Chapter 1: The Farm - Charl

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The sun was setting above the forest clearing when Charl finished his chores. He sat up on the fence and watched as orange filled the sky above him. Charl smiled to himself, the view was just as beautiful as the first time he watched the sun move lower in the sky. The forest was quiet, not even the wind making a noise as it gently blew through the orange leaves. Kicking his feet, Charl began to grow restless, the view and the cool autumn air not stopping him from wanting to play. Full of expectation, Charl ran as fast as he could over to the chicken coop. The chickens were always fun. They always had time to play.

When he got there Charl crouched low, waiting patiently. It didn't take long for the chickens to wander over. First was Alice, young and dark brown, followed by Lucy, older and lighter. Charl smiled, his arms open wide in invitation to his animal friends. Both chickens hurried over to him to meet his embrace.

"Hello, birdies!" He said with a smile on his face as he gently hugged them.

Charl then began to pet each hen with one of his hands, both of them making soft noises as he did.

"I'm glad I have you two with me here," Charl said with a wide grin. "Otherwise it would be quite boring with only chores to do every day."

The hens didn't respond, too busy being pet. Charl sighed. Sometimes he really wished that the chickens could talk to him.

Before Charl could get too sad thinking about chickens that didn't talk though, he heard his father calling his name.

"Charl! Your mother and I are done for the day, so we're going to go inside!" He called, getting closer with each word.

"I wanna stay out and play with the chickens!" Charl called back, no longer petting the hens.

"Well, don't take too long, dinner will be soon!" was his father's response. Charl grinned.

Turning back to the hens Charl quickly sat down on the ground properly and pulled the young Alice into his lap. He then began petting down her back and she leaned against his chest.

"Mom and Dad are boring," Charl said to Lucy. "They never want to play with me. Not like you two."

Lucy clucked and then turned away from him. Charl pouted in response.

And then the ground started shaking. Charl was so shocked he stopped petting Alice, who clucked almost concernedly at him. Charl gently removed Alice from his lap, instead choosing to properly hold her, and slowly started walking towards the house. Mom and Dad would know why the ground was shaking. Mom and Dad would keep him safe from any danger.

However, Charl stopped before getting to the house, because just as he was about to cross through the fence that surrounded the house he saw five strange people standing nearby. They were all pale and tall, with white hair and antlers on their heads. They weren't wearing many clothes and were standing in a circle. Strangest of all, their entire bodies were glowing with white light.

Charl stood stock still and watched them, too scared to interrupt them in case they decided to do something bad. He watched as the strange people began to glow brighter and he watched as large stone blocks mysteriously rose out of the ground and surrounded his house.

He screamed as the stone blocks crashed together and destroyed his home.

Thinking quickly, before the strange people could spot him, Charl hid behind one of the thick fence posts that made up the inner gate, dropping Alice as he did so. Silent tears began to drip down his cheeks, his terror making them impossible to stop.

"Did you hear that?" Charl heard one of the strange people say.

"It sounded like a human child," replied another.

"Get it off of Andatamel land then!" Yelled the first one.

Charl didn't have time to think this time, he just ran, even though his vision had become blurry from his terrified tears. He ran as quickly as he could into the trees. But, once he was there, he almost instantly tripped on the uneven ground and was quickly wrapped in an uncomfortable blanket of soil and stones. Charl's terror spiked and even more tears began to fall.
Footsteps began approaching from behind and slowly Charl's stone cocoon moved him so he could face the approaching stranger. Being turned around fully revealed that the person was one of the strange people, a woman whose skin looked like a moving thing, changing between many colours. From this close, he could see her pointed ears and scary green eyes.

"You know, kid," she said once she was face-to-face with him. "I am really going to enjoy doing this." And then she smiled, showing off her teeth in a way that made Charl's stomach turn shakily.

The woman then lifted one her hands, which was now gloved with glowing light, and squeezed it into a fist. The dirt and rocks that surrounded Charl began to push against him, making it impossible for him to breathe. Tears fell continuously from his eyes as the air was painfully pushed from his lungs.

And then the pain stopped and Charl was dropped roughly to the ground. Now free, he took in a deep breath and then let out a string of coughs. It took a long moment for Charl to breathe properly. When at last he finally could, Charl looked up, only to recoil in shock.

There stood a furry creature in front of him, holding a large rock, and wearing only a cloak to cover himself. Though he mostly looked like a brown furred person, his face looked like a weasel's and his legs were like those of an animal, instead of feet. He even appeared to have a tail.

"Are... Are you alright?" The weasel-looking man asked, the words sounding twisted coming out of his mouth.

Charl could only cry in response. The strange man looked around quickly, dropping the rock as he did so, and then made a determined face.
He picked up Charl and ran.

Charl barely paid attention as the furry creature ran further into the woods. It was completely dark out and his eyes were full of tears, so even if he did, he wouldn't have seen much anyway.

The man finally stopped running when he neared a campsite, one with only a fire pit and a bedroll. Charl was gently placed near the unlit fire while the man sat down on the other side.

The man held out a glowing hand and Charl flinched, a spark of fear settling in his mind. Instead of anything bad happening, the fire pit lit up and the wood caught fire. The man pulled back his hand and set it down in his lap. Charl looked away from him and down at the ground.

"Are you warm enough?" The man asked.

Charl didn't answer.

"Do you want to leave?"

Charl didn't answer that either.

"Are you hungry?"

Charl shook his head. The man sighed.

"Can you tell me your name then? Mine is Renzo Ikara," he said.

Charl looked back up at the man, Renzo, looking into his eyes from across the fire. Charl's wet stare held on to Renzo's sad gaze for a long-held moment before he said "my name is Charl."

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