The World Above

Bad Omen

"Three strikes, you're out."


-Magister Fosco Del Maestro, S Class, detected.

-Shut up Defend.

-Would you like to review the crew logs?

-… Go for it.

-Playing last entry by Magister Kaelach Lochain, S Class.

[…]

-End of log entry. It’s been 12 days since last log entry. Would you like to create a new log entry?

-Yeah. Sure, why not.

-Recording mode activated. Please state your log entry.


Where to start… Maybe before everything got fucked up. We had been pushed aside by the Village to wait for our supposed affliction of “Sun Plague” to pass. We didn’t blow up, obviously, so in the meantime we busied ourselves getting accustomed to that new life we had. Zain explored, Kaelach rested and I fought imaginary foes and beasts with that sword I got, keeping my old habits, even though my fist and feet were probably more dangerous than my sword with all the glowing I did recently.

Elder Cree came to see us at the camp, giving us yet another task to finally be part of the Tribe. I was beginning to wonder how many it would take to finally be accepted, even though they never did us any wrong (besides cutting my arm, but I sorta asked for it. Plus they gave me my right arm back in the process, so in the end, I can’t really complain…)

We had to gather some flowers in a forest up north, then head back towards a cliff to meet with some sort of sage. So we gathered our things and headed for the forest. We crossed path with somebody who claimed to be the Guardian, I didn’t question anything too much but Kaelach followed him while Zain and I continued towards the forest to get the flowers, which was quite easy to do actually.

We then headed back towards the Village and headed for the Sage’s hideout, carrying our precious yellow flowers. Arriving at the cliff, we climbed down, Kaelach carrying me on his shoulders. Expecting a hut, we found a slab barring the doorway. Surrounding it, symbols, none of which made any sense to us. We knew the flowers were supposed to be an offering, but all our attempts at moving the slab were pointless. We put the flowers to the ground, as an offering, but nothing happened.

But then, I thought that an offering had to undergo some sort of process to be accepted by the receiver. Looking around, we found a brasero hidden in the ground. We put our flowers in and set fire to the lot. There was a huge fireball and thick grey smoke filled the little cranny in which we were standing, but luckily, nothing else happened. The slab moved slightly, leaving enough grip for Kaelach to move the huge rock.

Inside, we met the Sage, an old man who has probably been living in here for aeons. He could barely talk, was deaf and blind, but kind and smooth. He gave us water and we helped him prepare some sort of mixture with various herbs and the flowers we burnt earlier. A thick blue smoke rose from there and symbols flashed before our eyes, scenes being drawn and displayed by the fumes. But not hallucinations, the smoke shaped itself to display the scenes. It was amazing. But one detail caught our attention. A pyramid.

We told the sage what we saw and he drew a map, highlighting the pyramid. We knew our next step, but there was one last thing to do. In the cauldron from which the fumes came out, there was a silvery liquid. We dunk our fingers in the liquid (damned was it hot!) and engraved our names on the stone surrounding the slab. This was a ledger of all the members of the tribe.

We went back to the village and were greeted with a festival. One heck of a party. It was happy, it was light. People were drunk but not sick (except that one guy…) and we all had great fun. I did a few drinking contests with the locals and aced them all, then Kaelach came and ridiculously beated me at it. Still, I had fun and got drunk with people whom I appreciate and who appreciate me in return. It really felt good being welcome among the tribe, being appreciated for who we are and what we are.

The next morning, we headed towards the pyramid. We borrowed two boats from the village and Zain and I build an improvised Catamaran, so that it wouldn’t sink with Kaelach sitting in it. We headed towards the pyramid, taking a rest after a full day of rowing. We didn’t have much left to do but we decided to pitch out tents and rest.

Sadly, we were (once again) disturbed by Omen who thought it would be a good idea to interrupt us and ask us, once again, to be friends in exchange for our cooperation. He gave us some instructions as to how to get in the pyramid, we thanked him but did not want to talk more before talking between us. We thus agreed to meet again and made him promise no Behemoth would be close to disturb us, to which he agreed.

We headed for the pyramid the next day, which was fairly easy to reach. Heading for the entry, we saw that the ground was littered with metallic parts similar to you Defend. (Look at me, talking to a tin man.) None were working, most were rusted beyond repair, but they were there. I’m sure there is a link between that pyramid’s fate and the “caverns of steel”, but with a lack of proof, I’ll just continue my tale.

We were soon disturbed by lizardmen who attacked us, but were quick to flee when they realized that we were badass. They quickly hid underground and left us inside the pyramid. We looked at the hieroglyphs and pictures engraved in the rock, trying to make sense out of the scenes depicted there. Many questions and little answers sadly. We saw the sun setting and decided it would be safer to head out and set camp a little away from where lizardmen may be lurking.

The next day, we went to meet with Omen, merely out of respect for our word. It was a short trip to the meeting point and he appeared out of thin air, as he always did up to now. We began to talk about our respective goals and he finally told us why he wanted to be friends with us: to have us as minions. Oh, he may have said “Oh but it’s a harsh term, I used minions but it doesn’t say it all!” It was too late. Kaelach was angry, and so was I. Kaelach was just more expressive about it and came down to threats.

Long pause

It’s then that Omen dropped the mask. We said no again, we wronged him, and he wanted to show us just how pissed he was. He pointed west, towards the village, and we saw smoke. He was right, no behemoths were at our meeting, but there was one at Rakanaton. It took us a few seconds to realize what was actually happening before we ran, once again drunk on adrenaline.

It was a full day of boating before we reached the pyramid and, honestly, I don’t know how fast we travelled. All I know is that by the time we arrived, I was spent, I didn’t have anything left in my body, but we were too late. All that was left of Rakanaton were smothered ruins. We saw Elder Cree’s hut, Kaelach rushed inside. I stayed out and waited it out. The hut crumbled and the only thing still standing was the giant amidst the wooden rubble.

I… I fell to my knees. I sat down. I did not say anything, all my might focused on staying strong for the village. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t cry, but I couldn’t stand. I’ve been wronged again. Confidence had built up but now it was smothered, ruined by the embers of the village. I just sat there, looking at the rubble, sobbing amongst the toppled trees. I must’ve stayed there for hours, just thinking about what happened and why. What I could’ve done.

A light rain started to fall, putting out the embers and washing out the ashes and dust littering the ground and ruins. And I just kept on sitting there, letting the sky cry in my stead, the clouds delivering all the tears I was unable to let out, out of spite and pride.

Once the rain stopped falling people started coming out and each of us had a little moment. I, for my part, stood up. I had grieved Cree and the village, I’m still doing so as we speak, but grief will not stop me from doing what I had set on doing. There’s only a slight change of plan…

I brought some villagers with me, all those who wanted to follow, here, at the Caverns of Steel. I introduced them to you as guests of honor in the hopes to settle a new village, a new home for all those grieving men and women. Kaelach followed but I didn’t hear his voice in days now. Zain wussed out and ran away. I tried catching him, but he lost me in the woods. I’ll send search parties and I’ll go looking for him myself.

I’ll have to have a chat with Kaelach, try to get him back on my side of the fence, try to distance him from his grief, try to convince to do as me. The Councilor was at the top of my kill-list, but suddenly he isn’t anymore. No, in his place is Omen, spoiled child who threw a murderous tantrum because he could not have his glowy boy-toys. We did nothing but choose and he murdered a village because of that. I think we could not have made a better choice, what kind of guardian would sell his soul to the Fae for a meager bit of power. I fear that instead of using a behemoth to slaughter the village, he would’ve used us. And I’m pretty sure of the option I prefer.

I’ll have to speak with Kaelach and Zain, try to get them back on track. In the last days, I’ve been leading the efforts of building back what we lost, try to stockpile some food and all. But all I know is how to give orders. I’m no dictator, but what those people need is a role model, and that’s the opposite of who I am.

I need those two dimwits…

Comments

Boivin Chapeau

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