Authors Notes: Welcome, all, to my first attempt at a somewhat lengthy adventure story! A warm up, as it were, to a grand, epic tale of insane whumpdom that I hope to get done sometime in the next, oh, year or so :S Your thoughts and comments for this story will help fuel me, both with encouragement, and, I'm sure, great ideas! Note: The entire story IS written already, for those of you who don't like reading WIP's, as I don't!
Warnings: This story does contain whump, and turns into an "M" rating later on for sexual content. If that's not your thing, please do still read; simply tell me you're not into the M stuff, and I'll send you a lovely summary on what plot/action happens within those chapters! :D
And we're off to the races! Enjoy this prologue! MSam
Copyright 2011, MajorSam
Without a single groan or cry, Helen Magnus turned onto her stomach and pushed herself up. Her entire body was in such pain that she no longer noticed the sliding of shards of bone in her knee. Her breathing was coming in short, quick gasps as she sat up as high as she could. She raised her chin, looking out over the low branches and vines, when she felt the hard press of a gun barrel rise up against the back of her skull. She didn't think of anything profound, she didn't really think of anything at all. She just gazed out at the magnificent, looming trees, just across the empty camp.
The shot rang out clear against a suddenly silent jungle.
Three Days Earlier
December 18th, 1984
"I have a bad feeling about this," the Big Guy growled.
Magnus sighed, just barely managing to constrain herself.
"I'm sorry, but I've already told you, the plane leaves in an hour, and I'm going to be on it."
"ENOUGH!" she yelled. Her friend's eyes widened in shock, and he took a step back. It took her a solid minute to wrangle herself under control again, during which time the Big Guy appraised her. When she finally looked up into his eyes again, she was almost ashamed to see the sadness in his gaze. Almost.
"I'll be back for Christmas," she promised, picking up the backpack from her office chair and fixing it onto her shoulders.
The Big Guy just grunted.
As she walked out the door, she could have sworn she heard him say,
21 hours later – Amazon Jungle, Brazil
Magnus was secretly more than happy to throw her heavy pack into the back of the 4x4. She sighed as she hauled herself up into the passenger seat. She shouldn't have been short with her friend, but why couldn't he just see it from her point of view?
These creatures could be the greatest discovery of her life. With so many roots in various cultures' folklore, any sighting of a so called "Faerie" was enough to excite her. Despite the trend of 20th century films depicting "fairies" as wonderful little people with wings, many of the myths surrounding the mysterious beings were far removed from such frivolity. Some experts included such creatures as goblins and daemons in the same family as a faerie, and feared them all as evil. One of the most frightening tales of the faerie people was that they would steal new babies and replace them with twisted, warped changelings. Some cultures put out offerings to appease the Fey, thus keeping their families safe. Magnus thought this was hogwash, another example of the close-minded human brain not understanding an unknown group of abnormals, and thus instantly fearing and detesting it. Magnus believed they were, if not the Disney version of glowing do-gooders, at least a much more benign race. She believed them to be more like the Tuatha Dé Danann of Irish legend than anything else: A group of people with unique abilities, having been hunted and destroyed by man, and forced into hiding.
She certainly hadn't expected to hear of a potential sighting in the Amazon Jungle, but she wasn't one to pass up the possibility of finally contacting this secretive group.
Why had the Big Guy been so concerned?
Well, besides the fact that the Amazon was a feral jungle full of wild animals, insects, and poisonous plants. The contact who'd told her about the faeries had also reported sightings of a rogue guerrilla group hiding in the area, possibly convicts that had come over the border from Columbia. Plus there was the fact that over the last 10 years or so, Magnus had become increasingly reckless. It seemed every mission she chose was more dangerous than the last, with harsher climates, more violent foes and less information to go on.
The Big Guy had tried to get her to recognize the path she was going down, but she seemed to have an answer for everything. She had rationalized away every crazy, rash decision she'd made, making Big Guy fear the worst. In short, she seemed to have it out for herself, and he didn't want one more instance of having to rescue her from some hole, bloodied and bruised, swearing she had been onto something. Sure, she had a slightly elevated recovery rate, but he was afraid that someday soon she wouldn't have time to call for his help, or he'd arrive too late. When she wasn't off throwing herself into danger, she would seclude herself in her office or the library. He sometimes wouldn't see her for days, and when he did, she was often moody, ill tempered, and distracted. One might even say depressed.
All these thoughts passed through her head as Magnus was driven to her destination. She had taken a plane as far as Manaus but had to switch to her private helicopter, travelling a further 30 or so kilometers into the jungle that ruled the country. She had landed in a little known clearing, housing only her landing pad and a single, decrepit looking shack. The shack held a surprising amount of supplies essential to surviving in the Amazon - everything from food and clean water to extra clothes, weapons and emergency communications devices. Only two people in the world knew about this place: Magnus and Diogo, her driver, who was also her contact in this area, and the one who'd reported the faerie sighting.
Diogo was what one could call a "whisperer." He was not, however, the usual kind, who work with horses, or dogs, or even what Harry Potter would call a parsletongue. He could communicate telepathically with not one kind but several species of animal. He'd discovered he was different at a young age, and instead of waiting to be the victim of ostracizing and ridicule, he'd taken to the jungle. Tales of a man who communed with the wilds had spread, and 12 years ago, Magnus had managed to find him and take him under her wing. She had helped him to cultivate his talent, and the understanding and respect he'd gained through her had led him to become an invaluable source of information.
His report to her about the faeries had been exactly the kind of thing she wanted to hear these days; confusing and controversial.
Two days ago, he claimed to have been exploring a part of the jungle even he had never before been to before, when he'd heard a strange sound. It was as if the forest was singing to him. He'd fallen into a trance-like state, and his feet led him to a place he couldn't now remember. He recalled a sensation filling his mind, probing, as if searching for something. At first he'd been afraid, but as the feeling left, a sense of contentment had come over him. He knew in his mind that he had passed a test and had permission to continue on. Right before his feet led him back to the exact point where he'd first heard the singing, he saw something. The silhouette of a person, a hazy image that seemed to glow even against the vivid background of the jungle, appeared before him. He described this hazy image as the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.
The next day he heard the singing again. He allowed the song to take him over once more, but as his feet led him deeper into the jungle, the song was cut off. The final note had been discordant, harsh, and he'd known something was terribly wrong. He'd contacted Magnus immediately, and so here she was, in the passenger seat of a tiny 4x4, being driven as far into the jungle as Diogo could manage. When the jungle became too dense, the small man eased the car to a halt, taking a breath before turning to speak to her, in Portuguese.
"Dr. Magnus, this area is not safe. The animals are always restless… I have never been able to calm them," he admitted, hanging his head slightly.
"It's alright, my friend," she replied in his native tongue. "I can take care of myself."
He gave her a strange look, and Magnus wondered if the Big Guy had been talking to Diogo. The Brazilian was a smart man; he could easily pick up on the edge of recklessness that flowed throughout his saviour and friend. He also understood, however, the need to be alone, to get away, when no one in the world could understand what you were going through. She was unlike any human he'd ever met, the only one to ever show compassion to beings that were "different." She could tame this jungle as she had tamed so many others. He would talk to his brother animals and make sure they watched her as far as they were willing to in this dangerous territory.
Magnus sent him one last reassuring smile before grabbing her supply-laden backpack and hopping out of the little jeep. Her friend, so used to speaking with only the animals, through his mind, said nothing more. As he drove away, Magnus hefted the pack onto her back, securing the hip straps to take its weight off her shoulders as she took in her surroundings. She had hoped to be dropped off around noon, but it had taken longer for Diogo to navigate the jeep than she'd expected, and it was already early evening. She should probably set up for the night. It had been a long day of travel, and she hadn't slept at all. The sun was still quite bright overhead, but she was about to enter a portion of the jungle so thick that the trees, vines, and other shrubbery created a canopy, blanketing the earth. The small gap in the trees she was about to take looked like a mini black hole, a gaping black maw that promised danger at every turn.
She grinned and stepped in.
To Be Continued…
Please let me know your thoughts! The more reviews I receive, the faster I'll post chapters! Yes, I'm not above swindling you like that ;) What do you think is in store for Magnus? Can't wait to hear! Thanks for reading, MS