The Red Squirrel
Sword in the Stone
Teenaged (real age unknown due to conversion of squirrel years to human years)
Remember that squirrel from Disney's The Sword in the Stone? This is her as a human.
Back in 2008 someone decided to make a sad thread about how Arthur rejected the red squirrel that had a crush on him and, whenever /co/ gets sad, they make shit up to feel happy again.
Animoose drew a humanized red squirrel being cute/flirty with Arthur and it took off from there with numerous bits of story telling and drawfaggotry. After the initial creation in 2008, some asshole decided he didn't like it and no one else should like it either so he spammed it everyday until everyone was sick of it, because of that it wasn't until 2012 that anything else was done with her.
The original stuff is all cute and mushy and sometimes sexy (a lot of sexy sometimes) and the newer stuff is more story driven.
Original Writefaggotry (2008)
And when Arthur awoke, he knew he was no longer in Avalon, where gargoyle wings cast shadows over incandescent gardens. He knew first that he was grown young - or never grown old at all. His head was not bowed by years under a crown, nor his hands calloused from too long spent fighting.
But it had not been a dream, for the sorcerer was still with him, hand holding his, helping him to his feet.
Wart coughed and blinked. There were twigs in his hair from the tree he'd just fallen out of. "What did I..."
"Oh, remembered it, did you?" Merlin asked, adjusting his spectacles and flattening his mustache. "The future. Yes, that's what it's like for me. Always remembering things that haven't happened yet. Sorry if some of it rubbed off on you."
There were faces in his mind - noble faces, ugly faces, beautiful ones and cruel ones - and he knew their intentions.
When he looked up, he saw the friend from his most recent adventure, somehow seeming quite expressively astonished for a squirrel.
"Say, Merlin... would it be alright if I tried to change it?"
"Oh, yes. It's not set in stone, you know. Well, some of it is, but we'll come to that. But what will you do differently?"
"How would it be... if I had help, sir?"
The old wizard might have been smiling, but he seemed to hide it behind his beard. "Oh? Which helper would you choose?"
Wart did not need to think about it. He pointed straight up at the branch. "That one."
Merlin looked to the tree Arthur was pointing at. Sitting upon the branch, watching them quite intently, was a little brown squirrel.
"A squirrel? I'm afraid you've confused me, my boy."
"Doesn't she look familiar to you?"
Merlin took a second to get a better look at the pint-sized rodent, which had started to make its way to a lower branch to get closer to the two.
"Ah! It's that same squirrel that we ran into when I was giving you your lessons. That was the one that took quite a liking to you, right?"
Arthur nodded, noting that the squirrel had reached the ground and was starting to hop over to him.
"Yeah. I always felt bad for abandoning her. Having my memories of times yet to come, there are many things that I hope to change for the better. When it came to love, I was betrayed. Even my son would not care for me. The one thing that I know is that no other being I ever encountered seemed to have such a pure love for me as that cute little squirrel."
"Just what are you driving at, young man?"
"Merlin, I want you to turn her into a human."
Merlin was dumbstruck.
"Turn the squirrel into a human? How will she be of help to you?"
"I'm not entirely sure what the new future I'm going to create will hold. But what I do know is that having someone with such a kind and innocent soul at my side can only give me strength."
Merlin was unsure of the wisdom in transforming a wild animal into a human being, but had to give a measure of respect for Arthur's new found resolve to improve his future.
"If I help you with this, Arthur, I'm going to need to make me two promises."
Arthur simply replied: "Anything."
"First, she will be entirely your responsibility. You must remember that this will be very new and possibly terrifying to her, and she's going to need help to adjust to the human world. If her welfare suffers because of your slacking, I will not hesitate to remove her from the situation."
"Agreed. The second condition?"
Merlin took a more somber tone, one that seemed to echo an old memory.
"Always remember how lucky you are to have someone that cares for you so completely."
Merlin picked up an acorn off the ground. He rolled it between his palms, eventually clasping it between his hands, as if he were in prayer. He closed his eyes, muttered something underneath his breath, and opened his hands.
The acorn was now giving off a soft golden glow, and Merlin looked rather tired. He handed the little thing over to Arthur.
"Feed this to her, and she will become a human. Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I've done just about enough magic for one day. I'm going to go have a bit of tea with Archimedes, then perhaps a nap."
"Thanks, Merlin. This means a lot to me."
Merlin retreated back to his tower, presumably to tell Archimedes that the tasty squirrel that he'd been thinking about for tomorrow's dinner was now off the menu.
The squirrel, who had been sitting at the bottom of the tree, scampered over to Arthur. She seemed to have been off-put by Merlin's presence, since he was the one that had taken Arthur away from her in the first place.
She scampered up his clothing and rested on his shoulder. Arthur held the acorn up to her, hoping she'd accept it. She did take it, and started to nibble.
"I really hope this wo-WOOAH!"
Within about a quarter of a second, Arthur had gone from having a 1 pound squirrel on his shoulder to a 105 pound girl.
A very naked girl, that was now lying on top of the fallen Arthur.
Despite having several memories of his future life, Arthur's sexual experiences were not among those that had come back with him. In his mind, he was still very much an awkward virgin. Thus, having completely naked girl straddling him was a rather nasty shock to the system. Even if she had the most absolutely adorable face he'd ever seen.
The girl seemed to have noticed that she was no longer in her old body. She immediately jumped up...and fell backwards.
Arthur tried his best not to laugh, but watching her try to stand on two feet was probably the cutest thing he'd ever seen. Frustrated, she scampered over to him on all fours.
Squirrel vocalizations apparently didn't translate very well into English, so communication was going to be an issue.
Arthur got to his feet, taking his shirt off. While he struggled to get it over his head, she tried to stand up, grabbing Arthur around his naked chest in a hug to stabilize herself.
Blinded by his shirt, Arthur suddenly became very aware of the fact that a girl's breasts were pressed against his chest.
Arthur now cursed the shirt that he had originally started to take off for the purpose of helping the girl cover up.
His hormones rushing and blinded by the cloth around his head, all it took was an accidental push by the still-unsteady newly-transformed squirrel girl to knock both of them back into the same position they'd just escaped.
"It seems like this is going to be a bigger challenge for you than you thought it'd be, eh, boy?"
Arthur, panicked that he'd been caught in such a compromising position with a girl (a nude one, no less), immediately finished pulling his shirt off and jammed it over the head of the girl that was on top of him.
Not having previous experience with clothing, the girl was understandably less than enthusiastic about having her head shoved through a cloth hole and struggled against it, finding herself in much the same position Arthur had been in seconds before, blinded by a shirt around her head.
Arthur looked about for the source of the voice, and was slightly relieved to see a certain crotchety owl perched on the branch above him.
"Oh, it's only you, Archimedes. I was worried that-"
"You might be caught mating in the courtyard in the middle of the day? I believe Merlin referred to that human activity as 'afternoon delight' or some other nonsense."
Arthur blushed at the implication.
"We WEREN'T mating! She just transformed from a squirrel and was completely naked when it happened!"
"Well, you didn't expect her to magically grow clothing, did you? Merlin told me you only asked for transformation, not a wardrobe. Oh, and thanks for consulting me, by the way. Now I have to find something new to eat tomorrow."
"Why are you here, anyways?"
"Merlin told me that he forgot to mention something about the acorn. He said to tell you that she can't communicate with you unless she eats the entire thing."
Arthur looked about, finding the still-glowing acorn on the ground next to him, having been dropped by the girl after the first bite. He pulled the shirt down over her head, the long shirt finally covering her more private bits. She had calmed down, and looked at Arthur with interest in her eyes.
He presented the acorn to her, which she ate quickly after discovering that she no longer needed to nibble to gulp it down. Arthur made the first attempt at communicating.
"I'm Arthur. Can you understand what I'm saying?"
The girl perked up immediately. Her eyes lit up in surprise, as she could now make sense of the gibberish noises those strange two-legged creatures spouted.
"Y...y...yes. I hear human talk."
She jumped back with shock at the sound of her new voice. No longer a chittering series of squeaks, her new voice was soft and gentle, but with a playful melody to it.
"Ar-fur... what happened? I was little... now I'm like you?"
Overlooking her mispronunciation of his name, Arthur explained that he had used magic to change her into her new form. Physically, she was roughly equivalent to about sixteen or seventeen. Her hair was the same color as the squirrel she'd previously been, a rich brown that shone in the sun, reaching past her shoulders. Her eyes were golden, the same color as the glowing of the magical acorn.
As Arthur finished his explanation, he noticed the girl's eyes were still looking quite confused.
"Look... I'll just put it this way. You stay with me now."
"I stay with Ar-fur?"
"Yes, you're with me now."
The girl lit up and tackled him back to the ground, burying her head in his chest.
"I stay with Ar-fur, and he no go away anymore?"
It was then that Arthur realized that he actually didn't know what to call her. Squirrels didn't come with nametags, after all.
"You know, I haven't actually gotten a name for you yet. What do your friends call you?"
The girl tried to say her name, but it only came out as a series of unintelligible squeaks.
"Animal names don't generally translate well into English, lad."
Archimedes, bemused by the situation unfolding in the courtyard, had chimed in again.
"You're going to have to name her, boy. I doubt she knows enough of the human world to pick one herself, as I did."
Arthur thought long and hard about what would reflect on her the best.
It was actually the reflection of the sun off of her shining brown hair that would provide the inspiration for her new name.
"How about I call you... Hazel?"
The girl's golden eyes teared up a little bit as she blushed.
"I love it! Now I can be with you like a real mate, right?"
Arthur was taken aback by the girl's forwardness. Given her behavior as a squirrel, he really shouldn't have been surprised.
"Archimedes, can you please do me a big favor?"
The cranky owl sighed.
"You want me to fetch her some clothing, correct?"
"...If it's not too much trouble. There's no way I can walk her back to my room with her in just my shirt."
The owl made a scoffing noise.
"I suppose Merlin wouldn't want you getting in any more trouble, especially if it involves his magic... speaking of which, you should lock up the courtyard until I return, to keep other unwanted visitors out while she's without clothing."
The owl flew off to retrieve a robe, and Arthur scurried to the doors and locked them from the inside.
His task of locking the doors to the courtyard finished, a somewhat relieved Arthur turned back to face Hazel, only to find an empty space of matted grass where they'd laid earlier.
Somewhat worried, Arthur called out: "Hazel, where'd you go?"
All of a sudden, he was blinded. His shirt had been rudely shoved over his head, causing him to fall back to the ground. At first, this wasn't too worrisome, until he figured out that someone had tied the sleeves together. Another pull popped his head through the hole, with his arms stuck at his sides. Arthur was now staring at a completely naked girl who had just totally immobilized his arms and was now moving to straddle him.
"I'm so happy I get to be with Ar-fur now..."
Arthur's head began to swoon as he came to grips with the realization that the girl was looking at him the same way she'd been eyeing him back when they were both squirrels.
"I'm hot, Ar-fur."
How could she possibly be hot? It was early autumn and she was completely nude. The sun was just beginning to fall over the horizon as dusk approached, and the temperature was starting to dip a little.
It was then Arthur grasped what she was getting at.
"You... you mean you're in heat?"
"Mm-hmm. I had to find a mate, but I never had one before."
She dropped her eyes and blushed.
"Then you came along. So cute and bushy tailed. I wanted you to be mine forever."
She started crying, squeezing out a few drops.
"A-and then you went away because that mean old man took you. I was so afraid I'd never see you a-again."
Arthur immediately felt a heavy pang of guilt strike his heart. In the time before he knew of his future memories, this kind of closeness would have terrified him. Strangely, the attention that had made him so uncomfortable as a squirrel was now causing a strange warmth in his heart.
Arthur tried to lean up to apologize to her, but she pushed him back down. "You're all mine now, Ar-fur. Promise you'll be my mate forever?"
Arthur didn't even hesitate.
"Of course, Haz-"
He was interrupted by a fierce kiss from the previously demure girl as she attacked his lips with animalistic passion. Though she may have been human now, her instincts from her squirrel self seemed to have transferred.
Arthur tried not to be completely overwhelmed by the situation. He was pinned under the weight of a teenage girl, his arms trapped within his tied-up shirt, and his tongue trapped by the mouth of said female.
What was especially hard to get around was Hazel's skill with his tongue. Most likely due to her previous squirrel life, she was amazingly good at nibbling on his tongue. The sensation was remarkable, and it was starting to cause Arthur's mind to cloud over with pleasure.
Hazel broke the kiss, panting.
"Ar-fur... Ar-fur... I'm so happy you like me. I never had anyone that wanted to be my mate. I thought I'd never get to make babies."
That last word struck Arthur like a lightening bolt.
Hazel, with a fully flushed face like a super-blush, replied as the leaned in close to his neck.
"Of course, Ar-fur. I'm gonna make you lots and lots of babies. We'll have as many as I can make, and we'll have the biggest family ever!"
Arthur wanted to press the subject, but Hazel effectively silenced him by starting to kiss his neck. Well, not so much "kiss" as "nibble like a champion squirrel in an eating contest".As an unfortunate side effect of her squirrel style kissing, she was undoubtedly one of the most talented hickey givers in the world. Within minutes, Arthur's neck was covered in tiny little love bites.
Arthur was quickly starting to forget why he was protesting in the first place. The feelings that this girl was creating... the were impossible to deny.
She momentarily quit biting on his neck and lifted her face to meet his. Their eyes locked. His dark eyes met her glowing golden ones. It was then that he knew what he really felt. He smiled warmly as he softly spoke, accompanied with a blush.
"Hazel... I promise... I'll do my best to give you the kind of life you want. As many kids as you're willing to have, alright?"
Hazel gave him the most heartwarming expression that he'd ever witnessed on a human being. It seemed ironic that it would be a creature that was not born human that seemed to possess more inherent humanity than most people.
She started crying again, but tears of joy this time. As they started to land on his face below her, she spoke.
"Thank y-you... THANK YOU SO MUCH!"
With that, she renewed her vigorous attack on his mouth. It seemed that a bond had been formed, one that would not be broken.
While Hazel would have absolutely no reservations about fulfilling her mating in the open courtyard, it would seem that it was not to be.
The sound of a loud interruption gathered the attention of the couple. Archimedes had returned, carrying a large robe. While nothing fancy, it was plenty large to completely cover Hazel and get her back to his room safely.
"It seems like I got back just in time. A few minutes more and you might have been producing heirs prematurely. "
Arthur blushed and looked away.
"It's not like that, we were just... um... playing. See, she was seeing how she could tie my shirt up!"
"While being entirely naked herself?"
"Give me some credit boy, I've been around a while. Merlin himself has gotten into some fascinating situations in my presence. When I don't talk, people tent to ignore me like I'm a regular bird."
Archimedes tossed the robe to the girl, and Arthur helped her wrap it around herself.
"You owe me a nice meal, boy. New get her back to your room without being caught. Merlin told me he'd help you come up with a cover story for her tomorrow. In any case, it's late and it's getting cold, so get her to bed... it's been a long day."
"Thanks a lot, Archimedes. You'll have to tell me more about Merlin's escapades sometime."
"I don't know about that, boy. Some of them are pretty wild. Especially those including Mim... that woman was a real dynamo a few decades back."
Arthur shuddered and waved the bird off. Hazel huddled up to his side.
"Where are we going, Ar-fur?"
"Inside the castle, to my room. You're going to stay in a nice warm bed tonight."
"No more tree?"
She seemed a little sad, leaving the only home she ever knew behind.
"No more tree... but you can build a nest out of blankets in my room."
Hazel's face lit up like a Christmas tree.
As the door closed to Arthur's room, he wondered what kind of future would await his new "helper" and if he could really make things turn out better than his future memories led him to believe.
In the end, he decided not to worry too much. After all, being snuggled by an extraordinarily aroused teen girl that's absolutely in love with you in a love nest made of blankets and pillows has the tendency to make a person a bit more relaxed.
Maybe Arthur was going to make mistakes, but this time around, he knew he would at least have true love.
Arthur & Hazel
These we made after the "Epic Hazel" ones, but chronologically make more sense before those.
Arthur knew that combat training was very serious business, nothing to smile or chortle at. She took to her lessons with him with gusto, practiced even when he was away. Hazel's drive and enthusiasm to learn how to use a weapon was admirable of her, but it was also kind of cute. Who knew? Maybe they'd get her a real sword one day.
Hazel and the Great Danes
Arthur and Hazel hold each other as they sleep, Hazels head resting in the crook of Arthur's neck. Hazel is the first to wake when the morning light brightens the dark room. She yawns and stretches, scratching her head before turning to look at the sleeping form of her love. She smiles and leans towards him, giving him a light kiss on the lips. Then a hard shake of his shoulders.
"GAH!" Arthur screams, "Hazel!"
Hazel laughs at his sudden fright and then his little scowl.
"I had to wake you quickly, Arthur! Your family is moving in today!"
Arthur suddenly remembers that, indeed, Ector and Kay, along with their servants, are joining him at the castle today.
"Thank you for reminding me Hazel! I had forgotten."
Hazel nods and wraps the boy king into a hug. "I hope they'll like me."
Arthur sighs and hugs her back, "They'll love you Hazel. Trust me."
Hazel sits atop the caste roof and watches as a fat man with a red mustache yells at some of Arthur's servants as they carry his boxes into the castle. She sees Arthur leave the castles entrance to greet the man, who bows towards her love and then pulls him into a hug. Arthur awkwardly hugs back and then looks towards her. Hazel smiles and jumps from the roof, grabbing onto a nearby tree branch and dropping to the ground.
Ector jumps at the girls sudden entrance, "Who the hell is that!?"
"Sir Ector, meet my squire. Hazel, this is my guardian."
Hazel walks up to the fat man and bows "Nice to finally meet you Sir! Welcome to Castle Pendragon!"
Ector gives the girl a long look before nodding, "Odd choice choosing a girl as a squire, but who am I to question the king?"
Arthur looks around, "Where's Kay? I thought he would be joining you today?"
"He's just an hour behind. You can greet him later, I'd like to see where we'll be staying!" Arthur nods and brings his adoptive father inside. Hazel goes in with them and continues talking with Ector.
"So, you raised Arthur?"
"Of course! The lad was left in my care when he was an infant!"
Hazel continues to ask him questions as Arthur shows Ector his section of the castle. They stop the tour when Arthur and Ector hear an all familiar voice.
"Of course I'm bloody invited! I'm the kings step-brother!"
Arthur runs towards the yelling and sees his tall and tough brother staring down a servant. Kay's hand reaches for the sword on his hip.
"Kay! Don't attack the man!"
Kay sees Arthur and relaxes, along with the terrified servant.
"Wa... I mean, King Pendragon." Kay bows. "Nice place you have here... who's that?"
Hazel pops up from behind Arthur and waves, "I am Arthur's squire! Nice to finally meet you Sir Kay!"
"Christ Arthur, a girl squire?"
Arthur sighs and decides to change the subject. "Where are Tiger and Talbot, Kay?"
Hazel has heard much about these 2 from Arthur. Loyal and great friends, always being there when he needed them. She wonders where they are as well.
"I'm sure they're sniffing for you. Damn things always liked you better anyways."
Wait, Hazel thinks, sniffing? A chill runs up her spine when she hears a large and low bark coming from down a hallway. Arthur smiles and runs towards it. He is suddenly tackled by two large canines, who lick every inch of his face. Arthur laughs and rubs their heads. Hazel, meanwhile, is shaking in fear.
"You never told me that Tiger and Talbot were d-d-dogs, Arthur."
The dogs stop licking the boy kings face and look towards the terrified girl. They smell the all familiar scent of squirrel on her, but don't see said squirrel. As they get closer to investigate, Hazel moves further away. Arthur gets up and tries to calm her down.
"Hazel, it's ok. These two aren't going to hurt you."
She just shakes her head no and continues backing away, eyes wide with fear. Her back bumps against a wall, stopping her escape from the curious dogs. All out of options, and the dangerous animals getting closer to her, she has no other choices.
"LEAVE ME ALONE!"
She jumps over the dogs and runs. The dogs, thinking of this as a game, chase after her. Hazel screams and leaps onto a grandfather clock to get to higher ground. She jumps on a nearby shelf, knocking over the clock, and hangs onto it for dear life as the dogs bark at her from below, tears beginning to fall from her eyes as she prays to be left alone. Arthur and Kay grab the dogs by their collars and pull them away.
"Your squire is afraid of dogs?"
Arthur gives Kay a simple nod. He is currently trying to figure out a solution to an obvious problem. And then he finds one.
Hours after the incident, Arthur and Hazel lie on their bed.
"I should have known that you were terrified of dogs. I am so sorry Hazel."
"...I've seen so many of my relatives murdered and eaten by dogs, Arthur. I know that's what your two beasts want to do to me!"
Arthur looks at the girl, "Tiger and Talbot would never hurt you Hazel. They were just confused. You just have to let them get to know you."
He gets up and leaves the room, returning minutes later with his furry friends. Hazel jumps up and tries to run, but Arthur grabs her.
"NO! If you run, they'll chase you! Just sit and calm down!"
Hazel scowls at Arthur, but complies with his demands. She sits back on the bed and looks at the dogs, fear still in here eyes. The dogs simply look back at her.
"Good, this is a good start." Arthur leads them closer to Hazel, "Now pet them."
"Hazel, these two are the most affectionate dogs I know. If I love you, then they definitely love you. Now pet them."
Hazel can't find any holes in his logic, so she gulps and holds out a shaky hand. She rests it on Talbot's head, who's tail shakes even faster at the sudden affection. Hazels eyes widen and gives the dog a small smile.
"See? No biting, no eating. They're fine. How do you feel?"
A week has passed since Kay and Ector had moved in. Kay has created a kinship with Hazel due to her outdoorsy personality and attitude, and she has managed to make a small bond with Arthur's best animal friends as well. Speaking of the king, he is currently walking with Merlin and Hazel in the courtyard, discussing a possibility of creating a guild of knights.
"As I see it, bringing together the best warriors to be under my kingdom would be good for both politics andOOF!"
Tiger and Talbot suddenly tackle him to the ground, covering his face in slobber. Merlin chuckles at the sight and sees Hazel laughing at it as well. She stops laughing when they stop licking Arthur and turn towards her.
"Wait, WAIT!" Hazel shouts at them as they run towards her.
Arthur wipes the slobber off his face and laughs at the sight before him. Hazel being pinned to the ground as both dogs rub their heads against hers and lick her face, much to her disgust.
"Arthur! Get them OFF!"
Arthur manages to pull the beasts off his love and help her up. She dusts herself off and kisses her saviors cheek, causing Arthur to blush.
"Now, lets go see if Kay is willing to teach me archery!"
Hazel drags the boy into the castle, the dogs following as well. Arthur realizes that this wasn't just a castle anymore. With his father, brother, pets, Merlin, and Hazel in living with him, it was much more than a castle. It was a home.
Once and Future
"Ow." Arthur sighed rather than groaned, the aching back of his head and torso making an unpleasant contrast to the sudden softness that had landed on him from the branches. "Hazel, you promised you wouldn't do this anymore."
The former squirrel untangled her limbs from the young lad's only to sit herself atop his chest where she remained smiling and quite unrepentant. "I changed my mind. Besides, Mr. Merlin's friend said that you need to be more careful," Her calloused hands balled themselves into fists and playfully bopped him on the forehead. "Ready for anything!"
Hazel nodded, "He sure did. Don't you remember?"
He really didn't. Arthur didn't remember much from their little field trip to Camlann. It was a place of little note, save for a crooked bank even the nearby city, grand as it seemed to be, was murky and indistinct. He, Hazel, Merlin and Archimedes had gone there to visit a "possible" friend of the old wizard's though Arthur wasn't entirely sure what that was supposed to mean. He had an even harder time remembering the so-called "possible" friend. The man had been dressed in fine armor and fabrics, he must have been a lord of those parts. There was even a symbol on his tunic, a tiger or panther of some sort. What he did recall was how uncomfortable he had felt when he approached the knight. It felt like the time he had fallen on top of Kay or driven Merlin away to Bermuda. As if he had done something wrong while not being entirely at fault.
Hazel however took an instant liking to the stranger which only compounded Arthur's wariness of the fellow.
The lord exchanged a few words with Merlin amidst Hazel's enthusiastic embraces and looked toward the vast empty fields surrounding them, his face turning sullen and mournful before Hazel's laughter caused it to light up again. Then it was time to go and they left him, the man having never once moved from his wooden roost.
"Did he say anything to you by any chance?" Arthur asked.
At that, Hazel's expression turned puzzled and she appeared to mull over his question for a moment before she bent down and took the downed king into a tight hug. From behind the autumn veil of her hair he heard her whisper into his ear with uncharacteristic melancholy,
"He said that he...missed me."
Someone decided to commission a series of images depicting Arthur and Hazel in the Wasteland from Epic Mickey where they go on adventures and fight all kinds of dip spewing monsters.
The Number i
They seemed to bleed out of the stark white space that surrounded them. Small, tar-black bodies wormed their way out from unseen cracks in the ether, molding themselves features as they twisted and writhed with all the skill of a clumsy child; Long, tube-like arms that ended in vicious talons; Chunky, clawed feet that pooled below their wiry legs and dripping potbellied bodies. Their faces though, took up most of their form as well as Arthur’s attention; misshapen, bulbous visages that melted and drooped to reveal large frenzied eyes and rows of craggy, mismatched teeth. Twin mounds balled from the inky substance that made them would have made for comical ears, if not for what they were attached to.
Arthur’s fingers gingerly drifted to Excalibur’s grip as he did his best to carefully scrutinize these creatures, trying desperately to find some vestige of intellect or reason.
“Your desire for diplomacy is admirable but misplaced,” i cooly said, “There is no reasoning with creatures such as these.”
The boy gulped, even with these feral imps poised to strike, i still managed to be the most unnerving thing in the room. “What are they?”
“Stains part of a greater Blot, extensions of the fatal mistake that has sullied Wasteland for decades,” i explained, its words stilted but dripping with contempt. “Even weakened as it is, it can muster up the strength to send such agents through this grand space to steal riches of other worlds.” it stole a glance at the enchanted blade at Arthur’s side, “Or weapons to aid in its savage bid for power. I thought you to be one such creature when I attacked you.”
By now the blotlings had noticed Excalibur as well, causing Arthur’s hold on it to tighten even more. “I look nothing like them.” he shot back.
i set its strange key-shaped weapon on the ground, lacing its fingers atop the handle. “Their ilk has become more sophisticated as of late. Some are so cleverly disguised that you would not realize their true nature until they are close enough to slit your throat.”
The decidedly not disguised wretches shrieked in a savage rage before charging at the former combatants; some sprouting wings to haphazardly fly whilst others sprinted toward them with inhuman speed. The gnashing of fangs and the wet splattering of tar or ink or whatever infernal mixture they had been concocted in, echoed throughout the empty realm.
Excalibur was unsheathed now, the tentative grip turned iron as Arthur readied himself to receive this new threat, a desperate plan formulating in his head amidst techniques and strategies that could slay these abominable foes.
He looked sideways at i, its eyes (did it even have eyes?) still concealed by its hood. “If I help you defeat these…things, will you let me pass?”
Barely a second passed before i gave a sudden, frosty chortle.
“You assume,” its voice settling back into its passive tone, “That I require your assistance.”
"Everything drowns," The grey horror knight Aggro-Vain had rasped moments before his corpse green transport devoured his wounded armored form.
The ground beneath the serpent's head began to swell and crack; foul black water started to leak from the earthen fissures. A warped roar of effort bellowed from the creature's mouth as six massive, metal legs of rusted brass burst from the land.
Their cruel knife-like tips smashed into the growing muck, groaning and shuddering as they made to pull something even larger out with them.
Arthur and Hazel stood there, mouths agape. The boy's arms were still extended, Excalibur's lustrous edge shaking in his weakening grip as golden circles of light within the tainted pool rose to reveal eyes that shone an empty glow, each the size of his head. He nearly screamed when he felt a harsh tug on his sleeve.
"We have to go!" Hazel commanded, herself at the cusp of running as she pulled him to join her.
"You heard the lady! Start running blondie!" Oswald's head yelled.
And so they ran.
And as the monster's titanic maw surged from the ground at last, filled to the brim with ink-blank teeth attached to bloated flesh, it pursued.
But amidst the blood-curdling roars and the crashing din of the Pastel Forest being smashed into the ink-blue sea, Arthur couldn't help but wonder how Oswald had managed to yell at him without any lungs.
9 to 5
Arthur had never seen a mermaid before. He had only heard tales of them back home in England. How could a nation surrounded by water not have legends of the sea and the terrible wonders that it could house?
And yet, though his vision was murky in the oceans of Wasteland, he couldn't help but notice that there was something not quite right with his would be savior. The texture of the seashells that formed her top appeared to be that of solid foam or shiny, padded satin. He could see the faint outline of human legs underneath her scaly lower body as if her tail was one big glittering stocking that she slipped into on occasion.
However, Arthur could feel no malice in this deception, no wickedness in this apparent disguise. Excalibur remained at his side, there was no threat for it to vanquish. Perhaps if he had been younger he would have accepted this creature in its totality, too enthralled with wonder to question the smaller inconsistencies that fueled his disbelief.
The easing of his ravaged lungs proved the magic of her kiss was real enough. However, so was the furious look on Hazel's face. Arthur tried not to blush as he thought of this mermaid having to do the same to save her from drowning as well.
Siege of Silent Cove
Arthur and Hazel confront the dreaded aquatic Blotworks, Naught-Loss in the depths of the ocean while trying to obtain Clarent from the Siren of Silent Cove before the creature can.
“Beyond the rusting, grafted armor the beast chafed against and the bruised, dying flesh that preceded its craggy teeth, there was nothing but blackness, all consuming, unnatural and absolute. The young king firmly believed that if he were to touch it, even without its being surrounded by such a titanic leviathan, he would simply cease to be.
However, despite gazing face-to-face with an immense aquatic beast cobbled together from prehistoric terrors and discarded industrial dreams, Arthur still felt the need to point out that the mermaid had kissed them both to help them breathe underwater and that Hazel had no real reason to be so cross with him about the matter.
The Sky Sheathe
As they were on the cusp of ascending to the upmost peak of the mountain, Arthur entertained the idea of setting or even dropping Hucua down. Surely the source of the light that had guided them through the choked remains of the Kingdom of the Sun all the way to these verdant hills and fields that it guarded with its glow would blind those that gazed at it. Hazel was a little ways ahead though. Arthur made to warn her to cover her eyes before she proceeded further only to see the young girl stop in her tracks, transfixed at something ahead of her. He hurried to reach her, Hucua's babbling a tepid buzz in his ear. Then he saw it too. There, floating above a deep, earthen crater, was the scabbard. Arthur looked in awe at the sight; Even the ever talkative golem he carried on his back was silent.
It seemed impossibly large, a pillar of light, a luminiscent column that reached into the sky far beyond their sight. But although it was bright, its glow did not burn or blaze or harm; It soothed, like a candle in the endless night that kept the shadows at bay, or the tender heat from a fireplace amidst the harsh wintertime cold.
At this distance, Arthur could see that only the chape, the cap, was physical in any sense. A simple triangle of gold, decorated with runes that resembled different things for those there: For Hucua they looked like a sun framed over a valley, Hazel saw them as an abstract bird of prey while Arthur thought they represented a sage eye atop a great tower. Regardless, all understood, that this trinket was the seed from which this immense, lustrous megalith had sprung from.
This was what he had come to the Wasteland for; this innocuous looking answer to Excalibur's destructive power. All ready he could feel the dreams of cleaving atoms in twain and unwittingly unleashing cataclysm across the Earth fade in the face of this great talisman. With this, he would never need to fear again, he could live forever, the kingdom he would build would stand till the end of time and perhaps even beyond it. He understood why the Blot wanted it now. It had shielded this portion of the land in defiance to all its schemes and campaigns and would surely protect his own from injury of any sort. This was why he was here, why he had come all this way...wasn't it?
More-Dread's life had been filled with pain, even with the power he had in his possession every slash and stab still stung, his insides ever burning him from within, a constant reminder that he was not supposed to exist. But he had cheated his fate, wrenched invincibility from the craven hands of his would-be father and his soul howled in delight as his blows found purchase on the man that had forsaken him. And now this rodent, this abominable vermin...she had not been in the stories, not in any of the tales of King Arthur he had been made knowledgeable since his grim creation. She had cheated, she must have, she was a novice in combat, her unnatural form was a frail, weak thing! He could never conceive that the scabbard glinted like a diamond each time it healed him, allowing the girl to pinpoint exactly where it was housed in his amorphous form. Yet, as the holy relic, once his father's downfall, now his, was blasted from his body, there was no pain. Just a wretched, numbing cold that was swiftly silencing the roar of his blazing soul. By Clarent's steel, this Land of Fallen Knights, where he had intended to bury his quarry, had become his own final resting place.
The beast stood before them, eyes surging with putrid green fire, maw set in a melting, hungry grin. It had hounded them From Tempest Canyon to the Wonder Bad Lands and through the Court of the Wasteland King in a myriad of forms and avatars, yet Arthur could not bring himself to hate it.
He thought of King Oswald, once famed and beloved, cast aside and replaced. He thought of Newt, who had never even gotten a chance to find a place in people's hearts before his exile. And he thought of that shadow, moaning and forlorn, that of Mordred, the son (or was it nephew?) he had had in another life and would perhaps never meet again.
The creature that had looked at him with the same gaze as the Blot’s through his cage-like visor. A vengeful, hateful one full of accusation and blame towards his once, might've been father. Arthur briefly wondered if the black-clad knight had felt any kinship at all with its master that stood before him now, as they were both children of accident. Perhaps the Blot possessed the same sense of self-awareness and loathing. Though if he were anything like Mordred, apologies and tokens of sympathy would deafly fall on whatever it used to hear, if it could in fact hear at all.
Even so, Arthur's life and to that extent, this recent adventure had taught the young king that even the most inhuman of creatures, be they beast or homunculus, could feel, could love, could hate, could hurt. The conclusion of the last battle with the traitorous paladin still rung loud and painful in his memory; His would-be slayer murmuring for something that pride has stopped him from asking in life as he succumbed to a wound most mortal, the sword that had dealt the killing blow falling from Hazel's hands as she shook in fear and terror at what she had done to protect him. As he embraced her, he could feel every emotion running through her body, the horror, the relief, the guilt, the shame. It had taken all his will, battered and bruised as he had been, not to weep himself and instead comfort her in that pitch-black moment.
It was a disconcerting thought that underneath the mostly happy temperaments of the people of Wasteland was this great, dark mass of rage and sorrow, like a stain on their souls that threatened to spread and overwhelm them. Yet it was true, just as the thought that there was something warm and gentle within the most frightening and intimidating of beings that could be nurtured and grown was.
Maybe it was even possible for the Blot, conniving and destructive as it was. A chance that it could resist its corrosive nature, make peace with the contradiction that was its existence, that of paint and thinner, creation and destruction. But the deluded, desperate desire on its face made it apparent that such enlightenment was not forthcoming.
He turned his gaze to his companion who had apparently decided to do the same. They had been through so much; she had been through so much. Dealing with his lost memory of her, traveling alongside this boy that had thought of her as a stranger through wrecked and wondrous lands, fighting and running against whatever dangers presented themselves, gaining the sword Clarent from the Siren of the Silent Cove to help him combat the Ghost Nautilus, slowly making him fall in love with her again all the while, even as his recollections of their past started to return.
It was funny, it had been him chasing her all this time like she had done to him many moons before. He didn't eve realize until they had to part when the border wouldn’t let her cross over with him. Now, holding her hand, he could feel a warmth he had once known return to her, her heart restored at seeing him return for her once more.
And the words flowed out, simple, strong and poignant as a prophecy. Forming a promise that beyond this looming void, the sky under which they first met was impeccably blue and waiting for them to walk under it once more:
"Don't worry Hazel. We'll make it out of here. I promise."
(Don't bother reading this, it's only here because it can be)
Going on the assumption that this is an alternate time line, at some point this version of Aurthur and Hazel will probably become detached from the prime time line as history flows in the way it is predetermined to flow in. The versions wondering the wasteland being our discarded-by-time incarnations of the characters as the Aurthur in the prime timeline slowly forgets about all events that were not meant to transgress, as if they were a forgotten dream. They might've ventured into the wasteland in the first place looking for an alternate Camelot where things were less set in stone.
Wasteland is like a giant loophole where alternate versions of characters can continue to simultaneously exist even when they are not logically supposed to. The loophole abuse is endless and goes even further if we take into account the /co/-verse settings, and by extension the multi-board-verse settings. Only Hazel would probably be able to venture into those settings though.