By: Coyotee Sharptongue

“I am alone.”

 Even as I speak these words I know in my heart
that no other
will ever hear them. 

There is no reason, no rational explanation for my
solitude, no hidden cliché or well known story backs my solitary
existence. I
wasn’t asleep; trapped in a dream or personal nightmare, and I wasn’t
with a sudden blow to the head causing reality rendering delusions.

Its as if the world opened up and swallowed it’s
whole, missing only a single morsel as it closed its greedy maw. One
moment I
am walking with my friends; I can still hear Slyissa chastising me as
entered the gate to the Thundering Steppes, shaming me into holding the
for her. The next; They are simply gone. Her words still echo my ears,
my own
laughter still vibrates through my chest and for a moment I suspect
that they
are playing an elaborate prank. I force another laugh, trying to mask
nervousness that threatens to creep into my voice.

“I can see your tail peeking out behind the rock.”
I bluff
as I race to the only possible hiding place that she and the others
could have
taken cover behind.

But as I triumphantly yell out and move behind the
there is nothing. No Iksar woman teasing my manners, no keen eyes of a
ranger scanning the distance, just empty space behind a ancient bolder

I try to convince myself that there is still a
prank that I
have fallen victim to a ruse meant to make me look foolish over the
warm ale
and stale bread served at our favorite dive tavern. I spin, my eyes
searching the area before me for a tell tale sign to chase away my
fears, any
hint of movement, a glimmer of magic, but there is nothing.

I force a few more chuckles but the fear has crept
them, warping them into a perverse mocking of true mirth. I move slowly
forward, down the well worn path that we’ve traveled a thousand times,
my eyes
still panicked in their search as I call to every outcropping of tree
and every
forgotten cart that I can see a boot, or a glimmer of steel, when in
truth only
emptiness welcomes me.

Still I refuse to believe that they are gone.
Forces mirth
turns to annoyance and anger fueled by the gnawing doubt that begins to
eat at
my gut. Surely they couldn’t have gotten this far without me seeing
them? Not
in this short of a time. It was impossible.

Where were they?

 “HELLO!” I shout loudly, my words ringing through
mountains and echoing deep throughout the craters where many an
hunts. But as before, only silence greets me. 

 Dread fills me like a heavy bile rising in my
throat. I
shout again and again, my voice raw as it echoes through the canyons
bounces chaotically off of  heavy stone
walls. I scream until my body betrays me, my voice cracks, and my
throat feels
raw. But only my own croaked fear is heard.

 I wander aimless across the hunting grounds in a
vain search
for life. Areas known for their riches lay unmined, their treasures
hidden like
those that once sought them. I find no one as I wearily hike from tower
tower following the boot worn roads to empty towns and vacant troves.

 My heart twists in my chest as self pity washes
over me in a
tide of sorrow. I drop to the earth sobbing as I slam my fists into the
hardened soil. Tears wash rivers of clean through the road dust that
cakes my
face as I look upwards.

 I cry. And I’m ashamed.

For they aren’t tears of sorrow for lost comrades
or missing
friends. I cry in pity, wracked with feelings of loneliness and
despair. I cry
in greed and it disgusts me. Wiping my eyes over my tunic sleeve I
angrily at the sky and curse myself as I curse the gods that would drop
a cruel
fate such as this upon me.

“DUDE WTF R U?” The voice rings out, and for a
moment I
think my mind is pushing a cruel hoax to my ears. I can’t respond. My
pounds with hope and joy and a thousand emotions rip through me as the
grind by in agonizing moments as I listen.

“ U THERE?” The voice tones once more, clearer as
I slowly
stand, new tears brimming my eyes.

“I’M HERE!” I scream with renewed strength as
small laugh
strangled by tears and hope fights its way out of my throat.

“DUDE U ZONED INTO TS2 WE R IN 1” The angels sing
as I
laugh, running like a man reborn towards the wooden entrance to the

“STOOPID NEWB LOL” my savior teases, and as I
burst forth
into the populated world once more, and I am whole.

Darkness parts
to a starry night sky
as a Kerran wearing a black suit and tie steps out of the nothingness
of the
universe and offers a single explaination.

'Kadesso Sharptongue. A man who had lost
his place in
the world, a man who thought that he was truly alone. But no one is
ever truly The Newbie Zone.'


 **special thanks once again to
for the story idea and tagline**


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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016