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|1st of Lasse, 59, midnight|
Mortakh dead like Color-wings said. Color-wings said he find him and put him in the ground. Vaanska is so sad, so sad. She cry, turn around, and leave. Feel so sad for her. Why Mortakh have to die? Why? Poor Vaanska, poor Vanska. They supposed to have little Kutari together. Now no one be with Vaanska.
|5th of Vasa, 59, before dawn|
She can sit up and crawl now. That is a great improvement as she can see the world and what her brothers are up to better. She is surrounded by them. There is one quiet sister who never opens her eyes. Because of this sister and her mother, she knows there are others like herself, not just brothers. She was born with six of them. They fascinate her. Now that she can crawl she can reach them better. She loves to grab them and squeeze. She has discovered that when she does this they make loud noises and water comes out of their eyes. Biting them is entertaining as well. They are her toys.
She has older brothers. She watches them carefully. What they do is especially interesting. If it wasn't for one brother, she would have probably starved, so she keeps him in her sight. Her mother is nice, but can be very distracted. Now that she can crawl, this brother can be frustrating. Just as she is about to reach something interesting, he picks her up and places her far away from her target. There are large creatures with red eyes wandering in the forest, they watch her as she watches them. Their glowing red eyes attract her attention, she would like to poke them, to see if they would react like her brothers do when she pokes theirs. Her older brothers hunt with their spears. Her favorite thing they hunt is what they call Squirrel. She can now crawl over to where they lay the still warm bodies before they're cooked on the fire. The little bodies are soft and warm when she tucks them in between her chin and neck. That doesn't last long though, besides growing cold, the older brothers take them from her. No amount of her screaming brings the little bodies back. She doesn't like that she has no control over what they do, like she does with the little brothers. She sits and watches them with her dark eyes.
|1st of Ringwe, 59, midnight|
Chapter 2: A weakness of body
There were good days and bad days.
The creature was still very young, but not too young to know the distinction.
Good days consisted of happily chattering voices, gentle touches, the scent of freshly baked fish and the coolness of the cave's shadows. During the bad days, all of those sensations turned into a confusing blur. The chattering of the voices became more quiet, more concerned as the other creatures loomed over Elea and exchanged helpless glances. Sometimes, the scent of food was repulsive. Sometimes the creature's tiny limbs began to tremble for hours, maybe days, and she lost whatever little control she had ever gained over them. Moving about had always been a strenuous task, and she tired easily... but on bad days, even the simplest movements became a task of heroic difficulty.
On a particularly bad day, Elea did not even find the strength in her to cry out as foul-smelling liquids oozed from her mouth and nose. There was a fire that burned her inside out, and her limbs hung limply from her tiny body as useless extensions of the raging fire. The large creatures watched, chattered, touched various parts of her body. After some time, she experienced the momentary disorientation of being picked up, and the surroundings changed, losing their familiarity.
She had been here before... somewhere within the distant memory of a not so bad day. The large creature - the gentle, the caressing one - held her cautiously within a comforting bend of wings and claws and arms, and produced soothing murmurs as the water's cool tongues licked her burning limbs. The coolness gradually grew around her and within her... and with it came the other one. It was just a small, blossoming thought at first... or rather a feeling that wasn't her own, not during this very moment dominated by searing weakness.
Love washed over her, carried by the small, rippling waves of water. It caressed her, and somehow it did not seem so distinct from the large creature's hands that brushed over her skin. The loving, gentle creature. The rani. The one who gave her fish when she was hungry, took her into her arms when she cried, and spoke gently. There was a familiarity, a connection like a brush of a relative's forgotten memory. The thought-feeling grew, and as it filled Elea's conscience, she sensed that it extended far beyond the water. Love radiated from the rocks, the cavern walls, even the strands of moss that hung from the ceiling. The sensation was overwhelming, but the creature was too weakened to squeal. She just hung in her rani's arms, and closed her eyes. The thought-feeling broke up into various images that fluttered past her mind's eye.
A scurrying nest of beetles deep within the cavern's tunnels.
A group of bats, hanging upside down from a cavern's ceiling, and huddled together in their sleep.
The other creatures like Elea, talking and eating and caressing each other within their cavern. The ones who had woken up one day, not knowing where they came from and why they were here. And their children. So many children.
The greatest love was reserved for them all.
The blur of feelings and sensations withdrew, leaving only the coolness of the water pool and the soothing caress of the large creature. Elea opened her glowing yellow eyes... her breaths came more easily now, and more regularly. The fire had mostly withdrawn, leaving her weakened and sleepy, but feeling more alive, and more aware of her surroundings than she had ever been. Something had changed, possibly forever. A fraction of the other one's vibrant love remained somewhere deep within her conscience, and she was aware that it filled every inch of stone that surrounded her, and many inches that she could not see. The other one permeated the entire mountain.
|4th of Khelek, 60, midnight|
After preparing the silk paper and waiting for it to be ready for use, I used the colors nature had to offer and started drawing. Varying colors, some for the surrounding jungle, some to say there's a beach right there, and others to note my path from home. I figured that if I'd work hard on this map, there'd at least be something mom and dad would be proud of once I'd finally return. I'm not expecting much from the others...they must hate me. Including Elieth - especially Elieth. Elieth, whom I left to care for three children. Children I was supposed to care for. Children whose childhood I'll never get to experience and only know about through the stories of others...
|11th of Khelek, 60, midnight|
You can hear the screaming of not only several pups, but two older females as the squeezes out the last of the young. Ysa and Elisa were part of my Litter, and two other girls as well, though they are just a faint memory... did they even exist? Everything from this moment was very fuzzy. But over a short few years I grew up very isolated.. I didn't like a lot of noise, I know that much, and this was the time period which I was still very close to Naesa.. or I used to call her Ani... or maybe something else? She meant the world to me. I'd go where ever she went, always nestled into her arms like I was stuck to her or something. She was all the comfort I could have ever needed, all the affection, but little did I know that was about to change....
|3rd of Rosa, 60, midnight|
My family is very happy. There is a baby, and! It has a little baby brother. His name is Mojo! Haha.
All the time, I run around and play. My sister Kendalyn laughs and then I laugh too! Sometimes I stop playing and try and help... But I don't know why they're doing that. No one tells me.
Today I was playing with a wooden stick that is good for hitting things with! I pretend that I can fight big scary animals and be just like Mommy and The Friendly Big Man.
I don't know why my brothers and sisters are so stupid, 'cause, because, 'cause, I tried to do like them, I triied walking around and picking stuff up and bringing them back and doing it over and over and over and over again! But I think its dumb. So I pretend that they are like sad animals and I'm the only real one and why do they do that?
Maybe I'm not the same as them... But I wish someone would play too! I know so many good places to play at.
|6th of Lote, 60, afternoon|
Today was a momentous day. My journey has begun, at last. I am following the instructions in my dream, and forging southward to try to find the peace I need to complete my statue of the Forest Goddess. I hope that I will find my inspiration there. I am a bit apprehensive about this trip, as well I should be...though I have more than enough food to keep me sustained for the duration of my journey, I am moving into the realm of the unknown...who knows what unsolicited dangers may await me upon my arrival in the forests to the south of here? I pray that the Spirits may protect me...
|7th of Lote, 60, before dawn|
My brother Iskander was a playful child. Always. He was one of my twins, born right after me infact. The day of this tragedy was a mishap. Iskander had one of the empty crates and Ayla, the girl who is Aunt Arina's daughter, had the one with all of our food. We kept asking her for days to drop it, she never did and we asked Iskander to drop his too and Zidayne seemed not to know what the story really was on the matter and asked who were the parents of Iskander and Ayla, he did not even know his own child it seems who was Ayla.
He attacked and killed Iskander after saying it did not matter that they were up to no good and I lost my brother forever.
|7th of Lote, 60, before dawn|
When Ziddy killed Iskander... It was the start of some bad times. Not like the boring quiet times when I was younger. Something happened, but it was... Not something you ever want to happen.
I think that before I was born, a tiny one stole something, and Zidayne remembered this. But when Iskander had the empty crate, he didn't hear what he should have. My daughter, his daughter, Ayla, had the food crate. But he killed Iskander for taking the empty crate.
I don't think any of the little ones will ever forget this.
|1st of Urnu, 60, midnight|
Mother left us. She awoke to find her son Iskander was killed and she said nothing, just... left us. For days I could imagine she walked and no one knew if we would see her again. Would we? I was so alone then. Zidayne left to hide himself away in the mines after realizing his mistake, Aunt Arina said he was not right in his head for some time and I guess he left to protect us all in a sense.
All of my siblings grew quiet, they no longer played or laughed, everyone was just sad and lifeless. I do not know what will happen to us now.
|1st of Urnu, 60, midnight|
After her son was killed, Ryiah left to the north. I watched her go, and I realised that with my mother and my grandfather silent, Zeff building his city, Zidayne fleeing into the mines and Nael busy within the depths, that I had to look after the little ones.
All twelve of hers, and four of mine.
|2nd of Urnu, 60, midnight|
Atsu took a step back and regarded the heap of stone before him. He counted each hand-carved brick, tapping them as he went with his undersized hammer; mumbling the words he’d been taught by his mother with each clink of stone on stone.
“Twenty”, he growls, slow and deliberate; his face relaxing briefly in a glimmer of satisfaction at his words before tensing again into his regular careful half-grimace.
He straightened his bare back, one of his long ears absently twitching away a dust fly. His black, leathery haired skin tingled under the relentless midday sun and his young arms had the dull throb of exertion in their muscles; he had toiled hard today, but toiling was something Atsu knew he could do.
“Twenty, Zesiro!”, his voice is shaped into a half-growl as he shouts, clawed hand shading his eyes to glimpse his sister, her silhuouette shimmering over the hot sands.
He doesn’t wait for an answer, grasping the hide mat beneath the bricks and beginning to drag them towards the squat form of a forming statue. He helps Aten in his own way.
|2nd of Elen, 60, midnight|
I remembered the sight of the entrails and corpses strewn around the camp. I remembered watching him, killing them one by one - the long-eared white squirrels, the yakkis, the strange birds which did not fly. He did not seem perturbed by their deaths, but instead explained calmly to me why he had killed them. I should have said something then, told him how wrong he had been to kill them without cause, but I had been hesitant.
Now that he was gone, I thought of all the arguments I could have made and I was furious with myself for being so stupid when he'd been here, for seeming so unsure of myself.
Even seeing my sister again couldn't take away the feeling that I should have done something more.
|6th of Elen, 60, midnight|
Chapter 3: A whisper of shadows
They were searching the stone for gifts again.
Elea had watched for a time, even helped in removing smaller stones. Ever since her momentary connection with Ra-Rani at the pool of water, she was more conscious of the element that surrounded her, and all of the things being done with it. Why this was important or useful she did not understand, but her mother had taken an immense interest in swinging that pick-thing lately. She seemed to be looking for something, a gift of some kind, or more of the pretty little rocks that were lying around everywhere.
Elea soon lost interest in the stone-poking. It wasn't fun, it created too much noise for talk to be heard, and everyone involved became too busy poking around in the tunnel to play with her. However, the mining activity left large amounts of toys behind - they could be rolled, piled on top of each other, and thrown at walls. As one of her newfound fun-stones rolled out of reach and down the length of the tunnel, Elea took the opportunity to crawl after it, away from the constant tock-tock-tock that echoed throughout a large portion of the caverns.
Time passed, and so did the novelty of the new toy. Elea rolled up comfortably on the cavern floor, wrapping her tiny wings about herself as she always did. But sleep didn't come. Something else found her senses, reaching out for her consciousness much like Ra-Rani had done. But at the same time, everything was different.
Instead of love, the presence flared with anger.
She heard it at first... not with her pointy ears, but rather within her dozy mind. The surrounding darkness was filled with sounds... scraping of stone on stone, falling rocks, the soft trickle of a runnel of sand somewhere. There was an unnatural rhythm to the pattern of sounds, an alien kind of intonation, as if something without voice made a crude attempt at imitating the speech capability of Elea's race. The voice of stone quickly increased in volume and intensity, and anger. Suddenly alert, Elea sat up, her small heart pounding fiercely with fear. She wanted to crawl away, out of the tunnel, away from the dense darkness... but her mind was still dozy, confused, paralyzed by the foreign presence.
It wanted to be heard.
The distant tock-tock-TOCK of her mother's mining pick increased in volume as well, and seemed to draw closer, painfully close, and painfully loud. Each TOCK seemed to hit the walls of which her consciousness was made up, resulting in a sharp, brief flash of pain like the sting of an immensely powerful headache.
And its anger grew.
The sound subsided suddenly, and was replaced with the laughing, chattering voices of her kind. Somehow the speech was accelerated, too quick to make out seperate words, and all voices mingled together into a chaotic, confusing sound pattern. Each sentence, each shrill giggle was loud, so loud. So painful.
And its anger grew.
Somehow during this confusing blur of thought-vision-feelings, Elea shared enough of the alien presence's consciousness to understand that it wanted to sleep, but there was noise now, so much noise. It did not love her, it wanted her and all of her kind to be gone, or to be quiet forever.
Quiet as the caverns had been before Ra-Rani woke the first three from the stone, from of herself, with a spark of her love for all life that dewelled within.
And with that flash of understanding, Elea was suddenly aware of herself again. A high-pitched cry escaped her mouth, and she dropped her bone rattle, crawling as quickly as her hands and knees would carry her towards the upper end of the tunnel. Where her rani, her mother would be. And at least one sibling. She crawled past a peacefully sleeping sister,
Elisa, sweet quiet Elisa
who seemed unaware of the flaring anger within the surrounding darkness. The anger that radiated from each rock, from every inch of the tunnel walls and the floor, much like Ra-Rani's love had. As Elea reached her rani, she was a trembling, crying, toddler-sized mess, barely capable of babbling some of the couple of words she had learned. One word she remembered very vividly right now. BAD.
Rani, Rani! Bah! Bah, bah!
What's bad, little one?
Bah-Bah come Elea!
Did it hurt you? Stay here, I'll have a look and be right back.
I did not find anything in the tunnel, Elea.
It hide in stone.
Did you see what it looked like?
Bah-Bah, Bah-Bah sleep in stone.
|12th of Elen, 60, afternoon|
I was hungry.. I had been swimming for days, while carrying a heavy load with me.
After a little while, though, I noticed something. I dived slightly, looking around in the water, when I noticed it.
A beautiful dolphin, capable of swimming even farther than me without sinking or drowning, like the inferior beings of the land. I dropped a few baskets, which started sinking, as I started swimming towards it. Just when I was about to reach it the dolphin noticed me. She opened her mouth, trying to bite me. I was too fast, and quickly managed to put my arms around her mouth. She didn't want to die, her tail swinging at me in an attempt to get free. After a struggle which seemed to take an entire winter, I managed to put so much pressure on her mouth, that the jaw broke. She died, and I bit in her still warm flesh, enjoying the first food I had had in weeks.
The Light favours me...
|10th of Gurtha, 60, sunrise|
It was Tom's second time traveling away from his home. He was leaving everyone behind in order to see what could be found around his people's home area, which was hard being the oldest surviving child. Before, when he had traveled North, he came upon only more desert. All he saw around him was more and more desert. The only area that did not seem like even more desert was to the Northeast. All Tom saw was blue. It was incredible. Being used to always seeing sand, other then the grassy meadow and hill at his home, the vast expanse of blue was both amazing and a little frightning. After staying in the area for a while Tom had headed home.
Now on Tom's second trek he was hoping to get closer to that vast expanse of blue. So he traveled Northeast this time for many months until finally stopping even closer to that vast expanse of blue. While expacting to find more desert, Tom was suprised to discover an area his people had ever seen before. Where the vast amount of blue connected to the desert was a sort of boggy type area. Tom also discovered that the blue area was actually a huge spread of water, more than he believed could exist. It stretched for miles as far as he could see. The bog area was similar to his people's meadow except that most of it was underwater. Tom waded out into the shallow end once but quickly found himself sinking into the muck that made up the ground. Being fearful of sinking in so far he couldn't escape, Tom quickly retreated to the safe desert floor to set up his camp.
For many days Tom stayed in the area, foraging from the desert and bog for food and material. In the bog he found aloe vera and herbs similar to those found near his home, but he also found two new materials he had never seen before. One was a blackish rock that Tom quickly found increased the intensity of fire after accidently dropping a piece into his campfire. The other substance was very similar in color only it had more of a powdery form and also had a strange reaction to fire like the black rock.
During his stay, Tom occasionally saw the native species of the desert; vultures, scorpions, rattlesnakes, field mice, and even on a rare occasion could hear the sound of one or more Gigawurms as they moved about underneath the sand. Tom also heard sounds coming from inside the bog, but was fearful of venturing in to investigate. If anything was living in that bog, he would wait to see if it wondered to the edge to see what it could be.
It was what happened a month after arriving at the bog that scared Tom enough to send him running home abandoning his camp and most of what he had found. It was late at night, and Tom was sitting around his campfire cooking up some rattlesnake meat for dinner. Gradually, Tom began to hear what sounded like soft whispering over the crackle of his fire. It was a different sound then that made by the desert creatures, or the sounds that came out of the bog. As Tom sat as still as possible looking around for the source of the sounds, they gradually became louder and louder. Tom grabed his jade dagger, and looked outside of his little camp, trying to find the source of the sound.
Tom was not sure what brought his attention back to the fire. It could have been sudden loud pops and crackles coming from the fire, or it could have been something more. A feeling of being watched perhaps, even of being judged? Whatever the reason, Tom turned around to the fire and saw inside the fire a pair of glowing, golden eyes. That was the last thing Tom saw as he went running back home.
|11th of Lasse, 60, before dawn|
"No, Mara, don't leave me again!" I screamed after her as she walked down the road. If she heard me, she made no sound of it. The desert wind swept across the sands, and I looked back, one last time, at the beautiful green fields of my home, and the beginnings of that magnificent city. Then I turned my face away from the future and ran after my only love, my tools jangling on my belt.
|3rd of Vasa, 60, midnight|
The stone was harder to work with than I had expected. I missed the sensation of my bone knife carving through the wood, and that naturally led to thoughts of how much I missed everything else - my brothers, the forest, the squirrels... It wasn't the same here, even with my sister to keep me company and talk to me. But then, she wasn't the same either.
I worked as quickly as I dared on the statuette, hoping that it would be finished before I forgot what they looked like. Already I had begun to forget - sometimes I couldn't remember details, no matter how hard I tried to recall them, while other times what I could remember looked wrong.
I made the statuette for them, because they did not deserve to be forgotten, as they had not deserved to die. But I also made it for myself, because I needed to know that I was not like him at all.
|3rd of Ringwe, 60, midnight|
When I was younger I cried a lot. My di-di paid attention to me and he gave me a bone rattle. I liked having a toy, and nobody else had a toy. There were so many babies but I was special.
I played with my toy but I also watched the others cook, I heard again and again that the Great Spirit would bless those who worked hard. I wanted to work hard.
When I got bigger, I gave my toy to the younger ones. Mou-mou and Di-di were busy with so many crying babies. They didn’t get to pay as much attention to me anymore, but that was fine. It was nice to hear them say nice words but I was big now and didn’t need to be babied.
I went through the mines and saw some light coming in from the outside. When I went through the world was different. At first all this light hurt my eyes a lot but when I could see I looked around and noticed all the different things.
My sister was here and I talked to her. She said she was lonely inside and came here. I stayed with her and we weren’t lonely anymore. We worked and gathered things. Soon more babies came to be with us. We thought: “we are here so much, we should have a house”. So we made a tent out of the skins. It was very nice when all of us were together on the mountain.
|7th of Lote, 61, midnight|
It stood there for a moment, big, enormous, unlike any of the other beings I'd seen up to then. It wasn't just big and dangerous...it was really dangerous. At first I didn't notice, thinking it was all part of the scenery. I mean, something that looked so disgusting, gross, and unlike us. With fangs in its gruesome mouth, ready to rip apart anyone foolish enough to get as much as a step closer to that thing. Eyes, darker than the darkest night, allowing a peek in the realm where it hails from. Terrible, long black hairs, seeming capable of strangling, would anyone ever get stuck in that smelling mess. Then, it didn't just stand...sit...whatever it was doing. No, it turned slowly, allowing me a brief glance at the six holes in its back with smelling puss leaking out, killing anything alive with its stench. And that in a second...a simple second...it ran and was in front of me before I knew it. So I ran. Both we ran, I lost it easily in the thick jungles. Never, NEVER would I go there again. All I hope is that Garrack knows I'm not without courage...and that one day I'll be back to kill him - or at least this form, for I believe something as evil as him couldn't possibly have just one form.
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