This is the first TK fanfic I've ever attempted and it's also something I'm very passionate about doing, what with TK being an amazing universe to delve into. Considering that almost all of you have been fans and readers of the TK comic far longer than me, I'd appreciate any constructive criticism that you have to offer. If I've made any errors on the lore, tell me! If I've made any grammatical errors, tell me about that, too! Anyway, here's the first chapter:
Memories of Ghosts and Glass
Ugh...damn it...when I said that headache was bad, I didn't think it was that bad. Bloody American food...they make some amazing stuff but it doesn't half start making you almost utterly incapacitated due to illness. Okay, maybe that description was a minor exaggeration but I honestly do feel that crap. This wasn't going to be a good day. I don't even have to open my eyes and get out of bed to clarify that assertion. How can food give you a mother of all headaches, though?
What time is it, anyway? In fact, what day is it? Because I have that frickin' Business & Economics GCSE soon. If it's going to just suddenly pounce on me like everything normally does then...let's just say I won't be best pleased. Then again, it's multiple choice so good logic and common sense is all you really need. Still, no point being arrogant about it; complacency never got anyone anywhere in life very quickly, no matter how charismatic they were. Me? In all honesty I probably have the charisma of a wet fish. At best. So it's worse for me.
Talking to people isn't my forte and probably never will be. Neither was getting up out of bed very quickly. Unfortunately for me, both of those are kind of important in life. I guess I should really-
'Wait, what?' I swear my mind almost breaks down completely when my eyes shoot open. At the moment I don't even care about the bright sunlight that's viciously stinging my eyes. Why the bloody hell am I outside? I push myself up into a seated position, my hands splayed out behind me for support as I take in the scenery. There's certainly something odd about the place but I can't really put my finger precisely on it. At the moment, it just looks like your quintessential woodland. I have enough questions as it is; I don't need to bother about what's so weird about the area.
I breathe in deeply and close my eyes as the powerful aroma of freshly cut grass envelops my sense of smell. As much as I love the smell, I decide it's probably best not to linger around here for much longer. I need to work out my bearings and see if I can find some sort of town or village. I guess I'm still pretty near home, though. Not like I could've got far. Also, my rucksack's laying over there just a few tens of metres away from me. I have absolutely no idea what the hell I've got in it, though.
I sigh inwardly and get to my feet with weary and unwilling movements. I swiftly flick my head to the left, causing the hair that had been in my eyes just a moment ago to lie above my line of sight. It's strange, though…I didn't think my hair was that long. Shrugging slightly, I bring up my hand to brush it further to the side again but it stops, almost of its own accord, as soon as I have a clear view of it in front of my face.
Everything seems to just grind to a halt after my mind mentions that word. My thoughts, body…the world. I'm not even sure why I'm not scared like hell right now. Timidly, I bring my other arm in front of me, turning it so that the forearm is pointing inwards. Unsurprisingly, the whole fur thing that's going on with my hand isn't just confined to that particular area. In fact, I'm actually kind of glad about that; it'd look pretty odd otherwise.
'Wait, what the bloody hell are you thinking?' I glance downwards and notice the same thing with my legs and feet – no…paws. 'Connor, you look completely frickin' different, you don't know where you are and you're saying it's alright? Alright!'
I do my best to completely block out the negative thoughts I'm having but they're just so true and, well, logical that it's impossible to ignore. Annoyingly, logic is usually what I always go by. Of course, it could just all be a dream. I've never dreamt lucidly before, though, and this is pretty damn vivid, to put it lightly. I…didn't realise it could happen so suddenly. Anyway, I feel comfortable in this body. Well, I guess that's because I still think most of it's me.
Perhaps a mirror was a good thing to look for. An instinctive survey of the environment, however, suggests that nature's own alternative would be more suitable. Not even the sound of distant vehicles or some sort of machinery could be heard; nothing that could possibly give me a clue as to where to go. The fact that I never joined anything like army cadets is going to come back to haunt me now. Well, no use skulking around here so I guess I should, um…go. Somewhere.
I crouch down on the grass and grab the strap of the rucksack, hoisting it over my right shoulder. I'll look inside later. Possibly when I'm feeling hungry, as there could easily be a lot of food in there. Not useful if I don't find somewhere to buy more stuff soon, though.
Groaning, I place my head in my hands in a gesture of hopelessness - and also as an excuse to feel the short fur I have on my face - realising that it was going to be a long day at the office.
Making a spur of the moment decision, I decided to simply carry on straight ahead. I bounded about quite a bit, feeling oddly much stronger than I ever had done before. Maybe it was the new body. Or the new surroundings. Or even...
...no, it couldn't have been the Cadbury crunchie chocolate bar I had yesterday. Oh well.
Anyway, the hunt for some water actually turned out very well. It isn't so desperate after all. The sound of small stream and BAM. I was on it in a flash. At the moment, I'm just kneeling over the river, simply staring at my reflection for the very first ti-
BLOODY HELL MY EARS ARE BIG.
My mind practically hollered that word to the next country and beyond. Fortunately, they sort of...suit me like this. Suit me a lot. It'll take time getting used to it, sure, but oh well. I lightly stroke one of the ears and immediately notice how sensitive they are.
Damn am I glad no one's around watching me. This would be really awkward to explain. Also, a belt is needed. Very drastically. My desert camo three-quarter lengths haven't really kept up with my change in body shape and I needed to pull them up way too many times on my way here. For now I should check out what wonders my bag conta-
"Hey, what are you doi-"
"Woah, what the hell!" I suddenly exclaim, my body feeling as if it literally just jumped out of my fur. I have absolutely no time to think before I stumble backwards into the small stream out of shock. The water's freezing cold but there are more important things to worry about now and luckily the water isn't very deep so I can simply sit in it whilst finding out who the heck this guy is. It doesn't come as a surprise that I'm not too happy at first but upon laying my eyes on the stranger my hopes shoot straight up, breaking all barriers, and I quickly break into a small smile.
I've actually found someone else in the damn forest! He didn't even try to kill me! And he's…he's…
"Keith?" I speak in a tone of both amazement and utter confusion, disregarding completely the fact that he doesn't even know who I am. I'd know that face anywhere: Keith Keiser. Basitin. Still wearing that bloody helmet.
"How do you know my name? Did we live near each other or something?" Keith cocked his head to one side and gave me a suspicious glare.
Huh? Live near each other? How the hell-oh, hang on, I'm a Basitin, too, aren't I? Well I look like one. This is really, really awkward yet also the most awesome thing that's happened to me. Ever. How the hell am I supposed to tell him I'm actually a Human, though? Oh hey, Keith. I'm a Human in a Basitin body and I know everything about you - and what will happen to you - because you're in a comic called TwoKinds. That comic is in an alternate universe from which I come from so I have no idea about living in this world for real.'
Nope. Not going to work. I could use this to my advantage, though…
"Well ever since you, y'know, got banished-" I nervously rub the back of my neck and glance down at the floor by my feet and then return my gaze to the other Basitin. Keith doesn't really look too happy at the moment. "-almost everyone knows who you are…" Come on, Connor keep up the story, keep up the story. "I joined the military at the same time as you. I, er….You…probably wouldn't have noticed, though; I wasn't very social."
A sudden sense of realisation seems to wash over Keith and his expression more than highlights that. His eyes light up and a small but very meaningful smile replaces his usual stoic look.
"Is that you, Soren?" He enquires hopefully, stepping towards me a little more.
Soren? Wha-? My name's not Soren. Nowhere near it. My mind goes blank for a few seconds as I try desperately to think of something to say in reply to this revelation.
"Yeah, it's me Keith. I…didn't think you'd remember…" I let out a nervous chuckle, hoping he isn't very good at reading body language. Finally, I manage to tell myself to get out of the stream. I don't get too far from the edge of the stream's bank as I'm still preoccupied with Keith. I don't give a damn if I'm dripping wet.
"I'd never forget. You were one of the best fighters of our age." he sheaths his sword and clearly relaxes a lot more.
"Thanks..." I trail off and stare into space for a few seconds. One of the best? So…maybe I know how to fight in this form.
Honestly, I'm the worst person ever to be in a situation like this and it's especially worse after all that I've just found out over the last, what…hour?
First, I realise I'm not at home where I should be in the rolling countryside of south-west England. After that, I notice I'm in an almost completely different body to what it should be. In essence, I'm not really Human anymore. Not physically, anyway. Then, I go and decide to unintentionally bump into Keith Keiser. But wait, there's more! Now I know that the body I'm in actually…belonged to somebody else. Or at least, it might have belonged to someone else. Maybe it was me all along and I didn't know it? Is this all a dream? An illusion?
Why the heck am I asking myself so many questions? Of course it's just a dream. Something like this could never be real. Now my head hurts like hell. And then some. I think I'll just…follow Keith for now. He must have some answers. I walk over to the rucksack I had lain down earlier, shaking the water off myself slightly, and hoist it over my shoulder.
"Is something wrong? You…look different." My eyes shoot open and I bite my bottom lip anxiously, my back turned to him.
"Er…What do ya mean?" I ask him, half hoping for a truthful answer and half hoping for him to just completely ignore it.
"Well, I'm sure you didn't have blue eyes. And you're taller." Keith points out before coming over to stand next to me. "It doesn't matter. Come on, we need to get to the Human town that's near here." Keith gestures for me to follow him and I gladly do so, deciding not to reply to his previous statement. He's right, though. Perhaps I should change the subject to something I know more about...
We both begin walking in step, me following Keith's lead.
"So, you're still finding Trace Legacy, huh?" I question him despite the fact I know the answer already. Current adventures always make for good conversation material. "They gave you an impossible task."
The young Basitin sighs dejectedly, gesturing with one of his hands. "That was kind of the point; they didn't want me to go back." He glances over at me for a couple of seconds, a melancholic expression etched onto every inch of his face. I already have to hold myself back from saying anything about his future, as much as I want to tell him.
"There's always a possibility, though."
"I admire your optimism, Soren. I wish I could share it..." He trails off and stares blankly in front of himself, seemingly recalling some past memories. "...I can't though. Not after everything that's happened to me."
Damn, Keith. You're more unhappy than I thought you'd be.
"Everything? There was something else after you got banished?" I wonder whether this is about his incident with Laura. It probably is. And it's probably best if I don't bring it up. Although I can probably try and indirectly get him to admit it...After all, we both apparently knew each other when we were young. Apparently.
An awkward silence follows my question. I don't do anything to try and instigate a reply because I know it's a touchy subject. If I was in Keith's situation I probably wouldn't tell him just in fear of losing a friend. How is he meant to know that I don't care about him being with Laura?
As I stare up into the gradually darkening sky, I see a plume of smoke rise straight up into the windless sky. If that's not the sign of a village or town then I don't know what is. It's only now that Keith speaks again.
"Here, take these." In one flowing movement, without even stopping to think, he unsheathes two daggers and urges me to take them, blades pointing towards me. He quickly alters his hold on them and offers the handles instead. "Someone gave them to me before I got banished. I don't know who. I didn't have time to protest against it."
For a moment or two I simply stop and stare at them, not giving a second's notice to Keith's bewildered look. I glance up at him and quickly snap myself out of it. If I don't stop acting like a Neanderthal, goggling at every single thing that passes by in this world, then I'm going to have to explain myself very prematurely. Something I don't plan to do in the near future. Accepting the daggers from Keith, I briefly scan them over.
The metal blades themselves are very wide – much like the Roman Pugio dagger – with each having two grooves running parallel to each other down the middle, every groove bearing a different and very fine engraving of some sort of phrase. The handles are shaped very ergonomically and quite strongly resemble the look of Kris grips.
These certainly give the impression of weapons designed to have a purpose along the lines of getting the job done, no matter the cost. I sheath the two daggers into the leather scabbards which are now hanging from the waist of my three-quarter lengths. I have a feeling I'm going to like these. And not just because they look badass.
"My father hated you. You could never take orders." Keith states this like it's common knowledge, gesturing dismissively with one arm as we both walked on towards the town. It probably is common knowledge to Basitins. Especially considering how tightly they follow rules and regulations. Hell, in biological terms I – well…Soren – shouldn't have even been able to not take orders. Bit of an odd thing to bring up but there you go.
Heh. Seems like all that time spent reading the TwoKinds Wiki is finally paying off after all.
Keith continues. "In fact, you never really did anything you were supposed to. That was the reason why you were so important to them."
"Important to who?"
"Important to the generals. Who else?"
"I never did - and *would* never - do anything for the generals. Especially not any of their dirty work. I don't kill without reason." Even I'm surprised at how monotonous and unforgiving my own voice is. That's one thing, but how the hell do I even know about any of this? I never experienced it, yet I remember. So it turns out I'm now confusing myself by being me and talking about things I've previously done in a life which is in an alternate universe.
Well this is all just fine and bloody dandy, isn't it? Might as well go with the flow, I guess. See if anything else randomly comes into my head
"They tried offering me incentives." I smirk and adjust the straps on my backpack as I do so. "I'd left the island before they realised I wasn't materialistic. They'd have killed me if I didn't leave."
"How do you know that?"
"I eavesdropped." I say simply, shrugging lightly to myself as we exit the cover of the forest and enter into a grassy clearing, the town only a hundred or so metres away. A few bright lights bathe the streets in a yellow, homely colour as the purple blackness of night begins to blanket over the buildings.
We stroll into town as casually as possible, although it's not difficult to notice how much two Basitins stand out from the few humans who are still wandering around. Each of them seems to give us a stare which is asking why the hell we're here in their territory. Subconsciously, I stretch down my t-shirt a little more and make sure it's completely concealing the two daggers. If this is the village where we meet both Trace and Flora, then I'll need to back Keith up against that red-haired guy.
I just need to hope that the whole thing progresses exactly like it did in the comic or I'm royally screwed over. I'll need to use my power of precognition very carefully, though; if Flora really does do what Sythe tells her and kills Trace then, well…Let's not even go there.
"Soren, don't do anything stupid." Keith turns his gaze to me for a second and then opens the door to the inn which we managed to find thanks to a couple of helpful signs. The sign hanging on the door, however, is definitely not helpful. In fact, it makes me glad that I'm not human in this world. 'No Keidran!'. Seriously? Is that how low humanity has come in this universe? This isn't a rare thing to see, either…It's all a load of utter bollocks.
Keith and I walk over to the green-haired female bartender and ignore the sinister lances we get from the few rough-looking customers sitting at a couple of the tables playing cards. Or something like that, anyway. It'd be best if I avoid them. I cross my arms and stand behind Keith.
"Heya! I'm Karen. Can I get you two something?" The girl beams at us , obviously not fazed by the fact that we aren't human. She does seem rather…different from the others. Maybe it's because of those ears that Trace 'gave' her. Or maybe because she's just very happy instead of hating on everyone who isn't human. Either way, she's seems alright in my books. So far.
"We'd just like one room." Keith stuffs a hand in his pocket and pulls out a couple of coins, placing them on top of the bar. They're quickly gathered up by Karen who then proceeds to take a key from under the bar and hand it to Keith. Clearly he knows his stuff and that's going to be important for me, considering I don't know anything about prices.
"Didn't think I'd ever see two Basitins walk into this tavern. Let alone two at the same time and especially not a pair like you-"
"-We aren't together." I quickly interject, stepping nervously to the side as I glare at Karen and see Keith face-palming in my peripheral vision. Oh geez. I'm not going to hear the end of this, am I?
"Well, I wasn't implying that but now you mention it…" Karen giggles and trails off. Keith is already walking away before the conversation can progress any further, both of his hands clenched into fists. I really shouldn't have said anything, should I? Now it's going to be so damn awkward in that room. Oh well, not like we were both planning on being in the same bed. I always did like sleeping on the floor.
Tomorrow will be one hell of a day. Two Basitin, one Keidran and a Human. That's something that springs unwanted images to mind…
I sincerely hope this isn't a dream.