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|12th of Ringwe, 64, sunrise|
Her mother sent all the older brothers off in all directions to search for the Bones of the Earth. Pouting, then crying as her toys were being taken away from her, she glared angrily at her mother. This mother who is only seen when one of her little brothers turns into a dreamer. Her beautiful and elegant mother glides out of the Shrine to take the small body. What she does with it is still unclear to Cita. It is a very solemn occasion however. Once, when no one was looking, Cita inspected one of her dreaming brothers. She poked and pinched at it, even whapping it with a stick. There was no reaction, bored with it, she picked up Thurgle and, setting him on her shoulder wandered away. Her mother would come out of the Shrine with new proclamations that would usually turn their lives upside down. The most recent this search for the Bones. Her mother was sending all her brothers away, it was too much. And so Cita let her mother know just how she felt about it too. It was the beginning of many arguments she and her mother would have.
Snowe listened patiently to her daughters tirade and reassured her that her brothers would return. She offered to now teach her daughter to read and write as part of her training as future Ward of the Shrine. Reading and writing sounded exciting to Cita, but taking over her mother's duties as a recluse in the Shrine, well that was another thing all together. The world was too much of an exciting place. When she thought about it, why wasn't she sent off to explore? Why couldn't she go travel. Her brothers were silly and easily distracted by hunting and eating berries. She was sure, if given a chance, she would find these Bones.
|1st of Khelek, 65, midnight|
She couldn't have been more than two, but the violet-haired little girl's voice was adamant as she glared at her aunt, "You! Acacee! You be nice too! You not talk to nobody, not answer quest'ons, not show mama stachoo of Gar'k, not even say hi to sons! Just stand there, making thing all frowny 'n mad!" She scowled and stamped her foot impetuously. "You not only person here, you not alone!"
Her aunt clenched a fist around the handle of what she was working on. Her eyes didn't move from the item as she hissed to the girl, "Shut up."
"No. Okay to be sad, not okay be mean." The girl hmphed rather loudly, turning her back on her aunt.
Her aunt's voice raised, "Shut up, I said!" She snapped her head away from the girl to glare at the girl's mother. "Do you teach your children anything at all?"
"She teach us to wuv or fam'ly! An' be nice! We not be mean to you, but you be mean to us!" The girl glowered as her own voice took on a higher volume. "An' papa teach us same!" With that statement, she mumbled under her breath, "'least I wuv 'em 'n not be mean for no reason."
The mumbled comment sent her aunt into a rage. She shouted at the girl, standing, ironwork forgotten on the ground, "Well, shall I murder your mommy and see you you will react, hm? SHALL I?" The woman bared her teeth at the girl, "Let's see how much YOU will smile after that, OK?" A snort escaped her as she ran for the city entrance. A loud shriek could be heard.
The girl was tired of the way her aunt was acting. She had only just met her. She'd finally come back from some sort of travels and just acted strange and withdrawn, despite best efforts to welcome her back. The girl didn't like the way it seemed to make her cousins confused and sad and made her mama seem so worried, nor did she like the way everything else felt so different now. It was going to stop.
As she stepped inside the city, gaze landing upon her aunt, her words tumbled out, incoherent and fervent, "Everbody so e'cited you back, but you not care. Jus' innore everbody. Not make sense. Why not be happy to see everbody? I not say be happy. I say okay be sad. But I say not be mean! Or never be happy'gin." She looked up at her aunt, biting her quivering lip in an attempt to not cry. "If you murd'r my mama, I hate you." She emphasized the word. "But I not hate everbody else. Not blame them! They not murd'r my mama, you murd'r her. So I smile for them. But never for you if you murd'r my mama. But not worry. I leave you alone fo'ever,'cause you mean'n angry for no reason!" With that, she ran back out, determined to stick to what she said.
|7th of Khelek, 65, before dawn|
Those creatures were always skulking around the chamber. If I was going to live here…they’d have to go.
I watched carefully as one moved away from the pack. It was large, stood on four legs, and had flaky skin. It seemed to have trouble breathing, and steaming hot breath came from its snout. When we’d dug more tunnels we’d seen stranger and stranger creatures, these things looked like they had crawled up from the magma itself.
No matter, I had it in my mind to try. I suited up in my armour and took my sword. I flew into battle with the creature with determined blows.
From the get-go I knew this wasn’t going to be easy. The creature struck hard and fast. I ducked and just barely would escape its blows. We flew at one another, strike for strike. I started to grow tired, but I could see my foe was tired too. If I could just hold out…just a little longer.
The creature lunged at me, swiping at my face. I cried out in pain and blood dripped into my eyes. I could barely see, I could barely think, the world was swimming around me. I swung wildly. My breathing came in sporadic heaves as I fell to my knees. The creature lie dead before me, it’s entrails round my knees.
I couldn’t savour this victory. Fear clenched my heart. My wounds continued to bleed. I was barely aware when I pulled myself back to the main cavern. I tried to cry for help but my mouth was dry. I collapsed on the stone floor.
I dreamt that I was falling, tumbling and turning through an abyss. Everything was dark, I couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. I was worried that I would just fall forever before I heard Trisa’s voice.
I struggled to open my eyes and saw my sister leaning over me, fear in her face. She applied the salve to my wounds. Trisa always made that salve. Trisa saved my life.
|9th of Rosa, 65, midnight|
I had hoped for serenity and a place where I felt I could belong when I returned to my place of birth and childhood. That feeling of hope has vanished for the present, for when I arrived, I was faced with a grim warning of the dead. It was several months ago I had decided to leave the forest of my people and go back to the cold lands and I was glad when I felt the chill winds unhindered and they did not harm me.
When I arrived at the place I had thought about for many years, I found two of my kind, lying in the melting snow, the light extinguished from their eyes. One was a teenage boy that looked to be near my age and the other was a middle-aged woman. I felt a pain in my stomach when I realized that she could be, and was most likely, their lost mother and the mother that I never knew.
So many of our people had died from what I called “The Bad That Makes Eternal Sleep”, had it been the same with them? I searched around for any clues as to what might've happened and found a piece of parchment, brittle from the cold. There were markings all over it that I could barely understand.
The words told of a extremely dangerous beast, and that the cold lands lacked in wood and iron. I remembered back to before I left, a boy my age had come from the mountains bringing word of this iron, a strange and very hard rock, Mochiato had been less than happy with this new thing. I considered the warning of the monster and the lack of the other things. I could live without this iron but I was not sure about wood.
Putting these thoughts aside, I began to bury those now dead.
|7th of Lote, 65, midday|
The short bow I now held in my hands had been taken from a granite sarcophogus, one of several containers we used to keep such equipment from breaking. I had taken it without asking, for at a young age I was certain that the others probably did not want me to put myself in danger. Though I know now that they probably did not really care. Regardless, I raised the bow, clumsily drawing back a crudely made arrow. The crooked stick, the end of which was sharpened with a rock, felt smooth against my palm. I released, and time seemed to slow down.
The arrow shuddered, twisting and wavering as it flew through the air. I was certain that it would not hit. But it did, and it hit well. It simply did not stick in. Blood spurted from an open wound on the small creature's back, and the field mouse moved to attack me. Though it could not reach me. Though it did move as fast as it could, the injury I had dealt it was far too great. The little mouse collapsed before it could reach me, blood pooling in the dirt.
This was my first kill.
|8th of Lote, 65, evening|
Mother, sweet sweet Mother. She had left our town when life seemed to be at it's darkest. Torin had come in from Deimosia to make a new shovel, for his old one was stolen from Mara, his ex-mate, and only one of his children remained alive, though never woke. Mother wanted to check on Deimosia, and she also longed to explore the world. Her entire life had been here at home, watching the children, working on the same projects day after day. I was sad to see her leave Deimosia when I had just returned so recently, but I am happy that she get's to see the marvels I have seen, as well.
None of us could of guessed the frightening news she would bring back.
|12th of Urnu, 65, midnight|
Radimir crossed his arms and felt sick to his stomach. Papa and Mama and Uncle Hinrod fought again today. Papa wants more babies but Mama doesn't like him, she only wants more babies with Uncle Hinrod. Maybe she doesn't want the babies she already has either? The thought makes Rad feel even worse. When Papa finally comes over to speak to him, Rad looks closely at him. Papa's eyes are filled with love - at least Radimir knows his Papa loves him and always will.
"Radimir, come inside with me," his Papa requests. Rad follows him into the snug tent, feeling warmer already.
"I'm going to leave when you and Lilly and Cailin turn 5, and I want you to all come with me."
It wasn't that surprising really, though at 3 Radimir didn't really understand what was going on. At least his Papa wasn't leaving without him. Radimir decided he would go, but only as long as Lilly came with him too.
|2nd of Naur, 65, afternoon|
I'll have to admit, I did consider asking Torin to be my mate. Even when he left with such a rude statement, scolding Father for letting the children be raised in such dirty surroundings. And I can't believe I didn't see before how suspicious it was when he said that he was going to Mount. Aten to pray when he could have simply prayed in the Chamber of the Dead, like I would.
At least Father was suspicious from the start. Perhaps he is the reason that we so quickly prepared for Torin's demonic ways; he rushed us into acceptance.
|3rd of Naur, 65, before dawn|
I remember being very sick. My stomach felt like it was going to erupt, my head hurt so bad it was like the tunnel was just caving in on me, and crushing me. I eventually made my way of to Rani Neas, practically crying my eyes out, begging for help. She was acting different, perhaps it was from sleeping too much, but anyways.. She didn't know how to handle it so she went outside to get Rani Illesa. A few days pass and I'm still feel like I was on my death bed, and she hasn't returned from the outside. I was worried for her so I forced my way to the light, emerging from the mine. I found her down the mountain some where around the timberline.. She was looking for wood, like she didn't care for me, no more like I didn't even exist! Ilessa wasn't even out there, and I was devastated, hurt, and still sick. I spent the next day making food and thinking of where to go. Ready for the path ahead of me, I took a last glimpse of my sisters and brother before slowly walking through the trees... away from our mountain.
|4th of Naur, 65, sunrise|
Chapter 7 - Exodus
The Great Fear was on the rise.
Surrin had woken her from the great slumber she had wished herself into, screaming her name over and over again. But Elea still felt less and less familiar with her birthplace. Her parents had begun to act more and more strangely, and whenever she tried to find out what was causing this behavior, she received either equally strange answers or no reaction at all. Rani Neasa had woken after a year or more of silent coldness, and treated the children with the kind of affectionate attention
the others had forgotten about. But somewhere deep inside, this change of behavior made her suspicious... and she was scared of the day when rani Neasa would be like the others once more. Elea could sense Ra-Rani's sadness in her dreams, and sometimes even when she was awake... sometimes she felt a sudden urge to touch the surrounding stone walls, run her fingers over the cool face of the mountain, and feel if there was any moisture to it.
Surrin didn't share her worries. In fact, he was never scared... or if he was, he would not show her his feelings. He was her crag braving the tide of life, always strong, always confident that everything would turn out alright. He never cried, and fairly often his presence was enough to stop her own tears. Maybe he was just less sensitive, less receptive for the moods radiated by the stone. She would probably never know. What she did know, however, was that overwhelming sense of alert and fear that permeated her dreams lately. And when those dreams started invading her waking days, she knew they had to go.
It was a vision, more intense and frightening than anything she had ever experienced in her life. The Great Fear crashed down on all of her senses, and her perception of the sleeping cavern of her home changed. She saw her brothers and sisters, who had stopped moving long ago... the glow within their eyes had faded, and a fine layer of dust covered all of them. Her parents were nowhere to be seen... nor could they be heard. It was as if all noise
had been drowned out forever, and as Elea opened her small mouth to scream, even her own voice was completely absorbed by the lingering silence. She looked down at herself, and realized that she had no body... she was not where she perceived herself, nor was she among the motionless statues of her siblings. Surrin was also missing, and so was little Raden. Just when she allowed herself to feel relieved because whatever this vision was trying to tell her, they had no part on it... she was granted a glance through the solid stone walls, and into the tunnels beyond.
And she saw the blood.
She did not want to see any more of it.
I want to wake up. I want to wake up. Please, great mother, let me wake up.
One glance to Surrin was enough. It was one of those glances that required no words, and he moved to step outside the cave with her.
We have to go. We have to go now. And never come back.
He just stared at her, his eyes focused on her face. She knew he would trust her words, as he always did... and if he had questions, there would be a time for those later. Preferably with at least the cave entrance out of sight.
We have to leave Raven here? He's so little!
She allowed herself a glance back into the darkness beyond that hole in the mountain that her mothers had carved long ago. Surrin was right, Raden was so little... too young to walk longer than a small distance. He would cry, and not understand, and call for his mothers. Maybe try to run back. She closed her eyes, and begged a last favor from the great mother.
Please, make Raden be safe. And Elisa. If anything happens to them, I will never say your name anymore. And I will know it, because I always know if Raden is well. Even if I don't see him.
Her hand gripped Surrin's hand firmly, and she pulled him away from the birthplace of all of their kind. The place where they had once huddled together, arms and wings wrapped about each other while one of their mothers would watch over them. Where she had pulled a hide over herself and pretended to be a yak, and been taken outside by rani Neasa so they could learn what noise a yak makes. Where rani Illesa had showed her how to read the scribbled signs on the thin thing that smelled like food. Where they had been loved, once. Before their ranis forgot how to love, and began to listen to the whispers of the Silent One.
Their mothers had chosen to forget what had once given life to them, that most powerful emotion of all, and for that reason Ra-Rani could not protect them from the silence anymore.
Elea never looked back a second time. But Elisa, and especially Raden, never left her thoughts.
|9th of Naur, 65, before dawn|
Papa left. He actually left. Radimir was so angry as his mama he couldn't even believe it. She made his Papa leave him after he promised not to go until he was 5. How could she do that? Angrily, Raddy crossed off "Mamah" in his journal - she wasn't his mother anymore as far as he was concerned.
As the days passed, his journal was his reminder that his father loved him, and his mother did not. No matter what she said, she wouldn't have made his Papa go away if she really loved him.
"Mama and Uncle Hinrod make Papa leave today. Zos make me mad, she cry over nothing too. She bad. I no like Mama and Uncle Hinrod. I go when I can to Papa. He go WEST. (this is underlined and bold) Not Forget!
-Radimir, 9th of Naur, 65"
|9th of Naur, 65, before dawn|
Ewon looked at his home one last time, before starting his long journey down the road. Away from everything he knew.
|12th of Elen, 65, before dawn|
Dear Yafeu, I hope you enjoyed your travels, though you did not get far. Oh, if only you had left at a different time! Perhaps you could have missed the wrath of that demon! Yafeu, I regret never knowing you, but I now mourn for your loss!
|11th of Lasse, 65, before dawn|
I know not why this happened... Dada said he liked Mathiedo and told us he didn't want to do it. So why, why did he do it? I don't understand...
|1st of Vasa, 65, before dawn|
Zoan came back from exploring the Swamplands, Ado and Amabi came back from their journeys as well. Just as she predicted, none found the bones. There was only one direction left unexplored and that was to the West. She approached her Mother, with Thurgel at her shoulder and asked if she could travel now that she was old enough. Her Mother agreed as long as Zoan would go with her. It was a good thing he did too. It turns out she wasn't built for travel. Her body was weak, though her spirit strong. It took her forever to get anywhere and she would arrive sick and have to rest a bit. He ended up carrying everything they had and she even traveled naked to help stop the water from seeping out of her body. He advised they should head back, worried about her health and their Mother being upset at them being gone so long, but she refused and wanted to go on. She begged and pleaded with him, finally, reluctantly he gave in and so on they went. It took them longer than it would have anyone else, but they came to a place finally where they could see an enormous Mountain to the Northwest of them. The Bones of the Earth! That must be them!
They arrived on the Mountain top and it was unlike anything she had ever seen! A Moonkin could see forever from up there! The forest spread out beyond them like a green blanket, and at night the stars were so close she tried to touch them. They spent some time up there exploring and hunting. Finally, Zoan suggested they head back for Moonglade. Reluctantly she agreed. With her new writing skill she left a note for the Mountain Goddess to thank her for sharing her home with them. She tucked it in a rocky crevice where the Goddess was sure to find it. They then started down the Bones, back to Moonglade.
|7th of Khelek, 66, midnight|
Ewon looked at the tent he had created. A sense of pride came over him. This was the beginning of his new home, at Frost Mountain. Maybe it wouldn't be so hard here, after all.
|7th of Kuile, 66, midnight|
I feel happy when I am playing in the forest. I made a big pile of leaves to play in... but more importantly, I hide stuff from Lilith and Krowe in it. All Lilith wants is bandages, so my brothers Kayrik and Koloron and sister Lamile make bandages for her. I don't make them, but I don't pick them up and give them to her, either. She hurts us.
|3rd of Gurtha, 66, midnight|
Eldin walked into the small, unmarked tent, where I was waiting. I stiffened. Should I go through with it? Should I go through with it? I wondered. No. I have to do this. My family needs me to!
"Eldin," I began, my voice shaking. "I first learned about conception when I was nine." I remembered the moment well. I had gone into a deep sleep in the tent for pups for several months, but every once in a while, I would wake up. One time, when I awoke, I saw my brother , Jasa, and sister, Selune, doing strange, strange things. And then a few months later, Selune had a pup. I realized what had happened quickly.
"Ever since then," I continued. "I had been longing for a pup of my own. I just know that Aten and Sekah wants me to have one. If I could have, I already would have a pup. But I can't. Not without help." I saw Eldin begin to blush. "Eldin, would you be my mate, and help me achieve my dreams of motherhood?"
eldin thought for a moment. "Yes, Nisa." He said. "I would love to be your... mate."
It was the happiest moment of my life, it seemed. We hugged. I don't think I have ever touched someone so long before.
Thank you, Sekah! Thank you, Aten! Oh thank you for life! Thank you for letting me live to see this moment! My thoughts screamed. Oh, life is beautiful.
|9th of Lasse, 66, before dawn|
Chapter 8: Genesis
It was a long walk for little feet and useless wings.
At first, Elea had tried to count the nights... until she ran out of claws and toes to keep track with. The
mountain range receded eventually, giving way to hills and grassy plains. Then there were many trees, and too many new impressions for two young children to comprehend. Strange creatures and plants; unfamiliar sounds passing through the sea of trees when she and Surrin snuggled up close to rest during the day. What she did know, however, was how much she missed her ranis... and Raden, and Elisa. Sometimes, she would climb onto a large rock and spend hours just gazing across the world behind them, watching for any possible travellers that might want to join.
Maybe Ra-Rani would guide them. Maybe she would look into their hearts and close their minds to the angry whispers of silence. Make them understand what had happened, and allow them to remember love. Let them feel, no matter how many trees and hills and plains seperated them... feel how many tears Elea left in the wake of her travels, seemingly enough to invigorate flowers along their path.
Or maybe the flowers and berries and fat meaty crawlies were a gift of the great mother to comfort them and keep their bellies filled.
Days turned to nights, heat to rain and heat once more. The tears dried up eventually, but that empty place somewhere deep inside remained a void of loneliness and insecurity. As the mountain was reduced to a shadow on the edge of the horizon, Elea knew that Ra-Rani had grown weaker, more distant. There was still a pulse of love remaining, however, a spark that was carried wherever they went. She could feel it flash through her entire body at times when she was dreaming, when an overhanging rock sheltered them from the rain, or when she and Surrin exchanged one of those special glances.
The spark to give life, and to pass on to generations of pups.
It was what differentiated them from the stone they had once been, and granted them a connection to the great mother even as the mountain became a fading memory.
When they reached a place to stay, Elea knew it. The strange flat mountain that looked out over the largest pool of water she had ever seen just seemed right in every way. She also knew that the time had come to dream, and to change things forever. The stones found in the new mountain matched the colour of their skin - deep black and dark green. She piled them on top of each other, and closed her eyes, pouring all of her love, along with the loneliness and desperation from that hole within her into the stones. And when she dreamed, she could feel something flow towards her in a gigantic, invisible and soundless eruption from far away. Something ancient, and powerful, and comforting who had not touched her with such a force in a very long time.
The stones rose, animated by everything she had within her, and took the shape of the largest creature she had ever seen. His skin was jade and obsidian, his wings immense, and his eyes glowed with
love. He called her name, seemingly confused by life... a powerful animation of everything good and gentle that she had ever believed in. And when she heard the distant cry of a voice she recognized as Raden, she knew he had brought a gift... and that Ra-Rani had kept her promise in her own way.
The three were one once more, and Kavo had risen from stone.
Great father, gift of love, living reflection of the great mother.
|11th of Lasse, 66, midnight|
I'm gonna be a mighty chef, so animals beware!
When I'm five I'll hunt them down -
their flesh I will prepare!
The hunt will be the main event;
I'll use this long, sharp sword!
I'm brushing up on huntng down,
and matching my dad's score!
Thus far I can only cook what's lef...
Oh I just can't wait to be a chef!
Noone saying "cook this"
No one saying "cook there"
No one saying "cook that"
No one saying "cook here!"
Free to run around all day...
Free to hunt them down my way!
"I think it's time," says my dad,
"to start preparing all of the hearts."
But I don't need advice from other hunters for a start.
It's only one more year and then I will be heading out -
out to the wilds, out to the prey: I will hunt all about!
With a sword, I think I would be really deft -
Oh I just can't wait to be a chef!
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