City of The Slushies | Chapter 1 | Quaraun The Insane (The PortCon Maine 2017 Novel)
Quaraun found himself to be laying on his back in very cold, dry sand. He blinked, staring up at the blinding white sun overhead and tried to remember how it was he came to be laying on the ground. A dark shadow blocked out the sun. At first he couldn't make it out, but after his eyes adjusted to the light he realized it was Unicorn looking down at him.
"Where are we?" Quaraun asked.
"I knows not."
"Help me up."
Unicorn did as he was told and the pale Elf looked around trying to determine where they were. Miles of white sand was all he could see in every direction.
"We're in a desert," Quaraun said at last.
"A cold one," Unicorn agreed. "Good t'ing me have me furs."
"It looks like snow."
"No snow here. Far too cold. Will no snow in places of too much cold. Here." Unicorn handed Quaraun a large black bear skin.
"What do I want with that?"
"To not freeze to death."
"I only wear pink."
"Ya gonna freeze ya balls off for sake of fashion?"
"I does nah t'ink ya meant that."
"You know what I meant."
"Does ya ever listen to yarself when ya talk?"
"Do you ever listen to yourself when you destroy the Elven language?"
"Yis got difficult language to speak. If ya was no such a pompous jerk yi would speak a common tongue sos I would no has to try to speak to ya in yar dead language that only yis ever speaks."
"How the hell did we get in the desert?" Quaraun muttered to himself, completely ignoring everything Unicorn had just said.
"Perhaps Hell be the answer?"
"Clearly a portal got us."
"Yes. But which portal? To where? And how do we get back?"
Quaraun began pacing around in small frantic circles.
"Was we near Ghouly?" Unicorn asked.
"I don't know. I can't remember where we were."
"Damn, GhoulSpawn un hims Hell dimensions. That what ya get for being friends with a Chaos Demon."
"There's sand in my shoes."
Quaraun sat down on the ground to pull off his shoes and dump out the sand.
"Ya un ya impractical shoes. Why ya no get boots?"
Quaraun was about to scream something at Unicorn, when an intricatly carved sandstone freize caught his eye.
"Now what? Ya got the attention span of a guppy. Can ya no stay on one topic for a full two minutes?"
The Moon Elf put his shoes back on, pulled himself up with his cane and went to get a closer look at the frieze half buried in the sand.
"It's a road!" Quaraun said as he brushed the sand away. "A very fancy road. That means there's civilization around here somewhere. Civilization that appreciates art."
"Civilization that may be dead. That road nay look very used."
"Which way does it go?"
"Ya want to follow a dead path?"
"I'm a Necromancer. Apparently I like dead things. I like you don't I?"
Quaraun looked back and forth trying to determine the correct direction to follow.
"Yis suggesting we go on this road?"
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"Why would we do that?"
"We're in a desert, Unicorn. Deserts are dangerous. And a desert this cold at high noon, is going to be sub zero by night fall. We need to find shelter before it gets dark."
Quaraun and Unicorn followed the carved sandstone frieze road for many miles and many hours, before coming to small oasis of sandstone cliff, surrounding a small city of buildings carved from even more sandstone. There wasn't much in the way of vegetation and there was no water source that either Quaraun or Unicorn could see. The city did not appear to have much, save one large church building at it's center. Like every other building in the city, the church was made of sandstone, with friezes carved all around.
"They sure do like colour," Unicorn said.
Each building was nearly invisible, blending into it's surroundings, and looking from a distance like a pile of sandstone rocks. With the lone exception of the brightly painted doors and window shutters. All colours of the rainbow. Some in brilliant red, some in bursting orange, some in blinding yellow. Each building with one colour, save the church which had all 8 colours painted on it's front doors. Too each side of the church was eight tall stained glass windows. Each on a different colour.
"They gots themselves a rainbow church."
"I'm gonna guess this is a theocracy," Quaraun said.
"What makes ya says that?"
"A city made of tiny hovels. No sign of businesses or shops. Nothing that says political buildings or royalty. Just a giant church smack dab in the center of the city. That screams theocracy. Reminds me of the DiJinn. Their city was like this. Looked a lot like this in fact. Middle of a desert and everything."
Quaraun and Unicorn made their way into the city.
"Look at the people," Unicorn said.
"I am. This is strange."
Every person in the city was dressed in a single solid colour. Eight colours. But no more then one colour per person. And people of each colour were wandering the streets in small groups, while avoiding all other colours. Men, women, and children, dressed in red, stayed with others who were also dressed in red and avoided all those dressed in blue and green. Every one dressed in blue, spoke only to others dressed in blue and snubbed their noses at every one dressed in yellow and purple.
"It appears," Quaraun said. "That the people dressed in orange, live in the houses with the orange doors and are shunning every one not orange. As is each other person of each other colour. Racism based on fashion colours."
"Well, I see people wearing pink and gots pink houses. Looks like this be city for ya then, eh? You with ya ooooh, ca'na wear black wid me pink, oh no, rather freeze me balls off."
"You don't have to deal with over sized balls getting in your way."
"Yeah, that'd be because I wear pants."
Quaraun looked down at Unicorn's hakama.
"Those are hardly pants. My skirts aren't half as wide as each of your pant legs."
"Quaraun. Me point was yar were refusing to wear a black coat over ya pink dress, because it were no pink and ya refuses to wear anything that is no pink. And wid balls the size of yars ya should want to keep them warm other wise they will freeze and fall off."
As usual Quaraun was lost in his own thoughts and not listening to a word Unicorn was saying.
"This is fascinating. Would be nice if I didn't hurt so much. I could enjoy it more."
"Yis hurting again?"
"What hurt now?"
"Stomach cramps. Headache. Bloating. Sensative breasts. Sensative testicles. And a penis that wants to drip blood because I don't have a damed vagina, which apparently I was supposed to have, instead of these things hanging between my legs."
"Yis regretting being born with male genatilia?"
"No. I'm regretting being born with female hormones that are disrupting my male genitalia. I would like to have normal male genitalia. I would like to not have a small penis. I would like to not have big balls. I would like to not have breasts. I would like to not have ovaries trying to kick their way out of my stomach right now!"
"Ah! Yis hallucinating again. Gotcha."
"I am not hallucinating."
"Ya does no ovaries Quaraun. I do no know wheres ya got that idea from."
"I have a jellyfish eating me brain."
"Well, I will agree wid that one. There does be a jellyfish in ya head, sucking all de logic out of ye brain."
As was typical for Quaraun he was feeling muscle cramps on the exertion of having walked so briskly for so long a period. Now that he'd stopped walking a tremor in his hands and cramps in his side reminded him that he'd not stopped to rest for many hours. For some reason, in recent weeks, Quaraun had come to the conclusion that these reoccurring cramps was caused by his having ovaries, something that could neither be proved or disproved and since no one could disprove it he had run with the idea and was now currently convinced he also had PMS, which also could not be proven.
Unicorn was used to Quaraun's wild drug induced imagination running away with him, but he was having a difficult time wrapping his mind around this current obsession of Quaraun's. The muscle cramps were real, the pain was real, and Quaraun was at his wits end to find a cause for his discomfort, that Unicorn could not deny. He just couldn't agree with Quaraun's current belief that he had ovaries causing the trouble.
The tremor made it quite difficult for Quaraun to grip his cane, which he quickly dropped. The poor Elf stood staring down at his cane, wondering if he dared risk bending down to pick it up or not. He was feeling light headed and dizzy and was contemplating if bending down would result in his passing out.
A woman, dressed all in pink, walking by, saw this and stopped.
"You're disabled," the pink clothed woman said very matter of factly.
"Yes," Quaraun answered. "I am. I try not to be. It's not always easy to hide."
The woman bent down and picked up the cane.
"You okay?" she asked as she handed the Elf his cane back.
"I fear I over exhurted myself. I did too much too fast. I need a place to rest. I'll be fine once I've rested."
"You're a man!"
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"Why you dressed like a woman?"
Quaraun looked down at his bright pink, beaded ball gown.
"I look good in this dress."
"Yes. You do... but, you're a man!"
"You don't look like one."
"Why are you trying to look like a woman?"
"Are you one of of those men, trying to become a woman."
"No. That'd be easier explain."
"What are you?"
"I'm an Elf."
"That's not what I meant."
"I know. Hermaphrodite, I believe, would be the easiest thing for you to understand, though it's not quite accurate. I'm not really either male or female. Intersexual, I suppose is a better way to describe it."
"You mean you got both male and female genitilia?"
"Something like that. I'm aparently a chimera. Twins that fused together in the womb and became one person, neither male nor female."
"Oh. So you're a freak."
Quaraun sighed. He hated having to try to explain his lack of clearly defind gender to people. He identified as male because he had a penis and testicles and a deep voice, but his bone structure was small and feminine, his facial features were feminie, and he possessed small pubesiant looking breasts, requiring his wearing of support brassier. It was often easier to just say he was a transvestite and leave it at that, but that was not entirly true. He didn't know what he was or where he fit in, he'd never encountered anyone else with his deformities, but the fact that he had fathered children in the past and doubted he had the ability to get pregnant, given he lacked a vagina, had him identifying as male in spite of his looking female.
"Yes. I'm a freak," Quaraun said to the woman. "I have a dick that's always in my way and right now I've got ovaries, trying to kick their way out of my stomach. I get PMS worse then women do, because you have a vagina to expel it from and I don't. I'm not supposed to have a bleeding penis, but I do, which probably wouldn't be half as bad if I had a normal sized penis, which I don't."
"Ya penis is not bleeding Quaraun..." Unicorn tried to say, but Quaraun wasn't listening.
Unicorn wished very much that the woman had not commented on Quaraun's ambiguous gender. He knew the Elf could rant about his gender confusion for hours on end. This recent addition of Quaraun's now believing he had ovaries and was suffering from PMS had only made his ranting worse.
"I have a small micro penis which doesn't want to function properly. Though I have a normal sized foreskin. It's like putting a dagger inside a sword sheath! Try to find my small penis inside of my foreskin! You can't!"
"I can," Unicorn said.
"All of which is compounded," Quaraun continued, ignoring Unicorn. "By the fact that my testicles are twice the size they should be. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to walk with these things hanging down between my legs, knocking together and getting in my way while I'm trying to walk. They are too heavy. It hurts the have then hang down loose..."
"Yis need ya chastity cage put back on then, eh?"
"Yes! I do. It holds them up against my body and keeps them from swinging around all the time," Quaraun answered Unicorn then went back to adressing the woman. "And on top of that right now I feel like I've kicked in the stomach. I hurt like hell. And I'm not supposed to have breasts, but hey, once a month I do, and that would be right now."
The villager was staring at Quaraun as if he was bomb about to explode.
"Ya done having hissy fit?" Unicorn asked.
"There's a garden over there." The woman pointed to the church. "Slush Master Bazooloo of the 8 Arms always welcomes the sick and weiry. You'll be welcomed there. His bubblegum slushies will do wonders for you."
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"Yes. Good for what alies you."
"What's a bubblegum slushie?"
"You don't know!" The woman gasped, horrified.
"I'm a stranger here. We've come from, quite afar. I think. I'm not sure. Apparently GhoulSpawn did something to us... again. He's most bumbling wizard I've ever met..."
"Ah, that because ya never met yaself," Unicorn said. "I must introduce ya to yarself sometime. Especially when yis on LSD."
The woman looked wide eyed out into the desert.
"You mean you came from out there?"
"Yes. I'm afraid we're lost."
"You were not eaten by the sand sharks?"
""And the Slush Maids did not get you?"
"What's a Slush Maid?"
"You don't know?"
"No. I don't. I told you we are strangers here."
"Then you must go to Bazooloo at once."
"Yes. He'll know what to do. The Slush Master knows all."
"What is slush master?" Unicorn asked.
The woman faced Unicorn for the first time then fell back and gasped.
"You are not wearing one of the 8 colours!"
"Eight colours?" Unicorn looked down at his black hakama and black silk kimono, over which he was wearing a black fur cloak. "I wear black."
"The colour of sin," the woman gasped. Her fear could not be masked.
"What wrong wid wearing black?"
The woman turned and walked quickly away without answering.
"That was strange," Quaraun said. "I suppose we should go see Bazooloo."
"Baaaa-zzooooo-loo?" Unicorn said, mulling over the name. "That does no sound of Human name."
"You know you could have helped me," Quaraun said.
"Helped ya wid what?"
"I dropped my cane."
Quaraun shook his head.
"Forget it. Let's go visit Bazooloo."
"What for we do that?"
"So I can sit down before I fall down."
"Is ya not well?"
"Portal travel, does things to me. Especially when it's unplanned and unexpected. Gravity and my balls don't like each other."
"What me to cage 'em up?"
"Any ideas where we is yet?"
"No. And Bazooloo is a Thullid name."
Quaraun walked off, leaving Unicorn by himself. Seeing that he'd been left alone, Unicorn quickly turned into a Unicorn and trotted after the Pink Necromancer.
"I wish ya would no leave me behind like that," Unicorn said as he caught back up to Quaraun.
"My leg hurts. I can't stand still for long. Too much pressure on my hip. I expect you to follow me. You usually do. Why didn't you this time?"
"I was thinking."
"What of him?"
"This is Human village."
"It looks to be, yes."
"What for they have Thullid priest?"
"Good question. Let's find out."
Quaraun stopped walking and looked up at the church. It was made of the same sandstone as everything else in this town was. The friezes on this building were carved with jellyfish, octopus, and squid. Tentacles and ocean waves melded and merged in the design.
"Definitely a Thullid," Quaraun said.
"Look," Unicorn pointed towards the garden beside the church. "Place for me Elf to sit."
"Indeed. Let's sit."
"There are flowers here," Quaraun said. "That's odd."
"We just came through many miles of ice cold desert. Not a plant in sight. And none anywhere else in this village. I believe the air is warmer here as well."
"Probably, underground hot springs."
Quaraun looked up at the tall church beside them.
"Probably why they built the church here. Life giving water in the desert. That can't be good."
"Life giving water in desert is no good?"
"No. The fact that there is a church sitting on top of the only source of water. That can't be good. A religion controlling the water source? Religions can't be trusted. Especially not Thullid religions."
"Says a Thullid priest."
"I haven't been a priest in years. Decades. Centuries."
"Yis renounced ya religion, then, eh?"
"I'm not exactly living my religion any more, Unicorn."
"Aye. Ya likes being fucked too much."
"Put the chastity cage back on me."
"We is in public."
"You can do it without fully exposing me to the world, can't you?"
"Then do it. I'm sick of trying to walk with my balls swinging around."
Unicorn did as he was asked.
"You know if I never meet you I'd still be a virgin."
"Yi had wife."
"That was an arranged marriage, that my father only arranged because I was with you."
"Ya was with BoomFuzzy."
"You are BoomFuzzy."
"Unicorn don't start this again."
Quaraun and Unicorn's argument was interupted by a Squid headed priest with eight long purple tentecles. The Thullid was wearing rainbow striped robed which matched the pattern on the front door of the church.
"May I help you?" He asked.
"Bazooloo?" Quaraun asked.
"Yes. May I help you?"
"We are lost. And tired. In need of rest. And thirsty. A woman from your village told us to come here and ask for Bazooloo."
"Well, you have found him. Am I correct in assume I am adressing a DiJinn?"
"I am a wizard of the DiJinn order, yes."
"What's a DiJinn doing way out here?"
"What's a Thullid priest doing in a Human village?"
"What's an Elf and a Faerie doing in a Human village?"
"I already told you. We are lost. This was the first hint of civilization we could find."
"As it was with me. Be warned strangers... people who find themselves lost here... never leave."
"You are trapped here?"
"And where is here exactly?"
"This, my friends, is the City of the Slushies."