Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The Beginnings

It began all the way back in 1980. David created a sort of storyboard on a couple of pages, an attempt at a graphic novel or comic book, of a story he wrote. It was an introduction of space traveling characters (that would have been us collectively - namely he, Rachel and me) that formed a team called the Star Rangers. We had already formed a band writing our own songs years prior to that but David had this idea about a space saga to add to our artistic collective. He'd tell of the overall story and even went so far as to write out a short theme song for it. Star Rangers be my friend/Star Rangers fight till the end/Star Rangers fly up so high/Star Rangers rule the blue sky.

However these were all ideas of a young boy at the time. We were all just kids. So in time the story faded and was never written out any further. It was just musings after all. Just a memory of the past. But...I keep things. Memories are no exception. Over the course of around 38 years, I had taken over where he left off and that's how long it traveled from the original. Off and on, I'd develop a few of the same characters and kept a mental record of events that could happen in this unfolding tale that has literally taken almost four decades (so far) to flesh out and add to the storyline. Over time the saga grew even if it was merely my stray thoughts about the Star Rangers and what they were. I'd think about them. I'd create scenarios in my mind about their adventures. How they came to be. What were their experiences, their background, their lives? What had they seen? And what were they fighting besides an enemy in a vast spaceship? No. It had to have more. There had to be more to it.

I had been writing this story over the years, in my head. I wrote out a summary of a chapter by chapter sequence of events around the year 2000, on paper, but that too, like David's, was just a draft. An idea. Things over the course of time have changed and the story morphed into many other ideas. It changed a lot. I drew so much from personal beliefs, experiences of battle and darkness, dreams, and basic survival that life is. For us, you know? David had meant for it to be a film. But this is a book first, an epic novel before anything else. I always knew it would be a book and then whatever would come after.

It's a story of survival but it's a survival to see an end to something dark while living the most of what one can live and nurture the spirit of bravery, courage and wisdom. That to me is what the Star Rangers represented. In a way, this story was created so long ago it's almost myth like, but instead of it being a known work of any kind, it had the grace of age and time to become an epic now. To grow and flourish in secret. Hidden from the world. A religious experience. I had never forgotten this seedling of a tale and all the while writing bits and pieces of it, all in my head.

Here now, I write it down in words...finally.

NOTE: The way blogger works is to make all newest posts or chapters on top of older ones. In ascending order. It's why the date on this entry is off. There was no other way to pin it.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The Steps of Shadowy Arch (Chapter 2)

The firelight was bright in the carved stone halls where the scribes had gathered to study a small ship capable of travel past the line of moons encircling Fiod. A test flight would be necessary as it had been long ago it had been used. There was no indefinite plans or time set for the journey, but it would be soon enough when Cova would be the nearest to them as for a matter of convenience. The star charts aboard were still intact and the power source in reasonable condition. Zoic was one of the pilots that used to fly between the worlds and he was one of the few that remembered the numerous courses that were once taken. The navigation wasn't going to be an issue, it was just a matter of what would be the course of action once landing on a planet that hasn't been visited for such a long time.

There was no excitement or anticipation. Zoic had been in that mood before. This time was more calm and spiritual and it would be needed. It would be a pious journey this time around. A mute sense of longing was all he felt. He would often quote story passages, chant the rhymes in songs and poems. This wasn't like before. This time there was an entirely different metric beat in the planet's own sensory. Things were moving slow but it was a flowing movement. As if a dance were practiced and done so often that everyone stepped in the right directions. The hall had no rush, no clamor, nor any sense of urgency. The skies of Fiod's largest land mass of shallow water glowed in the sunset, magical and vibrant ashen and ember shades. Zoic watched and closed his eyes to remember these moments. In silent prayer and gratitude that a journey would be soon taken even if to unknown outcomes.

The elders of the populace were in prayer also and they would continue for days. Zoic wanted to complete a task he had not taken on before. He wanted to see the shadowy realm underneath an area of their borders marked by a single arch embedded with gems, twine and overgrowth of vine. A place that was used to test the strength of soldiers in the past and to train leaders and warriors as it was the most treacherous of any other course they knew, and one could die if one's footing wasn't sure or swift. He desired to begin a course of his own to finish at a later time when he'd return. Knowing that he'd be better prepared if he were to tread a while on Cova. It was the ancient arch he wanted to pass through first before he would travel away. Some deep need to see what the beginning of that would be should he return successfully. A stair structure had been built to lead to and throughout this lair but it wasn't mapped nor could the stairs be measured and no one knew where they ended. They were simply called the Steps of Shadowy Arch, for that was the only way to describe the location without any further knowledge of what to expect there. When the sun finally set, he made his way to the forest in the small ship and landed near the forest entrance where a menacing path lead to the steps of a place that was deep and dark far below the grounds. He felt this was something he must do. Something was driving him to go to this foreboding place.

With a staff of dim light and small sparks of dew glittering around it like small embers, he walked down the path and reached the steps. Large at first, but narrowing as he descended. After some minutes had passed he could make out the outline of the arch in the distance. Bits of what seemed like the stars peeked out from behind the thick of leaf, vine and whatever the forest could claim of it. At first it seemed like an old overhanging standing in stone with no more than the barely distinguishable shape of the arch but upon nearing the first gateway to its foothold, Zoic looked on at the massive arch that could now be seen in its full glory and dread. The arch stood over a thousand feet high and when the forest shade could not cast its shadow on the top curvature for a brief moment in the moon's light, he could see how perfectly the arch captured the glint of the light. Massive, a piece of a history that was not found in this age. Built to be a gateway to what had to be a great kingdom now turned into shadow and isolation.

The steps, he correctly assumed, where not the challenge. But steps within and in a spiritual way, not so much as a physical task but a philosophy that would require far greater skill than what was spoke of in mere prayers and hymns.

It was dark, the open gates stood silently across a smooth threshold. Zoic carefully but purposefully walked to them and went inside with his staff to light the way. He remembered the tales of the passageway, and called softly to the Keeper there. It was a spirit that dwelt within but had used the elements of this under-forest lair to guide any who enter. If you could see the apparition and follow without stumbling, you'll reach the chambers you need to go, if you hear spoken words then you were meant to be there and guided to the ultimate chamber where the history of the planet and the surrounding planets was kept in real imagery and form. That was the only thought going through Zoic's mind as he wondered what to trigger to obtain the Keeper's guidance.

(to be continued...)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Three Worlds, Three World Ages (Chapter 1)

Cova consisted of elements so dense that rock and water were the main properties of its surface. The waters had carved out many mountaintop basins of sheer stone, like giant pools that spilled over their edges onto lower slopes which had created grooves spilling down to ground levels and the waters circled around the planet's natural atmospheric conditions to bring the waters back to the upper pools. These were the oceanic plateaus that were, for the most part, uninhabitable. Most were vast but some were small enough to build upon. The grounds under the shadows of all the mountainous ranges and plateaus were relatively dark because of the massive size of the mountains, but it was lush and vegetation grew in abundance as the air below was quite warm. The ecosystem was an endless cycle of rains throughout its surface. But the close proximity of the sun would dry the grounds considerably had it not been for the upper basins that held these numerous, various oceans. The structure of the world of Cova was astonishing. It was also the oldest of the three worlds having an age of nine hundreds of three counted cycles of the sun around the faraway sun. The three counted cycles of the farthest sun was counted in a million cycles.

Cova 's ancient king leader had kept the populace free of wars with any outside gods or enemies, save one. A watery spirit that took on the appearance of the natural surroundings of Cova. The king leader who was called Tuoce had many years to get used to the idea of passing life from the world. Most of the population were either hundreds or thousands of world cycles old. King leaders were often the teachers and his teachings were echoed from this dark entity. So long it had influenced him. As such a time ago many of the basins of oceans had overflowed over the edges of stone and drowned a great number of the inhabitants. At which point this strange figure of water came to appear to Tuoce and convinced him of this matter of the passing of souls as the water's way to send life away from Cova to the outer darkness of the skies. Whereas before his time, no one passed. But now the balance of the world was disturbed. And the spaces of the world had grown unstable. The number of souls could not be counted, which was an ancient practice, after the events of the overflowing of the oceans. The spirit in the water was the name given to it by Cova's leader and he had made and passed down laws that the flowing waters would be stopped at some points in the planet's regions where there was past disaster.

This was sustained through a maze of stone and hollowed out pathways through the great stems, which held aloft the plateaus over the mountain ranges. And there were many. The waters would rush throughout the pathways until they reached other basins where there were no structures. But the system was flawed because the stems were weakened and so the waters could only fill to certain levels within those basins. This was controlled by manipulating the gravitational pull on those areas. Everything was risky and done with the utmost care. Even one mistake could mean worldwide peril.

Rainier lived his entire life in the shade of one of these vast mountain ranges where not faraway the threat of an basin spill always loomed. He maintained the equipment of the average farming mechanisms and other such day to day tools used by the people of Cova. He was idealistic and quietly tense in his manner. He'd draw up solutions of his work and methods applied to his way of life in the reality of his world, developing routines, and he did not believe in the powers of outer world beings, as he had never seen them. Only knowing the name God of the Suns and to him, it was a long past personage from an ancient time he did not know. But he dreamed often of being in that outer darkness beyond Cova. He had heard tales of the other worlds nearby. He wondered if he'd ever get the chance to see those places. He wanted to escape to them sometimes when he couldn't shake the effects of the present threat of his own surroundings. Rainier was sturdy and his hair and eyes were the color of the light greying tones of the rock and waters of Cova. As was the usual appearance of the inhabitants of Cova. At one time, so long past, the three worlds of Cova, Fiod, and Arca would communicate with each other and trade routes were common between the worlds. Travel between the worlds was consistent. But rarely done now and Cova became more isolated as time went on. The other two worlds were in the same way but still had visitors from time to time, but they would be suspect as to evil events that happened in those worlds that could be rightfully attributed to these beings who brought death. There were no mystic watery spirits in the other two worlds, these were direct in their purpose to destroy. Ships were no longer structured and built. And fear seemed to be the master that replaced hope or life. This was the effect of death and dying. A strange and unnatural thing to all the souls of the God of the Suns.

Fiod was a planet in its beginnings, formed less than one count of the faraway sun and having only four hundred and sixty cycles around the main sun, but its orbit was vast and their days and nights lasted much longer than the other worlds in that system, turning only once every quarter orbit. And from Fiod was the green cloaked Zoic. One of Fiod's group of sages who was born during Fiod's thirty-ninth orbit after creation. They were known as the Ancient Sages of a world that could not mathematically be called ancient compared to the other planets. A sort of paradox or oddity that was the youngest of worlds while having the curious identity of a relic world.

Its landmass was of trees and streams flowing through a planetary system of caverns and forests. Most of the inhabitants lived and prospered by the abundance of flowing underground streams that would grow most of the planet's food supply and bio-shelters made like roots from the trees that wrapped around the trunks and onto the lowest, most sturdiest branches. Having long periods of days the forests were extremely thick and covered large areas of the surface. The only parts that weren't forest were stretches of land where shallow lakes and small oceans lay. All waters of these areas were almost stagnant. Most of the water that flowed was through the caverns and underground springs.

Zoic would be a messenger sage that was still very familiar with the planetary travels, as he once acted as a messenger between Cova and Arca. He was a bright being of blue eyes and long white-blond hair worn usually in braids. He stood only five feet in height but he was strong and very ritualistic of routine of honoring the God of the Suns. Although he had strong pious beliefs, he had feared that knowledge was not enough and he lacked skills in combat and oft times it would be an obstacle for him on any journey into the legendary darkest caverns where there were still challenges to overcome. As with Fiod's traditional training where armed combat was essential to be mastered if one were to be a ruler of sages.

Arca was mainly of forests and old stone ruins and a thick atmosphere. Its elements were numerous because it had time to develop many of the characteristics unique to it. Its orbit was different from the two other planets as it went in a long about cycle that reached a far on an outer orbital plane that brought it close enough the core sun that was orbited by other planets and their main sun. Arca's age from creation was around seven hundred and fifty around the faraway sun, counted in two cycles of a million.

Arca's days and nights were long, and it's axis was perfect so as to measure each turn of night and day in even numbers but because of its unique orbit, at certain points the turn of days and nights would extend. The closer to the faraway sun Arca would reach was when time would come to almost a standstill. So a day on Arca close to the core sun would last in time almost a half cycle of its regular orbit and the same with the night coming to perigee. So time on Arca could not not measured as the other worlds in orbit. There were two sets of days and two sets of nights depending on where it was in its orbit.

The people of Arca were a nurturing people that took care of all life upon that world. The bonds between the people and the other world's inhabitants were as solid as anything in the universe. They lived in peace since the beginning but a darkness has already come to Arca and the other worlds in the system and the people learned how to stand their grounds against an enemy that usually came in the darkest times while in their longest nights when it would last so long.

Nackendara was just one of the star children among many, gifted in prophecy. They weren't large in number compared to the other planet's dwellers but they were well known to the populace. Being able to read the thoughts and intentions of any being. But she had never known ill intent until an entity calling itself the 'mover in the night' had manifested and destroyed outer regions of a handful of forest areas that bordered old stone temples and abandoned pathways made of marble and of petrified wood. Nackendara had only heard of the past regarding planetary travel but she knew others were watching over the planet and figured they came from one of the other worlds. Or all of them. She was reserved and melancholy. Living in a state of fear almost all of the time. Knowing how the peace and quiet could be shattered at any given time. She had witnessed this before and enough that made a lasting impression.

Nackendara was one third of a small group of what was known as seers of speech. Indicating they had an uncanny ability to see behind words and the intention behind them even if the words were pleasant or sympathetic. The other two women of her group were Deba and Ackea. Ackea was a sister by birth but Deba was brought into their small family after a lifetime of being a wanderer in the forests having lost her family early in life. They were some of the few inhabitants who were devastated by the presence of dying and its seemingly absolute end of life. They emitted life though, their fight made them into natural warriors. Their eyes were like the deep blue waters of the forests. Their hair like golden beamlight that filtered through the forest treetops. And their skin was fair in the dark and shadows but would uncannily change a few shades in direct light of the sun. And during the long day passing the system's core sun, they would go to the shaded places of hidden ruins and groves and fade into the background as they observed from their solitude when the planet was eerily lit.

In all three worlds time was almost a non factor as they had never experienced death in magnitude until it became more and more common. But all worlds still remembered what it used to be. They thrived and lived in such a way that benefited all around them. It was knocked off balance when an entity came from the lowest spans of their galaxy. As if up from a bottomless pathway. Other tribes of Fiod and Arca had already begun to build fortresses to withstand a coming war they had all anticipated. While Fiod was most burdened by the shadow known as Dokk the Darkness or the Darkness and Death, Arca had been experiencing the threat for a long time as well. The entity was now working to overthrow Cova.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Existing, Expanse, Endless (Prologue)

From nothing else remembered, a circular form in the vast darkness glinted a little light, vague at first but the shapes became sharper until a numerous setting of planets, moons and stars were brilliantly visible over the course of what seemed a very long time and viewed by an energy yet to be formed. The event was quick by human comprehension as if a dream but the sense was that unknown spans of time passed somewhere. Somehow far away, past this endless void underneath. The darkened planets seemed abandoned. But the suns beheld in the distance burned. For it was all created by gods and wise beings who held a knowledge of the entire existence of the universe.

This space was the very outer part atop of a massive galaxy. Still stirring from a dream, the body asleep was preparing to exist somewhere on one of the countless worlds within the galaxy below. A mind that knows it belongs to a place of gravity, air and other elements void in this deep travel through space harbored an overwhelming fear. But that fear is not named. It's unknown. But the strength of its presence brought a coldness that embedded itself into a primal sensory.

Where do we begin? The sleek design of a ship that seemed adrift with no signs of life or purpose was the only safe structure on a terrifying journey. Where was it going? The answer never comes or it bode its own answer as the massive strange steel structure locked around some pathway that appeared to be nothing more than a thin shield of contained air between deep space and the dim deck of a drifting ship. The view of this outer space expanded and stretched until it disappeared into a warm sky with hues of light that contrasted strikingly as a formed world drew in another soul to inhabit a realm far beyond whatever it was that marked the beginning of the journey. Souls came to learn of the sounds and vibrations of natural movement of a world before being formed whole with it, within it and upon it. All souls were connected in many ways with a world.

Why are we here? And that too was a question that the universe would answer when all journeys were taken. The creation of a few souls were given to a creator to take as his own, who received them as spiritual gifts from a long stagnant system that was formed at the very top of a galaxy. Too far up of all other planets and suns to be touched by any activity of the rest of the solar systems. Hidden and secure. Dark and foreboding. A fortress of space that was, by all appearances, truly alone. The journey from which would set apart these souls from being fully connected to any given planet. That something would be stirred when it was the right time for it. A strange way to defeat all fears.

The forming of galactic kingdoms had been long in the making, gods created and populated many thousands of worlds. Created language and understanding and script. Life was boundless. There was no death. No destruction, and no true darkness. But in time entities of darkness emerged from the deep downward side of the galactic pole. They were foreseen by the creators. A will of death came with them. A will that found a way into the nature of the created worlds and especially to life on those planets. The design of an evil that wanted power over all in creation, as a way to control all things.

Prepared to combat this, the gods created books and prophecies of all that would be found in the nature of unfolding events and the nature of beings that would come into contact and be afflicted by this evil. Even that worlds would die and be suspended in limbo and adrift. But there was always a plan. A pure and divine design to end this dark fate, that what was brought from its will being death, would ultimately face its own ending.

Vast time spans passed upon a bright system of planets that started to experience this death without knowing what its true nature was, and therefore a multitude of reasons were pondered upon. The population were immortals having been a part of their worlds since their beginnings. Renewing their life energies by way of light and grand works. Building and giving life. The gods had given their scripts and prophecies to the wisest rulers of these worlds. They knew that eventually death would visit them and so prepared to pass down this knowledge that it was not an eternal fate. But time would have to play out in the design the gods had set up to succeed in the defeat of this evil. There was no way to combat something they had only begun to witness. All souls would still exist but pass to places where they could be safe until they'd return. The pathways were so complex that no living being could follow. There were battles in the skies and lands of many worlds, and battles in hidden away places. For the evil was known by some and fought on its own grounds that the spurious spirit had taken by force.

An old, yet beautiful system governed by the God of the Suns, being a favored creation having many millennia and people who were much loved by their God was the setting from where the final steps of an ancient design would be realized. The first three worlds were in relatively close orbit; the giant world of oceanic plateaus, and mountainous rock, called Cova. A forest and cavernous world called Fiod. And a heavily forested world with several moons and an outer orbit to allow the far off second sun to shine on its surface at given times in its cycle around the main sun. This world was called Arca.

There were outer worlds and outer moons. But all had been a focus of the evil that wanted them all under its shadow and its will. Throughout these worlds, various scribes and sages were heard speaking to the peoples about the prophecies and the will of death and how to speak against it. And if failed, that not all was lost. These teachings were passed down from scribe to scribe, from sage to sage. From parent to child.

In a small weakly structured chamber in the glow of forest lanterns upon the planet Fiod, a sage recalls the saga of the gods of the systems of planets. A tale about how they created everything they knew. The light dimmed outside and the sage's features grim in the waning light. It was advised to a small group of messengers to search Cova for a man called Rainier and give tidings of a ship hidden in a mountain alcove, that he would be shown a path to find its whereabouts. That it should be ancient but operational. Left there from the days of long ago when travel to the nearby worlds was a matter of day to day doings. That Rainier is to be known as a ranger of planets. That he could help bring about the end of the evil that had plagued Fiod. The name Rainier was given to identify the star child and connect him to a future mission. But he would not hear of such things until much later.

The God of the Suns would have his messengers seek out Rainier but kept him hidden as a means to protect him and his living wavelengths that would eventually signal that death was being conquered. Nothing should be conceived of by any entity of death. An entity that was capable of focusing on and realizing practically every life in the double solar system. A natural course of things flowed easily. Life had to be felt as patterned. No plan was detected. None of it was sudden. Rainier was chosen, though he knew it not, to anchor a light that was to come. His very soul was designed as such. But he wasn't the only one. There were others. And they were hidden in these worlds. Having had long life already. They were of age and grace. But as most, still unaware of their destinies. A pattern of celestial knowledge and power in their cores. A time would come when instinct alone would define an outcome that was prophesied long before they ever came to be. They were the spiritual gifts to the God of the Suns. He placed them where he wanted them, with great knowing.

And so begins the saga of the Star Rangers...