Primordial Evolution Game/Central Legends
- 1 Thick Blood
- 2 Knixi Gives her Life
- 3 Zhen'qual's Covenant
- 4 Larvea Memories
- 5 The VeitKoburrong Steals Tribute
- 6 The Fire Mane Burn Themselves
- 7 Kuasa's Settlement
- 8 The White Slizer
- 9 Perkunas' Dream
- 10 Karnak Oasis
- 11 Kthulo and Dakkon Duel
- 12 The VKB Kidnappings
- 13 The Hitangan befriend the Desert and Fight the Sky
- 14 The Simidan Learn a Secret of Thick Blood
- 15 The Ry'lai welcome Strangers
- 16 The Ry'lai Discover VooDoo
- 17 The Hitangan revere the God Worm
- 18 Kuat Rebuilds The Scar Wall
- 19 The Hitangan meets the Hu-Raan
- 20 Knixi Returns
- 21 The Mad Architect Mossirai
- 22 The Hu-Raan Welcome VKB Deserters
- 23 The Zu-Nul Reach Out to the Hitagan
- 24 Zhen'qual Develops her Spawn
- 25 The Web Seers
- 26 The Ry'lai accept a Foreign Alliance
- 27 Knixi is sent to the Hitangan
- 28 The Ry'lai Float South
- 29 The First Hu-Raan King
- 30 Kuat Learns from the Hu-Raan
- 31 The Triumvirate
- 32 The Desert Swarm
The sands burned with the sun climbing into the sky. The weak died, and the strong sought shelter. Far above a very old, and wise beast surveyed all below it. It had no true name, though it was once two entities. that was also a long time ago. It would call itself "Thick Blood".
Knixi Gives her Life
Knixi rested within one of the many warm flesh pouches of the great Hazuvaat.
For the first time in her short life, she could be alone within these vast incubation chambers. So few had survived the death of their former host. Even fewer had followed Sadkha, when she and her sisters decided to look for a new worm, instead of pointlessly trying to save their dying god under the tons of stone and sand, exhausting themselves, until they too died, besides their god.
The few dozens that saw the madness of the rest of the Khun'zu-iaan tribe, and followed Sadkha to the desert are the only ones that remain. They took a new name, Zu-Nul, as their former tribe was no more.
They had almost started to disperse, when the call of the Hazuvaat was felt. Sadkha let them to this new god, and now they had a home again. An empty home. There were so few of them, that each of the Zu-Nul could take a flesh pouch for themselves. Knixi had done so. She was the youngest, of the survivors, too young to mate and lay eggs, as the adults had been fervently doing since they had settled.
She contemplated the fact that shortly, her new found privacy would be a thing of the past, as soon enough, the chambers would be flooded with nymphs and even more larvae. The nectar glands of the chamber walls were already swelling. She resisted the urge to feed, as she didn't even know the name of the Hazuvaat. It was unthinkable to drink the godworm's nectar without addressing the Hazuvaat appropriately.
The blue patches of skin, indicating the place where the Hazuvaat's voice could be heard caught her eye, jet she dared not to even approach it. The elder sisters had been very distressed after talking with the godworm. Without a seer, the tribe is lost. The ways of the Hazuvaat are too poorly understood by mere mortal suzumou.
Suddenly, someone bursts to her private chamber. "There you are Knixi! Sadkha needs you urgently!"
It was Chirrin, slightly older male, the color patters in his wings indicated that he was very excited. "The Great Hazuvaat has laid an egg! The elders need everyone to be present! You especially! The ritual is about to begin!"
An egg? The Hazuvaat had laid an egg? She had never taken a part in the Hazuvaat-nul ritual. She quickly stood up, and jumped to the air, her four wings easily carrying her in the air.
"Come on then!"
They quickly flew to the backside of the godworm, where the rest of the tribe was already waiting.
As they landed, Sadkha herself approached Knixi, her wing-patterns indicated slight agitation, and perhaps fear. "Good, you are finally here! This is a bad time for the Hazuvaat to bear a blessed egg. The Hazuvaat-nul ritual is not well remembered by any of us. Without a worm-seer to guide us, we could defile the holy child of the godworm! But the ritual must be conducted! It has always been so! If we leave it undone, the Hazuvaat might curse us, and abandon us!"
"You are the youngest! Tradition says, that the youngest is to take the egg to a high point, where one can see the rims of the desert, and present the Hazuvaat-nul to the Burning Eye in the Sky and to the desert, which will be the domain of the godworm's spawn. In doing so, the worm will bless us, and the Hazuvaat-nul will remember us when it becomes Hazuv, one of the great worms of the sand."
"You must do this, the preliminary rituals and blessings have already been done, you must now take the Hazuvaat-nul and finish the ritual!" Without even asking if Knixi was ready, or understood her mission, Sadkha placed the egg, the child of the god, Hazuvaat-nul on her hands.
"Go child, and don't fail us."
Without a further word, she was sent on her way.
The desert in the area their new Hazuvaat resided in was rocky. Knixi could see great mountains up the north, but she doubted that she had to climb them. She flied to the northeast, towards tall rock formations. The was sand ocean spread everywhere her eyes could see.
As she approached the formation, the desert became ever rockier. There were no signs of life anywhere, other some tiny grass like plants growing between the rocks.
She flew atop the tallest of the rocks belonging to the formation, and raised the egg above her head. She could see the frail form of the Haz, the sandworm larva, as the sun shined through the egg. She raised her voice and bellowed:
"Behold desert and the burning eye! I carry the Hazuvaat-nul! The child of god! The blessed spawn of the godworm, the great ruler of the desert! The ascendant has laid an egg! The blessed Haz that hatches from it will grow to rule this land and ascend to godhood, like her mother did! Behold world! The descendant of our lord! The Hazuvaat-nul!"
With that, she fell to her knees, exhausted. The egg slowly pulsated in her lap. After resting for a bit in a shade provided by a nearby rock, she flew off again. The egg must be buried somewhere safe, to a place, where it will not be disturbed. She begins to search for a suitable place.
Evan though she searched the whole day, she was unable to locate a place, she thought that would suit the Hazuvaat-nul. Either the sand was too rocky, the sun too hot, the shade too long, or the area too barren, every place she looked, she only found inadequacy. No, the child of the god deserves better.
As the nightfall began, she sets a small camp under the a cliff-like stone, that stubbornly stands against the erosion of the sand. Tomorrow, she would search the oasis she saw from her vantage point, when she showed the Hazuvaat-nul to the world.
She was suddenly jolted from her sleep, or what passes for it for the Suzumou. Reverberations through the ground warns her that a group of creatures are coming. Quickly, she grabbed the Hazuvaat-nul, and hovered quickly toward the general direction of the oasis. Behind her, a crested Houyi hunting group had seen her, and prepared to sneeze a rain of shards at her. But Knixi is young and nimble. Using timed dodges and faked movements, she managed to evade most of them. Emphasis on most. She lost three wings, and her left leg only had two segments now. But she kept the Hazuvaat-nul safe.
Even though her strength waned for a while, she pushed on, and by daybreak she reached the edge of the oasis. Under a fallen kaskus tree she found the perfect place for the Hazuvaat-nul. She carefully and devoutly buried the Hazuvaat-nul, and then turned around and went towards the direction of the sun, bleeding purple ichor that is her people's blood. She never returned to the embrace of Zhen'qual.
That morning, as the oasis scouts prepared to return to the Hazuvaat, one of the picked up the faint scent of blood. After a brief debate about what they should do, they decide to investigate it.
Soon enough, they find the broken body of Knixi, lying in the sand at the edge of the oasis. The scouts were unaware of the Hazuvaat-nul ritual that had occurred back at the godworm.
Discovering their youngest sister horribly maimed by the houyi spines causes distress and sorrow amongst the scouts.
One of them decides to follow the trail of dried ichor, which eventually leads him to the fallen over kaskus. There, as he smells the godworms egg that has been burrowed under the tree, it all becomes clear.
The scouts take the Knixi's body with them, as they start to fly back towards their new home, knowing that they must deliver the news of grief to the tribe, and also the knowledge that their youngest one didn't fail them in the end.
While the tribe was in the middle of discussing what to do with the defilers of their former host, the scouts from the oasis return, carrying the body of Knixi. The tribe is shocked to see the brutalized corpse of their youngest member. "What about the Hazuvaat-nul? What happened to the god egg?", asks Sadkha.
"Knixi managed to bury it in a safe place. She must have been heavily wounded at the time", responds one of the scouts.
"Good. She was successful. May the Hazuvaat bless her young soul."
The body is presented to Zhen'qual. "Blessed Hazuvaat! This young servant of yours sacrificed herself so that your child might grow in prosperous place. Please. oh mighty Zhen'qual, bless her soul, and guide it in afterlife!"
The tribe starts to prepare the mourning ritual of the dead.
Zhen'qual responds. "Your tribe has shown that you persevere, no matter how hard the task is. That is good. Knixi will be reborn anew, mark my words."
The Zu-Nul are confused. "Born again? How can that be? She never contacted your holy essence when she still lived. Her soul is lost to the desert! Eternally cursed to wander the sand ocean, in search of peace. Oh great Hazuvaat, will you truly be able to guide her back to us?"
"Her memory lives in your essences, is it not? As you connect, I can receive her memories. From that alone, I could bring her soul back. So remember her with all your might." Zhen-qual spoke.
The tribe gathers in one flesh chamber, bringing Knixi's body with them, and placing it against the slowly pulsating wall. The suzumou begin to connect with the nervous system of the Hazuvaat while the the worm flesh begins to absorb Knixi's body.
From the scraps of her personality and memories left in the minds and memories of the Zu-Nul and from the broken remains of her mind that Zhen-qual managed to extract from Knixi's body, granted the godworm the needed bits and pieces of Knixi's persona that she needed in order to recreate the mind of the young suzumou.
Well, not exactly recreate. Depending on how successful the process is, the resulting mind will only be a rudimentary amalgamation of broken scraps, of persona and memories, woven together in an attempt to recreate a dead child.
But if all goes well, this "reborn" Knixi will be just close enough to the original that the Zu-Nul will be fooled, and in the end, that is all the godworm actually needs.
Zhen'qual attempts to help the larval suzumou to weave the fragmented memories into a coherent matrix, from which the child might grow the reincarnated persona of Knixi.
The full memories won't manifest until she starts to reach adolescence, but the behavioral traits of Knixi will be deeply forged to her mind, as well as the hidden agenda of the worm.
Knixi shall be used to rally the disorganized Zu-nul, and get them to focus on acquiring the landworm.
It is warm here.
Her mind is foggy, thoughts move sluggishly...
Flashes, they return again.
Events, people...memories, they move trough her mind...
It is wet.... Thinking is hard.. the flashes continue, she is talking to someone...Who is talking? Me? Or someone else? Everything is foggy....
Her body flexes itself...she can't control her own movements...where am I? Again, the flashes....warm, dry...grits against my feet that I don't even have....bright light...the orange orb....
Pain! The flashes bring pain! Her mind and body spasm under it! So horrible, the leg she lacks is maimed! Sharp pain hits her as the spike impales her abdomen! The orb must be kept safe!
The hill moves...massive red mouth...home...
Flashes show him again....she likes him...he talks but she can't comprehend the words...
Warm loose ground....the orb must be hidden...pain makes her reel back...must move...can't stay...they would find the orb...
Voice speaks again..
"You are not ready yet. There is much that you must learn. Your time will come soon."
The voice leaves...she is sad..the voice is nice...
Need to eat...
The VeitKoburrong Steals Tribute
The hunters manage to find two Tankdonis and overpower them, suitable tributes to Zhen-qual. The scouts attempt to bring their tribute back to the Hazuvaat. They find a rogue splinter of VietKoburrong, and attempt to avoid the koburrog, as it is their highest priority to deliver their tribute back to the Hazuvaat intact. And yet the VietKoburrong managed to steal a Tankdoni corpus and some sacred weapons.
This will not stand! No one steals the tribute meant for the great hazuvaat, nor the honorblades made from the teeth of their former host! The scouts make the ritual of worm call, they attempt to summon a mature or juvenile sandworm to their aid by dancing and shrieking, causing vibrations on the ground.
The two scouts manage indeed to attract something. Their call was soon responded with vibrations that indicated the movement of an average sized worm from the south. As the vibrations got closer however, the suzumou noticed something weird in them. They reminded them of typical sandworm vibrations, but at the same time, there were strange discrepancies that they were unfamiliar with.
When the vibrations reached their position, it was clear that whatever they had called, was not a sandworm. They managed to jump in the air, just as a hungry landworm burst from the sand. The landworm do not recognize the suzumou as their allies, and thus, the ravenous creature lunges at the two flying suzumou, who curiously examine the strange worm that heeded their call. Their curiosity turns into horror, as their illusion of being out of the worm's reach is broken swiftly, when the worm hurls it's pincher tipped tongue at one of them.
The worm grabs a firm hold, and one of the scouts is dragged to the depths of the desert. The remaining one panics and starts madly flying towards it's home.
The Fire Mane Burn Themselves
"IS SUN HIGH TIME. IS HOT SAND TIME. IS HEAD SMASH TIME!" The strongest of the tribe drove forward in rage, smashing skulls with their blunt rock studded club.
This drove the smaller of the tribe to hide dressing in leaves and bones. Some to attempt to dig into the ground, making small pits to hide. Others riot torching everything adding to the chaos. This teaches the Fire Mane what burns best. Confused Koburrogs trip over holes, disguised cowards and more.
A lone koburrog falls into a burning tent wrapping it another itself. It runs screaming thru the encampment. Others see this and despite their reverence for fire spirit club it to death shrieking in terror.
By the time the chaos is over there is no encampment left. They need bedrolls, and nomad mobility. clearly they are not responsible enough to have a permanent home.
The Fire Mane has outdid its own record of bad luck! Their attempts at camouflage turns out to be an aggravating pattern for the Houyi (I told you, concentric red circles on a white background is bad!), and their traps turned to be lethal to both the target and the trap-setter (using yourself as bait is not the proper way, fellas). But hey! At least they can dig good trenches! And burn stuff!
In the end, the Fire Mane decided that stationary dwelling is too dangerous (due to riots and predators), so they made portable shelter and sleeping bags. At least they can do this right.
Hitangan village seems to be torn after the loss of some of their Ancients after the fire. A few of the Hitangan seem ready to stretch out, while the others insist on Staying and fortifying the settlement, making sure their buildings are tougher and less prone to collapse. A rather courageous Alpha named Kuasa leads his subordinates to the coastline past the mountains.
Kuasa leads his subordinates to the coast. Not all of them survive the trek through the mountains, as some of them fall prey to Houyi and land worms. However, they make a settlement close to the coastline. Starting the building process is slow at first, but they endeavor to make it work. The food sources here are more bountiful than before.
Kuasa's settlement is well on it's way and his subordinates find new food and materials. Ramels and such make for good hunting. As the settlement grows, they start to build a road around the base of the mountains back to the main village.
Kuasa's settlement is now connected to the main village by a cobbled road. goods and food begin to be traded and shared between the village and the coastal settlement.
The White Slizer
Zorastrian hunters try to fish... but they were attacked by a big albino ocean Slizer. Most of them survived with light wounds, except for one, who lost a leg.
A gathering of Lem hunters surrounded their handicapped brother on the beach where he was put to recover. He knew as well as the rest of them what this meant. He closed his eyes and let his head fall back to rest in the sand. The others drew close and raised their spears. They fell on him to a chorus of crashing waves. They devoured him under a steely sky. They absorbed his memories as if they were breathing in salty air. He made them stronger, and they resolved to face this challenge the world had thrown at them. It would make them stronger too. They would eat this creature, use its body, and learn how to do it again. First they had to prepare.
The next few days, the hunters in the south spend many hours swimming. They've found that they can use their head-tails to help propel them sufficiently. They do not require breaks for resting or breathing at the surface. They are driven to prove themselves.
The little army of Ahabs are ready to search for the white Slizer that killed their brethren. One of them turns to the others, and roused this speech:
"Brothers! Split your lungs with blood and thunder, when you see the white slizer! Break your backs and crack your arms, if you wish to prevail! This memory is what propels me... Harpoons, thrust in the sky! Aim directly at its crooked brows, and look it straight in the eyes!"
His brothers chant their battle-cry...
WHITE SLIZER, HOLY GRAIL!
WHITE SLIZER, HOLY GRAIL!
Something old awoke within the genetic memory of every single warrior gathered on the beach. Something feral and unbridled. Something that had not made itself known in even the fiercest hunts of the past several generations. Something that sprung up from darker days when their only two states of being were 'hungry' and 'killing'.
Cries, screams, roars, bellows. A furious declaration in the face of the world. If this creature was holy then their quest was to make its ferocity a part of their own. This sacrament would be spoken of for all time, eternally perfect in the genetic memory of all. The battle chorus drives the warriors into the surf, and they begin their hunt.
The sea-hunters did not see any white slizer during this hunt, but they did come upon a lone slizer, which did not react to their presence. Taking advantage of this, the sea-hunters descended upon the unlucky slizer in their rage.
The hunters return with the spear-riddled carcass of the slizer, but this does not satiate their fury. For until they find the white slizer and kill it, they will keep returning to those shores.
Last night, I had a dream. In the dream our great underground empire was only rough and ugly tunnels that were built without any quality. The fields were only muddy surfaces where the stunted Cho grew in disorder. Weak and sick walked in the corridors without any culling or control while the queen continued to bring more of them to this world. I can't let this happen to MY empire. I will mold this hole what we call home into a great lair where THERE IS NO WEAKNESS, NO SICK.. and no needless mutation. And maybe then... I can sleep my nights in peace.
These weaklings disgust me. They call themselves Foremen but in truth they are no more than grain of sand in the desert of weakness. They claim they are doing this for the hive but at the same time the results are nonexistent. I should get rid of them as soon as possible but yet i can't do it for they still have their uses. I must make the foundations true to succeed in this trial. The fields, yes. They need to be rebuilt so that i have enough food to have the great projects to come into fruition. Walls. the walls shall be true to show the greatness of the hive and make everyone understand that it is this what they are working for. The crude scribble what they call writing is fitting for these mutants but not for those that will come to succeed them. These shall be the first steps but they will not be the last.
THOSE FOOLS! I knew they were incompetent but to this decree? The fields are still horrible piles of mud and this... THIS "WRITING"! For being mindless fools they managed to at least smooth the walls some way but the result is still rough as their understanding of this world. I shall cull them.. CULL THESE FOOLS SO THAT THEY WILL CEASE TO POLLUTE MY LAIR WITH THEIR PRESENCE!
It seems this is not yet my time. The foremen at the queen were too numerous at the time for me to succeed in manipulating the offspring and i am not too eager to destroy these defects in way that would cause suspects to arise. I think... tonight will be restless one.. again.
I knew the dreams would return. In the in the nightmarish slumber they dared to mock me. ME! for trying to help my people? This ill not do. I will succeed and then i am free from these pointless dreams. Today i shall check the Queens nest again and see if i can do it today what i failed earlier. The Pusmals will be stronger and those who are not worthy will be exterminated. I will try to send some of the Foremen to expand the empire to southeast so that there would be less near the queen. Let us hope for the best...
YES! Today i achieved it! The weak and sick i sent to expand the nest died in the cave in and i managed to get the best genes to the queen. Her offspring will be strong in the future and with it our empires future will also be strong.
soon the results were showing as there were more pusmals with great physique and no harmful mutations. The weak and sick soon succumbed under the new stronger breed. But they weren't by all means perfect as they still were mere normal pusmals. In the future i should look out for those individuals who have advantageous mutations and find use for them but for now i am pleased. I hope the dreams let me sleep better in the future...
A few of the Hitangan tribe decide to migrate, in search of better shelter and hunting grounds. Lead by the Alpha named Karnak, they successfully found suitable shelter close to an oasis.
There are only large boulders and a few trees, so crude shelter is made. The workman begin to uses kaskas fronds to cover their roofs, this keeps the dwellings covered but any wind and the roofs fall apart fairly easily. It is hardly adequate for a whole tribe. Improvements will have to be made with hard labor. The plants seem to be safe to eat, but none of the growth enhancing species is found.
An ancient stares into a small fire, despairing at their bad luck, and tries to make contact with his gods, the Old Ones. At night one of the shamans has a vision. He cannot understand what he is seeing but he awakes the next morning with one thing left on his mind. War. His tribe is beset by monstrosities on all sides, clearly making them warriors. The question remains do the Alphas follow with this shamans visions, or call him a crazy Koburrog?
Kthulo and Dakkon Duel
The village elder Kthulo proposes the idea of a new age rite. While the older ones are against it the younglings are excited to prove themselves.
Dakkon in his readiness to show off takes too my of the paralytic at once. While the hrass gets him floating again, he'll never be quite the same as his younger self. The elders use this as an example of the dangers but Kthulo is the leader of the frilla speakers here. A rift forms between the Ry'lai who want to protect their young, and the young who want to show off to their parents.
In the night a loud crash can be heard across the northern forests. Many of the Ry'lai are startled awake but few dare to venture out to inspect such a thing. Better to stay hidden than to be eaten instincts have said.
In the morning the Rylai move out to investigate. Inside one of the hrass springs there is a large boulder glowing with orange cracks. Where the cracks meet the water the water is infused with an unnatural glow. More confusing is a singular Ry'lai in contact with the stone.
It is none other than the crippled youth Dakkon.
His tentacle is touching the stone and it glows a bright white. The light dances upward and then slowly dissipates. Upon Dakkon's gas sac is a strange symbol seemingly burned on, but exuding the same light that the stone is emitting on his tentacle.
He must have been here for hours...The others quickly move to pry him off. As they get closer the light flashes, blinded for a second, by the time they can see Dakkon is floating just above the stone. He says, "good morning fellows." and performs a few acrobatic maneuvers.
"How is this possible? You were so hurt by the rites."
"Nonsense, the stone has given me a second chance at life."
Other young Ry'lai try to touch the stone but each time they are singed. It seems as if the rock has no interest in them. Over the new few days Kthulo and Dakkon fall into heated arguments over the stone. Kthulo wants nothing to do with it while Dakkon thinks the rock will help the entire tribe.
Over the next few days Kthulo and Dakkon get into increasingly violent arguments, as each has people who believe in them this quickly begins to separate the northern and southern sections of the Ry'lai.
As the arguments begin anew the Frilla Speakers descend from their perches and speak thusly.
"This argument is foolish, if you so wish to cause war amongst your own people do it else where. You will fight and the loser shall leave. Never to return again."
Dakkon and Kthulo square off. They are each given a stone dagger with bark from the floating frilla trees. It might just be their mind playing tricks on them but these daggers feel much lighter than the daggers made of normal frilla bark.
As the anointed time comes the two begin their slow dance. It quickly becomes apparent that the older Kthulo stands no chance against Dakkon. Dakkon controls his jets with such precision dancing away from Kthulo's blade as it comes in. Dakkon's return strikes are quick and merciless, small cuts appear all over Kthulo but nothing lethal. Is the youth playing with the elder?
The fight drags on and the small cuts that Dakkon has made begin to show on Kthulo. He's tired and cannot fight for much longer. In desperation he lights his blade aflame and drops in altitude. As Dakkon drops to end the fight Kthulo quickly inflates his gas bladder and rams himself into the youth.
They both tumble out of the sky Kthulo's sudden play forcing the two of them to lose control. In a heap near the meteor Dakkon's marking begins to glow. He says "Do not attempt to do what you cannot Kthulo". Dakkon rises up and everyone can see that he holds two daggers. The fight is over and Kthulo is tired, shamed, and near-death.
The VKB Kidnappings
Due to the wormgod's demands, the Zu-nul send new scouts to the south. They are ordered to keep an eye out for the landworms. Zhen'qual wants to know everything about them.
The scouts wings were shredded by ambush houzi, but they were swift on feet, and the bladed talons of the houzi gave them no purchase in the sand. Escape seemed to go well until artillery Houzi began bombarding the area from a distance, one scout was lost, another injured, still they fled, and escaped the slow beasts.
Setting up camp for the night and nursing their injuries they were ambushed by VietKoburrong! The bastards were even using sacred weapons gifted from the worm! Undoubtedly stolen!
The scouts were subdued by the ambushed. When they awoke they were tied to a pole with the Ry'lai elder Kthulo, who had been missing since the raid on the Ry'lai. He bore many recent scars and was missing a limb.
Kthulo is angry and bitter. Being exiled and suffering VKB interrogation, he is convinced he has been abandoned by his people in favor of a new leader. He holds strong enough to keep Ry'lai secrets to himself, giving the VKB nothing but what they already knew. His ways will die with him, not given to barbarians.
The raid leader beats Kthulo to silence him, and then turned to the scouts shouting, "YOU TELL US WHAT YOU HERE FOR! YOU TELL NOW! NOW!" The scouts were dumbfounded they they even knew their sacred tongue. They listened to its mangled accent.
He grabbed a scout and cut its flickering tongue off. "THAT ONE NO SPEAK! YOU TALK! YOU!!!" It pointed to the next scout, already horrified that his companion would never speak to the worm again. Looking down they saw another scout already dead and missing his wings and arm.
After days of grueling interrogation, another scout is murdered and they have revealed the location of their sacred Zhen'qual. One of the scouts has used its chitinous exoskeleton to work the ropes loose.
The scout quickly helps his friend out too. After she is freed too, the scouts begin to asses the situation. They are unable to fly, as their wings have been shredded, but they must find a way out. They also decide to free the other prisoner.
As they spot the sacred dagger on the brutish infidel, grim determination sets in their mind. They move towards him, and with one sting, of their paralyzing poison, they attempt to kill him and loot the dagger. Their stings had little effect. To keep the guard quiet they choke the Koburrog to death.
The koburrog had some explosives. With a bit of poetry they spark a light and quickly escaped. A moment later there is an explosion. A few days later the scouts return to Zhen'qual with the Ry'lai elder.
The scouts are tended with care, and the one whose tongue wasn't cut out, connects to the Hazuvaat. The memories Zhen'qual extract show the brutality of these infidels. A deep hatred for these insolent creatures forms within her mind. These barbarians dare to harm the servants of the desert gods? This will not stand. However the tribe was too weak for vengeance, and the summoning ritual does not attract anything.
The strange guest the scouts brought with them is also tended by the suzumou, at least to the best of their abilities. By an off chance, one of the tenders connects to the nerve endings of the creature with her tongue, melding their minds for a moment. As the creature is alien to the suzumou, the connection isn't as clear cut as the one between the worm or other suzumou.
The Ry'lai elder Kthulo communicates surprisingly well in ideas. They learn of his displacement from the Ry'ai tribe and of his suffering, and of his race. It is determined that the worm god itself should interface with the creature.
The strange creature is brought to one of the Hazuvaat's chambers. There, his tentacles are placed upon the open nerve flesh of the wormgod. The worm peers to the mind of the floater. The worm learns all there is to know about Kthulo without mentally dominating it. The Worm knows its name and language, in turn the worm teaches Kthulo its name and language.
The Hitangan befriend the Desert and Fight the Sky
"So many threats in this desert!" sung Lembut to her subordinates, the musical language echoing off the walls. "How can we defend ourselves against the sky as well as we defend against the earth?"
This puzzled her subordinates, until one spoke up. "The houzi fires mighty spears into the sky, but they are wild and fierce"
Another sang in turn "The Houyi as well! they fire their spears at the creatures of the land!"
"Then you know what to do. Become like them, or have them become one of us" chimed Lembut. "Know that this path is dangerous. Prove your bravery to us, young ones"
The Hitangan who tried to capture the artillery houzi. It was quite aggressive against them. The beast drove off the team sent to tame, they scared the houzi with their spears. It became to be known as "The Scar Wall."
The Hitangan leave the village heavily armoured and venture off to the obsidian fields. They search for a group of crest Houyi, and rush the smallest one. They shatter its talons with their hammers and bind it tightly. One of the hitangan is killed by a spray of houyi spears in the face.
The surviving hitangan bring the still living Crest Houyi back to the Village, and begin the task of training it. They discover they can goad the Houyi into firing by shocking it.
The Cho-Wesper "Thick blood" soars overhead. And sees the Hitangan settlements which could be a source of food. Food means the Cho half of it will not dominate the creature this season. Thick blood dives the Village chain with hypersonic explosives. Houses explode and hard work is undone.
The coastal village is decimated from the attack. However the Mountains settlements fair better. Jet wesper darken the skies with their smoke trails. The Crest Houyi of the Obsidian fields shoot down much of Thick Blood's swarm. The strong walls and able fighters shield as much of the settlement they can.
In the end they are driven off. The coastal village has been depopulated but its structures still stand. The fortress and the mountain village continue with reduced numbers.
In fighting off the Jet Wespers, the Hitangan impress the Crested Houyi with their fighting spirit and prove their worthiness. Houyi become friendly to the Hitangan and follow their instructions.
Lembut sadly addressed her Village. The reports came in from the fortress and coast. The coastal village was decimated. She sent her hopeful subordinates, electing a new Alpha among them. A promising female candidate named Unggu. She was a compassionate leader, and very respectful of their new kin, the Houyi. Lembut hoped she would make sure the skies were safe for the coastal village. Thick Blood would surely come again. They would be ready.
The task of rebuilding the settlements would begin. This time, focus was given to the new heroes of the Hitangan. Houyi of both kinds were hailed as the heroes of the Hitangan. They were given their own place in their society. Veteran houyi were forged decorative ceremonial armour using metal, jewels, and obsidian.
Lembut and Kuat agreed that to keep the peace, more of the sacred denizens of the desert should be included in their society. Respect had to be paid, even to the animals they hunted for food.
The coastal village is rebuilt as good as new with towers for the Houyi. The fortress renovations have begun but are slow. The village suffers from being lowest priority but scaffolding is seen around damage buildings.
The Simidan Learn a Secret of Thick Blood
Those who have contact with the meteors start to have visions. A Simidan (Alpha Gorrirog) starts having weird dreams. In his dreams he flies beside the spirit of Thick-Blood. "Little one of the strong. Why are you here?"
"I am asleep one moment, and here flying with you the next."
"You do not fear me? Even when it is my thunder that strikes down so many down below? Even when my small wings return with their blood?"
"I do not, for I am one of the strong. We will survive."
"Your bravery needs to be rewarded. I shall whisper to you the words you need to call down my thunder."
The Gorrirog awoke with the knowledge still stored in his mind. He tries to direct a strike on a sand dune in front of him... and sure enough, a lone seed struck the dune precisely.
Simidans now have the power to call down orbital bombardment, but only when Thick-Blood is overhead. Thick-blood's orbit is roughly five weeks.
With their new "magic", the hunting becomes more successful, and the tribe thrives on the plentiful meat.
A Shipwreck from the West
A ship made of Frilla bark and covered in metal armor has washed ashore to the west of Ry'lai territory. Its crew, a dozen Lem, survived, and has made a small camp.
The Lem had made a small stockade using the wood and metal from their ship, reinforced with rocks found nearby. VKB ambush forces try to flank and throw primitive grenades at them, but they bounce off the metal armor the Lem used. Noticing the fuse, the guard Lems quickly kicked it back towards where it came from, and two VKB were blown to bits. Even though their bombs turned out not to be duds, some VKB forces had to resort to rushing with spears and shovels. The Lem then produced a metallic cylinder from behind their barricade... and thunder sprang from it. Squads of VKB were annihilated, and survivors turn tail and ran.
Unbeknownst to them, the VKB had met the fury of Onokelshan technology... and survived. Surprisingly, the VKB, who's seen enough shit, don't think it's horrifying. It's just Tuesday.
Ry'lai joined the combat with their natural firebombs. The VKB burn and die, but the strange Lem are protected by their armor. The lem looked to the sky with their Thunder tubes but did not fire. They took a few of the corpses for themselves, and dragged the rest off into a pile well outside their camp. One of the Lem stood by the pile and heaped a crate from the wreck onto the shore.
These strange shining warriors had defeated most of the annoy orange koburrogs. In fact many had been engulfed in the fires but had not fallen. These outsiders scare the Ry'lai but their meager pickings (and curiosity) get the best of them. They float down and signal in blue and green, their colors of wondering and hunger.
The meeting with the stranger went well enough. It seemed to be able to gesture with its hands and nods of its head what it wanted, and in time the Ry'Lei understood its message.
They needed a ride, they wanted to travel, and they wanted to give the corpses to the tribe, opening the crate revealed a stockpile of dried frilla and frilla seeds.
While the tribe discussed what to do amongst themselves the Lem stripped the boat in an efficient manner, quickly breaking it down into its base components then packaged it for transport. They waited.
The Ry'lai scouts gesture to only have a few visitors. They do not know if Dakkon will be pleased but the food will be welcome at the home tree, this they know.
The Western Onokelshan Lem salute the creatures, but do not follow them. They spear a map into a corpse and leave for the inland. They drag their cargo but leave the food behind.
The Ry'lai welcome Strangers
As the Ry'lai return home bearing much food Dakkon is hesitant to celebrate. He is quick to bear down on the returning scouts. He needs to know what happened. Why his people had to reveal themselves. In the end even Dakkon is hungry. He had been cutting back his rations so that others could eat as well. With all this new food everyone will be content for a while.
This news of shiny blue men is worrying for Dakkon. What did they want of this place. Their homes were safe from the ground but as they flew ever higher their weaknesses have become more apparent.
Wespar storms have become more dangerous as have cho fire storms. Luckily the frillas have kept the Ry'lai safe for the time being but without a means to fight back Dakkon knows the skies are not safe. Safer than the ground yes, but not safe...
He makes the decision to bring his home to the strange men. Perhaps a show of strength would help bring them to his side... The frilla speakers and Dakkon need to first convince their homes that this is a wise course.
The Trees disagree and Dakkon grows frsutrated with his home. Though he knows they are wise, they are slow beings. They do not see a point in rushing with ample food. Dakkon however is adamant. He tries once again to bring the trees to his point of view. He points out that the Wespar storms are just as dangerous as they ever were. If these visitors could withstand their poisons and flames perhaps there was more they did not know. Dakkon does not like asking for help but if he doesn't he knows that the day could come when all his people have done could be lost.
This time when he flashes to the trees his symbol pulsates as well. The sky rock's influence convinces the Frilla that his plan was valid.
The Frilla Trees move sluggishly toward the Western Lem's camp. After talking and negotiations the Ry'lai convince the Lem to board their trees and travel with them. The Lem store their cargo on a tree provided. They give more food. Most of the Lem suffer from dehydration and go into suspended animation to conserve themselves.
The Ry'lai remind the Lem of the Western Nad'lun tribe, and so teach them the Nad'lun Sign Language to communicate. These Lem call themselves Onokelshan of the Enclave, an alliance of Western Tribes. They were experimenting with sea travel exploring lands beyond their borders when they were caught in a terrible storm. With their ship wrecked and so few of them active, they only wish to become friendly with the local tribes in hopes of paving the way for their kin.
By helping these splitting blue things Dakkon could be ensuring his people a more stable future. He asks for time to consult with his homes. They've been good to his people and to him.
The Ry'lai Discover VooDoo
Dakkon dreamt of a gigantic web that encompasses everything. He can see these threads that bind creatures and plants together... and then he realizes he can pick up these threads. A small figurine of a Koburrog appears in one of his hand-tentacles. He picks up a Koburrog's thread and pulled a junction out of it, and tied the end of that junction to the figurine. Then he poked the figurine in the stomach, and he realized that the Koburrog bowled over.
Ry'lai now knows something akin to voodoo doll magic.
As Dakkon comes to realize he can control others he begins to become worried. If his people use this power what will happen. The tribe of the mega frilla have a meeting called. Dakkon brings up the topic of their new powers. Many have agreed to having the strange dreams, but many still are confused as to what they mean. It seems as if the frilla speakers have had more vivid dreams. Perhaps their focus on the trees slower train of thought allows them to piece together more of the web of life.
Dakkon set his speakers out to see what they can do. Over the next few weeks as they bring the Lem north they will experiment. Dakkon decides to keep his new discovery a secret, who knows how the Lem will react.
The stupid orange koburrogs seems to cut from the web of life. Their actions lacking the will to survive, it seems all they wish to do is fight, burn, and pillage.
The large people of the black rocks however, they can be played with. The speakers decide that their first attempts should be something minor. They tap on a few of the heads of the hitangan, from their web view the men fall over.
The black people of the desert seem less connected than their brethren. They march to the beat of their own drums creating industries the Ry’lai cannot even fathom. The speakers who attempt to twang on their threads find them surprisingly resilient. Maybe one or two of the Simidan will feel the strange push of the voodoos. At the same time playing with them gives these speakers the feeling something is watching them. A strange feeling for a race accustomed to seeing everything in their area.
The wasp people of the wurms, the speakers have heard stories that they used to eat their young. How curious to see so few strands connected so many times. One in particular seems to be connected to all of its people many times over, and what is this a tentouz in their web. The speaker who is watching the zu-nul gathers intelligence instead of playing. He does however whisper to the heavily connected individual, “Don’t believe Kthulo’s lies.”
Zhen'qual's thoughts are interrupted by a strange sensation. It reminds her of the feeling she gets when she connects with the suzumou worshiping her, but this new sensation is also different. Instead of coming from inside her chambers, it comes from somewhere far away. It is like someone is trying to whisper something to her. To manipulate her. Lies, something about lies. This whispering also reminds her of the way their blimp like guest's mind felt.
Someone, or something is trying to play with her mind. Furiously, she attempts to pinpoint the source of this trickery. No one enters the mind of the Hazuvaat uninvited!
The mind of the speaker that travels underground finds a web sticking to the walls like tar. One section of the web has a singular strand connecting it to the rest of its heavily connected people. The speaker grows curious and finds an odd individual at the end of it. When the person tries to do something the speaker pushes the figure around a bit. The speaker has no idea what this actually does but he finds it amusing.
The small green koburrog do not seem like the ones that attacked the Ry’lai from before. Their web is loose but they clearly move to support life, unlike their cousins. The speaker here gets an idea. In the web space he tries to conjure a flame. With some effort he brings a tiny flame to life. When one of the creatures is isolated he lights the figure aflame. The figure burns up and the web is lost, but the speaker has no idea what the real world significance is.
The first collective use of the webway takes its toll on Dakkon. The mental strain finally forces his gas bladders to finally give out. He has made plans for his passing as he and the trees have known about it for some time. He is lowered into one of the recycling tanks of his beloved mega frilla. Instead of being reprocessed like most things the mega tree begins the process of merging Dakkon's neural patterns to their slow electric minds. As his last breaths the frilla speakers gather and quickly mumble to each other. His symbol disappears in front of their very eyes. The fiber optic like vines of the frilla snake into his body and Dakkon is no more.
The Hitangan revere the God Worm
The Hitangan attempt to prove to the suzumou that they respect the Sand Worms they revere. They are careful not to bring any carapaces from the sand worms on their mission of diplomacy.
The Ancients deem it wise not to have everything in this continent against them. It seems wisdom has tempered their fury
The envoys who set off to make peace with the suzumou never returned. The Ancients fear they were killed. Knowing that the suzumou worship the sand worms, the Ancients push to remove all traces of the worms carapaces from their village. They hope they are not too late to prevent disaster.
When Zu-Nul scouts managed to reach the old host's husk, and found that parts of it were missing. Evidence and tracks suggest Gorrirog interference! The scouts return with this information successfully, and relayed it to the sisters. In return, the sisters inform Zhen'qual. Zhen'qual replies: "It is as I suspected... the brutes do dare to defile us. Defiling us makes them infidels. You know what to do with infidels."
For a long time the hitangan have tried to contact the Zu'Nul. They have avoided the worms, discontinued using carapaces, trying desperately to form some connection with the followers of the godworm. A party is sent out with offerings of well-cooked spiced meat, Obsidian jewelry, and small statuettes of the sand worms.
The Zu-nul have intentionally avoided contact with the Hitangan, for multiple reasons, such as fear, mistrust and the suspicion that the gorrirogs had defiled their sacred former home.
The emissary party is spotted long before they manage to reach the hidden place where the Hazuvaat rests. As they continue to approach, the Zu-nul decide to send a group of hunters and warriors to intercept them, so that they can't find their god. They fear that the gorrirogs might attempt to harm Zhen'qual.
Upon reaching the emissaries, the suzumou attempt to intimidate them to back off. Of course, seeing that the suzumou are about tall enough that their heads reach the hips of the gorrirogs, this intimidation works as well as one would expect. They are yet to notice the gifts the emissaries bear.
The Hitangan fail to reach them with their language. Since they believe themselves to be safe, they drop their weapons and armour, and attempt to present the gifts to them. They gesture using their sign language slowly and carefully. They kneel to the ground and present the offerings to the Zu'Nul
The Hitangan desperately want to prove to the Zu'nul that they have learned to respect their God. though probably not understood by the suzumou, the Hitangan gesture that they quit using carapaces for the sake of peace.
The gifts are investigated with reserved curiosity. The small statuettes especially catches the interest of the suzumou. Soon enough, they are all fixated on them, studying them intensely.
The suzumou have no concept of art, sculptures or music, and seeing these small rendition of their god is almost mind blowing to them. They almost ignore the other gifts, as they focus on the statues.
After a while, one of them starts to ferry one statuette back to the Hazuvaat, for the rest of the tribe to see. The rest of the suzumou start chirping and flashing varied bioluminescent patterns on their wings. This communication is of course not understood by the tall emissaries.
The suzumou begin to investigate the rest of the gifts.
The jewelry is much less appreciated by the suzumou than the statues were, to them, these objects only seem like touched up stones. The meat however, is liked by the scouts. The taste is new to them, and they almost eat it all on the spot.
The suzumou gesture with hands, towards the mountains. They attempt to convey that the emissaries should now leave. The suzumou are now more curious about these strange tall creatures, than they are afraid of them.
As the suzumou who ferried the statuette back to his tribe returns, he brings slices of dried meat to the gorrirogs along with a carved tooth of the wormgod. The suzmou place their gifts to the ground, pick up what the Hitangan brought to them, and leave.
The Hitangan taste the meat that the Zu'Nul offered them. they take the carved tooth. Perhaps they will bring it back with them next time they try, they decide.
Before the Hitangan leave, they leave one of their spears for the Zu'Nul. They then take off. Not the most spectacular success but the ice is broken.
As the Hitangan return to camp, Lembut is informed that the Statues were a success. They suggest building a better one.
The gifts of the Hitangan become quite popular, especially the small statues of the godworm. The suzumou begin to place these statues inside the storage chambers, as guardians. They also place them in other places, such as atop of the rock formation which surrounds the Hazuvaat.
The Hitangan create a fairly large Statue by the oasis. It depicts the gigantic god worm, and several gorrirogs bowing before it. It's not the most impressive statue, but the Hitangan learn a few valuable techniques about using tools to shape rocks. It is carried out to the end of the oasis closest to the Zu'nul by a Hitangan subordinate designated to be the "emissary of the worm". he sets it down, and blows his worm horn into the air for the Suzumou and worms to hear. HE then quickly flees the area. Worm horns are meant to draw worms after all!
After a few weeks, a strange noise is heard from the oasis. The scouts sent to investigate it, along with a juvenile sandworm discover the statue made by the Hitangan tribe. The suzumou are awestruck by the sculpture. The young worm can get the general idea of what is standing in front of it, through its echolocation abilities.
The scouts inform the rest of the tribe about the sculpture. Many other also visit it, and share the memories of it with Zhen'qual. The Zu-nul begin to warm up to their bulky neighbors and even the godworm starts to consider other options than eventually destroying the defiling infidels.
Kuat Rebuilds The Scar Wall
Kuat faces a big challenge trying to calm and earn the trust of the Scar Wall. Offerings go ignored and several attempts to butcher him alive are made. Kuat tries hard to prove they he is the equal of the Scar Wall.
am.Kuat has faced the Scar wall Many times, each time offering it meats, herbs and showing it the houyi they have developed a relationship with. AS he draws close, the Scar Wall fires at him and cleaves through his armour, tearing most of his arm off. Kuat retreats, disgraced.
Kuat, Fitted with a hammer arm prosthesis charges Scar wall in a fit of rage. This beast showed no appreciation, or respect for him or his tribe. He would punish it! With a mighty blow Kuat shattered Scar Wall's support talon on his rear foot. The beast tumbeled down. Kuat crawled on his head and smashed its face, destroying several of its eyes and knocking out its teeth. Scar Wall was broken. It would take much effort and prostetics to create a new support talon for the beast before it would be of use to the tribe.
Lembut and Unggu are furious with Kuat for what he did to the great Houzi. Unggu herself leaves the coast to come to the fortress and tend to the warrior beast. She attempts to forge a thick support leg so that the great warrior may stand again. Unggu creates a solid platform that is strapped to the back crest of the Scar Wall. It promises greater stability, at the cost of mobility. As they test it out, Unngu makes it clear to Kuat that they are bonded. As the Hitangan care for the houyi, Kuat will care for The Scar Wall.
Kuat has spent much time training with The Scar Wall. He forges a special set of armour. He plans to use The Scar Wall as a living war machine. Various handles and thick plates ensure that The Scar Wall can be swiftly and safely maneuvered. The bracing leg is augmented with wheels adapted from the mining carts. Kuat has become adept at the firing pattern of this great beast. the Mystics of the fortress venerate and lavish upon this hero of the Hitangan.
The Hitangan meets the Hu-Raan
When the Hitangan first showed up outside of their walls, a panic took over in the town. They had traveled to the plains up north to escape the dangers once faced in the desert. And now what they had gotten away from have found them again! Guards clad in armor made of ramel shells stand at the gate, and numerous citizens throw broken bricks in the direction of their perceived "invaders".
Whatever the Hitagnan do to communicate that they come peacefully, the Hu-raan don't buy it.
The Hu'Raan probably don't take kindly to an armed group. The Hitangan hastily drop their offerings and leave before there is any fighting. "Should have made a statue for them," they quip.
After the Hitangan left, the jewelry was found. Some of the Hu-raan think that those Gorirrogs may have been peaceful after all. With finding the offerings, nearly all of the Hu-raan believe that they were too hasty in their judgements.
The jewelry becomes a thing that hu-raan lust for. Many of the hu-raan clamor to let the mysterious beings in again. It seems that fashion is becoming a thing for the tiny koburrog, some of the master craftsmen have taken to embedding the jewelry into their clothes as a sign of status, their patterns draw the jealously of many worker hu-raan. When the Hitangan arrive for a second time, it is a surprise, but the Hu-raan are willing to listen. A small group is sent to retrieve the gift from their larger cousins. An emissary is sent back with them to learn their language and customs.
The Hitangan have great difficulty teaching the Hu'Raan emissary their languages. They treat him as an honoured guest, even though there is a great boundary between them. In time Keanil, the Hu-raan emissary, learned the Hitangan's spiritual beliefs.
The Hitangan agree to show Keanil how to forge metal weapons, in exchange for their knowledge of explosives.
"War will come to our doorsteps. it has been revealed to us" Lembut says, addressing her subordinates and the emissary. "Our allies the Houyi have battled for ages with the blade runners. A time will come when we will aid our guardians as they have aided us. Together we will win the war for the side of the Houyi!"
Keanil himself does not know about the explosives himself, so he returns to To'kwar with one of the groups heading north to aid with the reconstruction of Era'mark. With him is brought the sign language and spirituality of the Hitangan. Agreements are made to trade knowledge of metal and explosive. They also offer to teach the tribe of gorrirogs their language, spoken and written.
To show their gratitude for assisting the reconstruction, the Hu-raan offer assistance in the conflict which the Hitangan will soon get into. Many of the volunteers for this happen to be from the population of former VietKoBurrong. It'll be odd, fighting beside former enemies, but things have changed since back then.
The Hitangan bring loads of metal to trade with, and designate an emissary of their own. They elect an upcoming Alpha named Harimau to lead trade and negotiations between the people. Unfortunately, Hitangan have never been exposed to written language of any sort. Learning is exceptionally slow.
Harimau's men cannot make much headway with the Hu'Raan Writing. The only fortunate part is that the Hitangan have an easy time carving duplicates of characters that the Hu'Raan teach them. Eventually Harimau sends for one of the mystics to join them. Being the spiritual leaders and the wisest of the Hitangan, He hopes they can help.
With the help of the mystic, Harimau finaly understands the written language of the Hu'Raan. He plans to use this to send messages and post signs for travellers. The mystic feels it would be a good idea to write the history of their people, and the teachings of their spirits. Harimau returns to the Capital with his cadre to share this wisdom.
The nymphs rest within one of the flesh chambers. Right now, their only job is to grow bigger. The nectar of the worm and the dried meat are great sources of nutrition for these young creatures. One of them however, does not rest.
Her mind is in motion, strange thoughts and experiences flood it. Knixi...that is her name, or at least she thinks it is. The nymphs only get named when they reach adolescence....how can she know this? For weeks now, she has felt more and more disconnected from her peers. So simple, curious, ignorant. She knows things....somehow, she knows how to fly, though her wings are jet too frail to carry her. She knows how to walk upright, jet her legs and body are ill suited for it.
How can she know this? She doesn't have a clue. There is something buried within her mind, she can feel it. She sees the flashes when she sleeps. Dreams, dreams of her, or herself...she can't tell for sure. She is different in the flashes, but jet, she feels the same as her. These dreams feel like a life she, or someone like she had lived...
Her pondering is interrupted when an adolescent suzumou enters the chamber. He is carrying dried meat, it's scent wakes the nymphs from their slumber. They swarm the young male, who hastily throws the meat to the fleshy floor of the chamber. She doesn't join the fray. She doesn't wish to start fighting over the scraps of meat. This catches the attention of the male.
"What's the matter young one? Are you sick? Why aren't you eating?"
The male...seems strangely familiar... His scent, the pigment of his skin, it is as if she had seen him before...but where..?
Suddenly, the male also becomes equally perplexed. He kneels closer to her and starts studying her face.
"What is this? You seem to resemble...could it really be you Knixi? Zhen'qual, did she succeed in guiding you back to us? Praised be! Can you remember me? It is me, Chirrin your friend!"
She bows her head, unsure of how to respond to these questions. The male seems familiar, but from her dreams. What could this mean?
"I must find out if it is really you!" the male proclaims, and opens his jaws.
His nerve tipped tongue emerges, and wraps around hers. Suddenly, a flood of information, memories and thoughts are passed between the two, and as the exchange goes on, deep sensation of joy builds up within Chirrin.
"Praise the Hazuvaat! Zhen'qual brought you back! We thought you would be forever lost to the desert winds!"
He flies out of the chamber, while announcing that "Knixi has returned, the godworm brought her back!"
Knixi is left in the chamber, confused by the experience. Where had she returned from?
They hold a great feast and praise Zhen'qual for this miracle. Knixi herself becomes more confused. The fact that her dreams are memories from her previous life hasn't yet occurred to her.
Chirrin has started taking care of her, as she seems to relax in his presence. He is almost an adult by know, but her the the mental connection to him is quite strong due to the infused memories. She feels more comfortable around him, than with the other nymphs.
The Mad Architect Mossirai
Slowly but steadily, the small Koburrog town grows. They start to call it "To'kwar," derived from their words for "clay" and "haven."
As for the paper, they managed to make sheets of hrass, but they are incredibly delicate, and must be replaced every couple of weeks due to deteriorating quickly.
Instead of expanding out some enterprising hu-raan have tried to expand upwards. The master architect tries to stack a building on top of another and while standing on a new pile of clay rubble yells that he has had a great success. As the foreman becomes excited about his new ideas and his tower he pushes the hu-raan to build quickly. The first floor and second floor go up with almost nothing out of the ordinary. However, the foreman is driven with what can only be considered an insane idea among the architects of the hu-raan. MORE FLOORS. As construction begins on the 4th floor something comes rumbling from below...
All the frenzied construction has called forth a wurm. The Koburrog haven't seen one in while but they know what to do when they feel it. Most evacuate but the foreman is trapped in his tower still trying to figure out how to get higher, HIGHER!
The aftermath isn't so bad. The tower collapses and many of the hu-raan are hurt, but not killed. The only real loss is the foreman, but his hut is plastered in stone tablets with very detailed plans for a many floored tower.
The architect was old, and his mind wasn't always with him in those days. When it came time to clean out his old hut, it was found that it contained piles and piles of stone slabs with blueprints carved on them. Looking at some of the more recent plans, it became apparent why his tower fell: Even if the landworm didn't do the damage it did, the structure itself was lacking proper weight-bearing support for something its size.
The blueprints were collected, but the paranoid architect encrypted them. For weeks, the Hu-raan architects try to break the cyphers of the late Head-Architect Mossirai.
During this time some Hu-Raan move to colonize the edge of the north frilla forest. Potential new architects follow with their own solutions to the buildings flaws.
Tragedy strikes! One of the new building's flaws became apparent when it slowly leaned and crashed onto another multi-story building, and the resulting domino effect caused most of the new settlement to be destroyed. Only one multi-story building stood triumphant, its trapezoid shape firmly defends it against the other buildings.
The news of the new town's collapse is tragic news, but as it has always been for the Koburrog, tragedy heralds opportunity. Survivors return to To'kwar so they can recuperate, and then head back out to rebuild. The new settlement becomes known as Era'mark, or One Tower.
The Hu-Raan Welcome VKB Deserters
With dust from the collapsed tower having yet to settle, guards spot a group of 30 koburrogs wearing the greens of VietKoBurrog. The koburrogs plead, "Don't attack man! We fragged our C.O., we want out of the shit! So damn tired of being hunted, seeing our friends killed... we just want a quiet life"
Another koburrog screams, "YOU LET US IN! YOU LET US IN NOW! WE HAVE TEACHINGS! WE SHARE! FAIR TRADE YES?"
This is an interesting development indeed. The leaders of the Hu-raan gather to discuss this new matter. They know who the former Fire Mane are, and what they've done in the past. The Hu-Raan left the desert searching for a better life. It seems that these VietKoBurrog now want out of a life of constant raiding.
VKB deserters were allowed to mix with the Hu-Raan, but some Hu-Raan still eye them with suspicion. It was after they shared the information of explosives that the Hu-Raan begin to accept them more openly.
The Zu-Nul Reach Out to the Hitagan
The hunter groups on the other hand have spotted how the Hitangan farmers carry water in strange containers. Even though they are no longer as cautious of their tall and bulky neighbours, the gorrirogs are still extremely intimidating to the child sized suzumou. Some of the bravest hunters drags his kill towards the farmer settlement and when some of the gorrirogs come closer to investigate, he attempts to convey his willingness to trade the kill for some of the water pots.
The hitangan oasis farmers see the Zu'Nul and come to inspect it. It seems to be offering us some meat? At last! they have reached out to us!
It takes some time for the Hitangan to figure out what the suzumou want, but they eventually realize that they want the water pots. The farmers give over almost all the metal pots happily. It's not exactly a fair trade, but the ancients have been trying to strengthen relations with the Zu'Nul for ages! After all, they can always make more.
The Zu-nul hunter gladly accepts the pots.
Over time, the Zu-Nul and Hitangan begin trusting each other more. The Zu-Nul sent their first daughter Knixi who has developed under the genetic guidance of Zhen'qual.
Harimau encounters the suzumou emissary Knixi. "A Nu'Zul? Among us? Bless this day! They have reached peace with us at last!" He bows deeply to the ambassador of the suzumou, and returns to his work with Keanil.
As Knixi learns to understand the speech of the Hitangan, she begins to ask questions. Questions about everything, buildings, food, stories, people. The presence of the houyi makes her extremely uncomfortable. Sometimes, when she hears the signature sound of the houyi spine fire, she becomes extremely tense.
An Ambassador is elected amongst the Hitangan. one of the mystics is chosen, and given the knife of the sandworm once granted to their people by the Zu-nul. The mystic Jambu, who felt as though the worms were the bringers of life and death, she was the one chosen. Her reverence for the worms would make her ideal for this task. The ambassador is granted a sand burrow for her personal use. The suzumou are somewhat suspicious, though they appreciate how she reveres the sandworms.
Zhen'qual Develops her Spawn
The Zu-nul send a new pair of scouts to investigate the plains. They will try figure out the behavioral patterns of the landworms, so that they might capture one for their god. They managed to take high aerial reconnaissance of the plains, and saw patterns in the ground... landworm tracks! They have also figured out that one of the tracks lead to the desert, while the others seem to lead towards the south and southeast.
After many failed attempts, the scouts happen across a severely injured male. They begin to drag him back to Zhen'qual.
Tankoni attack and the scouts defeat them soundly. They tend to landworm and even attempt to feed it chunks of the dead Tankoni. It eats very little and is grows weak. One of the scouts notices an exposed nerve cluster not dissimilar to that of a godworm.
The scout touches the mind of the beast. Though its violent instincts, he can feel that the worm is dying. Its final thoughts are the sperm capsule it had yet to drop in its territory. The worm is dead and the scouts mission seems a failure.
The desperate scouts have a blasphemous idea. They cut open the worm and extract three intact sperm capsules. They split into three teams so that they have a greater chance of returning to Zhen'qual unmolested.
One team makes it home without incident, the other two encounter VKB and desert predators, but return home with their capsule and their causalities.
The surviving scouts are met with praise when they return. By managing to acquire the sperm capsules of the landworm, they manage to surprise the mighty Zhen'qual herself, who had thought the Zu-nul to be too incompetent and unfocused without a proper wormborn to lead them.
Zhen'qual devours the first capsule and orders the remaining two to be stored away. She immediately starts up her egg production by inseminating few of her eggs with this new seed. With any luck, at least some of them might gain some beneficial traits.
Zhen'qual senses clearly that one of the her hybrid spawn will not be viable. She quickly reabsorbs the deformed spawn's egg, and funnels more of her strength to the development of the remaining two.
One of them shows great potential. The other, while not as exceptional as its sibling, is still viable enough to be worthy of nurturing. She starts to infuse her memories to the minds of her spawns, so that they would be more prepared to the dangers of the desert, and thus, more likely to survive and spread their genes. The two larvae receive Zhen'qual's memories... but not all of them. Some were lost or muddled due to chemical errors, but not much.
As time goes on, Zhen'qual lays her eggs, but due to an order from the godworm herself, the Hazuvaat-nul ritual is not conducted. She wishes to monitor the development of these larvae, and only release them to the desert when she is sure that they are strong enough to survive.
Zhen'qual keeps monitoring her two hybrid children with the aid of the suzumou. One of them is doing quite well, growing in size and intelligence daily. It has the more efficient vibratory muscles of the landworms, their grabbing tongue beak and structurally lighter, but still extremely resilient shell, while still retaining the sandworm intelligence and sleek body type. The young worm can move faster than most of it's peers trough the sand.
The other larva isn't doing as well. It has the complete body type of the landworms, making its movements slower in the sand, as the hard metallic bumps covering its shell only cause drag in the already loose soil. Not to mention that it's growth is far slower than it's siblings.
Zhen'qual attempts to figure out a way how to make her second child thrive. She could always order the suzumou to carry it back to the plains, the increased intelligence of the larvae might allow it to compete against the native landworms, but she has her doubts about it.
Zhen'qual monitors the development of her smaller child. The amplified electric abilities might prove to be useful. She still keeps this child nearby, but the time for the bigger one to leave has dawned. It is already large enough to fend for itself, and with the aid of the godworm's knowledge, it should be able to survive just fine.
No sooner does her eldest leave when a savage spear of fire and thunder strikes the fledgling child. Thickblood! The worm burrows before the jet wesper can finish him off. He retreats back to his mother, injured badly.
The child is beyond the help of the people. The younger child not recognizing his weaken sibling savagely attacks it, killing it and securing its legacy over that of its brother. It begins to consume him which facilitates its growth. After feasting for days, it rapidly grows larger than his dead and eaten brother.
Zhen'qual is impressed by the ruthlessness that the smaller child exhibited. That ruthlessness will allow it to survive in the desert, where others would perish. It is time to send the young electric sandworm away.
The second child carves its own niche in the desert, and that is by becoming an efficient top-tier hunter. It would utilize a plethora of strategies that uses its electric powers, like sensing them using both static feedback and tremorsense to locate prey
The Web Seers
Those gifted in the webway are now web seers. They serve as healers for the Ry'lai and as a general proximity warning force for the flock. They have even begun experimenting on using their powers for harm and help on species beneath their mighty flying city.
The web seers become talented healers, their minds far too in tune with the suffering of the world to cause more harm. They are pacifists and wouldn't use their gift for violence. Perhaps in time a separate sect of web seers will develop. In the mean time the webseers heal many but their group efforts have burned them out. Most of them take time to tend to sick or elderly Ry'lai, avoiding more strenuous non-Ry'lai creatures.
The toll of learning from their powers takes a number on the younger webseers. They effectively burn out. Their connection to the webway is more or less lost to them. While they can still encourage sickness to heal faster they can no longer “see” the fates of others, just a feeling of familiarity while healing. Fal’kest heads up trying to recruit more webseers, the methodology for discovering those with good websight is still fairly unclear. Most of the current webseers were volunteered and some may still be hiding their powers.
A large portion of Ry'lai have an affinity for the webway. Some can cause pain and harm. If enough concentrate on an individual, it can die. These Ry'lai have grey war paint and appear to be using the webways to augment their dagger play. Since their frilla daggers come from a living thing the blades appear to dance in ways that should not be physically possible. Combined with their innate flame spouting the grey Ry'lai seem to be giving their lem sparring partners a run for their money.
The Ry'lai accept a Foreign Alliance
After the Ry'lai elder Dakkon's death, the Western Lem were still quiet observers. They began documenting knowledge for themselves. They tracked the Frilla Tree's travels, the new creatures of the Central Continent, and the Ry'lai technology. They taught the Ry'lai the Enclave standard Sign and Written language.
The Lem cycle between hibernation and activation. They observe, patrol, guard their cargo, and construct odd things such as the Ta'mirel Glider.
The council calls a meeting with them. It is time the council learned what plans the Enclave has with the north, for not even Dakkon bothered to learn what they wanted in his life time.
The Onolkeshan Lem are patient, and long lived in their own strange way. With some hesitation one Lem speaks
"Our cousins, the Ta'mirel, had a vision of a Nightmare Spirit bringing the greatest and last war to ever be. They created the Enclave to prepare a great fighting force against the Nightmare Spirit in the Tomorrow War.
"This sounds insane, but they were able to bring together Frowgmen and Lem together under one banner. The Enclave, spearheaded by the Ta'mirel, distributed resources, food, and technology among themselves.
"For our tribe, the Onolkeshan, we entered into the Enclave in hopes of gaining new Knowledge. We revere Knowledge of all kinds and guard it closely. But our leaders betrayed us in greed. They ignored our Laws and freely traded our Knowledge away. This soured our relationship in the Enclave. Our fine ships were gained by trading with an outside Hoppa Tribe and combining it with our own metalworks. In any event, our future in the Enclave is uncertain.
"Since you are our only allies in this land, we wish to help you. You have been great hosts to us strangers. And we wish to bless you with Enclave Knowledge. However we can not give such Knowledge unless you make pledges to the Enclave.
"We respect the Enclave and its Knowledge, which for the time is our own, and won't allow it to be given freely."
The Ry'lai council holds a meeting within the great chambers of Alc'mund. Within they converse with each other and with the mind of the tree. consensus is reached when most of the Ry'lai and the tree are pulsing with the same opinion (communication by light must be so pretty). After an entire night of debate the Ry'lai have come to a decision. The council heads off to the Lem to tell them what they have decided.
Saki, Urza, and Fal'kest sign to the Lem, "Our people would like to join the Enclave. While we cannot heal you it has become apparent that we can save the lives of many wounded. Along with that we can offer our homes to any who need a safe place."
The enclave will have a new ally on this day for the war which marches ever onwards. The council leave the Lem to their doings knowing that no matter what comes in the future they will have strong allies.
Knixi is sent to the Hitangan
The time for Knixi to fulfill her first mission is at hand. She will go to the Hitangan tribe, and serve as an ambassador. She will learn from the gorrirogs, so that the godworm might asses their usefulness. So far, her mind has been relatively stable, despite the numerous mental re-programmings she has undergone.
The cool humid air of the storage burrows washed over Knixi's body, as she descended to these underground chambers. These burrows provided her with some sense of privacy, privacy that she desperately needed right now. Zhen'qual had talked to her. Finally, everything was clear. The years of confusion and uncertainty were finally over. Her path had been made clear by the Hazuvaat.
She had to leave.
It had been almost five years since she emerged from the wormflesh as a fledgling nymph. During these five years, the dreams continued, and intensified. Her pre-born experiences granted her knowledge and intelligence her peers lacked. Eventually, she was made aware of the fact that she had died, and the dreams were her memories from her past life.
At first, she was understandably shocked, but the information also explained so much. Over time, the dreams started to merge into her own persona, as if she had truly experienced them. This process was aided by Chirrin, who was the only clear link between her past memories and current self. Under his care, she grew stronger and wiser.
It was not to last however. When she started nearing adolescence, Zhen'qual's blessings started manifesting themselves. She grew bigger, stronger and smarter than her peers, and no longer did she resemble the girl in her dreams. This dissonance between her memory self and true self caused her to question her own identity. Due to these wormborn traits, she also started drifting away from Chirrin, as every day the past memories became even more muffled, her identity, more obscured. Chirrin attempted, but failed to help her, as he himself was equally lost when witnessing his childhood friend suddenly changing this way. The tribe started preparing her to claim the place of the ruling council of sisters, as she clearly bore the traits of the wormseer.
The tittle of the wormseer wasn't destined for her however. When the scouts discovered the holy capsules, Zhen'qual started speaking to her. Every time she communed with the Hazuvaat, she could feel the thoughts of the godworm pouring to her feeble mind. Desires, goals, motivations... they all were slowly infused to her mind. Soon enough, she too shared the desire for knowledge that Zhen'qual had. As time went on, her identity became stronger. She was meant to serve Zhen'qual. The changes to her form were intended to help her fulfill her tasks better. No longer did she feel as one with the dream self. The Knixi of the her dreams was young, naive and adventurous, while the true Knixi was infused with knowledge from the Hazuvaat.
The last communion with the godworm had finally made everything clear, the pieces of the puzzle had fallen in their place, and only clarity remained. Her purpose in life, her destiny was to aid Zhen'qual to learn more about this world. The Hazuvaat commanded her to leave the tribe, join up with the neighboring gorirrogs and learn what there is to learn from them, before returning back to Zhen'qual and sharing the obtained knowledge.
She retreated to the storage chambers, so that she could meditate, and prepare herself for that what lied ahead. The hardened sand felt cold against her clawed feet. She started gathering supplies for the trip to the Hitangan territory, mostly dried gillworms, into a pouch.
A worm-statue gifted by the bulky creatures sat at the opposing wall, guarding this chamber. It was clear that there was much that could be learned from the gorirrogs. These statues showed that these infidels could perhaps serve the godworms too.
Her thoughts were disrupted when she felt someone entering the chamber. It was Chirrin. A strange sensation that she had already experienced this crossed her mind. She put the pouch to the floor and gazed at her guest. The patterns on his wings indicated feelings of sorrow and anger.
"So it's true then. Why are you doing this?"
"Leaving. Sadkha told us."
"Because it is my destiny."
"How? How can it be your destiny?"
"Zhen'qual has dictated it so. I must help her to learn from the Hitangan."
"What could the infidels teach us? We have done fine by ourselves! We have built wells, hunted, raised plants and water worms without the help of the outsiders. What could you learn from them?"
"Jet it is clear that they know things that we do not. The statue behind you was made by our neighbors, was it not? Zhen'qual must gain the knowledge the Hitangan have, and I will be her agent in this task. I was made for this."
"No! You were brought back to us! You were reborn Knixi! Why would the mighty Hazuvaat bring you back only to change you so utterly?"
"You praise Zhen'qual in the same sentence in which you doubt her wisdom. What is that you want from me Chirrin? Zhen'qual guided me back from the desert winds, isn't that what all of you hoped?"
"..Yes, but you are not the Knixi I knew."
"She wouldn't abandon her friends, her family and her home like this. She wouldn't speak like you do."
"Perhaps you are correct...It might be that your friend really did die back then, and that I am just a close imitation of her, or perhaps the blessed Zhen'qual decided to turn me into something far greater than I used to be. Pondering this is pointless Chirrin. What is done is done. And besides, Zhen'qual has granted us an eternity during which we can get to know each other again."
"No. You are the eternal one. You are the wormborn. You are the one Zhen'qual will bring back to life. The rest of us will just join her spirit upon death."
"But isn't that the eternity I mentioned? Eternal communion with each other an the Hazuvaat in the afterlife, isn't that what we all desire?"
"No- Yes...I..Please don't leave Knixi, I..we can't bear to loose you again. The infidels don't know our ways, they might kill you outright. We are different from them, how could you live amongst the defiling brutes?"
"I do not know, but Zhen'qual will protect me from harm. It is touching to see how much you care, but I am afraid that the time for me to go has dawned."
" ..But-!" she interrupts Chirrin by grabbing his hand, and slipping out her neural tongue, which connects with his one.
"No more words Chirrin, everything that can be said has already been said. You can't change that which is dictated by the Hazuvaat. Know that I am not abandoning you, I will return with knowledge that will benefit the whole tribe", with these thoughts and reassuring emotions she disconnects from him, picks up her pouch and starts walking from the chamber.
"Farewell my friend! I will never forget how well you took care of me when I was younger! Tell the rest of the tribe not to worry about me!"
As she exits the burrows, she is greeted by many of the other Zu-nul.
"So you are leaving then?" Sadkha says.
"Yes. You shouldn't have told him."
"He had to know. Otherwise he would have been devastated. Well, anyways, take care of yourself child. This is the will of the wormgod, Zhen'qual must have great plans for you."
After saying goodbye to the rest of the tribe, she jumps in the air and flies away. She flies towards the mountains looming in the west, towards the black stone fields, towards her destiny.
Knixi could not be easily taught as she was shy and distrusting of the Hitangan. Time would change this. She learns the written languages from studying the libraries and archives. She has developed a great deal of curiosity towards the warriors of the tribes and their practice sessions.
In the archives, she notices some mentions of worms living in the obsidian fields. Suddenly, the need to know more about these worms overwhelms her mind. It is as if someone else had taken control over her mind. She attempts to learn everything there is to know about these worms by reading and asking about them.
The Ry'lai Float South
After what seems to have been a lifetime of silence the Lem have requested that the Ry'lai head towards the hot deserts. Many of the Ry'lai are confused, and even Dakkon wonders about this change of mind. Perhaps whatever called the Enclave to the north has perished? No matter the enclave wills them to go south and south they go. Perhaps installation of the new hand cranked propellers will speed along the journey.
The journey to the southern deserts will take time. Time not to be wasted by the council. As they once again begin to pass over the largest parts of the frilla forest webseers and engineers alike are called down to select the strongest trees to integrate into Alc'mund. In the end 7 new trees are added in a ring around Alc'mund. They provide additional lift, living space, and protection for the ever growing Ry'lai population.
The floating cities of the Ry'Lai. The Hitanagn knew nothing of them, but now they were coming. they grew closer every day. Lembut requested that a way be found to contact them. Perhaps they too would join the Hitangan in peace.
From the vantage point of the Ry'lai they can see a small paved road in the middle of the desert dunes, a large black fortress in the mountains, and a brown village to the east. Instead of progressing further the council decides it may be better if they send out smaller task forces to each one. They will each bear a gifts and an armed escort incase things go badly. Saki, Urza, and Fal'kest each head an expedition.
The expedition of Urza was not given definite goal. They were told by Dakkon to follow a past webway intrusion. Someone in the southern desert had once almost found their people in the webway. Urza's goal, to find out who or what did it. However, the southern desert is as empty as one would expect. Clearly their eyes will not be of much help. Urza consults his webseers.
The webseer's see nothing solid however, to the south west they sense a larger concentration of life force. Nothing concrete but enough to start scouting. The Enclave sends out gliders and the Ry'lai begin ranging out towards the south west. News comes from the small watch tower at the center of To'kwar. Apparently in the distance is what looks to be a flying frilla tree. The guard who first spotted it rubs his eyes and checks again. There was no doubting it. That was a flying frilla. A crowd gathers outside of the gate to get a look at what's happening.
The First Hu-Raan King
One day, an aspiring village guard came to the mystics to ask what fate had in store for him. After going into a trance, an elderly mystic said to the young man he was destined for greatness. Experiences from watching the village and traveling The Road would teach him valuable lessons for becoming a leader of the Hu-raan. The first king.
After years of working along the road, traveling from Era'mark, to The Capital, the small villages in the desert, and even to near the Godworm of the Zu-nul, the young guard returns to the temple where the mystics reside; only now, he is no longer that boy on the cusp of manhood. He had experienced much in his travels alongside the caravans, things a leader must know.
The king-to-be pushed open the doors to the temple, being greeted by a forgotten but familiar gust of musty air. Inside, he went to one of the mystics to ask where the one who gave him his fortune was.
A mystic, a Koburrog far beyond the years one normally lived, looked up to the man from where he was meditating. "I'm sorry. Mystic Istral passed away three years ago," he said with a sigh at the end. "Might I ask why you came to speak with her?" "Before I joined the caravans as a guard years ago, I came here to ask what the future had in store for me. She had said that I would become a leader of our people."
The mystic nodded as he listened to this man's story. "Mystic Istral told us of this vision. You are the one named Hunastrus?"
"Yes, that is correct," Hunastrus replied.
"Then come," the mystic ordered, lifting himself slowly from the ground. "It is time for you to fulfill what fate held in store."
Kuat Learns from the Hu-Raan
Kuat seems eager to practice the use of the explosives taught to the Hitangan by the Hu'Raan. Having seen the explosives propel rocks and shrapnel over long distances, he decides that it would be prudent to focus that destructive power. Such weapons could be invaluable in times of crisis. However, explosive materials are not common, so Kuat demands that an alternative be found if there is one.
Kuats men have a terrible time trying to create cannons. most of which are too weak and flimsy to contain the explosives. Nobody can find an alternative either. Kuat is insistent that this power be harnessed or they will be sorely defeated. he demands that thicker metals be used.
Kuat realizes that he has failed in this endeavor. With shame in his eyes, he requests that Lembut send for assistance from the Hu'Raan. Harimau receives these orders as he returns and seeks council with the emissary Keanil. Harimau and Keanil worked hard together to develop an explosive weapon. Keanil's wisdom proved invaluable in the development of the cannon. The metal barrels were refined, and the payloads controlled. Soon they had a prototype that was capable of firing solid shell or razor sharp shrapnel. It was a development that would prove crucial in the times to come.
Lembut, Unggu, and Kuat all agree that more resources are needed. Mining has increased dramatically to keep up with trade. Now it seems that more is needed. More food is needed to provide for the races in their alliance. More equipment is needed to defend their allies. A front line is needed.
Kuat's message to his fellow ancients speaks truly "This fortress shall only be useful as a last resort. A new Fortress in the plains will be needed to protect the Zu'Nul, the Simidan, and the Capital from being directly attacked in the coming crisis."
"We have so many to feed, we must make sure that our combined races do not starve!" said Unggu in the council of the triumvirate.
So it was that the northern oasis developed a small settlement of farmers that traded and gave openly to the Hu'Raan. On the coast, farmlands boomed, fishing increased, and ramels were harnessed in emulation of the Hu'Raan to transport food along the trade routes. This quickly spread in practice to the whole of Hitangan society.
"We must build a fortress to protect the other races. a place for us all to gather in the darkest hour!" Commanded Lembut. And so, a small army was gathered and sent to protect the site where the fortress would be built as supplies were ferried out. Hu'raan and Hitangan worked together as Architects to design a fortress that would stand till the end of time.
Kuat tried to convince the other members of the triumvirate that the more esoteric uses of resources should be halted to focus on defense. However Unggu and Lembut felt this would damage trade relations with the other tribes so Kuat's decree was not heeded.
Messages are sent back north with the traders. The journey is a long one between the two cities, so a couple months pass until the reply arrives. The Hu-raan are willing to assist in constructing the fortress. A road heading to the south will be required for their wagons. If one cannot be made, the wagons have to be modified to travel across sand. Like the Hitangan emulated the construction and wagons of the Hu-raan, the Hu-raan try emulating the Hitangan tribe's farming.
The Desert Swarm
The Perpetual Houyi Conflict
Unbeknown to the tool using species, who only recently have started dabbling in the arts of war, there has been a state of total war in the plains for eons. For countless of generations, the houyi of the plains have waged war against the blade runner swarms, which periodically sweep the plains, eating away anything in their path.
This war has caused the houyi to become even more intelligent, cunning and brutal. Although they remain virtually unchanged on the outside, they are almost entirely different beasts inside their head. Gone are all the bestial inter fighting over females and scraps of food. They have been replaced with cold, tactical and ruthless military intelligence, which works from the back bone of solid co-operation.
The houyi work across the plains almost unified. The blade runners have to be deterred every year, or they would overrun the plains.
The plains houyi, unlike their cousins living in the obsidian fields, do not have a stable food source with no competition over it. No, the competition is fierce. The blade runners are ferociously attempting to oust the houyi from their territories, while the snake like creatures hold the line. They have started working with their digging houyi cousins, who also suffer from the blade runners. Their wast tunnel networks work as a houyi highway, allowing them to move faster from place to place, so that they can flank the blade runners.
Although they are genetically compatible, the species are jet to merge. The alliance between them is growing stronger however.
It is a total bug war out there. The houyi attempt to funnel the swarms to bottle necks so they can get clear kill-zones on them, while the more mobile blade runners attempt to flank the spine shooting beasts. Each day, hundreds, perhaps even thousands die, while even more are born just to join the fray. Whoever wins, will be a species that is a veteran of a war that has lasted for countless of generations.
After a brief conflict between the Crest and Plains Houyi against the Blade Runners, most Plains Houyi take there leave. All except one, who is curious about the Crest Houyi allies in the mountains. The Plains Houyi follows the Crest Houyi back to the Hitangans.
Why are the crest houyi so enamored with the fallens Gorirrogs? They were weak, what good are they to the houyi and their eternal war against the bugs.
The Hitangan rejoice as their comrades return! A feast is held in their honour, and special preparations are made for the new Plans Houyi in their midst. Lembut presents an obsidian neckplate she had carved herself depicting hitangan and houyi fighting side my side. Who better to present this to?
That night the Ancients share a single dream. The different Houyi species fight on bloody plains and sands. Their relationship with the Houyi has caused an imbalance in a perpetual war. This imbalance would swing back at the tribe thrice fold and destory all.
The ancients convene in the fortress. The Course of action is to be decided. Lembuts fears are realized. War shall come to them in time, and the Hitangan must be ready.
An emissary team is sent to the Simidan with offerings of their new weapons and a warning of what may come. An Emissary team is sent to the Hu'Raan bearing an interesting cargo. A medium statue depicting the heroic struggle of the Hu'Raan and Hitangan with Thick Blood is set on a cart, and accompanied by offerings of refined Obsidian jewelry.
The mystics...They see things, but not what was wanted to see "It will start with a firestorm from the cho dragons, then the wesper hordes will strike..there will be calm, then the vietkoburrong will seek asylum with their enemies, for even the hell they inhabit will become too much to survive. Finally, the hordes will come, without end...everything...will die...wait, there is more...the Zu-nul ride worms in the distance...it is not yet told who they fight with...if at all."
The Hu-Raan Outpost Holds
The air is electric, the Orange tufted VietKoBurrong who abandoned their ways for a more peaceful life once more apply face paint, and arm themselves with their mortar and rocket launchers. The rough green clothes have become a standard of the Hu-Raan army, cultural absorption goes both ways.
A remote outpost of hu-raan spot the incoming enemy forces, so much dust being kicked up that it looks like an obscuring sand storm. A former VKB soldier looks to his comrade "BUUUUUGSSS!!!!!" the outpost is overrun with the sounds of mortar fire. Wild wesper swarms descend so fast there is no time to scream before their lungs were choked and a moment later their bones stripped.
A messenger from the overrun outpost arrives. Traveling across the desert takes a long time by ramel. Many weeks have already passed since the outpost was lost. Hunastrus, who has already been declared king of the Hu-raan, sets off to the Hitangan Capital to meet with their leaders to discuss what should be done in response to this. He bids farewell to his queen and children, then heads out.
The outpost holds the line, but barely. Every passing day, more and more waves of bugs push forward. Food is low, and the soldiers are running low on moral. At any moment they too could be overrun.
"Legatus, what is the status on holding off the bugs?"
"Go look yourself. I don't have time to deal with new recrui- Y-your Majesty! Uh, not good sire. Every day they push the line closer. I fear we'll be overrun by the week's end."
The king and legatus walked out to a balcony where the battle could be seen while discussing the situation at hand. Hunastrus came with supplies of food, ramel armor, weapons, and reinforcements for the outpost.
"It's odd. No matter what we do, or where we go, creatures such as these always seem to follow our people," said Hunastrus, examining a mounted mortar. "Especially the worms."
The legatus looked over to his king with a somewhat confused expression. "I mean no disrespect, but why is it you wish to talk about such things right now?"
"Because... Because for the first time ever, I hope this to be true." Suddenly, King Hunastrus took hold of the mortar cannon, and fired into the swarms.
Archivist Note: Please excuse the lack of resolution to this section of the Swarm War. The secrets of the past are not always recorded exactly as they happen. And sometimes they aren't recorded at all.
Yet if you do across the North Road often, you have seen the aftermath of this battle. Out in the desert you can walk among the ruined walls of the Hu-Raan outpost. There you will see a statue of Hunastrus firing a mortar cannon. The base of the statue is craved with his biography up to this battle.
Further pass the walls of the outpost you will see a great crater. Some believe that his cannon was so powerful, Hunastrus defended the outpost with that single weapon. Others believe the cannon fire called a giant sand worm to shallow the Swarm whole.
Whichever the case more evidence is needed to confirm either story.
The Frilla Advances to the Front
The front lines of the coming conflict are easily scouted by the Ry'lai in their flying fortresses. The largest danger for Alc'mund and the Ry'lai come from airborne threats. In the initial early skirmishes Ry'lai webseers try to keep the front lines relatively healthy, while the engineers give steel to all the front line races.
It quickly becomes apparent that the webseers influence makes the difference between life and death for many of the wounded. In fact the death dealers left to the front lines rack up massive kill counts. The central lines become a sort of spear head and break the charging forces of the insectoid swarm.
On the eastern and western flanks it is a different story. The webseers cannot focus on everything at once and these sides are left with only small contingents of healers. While they help the dissolution of the defense is all but inevitable. Fal'kest is last seen along the eastern side with his war-tree, a heavily armored frilla bristling with cannons that serves as a command and control post.
Fa'lkest's Frilla ship is brought down but as it crashes the forces rally to it. The insects around them swarm and push but the fallen war-tree thrives on the blood and war. It serves as a relative safe point on the eastern front.
The western flank dissolves and makes way towards the Hitangan capital cities. Alc'mund chooses to bring the majority of the Ry'lai and the war-trees to this location to fortify it. Without the Hitangan cities the allied forces will not have the industry to support the frontal forces.
Onolkeshan forces pepper the enemy with their cannons. The Lem experience heavy losses, unable to be healed, they make a fighting retreat to heavily booby trapped and abandoned villages. Once the enemy was inside the trap they blew it. The Lem looked to the carnage, and the first wave was broken. They gave it as good as they got it.
As the hordes descend on the Hitangan cities the combined air superiority of Houzi on war-trees, and Ry'lai steel with hitangan strength quickly becomes the cliffs that break the Sand Runners charge. Each day the bugs blot out the sun and each day they are repelled. Death dealers go out to the swarm never to be seen again but they leave a swath of destruction that clears the path. Clears a path for the beserkers of the Lem and Hitangan to push back the horde.
The Alpha's with their influence on Thick Blood have even helped the Ry'lai on their bombing runs into the unending horde of creatures. Saki runs the forges night and day producing anything he can. In a stroke of genius he creates large propellers that the war-trees launch into the bugs. They serve as spinning death cutting out the menace beneath the war trees.
Meanwhile Urza and Alc'mund together can direct the mobilized war-tree fleet, massive in number and each one a floating pillar of steel they serve to guard the trade routes and as spearheads when the allied forces charge.
The Schism of Zu-Nul
The reports of the massive blade runner swarms moving through the desert first reach the Zu-nul through the traders. Rumours of untold carnage and bloodshed start circulating within the tribe, but overall, they do not feel threatened. They know that the Hazuvaat will keep them safe within their protective rock formation. Zhen'qual however, is quite exited about this development. The hordes of sandonis moving through the desert mean massive amounts of biomatter, that her spawn can feast upon. She sends deep vibrations through the sand, calling for her children, informing them of the feast that they can partake in. This war might allow her to seize the moment and become the dominant godworm of this desert.
Thick Blood attempts to communicate with the suzumou of the Zu-nul. It is a simple greeting to its distant kin. It holds a desire to draw these sentients to inhabit its body and become better caretakers than the mindless drones it currently has. The Zu-nul's illusion of safety is broken swiftly. Although the swarms didn't reach the small canyon in which the hazuvaat rests, the Zu-nul themselves were no longer confined to the protective rock formation. Their farms, trading burrows and caravans were defenceless against the blade runner hordes.
The survivors from these outlying settlements retreated back to the Hazuvaat. It was clear that they had to fight, but the ways of war were unknown to the suzumou. The tribe attempts to prepare to defend their home. Tooth spears are crafted along with knives and clubs. Tunnels are made and fortified, traps are constructed. The jet wespers allow the Zu-nul to conserve their own energy while moving swiftly in the air, making the jockeys using them exceptional scouts.
The worms summoned by Shen'qual attempt to attack the sandoni hordes moving through the oasis.
The Zu-nul are nearly overwhelmed by the sandoni onslaught. When all seemed to be lost, rain of fire descended upon the swarm, allowing the Zu-nul a little respite. The strange voice form the sky that followed the strike demanded a tribute of few pairs of suzumou. The suzumou were in a state of terror and awe. Some were suspicious of this voice, others intrigued. The godworm could not sense the other voice, and thus, before it even realized, few of her worshippers had flown to the sky, towards the call.
The Zu-nul attempt to use the time bought by the cho-dragon's bombardment to reinforce their tunnels, and investigate why their traps failed. With the combined power of the sandworms and the bombardment from Thickblood, the sandoni swarm is driven away, for now at least.
As the dust settles, the suzumou gaze at the true scale of the slaughter that occurred in the gates of their beloved home. And this was only just a minor swarm. The sandworms are happily feasting on the bodies of the dead, and the Zu-nul quickly join the fray, in an attempt to gather as much resources as they can. Suddenly, the skies darken with the wespars. Thickblood's feeding swarm also descends to the scene of battle, attempting to devour what they can.
The sight of these fliers stealing away the food the blessed worms and the suzumou paid with blood, causes anger within the hearts of the Zu-nul. They are powerless to stop them, but a deep resentment towards the ones who abandoned them in their moment of plight and answered the call from above forms within the tribe.
Zhen'qual doesn't take the news of how these heretics any lighter. She had sensed the presence of Thickblood, from the signature vibrations its bombardment causes, and she remembers how it mortally wounded one of her children. The knowledge that the cursed creature had lured away her worshipers without her noticing it makes her angry.
"Know this my children, those who abandoned us today are no longer your siblings...they failed to protect you, failed to protect us when it mattered the most, and then they stole from us, despite our need for food...they are traitors and heretics of the worst kind. We will hunt them, they won't have a moment of peace. Every time they attempt to take steps on this ground, we will be there, we will make them pay for their treachery. They will have to cover behind their flying master, for there will be no respite or mercy for them on the ground. Never again, shall they feel the warm sands underneath their claws."
Thickblood's new keepers are much more capable and are a welcomed addition. They have fed him much information of their tiny lives. It was apparent that allowing this new horde to kill everything would make like quite hard on him. It had a vested interest in seeing the war won for the little weak ones.
The few suzumou who answered the call of Thickblood investigate their new host. The constant data feed transmitted by the massive flying creature has broadened their view of the word significantly.
The desert seems to be so small from this high up. To some of them, this has been mentally devastating. To see how small they really are, and how insignificant their lives have been, has caused them to break down. To others, this has been an eye opening experience. The godworms they used to worship clearly aren't the true masters of the world. How could they be, they have never seen the world the way the suzumou now see.
The some members of the group start calling themselves Inzi-fen, to distance themselves from their former lives.
They also attempt to breed and lay eggs in the flesh of their new host.
The Rescue Mission
A Messenger is sent to Knixi, which tells her to try to acquire anything that would help the Zu-nul better defend their home, and then return urgently. The quake worm must wait. She attempts to learn from the Hitangan archives what her hosts know of the blade runners.
In her studies, Knixi finds that the Hitangan don't know much about the blade runners, as they aren't native to the obsidian fields. The tidbits of information that they do know are quite interesting however. It seems that the dreadful houyi creatures that still daunt her have in fact been in a constant state of war with the blade runners for thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of years. This information doesn't really help her at aiding her tribe. She hopes that the rescue fleet Ry'Lai will be able to aid her people more than she can right now.
Hitangan elders speak of god worshippers in the sands. A singular wespar female worries about her home but does not ask for much. This changes when a messenger arrives. He brings news of the Zu-nul’s retreat to the underground. Knixi does not even need to ask. The council and hitangan shamans quickly move to send a rescue fleet.
The Ry'lai battle group uses the berserkers charge as a spear head for their movements. However, as the berserkers charge ends the Airships begin to ascend. They will hold off the bugs as long as possible. A flare is sent off for the fallen comrades.
As soon as the sun sets the Airships quickly are beset on by wespar swarms. Very quickly the rear guard is seen with large holes punched through its armor. It goes down and while the crew tries to escape the wespar swarms becomes a purple wall. No survivors...
As dawn break the entire group is struggling already. Only the lead tree is doing well its webseers still keeping it healthy. To make progress there will need to be distractions. The wounded ships offer to distract the main forces of the bugs. The main group needs to make it to the Zu-Nul.
They split. The two distraction ships breaking from formation and going east and west. Their firebombs draw large swaths of bugs attentions underneath them. Meanwhile houzi on the larger group keep wespar swarms off of them, but not entirely. Another ship in the main battalion is punctured its crew only partially surviving.
In the distance the distraction ships can be seen but they are both obviously going down. Fires can be seen all over the desert and the group of 4 that was once 8 remembers their comrades losses.
The group of 4 ships find that a tighter formation allows them to break through the lines of the bugs. There are casualties but nowhere near as many as the first half of the journey. The trees are kept healthy by the redoubled efforts of the webseers. The lem gliders return with reports of what seem to be giant pits, each covered in the blood of sand runners and titandonis. The group must be nearing the Zu-Nul. Before long the Hitangan have guided the group to an old suzumou settlement only to find it abandoned. The area collapsed and what appear to be tunnels leading to the dark. Flares are dropped but no one knows what to do. The ship will defend this position while the webseers see if they can locate the Zu-nul.
Archivist Note: Again please excuse the abrupt end to this saga. As I continue my research into this turbulent time, more secrets are found. I will continue publishing my findings. Hopefully the Central Continent's History will be completed in the future.