Sebastian opened his eyes. He was still lying on his back, but it was in an entirely different setting. He could sense grass under him, feel a soft breeze blowing all throughout the area, and he could even smell the faint scent of flowers nearby. He clearly wasn't in the Savannah anymore - all his senses agreed with that information.
He first assessed the status of his own self. He moved his hands and arms, which were fully functional and not dangling as he last remembered them. He then checked felt through his hair, assessed his face, head, and even his throat, down through his legs, sitting up in the process. Physically he was intact and seemingly well without injuries. Even his throat and chest was intact and had no signs of a stab wound or a scar. He was also surprised to find that he was wearing a simple long sleeved shirt and chino pants, far from the t-shirt and cargo shorts he had to wear in the humid Savannah.
'I'm in the afterlife it seems.'
This was the only thing Sebastian thought was rational in this situation. Clear blue sky, grassy plain, and a peaceful atmosphere. No sentient beings to greet him, no bright light or fiery sulfuric pits - just a calm and serene environment.
'I wonder how far this stretches then.'
Sebastian stood up and checked his surroundings further. He was definitely in a grassy plain which stretched for a long area. In the distant horizon, he could see mountain ranges and even forests. The grassy plain appeared to stretch for miles on end before it merged into forests to his front and sides.
Turning around, Sebastian saw the cropping of a walled city in the distance. If this was indeed the afterlife, there wouldn't be any need for anything like that. Finding more questions now, he thought that heading towards civilization would provide answers more and would be his best option now. He slowly walked towards the city walls while still checking his surroundings, although a bit more cautious now.
After a few minutes of walking, Sebastian saw someone lying down at the side of the road. This road seemed to have come from the forest at his right side. He quickly ran towards the person, thinking that they would be able to provide some answers for him. When he approached the person, he froze for a second before breaking out into a full sprint towards her.
The long-haired woman was lying on her belly, seemingly crawling towards the city. She left a trail of blood and was not moving. For reasons unknown to him, she wore what seemed like a leather cuirass over her casual clothing. In a few seconds, he was beside her and turned her over to quickly assess her condition.
When he turned her over, she already had a blank stare and wasn't breathing. While trying to calm himself down, he did a rapid head-to-toe assessment to check what had happened. It seemed that she suffered a blunt lethal blow to her abdomen, causing internal hemorrhage which eventually led her to bleed out.
With shaky hands, Sebastian tried to look for a pulse and to see if there was a rise and fall in her chest which was impaired by the presence of the cuirass. Seeing that there was none of both, he desperately tried to remove the cuirass to start chest compression for CPR. He kept fumbling at the sides, unable to find a buckle, strap, or latch to open it. He knew that when a person flat lines, it's only a matter of time before the damage is irreversible.
"WHY WON'T YOU OPEN DAMMIT!" Uttering his first words since coming into this new place, he couldn't help but to shout out of frustration for his lack of abilities and lack of control over the situation. As a nurse, these were the most difficult things to accept. He didn't even notice the tears falling down his face as he was sobbing while still fumbling with the cuirass.
When he calmed down, he then checked her again, only noticing that she was cold and rigor mortis had partially settled. Her body was rigid even when he turned her over. He didn't notice it because of the adrenaline rush and his panicked state. Even if he was able to take off her leather armor, no amount of CPR would bring her back. He then looked around the surroundings to see if there was anyone or anything that might help him. Seeing that he was definitely alone with the body, he then decided to bring her into the city. The blood trail seemed that she came from the forest and was trying to go back into the city before she fell down and resorted to crawling before she bled out and ultimately passed.
She didn't have any pockets in her pants and she only had satchels with her. Rummaging through, he couldn't find anything of use inside. A few odd coins, what seemed to be a small ice pick, and a short knife. From these assortment, he couldn't make heads as to what she was doing or what she intended to do. It took him a few minutes of sitting down and a lot of deep breaths before he collected himself further.
He then decided to bring her with him back into the city. Surely someone would be able to identify her - perhaps her family would feel better knowing what happened to her. The body was already rigid due to the rigor mortis but he was able to carry her in a lover's carry, seeing that it was the only position convenient for him. He couldn't boast about his strength, but he was able to do this much. Especially considering that she was now a dead weight and he had to carry all of it himself. It slowed down his pace considerably, but when he thought how she used to be a living person, he couldn't feel her weight at all and he was able to trudge slowly towards the city.
After what seemed like an eternity, he finally saw the entrance to the city gates. Guards were stationed there in full metal armor holding spears and swords. Sebastian hesitated for a moment before realizing that he was carrying a dead body with the purpose of identifying her and ultimately, closure.
"Oi!! Help me!" He yelled out towards them. It seemed that the words he spoke ever since he came were limited but were filled with emotions.
The guards then turned to see him and ran towards him.
"What happened?" The guard asked as he supported Sebastian in putting the body down on the ground.
"I saw her by the side of the road. She wasn't moving so I tried to help her but she already died. It seemed like she was dead for a few hours before I saw her." After explaining the situation and being able to talk to someone at length, he felt relieved on many levels.
The guards looked at each other before letting out a long sigh. "Another adventurer has died. We'll inform the guild about it and take her body from here. What were you doing out? Were you picking fruit or plants?" One guard picked up the body while the other looked at Sebastian closely while asking.
'They are right in suspecting me. It's always the case in a murder mystery. Whoever is closest to a dead body upon first discovery is the primary suspect.'
Sebastian thought to himself as he smiled bitterly. He was getting ready for questioning, and he also had a lot of questions himself.
"I suddenly woke up in that grassy field over there and I thought that I should head over to this city to know where I am. On the way here was when I found her as I said before." It sounded like a very weak made-up excuse to Sebastian, but he had no way of changing the story in his favor at the moment. From the guards' shocked looks, he was expecting to be taken away any moment now.
The guards looked at each other while mumbling "the Blossom Fields?" There was a lengthy pause and silence between them that made it very uncomfortable for everyone it seemed. Both guards then looked at Sebastian while asking deadpan, "so you woke up suddenly in that field over there, not knowing where you are or what this place is?"
"Yes, that's the gist of it when I woke up. I seemed to be free from injuries as well which I found considerably odd." He thought back to those few minutes, expressing his disbelief as well. It seemed that everyone was in disbelief as well as they almost forgot about the presence of a dead body around them.
The guard that was carrying the body shifted uneasily, indicating that he was getting tired. The other guard caught the signal and mentioned to Sebastian, "in that case, please follow us. We'll get you to somewhere safer and you can get the answers you need."
In that short sentence, Sebastian became a bit more troubled than what he already was. The fact that they said 'somewhere safer' meant that they were in danger outside and there was a reason for the walls. Also it seemed that it was a natural occurrence or that they were used to this situation. Considering that the other option was to run into the forest and deal with unknown dangers, Sebastian decided that following them was the wisest choice. On the way into the guard post, everyone was quiet and somber.
In the guard post, the guard carrying the body laid her gently onto a wooden cart and covered her with a cloth. He then located a necklace underneath her cuirass and broke it off, placing it over the cloth. Once again, Sebastian saw how prepared they were, almost to the point where it seemed like routine. It somehow gave him the shivers.
"Before we head into the city, do you want something to drink or eat?" One of the guards asked him.
"I'd like a glass of water if you don't mind." Sebastian suddenly realized that he hadn't had anything since he arrived. He wasn't feeling particularly hungry, but he was thirsty from toting the body all the way from the forest outskirts to the guard outpost.
After having a glass of water, they both went into the city gates. The guard that carried the body stayed behind to guard the post. The other guard that offered the drink then pulled the wagon with the body in it. They seemed to work well, without the need for discussion. Again, it gave Sebastian the impression that it was like clockwork for them.
As they entered into the city, Sebastian saw that it was almost like the medieval era in this place. Houses were made of stone walls with wooden or straw roofs. As they passed in what seemed like the residential area, the houses were close to each other and seemed stuffy. The men were wearing olden style tunic and pants for their attire, while ladies were wearing simple dresses - apart from those that wore armor over casual clothing. The armor ranged from full metal armor like what the city guards wore to leather cuirasses which came in different styles. It reminded him of the body that they were carrying in the wagon.
"So where are we going now?" Sebastian cautiously asked the guard. He knew that they were heading towards a type of medical facility for the body to be examined and identified. If this was the medieval era, then there would be no technology available and it had to be done in a classic way. He was curious about a lot of things, but he decided to save his other questions when he had a better chance rather than small talk.
"First we're headed to the adventurer's guild to drop off this body and then the guild master will take it over from there." The guard answered nonchalantly while deftly maneuvering the wagon around people. Nobody seemed to notice them even though the covered body was in display for everyone to see. Again, it seemed like a common occurrence here. They fell into silence as they spent the next few minutes walking around the streets. Sebastian was still lost in his own thoughts and questions as he didn't really notice how long they walked.
After what seemed like a long time, they arrived in front of a large stone building. Upon estimation it looked like it consisted of 4 floors, towering over the surrounding buildings. They went around the building into the back yard. There were at least 6 bodies covered by cloths in the back yard. Sebastian suddenly froze, realizing that there were a lot of casualties.
"The guild master should be out shortly, you can ask him your questions. Don't mind those too much. You'll get used to it." The guard jokingly said, nudging Sebastian. He knew that the guard was trying to cheer him up or calm him down. Being in a joking mood in front of dead bodies simply was not the way to do it, Sebastian thought to himself. 'Just how common is this scenario here??' He started to feel his head spin.
In perfect timing, the back doors swung open and a person came out. He was wearing delicately-designed robes fit for royalty, with what looked like an owl perched on his shoulder. What struck Sebastian the most was his pointed ears along with his handsome face. He didn't realize it, but he blanked out for a few minutes, oblivious to the conversation happening around him.
"This person found a body along the outskirts of the forest. I do have to report that this person woke up in the Blossom Fields without knowing or understanding where he is." The guard dutifully gave his report as if reporting to a senior officer.
"It seems that he is a Forgotten One then. It would explain his shock now. You followed the protocols in bringing him here?" The handsome man with the pointed ears asked the guard in a flat tone, almost in a matter-of-fact way.
"Yes, also he seemed that he was too absorbed with his thoughts to notice much on the way here. Will you take it from here?" The guard put the wagon down as he unloaded the body next to the pile on the side. He then gave the necklace to the handsome man.
"Yes, I'll do my part then." He said as he took the necklace from the guard and clutched it deeply in his hands. "Oi, you. Wake up." While still clutching the necklace in his hands, he looked at Sebastian.
Sebastian was still in a trance as he looked at the man in the robes with the owl perched on his shoulder. The man had to clap a few times before he suddenly realized that he was staring for a long time. Sebastian shook his head to seemingly clear it before answering feebly, "..yes?"
"You can call me Leo for now. I'll answer your questions as we converse inside. Follow me." He then waved at Sebastian as he beckoned him to come inside the building.
Sebastian didn't even notice that the guard already left with the wagon. He was too absorbed in the magnificent character in front of him to notice his surroundings anymore. He slowly walked up the stairs and entered into the building.
In what seemed like Leo's office, he was offered tea, bread, and fruits to eat. Sebastian didn't realize it, but he was already famished from everything that transpired before then. As soon as he smelled the wonderful aroma of the bread and the tea, he devoured them one after the other, forgetting that there was another person in the room with him.
Leo looked at him intently while he scarfed the bread down and gulped the tea. He was eating too fast, it seemed that he was chewing the tea as well before swallowing everything down. Noticing that his appetite was sustained and he showed no signs of stopping anytime soon, Leo opened their conversation.
"As you can guess, I am an elf. A half-elf to be correct. This world is different from yours." He spoke in short sentences, almost assuming that Sebastian wouldn't be able to understand him. He was partially correct, as shown by Sebastian's blank stare again as he stopped eating altogether.
"Swallow that first before you talk or you breathe, otherwise you'll choke. That's good. Now breath deeply." Leo gave specific instructions, it definitely seemed like he knew what he was doing. "Is your mouth clear of debris? You can talk now. Like I said, don't choke."
"Elf?" That was the only word that escaped Sebastian's mouth. Leo let out a long sigh. He was silently hoping that the rest of what he spoke was absorbed as well.
"Half-elf. There is a difference." Leo answered shortly while gesturing towards his pointy ears. Short sentences were better if you were speaking to a person under shock. It seemed that he might need to shorten his sentences further.
"Where am I then?" Sebastian answered as he put down his cup and half-eaten loaf of bread. He sat down almost dejectedly while asking it, slowly trying to absorb the situation.
"This is Wildecross City. This world is Kalonia." Once again, Leo was brief and concise. It was clear that he didn't want Sebastian to be more confused. He was only answering the questions as they come. He didn't even ask anything yet.
Sebastian took a sip of the warm tea. He assumed it was tea. It smelled fragrant like a collection of berries mixed with honey. It was soothing to say the least. After a few sips, he then placed the cup down back onto the table. "So why am I here?" After the problem with location, it seemed that it was the sublime question that was nagging him.
"There are other documented cases of Forgotten Ones like you that came here. In the other cases they come from different worlds and timelines." Leo paused to look at Sebastian's reaction. He didn't want to overwhelm him and start from scratch in terms of explanation. Sebastian noticed that Leo was gauging his understanding. He nodded for him to continue.
"What we do know is that Forgotten Ones have been sent from their original worlds by a ceremony or special act. In some cases it was done at the end of their life in their previous world. You still have your memories from that time don't you?" Leo now asked his first question to Sebastian.
"Yes, I still remember. Who I was, what I did, and how I thought I died." Sebastian said the last part while gazing down. He wasn't sure whether it happened now or whether everything was real. He couldn't believe that a few minutes or hours ago he was dying after being attacked by the pack of hyenas.
"From what I understand, it seemed that you did die then." Leo cautiously said after a brief silence. He then paused, seemingly allowing Sebastian to absorb the new and overwhelming information as well.
Sebastian fell into silence, deep into his thoughts. He didn't even realize that almost an hour passed then.
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