A far off speck of blue and deep gray shone in the glint of the nearest sun. Zoic piloted the craft toward Cova as the others prepared for their journey on what would be a treacherous surface of ocean and chasms that lead far below the massive basins that held some of those oceans. Zoic explained to the small crew of what to expect and that there are ports there that will be safe for landing. Many of them still fully operational.
They flew in ever nearer to Cova and upon approaching the planet, the crew was quietly amazed at its mass and water flows. From high above the surface they could see how Cova's massive oceans blended together in some areas of the globe to form an ever flowing movement of deep waters between basin to basin. And the darkness that lay underneath, caught at a few glimpses seemed so ominous and unnerving. There was a whole world of people who lived beneath all that mass of incredible stone and sea. The elements of Cova's layers of crust made up of fire quartz, and lead iron, one of the elements that made all the planets of the system on par with the density of the nearest sun, was more abundant in Cova. The planet's very movement could be heard if one listened closely enough. With the solidity of the suns, and containing an energy that would never cease within, made it the stability the planet needed to hold the basins thousands of feet above the ground layer.
"Its gravitational pull will take some getting used to, so don't exert yourselves when adjusting to Cova." Zoic informed them.
"You said there was a large ship there?" Kould asked. "And that it was hidden, how is it hidden?"
"There's a path of a great mountain that separates two major ocean basins. It's said to be in a mountain alcove. It's an ancient ship that can be found by a man we will be seeking out on Cova. The name is Rainier. That's all I know for now." Zoic explained. His eyes focused on the intricate layout of the planet's surface structure and looked for the landing at Cova's main port off a small platform above a larger platform that housed a small population that lay upon the waters of Givi. Spotting it, he hovered in for a landing. At once the gravitational pull affected the crew, including Zoic, upon exiting the small craft. They had to walk slow at first. It was painful because it felt like so much weight was put on them. Their movements shaky. Deba and Kould stumbled and they all held onto each other as they got their balance.
"It takes some getting used to." Zoic said as he helped them into the landing port's entrance way that lead to another area where visitors could rest and meet with the port's keepers. Had there been any port keepers there, they would have already been greeted but because there were little to no flights made to Cova anymore, the lofty placement of Givi was all but abandoned. It was kept clear, and free of effects of the elements, but it was a very lonely place that floated upon a menacing sea.
From the platform below, where a small population dwelt, there was a water flow from the sea of where it stood and it flowed down thousands of feet and crashed into another basin far below to be carried up again through the ecosystem of the planet's design. The sheer drop was terrifying to behold. Zoic lead them down to the main platform of Givi. They gathered at a small eatery and talked about what to do next. Finding this man known as Rainier would not be easy and they understood they may be on Cova for a length of time. But they had a place to start, and that was the ground layer kingdom of Anuna. One of the places that was deep in the shadows most of the time. As if at the bottom of an ocean itself.
They traveled down the descending pathway from Givi through the narrow steps and rounding large circular rock formations that resembled columns of an ancient world made from below ground and upward. The crew could not navigate the small spacecraft down to these levels, so they had to go on foot. With the powerful pull of Cova's gravity, they were at the point of exhaustion and had to stop for a length of time. They had found their way to Anuna after the turn of two Cova days, and were given instructions to speak with Cova's king leader Tuoce. An elder from Covan ancient times but the whispered rumor they heard was that he did not remember the ancient days very well. Any explanation Zoic would give the king would have to be that they were simply looking to trade wares for fire quartz. The small crew understood that they would be better off to not to share too much information with this elder. The darkness of Dokk was still a danger to them all and it was beginning to look as though it was growing and becoming more prevalent in Cova.
They were offered a dwelling area while they waited their audience with Tuoce. The crew said very little to anyone. The darkness of Anuna seemed so bleak and oppressive. There was an unease about everything. But Zoic and the others noted that the people there were still thriving despite the growing darkness and the glow of light from above flowing waters and crafted crystal beads that extended overhead and around the various columns of stone sprawled throughout Anuna gave the settlement a very soft and mythical aura. This was an area that long ago had been underwater until the waters were set back on course and cleared out back to their channels, chasms, and basins.
"There's a volcanic lair somewhere on Cova, and from rumor, it still churns away, always re-creating the grounds that give way to the ocean flows that cascade over the basin where none can dwell. They set up a chamber on one of the nearby mountain platform but I'm not sure if anyone still mans it." Zoic spoke quietly to Nackendara and Ackea.
"Do you suppose this Rainier would be there?" Ackea asked.
"I feel as if that would be a starting point." Zoic mused.
It was eerily quiet in the air of Anuna. Even the sound of flowing overhead ocean waters seemed muted. They were not at ease. They felt anxious, but knew not why.
Tuoce was calling on the crew to speak with them. The messenger summoned them to the king's abode. They walked up the shimmering host of lights into a softly lit chamber where Tuoce beckoned them inside. He bade them to join him at his table and while food and drink was served to them, Tuoce began speaking of his memories of Cova from hundreds of cycles ago. Zoic and the others listened with interest as he spoke also of the Darkness of Dokk and how it had infiltrated the planet's stability and even confirms the ocean disaster being a direct result of treachery. But Tuoce seemed to make a distinction between the Dark of Dokk and the entity he named as a Water Spirit. When questioned about it, Tuoce had spoken of the people's mistrust of the entity and that its vibrations were off and disturbing to those that had witnessed it. Zoic and the others looked at each other and instantly recognized the subtle manner in which the darkness enters into the psyche of people. How elusive it appears and makes itself a mystery. Cloaked in purpose, and secretive, making itself unknown to a multitude, or holding to a singular belief, but shows favor with those that may be blind to it.
"The entity Dokk was once in human form, a grotesque form but appearing as human nonetheless." Zoic relayed to Tuoce. "On my world, Fiod, it was the form of Dokk in that form that betrayed many of the elders and killed many others. Those that survived had foreseen the evil that would be, but not how it would play out. Now they know. That was a lot further in the past than the tragedy you experienced here on Cova."
Tuoce fell silent for a few moments and seemed lost and pressed to know more. Zoic nodded as he took in a breath to recall the details of how Fiod had been able to identify and overthrow the entity from their world in the human form.
"It started out as a rescue mission, our trained warriors were sent out to one of Fiod's havens on the shallow sea near the mainlands. A chasm had opened up and was caving in over a lot of ground. The folks there at that settlement had to evacuate. The entity Dokk offered his help to transport the folk in danger and bring them to a safer location. As they hung on for life, some already fallen to the darkness below, there was a rush to reach them on time. But the only transport available that could reach the area in time was a ship. Any land surface transport was not going to do. The evil Dokk had gotten to the folk before any of our warriors could. Because it was an urgent situation nobody tried to stop him from taking a ship he had lingered by. The evil plan was unfolding just as he had plotted it."
Zoic went on, now with a very quiet and softer voice. "As they scrambled to make it to the ship he had control of, he stepped out of the ship and summoned to the folk to board. As they headed in his direction, they did not see the weakened ground he purposefully landed just out of reach of, and as a result those that headed in his direction were swallowed up by the ground giving way and caving in." Zoic took a drink before continuing, he stated everything with a calm manner but in his eyes there was wrath and sorrow.
"There were, of course, survivors who reported what had happened. But it's on their witnessing alone that we know that while the vile Dokk lead the folk to their deaths, he also just stood there and watched as it happened. All planned out beforehand. The betrayal was absolute and when he began destroying more lives in his wake of terror, he sought to destroy all of Fiod's planetary transports. So when word spread, we had to begin hiding many of the ships between Fiod and Arca. Likewise many ships were taken off world and hidden among the smaller worlds. They weren't safe on either Fiod or Arca any longer."
Tuoce was listening intently as Zoic recalled the long ago events of how this darkness and evil had destroyed so much. With another sigh, Zoic continued.
"When Dokk was finally dealt with and executed for all the death he caused, the darkness that made his being solid began to sink into the ground and poison the living element of Fiod. It took a while to clear it from the layers it had sunk to. A tangible darkness that was contained and our troops covered as much ground as possible to rid the planet of any of Dokk's matter. Then using one of the hidden ships. A scout ship that was expendable, the matter of its evil was jettisoned into space. But the darkness broke out in the void of space and its essence had poisoned some factions of the worlds since it was still within gravitational ranges. Conquering weaker souls to do the will of evil and to bring death. The true purpose of Dokk is death. The very enemy he represents in all that is its will. That a few rogue armies were assembled before the entity Dokk was finally overthrown, and they were hell-bent on killing all the people. As what happened with Arca."
Nackendara sat near a window lookout of the abode. Her eyes were sorrowful and with a grim voice, finally spoke. "We never hosted the entity so the evil of its being was far more difficult to point out. At first. We never really saw them coming, but we knew something was wrong, that something would happen. We saw the cloud of darkness descend on our world with a grotesque appearance. We too, had to clear the grounds after the bloodshed, the evil it caused. Arca is still recovering and there were massive spikes placed into certain areas to stunt the healing process. The ships that were taken off world, we've been awaiting their return. Fellow Arcans and Fiodians never came back. Even on a scouter or shuttle transport."
Tuoce visibly shuttered as he seemed to remember a thing, but didn't mention it. "Where did all the ships go?" Tuoce asked, wondering at this as all of Cova's ships were few and far between but accounted for.
"Arcan 748." Nackendara answered. "Sometimes we see a ship or two in Arcan skies. At night's turn. Even in the turn of day. But for some reason, they never land. Being a seer and a scribe, I can speak of what I sense. That there's something about the containment of the ships between worlds. As if landing back at Arca, or Fiod, would somehow bring greater danger. We still don't know if there are rogue elements of the vileness of that entity which roams to this day. I do know that those of us that survived had not taken them down. And the spines buried into Arcan soil still vibrate with an eerie sound. But we cannot remove them without aid of the ships."
Deba being almost in tears raised her head. "We haven't seen the killing rovers for some time, though. We don't know if they died off or are just settled in some isolated place of Arca."
Tuoce sat in deep thought. These tidings had not reached him. He had wondered why but even he knew that there are many things, secrets, and answers he hadn't sought out. Now his spirit was stirred as he too stirred. He bade them to rest and they slept for the remainder of the night.
After the turn of night, Tuoce gathered with the crew atop one of the higher levels of Anuna. He knew not where the man named Rainier dwelt. But he wanted to take the crew on one of his water transports and show them the vast ocean basin of Anuna. Which overshadowed Anuna's inner pathways. It was a steep climb and boarding Tuoce's craft they noted that it was made of the lightest gypsum with a rounded structure, as if a spaceship but resembling more of a seashell. Tuoce sailed on and let the crew bask in the Covan sun. He spoke of his Watery Spirit that would come and speak with him. The others knew not what to make of it, and Tuoce himself wasn't widely believed that he had such an entity he communicated with. At a certain point in the waters they sailed, Tuoce brought the craft to a stop. He pointed off toward an anomaly and they all noticed it.
"It will sometimes form into the shape of a being, and sometimes as just a wave that rides and flows against the other waves." Tuoce said while looking off in the direction of a slightly bent light just a few feet above the water.
"Is it speaking with you now?" Kould wondered. "I can only see a strange shadow on the sea water but I hear nothing."
Tuoce didn't answer. He seemed very far away. The others had an uneasy feeling, like the one they had when entering Anuna. Tuoce sailed back toward his home. As he stood on the landing that leads back below the basin, he spoke of the dangers to avoid while traveling Cova. He gave use of his water craft to the crew to use as they wish, to seek Rainier. He drew closer to Nackendara to speak of something he felt compelled to say. "You are from the stars." He said to her.
"We all are, isn't that a truth of our beginnings?" Nackendara said in return.
"No, no. Dear one. You are not from the same essence of the many peoples of the triad worlds. But a gift to the God of the Suns. You were from another god of stars and suns from so far back in the past that it's beyond recall now. You were given, or taken. Whatever the case may be." Tuoce told her. It seemed like nothing at first, but it had shaken her up. It was an ill thing to discover that the god she had believed in was not entirely everything she was told. That there were secrets formulated from darker layers, like those of Cova, of an obscure willpower of its own. Her feelings of being disconnected was beginning to make more sense now. Zoic had overheard Tuoce's words and comforted her. "He's talking to an unknown water apparition. It could all be a deception."
Nackendara knew that while Tuoce may have uttered a falsehood, it was not an intentional lie. He really believed it and because of the way Nackendara had felt for some time now, especially after the devastating losses the three worlds endured, it was something that shook her to the core. She somehow knew her instincts were letting her know, in her heart, what the isolation was.
They sailed out again and sought the volcanic location of Cova. To find Rainier. It would be a treacherous trek to reach the great mountain range where this fabled giant ship was said to be. But now they had a better chance with the sailing craft.