Tales from Achien - Short Stories

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Letters (collection of letters from Erthuran, dated before 20,000 BA)

(Letter 1)

Kohan,

Good morning from here. Perhaps you are still asleep when this letter arrived. The Elyfesta shone unexpectedly bright for me today, so bright I had to squint to see clearly outside the window. How is it over there? Have you submitted your application yet?

You know, to think eventually our planet will quickly be inhospitable... it's quite tragic, actually. What did our ancestors do? Perhaps we have lost the favor of the rulers of this world? What do you think, Kohan?

By the way, the weather's gotten hotter recently. It's becoming more unbearable staying in the outside for long. Please be careful when you tend to your garden and help out your family. I don't want you to exert yourself too much and fall sick under this heat. You don't want anyone to worry about you, do you?

- Jurni

(Letter 2)

Jurni,

You're right. The heat is becoming quite unbearable indeed. Still, that just means the flowers need more tending to. In this world where life is rapidly shrinking, I need to protect what little is left. I guess you could call me a preserver, haha.

Also, I've just submitted my application as well. I cannot bear to leave this home that me and my ancestors have lived for as long as we can remember, but to keep our peoples alive (and the hope to see you once more), I believe it is the correct choice. Maybe, if fate, or chance, allows, that we meet each other on that ship.

I don't know what our ancestors did, but I think it has to do with an "explosion" that I heard from the city folk's stories, retold from their grandparents, or maybe even further back. I don't know, everything seems to be changing so quickly.

Oh, today's your birthday, isn't it? I'm sorry I can't deliver any present other than the phrase "Happy Birthday", but I hope you'll take it.

See you at the ship.

- Kohan

(Letter 3)

Kohan,

Thank you for this simple but precious present. I'm glad you still remember my birthday. You still remember the year when I accidentally fell into a pond and had to be fished out by my parents? I still laugh when I think of that today. It's sad that the waters just seem to continue to recede, like they're just disappearing, yet the air remains as dry as usual. The water rations are shrinking over here, and I feel everyone, everyday, is just thirsty, craving for more water.

Recently, there was a great caravan of people that passed by my house. Their vehicles were moving on their own, with no animal in front to pull it. When they moved, the ground rumbled and some smoke, not unlike the smoke from burnt food, came out from them. Their surface was white, but parts of them glowed blue. It's quite intriguing, actually, as I've never seen such strange vehicles before. Maybe you might've seen something like this before, but it's definitely new for me.

I'm already preparing to leave for the harbor now. You should too, considering that you live even further from there. What will you be packing? My parents say I should pack some clothing, perhaps some torches as well as other items vital for survival. However, I'll be bringing a journal with me, as well as the bracelet you made so many years ago. Yes, after all this time, the bracelet is no more than a few strings knotted together, but I still keep it in a little box. What about the bracelet I made? Perhaps it didn't break yet?

I really do wish wherever the ship will take us, it can take us to places very beautiful, with lush gardens and green fields. Let's keep this hope, shall we?

- Jurni

(Letter 4)

Jurni,

I'm sure you are already on your way to the ship. I've also left too, following a caravan quite similar to the one you described. The vehicles are amazingly fast, but I don't even feel any dizziness inside it. In fact, it's quite comfortable despite many of us being cramped together. Every once in a while, we would stop, and the leaders of the caravan would offer us food. They are very good people, always asking us if we are comfortable and asking about our health. I have a feeling, that if all goes well, I might be able to overtake you and reach the ship first.

I didn't take many things with me, only the bracelet, a pot of flowers (don't worry, no soil has been spilled yet), some clothing, some paper, my pencil (note: "pencil" here means a crude writing utensil), and some "light shards" my parents gave me (they had to be on another caravan, sadly).

Even though we traveled for many days now, the end is still very far away. I hope you're doing well on your journey. You know, sometimes I wonder what it would be like had my family continued to live in your town. Perhaps we can see each other more often. Perhaps we can witness our growth from children to adults. Perhaps you and I could laugh however we like, talking endlessly about trivial things even as the world around us changes. And perhaps, maybe, we can be near each other until we grow old, seeing this beautiful world every day until we die.

I just realized. Maybe this is what the older ones mean by "longing" or "nostalgia".

- Kohan

(Letter 5)

Kohan,

Judging from the date of your letter, I assume you are probably on the ship already. Meanwhile, I'm still stuck here, handing in confirmation forms and simply waiting to be admitted on the ship. There are many people here as well, more than I've ever encountered in my life. Some of them are dressed funny, with outlandish clothes I've never seen before. Others look somewhat like me, confused and not really knowing where to go.

The ship, I saw from a distance, doesn't really look like a ship to me. In fact, it looks like some metal whale ("author's" note: "whale" in this context refers to a large seaborne animal that went extinct some time before 20,000 BA) that I've heard about in myths. Even from a distance, it's simply gigantic, stretching to the horizon seemingly without end, with many circular holes on its sides and some streaks of bright blue lights, like the caravans from earlier. It just feels as if I am in the myth itself. Wonder if you think the same way, Kohan?

There were some people who gave us large metal boxes, telling us to put all our belongings inside as it can protect them from thieves and damage. I decided to put most of my belongings, including your past letters, into the box. Hopefully they are strong enough, as the people explicitly said they are going to the lower compartments for cargo.

Alright, so a day has passed since the last paragraph, and finally, we're going aboard! I wonder if we might bump into each other? Maybe you've grown much taller, and I don't even recognize you any more. But I hope that's not the case. Well then, I'll be keeping this letter to myself, so when we meet and you read this letter, you'll know how much I

The above letters were excavated from the wreckage of a medium-class Staegondian voidal transport, the site of which is in the Garir Desert of Erthuran. The letters were found inside two of the many durable steel boxes uncovered from the area. The exception is the last letter, found inside the clothing of a female skeleton (how the pieces of clothing could last many millennia in the wreckage is unknown), slightly burnt and in critical condition. After analyzing their age and the writings, it is established to be one of the oldest surviving physical copies of writing from Erthuran. It is postulated that the transport suffered a malfunction before it left the Erthuran atmosphere, leading it to crash onto the desert and killing all on board.

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