The La-Iin Series
“The Adventures of Asul-Zenza in Dasdoria–Part 1”
Asul-Zenza was enjoying the cool air of the area he was flying over right now, using that to ignore the fact that he wasn’t quite sure where he was. A few days ago he had spontaneously decided to fly to someplace he hadn’t been before. He was starting to question how smart that might be without a map, but he figured he’d be able to find his way back through landmarks.
He had been stopping wherever he felt for the night, which thankfully hadn’t been the middle of nowhere yet. His flights had been long, but he had always enjoyed flying, so it wasn’t a problem for him except when he got tired and there were no close-by landing points.
Even though he was enjoying the cool air, he wasn’t enjoying the smell of wherever it was he was flying over. Ever since he had come near this place there had been a foul stench in the air–it wasn’t overpowering, and Asul-Zenza certainly wasn’t interested in seeing how bad it would be if it was, so he planned to keep flying until it was gone.
He continued on at a normal pace, occasionally picking up speed in an attempt to outrun the smell, when something fired at him from the ground. Startled, he tried to fly higher than whatever it was that was firing at him, but was quickly nicked by one of the objects and began to fall. Unable to recover immediately, he was hit with a further onslaught that prevented him from recovering at all. Now he could see the ground closing in.
He was starting to relive his memories. And from that he felt certain that falling from this height, he was going to die.
When Asul-Zenza woke up, his whole body ached and he had no idea where he was.
The area around him seemed to consist of mostly mud or dirt, or perhaps both. Tall trees circled the entire area, but they seemed to be mostly dead. The stench he remembered from earlier was overpowering, and that made him remember what had just happened.
He panicked and tried to stand, but the ache made him want to sit. He was starting to feel weak, as if recovering from an illness.
Why had he been taken here? How had he survived? Had the people who were firing at him rescued him?
Asul-Zenza stiffened and went to see who the voice came from. Nearby him was a woman lying on the ground, her features a mixture of Animated Pumpkin and Vampire.
“You…you can speak the Vampiric language?”
“Course I can. I’m half-Vampire. Or maybe less Vampire…don’t know actually. I was raised by m’ Dad…” She sat up. “It’s just one of those things he passed down since there’s almost nothin’ to do here. …the name’s Keinsg-Alsze. Or you can call me by my family name, Aeshen, whichever you prefer.”
“…you can call me Ghneckdo, then,” he said cautiously. “I’m glad we can understand each other, because I have some questions…”
“Where am I?”
“Yer in Dasdoria, babe,” she sighed. “One of the worst places on the planet.”
Asul-Zenza’s eyes widened. Now the state of the area around him made sense, and he was starting to regret not planning his travel. He hadn’t expected to fly over Dasdoria. It was one place in the world he never wanted to visit.
“Yeah, really. Would I make something like that up?” She flopped onto the ground as if she had lost her energy. “Y’don’t seem to be from here.”
“I’m not! I was just traveling and I got shot at! I didn’t think I was flying over Dasdoria…”
“Ain’t you ever heard of a map?”
“I have, but…” Now he was starting to curse himself out even more for traveling without directions.
“Y’ probably got shot at ’cause they thought you were tryin’ to escape. They’re always keeping an eye out for that kind of thing. That’s why it’s so hard to leave this place…”
“There has to be some way,” Asul-Zenza said. He was starting to get desperate. This was just the kind of situation he had feared would happen to him–that he’d travel someplace and die there all alone, and nobody would realize because they were used to him being gone….
“You alright?” Keinsg-Alsze asked. “Hey, can I see yer arm?”
“Just lemme see. I’ll tell you why in a moment.”
Asul-Zenza almost wondered if she was getting a blood craving, but then remembered he was a Pureblood Vampire–his blood would do nothing for her.
Though, the most desperate of Vampires could forget about that…
He ignored those thoughts and opted to place his trust in Keings-Alsze for now. He held out his arm and lifted his sleeve.
“Looks like they drugged ya,” she said.
“Drugged me? In what way?”
“Would it really be surprising to you if I told you Dasdoria uses power-suppressants?” She asked. “This is proof they thought you were tryin’ to escape. They don’t usually drug anyone unless they think that’s the case.”
“So, then, I can’t fly. If I can’t fly, how–”
“I’d say technically you could ta reassure ya…but that’d be a lie. Our drugs are a little bad ’cause they only last for a short amount a time, but they’re pretty good effect-wise. They’ll make you weak over there, so while y’ probably could fly, you couldn’t hold yerself up very long.”
Asul-Zenza bit his lip. With each word out of Keings-Alsze’s mouth, he felt his hope diminish.
“Hey, don’t worry. Like I said, they only last for a little bit a time. You should be okay tomorrow, though you might ache a little.”
“I ache now,” he sighed. “…is there really no way out of here?”
“Obviously there’s ways out of here. There wouldn’t be wanted signs for escapees otherwise…y’ call ’em “Dasdorian Refugees” outside a Dasdoria, right?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“So there’re ways to escape, they just ain’t that easy and usually lead to someplace equally as bad. You’d probably do better waitin’ before ya try anythin’, ’cause you’re gonna be pretty weak until those effects wear off, and kinda weak after they do.”
“What do I do, then?”
“I ain’t all that sure. As you can see, ain’t exactly a ‘refugee’ or anythin’…I’m so used to Dasdoria by now that I haven’t really thought’a leavin’…though it is a crappy place to live, don’t get me wrong. But don’t lose hope! There’re guards almost everywhere, and yeah, they’ll shoot ya and drug ya if you try ta leave, but obviously people have escaped, right? I think I actually remember hearin’ somethin’ about escapin’ when I was littler, but don’t take my words completely inta account, ’cause this was a long time ago…”
“I’m willing to try anything,” he said. “Please. I can’t stay here.”
“Got a family back home wherever ya live?”
La-Iin instantly came to mind. “Yes, I do.”
“I can see yer desperation, then. Al’ight, lesse….think I heard there are places in Dasdoria the guards are placed less thick. ‘Cause not everyone in Dasdoria’s got the mettle to handle the job an’ obviously some places need ta be more protected than others, right? And this place ain’t exactly the smallest, so you find a break, and then ya make yers, and fly as fast as you can go. An’ that’s why you need ta wait until the drugs wear off. I dunno where any breaks might be, but they’re likely close by areas wit’ guards, so you’d have ta make yer move fast enough not ta be caught by ’em.”
“That makes sense…”
“Might do ya well ta talk to the groups aroun’ here who wanna escape, if y’ can find any. They might have a few stories a successful escapes. An’ I can help ya scope out the area. I don’t really care if they drug me, an’ I can cover for you on yer way out.”
“Thank you, Aeshen,” he sighed. “But…how am I supposed to understand escape stories if I don’t speak Dasdorian?”
“I can help ya with that. Ain’t got nothin’ better to do and I suppose helpin’ a guy make his way back ta his family’s a good way ta pass the time. Though ya really should wait ’til those drugs wear off, ’cause yer gonna be feelin’ weak and actin’ strange fer a little.”
“Am I acting strange?”
“How should I know? I barely know ya. Although if ya start actin’ all insane, I’ll see that as a key sign…”
Asul-Zenza lowered his head.
“Hey, don’ worry! I’ll get’cha outta here no matta how long it takes! An’ shouldn’t be too much of a problem with yer family, ri’? Yer a Vampire, after all. Prolly won’t age much while yer gone.”
“I just…don’t want to be missed, that’s all.”
“I understand…well, sort of. Fer now though you try an’ get some sleep. Anyone picks up on you tryin’ to escape when yer weak and, well….it won’t be good. I think even you could see that, though.”
Asul-Zenza gave a nod and laid down. The ground was freezing, and he took off his cape and started to use it as a blanket.
He hoped he had the right judgment in trusting Keings-Alsze, because the sudden danger of the situation was making him start to panic.
Now more than ever he wanted to see La-Iin.
“I want to see Dami,” La-Iin said at the table that night.
“Really? I thought you saw him just this month,” she said sarcastically.
“I want to see him again.”
Mit-Sun glared at her, then rolled her eyes and sighed. “Maybe a little later in the month. I’m not in the mood to see him anytime soon.”
“You’re never in the mood. One day I’ll call him over while you aren’t looking,” La-Iin hissed. Mit-Sun scoffed.
“I bet you I’ll hear you before you can finish the call…”