The Adventures of Veselin and Mattias (Living Post)
(This is a living post, more will be added as participants reply, all replies are cannon. If you are not a participant, do not reply, it will only result in your reply being removed, so lets save us all some trouble how about.)
It had been just a regular day, we were out fishing on the river, headed north from Riverwatch, hoping to get a big haul so we could put a bit extra on the table for our families. A storm rolled in right over us, and we didn’t even get the chance to get to shore before it turned the river into a raging mess. Ruben got knocked out near immediately, slamming face-first into the wall of our dinky little boat.
I didn’t last much longer, tipping face-first into the water, and immediately hitting my head on the rocks lining this section of the river. Apparently, we had managed to get over just far enough going in wasn’t the best idea. I had little understanding or recollection of what happened next, all I know is that I was flushed into a tributary, somehow moving against the current, barely able to keep my face above the water.
I was surely having some adverse effects from my fall when I saw the giant catfish standing above me. It seemed to be in some canvas clothes, its whiskers shaking as it seemed to be saying something to me. I tried to give it a response, but the best I managed was probably more than incoherent. The next thing I knew was being pushed underwater, into a small tunnel by the riverside. The water woke me up real quick, apparently, I had been out of it for long enough that reentering was a shock.
My head was pounding, and I probably swallowed a good bit of water while I was thrashing, but I was drug up out of the water by some weird, smooth hands. They felt almost slimy in a way. All my brain knew was that I wasn’t in the water anymore, and the rapid expulsion of what water I had swallowed soon brought the darkness back.
When I next woke, it was to a sensation that I had never felt before. It was like something deep inside me was latching on to something, connecting with it. Most of the voices remained the same, but the one coming from directly above me made sense all of the sudden. It said, “Well that was strange, hey, are you awake human?” It took me a second to realize that I was being addressed, and another second for my eyes to focus.
Right above me was a giant catfish, a Wels. I don’t know how I knew what kind, but this had to be a dream, right? Its whiskers, no, its barbels, quivered for a bit, as if saying something again, though I didn’t know what. All I could say was, “I don’t know what’s going on man, I just want to go home…” All other conversations in the room fell when I started talking, and the one directly above me had frozen stiff.
“Veselin? What’s wrong? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”
Veselin stood above the ape creature, the hand holding a small jar of healing balm quivering. He was only trying to keep the thing from dying. “I… I was just doing Grandma’s healing ritual, and then the human started talking... “
“Maybe you mixed up the steps? It’s the forehead slap first, then the balm on the gills!” Mila, his sister, chimed in, “do humans even have gills?”
“They don’t! I just put it all over its face- that's not the point! It talked, didn’t any of you hear it?”
“Hear what?” she approached the bed. “The chattering?”
“But it wasn’t chattering! It spoke!”
She laughed. “Well, if you could call that speaking-”
“Did you not understand it?!”
His father spoke up. “Calm down, Veselin! You must be hearing things.”
“I am NOT!” Veselin turned back to the human, who looked terrified. “Say something. Anything.”
In a hoarse voice, they spoke: “.....something?”
“There! You see?” He turned to his family, but was met with confused looks. “You didn’t hear that..?”
The human spoke up. “Where am I? And why are you the only one talking Obrexian?”
“Obrexian. My language. You’re talking it, while the rest of you are speaking gibberish.”
Veselin’s barbels bristled. “Our language is NOT gibberish, thank you very much!”
“Seems like it to me,” the human murmured.
He turned to face his family again. “Did you catch any of that?”
Again, blank faces. Mila seemed especially concerned. “It has a… very strong accent?”
His father stood up from the wicker chair, approaching the bed. He snatched the balm from his son’s hands. “Maybe this is expired…”
“I’m not crazy!!!” Veselin cried, crossing his arms. “The ape talks!”
The human gasped. “Who are you calling-”
They were cut off by the sound of a horn from above ground. The sun was at its peak in the sun; it was lunch time.
“Ope, time to go!” Mila and Veselin’s father went towards the entrance of their home, changing from their dry indoor clothes to their waterproof clothes to leave into the river. “Are you coming, Veselin?”
Veselin looked at them, then back towards the human. “...I’ll catch up with you two.”
They dived into the water and swam up and out onto the surface, leaving Veselin and the human alone.
“What even is going on? The last thing I remember was getting swept overboard, and now some fish headed thing is talking to me… This has to be a dream right?” I wonder aloud. The thing snorts above me, but seems to choose not to respond.
“I have to be in some druid place, they can heal people.” I sit up and look to it, hoping for an answer.
After shaking its head, it says, “I don’t know what a druid is, ape. Don’t be rude.” I gaze at it in astonishment, the damn thing was actually talking to me, it could understand me!
“No, come on, this can’t be real!” Suddenly the world feels so much colder than it had a moment ago. I was stuck in the clutches of some hideous monster, and I probably wouldn’t ever see my family again.
Shaking its head, the fish monster sighed. “Look, I know you really want to get home, but you’ll need to heal f-“ It paused, thinking over what they said. “...how did I know that.” It seemed genuinely confused, its barbels quivering, showing some meaning that I couldn’t guess, but I knew to be surprise all the same.
“How can you talk to me, fish monster?” I ask.
It responds, “First of all, calling an Osyatao a fish is just plain rude. Second, I’m not an it! My name is Veselin, and I’m a guy too!” It- he, was puffed up in indignation at that. I was at a loss for words, but I somehow knew what he said was the truth.
Something is welled up within me, but that should be impossible… I think this is what the druids mean when they bond with their familiar, but how? This thing, guy, whatever, clearly isn’t an animal. Yet, I can feel them all the same. I can tell that the air is fairly damp, just from the feedback from their barbels, and a sense of hunger that is being amplified not just by my own empty stomach.
“Just what is going on!” Unable to hold back the tears any longer, they now flow freely.
“Woah- what is wrong with your face???” A deep, new instinct told Veselin that this face leaking was natural and a sign of distress, but it didn’t make it any less disturbing. “I don’t know anything either, I’m just trying to keep you from dying!”
“Then who knows???” The human fell backwards onto the bed, the wetness steadily flowing down his face. Veselin watched in morbid fascination, before turning away. “You mentioned those… droods?”
“That’s what I said. Droods. Are they your magicians?”
The human frowned a little. “They are our magic users, yes.”
“Why don’t you ask them? Once you’re not bedridden, find out what’s wrong. Then come back and tell me!”
“Well, you’d need to come too. If I went to the druids and started talking about healing fish people, they’d think I’m insane!”
Veselin grimaced at the thought of having to go to a town FILLED by these apes. “Nuh uh. No way I’m walking there.”