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|2nd of Ringwe, 57, midnight|
Sudden cold shocked me and I began to yowl. What is this? Why am I torn from my safe place and thrown into this terrible cold.
I turned my head clumsily side-to-side, trying to make sense of the dim blur around me, but my eyes were mostly sightless and I screamed some more.
Ah! Warmth! A large soft body pressing me close. Giant arms cradling me gently.
"Zesiro," a voice boomed above me, "That is your name. Zesiro."
I know this voice. It is my safe place speaking. I remember it echoing around me in the dark warmth, before I was shoved out into this horrid cold place. But where is my brother, I wonder? Where is the one who shared the warm, safe dark with me?
The arms lay me gently down on a cold, hard floor. I snuffle around, exhausted from this torrent of new sensation. Cold, hard, warm, soft. I whimper, until I find a warm body next to mine. I recognize his smell and know him for who he is. It is my brother! He is here, too!
The voice of the warmth speaks again. "I will name you Atsu," it says softly as I feel it stroking my brother next to me.
Atsu. My brother. He is an Atsu? I am a Zesiro? All the newness is too much. I sink gratefully into sleep, snuggling closer to my brother's side.
|2nd of Ringwe, 57, midnight|
My brother Amabi made something out of leaves and twigs. It had a bowl like shape to it with an inch or so of flat surface that circled around the entire thing. I asked him what it was and we both contemplated for a while as to what it could be. Amabi put some water in it and we watched in wonder as it past through to the ground below.
Amabi's stomach growled and with Mommy gone and Daddy busy we had to wash our own berries so Amabi grabbed a handful of raspberries and placed them in the bowl of the object. Then, as I observed, he took the hat and ran it through the water of the lake and when it emerged from the water I watched with excitement as any water that remained drained from the bottom of the leaf object. I was amazed at what I just saw.
Amabi then picked a raspberry from it. It glistened in the shining moon as he held it up and inspected it. I looked, too, and it looked just as clean as when Mommy gave them to us. Amabi popped the raspberry in his mouth and chewed for a moment and as he did so I saw that his face brightened in approval.
"What is it?" I asked my brother with curiosity.
And with a shrug he simply answered, "A berry washer." Spilling the raspberries into his hand my brother then placed the 'berry washer' on the top of his head. "And we can carry it around on our head," he exclaimed chewing on a berry.
Excited, I wanted my very own 'berry washer', too, and I began to gather up some leaves and twigs as I found them. When I had enough it wouldn't be long until I had one just like my brother and then I could wash as many blueberries I wanted.
I noticed that my eyelids began to feel heavy and I soon fell alseep dreaming of 'berry washers' and blueberries; a whole lot of blueberries all cleaned and ready to give me pure joy in my mouth. I loved blueberries.
|4th of Elen, 58, midnight|
I paced restlessly back and forth in the light coming from the outside. I thought I could hear Elieth talking in the shack, but realized the tunnel leading there was far too long for that to be possible. I took a deep breath, and made a decision. I held a small box under my arm and stepped out in the sharp sunlight that was leaking into the mine. Before anyone got a chance to ask what I'd been doing or where I'd been, I turned and walked around the big cave entrance. From walking I went to running, and eventually back to walking after I'd disappeared from sight. This time it was me who was going to do some travelling.
|4th of Elen, 58, before dawn|
It has finally gone away. Good riddance.
Now to wait for the other one.
|12th of Lasse, 58, evening|
I stalked out of the cave, spear in paw. Aten knew that the last few days had been torture for me, but I knew what to do now. Lifting the spear, I screamed a battle-cry and leapt on my own son, Levon, and struck him in the heart. PIcking up his broken body as the others looked speechlessly on, I carried it back into the mine, to the unfinished statue of Samuel. I laid the body in front of it and spoke, in a trembling voice, "Samuel, o great lord, o fine warrior, o uniter of souls and miner of gems, return my love to me! I offer you this child in return for Mara, please! P-p-please...." I slumped against the mine wall, weeping as Levon's blood spread across the mine floor, and waited for my love
|5th of Vasa, 58, midnight|
It had been hot and sultry in the jungle the past few days. Everyone lazed around the camp, with little energy or enthusiasm. Most had been working on the seemingly never ending North Road project. Elieth had just brought Tereth up from the mines. She watched from where she stood in the river, her baby brother Anarion at her hip. Her mother Rose was sitting near the little boy, trying to ease his nervousness at all the new people, all the light.
"Do you remember me Tereth? I'm your Grandmother Rose..we're so happy you're up here with us now and safe. Would you like to play with the other children?" she asked him softly.
The little boy blinks in the sunlight and smiles in recognition, "Gran'm-m..Rose? I see you in the old place with Dada and Mama. You were nice, made Mama happy. I like to play!" He holds up a wooden spoon for her to see.
"Me and Nereth played with this, before Grak made me stuck, and made him asleeped."
She waves to her mother and her nephew "Hello Tereth! I am your Aunt Ayla! Would you like to come swim with us? It's very refreshing..." She floats on her back in the lazy slow Noljan River, placing Anarion on her belly. "It's fun Tereth!"
Smiling at her daughter, Rose then holds out her hand to Tereth, "What do you think? Do you want to try it? I can take you with me if you want?"
Yawning from his nap, Elieth rubs his eyes and smiles watching them in the river. Doffing his armor, he runs to a higher bank and jumps in, surfacing near her, his copper hair splays out in the water around him. She watches him surface, happy to see him and shifts the baby to the other hip.
Looking tentatively at the water, then at Ayla and Rose, "Yeh, but no let me go, ok gramma?"
With a reassuring smile, she holds his hand, "Oh I won't let you go, and your Daddy's there and Ayla, you'll be fine."
Smiling at Tereth, he idly resists the current "Don't worry Tereth, I can catch you if you come loose." Elieth then grins at Rose, "After what happened when I was young, I swore to learn to swim and did so at Pearl Beach.
Noticing that Anarion has fallen asleep, she wades onto the sandy shore and sets him down on some leaves, dripping, she wrings out her long crimson hair, "Mamma, I haven't shown you the new vine swing I made!"
Grabbing the vine, she backs up with it, charging towards the water, then flying above the river, she lets go with a scream, landing in a splash next to Elieth.
Seeing all the splashing Tereth squeals with joy, clapping his hands, "Dada!"
Rose leans down and picks Tereth up, exclaiming, "You're so light! Are you ready?" Slowly, she wades out into the water, holding him close. Giggling, he smashes his tiny fists into the water, once Rose wades out far enough, "Feels wierd! Mama said she was gonna wash me off before I got lost, was she gonna bring me here cause it's fun?"
Smiling broadly as his mother brings his son out, Elieth goes under the water, surfacing by Rose and Tereth, splashing them a bit, "Having fun?"
Lying back in the water, listening to her family, Ayla floats, letting the peace of the river wash over her.
"I don't know about that Tereth, your mother once fell in the river, I'm not sure she thinks swimming and bathing in it is very fun." Rose says with a frown.
She swims slowly to the rivers bank, walking out of the water, she lies on the bank to dry, watching her family with a small smile of contentment. Her mother calls to her from the river, "Ayla! I would like to try your swing, it looks like fun!"
"You should try it Mamma!"She calls out excitedly, "It's just like flying!"
Rose nods at her daughter, looking at the vine swing with a bit of apprehension, then looks at Tereth, "What do you think? Should I try it?">
Rose carefully hands Tereth to Elieth, then swims back to the bank and walks up to the vine, tugging on it a bit. "Uh, Ayla, are you sure this is safe? The vine isn't going to snap in mid-air is it?"
Rolling to her belly in the warm sand she laughs, "Mamma, it is very safe..."
Holding Tereth tightly to himself, Elieth swims to where his feet can no longer touch bottom, downstream of where Rose would land, "Let's watch Tereth." Not really understanding what is happening, the boy smiles happily anyway, "Gramma make big splash Dada!"
Rose nods at Ayla with a nervous laugh, "Well, if you say so!"
Grabbing the vine tightly with both hands, she backs up following Ayla's example, then runs swiftly and launches into the air, "AHHHHH!" Her hands are white from holding onto the vine so tightly. She let's herself fly over the water, but doesn't let go. She just swings back and forth for a while, calling down to Ayla, "Now what?"
Roaring with laughter, she yells out, "Mamma, you're supposed to let go when your over the water!"
Tereth shouts out his advice, "Big splash Gran!"
Starting to slide down from her position on the vine, she manages to grip tighter somehow, looking down at the water with trepidation, "I..I don't want to let go! I'll fall!"
"Just let go Mamma!" she giggles as she gets up from the sand.
Rose nods and closes her eyes, the vine barely swinging over the water now, she lets go and falls. Closing her mouth, only a small squeak can be heard on the way down.
Laughing raucously at the spectacle, Elieth holds Tereth up in the water, cheering, "Yeah Mom! Big splash!"
She lands with a big splash as anticipated, surfacing, she swims back and climbs out, frowning slightly, "Oh yes, lots of fun!"
Tereth turns to his father giggling, "Dada too big splash?"
She claps her hands laughing, "Yes Dada! big splash!"
Smiling, he walks out of the water and hands Tereth to Rose, he then grabs the vine tightly and climbs upwards, "Here comes a real splash Mom!"
With a running start, he swings very high, then swings back to kick the ground, repeating the process until he reaches the vines highest point over the river before letting go, plummeting into the rivers deepest part with a very large splash. Tereth erupts into more giggles and clapping as his father splashes him once again.
"Big splash Dada! Real big!"
Grinning from ear to ear, he swims over to his son, splashing him playfully, "Yes Tereth, big splash.."
Freesia, her younger sister wanders over to the river. She jumps up and hugs her sister to her, with her arm around the girls shoulders, she points over to Tereth, "Have you met Tereth yet? He's Elieth and Acacias son."
Waving to the little boy, Freesia then runs towards the river, jumping, she tucks her legs under her to splash into the water. Ayla then runs to follow laughing, she dives in, surfacing next to her sister and spits some water at her, Freesia then splashes her and the water erupts between them.
Removing his helmet, Myran wipes the sweat off of his brow, having walked over to the river from working on the North Road. Waving to him, she points over towards Tereth, "Elieth brought his son Tereth up from the mines, have you met him yet?"
"I hadn't yet, I assume he somehow managed to overcome Garrack's trickery?"
"Yes Myran he has!"
He waves to Tereth, the blue bird that always accompanies him moving with a squawk to his other arm, "I'm glad your finally above ground, It's unhealthy to avoid Dynns light for such a long period of time."
She calls over to Diran, "Come play with us! Have you tried my swing yet?"
Diran walks over to the soft grass, just up from the riverbank, a bemused look on his face as he sits with some hides. As he works on the leather boots, he looks up at the vine, he glances at Rose, then back to Ayla.
"No, I have not..it certainly looks like fun, perhaps some other time I suppose.." he chuckles.
Wading to the bank, she runs up to Myran, pulling on his hand, "Come Myran! I'm sure the vine will hold the both of us! I'll climb to the top and you hang on to the bottom!"
He examines the vine carefully, then grinning, he climbs quickly to the top, into the canopy. Looking down from within the leaves, "Do you remember what I thought the vine swing was for originally Ayla?"
She follows him up the vine, to the thick branches of the jungle tree, the Olums scolding as they scamper out of the way. He sits and smiles at her and the chittering Olums, before looking down at the river below. Standing, he walks out to the edge of the branch, then dives headfirst into the water, the blue bird flying off his shoulder to perch on a nearby twig. The resulting splash sends water nearly as high as the branch she sits on. Watching him jump, she looks down to the river that seems much too far away, a bit dizzy, she looks out around within the thick jungle canopy, the blue bird watches her mockingly. She sticks her tongue out at the bird, then inches farther out on the branch.
"It's really far down there!" she says anxiously.
"Go ahead, it's quite refreshing!" he encourages.
Shaking, she stands, putting her arms out for balance, she looks down at Myran far below in the water, then closes her eyes and jumps feet first. She falls forever it seems, then hits the water and plunges deeply, her feet hit the bottom and she surfaces next to him gasping. He holds her tightly, still stunned, she smiles up at him, then kisses him.
"That was a good jump!" he smiles. "Are you sure you've never done that before?"
She smiles, then looks back up high above them to the branch, and trembles a bit.
"No, never, I trust you."
|6th of Vasa, 58, midnight|
Tereth forcefully enters the shack, dropping his heavy bindle. He unravels it, donning the tunic it was made from. Inside the bindle is a steel shortsword, showing signs of age. With some difficulty, the child hefts the sword with both hands.
"Nereth, you gotta wake up, Nereth! I'm back to get you. Dada says we can't come back no more, because this place is under Grak's curse. He a bad god. He makes things go wrong, hides where we can't see him, and puts kids to sleep. Like you. But outside? Outside there is a big orb that makes light go everywhere! It's one of Dyn's ways of protecting us, so we can see Grak comin'. Dyn is a good god! He is god of light, and protects us all. Come on, Nereth..." The boy kneels beside his sleeping brother, tugging on his bare arm.
"You gotta wake up. Grak trapped me too! I was somewhere cold, and scary, and nobody was around... But you don't gotta be alone. I get it now. I brought this sword, and, and... More! I brought Dyn with me, Nereth. Brought his light to make the evil curse go away. Cuz then Grak can't get us. Not ever, if we... If..."
Tereth tries to keep going, ignoring the first couple of tears, but he can't. Dropping his sword, he starts bawling loudly. "Please, brother. Wake up and come outside with me. It's scary out there alone. Mama left and it's scary. Please?" He pauses for some time, cradling his brother. Then he closes his eyes, bringing his voice to a low whisper. "Dyn... Dyn, it's Tereth. I don't know if you know me, but I know you. Please help us, Dyn. I need help. I can't lose my brother and my mother... Not to Grak. Please help me save my brother. Help me fight Grak. Help me find my mother! Help me... Just... Here! My spoon! You can have my spoon. I'll put it outside, on top of the parchment warning people to stay away." Excited at his new idea, he drags his sword out of the shack.
Leaving the shack, he gingerly places his spoon on top of the note his father had said was a warning. "There... It's all I have, Dyn."
|10th of Ringwe, 58, sunrise|
Finally. We are free and have survived.
I should name the little ones soon.
|8th of Khelek, 59, midday|
Two swarms of unusually small animals attacked me from different sizes, eventually mixing up into one group, circling round my head and body. I panicked, not yet realizing what was going on. Killer bees were everywhere, and before I could pull my hood over my face they already crawled in there! So I ran quickly down the cliffy paths to the water and jumped into the shallow water up front, feeling the sharp, tiny bits of sand below me. They were gone soon after, with some drowned and some trailing off to I don't know where. I'd only once been in water before, mind you, and that was when I was nearly drowning in the river of our jungle. So needless to say that it wasn't comfortable being there. I quickly crawled out, and plumped down in the sand - exhausted.
After spending seconds to minutes and eventually hours there at the near-midnight beach, watching the water splash against the sand and the rocks around me, I...rocks around me? ROCKS AROUND ME? I quickly stood on the little patch of beach sand left unharmed and looked around, my eyes wide open and full of panic as I realized the water was now all around me, and the path that I had walked up to earlier was now engulfed by the water terror. I gasped for breath as I confirmed there really was no way out, and tried to think of a plan as the waves quickly came closer, ready to pull me into a tight embrace as it had done once before.
After foolishly panicking for too long, I finally got the idea to look up and around a bit more. And as I had hoped, there were plenty of small rocks to hold on to while waiting for this to last. So I climbed using only my arms, and sat down on a narrow ledge. More and more hours passed, and when the water finally fell back far enough I jumped into the sand. I ran up the path and sighed with relief as I reached the jungle trees again. Happy to stand on more familiar ground again, I sat down with my back against a tree, and rubbed some sweat off my forehead.
|1st of Losse, 59, afternoon|
The boy dreams. In the dark of his dreams, shadows come and go. He hears a scream far away, a disturbing wail, which quickly vanishes. The boy feels lonely and scared, and hopes the shadows will go away.
|10th of Kuile, 59, evening|
I am starving, alone. I lay down on the ground weakly and see two, two..things come to me. I try to get up..to defend myself. For the kutari!!!
|10th of Kuile, 59, evening|
I lay down, wounded, the..the things standing over me. I, I have failed. I am the first kutari to be killed in battle. I died in the honorable fashion but i should have killed them. Bye kutari...For..the kutari..
|1st of Rosa, 59, midnight|
Chapter 1: A darkness of sounds
Security, familiarity, shelter... the dark had always held those meanings for the creature before her startling rush towards life. It was warm, comfortable, and filled with comforting sounds. They had been dull at first, as if reaching the creature's senses from beyond the borders of a seperate world - a constant humming and chattering, mingled with the joyous ripples of laughter. Distant, yet ever comforting in their persistence throughout the creature's conscience.
When the borders were shattered and the sounds drew close, the experience was frightening.
The sheltering warmth was gone, and the familiar sounds that had once been so comforting in their dullness permeated the creature's pointy ears with a brutal force. The darkness lingered, but it had changed to a brighter shade, an almost painful sting that danced along the edges of the creature's closed eyelids. Instead of surrendering to the awful new sensation, the creature opened her mouth and sucked in a deep breath. If she could throw her fear and anger back at life in full force, maybe everything would go away. Maybe it would leave her alone, and let her sleep in darkness once more, lulled by a distant clamor. The way it was supposed to be, the way it had always been. The creature pushed her fear and protest outwards in a loud, long-drawn wail.
The sound source came closer. One of the many, the most familiar one. It cooed, and produced long strings of syllables that somehow felt comforting, felt right. The creature's tiny heart jumped as she experienced an entirely new sensation, a smooth gliding of skin on skin, and her fear urged her to scream out again - more loudly, more insistently. But the string of syllables that accompanied the sensation was so gentle, so comforting. So familiar.
Soothed by her mother's voice, the creature gave in to the touch, and relaxed against the arms that were cradling her. In her newfound calmness, the air itself changed... it became less cold, less frightening. Every breath the creature took seemed easier than the previous one, felt more right. Gave more information about the changed nature of darkness. If she took the effort to press her little nose more closely against the source of sounds, she could draw in the nature of life in more ways than her other senses would reveal to her. Later on, she would learn how those scents connected to the world, and to the other creatures. Rock, fish, animal hide, water. For now, the creature only understood somewhere deep within her instinctive conscience that the mixture of sounds and flavors meant home.
The sting of the lighter shade of darkness faded away, and her instincts urged the creature to open her eyes. It turned out to be an even more confusing experience than the discovery of her other senses... the dark, which had once been so comforting in its simpleness gained different shades, all of them blurred and with changing outlines. Here and there, a pale patch of colour. The main source of sounds gained a shape, dominated by two large eye orbs that glowed in a pale yellow.
Too many sensations.
Overwhelmed by it all, the creature squinted her eyes, the eyelids pressing protectively over her own large orbs once more. It was easier, and less exhausting, to just focus on the scents and sounds. Some of them she heard often. Especially the one.
Elea. Elea. Elea.
You are too adorable for words, little one.
Sleep came as a wondrous release, at least for a time.
|3rd of Rosa, 59, midnight|
She sighs. Deciding on names if too hard for me.
At least for those that are different from me. I'll place them inside a hammock with a piece of twig, bone and coral.
They will be named after whatever they pick.
I'll give a pearl to the only one like me.
|5th of Lote, 59, midnight|
She sighs. One of the others refuses to take a piece. I'll name it Trombe.
And the one with the pearl will be called Margalit.
They are all quite adept at helping me make things now.
|11th of Lote, 59, midnight|
A feeling of joy and contentment ran through me, when di-di held up the result of his long work and told me it would be mine. He put it over my head and it felt like it belonged there, had always belonged there, even though it was so big for my little head that it covered my eyes halfway. I felt proud and big like di-di and never wanted to take it off my head again. It also made me feel protected from the spiders and the strange monsters with sharp teeth and glowing eyes in some of the other tunnels. Now they couldn't hurt me anymore and the fear of them vanished. With my own helmet I could cope with anything!
|6th of Naur, 59, midnight|
Strange thing come today. Small thing, smaller than grouse. His name Tanil. He have wings and fly with many colors. We call him Tanil Color-wings. He say he and his brother Eldan come from forest far north. He say Mortakh dead, and they found note to come here. Mortakh dead? No! Vaanska left while ago. I leave to tell Vaanska what happen... see myself.
|6th of Naur, 59, before dawn|
Oh so close she could see the mountain. With the body held securely she sat eating quickly as to not have any "incidents" with the corpse disapearing, no that shall not happen it will make it in one piece the same way she found shall be the same way she shows the body to her mother. Another gut churning thought comes into mind as she pictures the event wondering if she should just burry it when no one is around instead of showing the body...She shall have to find out sooner or later so might as well hop to it she thought to herself as she got moving again
|11th of Gurtha, 59, midnight|
I looped a strong rope of ivy through another ivy rope, pulling it into a tight knot. I secured it tightly and left the ends hanging loose. I went on to the next and delicately worked my way all the way to the top of my creation, eventually having created my own new shirt. It had some gaps, which I neatly covered up with large, thick leaves. I moved on to the next piece of clothing I had planned to make, still sitting cross-legged on the soft jungle floor with ocean view. I repeated the previous actions in different patterns and with a different shape in mind, and it did not take long to have my own new skirt ready to use. I rid myself of the old clothes I'd come to like so much after all those years and, wearing my new apparel, I moved on.
|11th of Gurtha, 59, before dawn|
Today there was a big, big monster. It came from the sky and was like a desert witch, but bigger. And scary. It swooped down and it took our oven.
Why does a monster wanna steal our oven? Maybe it wanna makes food? I dunno. I hid with my brothers and pretended I was invisible, so it wouldn' see me or nothin'. I was afraid it would take my hammer. I found it in the mine an' I took it an' I didn' want anybody to take it away. 'Cause maybe they would.
I'm gonna use my hammer to make people out of stone. Maybe even Aten out of stone. Then Mama will like it.
Jasa is big an' strong an' he is gonna go get our oven. Selune, who is the nicest, is gonna go, too. She is Jasa's mate, an' she is gonna help...
But Cassy wants to go, too. I think he's too little an' his Mama said not to. But he got all frowny and told me to leave him alone. It made me cry. I'm gonna go play with my hammer. Stupid Cassy.
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