Story

Bacchus Who Jumps the Wicker Man Fence (1)

Still setting up the setting! It’s gonna be a great big fantasy story with lots of horror elements in it too. I always found that Horror and Fantasy often intertwined in the stories I grew up with.

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The yellow sun known as Ace by the inhabitants of its only populated planet lay within its heliosphere (known as the Ace Helios). The galaxy it lay within drifted along the surface of the cosmic membrane, the wall between the two sections of the universe. The chaos that effected the other section of the universe was kept safely away from Ace Helios by the unfathomably thick membrane. However, existing right next to the the border between two sections of the universe was something that couldn’t fail to present the galaxy with issues and Ace Helios, drifting as it was close by the end of the galaxy closest to the membrane, was hit hard by the resulting cosmic effects.

The beings of Deus Shore didn’t know about these cosmic ills, though. Small and unaware of how unusual their little planet was or the strange and unfortunate location of their star, the beings who lived on the planet known as Deus Shore were almost blissfully unaware of the source of the anomalies they had lived with and treated as almost normal. The two most intelligent creatures of Deus Shore were the deuslings (more commonly titled humans) and the gap roamers (more professionally known as Diploda Sapient by the humans). Both the deuslings and the gap roamers lived intelligently, surviving with the power of their wits and had advanced their understanding of physics and the universe over the years. However, their understanding did not stretch very far outside of their own planet and neither race’s knowledge was completely accurate. They still believed that the neighboring stars were smaller than their planet and that their sun was an almighty deity. They believed in Gods that didn’t exist and cosmic charts and models created based on more myth than scientific study. Both the deuslings’ and gap roamers’ science had a long way to go before they could discover the true science of their universe and the science behind the anomalies they suffered from.

Deus shore was split rather unevenly between the deuslings and the gap roamers. The deuslings were mammals that resembled mostly bald apes. Their torsos and backbones were straighter and more erect than the hunched back of an ape and they were bipedal. In simpler terms, they were humans in terms of shape and form. As stated before, the deuslings were intelligent. However, another advantage they held over most animals was their masterful development of physical training. In their history, deuslings evolved around many different cultures from around the world and although each culture had developed different beliefs, religions, and ethics, one constant between them all was the focus on physical training. In any deusling village a masterful trainer of physical reflexes, strength, and flexibility was as sure to be present as an expert on medicine, a provider of food, and a source of water. Because of this fixation on physical training most young deuslings were trained to battle before they were taught to read.

Deuslings claimed most of the world to be theirs, creating large cities and small villages all around the four continents of the world and the many islands. Only the many dark areas of the world were oened by the deuslings’ sister race, the gap roamers. The gap roamers could best be described as large secretive millipedes. They roamed the dank and dark places of the world such as deep caves, the dark cracks in cliff areas and under the ground. The deuslings even let them create societies within their sewers. Unlike the deuslings the gap roamers did not build things. They did not create their tools or homes. They did not take resources and create using them but used what they were born with to live. The gap roamers were born with hundreds of legs but traditionally removed some as they grew. Over the millenniums they had evolved to feel less pain from losing certain legs. The three pairs of legs closest to their front ends had small grippers which they used to carry things while all of their other legs produced a special wax on their tips. Using their waxy hind legs as markers they recorded their information on stones, on tree branches, and whatever they could draw on. Over the millenniums they had mastered sophisticated information storage and philosophy. The deuslings could own the surface for all they cared, they found solace in the dark where no one disturbed their precious writings.

While the gap roamers created societies based on writing and philosophy underground, the deuslings created cities and villages above. One small village known as Tigbolter town existed within the Elith Woods. There was a large fence surrounding the village. Along the fence were sixteen statues made from wicker, each located a half mile apart from the other. Ten were burnt and six were not. The final wicker man lay at the village gate. Counting counter clockwise, it was the first ten statues which had been burnt while the remaining six remained. Some of the statues had been picked at by birds for months. They were all covered in snow and ice and some solid bird droppings.

Within the village were roads surrounded by small wooden huts, each housing around four men and women each. The market place, which was where a majority of the town’s food was bought, was centered in the village nearby the town gates, which were rather large. It was important for merchants to be able to easily enter the town in a hurry so the gates, although always closed when there were no visitors, were extra wide to allow for a double lane of carts to enter and exit through.

During the winter, after the supply from the small farms located at the east end of the village had run out halfway through the year, imports from the big cities outside of the woods came in in droves. These imports usually came from brave and greedy merchants who less people were willing to venture into the Elith Wood than any other city for miles and that the small village was filled with villagers who didn’t spend as much money on taxes as city folk and probably had lots of money saved up for food. These merchants were willing to risk their and their employees necks for the money of Tigbolter Town and never left disappointed if they managed to make it into the city.

During the mid winter season of the year 431, exactly five years ago, was the best year for the merchants. The supply of food for the village had somehow been consumed quicker and there was a real threat of starvation. The message was sent out by carrier pigeon to the closest city requesting supplies. Most of the city officials did not want anything to do with this village but that had not been the point of the letter. Rumors quickly caught on among the merchants that the demand for food had come early in Tigbolter Town, which was a golden opportunity for merchants and farmers.

At the time there had been 6 burnt wicker statues along the fence and 10 remaining.  When the food came in the villagers struggled to take the names of all of the farmers and merchants for record keeping purposes, but with the flood of merchants coming in errors were unavoidable. Before the flood, however, was the leak in the dam: the quickest small shower of merchants with less to sell and carry and therefore had weight to drag arrived the quickest and the town record keepers took their names. According to what was written, one family had split up; eight sons and two daughters all in pairs, each carrying a different produce of grains and vegetables were coming separately but only four of the five pairs had arrived. The mayor personally assured the family that the town’s finest scouts, which was a collective term for the trained wood trackers and conscripted “volunteers,” would go out to find the missing pair and their products. However, after a week of searching the scouts had no news to report. It was only after the family had left mourning several days later and the flood of merchants had been pouring in the city for days did the scouts tell the truth to the record keepers and mayor: two bodies, one male and one female, had been found mauled to death in the woods miles away from any of the trails. The bite wounds were too large  to have been from any bear. The bodies had also been on a state of undress and the clothes were nowhere to be found. In another section of the woods a large satchel bag was found with watermelon chunks and seeds inside.

This year, 436 PW, the village farms had not yet run out and it was predicted that they could possibly last for another seven weeks. It had been a productive summer, after all, with plenty of rain. Word on the street was that the village witch was claiming credit for the extra rain, citing it a gift from her gods. Still, the town depended on merchants to get them through the winter and they needed to keep relationships with them as strong as possible. The request for food supplies would be sent in two weeks even if the farmers’ produce wasn’t in danger or running low. Keeping the suppliers happy was important. So was making them ignore the dangers of entering the Elith Wood.

It was written down in the town records that around five merchants were killed on their way to and from Tigbolter a year.

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