Hey, all. This fanfic is supposed to be a sort of backstory for my fan character Rayden, who some of you will know from my other fanfic Gems of Chaos. Unlike my other three fanfics, you could probably read this one without having read the others and still vaguely understand it.
Oh, and I still plan to finish Gems of Chaos. Think of this chapter as a teaser, since I won’t be posting any more until I have finished Gems of Chaos. I have quite a story planned out for this one.
Flames of the Limbless
Prologue: Desert Warfare
Prior to Rayman 3: Hoodlum Havoc
The Knaaren Clan war was sparked by ambition.
The Knaaren Clans consisted of the two major families, the Knayduh Clan and the Naareln Clan, and many dozens of smaller clans. Complex undercurrents of alliances, enmities and feuds linked the clans, providing a volatile mixture which often resulted in small skirmishes and fights. Most feuds were settled in the battle arena, by two champions. This was an ancient tradition that none even thought of challenging. Until the day Fuuhg climbed to the head of the Naareln Clan.
Fuuhg Naareln, Chieffather of the Naareln Clan, was ambitious, seeking to strengthen the Knaaren by unifying the Clans into one mighty nation. He was opposed by the traditionalist Knayduh Clan, who believed devotedly in the old ways. Many clans flocked to both sides, for political reasons or for ties of blood. The two sides opposed each other bitterly, and, before long, war erupted.
The two large Clans led many smaller families against each other. Both fought bitterly, to the very last man. Knaaren died by the dozens, throwing themselves at each other without care for their own lives. The Clan wars raged throughout the entire desert, every family leaping into battle without thought. For months, the tunnels were filled with the roars and battle cries of the reptilian creatures, and the cries of those dying.
The Naareln Clan possessed the best and strongest fighter of all the Knaaren, named Reflux the Mighty, nephew to Fuuhg. Fuuhg had many children, sired to many different mothers, one of whom was named Gumsi, and who was destined for greatness.
The leader of the Knayduh Clan was Chiefmother Derguk, a rare female clan leader. She was a gifted military mind, highly capable in both underground and surface warfare. Many of the families joined her for protection.
The two warring factions fought for weeks, turning the Tunnels into a huge warzone. The chamber of the Leptys was sealed off by the god himself, so that neither side could take advantage of the god’s great power. Peace may have eventually been restored, if it were not for the intervention of the mighty limbless sorcerer known as Mr. Dark.
Chapter 1: Blood Dawn
Desert of the Knaaren
The great, twin suns rose slowly from behind the flat horizon, reaching for the cloudless, crimson sky. The two discs already glowed with almighty, orange fury this early in the day, their light creeping across the desert sands. They gazed downwards upon the vast desert, seeming to watch with malevolent wisdom and powerful rage.
The desert itself stretched forever, populated by rocky outcroppings and vast expanses of flat sand. The bones of ancient, massive sand-dwelling beasts were strewn across the landscape, bleached pure white by ages of solar ravages. They cast long, curved shadows, which grew shorter by the minute as the suns rose higher above the horizon.
This almost serene setting on the surface was a poor marker for the chaos that lay beneath.
Lain across the orange sand, hands and feet spread wide, lay a strange being. Its nose was large and bulbous, its skin slightly tan. Its hair was grey, and swept back into spikes. On its hands it wore black, fingerless gloves, and on its feet black and white shoes. Its shirt was also black, with a large, white ‘O’ symbol in the middle. In the centre of the ‘O’ was a small, yellow, inverted triangle. It appeared to be male, although there was no real way to tell, just a masculine look about it.
All of these features were relatively normal, and could have belonged to almost any sentient race. The one outstanding feature that could not have, however, was the fact that the creature had no arms, legs or neck.
The being’s head, hands and feet lay independent of its body, sitting separately on the sand. The being stirred in its sleep, turning over to lay its hands on the sword beside him. The sword was curved and the perfect length for the limbless being’s body. It was inside a plain, blood-red scabbard, unmarked except for another yellow triangle on the leather.
The limbless being stirred, his eyes blinking open. They were a bright golden colour, the whites reflecting the surrounding desert. He sat up, blinking, brow creased in puzzlement.
Desert, he thought. Why am I in the desert?
He looked around, taking in the alien surroundings. He began to climb to his feet, only to fall forwards again as a sudden, sharp pain pierced his head.
Images swirled through his mind unbidden, half-formed thoughts, feelings, and memories. Fear. He remembered that clearly. Pursuit. Screams, flames, a dark power.
And a girl.
Her face was clear in his mind, smiling lovingly at him. She was of his race, hair falling just short of her shoulders. With her image came a strange feeling, an odd combination of longing and pain.
He shook his head, clearing the clouds within. These memories made no sense to him. They told him nothing. They could barely even be called memories, so vague they were. He remembered nothing important. Big things such as where he was, why he was there, and who he was continued to elude him. He frowned in frustration.
His hand brushed an object in the sand. He looked downwards to see the sword, plain and unadorned, at his feet. He hefted it, holding it to the light, and drew it from its scabbard. He tested the edge with his thumb, finding it satisfactorily sharp. He swung it in an arc, the blade whistling cleanly through the air. He twirled it with expert ease, slicing imaginary enemies, parrying and thrusting. With a flourish he re-sheathed the blade, tying the scabbard to his back. The knowledge of the blade, it seemed, had been a part of his previous lifestyle.
He turned towards the desert landscape. Already, the sand was beginning to warm beneath his feet with the heat of the suns. He had to get to shade.
A hard determination entered his eyes. He was going to find his memories, no matter what it took. And whoever had stolen them would pay.