This all began when I asked myself the question, what would happen if a human wound up in Equestria... as something not cute, handsome or attractive in any sense of the words? What if some ugliness of form, rather than spirit, was introduced in this world? Let's find out!
So, first proper chapter, let's see how this goes. I pretty much skim the human part of my characters life, while at the same time giving plenty of detail because, let’s face it… the Equestria part of the story is what we read and crave.
My name, my real name, was... well that's not important right now… maybe I'll write it down later, but for now I'm writing about a rather bizarre turn of events my life has taken. … It's has been a a few weeks since I came to this strange world, and only now do I get a chance to write down my thoughts and experiences. This is for any and all who wish to read it... maybe it'll help? In any case, I'm getting ahead of myself... let me tell you how this came to pass.
I was once a twenty-four year old college graduate. Heh, that was a while ago now… At any rate, I majored in literature, and, word to the wise, don’t major in literature. People may tell you it's a good choice but next to art it's one of the less... appreciated areas of learning. The only job I could get was as an editor and proof-reader of a publishing company that specialized in fantasy novels.
Although if you’re reading this, chances are you’re here in this world with me, which means you probably never have to worry about college ever again. There’s one good thing at least.
Now, before you ask, no. I didn’t like my job. Why?
Well… let’s go down the list, shall we?
I got no respect from my boss.
Most of the submissions we got were crap, or filled with errors, which meant more work for me.
Working for a book company didn’t leave me a lot of free time for myself.
The pay was only enough to keep me going because I was, as my boss put it, a 'junior employee'.
And the biggest reason? I love reading. I love fantasy, truly I do. But if you’re around something all day for years, you grow bored of it… Like if you love chicken and you get a job at Popeyes! Same principle. I didn’t want that to happen, so I had to fight to keep my interest.
I didn’t really have much of a life… no girlfriend, distant, disapproving parents, estranged sister, barely any friends save for my coworkers… to be perfectly honest I was a sad little introvert.
Not that I really cared. My philosophy in life had always been, and continues to be to this day, Que Sera Sera. What will be, will be. And, if I am to be a middle-class introvert, so be it. At least I'm happy in the knowledge.
Most of you were probably the same, no offense meant. I've learned we’re the favored playthings of the gods, for some strange reason or another.
Still, I got my enjoyment where I could. Fantasy and sci-fi novels, TV shows that weren’t complete crap, exercise when I could be bothered, video games, of which I had a huge collection, I was an avid gamer. Oh, and cartoons.
Lots and lots of cartoons.
I never really grew out of cartoons… I guess I just didn’t want to. There were still good ones as I grew up, and as I did grow up I appreciated different things about them. When I was a kid I loved when were funny, when I was a teenager I liked when they were action-packed, and as an adult I could appreciate the work and talent that went into them.
It was during one of my cartoon-watching days that I got the e-mail…
I was watching a certain cartoon reboot that was about a land of pastel colored ponies. I was trying to get into it because it had taken the internet by storm. To my surprise, I found myself enjoying it. I was watching episodes at random on my computer when my, admittedly out of date, desktop let out a ping… I simply rolled my eyes, recognizing it as my mail notifier. I was expecting it to be from my boss with my new work schedule.
I was right in a way.
The e-mail was strange. Very much so. It had no name, no date... the info-box was a completely blank slate other than the subject bar, which read: For You.
Looking at the note warily, I made sure my Virus Protection was on full swing and up to date before opening it. I still remember it to this day… it read, as follows:
‘Greetings. I have been watching you. You have potential. You have the talent I have been seeking! I know that you are unhappy. I cannot blame you.’
I was a bit freaked out… was this real? Was a person… really following me or was this just a weird spam letter?
‘Yes, I have been watching you… but have no fear! For I mean you no harm. I am a friend! And perhaps something more. I require your assistance, and you WILL help.’
I raised an eyebrow at that. Whoever sent this was not only a freak, but an arrogant freak as well.
‘Think what you will of me, but I can help you… come with me to a place where you can be put to use. A world from your deepest fantasy… all will be better… all will be well. You shall be powerful! Immortal if you wish it! All you need do… is accept.’
I stopped to think about that… my life wasn’t the greatest… but was it really that horrible? I could probably make it into something. But… did I want to? Did I want this life? I shook my head at such thoughts and scoffed. Why was I even considering this? This was a freakin’ fake e-mail from some nutter by all accounts. I sighed… before looking at the e-mail again.
What the hell did he or she mean by a different world anyway?
‘I mean what I say. A new world, a better world. A world for you if you wish it. A world where you can start anew and become great. But I admit, it will not be all fun and games… although you shall take part in a certain… Game… your services are required. And you shall bring glory! You shall make them remember me.’
I had to admit… I did not like how this letter seemed to be answering my questions… not at all.
‘Fear not… for this power, my power is only to help you. The time has come. My time runs short. It is time to answer, young one. Print yea or nay below… and thou shall come to me.’
I remember rolling my eyes at such a thing, but found myself interested at the obvious chain letter all the same. I printed ‘yea’ and hit enter before minimizing the window and going back to my new pony friends.
Oh how I wished… I hadn’t clicked that e-mail… heh heh…
I remember little… other than suddenly feeling dizzy…watching as my body somehow… stretched… and warped. It hurt... so very much. I could take the strange pain no longer… and blacked out.
Let this be a warning… don’t answer strange e-mails… you’ll get more than viruses.
I slowly opened my eyes and saw a blue sky above me… I was lying down… A few birds let out a song and the smell of nature filled my nostrils. It was so peaceful... before the headache hit me like a ton of bricks.
I suddenly felt sick… violently so, and laying down when you felt ill was a bad idea, let me tell you… I slowly sat myself up, which wasn’t an easy task for some reason. I figured I was just tired and dizzy. I shook my head and began to stretch, ignoring or perhaps not hearing the strange leathery sounds that it caused. I shook my head before noticing my surroundings.
I was in some kind of large pine forest, or so it appeared. Sparse, tall trees littered the landscape with large brush and weedy flowers growing in between. It was quite pretty actually, but that didn’t change the fact I had no freakin’ idea of where the hell I was.
Not to mention I suddenly realized my body just felt… wrong for some reason. I brought my arm to massage my head but it felt… strange… squishy. I'm was no doctor, and not an official one now, but I knew enough that touching your arm to your head shouldn't produce a wet and spongy feeling. I looked at my hand… and really wished I hadn’t. My arm was gray and bloated and misshapen… and I freaked.
I looked around desperately and saw a small pond not three feet away.
It felt like my body weighed a ton. It was slow, heavy and unresponsive and it took every bit of my willpower and patience to get to the pond.
When I made it, I stared at my reflection… and I couldn’t quite believe my eyes… I was… to be perfectly honest and frank, hideous. Now don’t get me wrong, I was never a real looker. Sure I had a bit of a paunch, but other than that I was pretty fit and healthy. I always liked to think that I was a pleasingly average human male specimen. Now? Now I doubted anything, man or woman, human or beast would come near me with a ten foot pole.
I had gotten shorter for one thing, standing at what I could only guess was about five and a half feet tall. My skin, which was completely hairless from head to toe, was also a sickly gray color now, with splotches of green and brown. I was very… round. And I don’t just mean fat, I mean my whole body was rather round-shaped and corpulent. My legs were large and flabby, ending in flat three toed pads. A long, thick and slimy tail waved slowly behind me, trailing on the ground, keeping me balanced apparently. My arms were stubby and ended in what I could guess were hands, but I couldn’t move the nubs that passed for fingers and 'hands' didn’t feel all that solid… like some kind of three fingered sponge made of jelly. My face was wrinkled with many flaps of skin and my eyes were small, beady and completely red from iris to pupil. Two large holes with thin membrane, one on either side of my head, served as ears while two small nostrils slightly below my eyes were probably the best nose I was going to get. My mouth, or where my mouth should have been, was little more than a circle of flesh, where two rows of sharp, lip-less teeth were visible.
I looked like a bipedal cross between a slug and a toad… which was exactly what I was. I was a sload. I recognized it immediately because they were a little known race from one of my favorite video game titles, the Elder Scrolls. A race I actually used to like.
I chuckled, thinking this was a dream or I was drunk or drugged somehow but blinked at the sound of my own laugh.
“No… not possible… no…” I said, completely in denial.
My voice came out a high-pitched, low-toned, raspy whisper. The kind of voice you would hear from something slinking in a cave, the voice of some foul, evil creature.
I took another look at my reflection.
I was a fucking… sload… a fat, disgusting… worm.
Well… that was something.
Needless to say, I fainted. If you think that unmanly, screw you. You try waking up as a giant bipedal worm. Yeah, screw you.
I slowly raised myself back to my feet, not an easy action with the new found… roundness of my new form, which I noticed, with much displeasure, I was still in. So much for my hope this was all a mere dream.
I looked around… I was in another forest… much different than the previous one… more varied and strange. Tall trees of all types and sizes were around me. Vines, bushes and flowers of many varieties also grew in plenty around the ground, where tall grass sprouted like mad. It would have been very beautiful… if absolutely everything around me wasn’t a shade of black, white or gray.
I mean it. The ground was a lifeless gray, the grass was blacker than coal, the trunks of the trees were black as pitch and their leaves a silvery white. There was not a bit of true color anywhere besides myself. I looked up experimentally and saw that the sky was bone white, while the slim clouds were black... maybe a dark purple… now that was a mindfuck, let me tell you.
A polite cough echoed from behind me and I turned slowly… very, very slowly. This body was beginning to tick me off.
Behind me was a small lake of pure white water, in it swam small black fish which jumped into the air merrily every so often. The lake appeared artificial as it was perfectly round and edged with smooth white stones. It was beautiful, in an odd, bleak way.
In the middle of the lake was a gray patch of land that was dotted with a few of the black and gray flowers. On that small island was a round podium made of the blackest obsidian. On that podium was a demonic-looking throne made of a massive collection of bones… and sitting on that throne…
Was a pony.
I wish I was kidding you.
But I’m not.
Well I say pony, but it was more like a small horse… which I know that’s what a pony is, but I mean… bah! You know what I mean. It was technically a pony, but it was only about a half a foot shorter than an actual horse. Though I admit… at the time I didn’t know many ponies or horses for that matter that had huge, skeletal wings, a sharp horn made of bone that looked like it had stabbed it’s way through the skin of it’s forehead or eyes that seemed alight with blue flames. At the time anyway…
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, it’s coat was pure white and shined like diamonds. It’s mane and tail were pure black and braided with silver chains. It’s hooves were large and black, with silver studs nailed into them. Trails of shadowy smoke swirled about it’s body, like a loose cloak, which I can tell you was more than a little unnerving. On either side of it’s flank, a word I only learned after this encounter, was a picture of a scythe and a blue wisp of smoke.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get any stranger…. It spoke… in a deep, decidedly male voice.
“Welcome my Champion. I hope you found the journey here satisfactory.” the horse, pony, unicorn… thing said in a monotone voice that reminded me of metal scraping against stone.
“You… you are the one who brought me here?” I asked, and blinked. I still wasn’t used to my voice.
“Indeed. I wanted to make sure the trip did not permanently harm you and I was worried that your new form would not adapt to the power that was expected of you. I am glad to see my concerns were misplaced.” he responded with a slight nod.
“Trip? Power?” I asked, a glare adorning my ugly features.
“I, unlike some of my brethren, would not blindly throw my Champion to the wind with nothing to his name. You have power my little worm, but you must learn to wield it yourself.”
“All well and dandy! But who are you, where am I, why did you bring me here and why am a damned freak?” I hissed, literally hissed mind you... my new mouth and teeth seemed well suited for it.
“Calm yourself, my Champion. I will explain to you what I can. But I doubt you will get all your answers.” He responded, a hint of regret in his voice.
“Oh, that is grand. Not as if I deserve to know what’s going on. Well better scraps than nothing…” I half hissed, half grumbled. The stress of this unbelievable event was getting to me.
My mysterious friend seemed to grow tired of my complaining.
“Silence yourself, my little worm.” He said with flaring nostrils and narrowed eyes.
I decided to follow his advice, I wasn’t eager to find out how sharp that horn was, or how hard his hooves were.
“You are currently in my Realm. The Realm of Death, where nothing lives, but nothing is truly dead. As for where you were, you have been brought to a new world. A world where many of the creatures of your myth are reality here. A world that is currently in a state of imbalance, thus, a Game has begun.” He explained.
I swear, even to this day he sounded slightly worried.
“I am Mortis. God of Death and Guardian of the Underworld. My current form is that of an Alicorn. Though it was not always so, it is what this world believe me to be, so I am.” The Alicorn, Mortis, explained.
Wait... Alicorn? I thought to myself. As in... 'Luna and Celestia' Alicorn? No... no. No. no, no, no. ...it couldn't be... could it? No... no. ...shit. I knew where I was. But most of that left my head as I realized just what Mortis had said.
“You… are a god?” I asked, a bit speechless. I was never much for religion. Not because I didn’t believe, but because I wasn’t sure which faith really suited me.
Guess the universe chose a god for me.
“Indeed. And you are my Champion, my little worm. You will help me restore my name to this world.” He said and for the first time I met him, a smile graced his face, albeit a cold one.
“And why exactly am I a sload?” I asked again, my tone was slowly losing its edge. I was in a firm state of denial that any of this was real at the start of the conversation... but as it wore on and the realer this all felt, the more that seemed unlikely, despite my hopes.
“I am the God of Death. As such, my Champion must have a connection to death. These creatures, these 'sload' have great talent for the mystical arts, according to your tales, yes? First and foremost, Necromancy... I find this suitable. I also believed that a creature that none of the races of this world nor my rivals were familiar with would give me an advantage… something that a few of the others have thought of, unfortunately… nevertheless, it may still work out to my advantage.” the death god explained with a nod.
“I thought a death god would hate necromancy…” I asked with a bit of dry humor.
“Death is death, even magic cannot change that. What is undead is still dead, and for one to master such an art must truly understand death. I bare no hate for such practitioners, quite the opposite.” he stated with finality in his tone.
He paused here, thinking for a moment before continuing.
“I cannot say the same for others in this world, however. Especially some of my rivals.” He said, clearly a warning.
I was silent for a moment... hoping, wishing, praying that I would wake up soon... unfortunately my hopes and wishes were wasted, and I believe to this day that the only one who heard my prayers was Mortis, being the closest god and all... and he was decidedly ignoring them.
“You call me your ‘champion’. What does that mean? Why am I here?” I asked, a bit impatiently.
“I cannot tell you that… not yet… perhaps not at all.”
“What? Why not?!” I hissed violently. I wanted to run up to this horse thing and straggle him at this point… though I doubted my new bloated body was built for running.
“The Rules. They guide and bind us. You will learn more of them… in time. For now, you must prepare yourself for the duties I give you.” Mortis said evenly.
“And what if I refuse to do any of this?” I asked rather nastily.
Worst. Mistake. Of. My. Life.
With a sudden gust of wind the calm weather of the Realm changed. A violent storm bared down on us and Mortis now hovered above his throne, somehow kept aloft with large strokes of his fleshless wings, his body awash with black flame.
“I grow tired of your insolence! You dare to speak to me in that tone, you young thing? I who have existed forever and shall exist always?! I, the Master of Life and DEATH? I saw what a pathetic, sad life you led! How you longed for something more! Well I have given it to you! I saw your potential and gave it form! You accepted my offer! Do not blame me for you lack of foresight! Do not deny my gift, my little worm, or I shall think of a much worse way for you to spend eternity!” Mortis cried, his voice echoing everywhere, pounding in my head, ringing in my ears, making my eyes water.
Silver lightning struck the ground around me and tendrils of flame whipped about me from Mortis’ shadows. The worst of it though was all around me, flashing across my eyes and invading my mind were images of death and decay.
I admit it… I was scared…. I was in an unknown place, in a body not my own and here was a god, a GOD that could quite possibly end me with a blink of an eye… so I did the only thing I could do… I groveled. I covered my head with my stubby arms and cried out.
“Forgive me my lord! I spoke out of turn and out of disrespect!” I cried out in fear.
…not my proudest moment, I can tell ya… but it worked.
The storm immediately disappeared, the calm weather coming back, and Mortis seemed to calm, and settle back in his throne.
“Good. You have learned your place, my little worm. I trust your judgment will not lapse again?” he asked, the smirk practically grew on his face.
“No… my lord. I have no desire to anger you… but I hope that you do realize this is… an odd occurrence for me…” I said slowly and deliberately.
Mortis looked at me an nodded.
“I will grant you that. And I apologize for speaking as harsh as I did. But I will not be disobeyed, especially by you, my little worm. Hopefully, in time, you will learn that I am a generous and pleasant master, so long as you please me.”
I could only nod, my mind still heavy with curses and insults.
“Now, we have talked long enough. Our time is nearly over and the Rules are quite clear on that. It is time you return to the mortal plane. I will contact you again soon, until then travel and learn the way of these lands, or you won't last long. And if that happens, I'll be very... displeased.” the Alicorn said as his horn began to glow a pale blue.
“Wait! Before you send me back, may I ask a boon, my lord?” I asked quickly.
And yes, I realize I was starting to sound like a renaissance fair, but it seemed like the way to talk to this guy.
Mortis stopped and looked at me.
“What would that be?” he asked, a sliver of impatience entering his voice.
“I humbly ask for tools to help your champion along his way. I ask for a robe of crimson to help make others realize I am no savage. As well as some sort of tome or manual to help me learn my new found 'powers' that you speak of. And perhaps a bag or satchel? To hold anything else I might need.” I asked as humbly as I could.
Mortis was silent for a moment before nodding.
“These are simple requests, and do not contradict the Rules. Very good, my little worm.”
I was really beginning to hate him calling me that… no matter how accurate it may be or my options in the matter.
“You will find these things when you awaken. As well as a small gift, to reward you for your cleverness.”
And with that, his horn let out a bright blue flash and all I knew was blackness once more.
I let out a groan as I picked myself up for a third time and rubbed my poor, squishy head.
So... let's review. I have been snatched from my home, my world, to play in some... game? Am now in a world that should only be a cartoon show... will supposedly have to do quests and fight enemies with abilities that I have no idea how to use or if I truly have... and I'm the literally, one of the ugliest creatures the human mind has ever thought up.
With a sigh that sounded more like a croak I looked around and saw a spot of red nearby.
Slinking forward, I saw it was a large red robe, folded neatly on the ground. On top of it was a large book bound in what looked like brown bark, as well as a brown satchel with a shoulder strap and silver clasp lock. It looked large enough to hold several books of similar size to my new... tome? I guessed that was the correct name for it.
Picking up the satchel I noticed it was a bit heavy and heard a slight jingle, opening it, I spied a few dozen solid gold coins about the size of nickels. I shrugged. This must be the gift Mortis mentioned… guess he wasn’t a total dick after all.
I moved the satchel away for now as well as the book and took hold of my new robe. It was a simple garment but it would do, and it would be nice not to be naked anymore. Slipping it over my head it slid over my body, hanging loosely about my putrid form with long trails and baggy sleeves. My tail stuck out behind me, trailing the ground as always. I noticed the robe also had a hood and quickly covered my head with it. The less that was seen of me the better. Picking up the satchel, I slung it over my left shoulder before picking up my new tome as well.
Flipping through it clumsily with my unresponsive hands, I noticed it was written in English. Thank God… well… I guess that’s thank Mortis now…
With another croaking sigh I looked around before picking a random direction and started walking, slowly… very slowly. God… er, Mortis, this body sucked. I decided to start reading my large tome of magic, seeing as I wasn’t going to get anywhere anytime soon. I began reading, trying desperately to process this turn of fate while also absorbing what I could from the book. I then came to one realization.
I didn’t know what fate, this world or my new found god had in store for me… but I had a feeling it was going to suck.
"Ah well..." I hissed. "Que Sera Sera."
For those who don’t know:
Sloads are repulsive creatures from the Elder Scrolls series, which includes Morrowind, Oblivion and Skyrim, chances are you’ve played or heard of one of them. They are large, bipedal slug-like creatures and their name is a blend of slug and toad. They are amoral and rather cruel, though obviously our main character will be a bit different not being a ‘true’ sload. Sloads are very gifted with magic especially with teleportation, levitation and their best skill; necromancy. The longer they live, the bigger they get and there is no known limit to a sload’s size or age. Some of the oldest are thousands of years old. Besides magic they also make decent actors and chefs, though they always take both to large extremes.
As for the mentions of necromancy, there will be necromancy in this story. Dead bodies, skeletons, zombie ponies (and others), organs, blood, clumsy postmortem surgery...
It'll be fun.
And there we go, Chapter Uno done. REVIEW DAMMIT! REVVVIIIIIEEEEEEEWWWWWW!
…ok, I’m done. BYE FOR NOW!