Where am I?
I open my eyes. I find myself standing on the deck of a massive ship. A frigate, from what I observe. I see the ship's crew walking around the deck. They act as if they're oblivious to my presence. I call out to the nearest one. He doesn't respond and continues past me. I feel a growing dread and fear inside my belly. Like a fungus growing and weighing my stone stomach down.
Why am I here? How am I here?
I look up, hoping to get a first step in figuring it out. But that hope disappeared when I saw there was no bright sun above with its rays tearing into my eyes. Nor was there the portrait of the constellations that painted the sky above. There wasn't even a blanket of clouds suppressing the world to the color of grey threatening to unleash its furious storms onto the sailors crossing the seas. Instead, I see and endless darkness stretching on to forever with auras of green infecting the air. Below it, I see the tops of spires emerging from below as the ship proceeded past them. My eyes lock onto one of the spires and move to the side to see it pass by. My vision moves from the top of it to the base below. I see the ship was not in a body of water to support its form, but it was hovering in a stream of glowing mist, as if it was carrying it along its way.
I feel a chill course though my body, causing a shortness in my breath. It wasn't from the elements of the outside, but rather voices that flowed into my body. It felt like this realm was infecting me with these voices. My mind couldn't process the words coming in causing me to shutter and kneel.
I close my eyes and breath in a gasp of petrified air into my lungs. For the briefest moment, my mind was clear enough to make an educated guess to what this place was. Coming up with that guess made me even more afraid.
Am I in the Hall of Echoes?
The realm of the afterlife for the souls of Rivellon? Was I dead?
Before I could bring my thoughts to bare, a mighty shriek erupted below. My body is shaken causing me to stand up and attempt to maintain my balance. When I regain my bearings, I find the deck of the ship had disappeared and was replaced with the metallic ground of one of the spires. I look out to see an endless darkness below. I turn my head to my side and I see two people standing next to me, both looking down at the chasm. The one nearest is an Elf holding two daggers while the other next to her was a Lizard holding a sword and shield. I turn my head back the other direction to see one more person standing beside me. This time it was a human who held a crossbow.
I move my eyes back down to the chasm to see something emerge from the darkness. It was something massive. It rose up over me and those beside me. It was a monster. It looked down at us. Its gaze peered into me, paralyzing my body with the fear and awe presented. A glow grew in the back of its jaws as it reared back. A stream of jade colored fire shot out. I feel my eyes widen as the beam of flame hurdled towards me. Only my fear remained as the flames closed the distance…
"So! Still a bit groggy, are we?"
I feel my senses slowly returning to me. My head, my arms and then all the other extremities. I feel the senses in my chest exhale sending a moan through my neck and out my mouth. My mind was still in a haze when the voice spoke to me again.
"Don't worry, the sedative will wear off soon enough."
I was drugged? Where was I? How did I get here?
At that moment, I could hear the figure who spoke to me pull a leaver nearby causing a series of gears to engage. It was then that the senses that returned told me I was shackled down on a wooden table. The mechanism caused the table to tilt forward to where my body was half way upright. The restraints popped off freeing me. As I began to move my body from its dormant state, the person spoke to me again.
"Easy now. No need to hurry. Get your bearings, then report to me upstairs."
With that, the person, who I recognized to be a human woman, headed up a set of stairs and opened the hatch above leaving me alone in the chamber.
I lean my body up. I bring my hand to my head to rub whatever clarity back into my mind. I move my feet forward and my body follows. My balance is a little jarring, but it steadily finds its equilibrium. After a few more seconds of adjusting, everything becomes clear now.
I raise my arms up and look down. I see the ten fingers of my scaly hands and the long nails reaching out from the tips. They look the same way as I remember save a little crack here and there. Not uncommon for a Lizard. The color of my scales is a light blue, a color many refer to as cornflower. I look in the corner of my eyes to see the edge of my frill around the back my head. It's the color of bright orange. Some people I knew told me I had the appearance of a bright flower. The only thing that intrudes on my appearance were the rags I was clad in. A departure from my wizard robes I wear normally. To top it off, a fair amount of dust and dirt littered my body. I wasn't one of those nobles who obsessed about their appearance and cleanliness, but I did wish to clean myself if I got the chance.
I look around me. I was in a dungeon. No… everything was wood not stone. I then feel the sway of the sea rocking the room up and down. It was the hold of a ship. A ship?
-"So it…" I say to myself. "It wasn't a dream after all..."
I recall the dream I had. The ship, the river of the dead, the monster. An unsettling feeling grasps my stomach. I am immobile for a few moments before I put away those thoughts into the back of my mind.
It is then that I feel an uncomfortable constraint on my long slender neck. I reach up and grasp a metal collar with my claws. I yank on it only to have it feel tighter on me. I pull harder but of course it makes it worse. I gag from the intrusion on my windpipe. Why did I think it would be different?
Regaining my breath and giving up on the collar, I refocus my mind to the immediate issue: why am I here?
I look over to the stairway the woman ascended. Perhaps she could tell me. I move my leg forward and my body finds its rhythm, my long tail in tandem with my reptilian form. I ascend the stairs. At the top I push the hatch open to reveal a lab with tubes, desks and books everywhere. It seemed to be the stern section of a frigate, from what I recall from my studies. I step out and see a platform leading to the door out of this section of the ship. The women who released me stood there looking at a book opened on a podium. She looked up at me.
"Why, you're looking a bit more chipper!" she said in a proud and pleasant voice. "Come here and allow me to get a better look."
I close the hatch behind me and proceed up the small flight of stairs leading to the platform. I stand before her, looking down as she leans forward to inspect the collar on my neck. Compared to humans, Lizards were usually taller. Males were six feet tall on average, while females like me were usually seven feet, in human measurements.
"Yes… looks like that collar fits you snugly enough," she said. "Nice bit of work, even if I do say so myself."
I give her a puzzled look as I reach up and gently hold the collar, careful not to move it into another uncomfortable position.
"Oh, not to worry," she said before I could ask anything. "Every dog has to get used to its leash."
Her pleasant voice gave me a very unsettling feeling.
"In the meantime, your next stop will be Magister William. All passengers have to be registered in the ship's manifest, and he's the chap in charge of the logs."
She opened the door behind her and held out her hand to show me the way.
"You'll find him on the other side of this deck, in the officers' quarters."
I hold off following her instructions to ask her a question.
"I… I had a dream I was riding a ship through the sea of the dead. We… we're not dead, are we?"
"No… you're alive and you're having a conversation," she said. "You are on a ship of course, but luckily for us both we're merely sailing the plain old sea."
I would be relieved but the rags and the collar she put on me prevented me from getting that feeling. She pauses a moment and gives me a scrutinizing gander.
"My word, you do seem a bit befuddled, don't you? Perhaps I was a bit too generous with that sedative…"
I say nothing.
"Oh well, I'm sure you'll soon gather your wits," she moves her eyes to the side, reconsidering her statement. "Most likely," she looks to the other side. "Eventually. But, In the meantime, all you need to know is that we're on route to Fort Joy."
She exclaims more enthusiasm for what she says next.
"A new life awaits! And if you're a particularly good girl, perhaps a cure as well. An end to Source- for good!"
End to Source? Was that possible? Source was the mysterious power that flowed into the world of Rivellon from another world know as the Void. Those who were able to absorb source and use it to cast special magic were known as Sourcerers. I was one of them.
"And this collar?" I ask her.
"It for peace of mind, mine and the world's. Why don't you try casting one of those Source spells of yours? See what happens…"
The enthusiasm in her eyes peered into me. It had to be a trick.
"No, I…" I mutter. "I don't want to."
"Oh, do go on. I won't hold it against you. Promise," she replied with a smile.
"Please leave me alone. I'm not going to," I firmly said back to her.
"My, aren't we a meek little lamb?" she said. "Perhaps I needn't have collared you at all, though it does look darling on you."
I roll my eyes. No mention of the discomfort?
"So, let's just leave it on, shall we? Because to answer your question, what this collar does is this: It makes you unable to cast Source. For your own peace of mind, of course. Yours and the whole world's. Now please move along. Magister William is waiting for you."
She moved back to the log book leaving me alone in front of the open doorway. With no other options presented, I proceeded through the doorway.
I now remembered what had happened prior to this. The Divine Order, Bishop Alexander, The Voidwoken, and how I ended up here.
My people, the Lizards, hailed from the Ancient Empire. The Empire originated from an arid desert land, where our people basked in the sun and we grew to become a powerful society of hierarchy and discipline.
I was born to the House of Law, one of the three houses of the Empire. The other two were the House of War and the House of Dreams. The House of War was the sword of the empire, bringing the might of our warriors to vanquish the aggressors who wished to harm the Empire and its people. The House of Dreams were a collection of mystics who were able to traverse the Dreamworld to foresee the future. The House of Law was the house that acted as a counterweight to the House of War. It was our job to uphold and amend the law as it was seen fit to maintain stability in the Empire.
My family raised me to become a knowledgeable scholar and diplomat. Though I did posses some connection to the arts of mystics, and later my ability to cast Source, it wasn't powerful enough for me to be a dreamer. For me, knowledge was my passion. Knowledge and diplomacy. I spent most of my days in the libraries of the Empire to learn almost everything I could get my claws on. Legends of old, histories of the outside, battle tactics of armies, the procedures of law, almost anything I could learn I did.
Of course, that didn't mean I was a shy little Lizard girl who feared the outside world. I was trained in the arts of the elements. Aerotheurgy, Geomancy, Pyrokinesis and Hydrosophy. I used my spells on training dummies, but I never actually killed anyone with my magic as of yet. And being a member of the House of Law, I trained heavily in the art of speech to achieve diplomacy.
I spent my spare time getting fresh air at the many natural springs in the Empire. I liked to plant my talons of my feet into the dirt and inhale the air around me while the sun warmed the cold blood in my veins. After that, a nice swim in water helped me clean up before returning to my training or studies. I currently am nearing the end of the adolescent period of my life. That is the time of our life where one tends to be directed toward their path to be taken. I was a top student who was selected to have the opportunity to be on one of the highest councils of the House.
But that of course ended when the Divine Order decreed Sourcerers, me included, were to be restrained and rounded up. Why you may ask? Because the use of Source attracted the Voidwoken, monstrous beings who emerged from the Void. The first Voidwoken emerged into our world shortly after Lucian the Divine, the renowned human who was granted divine powers by the Seven Gods, sacrificed himself to defeat the sinister Black Ring in devastating battle several years ago. After his son, Bishop Alexander, took control of the Divine Order, he made the decree to round up the Sourcerers so they wouldn't attract the Voidwoken.
I was unfortunate to be outside the Empire when the decree was made. I was traveling with an envoy to practice my diplomatic skills with those outside the Empire. I remember Divine Order Magisters surrounding me on the streets of the city I was visiting. And the next thing I know, I found myself here.
I proceeded down the hallway to see two Magister guards guarding a door to my right. As I pass, I take a glance through the ajar door to see…
"Good gods!" I gasp and look away. The sight went directly to my stomach. I couldn't believe what I saw. A human, mangled and mutilated into a pile of gore and limbs in the middle of the room. I haven't seen any death first hand in my lifetime, either by my own hands or of someone else. What a rough introduction.
"Easy now- you're paler'n me arse," one of the guards said. "Whyn't yu move along."
I regain my composure.
"Who did this?" I asked.
"Waters is investigating," the guard said. "She'll figure out who did it. Always does. Right now, you should move along."
I look uneasily at the door. Not inside, but rather the frame of the door way. But as I turn to leave, the Magister in the room emerged.
"Hold it," Waters said to me. I stop and look around. "Come here. I have something to ask you."
Fear took a hold of me for a moment. But I take a deep breath. I walk back to the door and follow the Magister inside.
"Ugly sight, isn't it?", she asked me.
I do my best to avert my eyes from the corpse at my feet and fend off the stench flowing into my nostrils. I nod.
"We're extremely lucky no Voidwoken followed the Source that did this," she said. "Burns me up this happened under our protection."
"Protection?" I say. "We're your captives."
"Finn didn't see it like that. He was desperate for us to help him. Two things scared the living daylights out of him: His own Shadow, and his own Source. We'll find out who did this. Speaking of…"
She looked up at me with a mirthless smile.
"I was on duty in your room when the murder happened. You were asleep the whole time. You're one of the only indisputably innocent people on the ship. Unless you can commit murder in your sleep, of course."
"Well, I'm not a Dreamer," I say. "I truly sleep like any other living creature."
"Figured as much. Listen…" she crept forward and leaned her head forward. "I could use someone to keep their ears open among the passengers. Sometimes they clam up in front of a uniform. Bring me a good lead and I'll throw in a shiny gold coin for you. How about that?"
I found it preposterous that this megastar would have me, a prisoner, try to find a murderer and all she would give me would be a pitiful amount of currency. What use would I have for it? Well, I could possibly pay for food to prolong my life, as I've read that some prisons had systems of trade among inmates.
Some part of me wanted her to shove off. But seeing I was defenseless, and these Magisters were well more equipped to resist my normal spells that didn't require Source, I settled on going along with the current situation.
"I'll… I'll see what I can turn up."
"Thanks," waters said. "Now off you go."
I turn and exit the room. The smell still tainted my nostrils. But I proceeded back down the corridor leading to the main hold.
Author's Note: Been a while since I picked up writing again. I'll get to finishing Victory some time in the future though I'm considering doing a rewrite because I'm not particularly happy with the worldbuilding of my post Mass Effect 3 story. Either way, I hope you enjoyed this first chapter in my novelization of my original character's story in Divinity Original Sin 2. Tell me if I should be more in line with the material of the story presented or if I should go off tangent more. Either way thank you for reading and see you next chapter.