above me. It sounded like the high pitched scream of a bat. I continued to run. I didn't stop, but just then I sensed something behind me; it grabbed me by the arm and bit into it. I let out a scream from the pain as clamped its jaw into me. I tripped and fell to the ground. Whatever it was that had latched onto me was no longer there. I quickly rose to my feet and saw the creature flapping its wings on the ground. It gained its composure and stood to its feet. It was only about 2 feet tall and resembled a moth and a bat.  But this thing had sharp teeth protruding from its closed mouth and talons like a hawk. My arm was hurting bad and as I looked at it, there was blood seeping into my fur around the wound. I looked back at the creature and it let out its high pitched scream as it launched itself in my direction. I took the spear in my hand and swung it as hard as I could, landing the blow against its face. The creature squealed as it fell to the ground. Something hit me from behind and grabbed at my neck, but I rolled forward before it bit me, causing the creature to fall to the ground. I rose to my feet and took the sharp end of the spear and ran it through its abdomen. I held it there until it stopped screeching and moving. The other creature watched the whole thing as it recovered from the blow to its face. I ran towards it, spear in hand, and it took off into the air, screeching loudly.

I yelled at the creature as it took off. It didn't come back. As I caught my breath from the fight, this overwhelming fear built up inside me and I came to a realization. I dropped my spear and fell to my knees. I was still breathing hard. I felt like I was about to pass out, but I shook myself out of it. This is to be my reality now. I don't know why we were summoned here, but I plan to find out. I AM going to survive this and FIND my brother. "I will FIND HIM!" I yelled to the forest as I slammed my fists into the ground. Whatever it takes, I will find my brother.

The End

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