Monday, February 1, 2021

The Beginnings

It began all the way back in 1980. An entity known as "the good David" created a sort of storyboard on a couple of pages, an attempt at a graphic novel of a story he wrote. There wasn't much to the story, it was introduced as some space traveling characters that formed a team called the Star Rangers. It was about a pyramid-shaped spaceship that was destroying planets. This predated the pyramid spaceship in the film StarGate by a decade and a half. There was also an idea about traveling to the surface of the sun and saving the world. But more or less the good versus evil trope that had been around forever. We had already formed a fictional band writing our own songs years prior. The band was just what we assumed to call ourselves, but the songs were real. Although David's songs were short and in truth were just hooks with three or four bars at most. The songs were never recorded. Thank goodness. David wrote in minor keys with mainly nonsensical lyrics. Then he had this idea about a space saga to add to our artistic collective. He'd tell of the overall story which was short and fragmented, at best, and even went so far as to write out a short theme song for it that had the feel of a choir singing 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 boy at the time whose villain was called Corna which I refer to now as Cornjob. 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. While David shredded the past, I remembered and treasured the gems that could be something one day. 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 backgrounds, 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, dreams, experiences of battle, war, and the darkness of a world asleep when I was awake and living in half hopes and despair, and basic survival that life is. For me, 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 to see an end to something dark while living through it all, of what one can nurture of 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 what it is. Morphing into this tale you see before you. 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. I have adjusted the posts to work in order so the dates of the actual publication of each chapter will go in descending order, so that will reflect why the dates seem to be off. It's why the date on this entry is off. There was no other way to pin it.

Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Existing, Expanse, Endless (Prologue)

From nothing else remembered, a circular form in the vast darkness glinted a little light. Vague at first but the shape became sharper until a numerous setting of planets, moons and stars were brilliantly visible over the course of what seemed a very long, static 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 of unknown spans of time had passed somewhere. Somehow far away past this endless void underneath marked a beginning of a vast number of points of life, light, and design. The darkness was of no being, a neutral force merely for space. The darkened planets seemed abandoned. But the suns beheld in the distance burned. The creation had begun here. At this point in time that still was not of time. The flowing of this traveling force continued.

This empty 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 foretold its own answer as the massive strange steel structure locked around some passageway 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 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 affected 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 whatever 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 was immortal, 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 because of the stagnant nature of the galaxy's top and bottom points, and so prepared to pass down this knowledge that it was not an eternal fate. An energy that had not been built up enough. 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 of 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 named Arca.

There were outer worlds and outer moons. All of these 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 people 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 recalled 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 was 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 an elusive 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...

Saturday, November 30, 2019

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 on to 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 proximity of the sun would dry the grounds considerably had it not been for the upper basins that held these varying and numerous oceans. The structure of the world of Cova was astonishing. It was also the oldest of the three worlds having an age of nine hundred of three counted cycles of the sun around the faraway sun. The three cycles of the farthest sun was counted in a thousand 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 appeared 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 areas 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 a 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 preoccupied in his mannerism. He'd draw up solutions for work with the stone and methods he applied to his way of life in the reality of his world. Developing routines to produce a natural training in mind and spirit. 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 graying 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 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 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 beginning, formed less than two count orbits 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 an abundance of flowing underground streams that would grow most of the planet's food supply and bio-shelters dug in like roots of trees and powered with the elements through crafted vines that wrapped around the trunks and on to the lowest, most sturdiest of branches that received the frequencies in those deep layers of thick atmosphere. 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 was 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 dark blue eyes and long white-blond hair worn usually in braids. He stood relatively shorter than his tribesmen but he was strong and very ritualistic of routine, honoring the God of the Suns with spiritual works which included the passing of information written by the scribes. 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 become a sage of all wisdom.

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 unique cycle that reached far on an outer orbital plane that brought it close enough the core sun where the other planets and their main sun spun around it. Arca's age from creation was around seven hundred and fifty around the faraway sun, counted in cycles of a thousand.

Arca's days and nights were long, and its axis was perfect 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. Thus, time on Arca could 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 who took care of all life upon that world. The bonds between the people and the other world's inhabitants were strong and solid. They lived in peace since the beginning but a darkness had already come to Arca, as well as the other worlds in the system. Peoples learned to stand their grounds against a threat that usually came in the darkest times while in their longest nights when they would last so long.

Nackendara was just one of the star children among many who were gifted in prophecy. They weren't large in number compared to the other planet's dwellers but they were known to the populace. Being able to read the thoughts and intentions of any being. No one 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 was reserved and melancholy. Living in a state of a muted 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 also 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 adopted 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 beam's light 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 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 experienced the threat for a long time as well. The entity was now working to overthrow Cova.

Friday, November 29, 2019

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 since it was 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 everything stepped in the right direction. 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, vibrant ashen and ember shades. Zoic watched and closed his eyes to remember these moments. In silent prayer and gratitude that a journey would soon be 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 a mysterious sunken temple where the borders were hidden. It was only visible when one stood before a single arch embedded with gems, dragon twine and overgrowth of forest 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 sought the knowledge the pained planet knew. It was the ancient arch he wanted to pass through first before he would travel away. A deepening need to learn what the beginning told, what would be needed to say of how things unfolded, should he return successfully.

A stair structure was 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 referred to as 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 as a gateway to what was once a great kingdom now turned into shadow and isolation.

The steps, he correctly assumed, where not the challenge. But steps of 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 story and prayer.

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 used the elements of this underlying forest lair to guide any who would 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 static 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.

This was a spiritual place. Deep underground it went. There was an empty chamber with a light that appeared to come from nowhere. He walked through with caution. The ground itself was said to give way should the vibrations of footstep be all wrong. The Keeper of the Arch and all its realm was present. But he heard no welcome, just small notes and a slight pulse other than his own.

For an instant the thought flashed before his mind and his eyes could see a reflection on the nearest chamber wall. An image of the planet Arca followed by a direct mental connection to what had happened there some time ago. To Zoic it seemed it would have been around three or four orbits of that world in the past. Then things went dark. Zoic lingered for hours. In thought and prayer. Realizing there would be more than a journey to Cova. There would be one to Arca, as well. And he knew he could not bring the memory or reminder of the darkness of his own world with him. The names of his world had to be left behind. The realm of the Arch had communicated that to him mentally. Naming the world that the darkness had first appeared would only give it an echo and he would not bring that with him, wherever he went.

The time of departing was nigh. And Zoic piloted the ship to Cova for the test flight. When he returned, he spoke of the landing docks still intact in some areas of that world. And he prepared to make the journey back to Cova, but he spoke to the elders of the need to go to Arca to find a few souls that he had an image of in his head. He knew not the names.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

The Nightfall That Befell Arca (Chapter 3)

Soft colors still endured in the rotation between sunsets, between the turn of night and the oncoming turn of light of day. All the haze softened the atmosphere and it was needed. All quiet forests and surrounding landscapes were still in a state of healing, in a way. But nothing the darkness of past events shadowed the light. It was felt everywhere.

The embattled dwelling area of well-built structures that blended with the surrounding environment of the woods and nearby bodies of water, had all but been destroyed by the forces of the servants of Dokk the Darkness. This malignant entity had embodied an army that came from a cloud of choking smoke and ash. As if flown in from hostile worlds of volcanic wrath.

Nackendara and Ackea stood in a small, circular room of a small dwelling. Dark with shadows and the sounds of explosions outside. Their eyes filled with dread and their faces showing the effects of a constant line of fear of the oncoming death and destruction that they knew they could not overthrow. Dark shadows encompassed their eyes and the only sparkle there were their tears. Their voices wincing in pain.

The dark landscape lit only by the event of a drawn away sun, eclipsing behind the presence of the planetary entity that appeared as a solid vast world of shadow was all the two sisters could see out of the window of their abode. The only way to survive the physical effects of hunger and thirst was to curse the darkness with all the energies they had left. Drained and near death, with tears heavy in their eyes and their faces collapsed knowing they'll be fighting this entity for what would appear to be ages into eons, they spoke of a way for their bodies to sleep in that circular room deep in the forests until some light could show again but the shadow overwhelmed Arca and the planet's power wouldn't be enough to sustain them as it would have been before. The instruments and coverings of what they gathered were cold and without any electricity of the grounding elements around them. The darkness of this evil presence was an illusion, it wasn't real, but it had gained so much substance from the conquering of Fiod's resources that it was able to project its evil through the evil will of Dokk the Darkness. The entity had been named and they knew what it was and terror was all that could be witnessed of it. Dokk brought death and an ending of any life that was remembered. Even if surviving the devastation, the way life was before was no longer the way life would be.

Dokk the Darkness was first embodied in what was mistaken as one of the people before the fall of Fiod's oldest empire and that was all the Arcans knew about this nightmare creature from the abyssal drop below their star system.

Knowing they could not sleep in the way they had desired until the evil could be conquered, Nackendara and Ackea traveled away toward the inner forests that lay on the other side of a vast stretch of flat lands. For a while they set out to find the passage to the tunnels of Mossy Way. It was a deserted landscape they traveled across without any plan or hope. And in the skies they saw a glimmer at first but it stretched into a longer stream of light and then spilling out light from its being it shone across the sky. Like a sharp beam it pierced the sky and slowed to a stop and rounded into a small globe that lit the grounds with a soft bluish, pure light. But the witness account of all that happened had to be voiced even if through silent anguish. Nothing good to mention. Pain and suffering they uttered and recalled. Someone had to know besides them, the effect of death, and dying in perpetual death and how it was all a lie. The light of the object stayed with them as they traveled. The message the two women silently sent was understood, but they continued on and the light cloaked itself to mirror the sky. They made their way to the secluded forests where the realm of the sanctuary was still intact. It felt empty because not many had made the journey to this hidden kingdom.

It's all a trick as Nackendara had once told Ackea. None of it could be real, it's not how Arca would have it. She spoke those words in a broken tone of sadness knowing that all of it was happening anyway. Nackendara fought alongside the rest, but the darkness of Dokk's servants was too much and the people of the small village they escaped from were overthrown. In battle Nackendara was only so skilled, but not enough to shield all the defenseless. That skill was not an ability to anyone. They all moved at the same speed and rhythm as the invaders did. The upper hand was for the side with the numbers. Which is why the dark servants of this evil attacked small areas of a populace at a time. Some of the stronger male inhabitants were slain and fell under the blades of the invasion. Nackendara being struck many times while trying to block or defend those being attacked. The memory of this evil played over and over in her memory. Even after all this time.

What was the foretelling of the ships from the skies? This was something Nackendara's companion survivors would ask her while she would stand and gaze in the hidden fortress sanctuary of tree and stone, staring at nothing but the movements of the wild. Nackendara never felt Arca's connection. Feeling as if only a living witness for archival purposes only.

The legend of the ships was that they'd come to all the surrounding worlds. They remain somewhere but unseen. We are, she would say, connected to everything, yet belong to nothing. In her case, she came from out there, a solar child. Looking out over the vast star field in the sky, she'd felt that connection but one that was viciously severed. As if there was no going back, but she never wanted to be away from. Whatever it was that she felt from beyond her experiences of life on Arca.

Arca would have never allowed the darkness of death to descend like it had. That world had fought against it with everything. The forest outside the watery borders south of where the survivors dwelt now was starting to grow again. Even after the winds uprooted and shattered it. Even though the vile dark of Dokk had placed spines of steel in the ground like poisoned spears. Nackendara paused to look out over the long range of the pathway that lay hidden to all outside eyes. She uttered softly that Arca still fought to survive, the spirit of what dreams and hopes were still harbored in the people's hearts. That remained, but very muted.

All the people and the various places of population of Arca had been so isolated for so long that any gathering would be a force that sent out energies that would surely alert any dark forces to it. Arca and the people of Arca were forced to give up so much. But the spirit of fighting and revenge against the evil that had been done was strong and that was something that could not be measured or honed in on. The energies were almost identical and elusive. An evil entity could not read with any certainty, the wrath of the people who were invaded as it was the same energies that flowed from that entity's own dark works and deeds. Blending like smoke into the sky and fading into nothingness. A power that could not be seized. And because of that alone, the people of Arca began a subtle accumulation of this very need for avenging all that was lost to them. To use the same power against their foe. It would be that energy alone that a sizable force against the enemy could be organized. But all on soft whispers spoken, slight vibrations of the drums and tones in the forests, and energies of living in a state of constant waking and awareness.

As disconnected to Arca and the surrounding worlds that most perceived, Nackendara and in fact, all the people left, were endowed with the power of their world. It was once so powerful that fighting off something as horrid as the entity Dokk would have been an ease. But a shadow had settled long ago from something small in the distance at first. The world's own creatures were much-loved and cared for with the utmost of honor and loyalty. But the shadow sought to take all the lives of everything in Arca's nature and absorb the energies of the pain the lost souls would generate. The shadow formed in the beginning on the world of Fiod and became as one of the people. In appearance only but still unlike any living being on the planet. The very darkness of this being was so treacherous that it would lead others into falsehoods and betray those who trusted they would be safe, only to find that their lives would end and any plans to conquer the strange presence of something that never belonged to the world but against it entirely and seeking the destruction of it. So it was that Arca experienced the same apprehension and recoiled from it. In doing so, the entity embodied as Dokk would begin massive war efforts against Arca, and because his evil was already interfering with Arca's own natural defenses, the people were weakened as a result. But the planet's powers were still building a defense from the energy of the core sun. Become one with the grounds, the rivers, and the trees. Rise up anyway. Arcans began to repeat the saying from long ago.

The vibrations began shifting, all off-balance, and the sounds of Dokk's dark curses and intent to harm and kill were now what Arca absorbed and itself was wounded by. As clouds from the grounds, a dreary haze from the skies, and the linear points of geometric travel lines scrambled to lower and burrow into other routes and planes. The worlds themselves had been conquered earlier, unleashing death on the living who were before protected by the living hosts that were their own planets.

And while Arca had still so much of its strength intact for the very reason it traveled close enough to the core sun, having that connection, the mover in the night that still lingered upon Arca's surface chilled the air at times and drifted like a ship that lost its way only to be guided by the mere pull of the solar system's own rhythm and function. To be connected to everything but belong to nothing was the notion and belonging to any one thought, journey, or outcome was the impossibility. That it was even more impossible to belong to a given world when all the origins in and of itself were scattered bits of mass that at one time, also, had no vibration or movement. Having to be created and designed. Formed and set in motion of something else. The solid world of Arca now could claim its inhabitants as its own but all the living and all those that passed on now, were all still individual points of energy and all their own life-force. Worlds within souls. And it would take so many to pour knowledge into the grounds through sound and telepathy and draw back the reflections from what the planet might convey. A process that could take so long in time. And so many to sharpen the memory of the past they saw and lived through and focus that as a concentrated effort. And still the grounds and the mass of it could just absorb it and store everything for much more time. And although the mover in the night had all but disappeared from the world of Arca, the damage of its evil was carried on because of the terror that the people remembered. There was no erasing these past events.

It was difficult to know how the planets reacted to adversity, and the task of finding the answer had to be considered without upsetting any more of the balance of its own light while it endlessly absorbed the light of the suns.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Guided Only By Instinct (Chapter 4)

Zoic made extra standard test flights in the ship, from one end of Fiod to the other. Passing through the gates of day and the passage of night. All ship's functions were in excellent condition as he readied himself to fly toward the planet Arca. Not knowing what he'd find there since being invaded some time ago as his own world had been invaded by the treacherous and malignant Dokk.

He took in the sights of the glow of Fiod's light and mass as he flew further away. It had been a long time since he had seen these sights. The world below still appearing as wondrous as it did back then save for the marked differences on its surface. And the view of the darkness of empty space and the far off lit bodies that danced brilliantly. He had forgotten the feeling of how these planetary journeys awed him so much. Zoic was relieved that the magic of it all, still remained. His blue eyes sparkled with hope and reverence.

Soon the globe of Arca could be seen, small in his viewing window. While it looked as beautiful as he'd remembered it, something was different about it. The colors were not as vibrant and the land mass was changed in some locations. On his approach he found that the old port was still intact, however it was abandoned. The lights burned dim and they droned on in a pattern of a perpetual flicker. He met up with a lone keeper of the port who came up out of the shadows.

"You startled me." Zoic said in what he could remember of the speech they spoke on Arca.
"It's been a long time since we've had any ships grace the platforms of an Arcan space portal." The keeper said in a calm tone of voice. Zoic asked him his name and learned that is was Khom. An ancient name in the Arcan language meaning sentry. A watcher. Someone who was familiar with the ways and traditions of Zoic's home planet that shared the same beliefs and values.
"Tell me, Khom, how long has this place been dark? When was the last time a ship visited here?" Zoic wondered.
"Nigh on to about three solar cycles of the closest sun. Not much more than that. We called for back up when the invasion here was in full force. A few ships took some of the people to the planets on the outer orbits beyond the Triad Worlds" Khom told Zoic.
"Were they from Cova?" Zoic asked.
"One was, but it would be out at Arcan 748 still. It never returned even when more were waiting to escape." Khom explained. "After there was no return of the ships, the darkness of Dokk began to dissipate. We could fight the remaining attacks but there is few of us now."
"Was it a large ship? The one from Cova?" Zoic seemed almost distraught as he asked.
"No. No, it was a small craft." Khom answered. Zoic was relieved. The ship he sought and the man he sought from Cova would still be on Cova.
Zoic looked up at the sky, and the nearby moon and the distant Fiod shone and looked so close that he still felt connected to his world, and the bluish and lavender colors from the moon and from his world, swirled in patches of the foggy air that permeated the surface of Arca. He'd forgotten how mystical this planet really was. He breathed it all in. A small tear fell down his cheek. Khom stood silently gazing at the ship. He stirred asking finally what Zoic was there for. He explained his recent journey to the Arch, which is legend to the inhabitants of all three worlds. Zoic explained his mission was a more of a spiritual one and that he was being guided solely by what the universe was speaking to him. Khom understood. Khom also understood that Zoic would have never come by ship were the celestial vibrations of life not at work here.

"I have waited for you then." Khom said at length. "There are five comrades I'd like you to meet. Come."

The two men walked on through the pathways of Arca's massive tree lines that would appear as mountains from the distance. And the vast spaces in between of shallow waters that in the dim light of the moon appeared as dark, still oceans. Zoic strained to see the landmass on the other sides of the waters and could barely make any out. But he saw that the waters were still as he remembered them. That their magic was still there. He felt a longing that was more pronounced here than back home. Arca would always be an alien world to him but a paradise that he could spend long amounts of time in and still feel at home. Arca was calming but elusive. That was its beauty. Its vibration. Its force in the light of the suns.

Finally they approached a grove that appeared very small at first until they stepped through and found that there were multiple passageways to other areas within the forests. A network of individual groves that appeared to go on forever. Small firelight dotted the trees and stumps bearing lamp lights shone brightly once their eyes adjusted. Lone torches made of iron and twine lined small paths through this strange realm. The grasses that carpeted the ground reflected the moisture in the air to appear as starlight all around them. Zoic smiled and knew this was the first place he needed to come before the voyage to Cova. His heart was at peace as was the ultimate sign that he was on the correct path.

Khom lead Zoic deeper into the forest sanctuary and brought him into a dwelling made entirely of twine and iron, with a covering of a lattice of leaves overhead to allow peeks of the moons and their light through at night's turn and sun's light during the day's turn. "I will bring my comrades shortly, rest and take nourishment and drink." Khom said as he offered Zoic food and water. "What do you call this mythical place?" Zoic asked. "Hidden Ground." Khom answered. Zoic smirked a little knowing that it would be that. He had forgotten how simplistic and straightforward the Arcans were.

After Zoic had refreshed and rested awhile under the mystical nature of his surroundings, he heard footsteps coming in to greet him. Standing, he greeted the four warrior souls who had survived the invasion of Dokk the Darkness. Zoic beheld Nackendara, Ackea, Deba, and Kould. He had forgotten how beautiful the people of Arca were. Their statures of strength and nobility. After greetings they all sat down to talk about things that had happened, and they thanked Zoic for traveling by ship to their world. Coming to them in a time of great need. As he was awestruck by them, they were, perhaps, all the more fascinated by him. A priest of old. A warrior elder.

They spoke long hours past the night turn and into the next night turn. They told Zoic of the secret gatherings of the people to undo the evils done to their world. Zoic spoke to them about needing their assistance as he alone could not undergo the mission his elders gave to him. He spoke of his elders who expected him to seek and to gather a team.

"While the nightmare of a darkness that rages over the worlds, and everything being torn apart that you built and loved, and everything you love is taken away as the brutality of evil does, you're in a survival state of being. A survival state of mind. You even sleep on your toes, ready to fight or run. You're set in a life of battle and you have no time to genuinely rest or think about anything being different. You're just surviving." Nackendara told Zoic.
Zoic eyes glinted with tears as he heard of all that happened to these people, and he blessed them with a spiritual bond to him and offered them his loyalty and promise to be there with them now that a plan was being made and underway.

"But whenever there might be an end to the suffering, doubt, and the impulse to jump up running, when there's an absence of dangers that you've been conditioned to face all the time, you still wake up in cold fear from nightmares of a life that you had lived for so long. You'll look over your shoulder at the slightest sound of approaching feet, even the wind or rains. You have the memory of a hellish life that everything you've fought for could still be taken away at any time if the evil of that malignant entity should manifest again. It's a shadow of death that assumed power from the emptiness of the spaces between galaxies. An evil so concentrated that it absorbed the lifeless void and has a will to make all as nothing." Nackendara spoke as if she was reliving the horror again and her voice seemed to trail off to almost a whisper. Her tears and sorrow were felt by the rest. They sat in silence, knowing that she spoke of the trauma that still lingered. Like a shadow that never truly went away.

At length, they all slept for a turn of day and a half turn of night. After the rest was satisfactory they set out with Zoic to show him the location that Nackendara and Ackea escaped from after the devastating loss of life there. The surface vehicle they used was the same one the women used to cross the landscape to the hidden sanctuary off the Mossy Way. It was a little beat up, the six wheeled, light-silver covered mobile traveler had seen better days. But it was operational and they didn't have time to fashion another.

Along the way, they had made several planned stops to gather further supplies. After the invasion, small shops had been set up as traveling points between locations of Arca, as the main routes were all but lost or unearthed and turned into rumble. They had brought enough crafted wares with them for trading and collected among other things, power conductors crafted from ore and dense silver rods made to regenerate power for ships when close enough to magnetic sources like planets and moons. When they arrived at the location of the dark event spoke of at Hidden Ground, there was still smoke rising from the grounds and collapsed structures. A few inhabitants still remained and had begun to rebuild what was left of their lives. Nackendara pointed out the man who lost his young son, and the expression of the man's face was a torment that broke the heart. Another couple of folk were introduced, and some who had lost everyone they loved as they survived on, while probably wishing they went with the now departed. Zoic's soul was saddened, he knew all too well what the evil of Dokk was capable of, and he had to go back to Hidden Ground just to shake the effects of seeing what had happened as it all mirrored what had happened on Fiod.

Nackendara held the hands of a few of the folk while they expressed their hopes, then she took the hand of Comok who had lost his son and with Zoic, they all prayed and signaled the need for guidance and the willpower to go on. To fight another day and to gain an answer to what could overthrow this evil and to finally destroy Dokk that had destroyed countless lives. As the people of Arca did thirst for justice and to avenge their dead and everything taken from them. "Once again, my friend, would you not be willing to come to Hidden Ground to heal your spirit for a while?" Khom asked Comok. "I stay here in case my son should send his essence, of whatever is left, to me. This would be the last place he'd have remembered of his life here. I don't want to be absent should there be any sign I might miss." Comok explained. Nackendara and Deba embraced Comok before walking back to their land mobile. The others gave Comok a hug and a way to communicate with them should he and his fellow villagers need passage to Mossy Way or to Hidden Ground.

When everything had been documented by Zoic and Khom's comrades were ready, they made their way to the old port where his ship awaited him and his new traveling companions. Khom spoke of coming with them, but he was a sentry for the old port. He knew there would be other ships arriving sometime in the future and he had to make ready. They would go to Cova to retrieve the larger ship that remained hidden there for so long and to seek a man that was written about by the scribes as having the knowledge to pilot the large space vessel. The newly assembled team of Zoic, Nackendara, Ackea, Kould, and Deba set out. Neither Deba or Ackea had ever been off world before and Kould and Nackendara, as well as Khom, had only been off world ages ago when they completed a small tour around Arca's moons. A sort of holiday celebration of a vaguely remembered event that used to happen on Arca when they still celebrated the anniversary of their moons days of creation, that they witnessed in long ago happier times.

Now they were flying away from their world, watching as it grew smaller and moving away from them. There were no words of sentiment. There were no thoughts to speak of. They quieted their senses and cleared their minds for what would be ahead of them. As uncertain as they all were, the spiritual aura of their souls were being slowly awakened by a sense that they were connected in this existence. That there was a hope they never truly felt before and it began to strengthen their sense of confidence. This was the instinct they once knew, and it was sharpening within each of them again.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

The Depths And Layers Of Cova (Chapter 5)

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 awaited 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.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

A Threshold To Destiny (Chapter 6)

As Zoic and the small group sailed to other end of the great ocean basin, they spied a small settlement beneath one of the edges of a massive bio-garden just close enough to the level of the water where the ground rose up steeply from below. They went to investigate. It was a small area of around a dozen or more dwellings for people. Bringing the water craft ashore, and walking the pathway to what was called Winnow, a somber name, they were greeted by several of the inhabitants and explained that Tuoce sent them with the aid of his water ship to look for a man. The people were amazed of the generosity of their Covan king but the crew sensed that the people of Winnow had some doubts about his offering. When Zoic introduced himself and his crew and spoke of the man they were seeking, if they knew of him and if so, where he may be found. They immediately answered in the positive.
"Be cheered, good folk of Fiod and Arca, the man you seek is right here in Winnow!" A Covan said. With being shown the way to where Rainier was, all they had to do now was walk right up to him.

Upon their approach they saw that Rainier was a younger being, only around 1500 cycles of the nearest sun. He was working on a piece of farming equipment when he noticed the crew. Standing up he reached out to greet them.
"Hua!" Rainier said in his native dialect. "To what do I owe this pleasure?" as he shook Zoic's hand and nodded at the others.
The others all looked around and at each other and felt they should just directly ask his name.
"Are you Rainier?" Zoic asked.
"Yes, I am he." Rainier answered.
With a slight grin, Zoic's eyes gleamed as he delivered his words with a smile.
"Would you be willing to come with us and seek a ship that's hidden somewhere here in Cova?"
Rainier stood in shock. Having heard such tales, he no longer remembered them fully.
"It's alright, we've been assembling a crew and looking for a ship that's here on Cova." Zoic told Rainier who suddenly felt as if a dream was coming true, but oddly his anticipation had waned over the years so he felt some doubt and fear. After so long under the rule of Tuoce, so many things were quieted within him.
"You will also be asked to come with us in the ship and set out on a mission." Kould said.
"What will the mission entail?" Rainier wondered.
"Not exactly sure at this point. Just that we are to use it to find out if the fleet of ships from our planets are still located at Arcan 748." Ackea informed him. "The ship that's said to be here, can transport other ships inside and purify them if there'd be any traces of the evil of Dokk from the days when he reigned terror on our worlds."
Rainier sat down for a moment to regain his composure. He knew of the Darkness of Dokk and knew how real it was. He began to tell his visitors that the tragedy wasn't isolated to just their worlds but that much grief and loss was suffered by all Covans. He spoke of their leader becoming more and more distant and being lead astray by a spirit that was dark and elusive. Zoic assured Rainier that he knew about the spirit in the water.
"It was never understood how he came to be so dependent on it because it wasn't solid, there was no way to assemble any kind of council to reveal what its purpose was." Rainier explained. "But Tuoce gave in to it. From my personal feeling or instincts, it was the very entity that caused the collapse of some of the great ocean basins long ago. It has been working some evil in the way the system of our world flows. I remember what was then, and it's nothing like it was before. It gets worse as time moves on." The others knew without speaking that this was all the evil work of Dokk.
"Were there ever any legions that named themselves as the servant soldiers of this water spirit?" Deba asked.
"Here and there, they would come up from further tunnel-ways through the basins. And it was that alone that I believe began to weaken the stems, the structures of the mounted basins." Rainier answered.
They talked for hours about what happened on Cova and how Tuoce was enabling this evil to continue as he thought it was natural. How death was being accepted although everyone still fought it as an enemy. The most natural instinct being against such a destructive opponent.
"So! Now tell me about this ship." Rainier's mood seemed to lighten and he was eager to discover what these wonderful visitors had in mind.
"There's a volcanic region that I feel we must survey, it was said that we shall need a fire element made of natural magnetic energy." Zoic said.
"I know what you're looking for!" Rainier exclaimed. "There are gems that form out from a constant flow of fire and melted stone. Rare they are everywhere else, except at Nispetry. They are abundant there." Rainier was starting to feel something that had escaped him for so long, a feeling of hope and that there may be a way to defeat what he had resigned to accept in the long run should his world face an ultimate finality.
Rainier set about packing what he could carry and gave instructions to the people of Winnow on what to do with the tasks he had overseen since settling there. He assured them he would be back but not certain when that might be.

They walked to the water craft, and with Rainier as a guide, they would soon find their way to Nispetry. A fog had begun to descend in a thickness of soft white and blue as was the nature of Cova's atmosphere. They sailed along the lip-line shores of the basin sea between Winnow and Nispetry. Upon the horizon as they drew closer to their destination, a glow was present of glistening colors. Reddish and purple light seemed to slowly flash back on the clouded air around them. Rainier was awestruck for a moment because he knew the rare elements were close.
Disembarking from their vessel they followed the shoreline until it began to lead on to very solid and hard ground. The ground was that of rock and a rugged crystal exposed to thousands of turns of the sometimes harsh environment of Cova's exposed seas.
"This is a sign that we are extremely close." Rainier said as he picked up the pace. The others followed with the same footing. After an hour, the peak of the volcanic mountain could be seen.
"It's closer than it looks." Rainier said, pointing out the optical illusion of depth where the crystal grounds held in sparse light to appear as a black and deep ocean.

At first they traveled at a slow pace. Watching for any signs of cave-ins or glowing rock that would indicate a weak crust where magma would flow underneath. The trail was forged long before their journey. Lined with small statuesque rock formations that bore single gems resting atop each one. Zoic pulled out a mapping device he had of the old scrolls of his planet. They were mainly space courses from planet to planet, but he searched for the topography of Cova's landmass. The volcanic region would be the largest landmass of Cova and that's where the fabled ship is said to be.

The slopes gave a steady rise toward a cavern entrance not too far from the base of the mountain that lay before them. Within an hour they reached the entrance. Nothing remarkable could be seen in or around it. It was almost dreary in appearance. Rainier repeated a tale in part of the mysterious cave door and how the crystals would open the side of the mountain if adjusted in the right way. But his memory of the tale was hazy. Zoic looked out at the grounds below and the sparkle of the gems that lay scattered all around. Deep in thought he went over anything relating to this place in his own memories. He drew nothing that could be used as a means to open this ancient hidden ship.

"Could it be a certain time when the doorway might be shown? A direction to follow?" Ackea asked. Zoic stirred from his thoughts and looked around again. "I don't think there's a time, but there is a property of the gemstones here that might answer that." The group went about and carefully picked up only a few gems from nearby locations, and only the gems that lay on the ground. Zoic and Rainier piled them up on the ground just inside the cave mouth. They began to glow with intensity. But the only effect they had was to light up the walls within the cave itself. It wasn't a deep cave and they could see to the sheer stone face of the mountain inside. There were no other paths further in. But as the light on the walls danced, there were, subtle at first, markings that seemed natural. After long moments, as the beauty of the gems glowing inside the darkness enchanted them, a sound began to emit as if an echo were being rang inside. Faint it was. Barely audible. But the tones were familiar to Rainier. He had heard this before in old tales.

"The gems, they have properties of the suns. Bismuth and iridium, remnants of the sea of fire inside the fabled sun that died millennia ago." Rainer noted to the others. Zoic looked over his charts and specifically detailed the placement of the dead star in relation to the suns' planets, and their position to each other. Nackendara noticed the markings in the rock to be a vague map-like carving. "The gems have to line up with what the elements of each sun mostly comprised of." She said. Zoic confirmed that hypothesis and they set the gems to the chart of the wall rather than what Zoic's charts had detailed.

"Could also mean we must wait until a particular conjunction of the suns." Rainier mused. But as they smiled in a halfway attempt to remain hopeful, the sound became even more distinct. A tonic ringing had all but pierced the air and a slight rumble was felt. The rock walls slid downward as if melted into an unseen lava pit. The group began to make way toward the path they had come, and flee the area. Not knowing if it was a volcanic effect or indeed the opening of the passageway that would lead to the ancient space ship they hoped to find. The ground shook a bit more violently this time. Rainier looked all around and his face seemed aglow with a realization and looking over at Zoic, he saw the smile of knowing.

"Do you know what this means?" Rainier shouted. "The gems align with the suns, and carry the elements of the suns!" He laughed aloud as he tried to keep his balance. "A ship capable of reaching past the planet system and possibly break through the plasma and thermal barriers." Zoic replied. "An ancient ship that was constructed from a point in time before our worlds were crafted."

The ground steadily began to cease its trembling and the group cautiously walked back toward the cave entrance. Upon stepping close to the opening they found that the floor of the cave had a new feature. A smooth and almost transparent platform about twenty feet in diameter hovering about a foot from the cave floor. Beyond that, in the shadowy point beyond the now melted away rock wall, lay the ancient ship they came to claim.

The edges could be seen fairly well in the darkness of the mountain. But the size was hard to determine. The darkness would be hard to navigate safely to find a way into the ship itself save for the gems that still lit the walls from beneath the platform. They took their lights and beamed light into the area where the ship now appeared clearly to be docked above an even larger platform far below. "It's magnetic." Deba stated. Their lights bounced off of the ship as they searched for a way in. But as they looked, the mass of the ship was surprising to them. They hadn't expected it to be so immense. The lone symbol on the side was a number within an icon of twelve suns. The number was 773.