Chapter 1 to 'Life of a Half-Roc Child'
|"I HAD ENOUGH OF YOU! GET OUT OF THIS CAVE!" Ethelinda shouted to her daughter.
"Mother! I have been watching them enough to see that they have changed from that-" Bella started.
Ethelinda cut in, "You should get out of my home before I make you, you abomination! It seems like your traitorous father has twisted your mind too much. For the last six years, I've tried to tell you how all humans wouldn't accept you, but you never listened. I'll have to force you to go out so you could see for yourself how evil they are. They have never and will never change! Because of them that other sentient races have fallen. We may be the last of them! And now after all you know, you still want to be with them? What they did is unforgivable! Having a child with their blood disgusts me! Now get out of here before I make you lose a limb or two!"
Bella then flew away with her belongings in a bag, thinking about all the memories with her mother.
3 years ago...
"Bella!" Ethelinda called.
"Yes, mother?" Bella answered back with some meat still in her hands and a mess on her face.
"Oh my, Bella! This is more than the mess you normally make!"
"I haven't got used to eating without cutleries," that earned a sigh from her mother while Bella continued, "And this deer meat is tougher than usual."
"Bella, I think you are old enough to know why we might be the last 'mythical' creatures alive and why I hate humans."
"Really, mother? OK! I'm already thirteen anyways. You always say I'm not old enough. It's not like I couldn't unde-"
"Yeah, yeah. Keep that mouth of yours shut before I think of changing my mind. Now clean yourself up in the pond and come back so I can tell you without smelling food."
"Ok, Mom!" She said excitedly while going to the pond in the cave to clean up. While waiting for Bella, Ethelinda grabbed a book from under her nest.
"Mom, are you going to tell me a story?" Bella asked.
"It is storytime, but it is also a true story," Ethelinda replied.
"Storytime? I feel like a six-year-old," Bella commented.
"Aren't you a six-year-old inside?" Ethelinda added with a giggle.
"Moooom! Oh, and by the way, where did you get that book?" Bella said with an annoyed tone, before joining in with the giggle.
"Shhhhhhh. Just relax and listen."
Once upon a time, there were many species of sentient beings that thrive on the face of the world. Dragons, Elves, Phoenixes, Amaroks, and many others strive in the forests while Sea Serpents, Krakens, Hydras, and others strive in the oceans. They might live in peace, but they do not live in harmony. Humans evolved to be innovative and create weapons to survive. They dominated most of the lands while clans of other species try to avoid them, as they destroy what the consider 'dangerous' at first sight.
One day, a child of royalty was born in the Kingdom of Orcaria. This young girl, named Chara, was a kind-hearted person with no evil intentions. But when she was 5, her parents were killed on a visit to the Kingdom of Alyssia by a dragon. This incident made darkness in Chara's personality. She became power-hungry and malevolent, and she hated the so called 'monsters'. The once kind child is now someone filled with grief and hatred.
Because her parents died and she was the only one continuing the line of succession, Princess Chara became Queen Chara the same day. But soon, she was driven off by the people as she is too young to rule. This adds on to her hate to monsters, fueling her to live in another city anonymously.20 years later, she had formed a group of a thousand men with the same motives as her, but none close to the level of hatred in her soul. This group began negotiating with kingdoms to join their organization to destroy all monsters. Most accepted, having monster problems on their own grounds, but some refused, only to be stormed and forced to join. After a year, they had united all of the kingdoms for this mission. The other side, the 'monsters', are also preparing because they have kitsune and elf spies in the kingdoms to report this problem. In a few months, both sides started attacking, creating the Telos War, a war between humans and monsters.
This war went for several years, with the human army discovering and ambushing the monster clans one by one. Some of the battles are won by the monsters, only to be met with reinforcements. The monsters start to struggle against the collection of soldiers, hunters, mages and gladiators and created a decoy plan where orcs and trolls distract the human forces while all the other monsters try to avoid extinction by sealing themselves in a giant cave with magic. They ended up using it. But the humans defeated the orcs and trolls faster than anticipated and they didn't have much time to send the message to all the other mystical beings, sealing themselves up in the cave with a population in the mere hundreds. The unsaved monsters, who knows about the plan, still didn't receive the message a day later. A kitsune reports that the humans won, so the remaining beings had to stay hidden and raise their own families in isolation. And for those who are in the caves, they might've starved to death, or maybe they created a true haven and survived till this day. No one outside knows...
"Well, that's the end of what your great great and a dozen more greats grandparents wrote," Ethelinda ended the story.
"Wow, that book has been preserved for that long? How?" Bella asked with curiosity.
"That, my child, I don't have answers to. But it seems to not get affected by the air or sunlight. And to answer your question before the story, I kept it hidden under the nest."
"So are we the survivors outside of this cave thingy?"
"Yes, we are, and we should proud of that. I imagine it wouldn't be easy to find this hideout where we wouldn't be found out by the humans publicly. And I already taught you the secrets to hunting without someone noticing. Now you know why. And for your information, humans removed us and this war from their history, which is really offensive." Ethelinda explained with a little firmness in her tone to get the point across. Bella paused hearing the last sentence before asking.
"Are they still there? Surviving in the cave?" Bella asked with hope in her human eyes.
"Bella, if your ancestors don't know, you don't expect me to know, do you?" Ethelinda answered in a mocking tone and a smirk. Bella rolled her eyes before Ethelinda continued, "So, what do you think about the story?" With hope in her eyes. Hope that it would change Bella's view about her other half. But Bella hesitates to speak.
"What's wrong, Bella?"
"Mother, I might be kinda childish at times, but I am observant enough to your reactions on why you want to tell me this story, but no, I'm not changing my mind about them," Bella started with determination.
"And may I know why that is?" Ethelinda asked in a half-growl.
"I've... been secretly spying on the nearby human settlement at least once per-"
"YOU MAY NOT! I cannot allow you to risk our anonymity!" Ethelinda growl-shouted.
"But mom, they changed. Humans changed. They don't act like that anymore."
"That doesn't matter to me. What they did is unforgivable."
"On that event, how many humans were forced to fight? I'm guessing more than half of them hesitated."
"If you were in Chara's place, having your family, life and reputation taken away, would you think that behaviour is that outlandish?"
"...You disgust me. You're going out and you're not sleeping here tonight."
Bella sighed, satisfied by letting out her emotions and trying to spread it, but she needs to find somewhere to sleep.
"Actually, come back in the evening. I can't risk you being found."
Bella sighed again before leaving her mother alone for Ethelinda to think.
Bella kept flying until she reached what used to be her father's and her old settlement close to a river and next to a forest, which is a farm and barn near a river and forest.
She lands gracefully on the front yard of the house and opened the door. She came in to find that the house is smothered with dust, wall-paint peeling cockroaches running around here and there. The house reeks of dirt and abandonment. Luckily, as no water leaked, it seems like the roof is still intact. Bella checked around the house to see anything that has cloth on it covered with dust, but nothing else seems to have any damage. As she went to her former room, it seems like it is in good condition. She went to open her wardrobes and the sort, to find a box with a few robes as its contents.
7 years ago...
"Bella! I got something for you!" Adam called out cheerfully.
"What is it, Dad?" Bella replied, eye-level with her father. Due to her roc side, she is already 5'6" on her 9th birthday and an impressive wingspan of 10 feet.
"How would you like to go out and meet others soon?"
"Of course dad! Can I?" Bella practically screeched.
"Hey, hey. What did I tell you about not being too loud in this house? And a scream like that could make people think I killed someone."
"Sorry, dad. Got a bit excited."
"So, I got these," Adam said as he opened the box that showed robes ranging from 6 to 9 feet tall with hoods that can be locked.
"Wow, dad. What are those? Why should I have that?"
"Not everybody can be like me, Bella. They might not accept you easily. You need to show yourself slowly. So I'll need to give you different lessons on how you should interact with other people. If you have a valid reason to why you got the hood on at all times, they might understand and allow you to keep it on. You need to make true friends first before you could show yourself. And even after that, there's no guarantee that the authorities wouldn't try to kidnap you for research," Adam explained firmly.
"But that's complicated and unfun," Bella said with a pout.
"Yes, Bella, but you need to understand the reality of this world. Some people or communities destroy what they don't understand, and you are included. I'll tell you a story in the future on why your mother does not like humans," Adam replied with a sigh.
"Ok, dad. So what is the new schedule? When do you think I will be ready?"
"Here it is," Adam said while handing over a sheet of paper showing weekly times on subjects including normal school subjects like English, Math and Science, social subjects on human interaction and worldly affairs and job lessons primarily on farming because that's what Adam does, but it also prepares Bella for jobs like a trader, fisher, and more urban jobs. "As for when you will be ready, quickest on your tenth birthday, but most probably in the middle of that year. I also have here some gloves that would make your wrist look and feel human and also a piece of glass that you can see through from inside, but no one could see through from the outside. Just in case you know you're going to a place where you are being suspected and people might want to see your face."
Bella's eyes watered as she said, "Am I really a monster like that?"
"Bella, my daughter. You might look a bit monstrous outside, but what matters is your soul, and I see no monster. I see a young woman growing up with a purpose in this world," Adam said with his eyes watering too.
Bella looked into her father's green eyes, the same as hers, before pulling him into a hug.
"You're the best father I could ever have! I don't ever want you to leave..."
"Let it all out sweetie, let it all out," Adam said as this moment lasted for a few minutes until Bella calms down to try on the new apparatus and looks at the mirror.
"How do I look?" Bella asked.
"You look mysterious, the good type, like an anonymous wizard."
"Yeah! When can I learn magic next?" Bella asked sarcastically.
"And that mood is what always tells me you're my child."
Bella sighed, remembering those days as she puts on the robe-hood-glassmask-glove set and went down to grab a pencil and paper to write down a to-do list. The house is dirty, so a good clean up tomorrow will be good, wrote that down. She remembered the corn seeds in the storage should've already been expired, so for the first few weeks, she needs to hunt with her instincts and get water from the river, then get new seeds later, wrote that down. Powering up everything again, including flowing water and electricity when she gets enough funds, wrote that down. And the list stopped soon.
Then, Bella put the list on the table next to her bed as she went out and caught a deer. This will last her until tomorrow or the following day, and the hide will give her some cash from the nearby market. She goes out again to get a bucket of water before going to bed.. to find out her feet are sticking out. Need a bigger bed, wrote that down. But she eventually falls asleep, thinking of her life plans on blending in with the humans.